Monday, January 23, 2006

What is My Purpose?

King Without A Crown
What's this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my G-d all these songs of love and healing
Want Moshiach now so it's time we start revealing

You're all that I have and you're all that I need
Each and every day I pray to get to know you please
I want to be close to you, yes I'm so hungry
You're like water for my soul when it gets thirsty
Without you there's no me
You're the air that I breathe
Sometimes the world is dark and I just can't see
With these, demons surround all around to bring me down to negativity
But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
I'll stand on my own two feet
Won't be brought down on one knee
Fight with all of my might and get these demons to flee
Hashem's rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
Out of darkness comes light, twilight unto the heights
Crown Heights burnin' up all through till midnight
Said, thank you to my G-d, now I finally got it right
And I'll fight with all of my heart, and all a' my soul, and all a' my might


Me no want no sinsemilla.
That would only bring me down
Burn away my brain no way my brain is to compound
Torah food for my brain let it rain till I drown
Let the blessings come down

Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
You're a slave to yourself and you don't even know
You want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
If you're trying to stay high then you're bound to stay low
You want G-d but you can't deflate your ego
If you're already there then there's nowhere to go
If you're cup's already full then its bound to overflow
If you're drowning in the water's and you can't stay afloat
Ask Hashem for mercy and he'll throw you a rope
You're looking for help from G-d you say he couldn't be found
Looking up to the sky and searchin' beneath the ground
Like a King without his Crown
Yes, you keep fallin' down
You really want to live but can't get rid of your frown
Tried to reach unto the heights and wound bound down on the ground
Given up your pride and the you heard a sound
Out of night comes day and out of day comes light
Nullified to the One like sunlight in a ray,
Makin' room for his love and a fire gone blaze


Reelin' him in
Where ya been
Where ya been
Where ya been for so long
It's hard to stay strong been livin' in galus (exile) for 2000 years strong
Where ya been for so long
Been livin in this exhile for too long"
Matisyahu- King Without A Crown
This song just resonates with me. It is more than a song, it is Matisyahu davening with reckless abandon. It is a love song to Hashem, or at least that is how I take it. It is deep and full of an energy that grabs me and that is not easy, not something that I can be, do or feel. What I mean is that I find it so hard to grab ahold of davening.

So often it feels to me like I am grabbing at smoke. I am clutching a handful of water and the harder I try to hold onto it the faster I lose it. That connection, that feeling, that sense of being in harmony, that feeling that there is a higher purpose and being. I struggle and I struggle and I fight to maintain that feeling.

I am torn between worlds. I live in one and look across the sea at another. I am not what many would call a Torah observant Jew. I do not keep Kosher, am not Shomer Shabbos but there is a calling. There is a voice that calls to me and I do not know how to identify it.

I have had ample opportunity to find the derech and to walk a different path than I do, but in truth I am comfortable. I have gathered those who have less than I and brought some of them further down the path, closer to the derech, but kiruv is not what I want or am trying to engage in.

I don't believe in radical change. I don't have enough to make me take the next steps and frankly I am not sure that I ever will or that I need to. It is not that I cannot see myself becoming Shomer Mitzvot. There is a reason why some people think have suggested that I am primed to go to seminary. But there are reasons why I yelled at G-d and reasons why I am not sure that this would be a good idea.

I don't buy into answers that go along the lines of "you just don't understand the plan." They are too pat, too easy and too irritating to just accept. That is not to say that there are not moments when the connection is strong, of course there are and I am thankful for them.

What am I really saying? I suppose that I am like so many others. I am looking for my place. Where do I want to be? At whose table do I want to sit? What is going to bring the most meaning to me and how can I make that happen?

When I ask what my purpose is I am not really asking. I have an understanding of that and it works for me. I suppose that what I am saying is that sometimes I want to skip the journey and see the finish. Tell me the who, what, where, why and how and I'll be forever grateful or maybe I won't. Maybe the most important part is the journey and that which is yet to come.

Thanks for listening to me babble, I appreciate it.


torontopearl said...

Good post, Jack.

I'm curious...does your interaction in blogland with frum Jews--modern Orthodox or even black-hat--make you question yourself more, make you even more aware of where you stand alongside them, religiously?

Shelli said...

I think we each need to do what "works" for us. It's about YOUR connection, not what some societal perception is. I think that's the root of so many problems. So many people are trying to do what "looks" right in the eyes of others, instead of what sings to their Nefesh.

We keep Kosher, we don't use the internet or TV on Shabbos, but we DO turn on the lights and do other things. We have found what works for US, and helps us to connect more spiritually.

Good for you for doing what works for you and trying to suss it all out. "to thine own self be true"

Chaim said...

Jack, you and I are on similar wave lenghts. it's spooky. I was actually just about to start composing a post on this exact subject. I've been kicking it around in my head for weeks. (ok more like at shul when I supposed to be concentrating lol.)

Really thoughtful post. I especially like the use of Matisyahu ;-)

Jack Steiner said...


I have had a real life connection with Frum Jews through friends and family for many years now. I have a comfort level out here and in blogland but there are times in which I am quite conscious of the differences. I know quite a few BTs and have been a little skeptical about how fast some of them gave up their old life for new and I have seen a number of real struggles. This is part of why I have tread so cautiously, but mostly it is because I simply haven't felt enough of a spark to take the next steps.


I completely agree about needing to be true to yourself.


So we are on the same wavelength. Hmm...Are you getting hungry now. I am concentrating on making you desire a good steak. ;) On a serious note these thoughts have crept into my head now and again and I always kind of figured that some of them are universal concerns.

Should I take my word verification letters as a sign? They are ozxrav.

Stacey said...

I have read the song twice and it doesn't resonate with me because I am not torn, nor am I searching or struggling (but I can empathize with those who are).

I am comfortable with where I am in life. I am comfortable with who I am and what I believe my purpose is.

I hope you figure out what it is you are searching for, Jack.

Anonymous said...

I love that song and our local college radio station is playing it round-the-clock. Matisyahu will be here soon, back at Stubb's!

(Where my stepson's Bar Mitzvah party was held. But not with Matisyahu, though that would have been totally cool, right?)

Anonymous said...

You're in a good place Jack. Yisrael -- wrestling with God.

Chaim said...

Jack .. I was craving a steak .. I came back to read the comments and now I know why ... eerie!

Jack Steiner said...


Wrestling is something that I do well.


It is, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Do you learn with anyone now? In my case, I read about Orthodox Judaism (and even dug on some frum music such as Blue Fringe before Matisyahu got big). However, it took spending a Shabbos with a frum family and learning at Aish HaTorah to really illuminate what being observant is all about. The davening comes as a side effect!