I Am SO Going to Hell*
*(According to some “authorities”)
A guest post by Yosef Dov
Back when I was living “Down South”, I got used to ignoring the predictions of my ultimate demise- that I was surely going to be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. This of course was to be my ultimate end due to the fact that I hadn’t accepted that long haired, bearded Jewish hippy looking dude as my “Lord and Savior”.
Now, however, the implication that my soul will end up in the Hot Place after I shuffle off my mortal coil is, alas, coming from my own Jewish brethren… and here, not necessarily in any particular order, are some of the reasons that it is presumed I have no future in The World to Come:
1) I participate in the DovBear blog, not just reading the scandalous materials, but I occasionally post here as well.
2) I don’t do “Negel Vass”. I mean, come on, if the thing was something more than Eastern European superstition, why is it called “Negel Vass”, and not the Hebrew equivalent? Don’t get me started about demons on my finger tips, considering how many demon children I have…
3) I don’t speak or care to perpetuate Jewish Ebonics, aka, Yiddish.
4) I pronounce the word “Torah” as “Toe-Rah”, not as “toy-reh”, “tay-reh”, or “too-ruh”. I don’t understand the so-called “Ashkenazic” pronunciation of Hebrew, and certainly don’t get the need to perpetuate such an obvious distortion of the original language…Abbott & Costello could have had a whole new skit based on the pronunciation differences (I know they did a Hebrew take on the “Who’s on First”, but imagine if they had a “Who is He, and He is Who” version based on the pronunciation by some of the Hebrew “oo” sound as “ee”, i.e. “Pee-rim” instead of “Purim”. What IS that?!?)
5) I don’t buy into this whole “Chalav Yisrael” thing here in the USA, especially given the history of scandals (i.e. watered down milk) and sub-standard products produced by the typical US purveyor of “CY” products. If non-CY (i.e. O-U “D”) products are absolutely treif (as I’ve been told), then of course that means that organizations like O-U are hechshering treif products, and NONE of the O-U certified products can be trusted, right? So clean out your cabinets, NOW. Come on MOVE. Throw out ALL products with hechshers from any organization that provides a hechsher to a dairy product that is not CY. US dairy farms raise dairy COWS. Period. No pigs. No camels. No bats. Cows.
6) I don’t speak “Yeshivish”. I don’t understand “Yeshivish”. When a Rabbi gets up to give a “shiur” on an important subject, I am often quickly lost by the spoken mixture of English, Hebrew, and Yiddish (and maybe even Aramaic, how am I to know?).
7) I wear colored shirts…to work as well as Shul.
8) I work for a living.
9) I don’t wear a black hat. Of course, if I did, it would be of a modern style that I liked, which would mean that it probably wouldn’t conform to some authority’s accepted “Jewniform”.
10) Other than Shabbos and Yom Tov, I don’t even usually wear a jacket while davening. I get amused when I see one wearing a suit jacket over a T-Shirt and sweat pants at shul. And of course, wearing a baseball cap with said suit jacket. After my father passed, my brother got yelled at in shul for davening the Amud (sp?) without a jacket and hat…he was yelled at by someone who was wearing a baseball cap and a Member’s Only wind breaker. Yes, when one is standing before the King of Kings, one should certainly dress spiffy.
11) I don’t sing zemirot on Shabbos (mainly cause I don’t know them).
12) I do prefer a rousing, uplifting Friday night service (i.e. Chabad style)…I like singing what are supposed to be joyous prayers, with joyous tunes. I don’t like this thing of not singing anything, or using the most boring funeral dirge tunes for songs that are supposed to be rousing or inspiring. I can’t stand this “stop and start” procedure for certain songs, like Lecha Dodi.
13) I don’t have a problem with page numbers being announced in Shul. Then maybe someone new will be able to follow along, especially at those shuls where additions are made to prayers at certain times (ala yotzros).
14) I pay my taxes, including sales tax, even on “cash” deals.
15) My wife chooses to cover her hair, and now does so with hats or tichel cloths. I allow her to do so, even if some real hair peeks out. She tried the “sheitel” route. And quickly learned what a silly money grubbing joke this was. She had to meet with 3 people just to get to the “sheitel macher” location. All of whom of course got a “cut”. And the sheitel macher was just another “pay me cash and no sales tax” crook, employing a room full of what were most likely illegal alien workers. Fifteen hundred dollars on a human-hair wig, which of course didn’t fit right or feel ok, and now we are told she shouldn’t wear anyway because the hair may have come from idol worshippers. The wig was tossed. In the garbage can. Where it belongs. And over 90% of hair-covering woman probably can’t even tell you why they “must” cover their hair, or from where in the TORAH this is derived.
16) If I see a tired woman get on a crowded bus or train, I give her my seat, instead of beating her. I truly believe that Avrahom Avinu would have done like me. I just can’t see him as a woman beater, sorry.
17) I don’t “learn”. I study what I want, when I want, in the way I want, and LEARN quite a bit. This idea of “learning Gemara” for 10 hours a day, every day, for years, and then not really “knowing” anything I perceive as beyond SILLY. I mean, the sages of the very same Gemara themselves state how “study without occupation leads to sin and a loss of Torah”. We say in our Shema prayers 3 times a day "And they shall be tzitzit for you, and when you look at them you will remember all of the Lord's commandments and do them and not follow after your heart and after your eyes which lead you astray." Hashem commands us to DO what is says in his Torah, not just spend our lives studying it. And as for this "lead you astray" thing- I don't believe in going to topless bars while wearing a yarmulke and with tzitzit hanging out. I don't believe it's "Ok cause they're not Jewish".
18) I use a tallis that has stripes that are not black.
19) I don’t believe I am required to make myself sick drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverage that I am allergic to.
20) I don’t believe that pickled herring and “gefilte” fish are real food.
21) I eat pizza and hamburgers…and yes, my grandparents did to. Of course, they ate lobster as well, but I don’t follow that custom.
22) I believe that wearing the finery of 16th century Russian nobility in the 21st century looks quite silly. As do long payos. And shtreimels. $5,000 shtreimels. Who the hell came up with this “requirement”? A broke hat maker?
I could go on and on with my pure evil ways. But of course, since I’m already doomed to Hades for just one of the things on this list, why bother with more?
Even more important, why do I even bother going forward with an pretense of being a Jew? Ahhh…cause I like to think that maybe, just maybe, when I stand in Judgement before the Holy One, Blessed is He, if the above is all who can throw at me for “sins”, I’ve actually done pretty well in my life.