18 January 2007

וַיִּשְׁמַן יְשֻׁרוּן וַיִּבְעָט

Deuteronomy 32;15: "And YeShurun became fat and kicked [Vayishman YeShurun vayivaat]...

I tell you, I don't see it that way at all. As a matter of fact, I see the reverse. I see that poverty and hardship is what induces the masses to forsake the religion. Presumably, this is why the Haskala was so succeful, it promised a struggling populace a way out poverty and a road to a better life.

But Prosperity and the good life? No way! For the most part, I see that when adults succeed and prosper they get more tied to the religious way of life.

I call it the "Push the Button!" phenomenon.

A TV series called "Lost" had this scenario where people stranded on an island are convinced that something catastrophic will occur if they fail to enter the sequence of numbers above and press a "reset" button every 108 minutes. And so, without any real understanding of what's going on, what might or might not happen, the inhabitants go to great lengths to hit that button - just in case.

Of course, it's not a hard and fast rule, but I find a pattern with most of my friends, relatives & acquaintances. I find lately that the more successful they are, the more religious they become. It's as if they're afraid to break the spell and somehow lose favor in God's eyes.

It's those that are struggling with life that seem to be static and even begin to falter in their religious observance.

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