Something’s Gotta Give


My partner just came back from an eight-day silent meditation retreat. She remarked (with some jealousy) how all the serious meditation teachers were childless, which seemed necessary for one to seriously pursue enlightenment. They were thus free to traipse around from one retreat to the next, unfettered by responsibility as they perused the inner workings of their mind.

I agree. I had spent the last ten days singlehandedly watching our two kids, which put a real damper on my ability to ambitiously execute on my idealistic goals of building a global online hypnotherapy clinic for The Betterment of All Humanity. I want to be saving the world, but I need to make dinner.

They say that when it comes to projects you can only get two out of three of: Price, Quality and Speed. I extend a similar theory to life – you can only get two of three of: Family, Ambitions, and Leisure/Self-actualization. (I argue, without giving it too much thought, that Leisure and Self-actualization are different ways humans fulfill the same core, fairly selfish, desire)

If you try to do all three, you’ll end up with a max of 66% on each. Shore’s Theorum, we can call it.

And this brings me to Aish Hatorah. (I bet you were wondering when Aish would appear. Thanks for waiting) They missed this crucial point. They somehow thought they could have all three.

Apparently, you need to actually raise your kids for them to be happy, and not, as my father apparently expected, rely on their school, community, and neighborhood to do the job.

So it was Family who suffered, and possibly self-actualization, judging by the character of some of the people at Aish. (Maybe they did the unusual and put 200% into Ambition and 0% into everything else?)

Now, instead of sufficing themselves with the usual “two kids and a dog” that my Orthodox Rabbis used to deride secular families for having, Team Aish went The Orthodox Way and had a shitload of kids, five, six, nine, 12, whom they promptly neglected. Because why fuck up a little when you can fuck up a lot?

It’s worth noting that abandoning your family is nothing new. Even Buddhist have done it, and I generally like Buddhists. Buddha Himself did it. Rabbi Akiva did it. Popular contemporary Buddhist teacher Tejania did it.

And I condemn them all.

You gotta eat the shitcake you baked.

You gotta sleep in the bed you made.

Your past performance may affect future outcomes.

The world may not achieve enlightenment at your irresponsible hands.

And maybe we wouldn’t have the key to Nirvana.

And maybe we wouldn’t have saved the Jewish people from a spiritual holocaust.

But maybe you’d be doing your job.

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