It is a strange and exhilarating thing to have a secret identity. Scary, yes, but quite exciting. It is also deceitful, deceptive and, at times, duplicitous. I know all this, of course, so I decided to stop writing, hoping to put aside all the controversy that my writing begat–both personally and otherwise–and to focus on my Congregants and my family, all the while hoping, as I have all this time, that the doubts and convictions originating from my exposure to once-heretical thoughts would, if not disappear, then surely wane as I put my energies and efforts into a whole new set of endeavors. In this regard, as expected, I failed.
Fall became Winter and I continued apace, expecting that my ceasing to write and engaging with the Jewish Blogosphere would enable me to walk away, to put aside the critical questions that must be asked of an Orthodox Rabbi who is no longer Orthodox, of a Rabbi who is Orthoprax and who exhorts his Congregants—his family and friends—to behave and believe and follow a creed that has the ring of falsehood and the clear markings of an elaborate sham, one that I am perpetuating on a daily basis.
What drove me to write again, I think, was the advent of Purim. Purim is the time, maybe our only time as Observant Jews, to cut back, to completely and totally give ourselves over in celebration of something that is in a sense secular; that is, it is not a “miracle” or a completion of a ritual but a rescue from physical destruction, celebrated like the mere mortals we are: with food, drink and family. Indeed, even the donning of costumes, our faces hidden while our actions depict our true natures, is uplifting, as we recognize the cognitive dissonance that is the backbone of our daily religious experience. And so I am writing again, chronicling my daily experiences as I try to navigate the uncertain currents of an agnostic in the space of true believers. But, if there is any lesson from Purim, however trite and cliche, maybe it is that we are all wearing masks, to some degree or another and, when it is incumbent upon us, we only need the courage of conviction to peak underneath.
chained jew on PURIM and What Comes Afte… Shira on PURIM and What Comes Afte… Chay Nobody on PURIM and What Comes Afte… Rabban Gamliel on My Yom Kippur Speech Only a Jew on My Yom Kippur Speech
Welcome Back! For a while there I had begun to worry we would never hear from you again. I hope you are able to find the path that will bring you inner (and outer) peace (just as wish for myself and all others who live with torments).
Do you envision a time that you may be able to fully lift that mask to show everyone the truth?
“the clear markings of an elaborate sham”
Can you elaborate on what these clear markings are? And which part is the sham? I’m really curious.
It would be nice if you can give us particulars on the issues that changed your beliefs over the years.