It’s happened again. Someone said something that pissed me off so badly that I never want to see him again. Not that I’ve seen so much of him over the last seven or eight years. It was someone who I dated years ago, and broke off amiably because, well, because we weren’t right for each other.
Now he shows up in my life again, suddenly, without invitation, and wants to strike up a relationship again. All well and good: I’m open to new relationships now.
So we Skype for a few hours–he lives far away–and that was nice. We talk about mutual passions passionately–nice too. And then he drops the bomb.
You see, I am Jewish, and so is he. He is much more Orthodox-ly observant than I am. I’m basically, well, just a Jew. I’m skeptical about a lot of the Orthodox beliefs and customs. I used to be very, very Orthodox, and I kind of got over that. A lot of it has to do with the second-class citizen status of Orthodox women. Most Orthodox people, men and women alike, would object to that statement, saying that men and women respectively have different roles, and that both of those roles are necessary to make up the whole. I agree with that, except that the roles that are relegated to women are mainly domestic. That’s all I will say about that.
So this new hopeful is going along giving me tons of advice about Kabbalistic ways of healing PTSD. It all looked great to me, except that it required the unrestricted use of a mikveh, which is a Jewish ritual bath. Religious Jewish men use one nearly every day, for Jewish religious men’s reasons. Jewish women are restricted to using a mikveh only once a month, after their menstrual period has ended; and sometimes before Yom Kippure, the Day of Atonement, as part of the purifying process of the day.
So we entered a discussion regarding the prohibition on women’s free use of the mikveh, which has to do with the rabbinical courts’ rulings that allowing women to immerse in the mikveh at any time would lead to promiscuity, since a woman who has immersed is now in a pure state for sexual relations. I know, it’s complicated. So he sends me all these articles that support women’s free access to the mikveh.
That’s where the trouble started. I pointed out that one of the articles came from a Conservative rabbi (there are three main branches of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform, and none of them agree with each other), which would make it more lenient than the Orthodox opinions.
He wrote me back saying that Rabbi so-and-so says that Conservative and Reform Jews are heretics, and he doesn’t associate with them.
That pulled my chain really, really bad. I flared up like gasoline on a campfire. You can argue all the theory you want, but don’t call other Jews heretics. That’s like damning them to Hell, even though we don’t believe in Hell. It’s completely erasing them as valid human beings.
So he realizes what he’s done, begs me not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, backpeddles, and does everything he can think of to get himself out of the tight place he’s stuck his own *ss in. I won’t have it. What’s said is said, and I have no obligation to suck it up, because we really don’t have any kind of relationship yet.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a tendency to get angry when I feel that someone has been wronged–even myself. I think it would be nice to just coast along, unaffected by the words and actions of others. I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried all kinds of ways to stay unattached. It doesn’t work.
I think it’s all the anger that I didn’t allow myself to feel when I was “scramblin’ down in the streets” (Joni Mitchell) and couldn’t afford to get angry, and during the times that my mother’s wrath kept my mouth firmly closed, lest I get it slapped.