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 . . .

These are the LETTERS OF MY THOUGHTS.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Of Bochurim and Blogs


A view of Petersburg.


Let's talk blogging for a second . . . I have come to the conclusion that most bochurim do not understand blogs.
It's not due to lack of intelligence -the yeshivah system in fact produces more agile minds then other forms of education; people are taught how to think- rather the problem is that they are too smart. Too right minded as it were.

I have a friend that takes interest in my writing -when it's published on chabad.org at least - but will not look at this blog.
Dan's Deals
, my friend Daniel's wonderful deals blog, he'll check out . . . Circus Tent is also fair game. But not here.
Why? Because this a blogger blog.

What's the point of reading about someone else?

Perhaps this is a problem that exists across the board -I do not think it is something unique to products of the yeshiva system- but it is one indicative of how bochurim are taught to think.

Just a thought . . .

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35 comments:

Yehuda said...

As a Bochur - who does happen to read your blog, I think you are reading way too much into this.

It has nothing to do with Yeshiva education. It has nothing to do with education at all.

In fact, there is no "problem" here. Some people enjoy reading what other people ate for breakfast*, others do not. It is just a matter of personal taste.

Just because a friend chose not to read your blog, doesn't mean there is a problem with his education.

* Obviuosly, your blog is FAR more entertaining than that.

Anonymous said...

your right
I would never read your blog!

chaviva said...

I'm thinking that Mottel -- an obviously intelligent and thoughtful fellow -- has reason to believe that perhaps this person isn't reading his blog with some kind of purpose or meaning. Like, he makes a point out of not reading it.

Cheerio said...

its not something unique to bochurim. i have encountered girls who have similar attitudes.
it brings up the question: what IS the point of reading about someone else? why do some people appreciate it and others do not?

Dan said...

Good to know that I appeal to the too smart ;)

Mottel said...

I'll admit it . . . I was baiting the audience a bit (Nemo, I would have thought you'd have piped in here).

Perhaps I wasn't quite clear. People enjoy 'personal' blogs (as opposed to deals like Dan's blog . . . after all who doesn't love free stuff and a quick buck?) for various reasons. Part of it is a certain voyeuristic pleasure in peeking into someone's life. As well, however, there is the over arching sense of drama -the pathos of the human struggle. I am very much a theist. I see divinity in the various foibles of life, and am thus enthralled by tales of character and personality -even be they mundane -such as breakfast. Frankly, people interest me . . . I assume that most other intelligent people are the same. A boor does not see these things.
But, as I see it, there is a dichotomy when it comes to many Bochurim. They are smart. Very smart. They can read Atlas Shrugged and Crime and Punishment (or not -because they are chassidish) . . . they're entranced by philosophy and psychology. Yet when it comes to something intuitive, they don't get it.
Someone I know once posited that it's a Russian thing. The Soviets excelled in the arts, in dance and ballet, music and painting . . . but it was a science for them. It was very much part of the soviet machine.
Perhaps this is all over stated . . . after all, during camps many bochurim suddenly become the most amazing actors, singers, painters etc. Yeshivos, however, have as of yet not encouraged such forms of talent.

Perhaps my comments are also based on those that comment here . . . Yehuda, if you were to comment more often :-)

Yossi ! said...

My friend the answer is: Us bloggers of the world are people of the future (although i seem to have taken a step to the past)

All the others are having trouble "Futurising". These are the same people that think if you join Facebook or have a blog the Government or some serial killer will come after you...


When i first made my blog and was writing about my travels to visit Jewish inmates under the Aleph Institute i sent my grandfather (whom is more tech savvy then most people his age) a link to my blog and he told me "memenuh yiruh vechain yaasu" -he was referring to visiting Jews and the shlichus i was doing...but the point remains...

its time people embrace the future instead of ignoring it...I wont even get into your friend who thinks he is above Bloggers (what about typead or wordpress?)...

Keep it up.

Mottel said...

Yossi -I should give you credit by the way -your early days of blogging (in the middle of shiur Gimmel) were my inspiration to start . . . Why don't you get back into it? (Shotgun got you down?)

Those people are backwards -blogging is an amazing tool (as are Twitter, and Facebook) if used out for the right purpose (let us not fool ourselves though, it can also be a horrible weapon . . . if used incorrectly -though most things of power and change can be used in such ways)
So Here! Here! To the J-Blogger Revolution!
:-) (The wordpress chevra can come along too)

Nemo said...

Well, you know how I feel about the intelligence of Lubavitch Bochurim :)

Mottel said...

Nemo -I still expect more from you! You down about something you saw on Shmais? Worried about the bar?
I think it must be crime and punishment getting to you.

Yossi ! said...

Well apparently i wrote some stuf about an old mashgiach which (are true but nonetheless) got him MAD...and i got really busy with work and kind of lost the urge to write...i wanted to start again as a pure photo blog but still didn't get around to blogger isn't very good for it and I'll have to put in a bit of work and didn't get around to doing it...maybe some day...Until then there is always my flickr page

Nemo said...

Currently incensed about a stupid article on CH.info by one "Rabbi" Israel Krasnianski. No, I didn't comment there though.

When I read it I couldn't help thinking how stupid it is. Who cares if girls take their husband's last names or don't take them. If a marriage is that bad, there are probably deeper issues than last names. And you know what, this guy is so full of crap - the supposed trend doesn't even exist.

Furthermore, this guy is a 23-24 year old Bochur going for a master's in Touro of all places, not some big Rov. He abused the name Rabbi in writing his diatribe.

Itzhak Schier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mm said...

Would your friend check out your blog if say, it was made private, where you can only enter by invite and your clientele was limited??
If you don't know then ask him.

Mottel said...

-Yossi: We all make those mistakes. Check out www.tumblr.com -it's made for more artistic blogs -for easy photo display with brief quotes etc. It seems pretty cool and might work perfectly for your needs.

-Nemo: Krazy and I go way back. He's a smart fellow -don't take it away from him. Do I see eye-to-eye with him on these issues? No. In fact he is perfectly inline with my point . . . we have many Lubavitchers that ca write, they through out big words, and may be very intelligent and articulate.
BUT THEY LACK SOUL. Their words are empty stones piled high in meaningless facades built like a monument of triumph to a king that has already lost the war and sunk into the sands of time.
We need less use of the thesaurus and more use of those empirical skills that can only be taught by experiencing life -and not trying to argue one's point into the wall with a barrage of sound -'a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.'

Nemo said...

Wow, I take it you don't like his point either.

He used to have a blog some time ago which I was very much in disagreement with. There too, he posed as some rabbi and more dastardly, a counselor.

One scruple that I have is that I'll never claim to be an expert or authority on something that I'm not.

Mottel said...

I don't speak of Sruli directly -why he chooses to boost his position by going by 'Rabbi' is beyond me . . . I did it once, and saw the effect was pointless (for mivtzoyim is something else -but on CH.info? Preaching to the choir?
My point is in general -he is just a statistic . . . there are many others (who are worse)

chanie said...

Mottel- firstly, I agree with your point. I assume that the yeshiva system teaches the bochurim how to think a bit differently- and more analytically- than the girls' system. The problem is that most people lack common sense, and have a 'follow the leader' mindset.

While Circus Tent didn't open, I can pretty much tell you why he won't look at your blog. Your friend has decided that to save money, he can use the internet, but to read, he cannot.
Part of this may have to do with being 'found out' if he would comment on your blog.

Personally, I love your blog. It is the first blog I check, followed by SimpleJew's. When I am pressed for time, I check only these. Other times, I don't check at all.

Someone who cannot read 'personal blogs' may have a point regarding the internet. But I wonder about how he views the world in general. Is he this 'chassidish' all the time? I think I can say that if my brother were like that, I would hit him over the head.

The yeshiva system- forget that, the chareidi system- is producing a generation of brilliant kids who don't know how to think for themselves. They follow the leader, not understanding why or how- or they rebel. But it takes a rare personality to put some thought into it, to think about why things are this way, what is worth keeping, and what is just shtuyot.

Kol hakavod lecha....

me said...

BS"D
I see your point in what you say... I don't know how the Yeshiva system runs, and I b"H don't know bochurim that are affected by it, but there are some things that I do know.
There are some things called "dakos Haemes" the finer lines of truth.
It's going beyond Halachah, and beyond Chassidishkiet. Dakos Haemes is something personal. It's the personal sensitivity that a person feels for any given thing in Yiddishkiet.
For one person it could be a refinement in speech, like using the world "hi" instead of "hey".
It could be a refinement in character, like making it a point to wear or not wear a particular thing. It could be about a million other things as well. No one has the understanding or capabilities to tell another person what their Dakos Haemes should be... we are all programmed and raised differently.
Each person is sensitive to different things, yet many people can be sensitive to many of the same things. From my personal experience, if you go through "the system" there are certain Dakos Haemes you just understand and pick up. There's things that you just say "i get it" becuase as unexplainable as it may be, it makes sense to do or not do a particular thing. It's a silent message that speaks an underlying truth. It's not being robotic, it's just "getting it". It is these very silent messages that set us apart. It is the small details, the silent and often looked-over "fine lines" that make us refined and put us on a higher spiritual standing.
Perhaps your friends disinterest in blogs is in fact a personal sensitivity, an act of personal refinement... or not. It's just something to think about...

In refernce to the use of a single one last name for husband and wife... In today's day an age this is more than a sensitivity, it is a statement. It is a declaration that "we are one". It is a silent message that tells the family, the children, those around, and most importantly husband and wife that after the chuppah, they became a unified unit. It's not that 1+1=2 or that 1/2+1/2= 1, rather a marriage is 1+1=1. Two whole complete people coming together to form a fully complete and wholesome life. It is two people with two distict identies, passions, and strengths coming to form one perfect existence. It's using all the varying thoughts, creativity, uniqueness and lochos of two very different people, and allowing both to play their G-D Given talents in perfect harmony. That is the beauty, the gadlus, and the miracle of a marriage.

It may seem "what's the big deal with a double name?" It isn't, such a big deal, but it is sending a silent message. It is saying that there is a part of wife or husband that has not integrated into the symphony of the marriage. There is a "note" that keeps music oh so slightly off key. Yet in today's day and age, if there is something we can do to keep a hold on every vestige of a perfect marriage, why not do so?

I don't know how things work on the other side of the Mechitzah, but on our side, there are definate thinkers. There are in-born sensitivies, and things we pick up along the way, but there is thought. There are questions, there are points that are argued and weighed out.
Sometimes it takes the right type of people to bring this out in a person, and sometimes as much as we ourselves are "deep" and real "thinkers" we don't have the keys to open up another person. That's okay, but that doesn't mean that the other person isn't deep or a thinker. It's just how they personally relate to you.

Sorry for the length of this... I could continue expounding, but it's your blog, your thoughts, your world...

Nemo said...

Dakos Ha'emes = Slippery slope

Nemo said...

Me- Mr. Krazniansky's article did not bring across the niceties of sharing a last name. It was a lambasting of a supposed trend that threatens our community.

If such a problem did exist, he certainly chose an improper forum to decry it.

Moreover, the problems that he associates with retaining one's maiden name aren't across the board. If there is a higher divorce rate amongst such couples, it can be attributed to a number of other stronger, contributing factors, like the fact that those women are generally more educated and able to provide for themselves. He's decrying the "symptom" as the problem.

If he's going to make an argument of substance, at least let him hit on real issues.

CYFried said...

Mordechai i am in complete agreement with the blog boycott.

1) Blogs are on the internet (surprise surprise); a big no-no under the unanimous resolution 946.a reached by THE panel of white bearded Russian rabbis in Hungary.

2) Most posts reflect negatively on the blogger (both objectively and subjectively) leading one to transgress on 30 somewhat prohibitions related to the evil tongue.

3) Blogs display a certain sense of creativity first shunned by the early hassidic nihilistic (jewish version) approach and later implemented as a way of thought (believe it or not - "thought") by yeshivah administrations nation - or rather chabad - wide. You destroy the status-quo with such demonstration of talent.

4) Blogs are tools to a beginning not to an end. Everything in Jewish life is meant to have meaning. There is nothing carefree or lighthearted about anything. If it is not a purpose to an end it has no purpose at all. If you want to begin, learn chassidus and farbreng. Don't philosophize online.

5) Your private life is interesting, but seriously... who cares if the shoes are brown or black...

6) Girls should not read boys blogs and vice verse. They lead to naughty thoughts... IN your case...

7) Bloggers act like jerks deleting comments they deem to be offensive. (Naughty is not a naughty word).

8) Bloggers are forced to educate themselves so they appear (key word) to know what they are writing about. They also have to develop their vocabulary and thought process. Secular education is not allowed; especially secular self education.

9) I'm reaching for another reason to complete the list... Oh... People like me are attracted to your blog putting us in active violation of rule 1.

10) Visitors to you blog feel all nice and fuzzy after one of your more mushy posts. That's just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I kinda agree to some of the above mentioned points. Nice.

Yossi ! said...

Hey Chaim (CYFried) we're waiting for your Blog!!

Great stuff...

Mottel said...

So many comments, and on the day that I have tons of guests to deal with, plans for camp that need to be worked out, and like three blog posts that I want to write out for future publication. Mein Grossen G-t in Himmel.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.
To clarify: It's not my intent to criticize the Yeshivah system, nor those who wish to follow the mitzvah of kadeish atzmecha b'mittur lach -if someone doesn't want to get involved with the internet, by all means stay away, kol hakavod. Rather I find it interesting that otherwise intelligent bochurim seem to be so 'right' minded.
-Chanie: Thanks for the kind words, I'm honored that you enjoy this blog.
-ME: I wanted this post to develop conversation . . . your comments are more then appreciated (and deserving of their own post)
CYFried: Chaim your dry whit is always appreciated . . . I had to stop myself from laughing out loud while I was reading -there was a group of tourists in the room

me said...

BS"D
I'm glad that they're appreciated, and b"H when you're not as busy I'd like to hear your opinions on them. (Being busy though is a good thing...)

cyfried said...

Insightful, thoughtful, smart, sharp, penetrating or any other word to describe my whit. But dry!? Do you have any idea what that does to my self esteem!? You helped bring out all my old insecurities with one fell strike of the keyboard. How will i ever go on...

Were the tourists loud non-judgemental multi-culture-loving Americans, gay and tokin Canadians, DIBs with all its connotations or those old russian Jews nobody really cares about until they run out of bloggable material? Just curious. Either way nobody would look twice at a casket wearing brown shoed bearded jew (who probably does not speak English...) sitting on a Sony viao laptop giggling in the Grand Choral Synagogue.

Nemo said...

CYFried- Have you ever tried typing anything coherent in one fell swoop?

rtdexvgftcubilmknjk[pl;

... Yeah, it doesn't work ;)

cyfried said...

it certainly takes talent. watch and learn.

Mottel said...

-CYFried: Canadians always wear some sort of give away article of clothing that they are from 'Up North' -Roots t-shirts, Canadian flag pins . . . or my favorite -one guy had canadian flag socks while wearing shorts.

Nemo said...

Don't forget the classic "I am Canadian" Molson tee.

Nemo said...

Sadly, I must admit to wearing a Canadian flag sticker on my ski-helmet. I picked it up in Whistler.

LE7 said...

It's a certain frame of mind. Some people are born people watchers, and others aren't.

I wrote a piece once for a creative writing workshop I was in, it was snippets from a train ride through the eyes of a girl. Anyways, the highly paid professor said that the character I created seemed like a writer, an observer. She also said something about the best way to learn to write realistic conversation and personalities is by people watching and eavesdropping.

Where am I going with this?

Bloggers are observers. They're people watchers and eavesdroppers. They're reporters. They walk around watching and just taking in what they see (well process it too).

So, not everyone likes this sort of blogging. If you happen to fall into one or more of these categories (like me, I think, so it seems), you enjoy this sort of blogging. It speaks to you blah blah blah.

Do you get what I'm saying, because I sure don't. You'd think with all the time I spend on this I'd be eloquent... alas!

Mottel said...

-LE7 I get what you're saying. . . I think.

LE7 said...

Well if you don't it's alright I guess.

Personal blogs are usually understood by others with the mindset of a blogger?