It's difficult to describe the actions of someone as disoriented, and confused as I was. It was almost succos. I had just landed on this new planet, LA. I had been a Rebbe, and in my mind, I loved to give, and the only way I knew how was to teach Torah. Of course, if I knew to be aware of my true feelings, I would have wished an entirely different life with an entirely different destiny. I was just a shell of a person, with barely any knowledge of who I am and what had happened to me.
That shabbos something very scary and awkward happened. I had told one of the Rabbis that I can help with one of their pirchei groups. I had actually built a special chart to give kids lots of fun in answering questions, and I had brought it from New York because I knew it may come in handy.
This particular group was in a families home. The Rabbi had arranged for me to tell a story and lead the group that Shabbos afternoon. I had recently gotten a small, red kipa seruga that I was using. I felt it was more appropriate, for who I was and my level of practice. The father of the home, must have grasped that there was something incongruous about me, knowing that I had a rich yeshiva education, and that I had just showed up in LA with this little red kipa. In his most diplomatic way possible, he basically asked me to leave because he was afraid that I would have a bad influence on his children. He made that pretty clear.
I was really hurt by that. I had not been away or "off" long enought to know what the ramifications might be. I was still technically observant but I was angry and confused. I had no idea who I really was. As far as I knew, I was a talmid chacham, who had a lot of torah in him, and who loved torah and wanted to help others learn it. I had a lot of anger and confusion but as far as I was conderned, that was just a small blemish on a future leader of the generation. I had a lot of respect for how hard I had worked, and how much I had learned. I felt the glory and prestige that it gave me, just by the very fact of how much I had challenged my mind. I felt proud and maybe even a little arrogant, and now this man had the audacity to ask me to leave his home because I may have a bad influence on his chilren.
Of course, on paper, I couldn't really blame him. I didn't intend on having a bad influence, but perhaps the children may get the wrong message. Still, that was a real blow because I was able to tell that there was no way that I could escape my destiny. Somehow, I would have to decide who I am, get rid of the past, go back to it or become something else. For now, it seemed like it would be an endless labyrinth of suffering until I would, could figure out, who exacty I was, what was there in me. What was real? what was fake? what would stay and what would go? what did I truly believe, and which beliefs had been imposed on me from the outside. I so wished that this process could be over already.
I had always hated to think, and now I dispised it more than ever. You mean that I have to actually analyze what I believe? How should I know? How can I be entrusted to make such a bold and daring decision?