Archive | September, 2012

letter to my brother

28 Sep

To my dear brother,

 

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I’m trying to figure out how we got to this. Was it when you took your ‘departure’ from normality at the age of 15 and decided to become religious? Well, at the time I was running in the opposite direction and heated debates evolved (I forget their content, I just remember those arguments) about your life choices and mine. You went to Yeshiva in Israel and my parents tried to accommodate as much as they could – turning the kitchen over, making the house acceptable, even building a very expensive succah in order that you could follow your religious dictates.

And then, wonder of wonders, your very own dear sister decided to join you on your journey and for once, it was bliss. The two of us were praying togethere for the misled souls of our dear parents, davening that one day they too, should see the light. I had my reasons for becoming religious; something to cling on to, a comfort, a promise of family values – a backlash to the void of the secular world. Yes, and you had something to do with it, dear brother as it all started when we visited you at Yeshiva in Israel.

So, like you, I married, had children. You got married at the same time as me to a girl so attached to her home town that you ended up staying there, rather than coming to Israel and you ended up following the dictates of a narrow, extreme community and living comfortably from the support you got from your fellow ‘villagers’.

When I announced my divorce you were shocked and dismayed. How could this perfect world be shattered? You called with your pious concern and continued to pray for me in your shtieblech. Was it then that it happened? Maybe it was then. Maybe I was an uncomfortable reminder that chareidism does not always have the answers for ‘shalom bayis’ or maybe you chose to keep your opinions to yourself on the matter.

And then, as I drifted, and God opened my eyes to the world beyond a construct of dogma and lies I felt your voice become faint. Once, I really looked up to you, dear brother. You were the pious one, the learned one, the one who put torah learning above going out to work. A praiseworthy stance! But as I started to settle into the normalcy of wider society I started to see you differently. You hadn’t changed, it was me.

But maybe you did change. Your dewy-eyed idealism has been traded for an ego-stroking incestuous strangled version of dogma in the extreme. Your ideas and beliefs are no longer your own but belong to the ‘psak’ or ‘eitza’  of some yiddish speaking hag who took a detour from reality decades ago. You too, I suspect. Your family has grown, and so too has your ability to extricate money from whatever source possible, be it holy or unholy, Jewish or Gentile. I know your health has suffered. Why? Because the fact that your life is so void of God and that you have replaced God for something which is worse than idol worship because it is just plain arrogant to boot, your intestines are literally eating themselves up. 

My dear brother, even when you pray and learn your soul does not find it’s rest. And running away to your holies won’t help either.

Because your holies have caused you to pull yourself away from your only sister on an issue which is not even an issue. Because you are tainted by the fear that your children may one day find an escape route over the high walls of the stieblech and that, like me, you will lose them too. Because your black and white outlook has caused you to be blind to the fact that we, am Yisrael are ALL brothers and sisters and beloved by God; even those you classify as the ‘sinners’, those whose faces you wish to delete from any material that enters the house, those whose very existence causes you too toss and turn at night.

I know the love of God; it is with me all the time. And you – obviously, as you turn your back on me in disapproval, are not familiar with who God is and who He is not.

As you donned your kittel on Yom Kippur and opened your machsor you begged the baal for forgiveness; but His is not the forgiveness to give until you remove your garb of arrogance and you ask yourself…..what does God have to say about all of this? What does God want from me?

 

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15 styles of distorted thinking

1 Sep

15 styles of distorted thinking

I realized yesterday that, as a human being with weaknesses and frailties, worsened by a desire to do what is right in the eyes of ‘everybody’ there is NO WAY I can trust myself. I will never know whether my decisions (even if their outcome is good) come from completely ‘pure’ motivations. I am tainted by the fact that I am human, and in my constant struggle to overcome the evil in and around me, I will still continue to fail. That is when I go back to the one simple truth; trust in Him. Noone else. I cannot trust myself and I ask Him to save me from myself time and time again. 

Interestingly, I came across this article which serves to emphasize how we are all the victims of faulty thinking. God is the only truth and let Him guide us.