I live in the Bizarro World.

Like any good Jew, I learned of this concept through an episode of Seinfeld. Bizarro World is a parallel universe in Superman's world where everything is the opposite. Up is down. Black is white. Right is wrong. And Bizarro Jerry is a pleasant, caring person.

I am Bizarro Elad. I live in a backwards world, where immorality is seen as morality. Where spiritual light is seen as confusion and perversion. Where to be liberated means to sell your soul. But it's home. So I love it. And for the longest time, I saw no reason to leave.

One day, I was minding my own business, walking backwards, and this weird guy dressed all in black with a funny accent told me that I don't belong here. That there was a world where people wore hats on their head instead of their feet. And walk forwards. And are truly free! What? Free? Ridiculous. In my world, that wasn't possible.

I ignored this weird guy with his head hat for years. I just couldn't deal with his weird way of walking and talking and acting. In the Bizarro World, the road less traveled is a thorny and scary path. So I put my fingers in my ears, closed my eyes and wandered backwards aimlessly, as is the custom in Bizarro World.

But somehow, even with my ears and eyes shut, this man's light entered my soul. No matter how hard I tried, I eventually had to admit that I was living in the wrong world. So, I started to become friends with this Man In Black. He started to tell me tall tales of his world. Where a great... something... was in the world and outside of it all at the same time. Where everyone was connected. Honestly, for a while, I thought he was off his rocker. But then, I caught glimpses of what he was speaking about. Slowly, I started to believe in his world. Eventually, I reached the point where there was nothing I wanted more than to join him in this Real World.

As I continue on my journey, I always feel stuck between the two worlds. Most of the people I know going through the experience describe similar feelings. We see that world, we want to live it, but somehow it is hard for us to grasp. Our fake world keeps intruding, convincing us that it is actually real, and that it makes more sense than the Real one simply because we can touch it. We end up living a life defined by cognitive dissonance. We scream for Moshiach but can't bring ourselves to fully embrace his coming. After all, we aren't dressed for his arrival yet. I should probably start wearing my hat on my head.

It is frustrating to know that you are heading towards some destination whose end point is the opposite of everything you know. Each step forward is a step towards something great, but also towards a place unknown. To step back is comforting. To go forward is an uncomfortable ordeal.

On the way, however, there are rest stops. Moments when we can take a breath and look around. Where we can actually see the Real World for what it is. Brief, practically nonexistent moments. But they are the most beautiful moments we will ever experience in this lifetime. It is these moments along the path that make everything worth it. I have had moments where the view has made me cry.

It is at these moments when I realize why that Great Something has picked me to take this ridiculous march. I know the Bizarro World like the back of my hand. I have been to its bowels and worked in its lair. All too often, I will even go back for a totally unnecessary vacation.

With each step forward, I am learning how to traverse the territory better. And, more importantly, no one takes this journey alone. My steps forward are reasons for others to join me on the journey. Like Forest Gump, people find their own reasons to go for the run and join my quest. And I join some other Gump's quest. And as we run, we see more beauty, grow more, and reach higher heights.


And in the end, that is what being a Jew is all about. It's about the people along the way that come with you because they see you moving forward. It's about the same people helping you move forward. It's about following the signs others have put up for you so that hopefully you can reach that Real World, and drag it back down to the Bizarro World, so that everyone can be a part of it.

In two weeks, I will be taking a big step towards the Real World by entering a yeshiva in Jerusalem. I will be embarking on the biggest step of my life towards that ultimate Something Great goal. I will be changing my life in countless ways. Sure, I'm kind of nervous. But I know that soon, my soul will join a merry group of adventurers. Journeying together, we will go further than any of us ever could have alone. And when we are done, we will come back to the Bizarro World and bring more people back with us than would ever have been possible without our existence and experience.

Now, excuse me while I take this shoe off my head.