I’m not a lost soul.

3 Apr

One thing baalei teshuva and kiruv-minded people ask me when I mention I’m not so enthusiastic about Hashem (so basically, online) is why I don’t approach it another way. Sometimes, the chassidic minded will quote me the story of what a certain Rebbe told an apikores one time: “The God you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.” Why don’t I find God on my own?

These people don’t realize the difference between me and them. I’m not lost or whatever else. I have always had a relationship with God and I’m purposely avoiding him. No matter what I learn, or read, or believe intellectually, no matter how spiritual or scientific or agnostic or atheistic I think in my rational mind, in my core being, I KNOW God. And I know he’s a jerk.

I’ve pretended otherwise, and tried look at him some other nice way, but that’s never REAL God. That will always be superficial, a fiction I’ll always know I created in my own imagination. Real God is the one I’ve been with my entire life, the one I’ve shared every moment with since as far back as I can remember

Real God doesn’t care how I feel or if I love other people or take care of the environment or some other bullshit. Real God gave an old man a book of commandments a long time ago, and he expects me to follow them or he’ll kill me. Sof davar hakol nishma es haelokim yirah vi’es mitzvosav shmor ki ze kol ha’adam. That’s what Real God says to me.

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19 Responses to “I’m not a lost soul.”

  1. Dan April 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    This is the credited response.

    And I even have the knowledge to know that my perception is faulty. But what good does that do me? It is how I perceive it.

  2. bestbathroombooks April 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    You know there’s a God who doesn’t care what you think of him. That’s a generous way to look at it. Others would be agnostic or atheist.

  3. tesyaa April 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    It’s so different for the OTD BT.

    • Cohen Laundry April 3, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      Really enjoyed this post. Reminds me of Shalom Auslander’s relationship with God in Foreskin’s Lament.

      • Cohen Laundry April 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

        oops – sorry – i meant to post that last comment separately. But while I’m here – how so, tesyaa?

        • itchemeyer April 4, 2012 at 1:30 am #

          I think tesyaa means that OTD BT’s become bestbathroombooks’s “others”, ie agnostic or atheistic. Because they dont have this childhood connection. So if they decide it’s false, it’s false, and that’s it. Am I right tesyaa?

          • tesyaa April 4, 2012 at 9:50 am #

            More that I never thought of God as scary, even when I was a “believer” … I just wasn’t raised with that.

            But what you are saying is true too.

  4. Atheodox Jew April 4, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    You bring up a good point. Religious Jews regularly “soften” God nearly out of recognition. The Chumash clearly paints a very different picture. On the other hand, is it really so different from Chazal’s darshening of the Chumash in order to bring it within reasonable civility?

    I would suggest that rather than either A) taking the Torah at pshat/face value (which would render it essentially unusable) or B) calling Torah something it’s clearly not, the best approach would be C) to continue to bend and twist Torah/Judaism to suit our needs, and simply be honest that this is what we’re doing. There’s no need to say that this is the “authentic” Torah. Just say that this is “our” Torah, the one that we’ve chosen. In that way, Judaism becomes something which serves Jews, not the other way around.

    • itchemeyer April 4, 2012 at 3:53 am #

      That wasn’t really what I was saying, but it’s an interesting idea anyhow.

      • Atheodox Jew April 4, 2012 at 6:33 am #

        Apologies if I missed your point. It sounded to me like you were talking about the “touchy feely” God which people like to portray, vs. the “offer you can’t refuse” God as actually depicted in the Torah.

        • itchemeyer April 4, 2012 at 7:48 am #

          I meant the idea of God I was brought up with. This is one aspect of that. I think your point is valid, but I intended my post to be a personal one.

          • Dan April 4, 2012 at 10:21 am #

            Yeah, the two of you are making opposite points.
            We were brought up with an arbitrary and capricious tyrant god. I think the real one is the touchy feely G-d.

            • itchemeyer April 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

              Ok, that’s the second word you’ve used on this post that I had to google to find out what you were saying. One more and…

            • chaynobody April 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

              Dan – I dont know about you, but in my borderline MO-Machmir/Charedi Lite upbringing I think both aspects were there – the loving, caring Father always looking out for his Children, saving us and the State of Israel miraculously from the terrible Goyim who are all out to kill us; but also the wrathful God (though certainly not the capricious, arbitrary one of Shalom Auslander) who is exacting on His chosen children, noticing their every move and every mistake, but also their triumphs.

  5. Cohen Laundry April 6, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    It’s so interesting how differently God is conceptualized. Thank you for helping inspire my post on this topic: http://coinlaundryblog.blogspot.ca/2012/04/does-god-have-multiple-personality.html

  6. asher770 April 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Isn’t this is what Jews are all
    about — the recalcitrant, insurgent, revolutionary kvetchers of
    history — and what could be more unorthodox than that?

    Didn’t Judaism begin with the paradigm of all iconoclasts? Picture
    Abraham smashing the idols in his father’s house, defying King Nimrod
    and all of social norms. Picture Moses defying Pharaoh, or Rabbi Akiva
    and the sages defying the massive Roman Empire. Is this something you
    would describe as “normal” behavior?

    To be Jewish is to rebel. Refusing to answer the phone on Shabbat is a
    rebellion against technocracy. Keeping kosher is a rebellion against
    consumerism. Getting up early in the morning to wrap in a large, white
    woolen sheet, twist leather straps and boxes upon your arm and head,
    join others in mystical incantations and read from an ancient scroll
    — is an outright rebellion against anything considered normal in
    modern day life.

    Do you know the story of the rabbi standing out on the street looking
    for a tenth for his minyan? Finally, he found a Jew. But the fellow
    tried to turn him down, explaining, “I’m not into organized religion.”

    “If this were organized religion,” the rabbi exclaimed, “what on earth
    am I doing out on the street harassing pedestrians?”

    Have Jews ever been “normal”? Has there ever been a time when our
    views and behavior were considered normal? Pharaoh thought we were
    crazy because we demanded workers’ rights. The Romans thought we were
    nuts because we wouldn’t dispose of unhealthy infants. The Church
    thought we were perverse because we wouldn’t surrender to the faith of
    the majority. The rationalists thought we were off-the-wall because of
    our mysticism and the romantics considered us obtuse for our
    rationalism. The United Nations resolved that Jews are weird just
    because we insist on existing. In the meantime, everybody ended up
    adopting our mindset — yet we still remain an anomaly among peoples.
    There’s just too much catching up for everybody else to do.

    To paraphrase the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Judaism can never be called old
    fashioned — because it was never in fashion to begin with.

    • itchemeyer April 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      I think we’re very similar. You’re rebelling against the culture you grew up in and felt pressured by or uncomfortable in, and I’m rebelling against mine. The specifics of who does what, where, aren’t important, just that THEY want to make ME not be myself and do what they want.

      I look at the outside world and marvel at how free and accepting it is. You do the same for the frum world. I tell you how restrictive the fum world is and you only laugh and KNOW how wrong I am. You tell me how restrictive the outside world is and I laugh and know how wrong you are.

  7. Rachel May 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    I stumbled upon this blog and I dont know your whole back story… But, If you hate G-d and this religion so much what is the point in pretending? Go fill your life with nothingness (seems like from some other posts you already do) and go make yourself “happy”. Payos and levush fools no one.

    • offthdwannab May 4, 2016 at 12:40 am #

      You totally missed everything he’s saying. He knows God exists and he accepts the plan. How could he be happy enjoying this world?

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