Monday, May 28, 2007

A kofer's dilemma

Sad. Friend of mine hates Shavuot. Hates it. Why? Because it reminds him of how much he loves Judaism and of how distant he currently feels from it.

Let me see if I can explain.

Friend and Judaism had a falling out. Not because friend had any problem, per say, with Judaism. He liked Judaism just fine. Loved it even. Enjoyed the rituals, the culture, the people. Was always proud to be a Jew, proud to be one of the elite.

No, the problem wasn't with Judaism, but with what friend came to learn about Judaism. In time, and via careful investigation, he came to know the secret stuff, the things the average Jew on the street knows nothing about. And having this knowledge excited him and made him eager to learn more, but it also withered him. Made him feel, as he often said, like Charlton Heston staggering down the mountain.

(Increase knowledge, increase pain, warned the preacher.)

So Friend and Judaism took a break. Stopped speaking to each other, in a sense. I don't know what the break did for Judaism, but Friend told he was glad to have some space so he could stop thinking about Judaism improperly. He wanted to go back to the safe things he enjoyed - the rituals, the people, the culture - and forget about the secret knowledge.

But its hard to put toothpaste back into the tube. For my Friend, forgetting the secret knowledge is hard to separate from forgetting about Judaism. And he wonders if its possible to be reconciled with Judaism if he has to go back, so to speak, into the general community and behave like an ordinary Yid.

So on his behalf, I'm asking the community of kofrim for advice.

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