I struggled for a long time with the clash between my own values, own way of doing things, and own personality, and the confines of Jewish law.
- What if I don’t like to be surrounded by other men three times a day as we supposedly talk to God?
- What if I’m not comfortable with the role I have been assigned in Judaism based entirely around my gender?
- What if I don’t connect to all the laws and don’t feel like they are making me a better person, and yet they are seemingly the most important part of the religion? (Judging by the amount of times the Torah harps on about them)
I know there will be those that argue that Judaism has a spectrum within you can fall. You can find your own mojo. 70 faces to the Torah and all that.
I disagree. Yes, there is some leeway, but it all falls within a spectrum that has very specific boundaries. Cross those, and you’re definitely breaking some law.
You will definitely breaking the rules, and they’ve got to deal with the guilt, or grapple with the self doubt about whether you’re really working hard enough, or the need to go ask some other dude if you qualify for a pass.
So yeah, do I feel like religion is great for some people? Yes. I think it works really well for Myers-Briggs SJs of the world who love structure and rules. But for the poets, the dreamers, the free spirits, I don’t see how this one-set-of-boundaries–fits-all model works.