Full disclosure: I don’t fit in all the time, but then again, most of us don’t.
In truth, I play the part of blending into the “mainstream” frum lifestyle fairly well. I talk the talk and I walk the walk. However, when I walk, I think about how the word הלך is the root word of halacha, meaning “to walk”. I also usually hum the song “A Walk” by Bad Religion. I just can’t help myself.
I rarely have time or schedule time to think about what makes me different from those around me who are frum. It usually is just a waste of my time. Once in a blue (new) moon, I find myself in a situation where I cannot distract myself with my Blackberry, hisbodedus, or a sefer and am forced to actually accept that neis that Hashem made each of us different. Case in point: this past Motzei Shabbos.
I ventured out, on my own, to see the band Pitom. They were great. While I am not a major fan of klezmer music, there were enough electric guitar riffs, hard drums, killer bass lines, and one insane electric violin to make me forget that I was actually listening to “Jewish”-based music.
As I sat in a crowd of about thirty, I scanned the audience and found, maybe, one or two others who I’d label as “frum”. Not a big deal. It did get me thinking that even though I have changed in many ways since becoming observant year ago, I still am sort of an “arty-hispter-type”. I still find myself moved by music as an art form, not just as a niggun, a tune to Adon Olam, or the newest song by any generic “boys choir”.
I think that most people, if they look hard enough, have something that makes them different than everyone else. That is how Hashem made us. We are all on the fringe of something. It could be the fringe of getting closer to Hashem or the fringe of going out of our minds as we get ready for Pesach.
Just as each shevet has a different degel, we are each different…created by Hashem, who is “Echad”.