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Last week I made a sad post:
“I am tired and depressed from people who think their relationship with God requires/allows them to see others as evil, to deny evil that exists now or existed in history, to use their righteous beliefs to think poorly of others who believe differently than they do. If anyone cares to hear the details, I will go on. Otherwise, I won’t.”
There were clearly many strong emotions behind that succinct statement but I needed time and space before I could write an in-depth explanation. I believe that the explanation is ready.
Yes, some of this is directed at Christians who proselytize. But not as much as you might think. It is more disappointment than anger. I have come to understand that for most Christians, telling me about Jesus is sharing the most precious thing in their lives. I compare it to offering candy to a diabetic. It borders on impolite but is not really much worse than that. It would be nice if they stopped. I wish they would accept that I am a Jew, that is the way God made me (for better or worse), and that is the way I will stay. I wish we could wonder at the differences between our faiths and see the beauty in the many ways to approach God. I do not wish to see them convert (it is discouraged in Torah law) and there is really no chance of me believing in Jesus so it doesn’t really matter either way. As long as it doesn’t turn nasty (Which it sometimes does).
I am more disturbed at the Christian anti-semitism I have encountered. It is new to me. When I inspect it, I am surprised to see that it does not come from the Christian belief. In fact, many aspects of faith-based anti-Semitism are inherently anti-Christian. Anti-semitic Christians tend to have other beliefs as well that directly contradict basic tenets of Christian belief. When I object to the anti-Semitic statements, they usually answer something like ‘it isn’t anti-semitic if it is true.’ I am really tired of this.
I am also really, really sick of non-orthodox Jews saying that orthodox Judaism (i.e. Torah) is archaic or has bad values. This is an unbelievable level of arrogance in which they claim Orthodox Jews are intolerant, all while expecting Orthodox Jews to accept their interpretation of Judaism regarding Jewish identity, how to pray, and just about everything. They claim that the orthodox are arrogant and force their religion on them but the truth is that they want the orthodox to accept reform Judaism as the true Torah. Rather than go off and express their belief that prayer should be mixed, they barge into Orthodox prayer areas and impose their beliefs on us. Their claims to PC plurality make them blind to their own intolerance. I am tired of this as well.
I am even more disappointed at orthodox Jews who tell me the same; that liberal values are the true Judaism. Yes, this is the golden calf; worshipping God but not.
The source of my trouble is also the fountain that feeds me. 27 years ago I made aliyah and discovered something wonderful. The simple description is encapsulated in the word Israel. The longer explanation is I discovered what it was to be a Jew in Israel. There is a much much longer explanation that would take several thousand years to give over. I sincerely believe we are living in very special times when belief plays a huge role in how current events play out. Belief plays such an important role that people are being given a huge amount of it, giving them the power to believe in anything; men are women, there are more than two genders, abortion is not killing a baby, the Temples were not on the Temple Mount, Palestinians belong in Israel and Jews do not, Jesus is a Palestinian, detention centers are actually Nazi death camps, high school boys being yelled at are horrible racists, a two year investigation proved that the president was guilty even though it used hundreds of pages to say everything but guilty, and a whole slew of other things.
To be honest, I find myself getting tired more often than I used to of simply connecting with people but I can’t stop. If a shadow is deep and dark, if there is a lot of it, then you know that the sun is even brighter. And the people I have been blessed to connect with are indeed far brighter than any of this darkness. These people are far brighter than anything I could have hoped for. And when I begin to think of who they are, I realize there are far more of them.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston told me that in the days leading up to Moshiach, people would become polarized. That way, they would not be able to say, “But I really was on the border about to choose good.” I am not saying everyone who disagrees with me is evil. What I am saying is that polarization is a horribly lonely way for society to be. And being lonely makes me sad and tired.