Friday, May 07, 2004


This is a post I started writing a month ago, hence the Passover reference. I still haven't said what I want in the last few lines, so I'm just going to post this now and try to rehash that last part later.

In Friday's post, the ̣H is supposed to be a guttural (like the German 'ch'). What's weird is that I need to enter the dot before the H for it to appear correctly in the web interface when I edit blog posts, but I need to have it after the H for it to look right when it's pushed out to the web page.

I'll be honest: in the last few years I've been wavering about my own Judaism. Part of the reason why I was happy to be moving back in 2001 was because I'd be somewhere with an actual sizable Jewish community (by dint of population density and averages if nothing else). But I'm questioning my faith even more now that I did then.

For one thing, I haven't really done anything to involve myself in the local community. Sure, I went to the informal study classes that I really, really liked, but with a thirty- to forty-minute trip each way every Monday evening and with me having enough problems as it is getting up on time the next morning, I've let that go. I thought where I was moving to would be close enough to a shul, but honestly I'm farther than practical walking distance, especially on a hot, humid summer day. And even when I do go, I usually don't bother to fight my own recent tendency to remove myself from people and hide in the corner.

I'm also trying to educate myself in being more reasoned, rational, and empirical. Everywhere I look the reasoning and empirically based folks are anti-religion if not atheists. How can I believe in the Gd of my fathers who, in this Passover season, "rescued us [from Egypt] with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm"? The plagues? The parting of the sea? The earth opening up and swallowing Korach? "Let there be light"? But despite my doubts, I still want to believe there is something — some overarching thing, a deity. And even if I have trouble believing, I still want to sit down and pray, and I still want to study Talmud and its millennia of wisdom. Maybe I just need to pick up Critique of Pure Reason.

I always liked the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel, because it always struck me as representing a man trying to come to terms with his own faith. Neither truly wins: Jacob wins because time runs out, but gets a dislocated hip that never completely heals. The Rabbis say that this battle lasts the one night, but it also lasts all of Jacob's life in a way.

I like thinking we should wrestle with our beliefs and try to come to terms; we should take all our lives and search for answers only to never find them.

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