Thursday, November 03, 2005

Guest Post from Holy Hyrax

This post is from Holy Hyrax. Love the moniker. I encourage all of you to post as well. As you will soon see from reading this fascinating post, there are a lot of interesting stories to tell.

THE BUBBLE BURTS
This post is dedicated to those that through dishonesty, cowardice and blackmail, would try to shut other people down for their opinions in their search of truth, instead of meeting them head-on in discussion.

This is my first time posting, so please have mercy.

Now you shall all hear the story of the forging of the ring of power. Oooops wrong tale. It’s my turn in telling everyone my little B.T. adventure. I have been a Bal Tshuva for about 4 years now. As far back as I can remember, I was interested in Judaism’s rich history, culture and I was extremely proud to be one of the “chosen people.” I eventually went to lectures and then to the seminars. After that, I was hooked, and by what, by Bible-Codes. I start keeping Shabbat, taking more classes all the while jumping up and down with joy knowing my Torah is from God because of my amazing bible-codes, but my doubts would eventually start to come around after reading some pretty hokey, apologetic stuff in the Chumash. When I would confront the rabbis about it, they would give me an even worse answer. I eventually turned to other books, the first one being “Who wrote the Bible.” The way I look at it is that to be fair I should look at both sides, just like what a judge would do in front of two lawyers. I started to read other materials and books. Three years ago, I went to an Israeli Yeshiva in Jerusalem to get some questions taken care of.

HA! I look back at it and realize what a huge waste of time it was for me. How many of these people actually heard of opposing arguments? All they seem to know over there, is the great proofs presented by Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak (now available on DVD folks). Only the few college trained Rabbis new anything of the Documentary Hypothesis and their arguments were more in the line of: “Well who are these critics to interpret OUR scriptures.”. I’m sure if any of these yeshiva boys knew of any of the opposing arguments they would have packed their bags and left. But they DON’T know about it. They CAN’T know about it because like what an OU Rabbi once told me, “The majority of Jews in school just don’t know how to handle topics of this magnitude.” Two years ago, I left. I stopped keeping kosher, stopped Shabbat. I stopped everything to do with Judaism.

So here I am today. I have an orthodox wife and I’m still grappling with my life. I love my wife dearly with all my heart and I realize how hard all this is on her. (There honey, are you happy? I mentioned you  ) How do you go back once that bubble has burst. It’s like living your whole life, only to be told you were adopted. You feel like your entire life has been a lie. The truth is I believe in God. I always have. But for the rest I just don’t know what to do. I get depressed; I cry and even wondered if life is worth living if you’re constantly perched up on the fence. Unlike B.T.A., I have this desire to come back. I don’t want to throw in the towel. I don’t think I am ready to come up with a game plan for my families’ life with me being an OTD BT as B.T.A suggested. But there is something inside me that tells me Jews are unique. There is something “different” about our history. Can it truly be Torah?

My brain eventually kicks in and has to remind me of all the contradictions and all those lovely apologetic answers that I so do love to hear. Here comes my favorite part. When I open up to others (which I don’t do anymore) I always get: “It’s only your ‘Yetzer Hara’ taking hold of you. My “yetzer hara”? MY “YETZER HARA”? Is anyone else sick of hearing this? I don’t even know where to begin with that. Is it my “yetzer hara” that wants me to search for some sort of truth? I don’t get it. These religious people that I approach used to be secular. They know what it’s like to try to find truth in an objective matter. What happened to them? Oh ya… I forgot… the seminars. Our how about this one: “Why don’t you just stop reading those crazy books.” AARGGH. I cringe in agony when I’m close to religious people, both because of my anger and my jealousy. I hold back words such as: “You guys are all a bunch of morons.

Do you honestly believe all this? You really believe all these rabbis have Ruach HaKodesh and know everything?” But my heart also aches and I think how much I wish I was part of them. So now I’m stuck. One thing for sure is that I have decided to stay away from over the top UO people, even if that means curbing time with family. I’m afraid that my anger, even hatred sometimes towards them takes over all other emotions. I guess the person I have most anger towards and even hatred toward is God. More than one occasion I have cursed at him wondering what curse he has put on me. How can he just leave me in the gutter like this? A rabbi that I like and even one that I consider a friend once told me that it does not matter what I do, I will always have doubts. That is how I am wired. That is my doom.

Perhaps this is all really some sort of blessing in disguise (a very, very big disguise). Another facet of my life is what will happen with my children in the future. But that is a discussion for another post, if B.T.A. ….uh, I mean his great lordship B.T.A. would allow me that honor. I know this is a long post, but tough. B.T.A is paying me by the word count and I have rent due. So far he owes me $1,024.

13 Comments:

Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

Great post, thanks!

11/03/2005 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Jake said...

Have you ever discussed your doubts (or certainties ;) ) with educated Modern Orthodox Rabonim and scholars?

11/04/2005 12:19 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Excellent and interesting post.

As a note... I was under the impression BTA also wants to return, if things could make sense.

How many of the BTs here believe in God? It seems many do, just are grappling with the understanding of the Torah - a fair enough issue. I assume some here are aetheist as well, though... anybody want to speak up about this?

11/04/2005 1:34 AM  
Anonymous Holy Hyrax said...

Have you ever discussed your doubts (or certainties ;) ) with educated Modern Orthodox Rabonim and scholars?

Does Godol Hador count? :p

11/04/2005 3:05 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

Hyrax, let me get this straight.

1. You believe in God?
2. You have always cherished "Judaism’s rich history, culture" and
3. You were always extremely proud to be one of the “chosen people.”

What, exactly, is the PROBLEM?!

Religion is about connecting to god in various ways, but you have to believe in god first.

It almost seems as if your biggest complaint is how you came to observant judaism, not judaism itself. (We'll get to labels in a second.)

It seems to me that you first have to define who God is to you. Is God the God of the torah, i.e. HaShem? If not, then you have some more defining to do. You mentioned the documentary hypothesis and the like. You mentioned not having satisfactory answers to that.

So, perhaps you *don't* beleive in the god of the torah. Yet, you believe in god.

I won't ask you how you know there is a god enought to believe in one, you can post about that another time (I'll pay you double what I paid you for today's post- make it triple).

But the point is- you have someone to pray to, someone that gives meaning to life and who brings absolute truth to moral questions. (Correct me if your version of God doesn't comport with that definition). So what if you eat milk and meat? (Who really believes the kid in mother's milk is really such a prohibition anyway?) Especially when you have Avraham servin' up some tasty bossur v'cholov (to melachim no less) in an upcoming parsha. I think any definition of judaism should include sabbath observance of some sort. JMO. But it is central to the heritage you describe and certainly provides a fertile ground for family time and spirituality. Certainly more than a round of golf on Saturday.

Moreover, you have a god that cares not just about you, but the jewish people in some fashion.

Sorry, my man, but you are really just having a problem with orthodoxy, not religion. Orthodox Judaism is just one path to god. I'll leave it for others to explain more to you.

The point is, atheists such as myself (I consider myself one that would entertain the idea of an intelligent creator of the universe at least existing in the past, but I do not accept that this entity is the god of the torah, is "moral" or interacts with us in any perceivable way) feel as envious of believers in god as you describe your envy of frummies in your post.

Please explain yourself. You've gotta lotta 'splainin' to do!

11/04/2005 4:55 AM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

What's the difference Jake? If they say anything other than "I don't know", they are lying.

11/04/2005 11:04 AM  
Anonymous holy hyrax said...

BTA- You are an athiest, so for some reason for you, someone believing in God but questions the rest does not equal to having a problem. I never got into Judaism to get closer to God, I got into it because I thought the stories that we have about our history were true.

You were always extremely proud to be one of the “chosen people.”

The key word there is "were." I am no longer sure what we are.

You have to remember. You have already made your decision. I have not. I don't know where I am other than knowing my doubts are constintly knawing at me.

It almost seems as if your biggest complaint is how you came to observant judaism, not judaism itself.

No, I have a problem with both. I don't see each as being exclusive. My point in saying my "bubble burst" is that I thought observant judaism(=Judaism), was correct, but now I question all of it.

But the point is- you have someone to pray to, someone that gives meaning to life and who brings absolute truth to moral questions.

Religion is about connecting to god in various ways, but you have to believe in god first.

That is what you got into Judaism for, not me. I never got into it in order to get a warm feeling inside. Praying to GOD is not the "point" I'm looking for. I am looking for clearity in the origins of Torah. If Torah is not true, I don't want to keep Shabbat, as you bring up, to be a necessity for any Jewish observance. You're not getting it, I don't want any sort of observance if its not from God. I find it a bit hypocritical for someone to keep Shabbat, when in reality they don't believe in its origins. For what, the spirituality? Keep it.

You mentioned the documentary hypothesis and the like. You mentioned not having satisfactory answers to that.

No, I said the rabbis in Israel didn't know. If you think that by believing the DH is right proves that the God of Israel does not exist, than you are wrong.

Sorry, my man, but you are really just having a problem with orthodoxy, not religion. Orthodox Judaism is just one path to god.

lol. You still did not understand. It actually seems you are trying to convince yourself and not me. You and me got into this game for two different reasons. You were looking for a path to God, not me. For you, all problems disapear once one believes in God, becaaaaauuuuuseeee, again, you were the one looking for spirituality, morality, community etc. You need to know that it is possible to believe in God and still be lost. With all this said, you need to go back and read my post, now that you understand what my problem really is. I want to come back to Judaism (=observant Judaism) if I can get a hold of what the truth is.

Perhaps you were confused. Thinking I was an athiest such as yourself and trying to find a way to live with my concluded decisions. I have not concluded anything yet. You came into the game as an athiest and when you fell, you fell hard. I was never an athiest and so that was never the qeustion. When I fell, I did not fall to the level of not believing in God. But don't think for one sec that my problems are any less than other BT's. Be glad that you are off the fence and know what direction you want to go.

Do I get paid for the comments as well?

11/04/2005 2:05 PM  
Anonymous holy hyrax said...

By the way, if anyone wants to email me, its holyhyrax@yahoo.com

11/04/2005 2:13 PM  
Blogger Godol Hador said...

Holy Hyrax - you sound familiar ;)

Good luck with the blog.

11/04/2005 2:23 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Holy Hyrax, you are setting up OJ as a straw man.

Please explain how you believe in god while doubting the torah. It would seem more consistent to doubt god while doubting the torah, since it's all tied together for you.

Also, you've been around the jblogs long enough to know that there will never be a magical "answer" that will make you orthodox. It will either be some kind of compromise or it just won't happen.

As for my being hypocritical, I don't think it's wrong for me to add certain traditions to my life. If I want to spend Saturdays keeping shabbos, that's my choice. It's certainly something I enjoy, except those long summer afternoons. But, when it's shorter like tonight, hey I'm all for it.

There's a cost for every benefit. I think you just don't like keeping kosher or shabbos at all. I respect that, but I just have different tastes, perhaps due to my advanced age. ;)

Good shabbos. my typing time's about to run out.

11/04/2005 6:31 PM  
Anonymous joshua said...

I also am angry at G-d--for not existing.

11/16/2005 12:15 AM  
Blogger BTA said...

That's what Elie Wiesel said about himself post-holocaust. He knew how ironic his position was, but there you have it.

Do you still live an observant lifestyle? or are you OTD?

11/16/2005 4:48 AM  
Blogger Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

BTA said:
"Also, you've been around the jblogs long enough to know that there will never be a magical "answer" that will make you orthodox. It will either be some kind of compromise or it just won't happen."

What happened to discovering partial answers bit by bit? Who says it's one magical answer or permanent compromise?
I've come to realize that the healthiest changes in belief and behavior are the gradual ones.
The most important thing is to be sensitive enough to answers when they finally come your way and not be too jaded by previous negative experiences.

11/19/2005 3:41 PM  

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