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Dena

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PostSubject: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 2:20 pm

Jewishness is not a belief, a feeling, a conviction or a lifestyle. It is a state of being - Rabbi Aron Moss

The quote is in reference to a born Jew who considers himself an atheist, married a non-Jew and isn't at all religious. What do you think of the statement? Do you think it applies to converts, just born Jews, both or neither? I'm asking for your opinion, not what you think the author intended.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 2:40 pm

A Jew is Jewish either if born or converted through the rituals of conversion. My rabbi says once you are Jewish you will always be Jewish.

It is a state of being and your soul is a Jewish soul.

I believe this.

Here is the link to the whole response to the original question.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/160964/jewish/How-Does-One-Quit-Judaism.htm

Dena wrote:
Jewishness is not a belief, a feeling, a conviction or a lifestyle. It is a state of being - Rabbi Aron Moss

The quote is in reference to a born Jew who considers himself an atheist, married a non-Jew and isn't at all religious. What do you think of the statement? Do you think it applies to converts, just born Jews, both or neither? I'm asking for your opinion, not what you think the author intended.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 4:04 pm

@tamar-I have to agree with the Rabbi.
@Dena
In response to the original question, to me Jewishness is not in a name, community or lifestyle, but if the candle (soul) is lit.
Only Hashem can light that candle that is your soul, some may chose to live in darkness even if they are born Jews. Its possible for even converts to have no light because they may have converted with ulterior motives. What I am saying is that being a Jew or convert, is whether or not you have what is rightfully yours, an inheritance which is the Torah. Without it, all you have is a belief, a feeling, or a lifestyle.

Talmud Pesachim 7b3:31 (OR L'ARBAAH ASAR CH.1) - "A man's soul is the candle of Hashem, which searches all the chambers of [one's] innards". [By means of the soul] G-d searches man's innermost thoughts.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 5:51 pm

tamar wrote:
A Jew is Jewish either if born or converted through the rituals of conversion. My rabbi says once you are Jewish you will always be Jewish.

It is a state of being and your soul is a Jewish soul.

I believe this.

So for you does it come down to having a Jewish soul? Is the convert born with the Jewish soul or do they add Jewishness when they convert? I personally do not believe in souls so I can't say I feel I have a Jewish one. I can however still see where being Jewish is a state of being.

tamar wrote:
Here is the link to the whole response to the original question.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/160964/jewish/How-Does-One-Quit-Judaism.htm

I read the entire article before I posted but thanks for the link in case others are interested.


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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 5:52 pm

Bee wrote:
What I am saying is that being a Jew or convert, is whether or not you have what is rightfully yours, an inheritance which is the Torah. Without it, all you have is a belief, a feeling, or a lifestyle.

It seems like Rabbi Moss is saying that Jewishness is the essential part of the person, even if Torah is not in the picture.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 6:16 pm

When you convert and go into the mikvah you come out a Jew with a Jewish soul. I have a Jewish soul. I believe when I went into the mikvah the nature of my soul changed. I became a Jew and I now have a Jewish soul. I believe all Jews both JBB and JBC have a Jewish soul. I believe that we are made up of the body and soul. My rabbi says that we all receive a soul either through birth to a Jewish mother or through our conversion.

For me the essence is my soul and my Jewishness is connected to that.




Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
A Jew is Jewish either if born or converted through the rituals of conversion. My rabbi says once you are Jewish you will always be Jewish.

It is a state of being and your soul is a Jewish soul.

I believe this.

So for you does it come down to having a Jewish soul? Is the convert born with the Jewish soul or do they add Jewishness when they convert? I personally do not believe in souls so I can't say I feel I have a Jewish one. I can however still see where being Jewish is a state of being.

tamar wrote:
Here is the link to the whole response to the original question.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/160964/jewish/How-Does-One-Quit-Judaism.htm

I read the entire article before I posted but thanks for the link in case others are interested.


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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 6:49 pm

tamar wrote:
When you convert and go into the mikvah you come out a Jew with a Jewish soul. I have a Jewish soul. I believe when I went into the mikvah the nature of my soul changed. I became a Jew and I now have a Jewish soul. I believe all Jews both JBB and JBC have a Jewish soul. I believe that we are made up of the body and soul. My rabbi says that we all receive a soul either through birth to a Jewish mother or through our conversion.

For me the essence is my soul and my Jewishness is connected to that.

Ah, okay. I know some people believe they were born with their Jewish soul but to non-Jewish parents, so I wasn't sure. Thanks for answering. I'm still pondering the idea of Jewish as a "state of being". I don't reject the idea, not at all actually, just pondering what it really means for us (all Jews).
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 6:55 pm

My rabbi actually believes I already had a Jewish soul. She said that to me after we had met for a long time. I do believe that some already had a Jewish soul. I believe that some are born into a non Jewish family but deep down are Jewish and need to make it right.

There are those who are so strongly drawn to Judaism and after conversion find that they had hidden Jewish heritage.



Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
When you convert and go into the mikvah you come out a Jew with a Jewish soul. I have a Jewish soul. I believe when I went into the mikvah the nature of my soul changed. I became a Jew and I now have a Jewish soul. I believe all Jews both JBB and JBC have a Jewish soul. I believe that we are made up of the body and soul. My rabbi says that we all receive a soul either through birth to a Jewish mother or through our conversion.

For me the essence is my soul and my Jewishness is connected to that.

Ah, okay. I know some people believe they were born with their Jewish soul but to non-Jewish parents, so I wasn't sure. Thanks for answering. I'm still pondering the idea of Jewish as a "state of being". I don't reject the idea, not at all actually, just pondering what it really means for us (all Jews).
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 7:14 pm

tamar wrote:
My rabbi actually believes I already had a Jewish soul. She said that to me after we had met for a long time. I do believe that some already had a Jewish soul. I believe that some are born into a non Jewish family but deep down are Jewish and need to make it right.

There are those who are so strongly drawn to Judaism and after conversion find that they had hidden Jewish heritage.


I never discussed souls with any of the Rabbis I've met. It's one of those things I keep to myself. My Grandmother told me when I was a teeanger that her father's family was Jewish but that is all I know. I have information about all sides of my family, some back to even the 1600's but nothing on her father's parents except their names and where they were born. Whatever my Grandmother knows is locked up with her now and not able to get out because of her dementia.

I will probably never know why I personally felt the draw towards Judaism or why I had the overwhelming feeling that I was Jewish. It'll just be a mystery. Very Happy
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 8:06 pm

I don't know much about my ancestry except my moms family came over from Germany in 1868 and headed to the mid west and finally settled in Nebraska. My dads family came from England in the 1600s and settled in Massachusetts. My fathers family never left.

I doubt that there is any Jewish ancestry but then if there was I would not ever find it. I have worked at my genealogy for the last few years and have found some records. But the census don't have religious affiliation and many of the records are scattered or destroyed. I do know that when my family came from Germany all that they left behind stayed in Germany.

My British side was Christian, they probably left England because of religious persecution.

Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
My rabbi actually believes I already had a Jewish soul. She said that to me after we had met for a long time. I do believe that some already had a Jewish soul. I believe that some are born into a non Jewish family but deep down are Jewish and need to make it right.

There are those who are so strongly drawn to Judaism and after conversion find that they had hidden Jewish heritage.


I never discussed souls with any of the Rabbis I've met. It's one of those things I keep to myself. My Grandmother told me when I was a teeanger that her father's family was Jewish but that is all I know. I have information about all sides of my family, some back to even the 1600's but nothing on her father's parents except their names and where they were born. Whatever my Grandmother knows is locked up with her now and not able to get out because of her dementia.

I will probably never know why I personally felt the draw towards Judaism or why I had the overwhelming feeling that I was Jewish. It'll just be a mystery. Very Happy
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 9:57 pm

Dena, are you saying that you don't believe we have a soul? Sorry I may have misunderstood you. I am trying to remember where I read that when one is in the womb they have knowledge of Torah, then once born are touched by an angel of Hashem to forget it and spend the rest of your life looking for it? Something like that, maybe someone might know. There might be some truth to it and would explain the "Jewish soul", feeling.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Tue May 22, 2012 11:19 pm

Bee wrote:
Dena, are you saying that you don't believe we have a soul?

Correct.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 12:36 am

Bee, many Jews have differing views and beliefs on the soul and Torah. There are Jews who are just culturally Jewish and have no belief in G-d.

Bee wrote:
Dena, are you saying that you don't believe we have a soul? Sorry I may have misunderstood you. I am trying to remember where I read that when one is in the womb they have knowledge of Torah, then once born are touched by an angel of Hashem to forget it and spend the rest of your life looking for it? Something like that, maybe someone might know. There might be some truth to it and would explain the "Jewish soul", feeling.
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 1:25 am

Oh, I don't mean to be rude I just have never heard of anyone not believing in a soul. I am confused a little because if you don't believe what the Torah say's in regards to one's soul, does that mean you don't believe in the world to come? Do you believe in reincarnation or resuscitation of the dead? I know now there are diverse beliefs within Judaism, I am finding that out more and more. I am just curious on why you don't Dena? If we have no soul why bother with religion?
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 6:39 am

Dena wrote:
Ah, okay. I know some people believe they were born with their Jewish soul but to non-Jewish parents, so I wasn't sure. Thanks for answering. I'm still pondering the idea of Jewish as a "state of being". I don't reject the idea, not at all actually, just pondering what it really means for us (all Jews).

I actually think we (JBC's) are born with Jewish souls. I think that's what makes us search out and feel right when practicing Judaism.

I was at an interfaith class last night where my rabbi was talking about Jonah. The questions afterward lead to the discussion of souls, and what he said is very similar to what I believe. Rabbi explained that he believes that our souls return to G-d after we die, and the ones that have fulfilled their duties become part of His eternal "consciousness"; those that have not eventually return until they are able to finish their duties.

I think of this as being more like recycling rather than reincarnation, but it allows for non-Jews to be born with Jewish souls. The same ones that were present at Sinai. I think this is what gives us our "Jewish spark".
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 9:19 am

For me Jewishness is a state of being, in a way that we are all connected through it and in a way that being/feeling Jewish is a continual, neverending process, a personal growth and an attitude towards Jewish cultural-and-religious heritage from the specific Jewish perspective, with a specific kind of knowledge, pattern of thought (of course, there are many possible Jewish attitudes towards anything Jewish or anything in general, I don't deny this diversity, although I still think that some patterns of thought are specifically Jewish, and I don't think that we are specifically born with it; it is mostly learnt or culturally inherited, which doesn't make it "less Jewish" or of less worth in any sense - on the contrary).

It is a knowledge, a state of being, a state of thinking, a state of defining oneself, a state of feeling and connecting with Jewishness that we all share, JBC or JBB, religious or not, observant or not.

After all, we all stood together on Mount Sinai.

.........

As for a Jewish soul, I personally believe that we were all born with Jewish souls, JBC or JBB and that this is the "spark", the "Jewish spark" that James mentioned, that guides us to Jewishness. However, although we were born with it, it is not quite enough to get us into the Jewish state of being, I think. It takes personal growth, a lot of work on ourselves, a certain cultural and halakhic knowledge and a lot of thinking through. Jewish soul is a spark; it is on us, it is our choice what we will do with it and if it is going to shine brightly lightening our way.


Last edited by Sarit on Wed May 23, 2012 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 10:11 am

My rabbi said the same thing. That is why she believes I already had a Jewish soul. You see I was speaking to her of this spark within me before I understood what the word "spark" meant. It was just what was within me and a driving force in my search. It was not a word I had read somewhere else. It was a word I had always used even before I started my path towards Judaism.

James wrote:
Dena wrote:
Ah, okay. I know some people believe they were born with their Jewish soul but to non-Jewish parents, so I wasn't sure. Thanks for answering. I'm still pondering the idea of Jewish as a "state of being". I don't reject the idea, not at all actually, just pondering what it really means for us (all Jews).

I actually think we (JBC's) are born with Jewish souls. I think that's what makes us search out and feel right when practicing Judaism.

I was at an interfaith class last night where my rabbi was talking about Jonah. The questions afterward lead to the discussion of souls, and what he said is very similar to what I believe. Rabbi explained that he believes that our souls return to G-d after we die, and the ones that have fulfilled their duties become part of His eternal "consciousness"; those that have not eventually return until they are able to finish their duties.

I think of this as being more like recycling rather than reincarnation, but it allows for non-Jews to be born with Jewish souls. The same ones that were present at Sinai. I think this is what gives us our "Jewish spark".
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 10:23 am

I know Jews who don't believe in souls and don't believe in G-d or the world to come. There is much diversity within the Jewish community. Not just the orthodox stance.

I don't believe in a literal Torah. Yet I hold the Torah as central to Judaism and a connection all Jews have. Yet there is diversity in how we all view the Torah.

My friends who are Jews who don't believe in G-d take great pride in the culture within Judaism. They celebrate all the holidays in a cultural way. But make no mistake they do not believe in G-d. They are raising their children as cultural Jews. Judaism is not just a religion. We are part of a people.

Christianity is a religion that has central beliefs and to be a part you need to believe those beliefs. Judaism is a religion and a people. For me to be Jewish is to be a part of a religion and a people.



Bee wrote:
Oh, I don't mean to be rude I just have never heard of anyone not believing in a soul. I am confused a little because if you don't believe what the Torah say's in regards to one's soul, does that mean you don't believe in the world to come? Do you believe in reincarnation or resuscitation of the dead? I know now there are diverse beliefs within Judaism, I am finding that out more and more. I am just curious on why you don't Dena? If we have no soul why bother with religion?
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 5:38 pm

Bee wrote:
Oh, I don't mean to be rude I just have never heard of anyone not believing in a soul.

Do you mean you've never heard of a Jew who didn't believe in a soul or anyone in general? I imagine most people don't discuss it in "real life". I generally don't.

Bee wrote:
I am confused a little because if you don't believe what the Torah say's in regards to one's soul, does that mean you don't believe in the world to come? Do you believe in reincarnation or resuscitation of the dead?

No, I don't. If reincarnation was reality that would be awesome...I just doubt it exists.

Bee wrote:
I know now there are diverse beliefs within Judaism, I am finding that out more and more. I am just curious on why you don't Dena? If we have no soul why bother with religion?

The lack of a soul is irrelevant to me. I didn't choose to be religious because I was worried about what would happen to my soul. I am a religious person. I love Judaism. I love the Jewish people. I love the traditions and the rituals. I think there is a lot to be learned within Judaism and I celebrate it. But the soul or an afterlife has nothing to do with it, for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 5:43 pm

tamar wrote:
My rabbi said the same thing. That is why she believes I already had a Jewish soul. You see I was speaking to her of this spark within me before I understood what the word "spark" meant. It was just what was within me and a driving force in my search. It was not a word I had read somewhere else. It was a word I had always used even before I started my path towards Judaism.

Have you ever seen When Do We Eat? It's a movie about a dysfunctional family at Passover. The dad is high on Ecstasy or something and literally sees the divine "spark" in every person. I thought it was interesting imagery. I can relate to people in that way despite not believing in souls because I do think we are all connected to one another.
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 6:58 pm

Yeah.....lol I saw that movie!!! I have always been able to relate to different people. The idea of a soul for me is not tied to after life but just that essence in all of us. I don't even believe in a heaven kind of place. In fact I really don't know what will happen to me after I die. I hope there might be a place in but I don't dwell on it. Religion for me is not so I can know about after I die. Its much more important for me to be a good person while I am here.

Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
My rabbi said the same thing. That is why she believes I already had a Jewish soul. You see I was speaking to her of this spark within me before I understood what the word "spark" meant. It was just what was within me and a driving force in my search. It was not a word I had read somewhere else. It was a word I had always used even before I started my path towards Judaism.

Have you ever seen When Do We Eat? It's a movie about a dysfunctional family at Passover. The dad is high on Ecstasy or something and literally sees the divine "spark" in every person. I thought it was interesting imagery. I can relate to people in that way despite not believing in souls because I do think we are all connected to one another.
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 7:20 pm


Dena, I actually have never heard any person Jew or not say they don't believe we have a soul. Even the ones that believe that nature is their gd believe their soul is one with the universe. I had to think about that one for a little bit.
I chose Judaism not for the culture but the Torah (written & oral). My soul "nephish", is drawn to acquiring knowledge of our creator. I really do not focus on afterlife, mainly on doing good towards others. The reason why I asked, "if there is no soul whats the purpose for religion", is because what would be the need for living according to a Gd's commandments if there is no purpose or consequence? Why would I need to be good if blessings come to the good and wicked? I am curious on how my life would change if I did not believe in having a soul.
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Wed May 23, 2012 10:46 pm

Bee wrote:

Dena, I actually have never heard any person Jew or not say they don't believe we have a soul. Even the ones that believe that nature is their gd believe their soul is one with the universe.

Really?? Not even any atheists? I know many people who do not believe in the existence of souls. I think everything is interconnected but that really isn't the same thing as every human having a soul (certainly not the same as having a conscious soul).

Bee wrote:
The reason why I asked, "if there is no soul whats the purpose for religion", is because what would be the need for living according to a Gd's commandments if there is no purpose or consequence? Why would I need to be good if blessings come to the good and wicked? I am curious on how my life would change if I did not believe in having a soul.

It would probably change less than you imagine. Not believing in the soul or afterlife does not mean that I think we should all do whatever we want to do, however we want to do it and whenever we want to do it. I am not observant of any part of Jewish Law because I'm trying to gain favor with God or get a blessing. Living life according to Judaism is fulfilling enough on it's own. It's a beautiful way to live. And I personally believe if one is observant than one is obligated to live according to Judaism and pass it on to future children.

Life has consequences. The way we live has an affect on us and on others and that doesn't change even for those who do not believe in the existence of the soul. Do you feel the reason to be observant is to make God happy? Is that the only reason you behave the way you do? If I found out tomorrow that God did not exist and we could be absolutely 100% sure, my life would be the same. I would still keep kosher, still observe Shabbat, still go to services, still fast on Yom Kippur and I would still love being Jewish. I don't expect those things to get me any rewards. But I'm happy do do them anyway! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Thu May 24, 2012 11:13 pm

Dena I agree, life has consequences good or bad. I do not live or do good because I fear the afterlife, that really is far from my mind. I do believe in a soul and because of that I am concience of my choices and how Torah observant I can be. I see the Torah as a marriage contract between man and Gd. I definitely live my life wanting to please Hashem just like I would for my spouse. I chose to be fully commited. I feel that just living Jewish and not as observant to the Torah as I can be is like saying my wedding vows but not believeing in the marriage institution. If I had bullet proof evidence that Gd did not exist I think I would have alot of time on my hands and create havac...that is basically what I did before I came to terms with Gd. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Jewishness is a State of Being   Thu May 24, 2012 11:35 pm

Bee wrote:
I see the Torah as a marriage contract between man and Gd. I definitely live my life wanting to please Hashem just like I would for my spouse. I chose to be fully committed. I feel that just living Jewish and not as observant to the Torah as I can be is like saying my wedding vows but not believing in the marriage institution.

I'm not sure what not being observant has to do with this discussion? I guess I don't know what "believing in the institution of marriage" means either so your entire point is lost on me. Sorry!
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