I am confused. My question is, I am a woman whom has grown up Reformed my entire life and have begun Jewish learning over the past couple of years. Now that I am learning, I am feeling bad about some things I’m not observing. For example, I now know that the Torah forbids eating shrimp, although I’m not ready to give it up. This worries me, since now I know about it and am still doing it. I’m worried G-d is going to strike me down or something. If I would have just stayed at Temple and not gotten involved in Jewish learning I would have no worries because I wouldn’t know anything and therefore not feel bad about anything I’m doing wrong. If I’m not intending, at the moment, to become more observant, is it better that I don’t study so I won’t be more liable in heaven for what I know and don’t do? Or is it better to study anyway?
I am writing this letter anonymously because since you know me, I am more comfortable asking you these questions and sharing my frustrations with Judaism anonymously.
I am a Reform Jew who strives to know God. I say the morning blessings and light candles on Shabbat. I usually go to services on Saturday and attend weekly Torah study. I do not keep kosher but don’t eat pork or shellfish. I say many blessings throughout the day.
So many of the prayers we say are expressing thanks for receiving the Torah and asking God to teach us Torah. Torah is primary. Yet, I study it diligently and find an exceedingly angry and vengeful God. I want to have a relationship with God but do not see that God wants a relationship with me. He seems to have an on-and-off relationship with the Jewish people, but not individuals (unless they are patriarchs or prophets.) I know you are going to say that he wants us to do the mitzvot as the basis for a relationship. But it is unlikely that I am going to do much more than I do now.
I had very abusive parents and our God feels like a continuation of that… ‘Quit whining about your food or I’ll give you something to whine about…’
I was at a Christian funeral last week. I was so moved by the unconditional love that Jesus has for those who believe in him. I wish our God loved us that way. It is very tempting… I do not feel loved by our God. I feel that He is constantly judging me and I can’t win, therefore He will never love me.
In Eastern religions meditation is the key to oneness with the Divine. I practice meditation (without religious content), and find that it brings me closer to a connection with God.
I just don’t understand how Judaism does this. Or maybe it is only for Orthodox Jews. If this is the case, I will never be an Orthodox Jew so I can never have a relationship with our God.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I am just very frustrated with Judaism because it does not seem to offer me a way to connect with G-d as an individual.