So many days, my religious observance consists of waking up, stumbling into the bathroom, and being shocked at the crazy looking man in the mirror. Frum means having a long series of bad hair days, since I now have more hair sprouting from the bottom of my face than the top. Obviously, I became religious becauese I believed in God, but lately that has taken on a different meaning. Experience has shown me that what everyone calls logical, isn't. It may seem logical, but more often than not, it doesn't explain the whole story. One plus one equals two. Kind of. One plus one plus x equals two, but since x is always there, you stop seeing it. Doing mitzvot is trying to make things happen by connecting to 'x'. I feel like one of those scientists, using mechanical arms to move things around. Being religious means living in the world, knowing that things we can't see are happening under the surface, affecting the outcome and the process.
I really wanted to get accepted into the Israeli army. I was thirty years old and could have gotten an exemption if I pushed a little, but I saw it as my duty. I fudged a few questions about my medical history and told everyone including the janitor at the draft office that I wanted to serve in the army. One of the last stages in the draft process was the psychological test. It was a long questionnaire, which challenged my new abilities at reading Hebrew. The questions were very simple, and it was obvious which answers would indicate an unstable personality, not to be trusted with an automatic weapon. There were a few questions which challenged me as a person trying to be in touch with my spiritual nature. “Do you feel there is an entity inside of you, telling you to do things you don’t want to do?” I circled ‘No’, trying not to think of my daily battles with my evil inclination. “Do you sometimes leave your body?” Well…on a good day I do manage to connect with an expanded vision of creation. I was starting to think that society might see the struggle to be religious as a form of insanity. On one question I couldn’t hold myself back. “Do you feel the world changes drastically from one day to the next?” I circled ‘Yes’. I handed in the exam to a young sergeant who had been trained to grade these tests, thereby qualifying him to judge my sanity. He marked off my answers as I sat across from him. When he got to the question about the world changing, he looked up. “Would you care to explain your answer?” I smiled and handed him my passport. He looked puzzled but opened it up. The picture showed a young man in a black t-shirt with long curly hair, a moustache, and dangling earrings: a biker. In front of him sat a man with a beard and yarmulke; a religious Jew. I smiled. He gave me a passing grade and approved my induction.
As I get older and more experienced, I see more things that don't make sense. I don't understand how people can operate in such a world, flying blind, thinking they understand the world. Even stranger is when they act as if they do see, but actually don't. Morality is a prime example. In a godless world, being moral is counterproductive.Charity is almost criminal. Marriage is a religious thing. If you are entirely atheist, marriage simply doesn't make sense.If you don't believe in God, having children is a massive expense and bother that certainly doesn't justify the occasional spurts of happiness. No expense is spared to save a human life because people instinctively know that the finite body, a hunk of meat, contains an irreplaceable slice of the infinite.Nature is a constant source of wonder and awe. Quantum physics......well.... that's already kabbala.
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