Monday, November 29, 2010

King of Anything

I don't know if any other of you like minded individuals enjoy this song by Sara Bareilles, but I just felt like it really called to me. It works so well as a response to kiruv types, although I think the actual meaning behind the song has to do with her relationship to her music producers.

Anyways enjoy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Circumcision. Should it be banned?

I have been having a rather heated discussion with Brian Westley on OTDs blog post about circumcision here.

While I don't believe that circumcision has any superstitious benefits, I do believe it does have real social ones, namely avoidance of ostracism from within the Jewish community for your child (if you wish to be a part of the Jewish community). Also there isn't a reverse ostracism from outside the Jewish community either (having a circumcision is very common for non Jews as well). Since I don't think that the costs are too significant (mild memoryless pain for a short while, recovery in about a week) I think it should be up to the parents to decide whether or not their son should get one as an infant and shouldn't be banned universally.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Judaism and Ignorance

From my life experience I have noticed that the main way that Jewish groups, both in the more liberal groups (reform/conservative) and the more fundamentalist ones (othrodoxy), keep the community in following their current beliefs is by keeping their congregants either uninformed  about certain concepts and/or misrepresenting them.

For the Orthodox my experience has been that the leaders of the Jewish frum communities constantly try to avoid exposing their community to secular concepts, mainly when they pose a threat to Jewish beliefs and sometimes even when they don't. When they do present secular concepts that oppose Jewish theology it is almost always presented in such a way that misrepresents them.

The same goes for the Reform/Conservative leaders as well, but mostly from a different front. The way they keep their congregation Jewish is usually by not informing them of much of what is in the Tanach/Mishnah/Talmud/etc. There is so much ignorance of basic Jewish halachah even. It isn't that they simply disagree with these tenets and halachahs, they are totally ignorant of them. I know of many liberal Jews who don't know what tefillin are? Who don't know when Shavuos is? Who don't know that Jews read from the Torah on days other than Shabbos, let alone that Jews are supposed to pray on days other than Shabbos as well?

Many times when Jewish subjects are discussed I feel that they truly do misrepresent those subjects. I once heard a reform Rabbi claim in front of a Jewish learning group that if Rambam were alive today that he would support driving to shul on shabbos. Although I don't think that Rambam would be as fanatical or fundamentalist as todays frum yidden, I think it is truly ludicrous to propose that the Rambam would actually drive to shul on shabbos. Why is he saying this? To make Judaism more palatable to Jews who already accept much of secular society. I have a feeling if he talked about what Rambam really felt on many subjects, his group would be turned off by it, and I can't say I blame them, but does he really think that misrepresenting the Rambam is really the proper approach?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Skype Me!

Just curious if anyone wants to connect over skype I just set up an account as theskeptitcherrebbe.

I will be available at random times during the week but if you want to try to catch me the best time would be Wednesdays after 6:30 PM EST or random times during Sundays. OnMondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays after 6 PM, and Motzei Shabbos I may also be available depending on the week.

Looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I love my Wife!

My wife is the best. I just can't get over how damn lucky I am to have her. I know that changing your worldview from frumkeit is hard and can be very depressing, but for me so far I have been able to handle it pretty well because of her.

She is still frum and doesn't yet know that my view points on Yiddishkeit and religion in general have changed so drastically, but when I speak to her about more OTD type topics she is always very understanding and insightful. She always thinks her views through and never falls back into some of the nonsensical arguments I hear from many frummies.

Not only that but many times she comes home with her own complaints and criticisms of Yiddishkeit. They are honest criticisms and although she tries to see it from anothers perspective, if it is ridiculous she points it out and isn't afraid to challenge it. She is intelligent, thoughtful, determined, caring, understanding, nurturing, dedicated and extremly beautiful.

I am reminded of a time earlier in my life while I was beginning to become frum. It came to the point where I desperately wanted to be seperated from her since she wasn't Jewish at the time and wasn't really interested in an Orthodox conversion. It was very hard for us, and I didn't want to deal with the stress of it, especially knowing I was sinning by dating a non Jew. We ended up breaking up for a couple of months before we got back together again. I just keep wondering what would have happened had I met and married another girl, maybe FFB or something. I couldn't imagine what a mistake that would have been.

I was such a moron for even putting her through all of that hardship and for what really. I regret it yet it brought us closer in a way and now I am in a great relationship with her so I guess it wasn't all that bad.

I still am unsure how she would take the idea of me not believing anymore though. I am glad that we have a good relationship with her family though, and since we got back together after our seperation I have always made a point of making sure that family should come first, even above religion. I think that is mainly what has made it work for us really well.

Before we got back together she told me that she didn't want to be second in my life. She asked that she be set before my faith, before G-d. At the time I was very upset she would ask something like that from me. How could I put my love for G-d behind anything? Anyone? Isn't loving G-d the most important thing?

It took me some time, but after our seperation I realized that she really was very important to me. She gave me purpose, pushed me to be better, and most of all was there for me, was really there for me. Not only that but I wanted to be there for her. I wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to be safe. I came to the conclusion that I really would put her before G-d and my faith.

I think that it is vital to put your family before your faith. Otherwise you will end up putting them through so much negativity for the sake of something that really isn't so important. I have known of a man who went off the derech and left his wife and children, totally abandoned them, and for what? I have the same amount of disdain for that person as I would for a person who rejected their own children for being gay or going off the derech or whatever.

People should really get their priorities straight and know that there are people out there who you really should dedicate your life to, and as a plus they actually exist.