Having grown up deeply ingrained in the Orthodox Jewish world view, it’s a constant process for me to re-examine what I was taught. Some things obviously rubbed me the wrong way, and I questioned them as part of my journey.
Other things were less aggravating, so I simply accepted them at face value. It’s been years since I was religious, but those assumptions still stand in my mind. And it’s at random points that I have realizations that to others are probably obvious.
Realizations like “Hey! Kiddush Levana is remarkably similar to a pagan moon-worship ritual.”
Yes, we have specific instructions about how to not look at the moon. How to make sure it’s not avoda zara. But maybe that’s a clue as to the areas that were probably “avoda zara” in the first place?
From animal sacrifice to the constant admonitions to not worship idols – it may be obvious to outsiders, but to me it’s an ongoing revelation that original Judaism was not a sudden monotheistic flash of mt. sinai light in the darkness. Rather, it was a constantly evolving invention of the people more or less in line with the trends of the time.
There comes a point pretty early on where the average kid realizes that Santa Clause isn’t real (if you haven’t yet, sorry to ruin that one for you). And yet I, 30 years old and a sceptic by nature, have dozens of Santa Clauses I still live with, part of an airtight deceptive narrative perpetuated by thousands.
It’s harder to dismiss the bullshit when you grew up surrounded by people who mocked Santa.
They mocked the “lies”, so what they do must be true.
They mocked what everyone knows is fake just for toying with the idea. And yet they deeply and fervently believed much deeper bullshit which they applied to their everyday life.
I wish I could dismiss all this crap as easily as I dismiss the Easter Bunny. Instead, the annoyance, anxiety and guilt of having done Kiddush Levana, of having not yet done Kiddush Levana, of wanting to do Kiddush Levana but not having ten men / a cloudless sky / enough days since rosh chodesh, still lingers; along with thousands of other minute pagan practices I devoutly gave my life to.
Have you worshipped the moon yet? Because the one true God will be really pissed if you didn’t.