Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Watches over the Converts..."
I was recently reminded of a question I raised in a post I did a while back on Aish's claim we are in a "spiritual holocaust", a statement I thought more powerful and pregnant than they intended it to be.

What about the Converts who have cast their lot with the Jewish people - amidst a profound spiritual Holocaust?

A tremendous question about what and who we value as Jews (money, ambition, finesse...sorry, had to say that). Given the reality that many, many Gerim do not have it 'easy' in a community that takes more seriously "[Secular Jew] ben Aharon Mendel from Slutsk" than "Convert ben Avraham Avinu" - I think it's a real point as well. A point to...point out to The Real, from our side of reality; shouldn't their struggles...maybe MEAN something to You, God? males, we say every day bunches of prayers and psalms that include the claim that "Potayach et Yadecha u'matzbiah l'hol hai ratzon", that You avenge wrongdoing, Execute justice, Watch over the Gerim [and the widow and the orphan], as well as lots of other challenging ideas and statements women are free to refrain from filling their minds with.

Well? You just...STARE at Gerim, at those who have joined at among the WORST moments for the Jewish people, if not the worst given the depth and scope of assimilation (and breadth and dimension of OTDers - which may be more significant than raw numbers)?...Maybe You are staring at Gerim - and in a sense BTs - in complete incredulity at their Goyishe sense of timing?

Shouldn't their faith in You and Your people count for...SOMETHING????? Unlike born Jews, their name is not based where they genetically came from - which in bigoted terms could be phrased as "Convert ben Goyim [who display bad middot and Goyishe Shtus, evidencing the zuchama of the Nachash..]" - it is "Son/Daughter of Avraham/Sarah OUR Father/OUR Mother". what? What do Avraham and Sarah mean to us, to a certain number among us and our own children who doubt even the existence of the one couple most Jews are distantly related to. To the Gerim, Avraham and Sarah are their direct spiritual fore-bearers, more significant than mere biology, than genes, than the people as the means to deliver the Message of Torah...when Jews lose faith in even the existence of their shared distant fore-bearers, imagine how this looks to people for whom the denied ones, the "archetyped" ones, Avraham and Sarah are their ONLY PARENTS - who are denied and or disregarded literally by a noteworthy number of God's people... there...anything...else You're thinking of maybe doing with such people, other than shaking ropes or whatever to get rid of them in the end-times of your creation, along with all those others who BOTHER to try to hold on, while they watch others go to the beach on a lovely Saturday afternoon or on to normal lives instead? I know, it seems a leap from the emunah of converts to the famous rope narrative - I understand the intent is not to cast away converts and BTs as such - but they're among many with the weakest grip, who feel pushed away by so many others grasping at the rope with the added genetic strength of religious and/or Jewish forebearers - but many take the parable as if it's down from Sinai.

"Enough with the Charedi moshels", the 'rationalists' can say. But Gemara itself repeats several times that Gerim should be treated differently, cautiously - because they're vulnerable to lapsing into their previous behaviors (with no seeming regard for where they're going - mostly fixation on where they're from?...even to the degree of referring to the descendant of gerim as a Ger himself - though I can't recall where I'd seen it), which reappears as an attitude current rabbis of authority display in a wonderfully-disgusting manner about "non-Jewish Genes".

I think Gerim are vulnerable - not so much due to some tempting quality of 'teumah' they came from (I think more projecting on the part of Frummies than anything else, given how many BTs had lives of deprivation they may quietly wax nostalgic about; how many BTs came from ethical, moral Evangelical Christian backgrounds compared to Gerim?!?) - as much as that they left WHEREVER they came from to join the Jewish people and their God - period. Does anyone who hasn't made such a decision have ANY IDEA what that decision means in the Modern Era - which has no concept of tribes, of community, of peoplehood to really speak of?...

What do they mean to You, Borei Kol ha Neshamot - the single Convert, the Convert without family, without community? - does it mean anything that even so many born Jews, so many FFBs, lack "community"? But Gerim are radically different in that BTs and FFBs affirm something very fundamental about themselves in personally continuing with a collective that is a radical self-affirmation. Gerim engage in a radical self-refutation from community, from tribe and even one can be compared to the Ger except Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu. Right or wrong, God?

I do not expect - and Judaism no longer accepts - any voices from Heaven on such matters, but I'll keep talking to You about it. These Gerim with nowhere else to turn but a torn community - these little ones (no matter how experienced and forged in the trials of life some have been before Torah - they are by Torah considered new infants - having left family, friends and lifeways behind...You are shaking infants dangling from a rope?...could the 'Gedolim', whose advocates claim prophetic insight in their propagation of this 'rope' metaphor, have foreseen that Gerim, infants to Judaism...would be among those clinging to this rope (and not the maskilim they likely had in mind)?...their views of Gentiles are not even worth Gerim, entering their imagination - let alone "prophetic insight" - is a stretch.

To be authentic, Gerim abide the teachings of a Gemara that holds them suspect of lapsing out of predisposition, which casts their entire past and family as the most radically degenerate "Other" imaginable.

After so many Gerim have given up so much to join, and then have to wrestle with Your people, been "turned away with the left and brought in with the right" by them, and thus left spinning like tops -after converting...are You going to toy with them by granting them the 'honors' of being left orphans yet again in this generation...orphaned by - and seemingly of (H'V) - the very Creator and only Hope of Creation?...among all the other desperate 'clingers', dangling from a lifeline?

Maybe I shouldn't read what I write...ouch. Heed their prayers, God, just Heed them for the sake of the world they left and the world they joined - one world, Your world - Heed them.


At 2/01/2011 11:25 AM, Blogger rutimizrachi said...



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