Embracing Judaism

The ספר הישר makes an interesting analogy between beginning a new career and embracing Judaism. There are similar pitfalls and obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve success. In both situations, it is essential to focus on the goal. With a job, one needs to be reminded constantly of the ultimate potential that this particular work can lead to. It could be financial independence, or satisfaction and enjoyment at what one is doing. There could even be the feeling that the world could be a better place because of what this career choice can bring. With Judaism, the focus would be on spiritual contentment and a sense of purpose in knowing that an individual is taking his rightful place among the Jewish people. The other similarity mentioned by Rabbeinu Tam is how to deal with the frustrations along the way. If the career choice required an investment of many years, there will be obstacles. Perhaps the long hours involved or the fact that it's taking longer than one thought might make one want to quit. With Judaism as well, many find the change in lifestyle to be difficult. They may despair of ever reaching that level of peace of mind. In both situations, the worst thing to do is quit. When frustration is at its peak, do not disconnect completely. Maybe lightening one's load for a while might help. After this slight break, one will be able to come back with renewed vigor, where now all of the goals will be met. In other words, when one feels a sense of "burnout", ease up a bit and then try again. More sage advice from a great sage.