"I need to know your motivations," he said. "Orthodox Jews are a tiny peculiar people. Why do you want to become one?"
"Motivations?" I exclaimed. "Motivations? You need to know my motivations? You can never know my motivations because I can never know my motivations."
"Well, you can have some idea."
"Some idea? You can only have glimmerings of your own motivations. And then to tell them to you, a rabbi, would-be converts only have incentives to tell you what you want to hear. Motivations? You want to know about motivations? That sounds Christian. My dad the preacher wants to know about motivations. As Dennis Prager says, ‘They trust the heart! We trust the Law!’
"I think we can have a pretty good idea."
"How many times have you been deceived?"
"A few but usually the system works.
"You have friends who are trembling with excitement over the prospect of joining the Jewish people. They love God and Torah and Israel."
My friends have a pure love? Not the friends I know. Trembling with excitement? Yeah, they’re trembling with excitement to get out from under the thumb of the rabbis. They’re trembling with excitement to no longer be vulnerable to the machinations of a Beit Din. They’re trembling with excitement to take back control of their lives.
This trembling before G-d is for girls and poofters.
I’m a manly man who embraces the truth in all its complexity and only shares his feelings with a select few, not with a group of rabbis who are going to judge me.
There was a time when I too trembled with excitement over joining the Jewish people. But that was so long ago, before I broke Dennis Prager’s heart, before I messed things up at Aish HaTorah, Young Israel of Century City, Beth Jacob and Bais Bezalel, before I became the most evil man Rabbi Union had ever met. Now I’m a rebel with a blog and a punk with a slingshot (to quote Rodger Jacobs).
I guess there are people who tremble with excitement over their wedding night.
There’s a sweetness to that.
I can barely comprehend.
I guess there are people who look forward to talking to G-d during davening.
I can barely comprehend.
I went the other way. I ate the forbidden fruit.
I chose knowledge.
I don’t distinguish between genres of knowing.
From Hustler to Keats, it’s all knowledge.
Sure, I ain’t pure, but at least I ain’t trembling before no rabbis.
I’m not trembling.
Really I’m not.
I don’t care enough. You can’t hurt me.
I don’t care.
Ain’t missing you at all.
Since you been gone.