The New York Times has an extremely positive article about Torah observant Jews, starting off with a discussion about a really nice and upscale supermarket in Brooklyn, called Pomegranate. They’ve got kosher everything – cheeses, meats (including duck, deer, and lamb), cakes, sushi, prepared foods … all very good quality. It’s best compared, as the article does, to a kosher Whole Foods.
Interestingly, the author, David Brooks, is Jewish but not Torah observant himself. Rumor has it that he has learned Torah with observant Jews, however, and it seems to make quite a difference on his impression, looking at it with understanding, rather than judging based on lack thereof. Here, he says it better than I’ve heard anyone else say it:
At first piano practice seems like drudgery, like self-limitation, but mastering the technique gives you the freedom to play well and create new songs. Life is less a journey than it is mastering a discipline or craft.
Exactly! At first, it’s a bunch of rules, but when you live it, and indeed, Rav Shach said that if you try and look for a logical understanding alone, without practice, you will fail. This, says Rav Shach, is the reason why when wise first son at the Passover seder asks, “What are all these laws and statutes?” we answer him with how we were redeemed from slavery in Egypt. Feel it, and experience it, and use the rules to develop the craft and do more.