Thursday, June 16, 2005

If All You Need to Grow Is a Little Water, Then How Come I'm so Short?

"Do you believe in changing yourself or are you one of those tiresome people who prefer to remain stagnant?"

A couple different unrelated things spurred me to think about personal growth lately, and I'm just going to put down my thoughts on the subject, in no particular order or importance. I know this is not the most exciting topic or intro ever, but read it anyway. You know you want to.

  • Orthodox Judaism is all about personal growth. We don't believe in stagnation, in an end-goal, or in "already there Judaism." The point of Orthodox Judaism is to be "hopefully holier than yesterday." Every day.

  • Even people who have experienced personal growth find it hard to contemplate different types of growth. Once you're semi-comfortable with where you stand (and that doesn't mean you don't want to grow any more), it is very hard to stay accepting of people at different levels of Judaism. I found this very true for myself. Once I fought to be where I am religiously, it was very hard for me to accept where others stand (to the left and the right).

  • Growth is hard. It is not easy to change your beliefs slowly but surely. It is not easy to change your practice of religion. And it is not easy to admit that you were once wrong. Growth requires all these things, but in the end you are all the stronger for it.

  • Growth is incremental and constant. I've heard so many people say things like, "oh, I don't do that now, but when I go to Israel for the year I'll start keeping it," or even, "now that I went to Israel for they year, I'm frum." Neither of those makes any sense. You should ALWAYS be growing. Before Israel, during Israel, after Israel, and even if you never go to Israel. Growth is not about these huge spurts (and trust me, at my height of less than five inches I know very little about growth spurts), it's about slow and steady, ever-moving progress.

This was mostly a reminder for myself and just a reiteration of what I've been thinking about, so keep growing people!

4 Comments:

At 6/16/05, 5:12 PM, Blogger Stx said...

Hmmm...sounds familiar for some reason ;)

But just for kicks, I've got a question for you. You said:

"Once I fought to be where I am religiously, it was very hard for me to accept where others stand (to the left and the right)."

Is that true? Or was it always hard--even beforehand? Is it really any harder now?

I'm not being antagonistic; I'm just wondering...

 
At 6/19/05, 5:52 PM, Blogger Karl said...

"oh, I don't do that now, but when I go to Israel for the year I'll start keeping it,"
One must always keep striving, but sometimes you need to set yourself targets of where you would like to be, and even when.

Stx, what I think Eli7 was saying was once you open your eyes and see that a person cant remain at the same place and must keep moving, it is difficult to accept others sedentary state. Although however difficult it is Eli7, you just have to accept it that no all people are thinkers, some prefer to keep their eyes shut and go around blind rather than change. Thats just my take on it.

 
At 6/22/05, 8:47 AM, Blogger Jen said...

I just subbed to you! I'm so glad you came by to post. I've never seen your wonderful blog!

RYC:
Ah! So basically charedim are ultra-orthodox in general, and chassidim are a branch of that ultra-orthodoxy that are a bit more... well, what you said, Eli7.

Thanks!

So instead of saying "ultra-orthodox," one could said "charedim."

Does modern orthodox fall into charedim category? Because if I'm going to be orthodox, it's most likely going to be modern orthodox.

 
At 6/22/05, 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent message on growth and moving forward

 

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