Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why do I hang around Orthodox Jewish blogs?

Because most Ba'al Teshuva, Born Again Christians, Ger Tzedek, etc. want to jump right in with their eyes closed. I want to be honest and jump right in with my eyes open.

If you were to study all the angles regarding Chabad-Lubavitch, you'd probably not go frum and all BT.

If you were to study all the angles regarding Evangelical Christianity, you'd probably not go all Jayzus and pumping grace.

I don't want to be those things. Not that many CL people or ECs aren't good, they definitely are. I know a lot of them. I just don't want to be one of those outreach besotted people who goes all... well, Born Again Jewish. All wishful thinking with blinders on and no idea of what they're really doing or getting into.

With that, you either have to become ever more detached from reality to keep from facing up to the shortfall from reality or you have to eventually hit that shortfall dead on and make a decision. That can lead to being an AO (Agnostic Orthodox) which a lot of bloggers seem to be. I've done the agnostic thing, and more against myself as in, I wasn't really sure I existed or was important. Trying to believe in G-d when you don't believe in yourself is a fruitless hollow exercise.

So I want to take in the breadth and depth of Jewish religious misery, all the self-conscious soul-searching dubiousness. I wanted to stare the dark side of my new home in the face and then when I say to G-d that I am truly made up in mind, that I'd rather die a Jew than live as whatever the heck it was that I used to be, I can say in all honesty it was a choice freely made with totally fair disclosure. G-d didn't stop them from showing themselves to be the wonderfully imperfect people they are with all their nuances, and I saw it and joined anyhow.

I've seen the complaints and kvetching. It hasn't changed my mind that I've come to a fairly cool people with a great history and wonderful rapport with the human idea of G-d.

After all, if people were perfect, would would not want to join the perfect people? The trueness of a choice is in the imperfections and seeing beyond them to what can still easily be.

Sort of like getting married, really.


Leora said...

Sort of like "Why do I hang around BT blogs?" (or convert blogs) Because I'm trying to understand why this Orthodox Judaism stuff, which I was born into and don't always enjoy, especially when they pour the women should do this and not that rules on me, is so attractive to others. It doesn't seem to be the chulent. Certainly not in your case.

-suitepotato- said...

No, it's not the chulent. Definitely not. When you grew up with "Beanie Weenie" at least four or five times a summer and a lot of Polish cabbage-heavy stews, no.

I guess I might have been a little over dramatic, but I was chuckling a little over the thought of a severe rabbi grousing to himself about those blogs I read. In one way all the doubt expressed in those blogs could be dangerous if it spread but...

...on the other hand, it says to me there's a little pressure under the lid and a need for steam to be released. There's a real cognitive dissonance happening in the ranks and people are searching for answers.

I'd rather see those questions being asked than not. People seem unhappy, but sooner or later they'd be totally miserable if they didn't explore their doubts. Weird how humans work that way.

The back of the hill said...

Very similar to why I hang around the J-blogs. Too sceptical to convert, too sceptical to 'revert'. Inclined towards Jewishness philosophically, and by coincidence also on the Zionist side (despite the rather large number of Jews who are anti-Zionist). Plus food and language curious......

Oh, and can't believe that rather ridiculous meisse about the 'three-for-the-price-of-one' deal that the NT advertises. Did I mention scepticism yet?