Tuesday, July 22, 2008

AgnosticWriter is probably my favorite commentator on the Jblogs. I really wish that he (or is it she?) would write his own blog. Here is a quote from him that I had to repost.

"A lot of skeptical dialogue focuses on debate and logic. And this is appropriate to some degree. But what many with more warm-hearted temperaments are seeking on some level and don't find there (as they may not have found in the Beis Medrash) is the soulful, the poetic, and the inspiring. Having a soulful/philosophical bent, I try to access that voice now and then, and cast some seeds into cyberspace."

Though I couldn't say for sure, it seems that many/most of the skeptical Jblogs and commentators are former yeshiva bochurim (rabbinical students), and I was one myself. We tend to view the blogs as our cyber beis medrash (house of study) and engage in long, strung out debates over excessively minor points. Also, as in the beis medrash, nobody really wants to know what the other person is saying except to shlug him up (prove him wrong).

What about the more/most subtle things in life? Though the yeshiva student may spend hours a day shvitzing over a blatt gemara (sweating it out over a page of the Talmud) but the in-between times are spent giving over shtickel toireh (inspiring words on the Torah.) It seems that in every yeshiva there was always that one guy talking to that one rebbe (at the very least) exchanging pshetluch (short words of Torah) in the hallways.

“Ah, did you see what the kli yakar says in this weeks parsha (weekly section of the Torah)?”

“It can’t be as good as the pshat I heard from the Ohr HaHaim!”

And who can forget the vorts and divrei Torah that we share, without fail, around the Shabbes table? Not to mention the songs, the shnapps and the local guy who is serving chulent and beer late into the night where you sing yet more songs and exchange yet more words of encouragement and inspiration.

But now that you’ve looked behind the curtain it all seems childish and quaint. I think I can hear the snickers in the background already. You know that you loved it and miss the days when you experienced the sublime feeling divine inspiration.

So what is to be done? How can we regain the soulful, the poetic and the inspiring?