I spoke with a woman that went through a difficult divorce and also due to a lot of stress stopped being religious. She was formerly religious for years but she explained how pressure for her ex-husband regarding religion were too much for her and she abandoned ship. She originally said how she has it good in her new lifestyle with no pressures on her. But she herself quickly admitted that there’s nothing better than to go on G-d’s path that helps a person feel loved and secure.
This woman is living a life full of contradictions against herself and G-d. She wants something but not sure what or how and she wonders if she would come back if G-d were accept her repentance. Meanwhile she’s in a state of limbo floating between earth and sky, not here and not there and she suffers greatly from not having any anchor.
After speaking with her I concluded that if someone is to merit accepting the Torah and adopting its directives for their daily lives they must know 3 things:
1. Though our sages tell us that G-d held Mount Sinai over us like a barrel and it seems we were forced to receive the Torah that was the last time it worked. G-d can force us; he knows what’s good for us. But we can’t force anyone, not our friend and not even ourselves! Force leads to denial and rebellion.
The one way to acquire or give over the fear and love of G-d is through loving and empowering. In our generation the generation on the footsteps of the Messiah, the Talmud says there is no reprimanding (Sotah). Any pressure applied will backfire, and unfortunately many stumble with this whether trying to help their friends or even themselves get stronger in their Judaism. The secret is to arouse ourselves and bring ourselves and others to love G-d as the verse says: “He (G-d) will kiss me with his lips…” with love and kind words and endless empowerment.
2. Every Jew should remember that G-d is not giving up on him and patiently waits for him even he went totally off his path as the verse says: “I remember the kindness of your youth when you followed me into the desert into a land that was not planted.” Historically this verse was said by Isaiah when Israel was sinning greatly, yet G-d still loves us unconditionally. G-d remembers all the times we followed Him in the desert willfully with total trust even in the greatest, driest and most difficult deserts of our life. With his endless love he waits and hopes we will return to Him.
3. Even a Jew whose actions and desires make him seem to be far away from G-d really has deep down in his heart a longing for G-d a looking forward to the moment he can “see the pleasure of G-d and visit in His great hall” (Psalms 27). For every soul subconsciously remembers the sublime pleasure of being close to G-d. This is a pleasure that has no equal in this world or the next.
Therefore even when our path looks like it’s not planted and we strayed like a sheep lost from the flock all we need to do is agree to open our hearts and return to our souls; to stand under the bridal canopy where G-d is waiting for us just as in the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and to sanctify ourselves with His commandments. Then we will merit the sweet closeness and happiness which is full of incomparable love! Happy Shavuot!