Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why I Want You to Argue With Me

"What is up with this Chabad business?"

It's the question everyone is dying to ask me: Wasn't I content with "normal" Orthodoxy? Wasn't I fulfilled by what the community had to offer? If I was looking for something else, did I really have to choose Chabad?

And I would love to tell them about my journey. But they keep their mouths shut, tiptoeing around our differences. Afraid of our differences.

They are incredibly polite. Perfect diplomats, they are. But it's all fake. Because they're only willing to receive and acknowledge the part of me that makes them feel comfortable. Our connection never breaches the external layer.

Imagine if we relied on this approach to build a relationship with the Almighty. I'll let you into my life, G-d. Maybe I'll do some mitzvos. But...I don't really like your views, so let's just make small talk, okay?

That is no relationship! That is neither an expression of unity nor commitment.

G-d chose us as His own, with full awareness that we're lightyears different from Him! He knew we'd butt heads with Him once in a while, that we'd forget Him, and that we'd be confused about our relationship with Him. But He wants us- He wants every part of us. Differences are inconsequential. At the end of the day, we are one.

Likewise, we are one people. One singular entity with its source in the Almighty. No matter how different we may seem on the outside, no disagreement can threaten that essential unity. 

The fact that you don't want to challenge me makes me suspect you don't really believe we're one. You don't believe our relationship is unshakeable. Brothers and sisters bicker with each other because they are siblings. Because they know that will never change. We need to start acting like a family!

What I want to see among Jewish communities is that we try to receive each other completely, in all of our conflicting perspectives and feelings. Rebuilding the Beis HaMikdash isn't just about expelling lashon hara from our lives. It's about appreciating one another for who we are- not just who we pretend to be to keep the peace.

So please- let loose. Criticize me and lecture me about my hashkafic leanings all you want. At least you'd be yelling at the real me.

After all, we can't even begin to appreciate each other if we don't really know each other.

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