Escape from Metatron
Why am I writing about angels? Because I am having a small crisis of faith. No, it is not doubting the existence of G-d. It is about the slippery slope of accepting more and more beliefs that don't really seem like a core part of Judaism, but seem like part and parcel of the Orthodox Judaism package.
I go to a "centrist" Modern Orthodox shul. Periodically, we get guest rabbis from the Kollel who give a Shabbos d'var Torah. Whenever they allude to a midrash, they always qualify it with the phrase, "Of course every midrash is literally true." Now, I don't know when people in the audience hear this what goes through their heads. Do they basically say, "Whatever, Rabbi! It is allegorical." Or do they actually think that the letters of the alphabet spoke to G-d, that the moon was jealous of the sun, that a giant frog plagued Egypt. (DovBear has some thoughts on this)
I started down this particular descent down the slippery slope after reading DBS' post on Megillah Ruth, where he mentioned the midrash of R'Meir praying at the Acher's grave. Reading about R'Meir, I discovered that he is descended from the Roman emperor Nero. Did you know Nero actually converted to Judaism after some miraculous signs with shooting arrows at Jerusalem and having a posuk explained to him by a young Jewish Torah student. Yes, the same Nero that had (alleged) sex with his mother, castrated his gay lover whom he dressed in women's clothes, burned down Rome, and then commited suicide. Funny, how his conversion went unnoticed.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I wonder if anyone has ever catalogued all the miraculous events that are described in Rabbinic literature. They must have had a miracle happening every couple of hours.
People will tell you that you don't need to believe all this stuff is literal to be a good Orthodox Jew, but when I look around it seems like the people who are Orthodox in more than name only either truly believe this stuff literally, are really good fakers, or can compartamentalize better than Bill Clinton.