Kermit’s Song of Judaism

Question

Rabbi, is it easy being Jewish? I saw your Gateways Ask the Rabbi project on exhibit at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, Germany. I never really had a chance to ask a rabbi this question before: Is it harder for someone like me, who didn’t grow up observant, than for someone for you who grew up keeping everything? Thanks!

, 4 months

Answers

  1. “The ways of the Torah are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17). If one does not feel involved in something pleasant and peaceful, then one is not really practicing Judaism according to the true spirit of the Torah and Judaism.

    Most people know Kermit the frog’s famous song, “It’s not easy being green.” Is it “easy” or is it “hard” to be actively Jewish? And is it really easier for me than for you? I think the answer to both questions is a resounding “No!”

    I think that how we choose to live is relative to everything else in our lives. Would you say that, in general, life is easy or that life is hard? Some things appear to be easier and some appear to be harder, but they should all have the same thing in common when it comes to Jewish practice – everything should be pleasant!

    One might suppose that growing up observant makes it easier since there is greater familiarity with the religion. But, being “too familiar” can sometimes not be a good thing if one is merely acting on “cruise control” without infusing the inner feelings of one’s heart in addition to using the mind and body. Also, if one is newly introduced to Jewish practice and belief, there is a certain intellectual, spiritual and even physical thrill that is often experienced more than by somebody who grew up that way in the first place.

    Your question is truly fascinating to consider and I thank you for it since it has made me ponder certain aspects of our life that we sometimes take for granted! I wish you much happiness and success — and pleasantness in your life — and please feel free to write again with any questions you may have about Judaism.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team