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Chapter 3: Am I Losing My Marbles, Or What?

I.Religion and Mental Health

Judaism has the wonderful benefit of bringing a person contentment, satisfaction, peace of mind and a purpose for being.  It serves as an anchor and guide in a crazy, mixed up world.  It gives us a framework for our lives and directs our actions purposefully.

A truly devout person has less stress and more joy than almost anyone else. Consider for a moment some of the myriad stresses people encounter throughout their lives: sibling rivalry, familial dysfunction, social acceptance, exams, parental disharmony, self-esteem issues, health, livelihood, marital, children, loss and separation. Religion, at the very least, mitigates all of the above ‘stressors’ and can often serve as an effective antidote to some depressions and anxieties.

For a devout Jew there can be very little thought of “meaningless existence”; every life has great purpose. 

 In Judaism, all events are not random but are rather Divinely orchestrated; not having the same economic status as a neighbor isn’t necessarily due to inadequate ability, as much as G-d’s will. Man can put forth his best effort but success is in G-d’s hands. Low self esteem and the pressures of economic success should no longer be issues.

 Additionally, Judaism defines our responsibilities as sons and daughters, parents, siblings, spouses and friends. These clearly delineated guidelines enable us to maintain happy and healthy family, marital and social relationships.

The degree to which Judaism can enhance one’s mental health should not be underestimated.

Judaism, however, is not a magical cure for severe emotional or psychiatric problems.  The Torah in its oral tradition specifically instructs us to consult a competent medical professional for pathologies.

People having psychological issues requiring professional help, should seek it out.  Religion is not a substitute for psychiatric medication or psychotherapy.  A psychologically troubled secular person that becomes observant is now a psychologically troubled religious person, and still in need of counseling.

An emotionally troubled individual should pursue professional treatment independent of any religious quest.

 

Last updated on: 10/20/2017
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