I have a problem with organized religion. It tells us to light candles, go to shul, eat this, don’t eat that, etc., etc. What sort of G‑d demands these things from us? Surely we can find our own path to G‑d without being told exactly what to do.


I recently addressed a group of women on the topic of relationships. I told them that they should not be ashamed to tell their husbands exactly what makes them happy. Don’t leave the guys guessing, I said. If you do, they will never get it right.I have a problem with organized religion

Your husband cannot read your mind. Even if he loves you deeply and is devoted to you with all his being, he needs to be told what you like. Women would prefer that men take the initiative and do things spontaneously, without being asked. But if you leave it up to a man, he will do what he thinks a woman wants. And a man’s view of what women want, without female input, is clouded by male thinking.

One woman said, “But my husband does do things for me without my asking, and he knows exactly what I want . . .”

I responded, “Your husband is a very kind man. But he knows what you want only because at some point you have told him. Left to his own devices, he would give you many things and do many favors for you, but not necessarily what you want. Think back to the early stages of your marriage, before he learned what makes you happy. Like the time he kindly put the laundry away, not realizing the importance of folding the clothes before stuffing them into the drawers. And what about that surprise birthday gift he bought you? As sweet and unexpected as it was, a pet rodent was not really an ideal present.”

She agreed.

A Unless we are told exactly what G‑d wants from us, we are cluelessman cannot read the mind of a woman, and a human being cannot read the mind of G‑d. Unless we are told exactly what G‑d wants from us, we are clueless. That is why we have mitzvahs. A mitzvah is a command—a clear and direct instruction from G‑d as to what He wants us to do and not do. Without this instruction, our attempts to connect to G‑d may be sincere and pure, but they don’t reach beyond the limits of human experience. We are doing only what we think G‑d wants.

When we do a mitzvah, no matter how small it seems in our eyes, we are doing what G‑d asked us to do, and we are thereby connecting to Him and deepening our relationship in a way that benefits us as well. Any other kind of spirituality is a pet rodent, a lovely gesture. But a mitzvah is all He really wants from us, and is the best expression of our loving relationship with Him.