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Is Over-Obsessing Okay?
The Jewish take on becoming #compulsive
By Aron Moss
I feel I have started to become #neurotic about my #religious observance.
I keep worrying if I am doing things 100% #correctly. Did I say the correct #blessing? Did I #wash my hands correctly before the meal?
I am scared I am becoming compulsive. On the other hand, I do want to take Jewish law #seriously.
Can I be fully #observant and not go #mad?
Being #careful about fulfilling Jewish law is a very good thing. When it comes to fulfilling the #divine will, every detail matters. But there is a limit. I learnt this when I was #studying to be a rabbi. I had a powerful experience that forever #changed my view of G‑d and His laws.
I was studying in Israel in a rabbinical #school with several hundred other students. One morning, just after prayers, one of my friends came over to me with a concerned look on his face. "I think your tefillin may not be #kosher," he told me. (Tefillin are phylacteries. I don't know what phylacteriesare, but tefillin are two black boxes, with specially crafted parchment scrolls containing portions of #theBible, that we wear on our foreheads and upper arms during prayer.) I asked him what he meant, and he pointed out that my head tefillin didn't look perfectly #square. It seemed that one of the corners was not an exact #rightAngle.
This was #serious. The hand-made leather boxes of the tefillin are supposed to be square. If they are not square, then they are not tefillin. They aren't even phylacteries. If my friend was right, if my tefillin were slightly off, then I hadn't been wearing kosher tefillin for years. I had been putting on “unsquare” “unkosher” tefillin every day, which is as good as not putting tefillin on at all.