Sunday, May 06, 2007

Knock knock:

by: Schvach Yid

It's the old joke. The doorbell rang. There they stood, two people, a man and a woman, like a matching pair of bookends, a copy of the Watchtower magazine between them (I wish it had been Jimmy Hendrick’s 'Along the Watch Tower' instead – on that we could’ve agreed). He and I looked at each other. I knew I had grimaced. He apparently attempted to squelch his uptown proclivity but evidently couldn’t. He began his con while she remained silent for the whole brief visit. ‘Do you think evil will always be with us?’ he asked. ‘Yes’ I answered – get it?. ‘Why?’, he continued. I remained silent. ‘Can I read you a scripture?’ he continued. ‘NO!’ I retorted. I bid them farewell, and closed the door. Doesn’t he know what a mezuzah is? Doesn’t he know where it’s placed on a doorpost and what it means? Doesn’t he know it’s Shabbos? I could have quoted the appropriate phrase from Tanakh to him, but didn’t : Isaiah – ‘I bring peace and create evil’. Why bother, and it was Shabbos to boot. I wonder if he knows what rude means.

Just what is religious proselytizing about, anyway? Why do Christians do it us? Are they saying,’we can’t become you, so you must become us?’ Wouldn’t they just love to trade places with us, I mean ‘scripturally’ speaking? And why have they spent the past one and a half millennia chasing us? Could this be an acculturation of the narcissistic personality disorder, you know, the abusive wannabe mentality?

This same scene played in front of my door several years ago. On that occasion it was matching male bookends. Again, only one of the pair spoke (perhaps the other was a trainee). I stood there as he took all the line he wanted. I told him I’m Jewish (no, not like Louis Black tells his audience he’s Jewish). More stuff from the proselytizer. He told me how his ‘savior’ was the greatest, or last, prophet to the Jews. He then turned to a page in his bible (he came prepared) and proceeded to read ‘a scripture’, as he called it. In response I told him to turn to the last paragraph of Deuteronomy – ‘ And never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses whom Gd knew face to face…’ Hazak and goodbye!

I just don’t get it. A person can’t be what he isn’t. A person is whatever that person is (the Chumash – ‘I will be what I will be’, and Popeye the Sailor – ‘I am what I am!’). This is one of the beauties of Judaism. Of all the religions I’ve either encountered or have heard of, only Judaism has this live-and-let-live approach to life. It is not the ‘true’ religion (despite the fact that the Aybischter is ‘One’ – the creator of the Universe); it’s the religion of the Jews, the descendents of Jacob - Israel– Beit Yisrael (see R’ Adin Steinsaltz’s book ‘We Jews’). Any proselytizing bible basher should have picked this up on his/her way through the first five books of the ‘Old Testament’.

Back to my former work place and my former boss’ lord and master (forgive this reference to the Sitra Achra, but it’s instructive). There he stood in his lab, pontificating to one of his post-doctoral fellows about his adopted religion, Christianity. This biochemist had come to America as a young man to do his post-doctoral fellowship (in the lab of a renowned Jewish biomedical researcher – see the earlier blog ‘…Sisyphean…’) located in a celebrated university on the west coast, but it wasn’t until he accepted a faculty appointment at a university in the Bible Belt (my last place of employment) that he chose to convert. He made every effort to convince himself that he’s the real McCoy, and in true narcissistic fashion was abusive (and bigoted) about it. Now, decades older, he had a cadre of his own fellows and students, and there he stood, a professor on his own turf, lecturing to his only European (to be read ‘Western and White’) post-doctoral fellow about his own religion. The post-doctoral fellow was a Christian descended from generations and centuries of Christian family members; his boss, the diminutive professor of earlier blogs, was new to this aspect of the Western band wagon, and he presumed expertise on the subject. The whole thing is self defeating. Jewish teaching comes to the rescue. You are what you are! Change is not necessarily good, despite the politically correct mantra to the contrary. And what’s wrong with what you are? As long as you don’t hurt anyone, nothing!


marallyn ben moshe said...

good morning schvach...and if i was...which i am not...interested in changing sides...does anyone really think that the 'avon lady' will help me see the light??? mezuzzahs kept away the angel of death but it seems that it can't keep away you know who's other little helpers...sigh...great post

Schvach said...

Glad to have you as an ally, b'keff!

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