Friday, December 25, 2015

Star Wars and my spirituality

My wife and I went to see the new Star Wars movie yesterday. And while I definitely enjoyed it, I also saw some plot holes that could have interfered with my pleasure. I won't mention those plot holes here, so as not to reveal any spoilers to readers.

But what about me? I noticed those plot holes while I was watching the movie itself, and while they couldn't serve as spoilers in the classic sense, since I now know the plot and outcome, they definitely could have acted as spoilers in the sense that had I let them, they could have harmed my viewing pleasure.

But they didn't. I noted the issues as they arose, but then tucked them away and just let the narrative carry me along. I didn't let small things destroy a wonderful experience. I immersed myself in the wonder of a modern myth legend of heroes and villains, and the of the epic quest romance adventure that once again, (after the disappointing prequels), represents Star Wars.

Over the years, I've come to see "plot holes" in Judaism as well. The innocent stories that I was told as a child don't add up. Things are not as black and white as I was taught. And most glaringly, the dogma of our religion doesn't stand up to scrutiny. I now no longer believe that the Torah was written directly by God. Nor do I believe that many of the Biblical figures really existed, and even if they did, certainly not as depicted. I recognize that our national aspirations of a future messianic era evolved out of a long and messy history and may not represent actual prophetic visions.

So I have a choice. Do I let these plot holes in Judaism be spoilers to my faith? Do I reject the whole experience because some of the pieces fit together?

I'm thankful that I made the choice not to let a few plot holes be spoilers of the immersive, inspirational, and deeply spiritual experience of being a Jew, and of my observance of Torah & Mitzvot. If I can put aside the flaws so I can enjoy a modern myth that is clearly fictional and only a few decades old, then I can certainly put into perspective the plot holes of Judaism as well, and not let them spoil the sacred myths of our people, which evolved out of hundreds of generations of our ancestors struggling to find their way to Hashem and creating stories that helped them to do so.

Whether I believe or not that Hashem literally commanded us to observe certain practices, I feel I am commanded to observe them by the experience of our people over 3,000 years through a history that is real, and deep, and incredible, and is deeply embedded in my heart and soul, and I would never give that up just because of a few plot holes.

Shabbat Shalom