Critical Thinking. Ya, but is it good for the Jews?
I met a simple Jew who really inspired me.
He is a hassid who would never do anything to jeopardize his standing within the Satmar Hassidic community. But at the same time he is such a positive thinker that this hassid became so disturbed by all the negativity around him that he just wanted to talk about it.
So he talked to me in private. For the first time in his life this hassid talked about his community and tried to put things into perspective.
After confiding in me he came to the conclusion that I am not a bad person, and I serve G-d in a meaningful way. Even if it may feel or look a bit different than what he is used to.
He met my husband Saul and was so amazed that we got married without anyone making us. In Williamsburg arranged marriages are not a thing of the past. It is common practice, you have a chance to meet the person beforehand and say no if its really that bad, but for the most part the parents decide.
At one point my husband tried to convince this hassid that the environment exists (which Satmar chassidim do not, or rather an obligation to protecting it). He cited verses in Genesis regaurding G-d giving Adam the job of naming the animals and maintaining the Garden of Eden. Critical thinking is not a part of Satmar Chassidic discourse and my new friend was very befuddled.
I am planning a trip into the depths of Hipster Williamsburg and this concept of critical thinking will be a topic on my mind.