Unlearning

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Email
Print

The young, Soviet-raised, Gen Y—a group who would be reclassified outside relation to my cohort (Generation X) and instead be based on the calendar — a millennial— is vehement, raising his voice at me: “No, Rabbi. You must believe in God or you are not a rabbi.”

 

 

 

“Sorry, Alexi, no. I don’t.”

 

 

 

I’m a 30-year old rabbi on stipend for a youth leadership program on the woodsy campus of the Brandeis-Bardin institute, sponsored by some Los Angeles Jewish organization.

 

My job is to lead services, a teaching, and prayers before and after meals.

 

 

 

Alexi has zeroed in on /slash/ become hyper focused on this one point. “But rabbis must believe in God!”

 

 

 

I tease, “Says who? God?”

 

 

 

“Maimonides. He says so!”

 

 

 

Alexi can’t win because the facts are with me.

 

 

 

I’ve studied humanistic Judaism.

 

 

 

Even got to have breakfast with Sherwyn Wine, the founder — when he was contemplating a successor. It wasn’t for me. The movement, IMHO, had made “not talking about God” into idolatry.

 

 

 

When I worked at the main-stream, brick and mortar place, I led a five-session class (slash, process group) entitled, “God is dead, and I don’t feel too good myself.” It was an attendance record-setting, adult education class.

 

 

 

Me, calmly to Alexi, “No, Maimonides didn’t, really. Furthermore, he hinted quite loudly at the opposite, that he was what you might call an atheist.”

 

I take a breath and start back, calmly, “Even if Schlomo Ben Maimon said stating a belief in God is definitional to being a Jew, I still needn’t. The Holy One, blessed be,” I say, catching his eye, smiling and winking, “God — if you insist on such a being existing — gave me personal autonomy to not believe. And then, simply, I choose to not believe in God.”

 

 

 

He shifts his gaze to the bottom corner of the blue painted bench he’s sitting on. 

 

 

 

Re-organizing thoughts we thought we knew to be true as thoughts we now see are not necessarily true is hard work.

 

 

 

“Alexi, my friend,” I say, as though I’m about to offer him a glass of schnapps, “Unlearning what we thought was true is so very uncomfortable. Indeed.”

 

 

 

I sit with him in silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi, {{ subscriber.first_name }}

 

 

 

And, I’m privileged that you spend some of your time today reading my words.

 

 

 

While I you’ve not officially asked — “Hey, Brian, can you advise me in my spiritualigious life?” — I think it safe to say “I’m your rabbi.”

 

 

 

I thank you for the honor.

 

 

 

I thank you for the wonderful year of connection we’ve had through this newsletter this year and look forward to another 40 weeks in 2023.

 

ROTB’S WEEKLY GATHERING.
Saturdays at 8am PT

 LIVE :  ROTB here. 
Or on Facebook / YouTube

With love,
Rabbi Brian

Share with a Friend

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email
WhatsApp

Also by Rabbi Brian

77% Weekly
Rabbi Brian

Breadcrumb a hard time.

As you know, I send a spiritualigious newsletter every Monday, except for the last Monday of the month. Last Monday, January 30, you received the

Read More »
77% Weekly
Rabbi Brian

Newel Post Acceptance

******* GRACE & ACCEPTANCE *** Before his magical visit with Clarence, the wood finial atop the newel post at 320 Sycamore comes off in George

Read More »