There is a painting technique that involves placing two layers of paint on a canvas using any colors, designs or themes that you would like on each of the layers. The first step is to paint in the background. After it dries, place tape on the areas you wish to cover. Press the tape down carefully so that the edges of the tape are smooth. Paint a second layer on top of the first, insuring that you have completely covered the tape. Then, when that second layer is dry — remove the tape to reveal parts of the first layer underneath. Removing the tape takes a bit of effort — first to find it and then to peel it off.
Did you plan for what you now see? Were you trying to create an integrated design using both layers or were you prepared to be surprised. There are several possibilities. You might like the painting you created on the top layer– it might be nicer than the lower layer and it might not be improved or enhanced when the bottom layer shows through. But you also worked to make that bottom layer nice as well. And since it was a fresh canvas at that time, the colors were pretty vivid and memorable.
So you peel off some of the tape.And you don’t like the result. It’s not one coherent whole, its a mish mash of color shape and form. It’s not here or there. You want to fix it so you paint over the exposed areas. But now the top layer has lost its appeal because you are not experienced enough to find the original colors that were so nicely mixed and place them in just the right parts of the painting. Now you feel you have ruined what you created and want to get rid of the little painting– just leave it somewhere and forget it.
You of course realize that our purpose here is not to give a painting class but to draw an analogy. Those of us who are baalei teshuva or gerim have painted in a background or perhaps it is more accurate to say that we were offered a background that was painted for us. It might be quite detailed and extensive. It happened when we were young and the colors very vivid in our hearts and minds. It may have covered quite a bit of the canvas of our lives. In fact we might not have planned initially to think in terms of another perhaps totally different layer of life, but at some point were inspired to start to work on it — and we began taping. For this taping process we had much more choice in terms of position and shape of the tape but were we thinking of what we would do after this taping over process was completed?
When we tape over are we thinking about integrating the two designs. When we color our lives in the second layer after teshuva or geirus are we considering whether it will match blend or integrate with the first layer. How can we do that so as to make one layer enhance the next.
The simple answer is truth and acknowledgment. The antithesis is denial and falsehood. There is an entirely new creation before you, but it is not just a composite of old and new but its own essential self.
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- THE DIAMOND RING AND SHABBOS