He presented an idyllic world in which everything made sense. I was too young to know about Heinenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem’s, or Lewis Carrol’s Jaberwocky. If I followed his way, everything would make sense.
The saying in Aramaic goes “Hafach bei V’hafach bei d’Kulah bei.” Turn it over, and turn it over again, as everything is in it. If one were to study the Torah in its complete depth, one could even learn advanced calculus.
But it wasn’t God who built bridges. “Lo BaShamayim Hi.” It is not in heaven. Men and women built bridges. They used engineering. They used ingenuity. And the people who discovered these principles did not have deities directing them. They were heathens who worshipped hundreds of competing spirits—or perhaps none at all, who cares?
If I believed everything the rabbi told me, I would think that the Torah is the most sublime book in the world. What about the Bhagavid Gita, Tao Te Ching, Qur’an, Gospels, and other spiritual texts I haven’t yet read? Oh, don’t worry about them. The rabbi dabbled in Hare Krishna in the 60s….no wait, he heard George Harrison sing about it, same thing, right? I promise you, they are empty. Like the drugs that give an ephemeral high and make you crash, like the sex that causes long-term drama in the long run, and like the rock and roll that pollutes your soul, their ways are “Hevel V’rik”, vanity and empty.
But what if my beliefs are wrong? Oy, so my mind is so open, that my brains might fall out. Once in a while, I need to close my mind and just stifle my curiosity. You know what curiosity did to Catwoman? Do you have to experience a burning stove to know it hurts, or would you rather take a burn victim’s word for it?
Then why are our people such a small minority? I mean you said it. They know the emes (truth). They know we are the bearers of the true tradition of what god really wants. So why does 70%-or-so of America identify as Christian if they know it’s bullshit? Because humans crave what’s fast and what’s easy. Es is shver tsu zein a Yid; it’s hard to be a Jew. Most people can’t handle being chosen. So that makes you, eh, special! Appreciate the gift you’ve been given, born into the minority elite.
All you have to do is follow his straight derecho, and you will find that life becomes more facil…
Just look at that group of Hassidim sitting at the tish singing in unison while the Rebbe tears about his Challah with his bare hands. Listen to them mumble their prayers. Life is so simple when you all dress the same, are not allowed to watch TV, and are forbidden from engaging with American pop culture.
They had a point there. I spent a year-and-a-half being out of the loop, completely missing the years that Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Simpson began to take over the pop charts. I entered college at age 20 not knowing who Eminem was. Sure, I knew about every pop artist from 1994-98. I could recite the lyrics to most Green Day and Nirvana songs. But when I landed the plane from Israel, I didn’t know what happened to the pop charts I had forsaken for classic rock circa 1997.
He presented a belief system that made sense. Trust me. That the rabbis themselves argue a lot? Eilu V’Eilu Divrei Elohim Chayyim. These and these are the words of the living god. Even Schrodinger’s Cat would scratch its head at that one. Hillel and Shammai are simultaneously both correct, but Hillel is somehow more correct than Shammai. Unlike, say, the followers of Korach, who were only in it for their own personal glory, Hillel and Shammai were seekers of truth, and thus they both spoke the truth.
But who was Korach, and what was his problem? Oh yeah, you mean the man who was not impressed with the nepotism in Moses’ leadership? The man who wanted a democratically elected leader? Or was he just jealous of Moses? Well, the Torah says he was bad, so fuck it, he was bad. Don’t mourn for Korach. His sons became prolific psalmists. But Korach is bad, mmm-kay?
I wanted to be one of the happy people. I wasn’t. I couldn’t pray 3 times a day. I couldn’t give up my classic rock. I couldn’t give up wearing colored shirts. I couldn’t give up science.
The subtext—I was defective. Anyone who opens for Hashem the eye of a needle will have His kingdom opened up for them. I couldn’t give Hashem that eye of a needle. I must have been defective.
For many years, this was the subconscious narrative I told myself. My lack of emunah (faith) came from being defective.
The first step to recovery was realizing that in fact, asking questions is healthy.Only then, did the healing process begin.