Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When you pass the test

This story goes out to Foster Ima from Frum Fostering, who I'm guessing will appreciate this.

Big Guy asked DP this week if "when you pass the test, can you drive on Saturdays?" She had no idea what he was talking about. "What test?" she asked. Turns out he was referring to the fact that he knows we follow the Jewish laws that forbid driving on Shabbos (our sabbath, which is Friday night and Saturdays) except in a serious emergency. Big Guy isn't Jewish and has been fascinated and perplexed by all the rules we follow - We don't make him follow them, obviously. But they affect the rhythm of all of our lives since we are religious Jews and there are foods we don't bring into our home and things we don't do with him on our sabbath. Apparently he got the idea that somehow if you follow all the laws strictly enough for a while, you've "passed the test" and then you can stop following them. As DP said (to paraphrase), "I guess he thinks if we're good enough about following halacha* for a while, we've proved ourselves and should be let off the hook. Wouldn't it be wonderfully convenient if it worked that way?" Indeed it would, DP. Indeed it would.

*Jewish religious law


  1. You're right, I DO appreciate it!

    What have you done/do you plan to do about shul?

  2. We haven't been yet, and I don't know when we will. Possibly this week. Right now to save money we live in a town without an eruv, but we regularly stay with family in a town with an eruv. We're going there for shabbos this week, I think. Big Guy has a Mentor and we're asking him to take him out Saturday morning, so that will enable us to go to shul. Otherwise we could ask DP's parents to watch him. I would love to try bringing him to shul, since it would be interesting for him, but at 9 I think he's a little too old to sit on the same side of the mechitza with us (though I really don't know the official age at which it really becomes inappropriate). I would never want him to sit alone (or even with a friend of ours) on the men's side because he will have no idea what's going on and he can be a little clingy. I don't know long-term what we'll do. I have to admit that I've considered a few times whether we would go occasionally to a Conservative shul just to get him used to the idea of being in shul, but I'm not totally comfortable with that. For the High Holy Days we're going to need to ask for help from our families (neither of our families are religious, and one of us has a non-Jewish parent). Figuring out shabbos and multi-day yom tovs are the most overwhelming part of this whole thing. He's started talking about how much he likes shabbos (the first two weeks were hard for him) and religious stuff has ceased for the time being to be a point of tension, but I'm really not sure what to do when we NEED to go to shul. We could go to a shul that has an active kids program and one of us could stay in there with him, I guess. My biggest fear with that is that kids wouldn't play with him because they'll (correctly) assume he's not Jewish because he's of color, and he'll be the oldest kid to not be in the sanctuary. Any ideas?


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