Monday, February 07, 2005

8. Back to the Chicken Incident

This evening a group of us studied Kiddush Levana, an ancient ritual honoring the moon and its symbolic unity of opposites--light and dark, male and female, rationality and emotion. I've been surprised, over the last few years, to learn about these and similar concepts, because as a child I was taught that Judaism was a religion of absolutes. You either observed or you didn't, and anything halfway made you a bad Jew. Since halfway was the only method I knew, by the time I got out of college I began to avoid thinking about the whole thing, else I would drown in guilt. Some might have turned the other way, to ritual and Orthodoxy, but I didn't see the point. My father prayed three times a day, and still drank and yelled and was not very nice to my mother, who ate BLTs. I found no correlation between being a good person and being a religious one. Eventually I abandoned the entire exercise, just like I did the chicken--with some muttering and furtive glances, hoping no one saw me.

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