Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Responsum? Smile. Smile. Rabbinic Decisors? Wink. Wink.

For some time this memory has been sitting with me. I was in a major performance of an interactive theater play. it was in a humongous hotel with myriad rich donors and Chabad people- as it was a Chabad dinner in L.I. honoring a whole bunch of donors.

We were hired to do this interactive Jewish wedding show. During the shmorg we were kibbitzing in character with the guests. I was playing the rabbi, and was meant to be somewhat caricaturish. A shliach type engaged with me and asked me some questions, playfully, with a twinkle in his full bearded face. I mentioned something about rabbinic decisors of Jewish law and responsum. I was dying to be more real, but I couldn't be as authentic as I wanted to be, couldn't say rabbanim and tshuvos because this fellow needed me to be the unaffiliated actor cutely trying to play a rabbi and not being able to fully get there.

It got me thinking a lot about rolles others expect us to play and how we accommodate their expectations even though we know we can play a different, more right and real role, much better. There's something very profound and true to life going on in that scene that replays in my mind regularly.

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