The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sci-Fi Hassidic Rabbi

Just to beat a dead horse into the ground . . . but perhaps to give it a new perspective . . .

Concerning the Genre of 'Shuckle' -that is hip-hop/Reggae music with Jewish, nay Chassidic twist of lime, the well known arguement is:

  1. Chassidim have often drawn inspiration from non-Jewish styles of music.
  2. In any case some of the most well known Jewish musicians have taken from the not so Jewish sources.
My unfinished post on music touches upon these concepts.

What I'd like to bring out here is that perhaps we are going about how we cell talent to those coming closer to Judaism in the wrong way.

We all know that every talent one is a G-d given gift and should be used to its fullest. The Rebbe even payed for Michoel Muchnik to take art lessons!
No questions asked there . . .

Based on this line of reasoning, come along people like Matisyahu, Ta Shma, Blues Rock Yud, and the like -all with (for the sake of this argument) unbelievable talent. Why shouldn't they use their perspective styles to serve G-d?
The answer is that their talents most definitely should be used, but who said the genre of music must.

Let's view this in another light.

Jonathan likes to write.
Jonathan likes Science Fiction -all of his life he grows up on Star Wars and Asimov.
Comes the day after one too many drunken college parties and our hero Jonathan realizes that there must be something more to life . . . So he bumps into a shliach, goes off for a good few years to a Yeshivah and becomes Yoinason (Perhaps it should even be Yeinason).
There's nothing more beautiful in the world.
Now our Yoinason wants to use his talent for writing.
Great idea! Was not gold created for its use in the Tabernacle?

'Yes,' says Yoinason, 'but I'd like to write Science-Fiction . . . Chassidic Sci-fi!'

Somehow Rabbis in space seems a little odd. There could be nothing wrong with it, but it just doesn't seem to shtim.

How is this any different then Chassidic rock?

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chanie said...

It's not...and using your talents for kedusha is fulfilling the reason that you were given them.

yitz.. said...

there's absolutely nothing wrong with Hassidic scifi..

Rebbe Nachman (likkutei moharan I:27) says, i believe, that borrowing the niggunim of the Goyim helps to identify who our enemies are so that God can wipe them out.
He also says that niggunim aren't mkabel tumah. (so there's no harm in appropriating goyish niggunim) But this might mean you can't bring a ra'ayah about hassidic scifi from the music industry.

This isn't true about goyish ideas, (they can be chock-full of tumah)i think... which might mean it's a problem to use goyish ideas in any form, literature or otherwise, but since he's going for Hassidic ideas in the scifi setting it doesn't seem like there's any problem at all???

The only other argument about fiction that I know of, (I'm certain there are many others--but i've never read them) is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (well, his son mentions it in Yalkut Yosef hilchot shabbath about whether you can read fiction on shabbath) says that involving yourself in works of fiction is a problem because they are fictional worlds with no God. It can be seen as a form of (Chas v Shalom) avodah zarah. Since the works of fiction he intends to write include a clear concept of God and he is writing them with yirath Shamayim.. again, what could be wrong?

Mottel said...

Talents were given to serve G-d, but imitating a goyishe style . . .

There is a story with the Rebbe about Foundation by Isaac Asimov -but I've heard the veracity of it has been questioned. I believe the Rebbe mentioned the idea of a generation ship -i.e. a ship that would take the generations long travel to other worlds- as a parable for people speaking about moshiach (There's an older version of the story about a family that grew up in a pit) but I believe he approached the subject from how NASA actually considered it and not from a sci-fi perspective.
To take a non-jewish song and uplift -to recognize the kedusha in it -takes a person on a very high level . Gerrer Chassidim tried using Chopin, I believe -but it never lasted . . . those songs couldn't be uplifted.

yitz.. said...

mottel, agav, I was traipsing around the site and came across something labeled
science fiction and fantasy

it doesn't look very scifi to me.. (shrug)

Mottel said...

It's Tazi Freeman's stuff -it's sci-fi in the sense that it's fiction with a science/imaginary twist.

ash said...

wow -as a frum girl who grew up reading sci fi and fantasy, and always wanting to write, i've had the same question. can i write in a chassidic way in a sci fi setting? i'm still trying to figure it out...