Our generation expects everything to happen quickly. We don’t grow our own food anymore, we don’t sew our own clothes, and if we get sick, we take pain relievers to instantly feel better.
With that, our attention span has been dramatically shortened. If a speech is too long, no one pays attention. If davening takes too long, everyone gets impatient. Vitamin supplements make you healthier without effort, and popular exercise programs promise fitness with minimal work. Even the popular choice of learning today by many people – Daf HaYomi – and the exclusion of other learning, is a result of this attitude. “Hey, you can finish Shas in only 7 years, and in only 45 minutes a day.” If it is done with this attitude, if it is done to be “yotzeh,” then it is lacking. If done properly and with the right intensity, it can be life-changing. That’s the difference.
Unfortunately, this attitude has found its way into our practice of Yiddishkeit as well. If it’s too hard and difficult to be frum 24/7, maybe we can arrange a quick fix. Bring the kid into the rebbe or rosh yeshiva when he turns 3, run to Eretz Yisroel and scoop up brachos from gedolim, give a large donation to the shul during a building campaign, or go to Uman on Rosh Hashanah. It’s called, “Feel good Judaism.”
In the real world, when you take shortcuts, the outcome always suffers as a result. Taking Tylenol doesn’t cure the illness; sometimes it even prolongs it. Those who learn Daf Yomi don’t get to know Shas; instead, they are just using valuable time that could have been used to really learn. Fast food is horrible for your body, everyone knows that.
Yiddishkeit is not something you can do in just a few minutes a day. Don’t for a minute think that being in Uman for Rosh Hashanah is equal to sitting and learning 10 hours a day. Because if you do, you’re only fooling yourself.