I am hardly the paragon of religious piety and far from a moral messiah. There are parts of my life that are less than exemplary and things I am ashamed of on a daily basis -- from gossip to judgements of others to white lies I've told. I am quite far from perfect.
Even if the prerequisite to write for this section is "to be very very good," then I may not be a fit. However, if there is leeway here and refreshing honesty, the admission that there is much to work on, to improve, to completely change and repent for are among the criteria, then maybe I won't have to abandon and jump ship.
What makes one eligible for the Religion section? And furthermore, what makes one a "good person"? According to Judaism, there is a concept of being created in the image or likeness of God and the interpretation is to emulate Him ("Her" for the feminists).
Rabbi Noah Weinberger writes for Aish HaTorah:
"Would you want to be the person to discover the cure for cancer or eliminate the threat of nuclear war? Of course! We would all love to rid the world of it's problems and unite humanity in peace and harmony. That is the Jewish concept of the Messiah. He will put the world back together.
I once asked a class, "Tell me honestly. In the secret, innermost part of your heart, do you harbor the desire to be the Messiah himself?"
The entire class raised their hands.
Now here's a deep spiritual secret: The soul, the divine spark within each of us, craves to be united with the source of all life -- the Almighty God. And for that reason, every human being, underneath it all, would not even feel satisfied being the Messiah. Our soul desires to be like God Himself.
So why don't we aim for it?
Not because we don't want to change the world. But because the effort seems too great."
I know ambitious people who desire to be great, who give charity, who go out of their way so as not to offend others and who perform acts of kindness, but like many of the political candidates we've come to know -- and, er, read about in the tabloids -- every one has faults. How many personal pitfalls (and of what magnitude) is a person permitted to still be considered a "good person" in others' eyes?
And when it comes to this Religion section of The Huffington Post, are all welcome to post and weight in? Are we all worthy? Furthermore, do we even need to be worthy to weigh in here?
Maybe religion is about exploration and I am Magellan on a long voyage to stake my great straits. However, my journey has been far from great, or nice and straight.
I wish there was a way to end this piece by saying that I've found my inner peace.
Happy endings have always been my specialty when it comes to writing, especially those fictional stories and plays I would craft when I was in college. But to accept blindly and say "I don't need to understand" is not my style, so I trudge on and wade through. Sometimes I don't try at all, making a half-hearted attempt to determine what is right, what is wrong and what is simply my "Jewish guilt." The latter is a cliche I did not intend to succumb to, but perhaps it is innate, a fate I just can't escape.
Who am I and should I be writing here? There's no clear cut answer, but I'm back -- back here in the Religion section -- with the intention of finding out.