There are many many reasons why I am not a pulpit rabbi. One of the biggest is that I am not a rabbi. I received a different sort of smicha, but we’ll save that post for a later date. I’d ask you to forgive me for the flippant tone, but this is my blog and I can do what I want. Sorry, been spending copious amounts of time with a toddler.
This past weekend I was privileged to spend some time at a place that I consider to be holy ground. There weren’t any burning bushes, no voices instructing me to take my shoes off, but I have seen the area go up in flames.
It is a place that has been the setting for many of the life lessons that have helped to shape who I am today. Any time I walk those hills I hear the echoes of the past. It is somewhere that I go when I am happy and when I am sad. I can beneath a star filled sky and contemplate life. I wish that somehow I could bring the feeling that I get into this blog because it would be nice to be able to share that.
Every so often the idea of the rabbinate comes up. It attracts and repulses me all at the same time. I don’t have as strong a background in classic Jewish education as I would like. Haven’t had all that much time learning Gemara as a I might like. I haven’t been fortunate enough to spend a year learning in Israel.
But that is not to say that I don’t learn, that I haven’t any education, or that I don’t have any sort of background at all. I do.
Part of my challenge is trying to figure out where I am at. From a religious perspective I am in an in between time. There are a lot of things that I cannot accept. I can’t buy some of the precepts. That is not to say that I haven’t in the past or that I won’t find them again in the future, but I am not there now.
I don’t believe that a pulpit rabbi never questions his faith. I don’t believe that you can be a good rabbi without challenging yourself. I don’t believe that you can lead or teach without taking the time to look inside. How do you try and explain to others something that you have never questioned nor experienced yourself.
More than anything, the real reason I don’t want to be a pulpit rabbi is that I don’t want to deal with the politics. I have worked in more than one shul. I have always been involved and continue to be, but that doesn’t mean that I want my livelihood tied into that.
I don’t want to have to worry about whether my sermon is considered too boring, or my ties too ugly. I don’t want to have conversations with the synagogue president about why the kiddish is this or that. I don’t think that I can go officiate at a million funerals of people I don’t know.
I am not really sure where this is going or what I am thinking about, so I think that I’ll just end this here.