8 Reasons I Went OTD
The frum community is so beautiful, so full of chessed; why do people go OTD?
There are two approaches to this troubling question in the classic sources. The Rambam maintains that the reason people go OTD is because they believed in silly superstitious Judaism in the first place and didn’t adopt his rational approach, but the Moreh Nevuchim says it’s because those people were molested by their rebbeim in yeshiva and they’re all emotionally unstable.
This machlokes has been going on for the past thousand years, going further back in history it seems that those who went OTD were simply killed, but for the past thousand years or so we’ve simply tried to psychoanalyze OTDers and mark them by boring their right earlobes.
I’ve done much research on this question and I have a new approach. It’s a hybrid of Nietzsche’s model of radical anthropologetics and L. Ron Hubbard’s dianetics. I synthesized these two approaches during the fourteen years I spent at the feet of my rosheshiva R’ Pinky Schmeckelstein at Yeshivas Chipass Emess.
- All the obsession with sex, whether it was couched as tznius talk, concern over the length of other people’s wives sheitels or the fear of getting aroused by 3 year-olds who weren’t sufficiently clothed up. I felt the need to get away from this sexual hedonism so I joined the broader human community which only talks about sex when it’s l’toeles.
- I believed in the concept of Da’as Torah but all the folks who possessed Da’as Torah were disagreeing with each other. I figured that by going OTD I’ll be able to pick my own OTD rov and not have all these conflicting opinions as to which rov has the approval of Agudah, or the Moetzes, or Satmar. I’d have the Da’as Torah, or Da’as Hitchens I need without contradictions.
- I wanted to be able to pop into Shomer Shabbos on a random afternoon in Boro Park and daven mincha without a hat; I couldn’t do that and remain frum so I went OTD.
- I was insane and emotionally unstable which made me unwelcome in the frum world, I was told over and over again that all the emotionally problematic people were OTD so I figured I’d fit right in.
- I wanted to stop paying $15,000 a year per kid for tution. I was going to send them to public school because I knew so many people who had gone to public school as kids and were now frum, but I was told that their parents weren’t frum and that’s the only reason it worked for them, frum parents cannot send their kids to public school. So I went OTD.
- I wanted to believe in Hashem but I also wanted to read books that explained Hashem that weren’t published by ArtScroll or Feldheim, I was told that would make me OTD, so I guess I’m OTD.
- I read The Making of a Godol. I learned some unvarnished history. That didn’t shake my emunas chachomim but the fact that the gedoilim thought it would and banned it because of that, did. I promptly went OTD.
- I watched Amnon Yitzchak conclusively prove that the watch in the forest didn’t make itself so I believed in Hashem. But then I met the watchmaker and I began to worship him instead. Now I’m OTD.
- (Oh yeah, there was a ninth reason). Very often that chessed is unwanted; the frum community is so full of helpful people, people waiting for opportunities to pounce down your throat with their chessed unasked. No thank you, dear helpful neighbor, I didn’t ask you to approach the local rich guy and ask him to lend me money to take the bar exam, thanks but no thanks.