When you get on the wrong side of “ger”
I have to chuckle …
Ok, maybe I don’t have to … but it does make me chuckle.
Recently I wrote an article, The Ger Above Us All. I wrote it and didn’t really look back after that.
But then a friend tapped me on the shoulder and said “dude, one of the people you referred to in your article did a response.” And lo and behold, one of those who praise the notion of “ger” had in fact written a response. I think for the sake of fairness, I’ll quote everything he said. It was the guy called “John Esposito.” This is what he said in his response.
Look, I’m also famous.
Little does the author know, he completely misconstrued my words. And obviously doesn’t know me at all.
I do not, in any way, feel myself superior to anyone. I am a very “live and let live” type of person. I don’t care what your beliefs are, whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, etc. What I care about is what you do. Belief means nothing; action means everything.
I do not have ANY problem whatsoever with the term(s) Ben/Bat/B’nei NoaH. In fact, I use them often. And find immense beauty and meaning in them. Whether or not they are in the written Torah.
My problem is with the term Noahide. When I speak of “Noahide”-ism, it is the sour taste that the English, modern term has always put on my tongue (far, far before any modern “Ger movement”). It is the suffocation of CERTAIN teachers in the Noahide camp that do indeed stifle and almost control B’nei NoaH unlike the giants of Torah for centuries before them (and today).
He missed the mark completely with my post. I was, in fact, showing the vast differences and personalities within all B’nei NoaH. Everyone is an individual and has their path. They have their style. They have their personality. Some need structure. Some are more lax. Some hold strictly to the 7 and “only” the 7. Some hold to the 7 and the rest of the 613. And then there are those between.
Each person has their natural way. Each person has their path and evolution. Each person has their own psychological makeup and/or consciousness/world(s) they are rooted (ABiYA) And I RESPECT that deeply. I respect my brothers and sisters. I respect my fellow human beings, no matter what creed.
Now looking at that, what he said, it’s not too harsh, is it? He doesn’t come across like a bad person. He does of course accuse of me of misconstruing his words. I don’t believe I did. In fact, the few words I said about his previous comment about “Noahide-ism” being suffocation and “ger” being freedom were easily understood from his words. His post about suffocation left no room for “the vast differences in personalities within all B’nei Noah” and it also left no room for “the suffocation of CERTAIN teachers in the Noahide camp …” It was quite inclusive of much more than that. But one thing I’ll agree with is that I don’t know him. He is a stranger to me. If his character is as he describes, he may be a nice guy to talk to.
Anyway, he’s free to attempt to describe his present reconstruction of that post as he will. He seems open enough in his defense, the respect he has for his fellow human beings – hopefully I’m included – for us to agree to disagree and go our own way without lifting a verbal sword against one another. Did you know, he didn’t even insult me? He gave his view and then left it there … at least that’s what he did with his written word. I pray he is consistent in his manner that he also treated me with such good respect in his spoken word as well. That’s not a put-down. That’s an honest desire. It’s wonderful to meet people who actually write how they feel and then when they leave the keyboard, their mouths and lives are consistent and not duplicitous.
So let’s imagine that “John Esposito” looked me in the face … ok, not in the face as he didn’t do me the honour of actually talking to me directly about what he felt I had said wrong about his words. It could be said that I did the same thing. So I’m not gonna fuss too much about that. Anyway, back to the story. So let’s imagine that “John Esposito” said what he felt about me, appeared to at least give good hearted respect and then walked away. If that were the end of the story, I think there would be peace and not much at all to say about the “ger.”
But unfortunately, the true face of humanity arose amongst those who call themselves “ger.” Unfortunately they showed a characteristic that I’ve seen in one of their main rabbis. I’ll share with you some of the bitterness they shared amongst themselves. Here are some quotes.
The deal is these guys that are trolling FB for Ger writings to twist around… are so afraid that the people they think they have control over will see the truth in the Torah about Ger and drop these no no hide teachings like a hot potato… and you know their right… (sic.)
So the person who wrote this accuses me of purposefully looking around for “ger writings” in order to twist them. So I look for stuff to twist. That’s accusing me of a great wickedness. It’s almost like saying “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” A Jewish idiot said that about fellow Jews who didn’t accept his ridiculous and fallacious claims. The person who said that about me seems to think me evil, as “a troll.” Each to his own, huh?
Wait! The dude thinks I’ve got control over people? Oh, maybe he’s talking about some conspiracy. Let’s not dwell on the non-existent.
Shall we learn more from the example of the “gerrings?”
… it amazes me that they are attacking Ger but with opinions not Torah ……. so far reading their arguments, there is only opinions….. do they even study Torah?”
Ah, I’m now a part of a “they.” And I don’t appear to use “Torah.” Man, do I even study Torah? I guess all the Torah quotes I gave on this blog, references to various books about the Seven Laws, even a previous article where I use Torah and the commentaries to define what a ger is, I guess all that shows that I don’t study Torah, right? Not that I have a different opinion, but I don’t even study Torah. Right?
You get to know the character of a group when you see what they’re willing to accuse you of.
Woah.. He is trying to stir the pot.. He wants to create division. Trying to create “us vs Them”. LOud noises!!!
Ah, after being accused of purposefully trolling to find ger stuff and twist it, and after being accused of being ignorant of Torah, now it is said that it is my desire to create division. Now it’s important that you see the sort of paint that they are using to tarnish me. The issue isn’t me. Believe me, today I’m here and tomorrow I’m gone. But it’s what they are willing to say and what they actually say about someone that they disagree with that is very telling.
As my colleague said, there is literally no difference between a “ger” and a “noahide,” both when it comes to our divine responsibility as non-Jews and when it comes to our humanity. There is good and bad in all of them. They are humans and will act like all sorts of humans act. A person who shrugs off “noahide” to join the so-called “ger” is essentially jumping on the exact same spot.
Anyway, look at what they’ve accused me of, trolling purposely to twist and distort, ignorant of Torah and desiring to create division. Now compare it with Mishlei [Proverbs] 6.
There are six things that God hates, and the seventh is detested by his soul: proud eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises thoughts of violence, feet quick to run to evil, one who speaks lies with false testimony and one who throws quarrels between brothers.
These people don’t just paint me as something bad. They’re saying I’m rotten and doing things hated by God. Again, it’s back to being evil.
Check out the next few accusations.
You have to figure that a few people have probably purchased all the rights to all the http://www.noahide-whatever. com … and are starting to get real nervous about their investments..
Follow the money and find the reasons they are so afraid of the Ger teachings
So now I’m not only wicked, I’m doing it for monetary gain.
Now, at least where it comes to the written word, “John Esposito” has left me alone. He’s said his peace, possibly given some respect, and then has left the scene. Not one of these words are his. These are from his fellow “gerrings.”
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that these people have never been in the same room or city as me, have never spoken to me face to face? Did I forget to say that except from possibly seeing my face on facebook, they would have no idea about my life, my family, etc? Yet they have managed to generate such an image of me that you may as well be careful when walking down dark alleys, because I may just be there with a machete to stab you in the back. Although I may end up falling over and hurting myself because as well as being evil and doing things for money, I’m ignorant as well.
I think it is partly because of attitudes like this that I can simply look around me and see just people. The labels drop off. The “christian” drops off. The “noahide” drops off. The “ger” drops off. Hell, even the “rabbi” drops off. It’s just people. And thank God we’re judged by our actions and not by labels. As “John Esposito” said, actions are everything!
It should be apparent that joining the “ger,” joining the “noahide,” joining whatever club changes nothing about your character. Solomon said it best: it’s all vanity; fear God and keep his commandments as that is what really matters. The only thing that lasts is God and his truth. Some time in the future this blog will be dead and gone. [Ok, don’t celebrate just yet! give me time first, if God wills.] Some time soon, I won’t even be a whisper on this earth and who knows if God will show me the kindness to see what is to come afterwards, the world to come? But when a person plants the seed of his life in God’s truth … there is something … *sigh* … there is something that lasts beyond life, regardless of a world to come. These petty squabbles will die like grass, but “the word of our God will stand forever.”
Why did I bring all this up? Won’t it disgrace someone? Won’t I be disgraced? Hey, why does that even matter?
If you take anything, anything of worth from this article, I hope it’s this. So many things in life don’t matter. But make sure your actions accord with God’s truth and his law. I don’t care what you call yourself. Make sure your actions accord with God’s truth!
*David lets out a long sigh*
Anyway, part of me doesn’t understand why there’s so much hang up over this “ger” stuff (and part of me does understand). I mean, think about it. A friend of mine on Facebook highlighted it for me. Why feel so attached to sojourner-ship? A stranger with limited privileges? That’s all “ger” means. I mean, just imagine. Someone says stuff like “I get ger” and yet its meaning is something like “I get being a migrant and being in a land not my own.” Ah, I don’t know. Maybe it’s been spiritualized like so many other nice concrete Torah concepts. But all non-Jews can have so much immersion in Torah and good conduct without the label.
In the end, shouldn’t it just be about obedience to God?