I have been thinking about it and I have too many thoughts on this. I think these will be my last thoughts on this thought. This part is becoming too long to be considered an Aliyah Manifesto. This is David’s Community Manifesto.
By the end of this manifesto, there will be a plan, that will consist of more thoughts and me moving
Israel is the land flowing with milk and honey, people who want to kill us, and a lot of choices. Those last parts were left out of the Bible. In Israel, Jews have choices. I now have to choose how I want to interact with society. I think I want to be a passive active member of society. I know I do not want to have to help.
Let’s talk about David’s choices: I chose to mess up every relationship I have ever been in. I chose to move to Israel. I chose to eat as much meat as I can, whenever it does not cost more than 22 shekel. I chose to share my Weeble-Wobble with Ben in kindergarten. I chose to build a Lego castle that I broke when I finished. I chose to not hit or hit on Samantha in kindergarten, even though we slept next to each other at naptime. I chose to live in Jerusalem with another single guy who is old as hell. I chose to sleep in, every day of my life. I chose to keep the holy books of Torah I have from my Yeshiva days, even though I have not opened any of them since I was ordained. I chose to purchase an XXL shirt because I do not look fat enough. I am really bad with choices, and now I have to make them.
I did not choose to be religious. I was born religious. The pictures of my Bris/circumcision show me with a yarmulke. The whole community showed up for that. If that is what it takes to be part of a Jewish community in Israel, I might not want to join. I was sent to Jewish Day School, and then I was sent to Yeshiva for high school. I was set up to never have a girlfriend. I was sent to Jewish summer camp, where they also had Torah classes to make sure it was not too fun and to make sure I knew I was religious. I am still religious because I can’t mess that up by choosing otherwise. I could have ran away from home, but atheists do not feed people.
Now I have to choose my community. I have to find people that will force me to be religious. If they do not watch over me and I somehow feel like they are not judging me, I will then feel like I have choices and that won’t be good. I must find people that will feed me. Yes, I played basketball on a shule team this year, but I was hungry after the games. Once I find my community I will be a fulfilled person, a full Oleh, and I will start complaining about other stuff. I will finally feel inadequate. I will finally be a full Jew, living in the homeland, part of a nation of brothers that I never met. Part of a community, with a bunch of people to meet with every couple of weeks who I could care less for, may they live and be well. We come for society, but in the end, we need community. You can take a few moments to ponder that. That was good. I know. If I could come up with more brilliance like that, this manifesto would not need comedy. You would be entertained by my sheer genius.
That is not the case. I need, the children need their Matzah factory. We all need the matzah factory. We need to stand in booths and make Matzah that is not kosher for Passover. We need to be together. The children need the old people. The old people need the really old people. The really old people need to die. Somebody needs to show up to their funeral. That is meaningful. Community is meaningful. The flow of life and tradition is meaningful. People dying is meaningful. Death brings community together. We need intergenerational conflict. That is the continuity and identity we move to Israel for. And that is what I lost. My family in Israel is too small and I have not been to a matzah factory since I made Aliyah.
I cannot live in America. I love community the way I grew up, but I cannot run away from reality. Israel is reality and it bites you in the tuches. That is why the Rambam equates Israel with living in Gd’s castle. In the castle, there is always somebody with a sword, constantly poking you, telling you ‘You are doing something wrong.’ This is not a book about Torah preaching, and this is not TNN. Though, I do love Christian revival films. I love how the football team in ‘The Little Giants’ was able to win the game with the help of their kicker and Jesus. I feel connected when I watch those films. They are great mussar/rebuke. They are Jewish if you take out John, Luke or any name of a modern American child. They are religious at their essence and if you just take out Christian words, it can be meaningful. Take out words like ‘Lord,’ and put in Jewish words like ‘G-d.’ To see some of these people lifting 500lbs., thanks to the Lord, is amazing. Yes I have found the power, but I cannot show you in a book that I can lift 250 kilo, thanks to the Lord. I am living in Israel, I lift kilos now, not pounds. Yes, the vainness of lifting weights also exists in Israel. But in Israel, there is the ‘Koyach HaTorah’- strength of the Torah. And I am sure that the 95 year old Rav Shach could have lifted 500kilo based on Koyach HaTorah.
We are in the King’s Castle, but we are like the wayward child who does whatever he wants, because we know daddy will not get too angry. Kind of like your child who does every drug that exists, because you have money and they do not need to do anything with their life. In the Holy City, we watch TV and there is also infidelity. Yet, we do it in Gd’s castle. And chutz LAretz/outside of Israel, the world of beauty is a graveyard for Jews. The Rambam hit it on the nose. Oh yes, he knew how to offend his relatives who didn’t live in Israel. He was the worst when it came to people visiting him. He wasn’t like of the Olim that feel like they have to convince others to move to Israel, in order to justify their own moral code. He didn’t ask, ‘When are you moving to Israel?’ He skipped that and said, ‘You suck. You are the walking dead.’ He didn’t even care if his own family hated him. That is why we go to his gravesite all the time. He is the primo-Oleh. Spat on everybody in his words of not making Aliyah. Zecher Tzaddik Livracha. He made all people who didn’t live in Israel feel like yutzes. Because he knew that they are wrong. He said it. He told them you might as well shoot yourself on the way to the matzah factory. He was the primo-Oleh because he understood that until you can say whatever is on your mind, without caring how much it offends other people, you are not an integrated Oleh. You have to be able to yell at the pregnant woman on the street for not covering up her baby with enough layers during the summer. It doesn’t have to make sense, but you must be able to voice an opinion. The Rambam gives me the justification to stay in Israel and live in the King’s Palace. The Castle does need to be cleaned, but it will not. I know that because I spoke with the Jerusalem municipality. Jerusalem’s labor union agrees.
You now know I am religious, because I used words like ‘wayward child.’ All the Hebrew in the world means nothing. But when a man uses an English word that makes less sense then Hebrew, to a native USAian, that is the sign of a very religious person. One such as myself who prays in quorum, with phylacteries. British people might understand these words, because they study the Pentateuch. I still have no idea what ‘wayward child’ means. Nonetheless, I use it because I am frum/religious in a European way, and my practice of Judaism has nothing to do with my understanding of what I am doing. My practice is connected to my community. Something that has kept Jewish people alive in the Diaspora for abouts 2,000 years, with Hebrew prayers. Hebrew prayers that we were all sent to Hebrew school to understand, but never will understand, because it is Hebrew.
It is not for me to understand. If I understood that would be a choice. If that was the case, there would be less frum/religious Jews around. There be less Jews getting married in Israel. There would be communities of people who care about themselves. There would more wayward children and many Matzah factories. Israel is a choice the Rambam made for me. I am the wayward son trying to find my way in the King’s Castle, in Jerusalem. The Rambam however did not choose a community for me, and I will not move to Tiberius. I have not found my illiterate group that I must join with, in meaningful hymns. Hymns being the one English word that nobody understands which, if used, makes you not religious. Though my opinion may make no sense, and though my opinion offends you, I am here! Proclaiming it! I am trying to be that full religious Oleh who can outwardly offend people.
(to be continued)