David Grossman is a famous Israeli writer and an extreme leftwing political activist. He is in the frontline in the ongoing war against the Jewish religion. He is not a liberal atheist like many in the West, basically indifferent to religion. He violently fights the nationalism or tribalism clearly implied in Judaism. So I was surprised to learn in the New York Times that in real life, he is ruled by personal rituals based on pure magical thinking. For example:
In a bout of magical thinking, the novel’s Ora tries to protect her son in uniform by leaving home and hiking the length of the country. The idea is that the military cannot carry out the ritual of delivering news of her son’s death if she is not there to receive it. Mr. Grossman, who began the novel when his older son, Yonatan, was in the army and before Uri started, said he too entertained the illusion that by writing in this way, he was somehow protecting his children.I know the suffering that parents go through when their sons (and daughters for the matter) are in the army during a war. I empathize with Grossman as a person. But he rejected religion because it is superstitious nonsense, yet he cannot free himself from magical thinking and performs personal secret rituals to influence destiny. If to choose between Grossman's magical thinking and the traditional rituals of an organized religion, religion is much preferible. Reading detective novels, the criminal is always compulsed to kill because of some complicated ritual he has invented to exorcise his personal demons and cure his impotence. The Jewish religion has proven methods to chase away nasty dibbuks. The Catholic Church is even stronger in this exorcising business. Pic: a Medieval Jewish exorcism formula.