Of Rodents and Relationships ­ Article ­ BINA

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Of Rodents and Relationships

Of Rodents and Relationships

by Rabbi Aron Moss

Question:

I have a problem with organised religion. Light candles, go to shul, eat this, don't eat that etc etc. What sort of G-d demands these things from us? Surely we can find our own path to G-d within ourselves without being told what to do. Why does it make someone better or worse by just following instructions? It all seems crazy to me...

Answer:

I was recently addressing a group of women, discussing the topic of relationships. I told them that they should not be ashamed to tell their husbands exactly what makes them happy. Don't leave the guys guessing. If you do, they will never get it right.

A man cannot read a woman's mind. Even if he loves you deeply and is devoted to you with all his being, he needs to be told what you like. Women would prefer men to just take the initiative and do things spontaneously without being asked. But if you leave it up to him, he will do what he thinks a woman wants. And a man's view of what women want, without female input, is clouded by male thinking.

One woman said, "But my husband does do things for me without me asking, and he knows exactly what I want..."

I responded, "Your husband is a very kind man. But he only knows what you want because you have told him at some stage. Left to his own devices, he would give you many things and do many favours for you, but not necessarily what you wanted. Think back to the early stages of your marriage, before he learnt what makes you happy. Like the time he kindly put the washing away, not realizing the importance of folding the clothes before stuffing them into the drawers. And what about that surprise birthday gift he bought you. As sweet and unexpected as it was, a pet rodent was not really an ideal present."

She agreed.

If a man cannot read the mind of a woman, certainly a human being cannot read the mind of G-d. Unless we are told exactly what G-d wants from us, we are clueless. That is why we have mitzvos. A mitzvah is a command, a clear and direct instruction from G-d as to what He wants us to do and not do. Without it, our attempts to connect to G-d may be sincere and pure, but they don't reach beyond the limits of human experience. We are doing what we think G-d wants, and that is something we have no idea about.

When we do a mitzvah, no matter how small it seems in our eyes, we are doing what He asked us to do, and we are connecting to Him. A pet rodent is a lovely gesture, but a mitzvah is all He really wants from us.

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