I've heard plenty of people's arguments against Orthodoxy. I've heard stories of OTD men and women, who claim that Judaism is restrictive and outdated. I've heard atheist skeptics arguing that Judaism is meaningless and foolish. I've heard the complaints from reform and Masorti Jews, who say that Orthodoxy needs a total revamp. I've made my way through hundreds of articles, thousands of claims, millions of opinions- and at the end of the day, I'm still happy with Orthodoxy, and proud to be an Orthodox Jew. It's not easy. There are times when I can't find anything in the supermarket with a hescher and it's precisely one hour and forty-five minutes until Shabbos candle lighting time and I haven't bought anything for supper and there's a pile of Shabbos clothes at home waiting to be ironed and I think, "Oy veh. Why do we insist on making life so hard for ourselves?". Those times are annoying, yes, and they make you want to tear your hair/shaytel out and they leave you still feeling frustrated when Shabbos starts, but at no point do I think to myself, "Let's leave it for this week, let's not have Friday night dinner. Let's forget candle lighting. I mean, what place does it have in the 21st century?".

Those things have never crossed my mind. Because if I give just a little, if I give up the smallest thing, the reward is massive. Both in this world- a peaceful shabbos in exchange for a slightly hurried supermarket trip- and in the next- reword in Olam Haba. That's why I love being an Orthodox Jew. Because it's so immensely rewarding. It's rewarding to keep kosher, to observe Shabbes, to dress in a tzniusdik way. It's G-d's way of thanking us for observing His mitzvot. And since I became observant, my life has become a thousand times more meaningful.

Published by Lily Smythe