Dancing Around The Issue, Part 1

Disco ball
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar

The link was labeled “Dancing With the Rabbis“. I thought it had to be a joke – a spoof, a Mel Brooks-ian play on pop culture.

I was wrong. If you follow the link, there’s even a YouTube video of the promo piece. I watched it, and kept the link open in my browser for two whole days (which is a really long time given my attention span)

Something about the even bothered me. More than that, I was disturbed by the fact that it bothered me. What was it about the title, the video, the basic idea that was getting to me?

Of course, the snarky approach comes immediately to mind. It’s easy, it’s accessible.

It’s also probably wrong.

No matter how much I may not be “there” any more (observing Judaism in a particular way), I can’t deny that I was – for a good part of my life – and had good reasons to stay that way. A lot of wonderful folks (good friends included) are still in that part of the spectrum. It does no good to anyone to be that overbearing “former” (former smoker, former couch potato, etc); forcing my “new improved” ideas on people who were (and still are) quite happy the way they are.

The urge to mock created in me an awareness that, as a Baal Teshuvah, I may be too quick to distance myself from my past; to deny or demonize the path that led me to this place. And in doing so, to be untrue (at best) or self-hating (at worst) for a large portion of experiences that make up the fullness of my life which will spread like a quilt before Heaven at the end of my story.

So poking fun is wrong for a lot of reasons. Rabbi’s are people too, you know?

Then again, parsha Shemini was just a few short weeks ago. Nadav and Abihu go before us as a reminder that being a tzaddik comes with great responsibility.

More to come…