Thoughts, inspirations, chizzuk and Torah for our times
deep thoughts, have to listen again ;). thanks, shabat shalom!:)
I'll be the party pooper here and disagree with this concept of "unconditional" love.Let me start with the idea that you want your already beautiful wife to wear more make-up because it makes her more beautiful. With all due respect it seems to me this stems from your pride and desire for kavod. She should wear make-up Friday night and have to be super cognitive of her makeup when she sleeps so she can look more beautiful? When she goes out with you and puts on make-up that enhances her beauty (attracting other men)How is this to her benefit? "Grace is elusive and and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord..." I just want to say before I go on how much I enjoy your insight and listen frequently and look for new things to read and listen to on your site. However this is the first time it appears you've gone off the derek. There is no such thing as unconditional love. This is a construct of Doctor Spock and liberalism. Hashem doesn't love us unconditionally. Hashem has expectations of us. If we sin and don't do tshuva there are consequences. I read an article that stated how America has fallen scholastically to something like 24th in the world. But we were number one in confidence! This is a result of pouring on praise and unconditional love without any expectation or character building. Children do not become better disciplined , moral people with unconditional love. This seems like , forgive me for saying so xtian doctrine. They definitely need nurturing and human touch just like the infants you spoke of but not that they will be loved no matter what they do. Instinctively a child knows if he is not deserving of gifts and praise even if he enjoys it momentarily. There is a bitterness, hostility and disappointment in these children who have not been given the opportunity through discipline and personal achievement to feel they deserve what they are receiving. If children are not given boundaries and correction the child can become insolent with an a over-arching sense of entitlement. That child didn't push and kick you because he wants unconditional love. He acted inappropriately. If you talked to his family or teacher you would find out he acts out inappropriately in school and home as well. Children are not harmed by knowing their parents have expectations and therefore will be disappointed if they continue to misbehave or G-d forbid push or kick him.. I'm not saying you tell a child "Do this and I'll love you, do that and I won't love you." Sometimes a child will try harder, doing something he doesn't want to do, simply to please his father because he doesn't want to disappoint him. This is a result of a loving father letting his child know he has expectations because he believes his child has potential. Ultimately the parents introduce standards, expectations and consequences for the benefit of their children because they love them. Just like Hashem has for us.
I agree that boundaries and limits are important, but the way they are given over must be with unconditional love. Perhaps I should have better clarified what I meant, but I did not mean to say that we should just love a child and not show them the correct way. We must show them the correct way, but with unconditional love. There is a very big difference between acceptance and approval. I can accept someone as a person without approving of their actions. If I do so, I have a chance of affecting them. If I do not, I will turn them away. All the people who are not religious today feel conditionally loved by Hashem and the Torah, and certainly by Orthodox Judaism. Our only hope to turn them on is with unconditional love - loving them despite where they are holding, while at the same time offering them an opportunity to learn more about their tradition. As long as we turn up our noses in scorn at them, we will never win their hearts. It is the same with our children, and this is the root of all of the problems that so plague the Orthodox youth - "At risk" kids feel conditionally loved. It takes time for them to give back their trust. Until they feel accepted for who they are - that is not say for what they do - they will never be open to our guidance and help.
Excellent discussion. Ari I do love your technique on choosing freely to do the right thing. It's true that we shouldn't love ourselves more or less if we choose to eat a doughnut (for example). I believe it is the same way Hashem loves us. Naturally, he desires for us to follow his path out of love and trust for Him. Nonetheless, His love for us remains the same regardless of what path we choose. His teachings are clear and should be taught and followed, but He allows us to choose freely which way we will go. It will certainly go better for us if we choose His way. I appreciate your honesty regarding the makeup story. It was a good way to illustrate how to use the technique you described. Thanks again.
"All the people who are not religious today feel conditionally loved by Hashem and the Torah, and certainly by Orthodox Judaism." I agree with you. Our job is to show them warmth and kindness - not to be judgmental. Something they are not expecting.
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