To my chagrin, not much of great import has been occupying myself or my mind recently, friends. My sinking under the currents of my summer classes is at least partly responsible for this phenomenon. One article of slight interest that I considered mentioning is my attendance at one of Heshy Freid's ("Frum Satire") shows on Sunday (which, compounded with my having attended another of Dustin's ("Reality Addiction") concerts on Thursday is pretty social for a guy who's idea of a promiscuous time until recently was going to the supermarket). Unfortunately there weren't many "bloggers" there, though I did meet "Michal bat Avraham" (on my blogroll under "Modern Girls" for technical reasons). She was nice enogh to spot me out and say hi. She was there with another attractive young lady who she says she met through one of Heshy's statuses on Facebook, which to me seems an as-of-yet unexplored forntier for meeting people. I was hoping to see Ms. Manischewitz ("Material Maidel") to verify if she really looks like her profile picture (a Barbie doll who's hair changes color every other second) but according to Heshy she didn't show, and the world may never know.
The truth is there have been a few things I would have liked to write about that never made it to the blog. One subject that's been occupying my mind recently has been the relationship between G-d's people and G-d's land: what to do about the diaspora Jews who see no interest in "ascending" to the holy land. As you may well-know by now, I couldn't be more fervent a "Zionist" (even though I myself reside in Brooklyn at the moment), and view those Jews who who see nothing wrong with living in America with the same bafflement as those Jews who see nothing wrong with eating the flesh of the swine.
Yet I was thinking, as I have before, that even in our peoples' distant past there have been many great Jewish communities that have existed outside the land of Israel. Saul/Paul of Tarsus was a Jew who was living in a Grecian city in Turkey even while the Temple stood, and that community and others like it were probably centuries old. Hillel himself came to Israel from a great diaspora community which existed alongside the golden era of the Second Commonwealth—Babylon.
If, then, there were so many Jews during the Second Temple period who lived proudly as Jews among the gentiles, surely now that the Temple does not stand yet again in Jerusalem is it not permissible to live as a Jew among the nations? The answer to that question obviously varies depending on who you ask, but I just wish to mention here that the acts and histories of the Jews of Athens and Alexandria, Sura and Fum-Beditha(1) are not those mentioned in the Midrash or the Talmud. It was not the lives of the "Exile-Jews" that shaped the history and destiny of our people in that era. If all the Jews had stayed in Cilicia(2) and Babylonia the Temple would not have been built, the monarchy would not have been restored, and for all we know the Mishna and Talmud would not have been written (let alone the New Testament and the Quran). Something I like to mention to people is that the Mishna in Ketubot tells us that it was the lowliest of Jews that came from Bavel to Eetz Yisrael, and from them was made our religious histories, and not from the rabbis of good stock who remained in exile.
Unfortunately my level of alertness doesn't allow me to complete my thought at the moment (2 at night) but, I'd rather this be posted than nothing. Suffice it to say I wish to return to this subject in the future, since I wish to record my opinions about Israel on my blog already...
(1) A more correct pronounciation for "Pumpedisa".
(2) The Roman province in which Paul's Tarsus was capital.