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Showing posts from October, 2006

"There were plagues! I know there were plagues!"

Our first seder after getting married. One bedroom apartment in married student housing, us and four guests: a Catholic friend from grad school and his fiance (also Catholic, of course), and a Jewish friend with his "significant other" (not Jewish, of course). We got the good hard-cover Union haggadas and had just finished the whole thing. Said all the text, sang all the songs (as best as we could...), and gotten all the way to the back hard cover. No plagues. No allusion to plagues. We had a JPS bible that my wife had gotten for her Bat Mitzvah. I found my way to the book of Exodus, then to the the Moses meeting with Pharoh. "Yes! Look! Plagues. I knew there were plagues."

In retrospect, I realize that that was the beginning for me; the first step on the journey that let to where I am today.

I'd grown up nominally reform. That is, at home we lit chanuka candles, didn't have a christmas tree. At my (paternal) grandparents house we had a passover s…

All beginnings are difficult.

So say our sages. What is the difference between this and "the longest journey starts with a single step"? The problem with that statement is that small journeys, even accidental journeys also start with a single step. When our sages tell us that "all beginnings are difficult"... they also mean to tell us that if it is not difficult, then it is not a beginning. This should not be disheartening... rather encouraging; for when you want to really start something there are always road blocks. Road blocks should not, therefore, make you feel like "this is a sign that I shouldn't be doing this." Exactly the opposite, those road blocks may indeed be a sign... a sign that you are embarking on something important and real.

It is with this in mind that I am beginning to write how I went from agnostic/atheist scientist to ultra-orthodox (jewish) scientist. It didn't happen over night.... more like 30 years and counting. There were times of big changes…