Saturday, March 6, 2010

And You Do This Because...

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It never fails me. My ability to sound like a bumbling idiot every time I get on the phone with Rav Rose. I don't know why this happens but I always manage to come off as unprepared, unsure and unable to communicate. Blah! The question was a simple one. What it really speaks to is why do I observe any form of halacha and why do I strive to be electricity-cooking free on Shabbat?

I can bumble along with lots of different answers from the personal (I want to make Shabbat different) to the extreme (I am a halacha geek) to the spiritual (I want to experience Shabbat at a deeper level and believe this might help me achieve it) to the modeling (that is how the people I admire--Enid, Bruce, Carol, Neil, Carnie, Sara, Merav, Cyndee, Chana'la--do it so I want to emulate that). All of these, perhaps even more if I think hard about it.

But it has to do with fire. The halacha has to do with fire. That's it. Plain and simple.

This I know on some level. I have read the responsa from every movement on this subject. I did take Melton you know! Here I blabbed on and on and on about all the reasons I have and really halacha comes down to either you follow it or not. It has nothing to do (really) with all of those other things that are nice but in the long run have nothing to do with the laws of Shabbat.

Fire.

The Conservative movement is not about personal autonomy. Halacha is not meant in this movement to be followed if one can find personal meaning. It is a halachic movement.

That being said...the Conservative movement says that one CAN use electricity and cook on Shabbat. It is not fire. There you have it. I have permission. So, what is my reservation? Why do I feel like I shouldn't do those things? Is it about fire with me? Does my sense of commandedness come from that root?

I am never where I want to be with regard to observance. This is me. I will always strive for more because that is who I am. Still, when it comes to "why" I am still working through it.

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