Then and Now
Time "marches" on. That which we learned in our youth is no longer useful. Ideas, ideologies, right and wrong have a different connotation today than they did yesteryear. Independence has been removed from the current older generation. Nothing appears to be the same. There is no static, life goes on. Our word has changed considerably. Our religious beliefs are not the same. In our Jewish world, intermarriage is rampant. Where a few years ago it was considered desertion, denial of ourselves, a "nevere," a sin, it is now accepted by the liberal Jewish people who rarely give a second thought to marrying someone outside of their culture, outside of their faith, and outside of their parents' convictions. Jewish parents no longer sit "shive" (mourning) for their beloved child. They are ridiculed if they do not smile and attempt to make a hollow excuse for the occurrence and will go so far as to praise the non-Jewish partner and all of their alleged positive attributes. Children born out of wedlock are no longer considered illegitimate and that which used to be called husband or wife is now labeled "significant other." The majority of marriageable men and women remain single. Those who did marry are either divorced or in the process. Marriage has become unhealthy. Those who did take the gamble have found themselves deceived. Their partner did not marry them for love but for prestige, monetary advantages, or to have a caregiver in one fashion or another. The females are more cunning and are unusually giving in a sexual and flattering fashion until after they have said "I do." The men dream of eternal sexuality as portrayed in romantic movies or in pornography on a website or a Facebook page or some other modern gadget / terminology for temporary outlets for desires, for lust and new and exciting "experiences."
Reality has a different face. In today's frequently calculated marriage, the male of the species is the loser. His masculinity and his pride is diminished. He realizes, often too late, that he has been deluded, persuaded by the frantic female's ruse to "tie the knot." He finds that the knot that binds can be the knot that chokes, the knot that makes him a slave.
The woman that succeeds to persuade, to cajole, finds herself unhappy and disappointed. She must work, be beautiful, be a desirable sex object, create a comfortable home, and adulate the person that she has with desperation succeeded into entering into unholy matrimony. She does not really love the man whom she managed to lure with sexuality and pathos.
The ten commandments have little meaning in today's age. All answers can be found on the internet. Even theft can be committed by a skilled computer person. Sitting on your chair in front of the machine, you can write to some strangers claiming you are in Outer Mongolia on a boat and have no way of coming back unless a sum of money is sent so that you can buy a ticket to return. Thus "thou shalt not steal" has been made null and void since it is incognito. Thou shalt not commit adultery, the sixth commandment, can be done with ease, since your partner will not know who is on the website where you can date without visibility by your spouse. Thou shalt honor thy mother and father to enable you to live long on earth holds true as long as you are an infant and need to be loved since you are helpless. Longevity has increased greatly in the last and the current century. It is in vogue to leave your parents to their own devices so you can "enjoy" your life. They are a nuisance, repeat themselves, are boring, can't hear well, and expect too much. They are no longer of help. They embarrass us. The nursing home is there for that purpose, where people like that can live. Never mind they they nurtured and loved you. That is over, and no one told them to have children.
Our leaders and their status have also changed. The once honored rabbi, the Talmud chochem (the brilliant scholar), the leader of our community, is, instead of being held in awe for his knowledge, his advice, his teachings, and his learning, is ridiculed. He (she) becomes the victim of criticism, of ridicule, of gossip, of judgment by any ignorant or otherwise congregant of our temples. The same is now true of other clergy. In the Catholic churches, the common herd has decided that they can denigrate the priests because of those infidels who betrayed their flock by their homosexual behavior with young boys. The critics unfortunately attribute this behavior by a relative few to all of their priests.
Anti-Semitism was rampant in years gone by, and although it still exists, it has diminished to a considerable extent. In the USA, only fifteen percent of citizens exhibit that unfortunate thought / behavior.
There is much that is good in this century; there are many changes. Life goes on. We must remember that there is much that we can learn from history. Let us not denigrate those things that were honorable and good. Let us attempt to appreciate the positives that we had and take out those pleasant and honorable situations that we recognize and appreciate. The chochem will never forget his / her Jewishness, and will appreciate the faith into which we were born and the forebears that paved our way. Let us appreciate all the achievements that have come into the modern world and take out the best, the most honorable, from then and now.