04 August 2006

Fog






Where were we? Ah yes. On a flight home from Israel. I've read descriptions of others in my shoes. It's been called the moment of apostasy.

I was in a fog. I had to decide what it all means. For me, my wife, kids. Everybody.

I didn't want to do anything rash. I kept on telling myself there's no rush to make any decisions. Anything I might do today, I can do next week.

I've heard of others who just chucked it all. Family, community, friends.

After deliberating for about 2 seconds, I knew I wasn't going to do that.

OK, listen up, Quiz number 2.

Why didn't I take a trip to the Statue of Liberty and toss my Tefilin as so many others had done?

I enjoy getting ripped off and paying extra for Kosher food, Tuition and filtered water.
I didn't want to upset my Talmidim.
I'm afraid of Ferries.
I'm afraid of my wife.
I love Shukkling in Shul for hours on end. It's like getting dizzy on a roller Coaster.
I want a Large Yarmulka to cover my bald spot.
I enjoy having to struggle to find a vacation spot with Kosher Food.
I love three day Yom Tovim when all we do is eat, daven, sleep, visit friends, eat, daven, sleep, friends visit us, eat, daven, sleep, visit friends.
I enjoy giving my boss explanations, such as "I have to leave early to attend a feast for the "redemption of my Firstborn". Boss says "huh?" or "Sorry, I can't call the client at 6:30, I have to eat a Purim Seuda", "What? I thought you said it's like Halloween", "er... Never mind, just call as soon as you're finished."

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    23 Comments:

    At August 04, 2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    I checked that you are afraid of your wife. I assume thats the only logical reason. Now I have a question for you. Does your wife not know what you are doing on the computer? Is she not interested at all what you might be saying and to whom? My wife sometimes walks in while I am on the computer. What am I supposed to do block the screen? So she looks who cares. But in your case you have to hide everything from your wife. Do you maybe have a secret life that no one knows about?

     
    At August 04, 2006 4:55 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Avi, if thats Avi from TFSG, if you may recall from my posts when I originally joined TFSG, when I first started spending extra time on the computer, my wife suspected that I was surfing for porn. We'll get to my response in a future post of mine.

     
    At August 04, 2006 5:21 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Where is the none of the above option?

    I want quizes with possible answers that are correct! :)

     
    At August 04, 2006 5:54 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Bhb
    Very funny
    I too checked your wife. Also the bald spot if right on. I think you may actually like 3 days yom tov. I do.

    I'm not afraid of my wife because she is less religious than me.
    It used to bug me and I would bug her,
    Now we have a very happy marriage!
    Of course we fight about other stuff, but hardly ever over religion.
    My problem is the kids.
    But I had same issue when I didn't have doubts. I still wasn't doing stuff 100%

    I credit my luck by my criteria for getting married. I kept telling people I'm looking for normal girl.I couldn't tell the shadchan what that meant.
    But it turned out meaning a lack of emphasis on religion.
    We never talked religion on dates.
    Yet that is what many shiurim would tell you to focus on.

    It seems In your case religion was a focus of your marriage.

     
    At August 04, 2006 6:22 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Some other thought.

    If I daven in long winded shul, I use daf to pass the time.

    Re tuition.
    I'm happy for my kids to have a school that's relatively safe. And it teaches some good values. People in Brooklyn don't even begin to know how high tuition can go when you live in 5 towns.

    Re kosher.
    In an ironic twist, since kosher meat is more expensive, I eat less of it.
    Most items are not more. Unless you're cholov Yisroel and into only buying ungars brand like food.
    Kosher is more in a hotel for pesach.
    But I look at it as a way to keep the clientele to people with similiar backgrounds. So I'm paying for exclusivity.

     
    At August 05, 2006 10:37 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Irviner you win this round!

    Happy, before my skepticism kicked in, my wife and I were on the same page, religion was central to our lives because that's the nature of OJ, shul, Shabbosim etc. We were both about the same Frum. Nevertheless, it was never an obsessive point with either of us. We're chareidi lite, fully observant, enjoying movies, vacations, secular studies, career, etc.

    Of course, some would say Movies means you're not REALLY frum.

    But that was my original background and the way I grew up.

    What issue do you have with kids? Going off the derech? My kids went the opposite way, towards the Kolel life, probably the result of our sincerity ;)


    An OJ jewish life is way more expensive in so many facets, unless you're planning on sending your kids to an Ivy League college.

    So what excuses did you have to give for leaving work early?

     
    At August 05, 2006 11:51 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    No excuses. Its understood.
    Where i work there are many frum people.

    I definitely do not want my kids doing the kollel life.

    I do want them to stay in the fold.
    I dont worry about it, because i think ive found a happy medium. The life we lead is rewarding and not too oppressive.

    Maybe i dont see the expense in kosher lifestyle because im used to it.
    Regardless, it not something i ever worry about or resent.

     
    At August 06, 2006 4:09 AM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >So what excuses did you have to give for leaving work early?

    Where I live, people only know Jews as those people in Hollywood, and No "excuse" is needed to be given for leaving work early.

    The only time, I actually have problems with explaining leaving early, or missing a day, is when the person I'm talking to is Jewish, and therefore knows about it, but doesn't do it themselves and says "Oh its not that important, you don't have to skip"

     
    At August 06, 2006 2:06 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > and No "excuse" is needed to be given for leaving work early.

    Irviner, I don't follow. Unless you're self employed, you must be accountable to someone. I don't have to grovel, but when I am unavailable to perform my business functions during my work hours, I let me boss know. And I explain the reason why; it's just mentchlechkeit.

     
    At August 06, 2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    Hey guys. Wives and their husbands dont have to be the same level of "frumkeut" many people have differerent levels of observance. Some Chasidim go to shul and their wives dont open the siddur. Some men go to shul with their wives others the women stay home some say Tehilim. My wife goes to shul every Shabbat I dont. We dont make a big deal of it and it works fine. Whatever floats your boat.

     
    At August 06, 2006 6:54 PM, Anonymous Jewishskeptic said...

    To Avi,
    I am just curius.From here I notice you are quite a frum guy.But on comments e.g.on LY(if you the same person-Avi)You have very strong apikorsishe sarcastic comments about Orthodox J.
    Are you schizophrnic when it comes to religion?
    The same question goes to you B.H.,seeing your comments on ROJ.
    No offense meant to either of you.

     
    At August 06, 2006 11:51 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Irviner, I don't follow. Unless you're self employed, you must be accountable to someone. I don't have to grovel, but when I am unavailable to perform my business functions during my work hours, I let me boss know. And I explain the reason why; it's just mentchlechkeit.

    I say, "Hi, I'm not going to be in on Thursday" or "Hi, I need to leave early next friday, anything you want me to do?"

    And usually, I either get a "Ok, thanks for letting me know" or, "Ok, but we really need X done soon, try to put some extra hours in if you can"

     
    At August 07, 2006 10:38 AM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    BH,
    I was sure that the answer was "fear of wife", so now I'm totaly confused.
    Please tell us, what is the real answer???

     
    At August 07, 2006 12:51 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    My guess is that it has something to do with not wanting to "turn one's life upside down" and not wanting to have to go through the process of finding a new community, since he has so many good friends in the one he lives in.

    I am also guessing that he does not teach his children any differently, because otherwise his children would have spoken to other's children, and the community would know his beliefs and he would not have to hide his identity on this blog.

     
    At August 07, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    I am just curius.From here I notice you are quite a frum guy.But on comments e.g.on LY(if you the same person-Avi)You have very strong apikorsishe sarcastic comments about Orthodox J.
    Are you schizophrnic when it comes to religion?

    You gotta talk to my psychiatrist.
    I am not a frum guy at all. I am a Kofer. I do what I do ( kiddush, havdalah etc) to make my wife happy. My wife is very frum, and to keep a solid marriage together I have to make some concessions to my better half.

     
    At August 07, 2006 5:09 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    My guess is that it has something to do with not wanting to "turn one's life upside down" and not wanting to have to go through the process of finding a new community, since he has so many good friends in the one he lives in.

    I am also guessing that he does not teach his children any differently, because otherwise his children would have spoken to other's children, and the community would know his beliefs and he would not have to hide his identity on this blog.

    Thats exactly why we do what we do. We have a lifestyle, and it's really too difficult to start making changes at this age.

     
    At August 07, 2006 5:25 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Thats a real shame though.

    Its hard for me to say actually.

    When I came back from Israel, I decided to grow my hair in the way chasids do, because I wanted a Non-goysih "punk" hair style. After three years, and finally tieing my payot into a ponytail, I in the end cut them off. Because I felt I was deceiving all the people around me, who thought I was so frum since I had payot. And when I would do things with them that were not allowed, they would think it was oK out of ignorance, and I couldn't live with that geneva daat.

    On the other hand, doing mitzvahs are good in and of themselves so matter the reason, and will lead to more mitzvahs.

    Its a tough one.

     
    At August 08, 2006 10:24 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > The same question goes to you B.H.,seeing your comments on ROJ.

    Jewish Skeptic, I'm not sure what you mean. Reading my posts on this blog, you should readily see where I stand. Maybe I'm a little more reserved or respectful on my own blog, after all this needs to be a Baale Battish blog! :)

     
    At August 08, 2006 10:28 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > I say, "Hi, I'm not going to be in on Thursday" or "Hi, I need to leave early next friday, anything you want me to do?"

    Irviner, it sounds like a very informal relationship but not congenial and close. I work in the reverse kind of environment. Work is formalized & proceduralized, but I have a comraderie with my boss, peers and others.

    What lind of work do you do, if I may ask? (Don't ask me , cause I won't tell) Large corporation?

     
    At August 08, 2006 10:31 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    MK, I'm just trying to get my thoughts together for the next post. I don't get much time now and I don't want to put out an incoherent sound byte.

     
    At August 08, 2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Irviner, it does sound like you have the freedom to vary your life style. That's good, but not always do-able, as you allude to in your comments. Like I said in checkbox #2, I don't want to upset my Talmidim!

     
    At August 08, 2006 12:30 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    My last comments were really adressed to Avi.

    I work in a small notso-startup company doing programming. True this is California not New York, so standards might be different, but I think you would be surprised how willing people are to not be given an explicit reason. Especially if the reaons get confusing.

     
    At August 08, 2006 2:44 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    Irviner. As I said once to Baal Habos, the truth is supposed to set you free, but freedom is not always so good. It's nice to believe in something. Hashem will reward me if I do whatever it is that he wants me to do. But what happens if one such as me starts to think critically of things? What happens if you manage to lose your belief in somethings? A man without a God and without a country is a lonely man. Perhaps knowing the truth as I see it is not so good. Read this see what you think.

    An atheist/naturalist is reviled because he is the one person willing to state the obvious to those who cannot or will not admit to it. Let’s face facts. The believers, be they Jews, Christians, or Gardnerian Wiccans, in spite of the myriad of rationalizations, justifications, and mind games, continue to replace evidence and reason with ‘faith’. No hard evidence at all. All the atheist does is point out what is readily apparent, and he does so without any mental gymnastics.

    Religions remind me of used-car-type salesmen hawking a product that you really don’t need. The first thing they must do is create that need in the mind of the potential customer. There are any number of ways to accomplish this. The best way is through eliciting fear or inducing hope. If you can convince your customer that living without this particular product could lead to either great suffering or, conversely, great satisfaction, then the transaction is all but closed at that point. Fear and hope are exactly the same phenomena, both being negative and generally useless emotions.


    Outs[poken as I may be, I cannot favor outlawing religious belief or religions. Far from it! There are two reasons for this. First, the truth is that religion as a social function does, at least, espouse morals and ethics that people might not hear about in other venues. One seldom finds such inspiration in movie theatres or on television. Kierkegaard was correct when he bemoaned the state of his generation that “sought inspiration in the theatres, and entertainment in the churches.” For many, church is going to be the only place, unfortunately, that will learn about ‘love thy neighbor’. They may also be listening to a lot of dangerous ideas as well, but for the most part, this atheist can live with things as they are as long as the parishioner takes his ‘love thy neighbor’ seriously enough to forgive my atheism and not burn me at the stake.

    The second reason I would not abolish religion is because I still cherish freedoms and liberties. If we begin to shut down ideas, no matter how disagreeable they may seem, we have already forfeited those freedoms away. In short, the believer is entitled to his or her delusions, the atheist is also welcome to reject it, and reject it loudly if he so wishes. The price of freedom is that we will have to endure the smarmy salesman and have to weed through his sales pitch to discern if, in fact, we actually require this product or not or, if we choose, to evaluate that product based on its merits and probable effectiveness. I wonder if people give as much time to scrutinizing their religious beliefs as they do when buying a used car.

    There is always someone out there who is going to hustle you when you are most vulnerable to his advertising. Remain skeptical. These hucksters are very slick, and you can be sure, the more they talk, the less they really have to sell you. They can market ‘ice to Eskimos’ if they wish, but I’m pretty sure only an Eskimo in the middle of a desert would really need it. I don't imagine Eskimos to be that gullible. So why are we?


    “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” (Carl Sagan, 1934 - 1996)

     

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