It’s always difficult in the summer when Shabbat (the Sabbath) goes out late. By the time I’ve davened Ma’ariv (said Evening Prayers), helped tidy up at home (and at shul (synagogue), if I went there for Ma’ariv) and ploughed through the emails and blog posts that built up in the last 25+ hours, it’s very late, but I need to write or things will buzz around my head and I won’t sleep. I’ll try to be brief.

***

I spent much of Shabbat worrying about whether I will ever get married. This was despite my therapist saying I should try to stay in the present and not worry about things like whether I will ever get married. I’m not sure if this was a “don’t think of pink elephants” thing, where saying what not to think about brings it to mind, or if it was just a product of being told by the Intimate Judaism sex therapist that she would try to find an autism-friendly shadchan (matchmaker) for me and trying to work through what that would mean for me. To be honest, having just re-read the email, I’m not even sure if that’s what she said she is going to do. It was a bit ambiguous. So I don’t know where that leaves me. Except that I still feel lonely.

I’m pretty sure I want a wife and children, but I still don’t know (a) how to make that happen and (b) whether I could cope with the sacrifices, noise and confusion that relationships and especially children entail, particularly for someone on the autism spectrum. However, I don’t know how to find out without actually getting married and having children.

***

I slept too much again. I did a fair bit of Torah study, but not much else except eat and pray. This means I feel too awake now. I thought my long nap in the afternoon had made me late for shul (synagogue), which was a bit of a relief for my social anxiety, as I felt I wouldn’t be called up to do anything in the service, but shul was at 6.15pm rather than 6.00pm and I was early. I got given petecha (opening the Ark to take the Torah scroll out and put it back). I fumbled my way through it, as I’m not sure how it’s supposed to be done in a COVID world — the shul changed the procedure so that fewer people touch the Torah scroll now for hygiene reasons. I’m not sure I did it right, but no one told me I was doing it wrong (which has happened before, pre-COVID), so hopefully I was OK.

I had a weird idea in shul to change my kippah (skullcap). I wear a large white, crochet kippah on Shabbat. These are associated with Modern Orthodox and especially Religious Zionist communities, while black suede or velvet ones are more associated with Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) communities like mine. I don’t wear my kippah for any of those reasons, but simply because I like it, but maybe it’s worth wearing a black suede one to fit in (I do have one somewhere; I have a stack of twenty-odd kippot in my wardrobe; they just accumulate over time). Of course, if I go down this route, I’ll have to wear white shirts on Shabbat and coloured for work, which is the reverse of what I currently do. Changing things to fit in is conformist and desperate, but maybe that’s what I need to do to be accepted (let alone married off).

***

I had another idea over Shabbat, which was to try to write an article on being an Aspie in the frum (religious Jewish) community to raise the issues. I would like to get it published somewhere like Aish.com where they will pay me for it. The money is less important than the recognition of being published, and trying to raise my profile in the community, as well as it being a prominent platform to raise the issue. If all else fails, I could try Hevria again, but (a) I’d rather look somewhere more mainstream and prominent and (b) I kind of lost touch with the Hevria people (it’s a long story and one I don’t want to go into). The site seems a bit dead these days anyway.

I’m off work next week, so I have an opportunity to write it. On the downside, Aish have published stuff on autism before, although not so much on life in the frum community (a little surprisingly) and none for a couple of years, so maybe I’ll be accepted. Ideally I should pitch the article before I write it, but I don’t trust myself to write from scratch in time; this way if I don’t like what I write, I can just forget about it rather than being committed to writing something.

***

Well, I think that’s the essence of this last Shabbat. I’m trying to stay positive, but it’s hard, and a lot of the time I just feel like I want to curl up and sleep to get away from my thoughts. I’m going to watch Doctor Who and go to bed, I think.

11 thoughts on ““Too many people preaching practices/Don’t let them tell you what you want to be”

  1. I like the idea of writing an article. I think it will help you, and also make others more aware. I didn’t know about the skull caps and am now pondering whether I’ve ever seen a crocheted one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Re: summer and the Sabbath going out late. I assume you are referring to the later time of sunset.

    This is something that has baffled me at times, but more with regard to the practice of Ramadan. In Seattle, sunset peaks at 9:11pm in the summer. I remember some Moslem co-workers really struggling with Ramadan when it coincided with the summer solstice. And I wondered about Moslems who live at higher latitudes in Britain and Scandinavia and Canada — especially above the Arctic Circle where the sun may not set at all! What are you supposed to do then?

    And then I wondered if this really could be a directive from God. After all, God knows better than anyone about the march of the seasons and Earth’s axial tilt — and how this affects the time of sunset. And I concluded these directives came from regular humans with little knowledge of geography and the impracticality of following these directives to the letter beyond the region in which they were established.

    Personally, I don’t enjoy the long evenings of summer. While it is nice to have daylight until around 7pm, I really don’t have much use for it any later than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t speak for Muslims and Ramadan.

      I don’t see why this can’t be a directive from God. It’s a bit irritating, but there are much more difficult commandments to understand and follow. That said, as a general rule, the Torah is written to be observed in the Land of Israel, and any service elsewhere is second-best, so it’s perhaps not surprising that there are problems.

      A big part of the trouble is British Summer Time, which means that the Sabbath finishes an hour later than it would if we were on GMT all year round, and that’s a man-made invention!

      Like

    2. Oh, and re: the Arctic Circle, there’s a lot of different responses about what you do in such a situation. It is complicated, although few if any Jews live permanently within the Arctic Circle.

      Like

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