Thursday, February 5, 2009

Evanstonjew pointed out that many linger with Orthodoxy, even after they have forsaken many of the beliefs, because they lack intellectual capital in other subjects. I could go on and on about how I was robbed by my upbringing but that would go against the title and my desire to move on with life.

But beginnings are tough and investing in new intellectual capital takes time. I have interests in Rorty, and other western thinkers, some Taoist and Buddhist thought, but it's all very new for me. I LOVE jazz and take advantage of listening to it at nearly any chance I get. I'm a big fan of forests, mountains, and bodies of water. But I don't know much about these things and worse I don't have any one to talk to or share experiences with.

Occasionally I'll get into conversations with old friends about some sugia in the Gemara, or other Torah subject, and I'll get a glimpse of remembrance of the geshmak of lernen. At times like this I wonder if I'd regret forgetting the Torah that I've learned. But I'm not sure if I'm willing to spend the time necessary. I have a lot of new things that I'd like to learn... new subjects that I feel will better suit my new views on things and offer suited intellectual stimulation. All my friends were Orthodox Jews, mostly pretty Hareidi in belief, and they aren't the first candidates for a discussion on Rorty or Zen. Finding people that like to have these conversations isn't easy. 

Then there's Judaism in general. Do I want to make something of it? Is it something that I'll do for the holidays and forget about it the rest of the time? Sometimes I feel an obligation to make something of Judaism, to take being a Jew seriously, but then I wonder if it's worth the trouble. Seeing Judaism as defined by anything other than Hareidi-ism is difficult for me. I recently started reading a few progressive Orthodox blogs. They are interesting, but I keep thinking, "That's not right... Rishon X or se'if y from the Shulchan Arukh clearly says not like that!" I enjoy Rabbi Rami's blog but he is cynical about a meaningful worthwhile Judaism surviving into the next few generations. I can't help but agree. I'm not sure Judaism the religion is or will be seen as anything but out of touch and folky to the majority of Jews, which is making an already waning Jewish Culture fade into obscurity or antiquity all the more quickly. Additionally, it's hard enough for me to socialize... Do I need the added stigma of taking Judaism seriously? Not that I'm embarrassed of being a Jew... Chalila! But I feel that if I do, I'll be limiting my social circle, and finding a comfortable social circle is hard enough. Not sure why I feel this way about Judaism and not philosophy or Zen but I do. I feel that if I'm fortunate to marry a good Jewish maidele, I'll be more motivated to stimulate my mind with Judaism and make it a motivating part of my life. Until then, I don't see Judaism becoming significantly more attractive.

My views on life are constantly evolving and I'm comfortable and happy about that. But I wish I could download all the important literature that's been written over that past couple thousand years into my brain while I sleep, so I could start thinking about it and writing about it. Beginnings

By the way, this is my one hundred and first post. Mamesh Hashgacha ;-)