BT Experince - part IV - Paradise Lost
Noam begins to wonder about the philosophy that the KP and his yeshiva teach. On the one hand, he is an authority on morality and ethics. On the other hand, he has rationalized this behavior and even found halachic rationalization, perhaps stretched out of shape somewhat, to support his position. Noam begins to understand how alone he really his, how, when the chips are down, it is money and standing that count, not the ethics and morality that had been drummed into him. Perhaps for the first time, he takes an honest look at the basis on which he was convinced to drop his entire repetoire of common sense, his basic values, his ideas on what it would take to make a living without "G-d helping", his acceptance of Jewish fundamentalist and mystical approach positions, the way he had built his life on a litany of chasidic or tzadik stories, and he begins to wonder what else he had been "sold".
Clarify here that it is not that the KP does anything wrong, per se. Noam understands the "grey area" of this case (though my caricature has drawn it more black and white). What he finds is that, (and if you miss this, you miss the point), contrary to what he was taught, he is not part of the "family". He has been told that his soul will burn in hell if he eats the wrong potato chips. He has given with mesiras nefesh so that he and his family can follow this philosophy. He estranged himself from his family of his youth. who told him that his crazy philosophy would lead him to disappointment and financial hardship. And now it has, and he finds that when the magic doesn't work, his symbol of frumkeit simply darshans it out of existence. When he confronts the KP, he is told that he just doesn't understand, that he is too new to Judaism to follow the nuance, that there is something wrong with him. Noam's bubble has now burst. He realizes that he has no landsmen, his family was not all crazy when they told him that his newfound philosophy, right off of the kiruv presses, was a bit starry eyed and not livable in the real world. He realizes that he must adjust quickly.
One of four things can happen here. 1) Noam will react with anger, reject Judaism and act l'hach'is publicly. 2) Noam will meekly accept the entreaties of his KP dutifully, and he will simply continue in his bubble, rationalizing that this is just a personal thing, and he needs to get over it. 3) Noam will join the many thousands that simply drop all enthusiasm and continue to practice outwardly for the sake of his wife and children. 4) He will adopt some middle position where he still believes in the dream that he chased to yeshiva, but with the realization that he has no basis to start from, no family to rely on, no real way to discern true from false or trustworthy from untrustworthy,
Philosophically, he changes radically. He knows that "G-d will help", but he does not know what that means any longer. He knows that "right is right" and "wrong is wrong", but he doesn't know what that neans either. He doesn't know if the people that he was taught were saintly and pure also have lackeys that rationalize away their faults.
And the sad thing is that it did not have to go down this way at all, even under the same circumstances. More on that.
And enter the nonkiruv FFB. He listens to Noam discuss his concerns. Perhaps Noam considers him a friend. But, his view may be totally different.
Next, Revenge of the Myth