IN another era, or with different parents (even Uncle and Aunty Frumster.com would do), LL could have been a formidable Talmudic scholar. He sways when he speaks. He reasons in singsong. He puzzles through quandaries with passion and patience, working each to its logical conclusion. My five-year-old son sometimes strokes an invisible beard.
There are and will be, no doubt, other intellectual outlets for this would-be-bocher (my own vision includes him becoming a doctor who uses his powers of money-making for the good of the world–say, repairing fistulas on women who have been excommunicated from their tribes in Africa). Seeing as he was born and therefore constantly subjected to the kind of people who would choose to give him the name of one of the great scientists to defy the theistic worldview, it is probably unsurprising that despite his frummy inclinations, he has more than once found himself arguing with his kindergarten Hebrew school teachers who dared to use the masculine pronoun in reference to God.
On the other hand, what better way to rebel against parents who spout heresy than becoming a rabbi? Preferably an Orthodox one?
He can tell me my clothes are too skanky–
My dishes aren’t kosher enough–
And I should put a shmata on my head–
He can tell me he has to leave his twelve babies at my house on Shabbos because there’s no eruv to push them around in strollers.
An Orthodox rabbi: it’s worse than a gun-toting Republican!
Today as he was reciting the Fibonacci Sequence, shokeling as he is wont to do, I interrupted him to ask if he would like to try public school. As luck would have it, there’s one across the street! A good one! He wouldn’t have to travel halfway across the state in a bus that might one day, like yesterday, decide to be 1.5h late, leaving me to wait in an empty parking lot with a crying, hungry, sockless baby and 3 year old who had nothing to do to amuse himself while waiting but repeatedly pee on a tree. (“That tree’s going to grow so big and strong, Mama!”). His friends would be our neighbors, and if they fed him a McPorko sandwich layered with animal-rennet muenster and calamari, followed by smores made with gelatin-puffs, wouldn’t that be a small price to pay in exchange for him attending a free, close (good!) school and slim chance of him becoming a rabbi-son who won’t call me up on a telephone on a Saturday until Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov lit up the sky?
LL immediately veered from “17711, 28657, 46368 . . .” to “Ma Neshtana” as though I had flicked a light-switch. There was an inherent threat in that conversion from numbers in the 10 thousands to 4 little questions. I shut up.
I think we had better stick to Jewschool. At least there he’ll question authority–
as he did recently: “Why did you say God is here and God is there? Didn’t you know that Nietzsche killed him??”