Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tale 5: Chosen Family - Judges - Start

What a Spring. Mary wasn't talking to Bob. Simcha wasn't talking to Ori. Bob didn't want Simcha in his house. Bethany willingly made herself the object of Simcha's spite against his family by coming over theirs, Simcha'd would show his contempt for the laws and customs which were also his by freely announce he was leaving to visit Bethany's friends, friends he often didn't like and was sure they didn't like him.

Ori knew that this tohu vavohu is what Chabadniks take on by living in the world of apikorsim like Bob Katz. The other Charedim keep to themselves. Die Toyreh provides six hundred thirteen commandments to keep order in life. No Jew has to lead, all they have to do is wrestle with the decisions of how to interpret laws that are already laid out for them with thousands of precedents for how each law can be studied.

Blood is not red until it leaves the body, and Der Rebbe wanted a thriving, bruising, lean Yiddishkeit that fights for every inch of every Jew's Neshawmeh rather than the unhealthy and wheezing Yiddishkeit of Charedim who never ventured out into Olam HaZeh. He wanted Freylikhkeit, he wanted happiness, and he knew that the greatest happiness is in letting ander Yids grow into their Yiddishe kops. If Simcha goes off the derekh for a little bit,

It's not like Bethany didn't wear long skirts and sleeves when she was over the Freylik's, but it was not something anyone was shy about correcting. If the skirt didn't cover up everything, if she rolled up a sleeve, if she wore a color too flashy, if she starts humming to herself. Tzakhi tells her 'and you should cover your hair up under a sheytl if you come in' after Rinah gently reminds Bethany that she shouldn't be in a room alone with Simcha, which starts a roaring shouting match between the two brothers. There's that 'korveh' word again. All Tzakhi has to do to win the argument is to stand a few inches away from Simcha's eyes in all his particularly unimpressive gangliness, but sans the Simcha hump. Bethany shows up again two nights later with a large hat. One day Kristina convinces Simcha to let her tag along, Tzakhi calls her an oberkapo and tells her she shouldn't even be allowed to stay with the Katzes.

Yes, it's April 1994, five months after the release of Schindler's List and one after it wins the Best Picture Oscar. The Oslo Accords may yet happen. The Rebbe may still yet live forever. A million Shoah survivors around Amerikeh und Yisroel live out the full bloom of their resurrected lives with kinder and eyniklach they can only yearn for their briders und shvesters could live to see. Trees of life grown tall and strong without roots. Gott! Far vos mir und nicht zay?

As far as springtime in the history of our people go, this is a particularly relaxing one. So Bethany and Kristina go over to Vicki's house to find some relief, and out of a mixture of pity and Kristina's entreaties, they invite Simcha, who tries weed for the first time in Vicki's bedroom only to wig out as he follows the circular logic of weed smokers that he's too different from this crowd and is so completely out of his element he'll make a wrong decision that will kill him. Vicki assures him all he needs to do is go with the flow, just lie back and relax and accept it all. But he can't do it until he hears:


Kristina's shriek relaxes him in a manner Vicki's laid back entreaties never could. He lies back, resting his head on Kristina's right breast as Bethany rests her head on his, Vicki on her's, Kristina on Vicki's. As Simcha's paranoid mind takes in the jam rock, prog rock, art rock, and new wave for the first time. With its twenty-minute long songs whose drones served for so many Jews a generation older than Simcha as something akin to cult worship, a religion substitute that was cheaper than going off to a Nepalese Ashram, giving them the community and belonging and devotion and self-sacrifice to music too mediocre leave unworshipped.

Even Jerry Garcia wouldn't die for more than a year. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name this was a great time to be a Jew and this was the world we of that generation were lead to believe would be ours unto the world to come. And Simcha hasn't even discovered The Simpsons yet.

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