Saturday, February 04, 2006

So some people see this picture and think Im gonna get Jewishly-political here. Warning. This is not the point. Im not here to rag on or support meshichistim. I had met this man many times while he was still blessing the world with his presence and I loved him dearly. He knew my grandfather and I feel like he knew me. I still have the dollar he gave me the first time we met. I exchanged it for a different one that I gave to tzedakah. The picture is up merely as a prelude to my personal history, which I am posting in response to Sara's ( Sorry, Im not good at in-text linking) question about my "affiliation" with "the Lubeys."

Some personal history:

My dad was raised religious. His mother, father, sister and brother were all very heimishe people from boro park and they, and their respective families, all are frum as can be in the businessman Brooklyn sense. When you get past the immediate family though, things get quite different. My direct family being the epicenter, if you branch out into cousins, the more distant you get from me the less religious you seem to become (how egotistical am I?). As the familial layers proceed you go from people who put on their left shoes first (GASP!) to people who wake up after sof z'man krias shma (EGAD!) to not keeping kosher, to driving on shabbos, to eating pig with a hooker on Yom Kippur, to serial rapists.* It was inevitable then that my father would be searching for a gal whose exended family was a bit more religious then his own.

My mother was raised Lubavitch. Now, this only means in certain aspects. My grandfather did not have a beard, did not attend tish and never went on shlichus. He was a good ol' European jew in a town full of tradionionalists. He did daven at 77o Eastern Pkwy and he was personally close with the aforementioned rebbe zatza"l and he kept many of the more ancient lubavitch minhagim, including living in crown heights. My mother went to the crown heights yeshiva and was among the minority in her less the zealous keepings of certain lubavitch-specific aspects of Judaism. Again however, keeping myself as the epicenter, as one proceeds out further into the familial boondocks of my matriarchal mishpacha we seem to get more and more lubavitch. It starts with the beard, which grows ever loonger as you proceed away from Xvi on the family tree. There is also the proximity to 770, the distance one travels on shlichus and the amount of kids your family seems to have. I am one of three. My mothers cousins have roughly seven. Second cousins have, on average, twelve. My mother has a relative in Jerusalem that has (Im really not kidding about this, I mean it.) 21 children kenayna hora. My mother then was seeking out a soulmate from a little less of a tradional upbringing.

My mother and father met, however it was that they did, and thought they were perfect for each other in this, and assumingly at least a few other aspects. They, howeve, never seemed to discuss this as my mother rarely goes back to crown heights and my father set up his practice there.

This leaves me somewhere in between irelligious and completely fanatical. That ballance should not exist and yet here I am. Slightly Chasidish, slightly intermarried. Im a psychoanalysts wet dream.

*please note that this is all pure hyperbole and allegation. We have yet to have any convictions on any of these charges.


At 11:35 PM, Blogger Sara said...

interesting philosophy on the whole religious thing. so what do u consider yourself? normal? middle of the road? along with the rest of the world?

At 11:52 PM, Blogger XVI (R) - NY said...

Id guess Im middle-left of the road, but Im not really sure which road were talking about. Im using my Brooklyn road as a template and stating that Im far left of that but really only in their own terms. Make sense. I once explained it to Shayna like this, and ive used it ever since:

Youv never met anyone with more ahavas Hashem then me. Youv also never met anyone with less yiras Hashem.

Figure it out.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Sara said...

im not even gonna try- bc that statement sounds completly too calcuated to be remotely true

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Sara said...

Sorry I'm so late in saying thank you thank you thank you!

Your post gave me a lot to think about, especially as I'm floating somewhere between lubavitch and a sort of intellectual remoteness myself.

I was never given a response in its own post, so that (plus the link) made me very happy.

I'm still mulling it all over, but in the meantime I wonder if I should think up some sort of code to place at the top of my comments here so you don't have to check which Sara I am. Ok, from now on I'll put a (!) at the top of my comment.

Thanks again.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger XVI (R) - NY said...

Sara Jersey - I dont necessarily think thats its so calculated. I think its more a cutesy way to sum up a broader issue. What I was saying is that Im a much better Jew in a spiritual sense then in practise. I know and believe with complete conviction that hashem is there and I know and love his words and his demands. When it comes down to it though, Im not that good at keeping his commandments. Certainly not nearly as good as I can be. And the only real reference to my position on the orthodoxy-scale that I can give you is based on the Brooklyn standards I was born and raised on. Im pretty far gone as far as those go. I still believe Im much more faithful then most of them though.

Sara Chicago - Your welcome for everything that you certainly didnt need to thank me for. Your posts are insightful and exceptionaly well written and thought out and its more a favor to my readers (all 5 of them?) then to you that I link you. Anyway, I have this perpetual writers block that clears up in phases, so anything I can think to write about, I probably will. I think I posted 4-5 posts in 2 days, but I may or may not go a week or more now with nothing. Depends on the inspiration. Or the angst. Whatever.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger The real me said...



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