A Little “Frozen” Goes a Long Way

April 24, 2014

BH

“Frozen what?”

That’s what my husband Zev asked on Tuesday night when the kids said they wanted to get “Frozen.” He thought maybe there was an ice cream store that had opened minutes after Pesach ended. In fact, the kids were looking to be entertained.

“It’s an animated Disney movie!” came the protests when I questioned if it was a kosher product. (As in, of course Disney is kosher; everybody watches it!)

But my senses had been sharpened.

Eight days of Pesach can have that effect; we are supposed to be inspired to infuse appreciation for G-d into our worldly affairs as we begin them.

I’m not sure “Frozen” should have been on the post-Pesach menu, but I didn’t want to be a grouch. They could watch it one time.

How bad could it be?

But as I watched the little blond Pixar pixie bat her big blue eyes at her plasticized prince, I became uncomfortable. As someone who was raised with Disney fantasies about princes and princesses, I am especially sensitive to the messages they send about love and romance, messages that are often antithetical to Jewish ideals.

 As a Jewish woman, I am said to be endowed with bina yisaira, an extra measure of wisdom and cleverness with which to get what I want, specifically regarding the Jewish character of my home. If I want my family to joyfully and solidly embrace Chabad life, I have to use this resource to the best of my ability. Mostly, it’s about balancing worldly desires with spiritual ones.

That’s a challenge in and of itself; I just wanted to demand that they turn it off. Pesach just ended; is this really what they wanted to do?

Apparently it was. They’re a lot younger with a youthful need to be entertained. They looked at me with a small measure of understanding and a greater measure of desire.

Okay, just one time.

I understand that it’s all about balance, helping my family negotiate their own way, as long as they know I try to find the truth and share it as it applies to them.

Then I heard that song, that absolutely gorgeous song the princess sings, “Let it Go.”

I listened to the words.

No right, no wrong, no rules for me… I’m free.

I had a sudden urge to ban this video from my house. Then I remember that it’s all about balance.

To protect our families from the subtly attractive non-Jewish ideas is harder today than it was even a few short years ago: information flows too freely to attempt a strict isolationist policy.

Yet, especially after Pesach, I want my home to be more permeated with more Torah and less Disney.

But they’ve had a lot of matzo and now they want a little Disney, a little worldly pleasure. I override my sensitivity to the plastic princess and allow them to enjoy the video, hoping that they don’t watch it too closely.

We all have some measure of worldly influences in our lives, but I wish they carried a warning label: Use with Caution.

Because our mandate as Jews is to “sanctify yourselves and be holy,” as stated in this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim.

The good news is that it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Chassidus teaches that a little sanctification goes a long way in producing a person who is sensitive to spirituality. When we resist the urge for material pleasures, even in a small way, we “sanctify” ourselves and G-d showers us with tremendous spiritual light. (I hope that this includes watching a video one time instead of two times.) From these small sacrifices, we eventually merit to “be holy” due to the enormous spiritual light that has accumulated from our behavior.

G-d makes it so we can acquire a taste for the spiritual slowly but surely, but we have to take the first step: take a worldly pleasure or two and do what the Disney princess does.

Let it go.

 

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Amy

    Having watched the movie it seems to be an allegory for using your powers, ur your talents and your energy for the good. It is also about sisterly love.
    These are themes that run through the Torah, and are a huge message in Chassidus.
    I say, until us ” frum” people learn how to make a decent movie with a message that doesn’t preach, but is brought home through developed story and actualized characters, then we had better be somewhat respectful to those who manage to do just that.
    I wouldn’t live my life by ” Frozen”, or any other movie. But this one was better than most.

  2. Reply

    Ellen

    Very wise to understand that balance is key. But achieving enduring balance relies on discernment, the act of CHOOSING what has value and leaving behind what doesn’t. I believe there’s a real danger in giving children ONLY what we determine has value and denying them the ability to get a little taste of what doesn’t — which provides us with a teaching opportunity, i.e., the chance to explain or show them why that particular thing is not as good for them as the thing we want them to choose. If they don’t develop their own ability to gauge and measure — and reason — the wrong things only become more tempting. We want to eventually turn those kids out into the world so they can bring holiness to others. They can only fulfill that mission if they, themselves, are confident that they have chosen the right life, the right values.

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