I want to state that the happiest moments of my life are spent with my daughter, daughter in law and granddaughter. This was not a role I intended or thought would happen. Being there as a dad even with the bad moments means everything.
I exchanged emails with a friend who was a true Christian and recently passed. Even though my family is Hindu and I am Jewish I celebrate the Christian holidays with my family as well as the Hindu festivals. On a certain level you will grasp my non thoughts about many things.
I have never been theologically inclined. My view of the matter is that religion is a complimentary function of a well balanced life. At the center of that life are personal ethics and values. Without a healthy core any religion is merely window dressing for hypocrisy.
I remember the Judaism of my youth and it wasn't always annoying. The best of it was the time with my grandfather. We would bring the family together for a Passover Seder. The focus was the family and the Seder was merely a means to an end.
My disdain comes from seeing a mania and Felix Unger type on nonsense from my brother over the most idiotic of small details. Instead of bringing the family together his mono-focused mania and rambling over minutia make his visits annoying. His children are basically headed to a future of mendicancy and cultural impairment.
The battle between myself and my brother is typical of those in many homes. The culture of entitlement is something of a moral and mental defect impacting parts of my community. The impositions of the religious upon their more secular family is never really discussed. When my brother visits he brings his extremism and ignorance with him. Save religious texts and vocation my brother is a cultural zombie and a first class bore.
The house gets transformed into a medieval dwelling and his endless visits become a source of anger.
At the center of this conflict is the sense of entitlement. He is religious so it is peachy that he hold his hand out and live a joke of a life. His wife would be sent into industrial therapy with symptoms remarkably similar to classic inner city conditions that are commonly seen in drug addicts. She has no sense of time, organization,
has zero social skills and can not hold even the most menial of jobs with an advanced accounting degree. Her sloth has burned through resources that should have been intended for other family members. When my brothers car broke rather than get a new one, he pressured my parents into taking mine.
He rushes from party to party giving gifts he can not afford and comes with his hand out. His son is finally in a college attempting to get a degree but years of substandard dedication to secular studies, cultural isolation
and bombastic fixation on Torah will no doubt lead to a life of mendicancy. The best of this pathetic lot is the niece who will likely marry and have kids she can't afford with a theologically obsessed drone.
As a father I made sure that these conflicts do not exist in our home. The holidays serve as a vehicle to bring
the family together. We do not obsess over banal details and the focus is family first. My daughter understands that hard work is part of life and being self sufficient is the only way to live. In essence I recreated the spirit of my grandfather in my own family.
Now some of you may be shocked and appalled, but my grandfather would understand my angst. His life as well as that of my maternal grandmother embodied the following values family, hard work, honesty and self reliance. The notion that one should study theological texts on the dime of others would not be something he would have approved of. Pushing away others with religious boorishness and mendicancy would not be acceptable.
I will be with my daughter at an Easter dinner and there will be no seder this year. I chose family and substance first. Religion is a way to bring families together. When it divides families or becomes a chore the
essential essence of the faith is lost.
A Happy Passover and Easter to All