"I had lunch with these great people," said my friend. "You know them. They seem to have it all. They seem to have a great marriage. They have a beautiful home. They have beautiful children. They have a great dog. They have thriving careers. They have an honored place in the observant community. I envy them. I want to be like them. What should I do?"

"Place yourself in a position where you can spend as much time as possible around these type of people," I said.

"But isn’t envy a sin?"

"Don’t worry about that. You’re aspiring to be more. They’re showing you a way. Watch what the people you admire do and become like them."

I turned away and walked home. I’ve been trying to follow my own advice for 15 years, since I came to Pico-Robertson. The primary reason I am an Orthodox is that most of the great people I know are Orthodox Jews. I want to be like them. And yet I am so far from them. I am so far removed from the people I want to be like. I am so scorned by the people I admire.

Oh well. I have competing values. Following the demon of my writing is even more important to me than creating bonds with my fellow Orthodox Jews. When community and blogging clash, I choose blogging.

Hari har.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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