Nowadays, you have a lot of people who want to live a Shir HaShirim type of Judaism. Everything is beautiful - it's all "Ani l'Dodi" and "hinach yaffeh einayich". It's very emotional and idyllic, taking place in a paradise "basi l'Gani".
But we sometimes forget that there's also a Megillas Rus type of Judaism - with people working very hard, day in and day out, in the field. Where consistency and perseverance is key, and those who can't make the cut fall to the wayside. It's difficult, but it's real.
Yes, Shir HaShirim starts off wonderful but what happens at the end? "B'rach Dodi," and we don't know if He's coming back. But Rus starts with terrible conditions: famine, poverty, death - but how does it end? "v'Yishai holid es David" with David HaMelech. Moshiach...Paraphrased from a comment made by Rav Moshe Weinberger in this shiur.
Someone told me a very important principle when I started school: "You take out of your experiences what you put into it." This is especially true when success is dependent in large part by how much effort is expended. The sad thing is that simply earning a degree in higher education is not necessarily indicative of competence or ability. This is one reason why certain degrees (Doctoral programs and M.D. programs specifically) have such a high degree of selectivity and on top of that a tremendous amount of work that requires great sacrifice of one's leisure and family time. By making it so difficult they set the bar higher than the less-motivated will be inclined to reach.
This yesod has so much significance for our generation. We live in a world where things are made to be increasingly more convenient, but that ease comes at a major cost.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Quick fixes and sudden windfalls are rarely sustainable, and nothing replaces hard work.
The same applies to our relationship with God. I personally find it difficult to fathom how people can expect anything remotely lasting to come about from hiring someone to come in for a fleeting "weekend of inspiration". Barring some sort of "real" connection with said entertainer*, it seems to me to be the equivalent of folding one's arms, leaning back, and waiting for it to come. "Here we are now, entertain us."
I don't believe in contracting out inspiration.
I don't mean to discount anyone's enjoyment and inspiration, but I just don't see it as being real. Especially when it's book-ended by lavish meals, and restricted to specific time constraints.
I know it sounds very cynical, and to be honest, it bothers me somewhat that I feel this way. But I recognize that this comes from a realization that inspiration is a delicate blend of hard work and spontaneity, and a facsimile of such an occurrence is weak and ephemeral. That is not to say that it is devoid of value, because I have seen it serve as a catalyst for growth - but those instances were rare. Exceptions to the rule (that perhaps prove the rule).
* that's a hedging phrase, but I'll elaborate in a different post, God willing.