I realized tonite that I have a very long history with the mad black hatters.
My first encounter was in 7th grade. We were living in Los Angeles and I developed a huge crush on my rebbe, the first black hatter. He wasn’t mad, or at least (thank GD) he didn’t do anything mad. If anything he did a lot of good. He introduced me to my first friend, his cousins, in Chicago, when my parents made the very traumatic announcement that we were moving back there.
Then there was the mad black hatter when I was in high school. I must say he is probably my first true love and very first broken heart. He dumped me in a “Dear John” letter. The “Dear John” letter I received while back in LA working at a day camp with my former friends. That same summer, or maybe the next one, I met my cousins friend: the soon to be mad black hatter. He dumped me after his new found rabbi told him he shouldn’t talk to me even though I was the reason he got involved with the religious movement in the first place.
Then my first boyfriend, while studying a pretty religious seminary in Jerusalem. He, the first boyfriend told me he’d never live in the US and he would never be religious, I actually dumped him. But one year later, while home for Rosh Hashana I got a letter…no no no, NOT a dear John letter. No, this was a “you are the reason my life has changed for the best” letter. My Israel living non US living ex bf was now studying in a very happy place in the Old City. And thanks to me he found religion….and his soon to be American born Chasidic originated wife….. Need I mention that he lived for a spell (several years) in the US?!
This mad black hatter literally wears a black hat a black (by now white?) beard, has grandchildren, and still some 25 years later, is in touch with me.
As you see, my history with them is not made of happy endings…
SO, here it is, the eve of Yom Kippur and I am still thinking about the man I wrote about in my last post. Yup! You guessed it! ANOTHER mad black hatter.
Why do I keep going back to them? Especially when, those who know me in real life know I don’t look like them…but I do talk like them, sometimes and I definitely do believe like them in some ways. My friend Sarah has said over the years” You can take the girl out of the Michlala but you can’t take the Michlala out of the girl”. That is to say, I grew up there in that place in my “formative years”. It had a huge impact on my life and my family’s life. I was very happy for a very long time in that world. I never intended to leave it for good. But it is not easy dancing at two weddings at once and I really am a better fit to the life and community I am in. But the mad black hatter world still pulls at me.
At synagogue on Friday nite, the rabbi spoke about Yom Kippur and the different ways to look at repentawww.andbabymakes2.comnce. He essentially said he doesn’t look at it like that but rather, in another interpretation as the Ultimate Day of Love: we go to the mikva, wear white, fast, and “walk down the aisle”. These are all symbols of a wedding, the ultimate day of love. We are trying to cleave to our Maker and we want Him to cleave to us. But, all you therapists out there, in order to have a healthy relationship we need to know who we are. Only when we know who we are can we expect to have a healthier relationship, so too, in the rabbi’s speech with God.
So I say, on this Eve of Yom Kippur. I need to know who I am: I am a modern woman who lives in a very hot climate so I dress for it. Who also only wears skirts, who doesn’t drive on Shabat or fast on 9Av. I believe with all my being in Gd, in the Torah, in the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. I believe that my sleeves don’t define me but I love that my girls only wear skirts. I love that I daven in an egalitarian minyan but have no need for it nor do I participate in it actively.
I believe that I can fall in love with a mad black hatter even though I don’t want to live that life…completely. I believe that many have fallen in love with me but not enough to take a non-cookie cutter woman as their wife.
So I stand before God knowing who I am believing He knows who I am and that with His help I will find the one who I know and accept and who knows and accepts me.
Wishing you all a gut gbencht yor a shana tova and a happy healthy new year.