I don’t want to set foot in Aish, but my allegiance to my friend is stronger than my fear of another humiliation.
I leave my hovel at 7:40 p.m. It’s a one-mile walk. I figure I’ll get there a little late, slip in the back door, sit somewhere as inconspicuous as possible and then leave as fast as possible.
No harm, no foul! Can’t get fairer than that!
As I get closer to Aish, my heart beats more rapidly and my fears multiply and take demonic form.
You probably don’t understand how much this shul means to me. It’s the most loving Jewish home I’ve known. People here embraced me when I moved to Los Angeles. They taught me Judaism. They brought me home for Shabbat and holiday meals and then I let them down with my raunchy blogging. And I can’t face them. I feel so ashamed. I can’t believe I’m walking back in here. Why can’t I just leave these good people alone? The unclean need to stay outside the holy community.
My crippling shame comes not from anything I’ve done — although plenty of that makes me feel appropriate levels of shame — but my crippling shame comes from who I am. I fear that at my core, I am just rotten.
As I pass the bank, I see a couple of people entering Aish from the back. As I cross Doheny Blvd to join them, I spot a straight black-hatted rabbi walking towards me. Ohmigod, it appears to be Rabbi Aryeh Markman.
I can never fool Rabbi Markman. He’s got my number. I’m out of luck. I might as well turn around right now and go home like the sniveling coward that I am.