Wednesday, September 30, 2009

איסור דלֹא תְחָנֵּם

In a recent, strange post from our friend e, he led us to a discussion on “” (a site I actually know little of) that gives the impression that some of the laws of Judaism are mean to non-Jews, especially those based on the pasuk of “lo teh’onem”. Is the Torah a “mean” religion? k
Well obviously the Torah is very hard on Pagans in Israel who might be influencing the Israelites with their ways. Some of these hard-line rules of the Torah in regards to Israel’s native Pagan inhabitants can be found in the seventh chapter of Deuteronomy. For example verse two tells us not to “show mercy to them” (“לא תחנם”). (The truth is though that this commandment is by far not the “meanest” commandment regarding the ‘seven nations’ .In fact the conquest of Israel in general was to be pretty cruel to the Pagan natives and their religion (for example not to leave women, children, cattle or religious objects alive or unharmed), so I’m not sure why they decided on this command as an example of cruelty to “goyim”.)

The sages of Israel, not only understood this command as applying to further generations, but in accordance with the Verbal Law, listed three more ways to read this verse (based on three variant ways to read the word “תחנם” without making pre-supposed assumptions about what the vowel marks should be): Selling land to Pagans in Israel, giving gifts to Pagans and praising Pagans.

These three laws have been expounded upon in the Talmud and recorded as normative halacha in books such as the Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 151), usually referring to said Pagans as “עכו"ם” (an acronym for “עובדי כוכבים ומזלות”). One huuuuge misunderstanding that gets created with these types of halachot though is the question whether they were said only regarding Polytheists but not monotheistic gentiles or if the word “עכום” in the Shulchan Aruch just a thin, censure-related cover-up for the word “גוי”, which obviously also refers to monotheistic gentiles such as the Muslims and the Sikhs (perhaps some forms of Christianity as well)?

My opinion has always sided with the Rambam in this matter, that it’s quite clear that the agenda of the Torah is not to “be mean to goyim”, but to be very stern with polytheists, especially when they have the potential to influence Jews with their theology, which in most cases, also means influencing Jews with a “pre-monotheistic” set of morals. In other words if someone who was born Jewish becomes a polytheist he is hated in G-d’s eyes and deserves to be killed, just like any other polytheist influencing monotheists (“Jews”), and if someone who wasn’t born into “the faith” becomes monotheistic he is beloved by G-d. The Torah is extremely concerned with theology (in the sense of polytheism vs. monotheism), not at all with race and not really with the religion of the gentiles as long as they’re monotheistic. Now, it’s obviously impossible to say that none of the halachot which were said about polytheists refer to monotheistic gentiles, but certainly not these..

In that case then, there should be no lack of praise and friendly interactions between the Jews and their (not necessarily “Jewish”) fellow monotheists (1). That’s about monotheists, but what about polytheists (such as Hindus) or those who’s monotheistic status can be brought into serious question (such as most Christians) (2)? It is clear from the words of the Rambam that since polytheism in general has lost a lot of its attraction to people, even the laws which deal specifically with polytheists are not necessarily applied to the polytheists of today, since the concerns of the Torah in regards to the ‘seven nations’ of Israel can scarcely be said to apply to polytheistic people from India, China or other parts of Asia. be honest, there’s not a whole lot I really know about e personally, but what I do know is that there are religious institutions that give their students far from enough of a background in halacha and its sources with the excuse that the exclusive study of Gemara is precicely the point that the founders of Chassidut didn’t find favor with in the theology of the pre-Chassidic Jews, and that it’s better instead to spend more time either studying the more spiritual aspects of Judaism or learning halacha with the express intent of becoming a rabbi in some far-flung Jewish community. While I admit the world needs rabbis, and that in many places they would be sorely lacking if not for these efforts, I also admit that quickly skimming over the “sea of the Talmud” can lead to a lack of clarity in regards to the foundations of halacha.

(1) It should be noted though that the terrible treatment of the Jews by their neighbors for the past centuries/millennia has lead many Jews to a understandable amount of bitterness to those who hate them. Yet all many can see is the hatred (or rather "healthy suspicion") of the Jews towards the gentiles, and not the millennia of persecution that the gentiles have wrought upon the Jews.
(2) Some consider the "Monistic Theism" of the Hindus and the "Trinitarian monotheism" of the Christians to be more-or-less legitimate forms of monotheism.

Putting a word in for איסיות

[Something I would have liked to have said here recently is a thought that came to my mind on erev Yom Kippur while I was, ..strangely enough, coming out of the Bobov mikve (1) (for the first time in a little while. ..I used to go almost daily). ]

Although I’m generally a proponent of what might be called "Modern Orthodoxy’ and look critically on the exaggerated ways of the Kabalists and the Neo-Chassidim (2) (some of which are uncannily similar to the practices of the ancient Essene sect (איסיים), hence the title), I do admit that in some situations desperate times call for desperate measures in regards to the mitzvot.

משל למה הדבר דומה? …the most a propos analogy I could think of was from the zombie-movie “Resident Evil” (1, 2 or 3). The protagonists of the story go everywhere heavily armed, since most of the world’s population has become violent zombies who understand nothing but the force of the bullet. Yet is that an the most ideal situation? The best situation is obviously for a people to be unarmed and be free to travel about without fear of being harmed. But the reality (in that movie) was that without weapons they would be in grave danger, and therefore had to put themselves in the unideal situation of carrying weapons everywhere they go.

So it is with our own lives: there were times when the יצה"ר went about it’s business getting people to sin in more tame and discreet ways. But now that the יצה"ר has called against us all the uncouth denizens of the netherworld to coerce us to sin against g-d, we have to serve g-d “Resident Evil-style”, consistently utilizing "כלי מלחמה". What are these "כלי מלחמה"? Are they not the חומרות and הקפדות of the ירא חטא that they utilize in the "מלחמת היצר"? If we cannot lead the lifestyle of a fanatic to the fullest extent then at least the minimum; having a 'seder', studying Mussar/Chassidut every day, minimizing on recorded entertainment programs that can be seen on televisions and computers and maximizing on our reading of the sacred books, etc etc etc…

(1) The Word "Mikve" ends with a segol, not a kamatz.
(2) A more acccurate terminology than "Chassidim".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

יום לכיפורים

חתם לבי טרם בוא היום הנורה. ח
אין לי
פה להשיב
לב לריב
עזות להגיב
ולא מצח להרים פני אל אלו"הי. ח
דרך אגב, כתבתי אודות מנהג הכפרות שנה שעברה (בלשון אדום). קחנו משם. ח

Monday, September 21, 2009

רצח גדליה של ימינו

ראוי לציין ש"צום השביעי" נוסדה בגלל מאורעות פוליטיות, ולא רוחניות. תקציר הסיפור זה שיהודים מנעו מיהודים אחרים לקיים אוטונומיה יהודית בארץ ישראל. וזה נחשב ל"חורבן" אפילו שגדליה משל רק על כמות מועטת של יהודים בארץ ישראל, ואפילו הם לא היו אלא כורמים ויוגבים. ויש לזכור שעם ה' הנשאר בציון אחרי חורבן הבית הראשון לא היו דווקא יותר צדיקים מעם ישראל בארץ ישראל דהיום, אלא עובדי עבודה זרה היו. גם היום יש יהודים שרוצים למנוע מיהודים אחרים לקיים ריבונותם השלימה על כל חלקי ארץ ישראל, וגם זה צריך להיחשב לחורבן לא קטנה במידתה מעל מה שאנחנו צמים עליו היום. ח

Friday, September 18, 2009

הזיקה בין "יום הזיכרון" המקראית לבין "ראש השנה" התלמודית

Something interesting about Rosh Hashana that isn't often considered is the apparent gap that exists between the biblical descriptions of the day and the Mishnaic/Talmudic descriptions. All that is written in the Bible regarding it is that the first day of the seventh month should be what we consider a "holiday" and that it should be a day of "remembrance" and "horn soundings".

Yet already in the Mishna we find some statements that clearly place this day at the beginning of the year:
"באחד בתשרי ראש השנה לשנים ולשמיטין וליובלות, לנטיעה ולירקות"
"בראש השנה כל באי העולם עוברים לפניו כבני מרון, שנאמר: 'היוצר יחד לבם המבין אל כל מעשיהם'" Etc...

How are these to be reconciled? Here, like in most places, it is the job of the Talmud and the Rishonim to display the congruity between these two works. Already in the Torah itself it is written regarding Succot that it takes place "at the exiting of the previous year", so it's clear from here as well as many other verses that the Torah's calander is loyal to the agricultural calander.

Rabbi Moshe ben Nah'man (as well as other commentators) attempt to bridge the gap: He points out that the general year starts in the "seventh month" of the Torah but out of respect of the Exodus it counts from the spring, and even the general world counted the new year from the beginning of the fall at that time. He also says that it's clear that the very reason for the horn soundings and why it should be a day of "remembrance" (which in biblical Hebrew always means remembrance to a judge for a positive verdict) and the reason it's a time of "holy gathering" is because the Torah acknowledges this season as the beginning of the year and some sort of judgement seems to be taking place, in which our participation is a key aspect, hence Mishnaic statements such as the one likening it to a sheep-herd count.

Yet what of the horn-blowing? What does this act that is generally considered in the bible one of aggression or announcement have to do with our being examined by G-d on the new year, or with "making G-d king over us"? I once saw a simplistic and innovative explanation for this: The two words to describe the sounds that are to be created on this day (and by horns in general for that matter) are "לתקוע\תקיעה" and "תרועה". The first word comes from the word "nailed into place" (תקוע) and is a strong constant sound. It is used when an army is confidently marching forward. The second word, which comes from the word "unstable" (רעוע) is used when the group is scattering in a guerrilla-warfare-like battle. It is evident, therefore, that the intention of the Torah's command to utilize these war instruments on this day of “remembrance” and the intention behind these confidence and alarm-soundings is, of course, a representation of the confidence/alarm that should be traversing our minds on this day.....

לטובה תחתמו

הצעיר, ס"ט

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Superpower Meme!

Well! Strangely enough I've been tagged twice in regards to this 'superpower meme' that's going around. My sincere thanks to Jessica and C for tagging me regarding it.

Superpowers, suerpowers.......? Was it not the Jew who invented the superhero to make-up for his shortcomings and the failings of a nation? The ‘Super-Man’, the ‘Über-Mensch’? Not Nietzsche’s Übermensch, but a man endowed with physical prowess alone, based, of course, on mythologies and legends of gods and men capable of extraordinary things, dating back to the most ancient civilizations.

Yet can it really be said that this superhero is totally divorced from the Übermensch? They are obviously not the same, but both, I feel, share a similar core idea; for the concept of the Greek god too, as with the Nietzschean hero, came from the premise that in this world some are naturally stronger than others, and it is up to them to usurp the power from the meek in order to properly govern society (like Batman’s relationship with the police). From Gilgamesh to Samson to Hercules to Zorro to Batman, the superhero is the manifestation of the male ego, which feels that it is singlehandedly capable of setting the world straight….

But enough of empty concepts! Let us talk ‘tachlis’! My personal favorite super-hero when I was a kid was Nightcrwaler of the Excalibur spin-off of the X-Men comic-book. It wasn’t really his power I was interested in (teleportation) but his personality; he was a cool, laid-back bourgeois type of German dude. He just never fretted about anything. ..he refused to. .(Oh yeah, him and Pete Wisdom! Memories!)

Aaaaanyway, I noticed most of the people who responded to this chose some form of mind-reading (I guess x-ray vision went out of style pretty quickly when guys realized that it wasn’t just girls’ clothes they were able to see through, but skin and ligaments as well). Personally, I like the mind-reading idea (since people are the key to power, and understanding them and how they think of you is they key to people), but as long as you're reading the mind, you might as well be able to manipulate it as well. ….though mind-manipulation is not something specific to superpowers…

In truth though, one of the responsibilities of this meme is to tag seven others (which is partly responsible for my being tagged), the only problem is that by the time this kind of thing gets around to me pretty much everyone else who I might have tagged has already been! So…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Of Africans and Israelites

Strangely enough, I recently happened upon seeing the film about Malcolm X (entitled, of course, Malcolm X).

I have always been impressed by X and some other influential members of the NOI (Nation of Islam) organization, but his particular story is not just the story of ‘Homo-Africanus’, or ‘Homo-Sapienus’, but of ‘Homo-Religiosus’ as well. It is the story of inspiration, of disillusionment and of starting anew. So, while I do respect the sincerity of what he and his followers and affiliates preach, I also think it is lamentable that X himself and leaders who follow in a similar spirit to that of Mr. X, such as his opponent Mr. Louis Farrakhan, see the Jew in very much the same light as they see the Anglo-Saxon. It is lamentable that these leaders of the 40's and 50's overlooked even the holocaust as an example of how we are just as downtrodden as they in the eyes of the European Man. X claimed that his nation was mistreated by Anglo-Americans as well as by Jews, but that mistreatment stemmed from a mutual misunderstanding and was relatively recent. In essence the Jew has been very much in the same boat as the African in America. This is also concurrent with the racial theme of the movement, since the hatred of the Aryan towards the Jew is (supposedly) because he is a Semite; someone who comes from the same middle east that the founders of the religions that X so much respected originated from.

So while on the one hand I would rather the African, and for that matter the Arabian saw the Jew as their kin, I’m also happy when the Aryan sees Jewesses like 'Alyssa Silverstone' and say, "perhaps these Jews are not so foreign", but then again, there is nothing 'Jewish' about such people, so what does it help.

Now, it is true that Jews, as part-and-parcel of European and Colonial American society were in charge of slave operations in America and perhaps caused much distress to the Africans brought here, but the Jews were part of every society; African society as well. So it's obviously wrong to lump all Jews together for such past events, and definitely not to lump them with the Europeans.

In regards to the future of the African in America: To me it is clear to me that while the Afro-American in the 21st century is not as concerned about the kinds of things that concerned X, due in part to new migrations of foreigners to this land which have placed the Afro-American in a place of more stability in this land, it seems to me that "the vices that were planted in the hearts of the African by the White Devil" have far from been removed, and he lets the hour of his salvation pass him and be given to others. It is given instead to the Indian and to the Asian, not because the African is discriminated against anymore, but because he has become so accustomed to his downtroddenness that he can no longer remove himself from vice and take advantage of the opportunities afforded the privileged citizens of this land.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

מילים ושיוערים לר"ה

It seems that with the advent of this years' Day of Judgment my tongue has become heavy. There were a few things I wanted to speak about that weren't quite 'in the spirit of the moment', so I refrained from saying them until the time is more neutral. I did want to mention that I would like to start a new blog called "הציוני האחרון" (obviously based on the 'Subliminal' song), which would deal solely with reasons for American Jews to emigrate to the Holy Land and of the supremacy of the arguments of the conservative party in Israel. I feel a need to because I've been seeing the attitudes of my fellow Jewish bloggers on the subject of their relationship with the Jewish state a lot recently, and, as usual, their attitudes distress me greatly. But first I'd have to formulate some related articles here, which I find very difficult. The premises of my ideals are so ingrained in me that it would be difficult for me to start rethinking why I feel how I feel about the subject.

But perhaps a word about the little I've been doing in the way of T'shuva: There's a Rabbi in Israel (Mechon Meir) who has a very similar last name to me (הרב אורי שרקי), and is one of the leading Sefaradi/North African thinkers in Israel in the spirit of Rav Kook and Religious Zionism in general. He has a series available online about T'shuva (among a vast number of other topics) where he explains the Hilchot T'shuva of the Rambam based on the Orot Ha'Tshuva of Rav Kook and his own explanations. His words and explanations are so pristine, clear and correct that I'm thinking about becoming a "chasid" of his. As a result of his speeches I also started delving in to Kook's "Orot Ha'Tshuva" a little for myself. ...he's very poetic. ..and very broad and dramatic about the ideas he expresses. It's kind of stuff I think I'd write myself if I was so inclined. That, by the way, is how you know when an author or a thinker is for you; when you feel it's the kind of subject matter you yourself could have written, but you just wouldn't be able to find the right words to express it yourself.

Anyway, there's something I wanted to say about actual T'shuva: There's a difference of opinion between two Spanish rabbis; "Moshe of Cordoba" and "Moshe of Girona". The Rambam felt that the actual "מצוות עשה" of T'shuva was not T'shuva itself, but the act of 'vidduy', a pronouncement of confession to G-d regarding sin. The opinion of the Ramban was that this is untrue; the mitzva is in fact the act of T'shuva itself. Reasons and arguments for their opinions vary, and border on some very deep Judaic topics. What I wish to say for the moment is that, according to the Rambam especially, if you're not totally sincere with your vidduy that is a serious offence. Yet the prayers established for these days are full of vidduyim; and we might not always be sincere in saying them.

I've always felt that how vidduy is said and what thoughts to with it, is without question the crux of these "ימים נוראים", and that what is really required is a "true vidduy", the kind of vidduy described in Shaarei T'shuva, something I myself have never done, but at least look towards with longing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

בין נדה לעשור

כמו באיסור קירוב לאשה בנידת טומאתה כן בחגי ישראל החלים תמיד בתקופות חקלייות מסוימות (וכמו כן במצוות אחרות), רואים אנו שהתורה ודרכי הטבע אחד הם, ולא רצה הא"ל בנתינת התורה אלה שמירה מעולה על החיים הטבעיים בלבד...ד...ח

Monday, September 7, 2009

יסוד דת

OK, um, ..there are a few things which I wanted to have been written on here by now and which are not...due to no other reason than sloth! ..that and a keyboard which is constantly switching the caps lock on and off...and skipping random typed letters...

Anyway, I would like to comment on one of Chana's posts (September 3rd). I know I nominated her to go to Israel but that does not in any way mean I agree with her opinions all the time. In a recent post she came to the conclusion that the most logical stance is that of the Agnostics, and that while she does agree with them, she'll stay an Orthodox Jew because it "seems" right:
"I cannot prove my religion; I do not think I will ever be able to. Indeed, the greatest question is what to do when the vast majority of what I read or learn about simply seems to disprove what I have been taught. But you see, above all logic there is emotion, and my emotion and intuition point to the fact that there is a God, He exists, and He listens to me."

I consider this reversion back to emotion and intuition to be perhaps characteristic of the female sex, and something that the Spanish Rationalist Rabbis would revile from due to it’s independence from pure logic. She said herself that the Torah demands truth ("the stamp of G-d is truth"), and this is a "dishonest" way of viewing religion.
Let me start with a chart of the main issues debated upon (in this situation):

1) "Adeism" v.s. Deism

2) Atheism v.s. Theism

3) Religions v.s. Judaism

In other words the first issue that must be dealt with is whether primordial matter was brought into existence by some being, or whether it existed for infinity.

The second is if this being interacts with human beings and conveys to them information on how to properly live.

When I was fourteen I formulated theories about both of these issues, and, while I may by now see them as a little juvenile, I still do see them as making sense. Firstly, I thought it’s more likely that primordial matter was put into being by something immortal than it itself having been around forever. Secondly, I considered it unlikely the creator would go through the trouble of creating us if it wasn’t going to interact with us in any way…kind of a long story about that actually..

In regards to the third question though, which is the focus of my attention here, I think it’s clear that for centuries the foolishness of the Christians has negatively influenced well-meaning Jews (whether they know it or not). One aspect in which this is very evident is the subject of “faith” (and what comes into the realm of faith). A few centuries ago in the Christian world if someone suggested the world went around the sun they would burn them on the cross for “blasphemy”. Now, this is not the place to carry out a long exposition on the subject, but suffice it to say “faith” without doubt is a Christian invention. The main concern of the Torah is not “faith” but living a G-dly life according to the commandments, since, in the realm of faith, nothing can be verified and the Torah has never been concerned with its verification. The Jews themselves have never been concerned about this verification; for example the first people to look for Mt. Sinai were the Christians in the third century. Not even the Jewish but the Gentile Christians! How could it be in all their history no Jew cared to see the mountain of G-d? Rather it seems the Jews were never overly bothered by the verification of these events since they knew that the events themselves could simply not be physically verified.
Whether the Torah was written by (Moses in accordance with he words of) G-d, by Moses or by a group of Israelite priests during the First Temple period or later cannot be "proven" in any way shape or form. People can have convincing propositions about one theory or the other, but nothing can be scientifically (i.e. empirically) proven, and without that all you can rely on is how likely each side of argument might seem to you. On the other hand we are encouraged to be intellectually honest. So we are, in essence, all "agnostics", since we admit that we cannot verify things in a real sense. We are allowed to be agnostics, but we must decide which proposition sounds more correct to us. More "likely". My own judgement and evaluation of the arguments has always told me that it is more correct to assume that the creator did, in fact, have some sort of communication with Moses, as is described in the Torah. I admit that I cannot know the reality of what occurred; I wasn't there, no one from among us was, but this seems to be the most likely scenario and therefore ample reason to abide by the "teachings" of "the book of teaching" (ספר התורה).

This is an article from the Anglo-Israeli Conservative or "Masorati" Rabbi, Simchah Roth, and I've always felt it nips this whole misunderstanding in the bud. All the articles are worthwhile for anyone to read through.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Blog Plug

It's not generally my custom here to plug blogs (although I just did in the previous post!), I would like to encourage the readership of a new blog created by a friend of mine from yeshiva, Shim'on. He's an interesting fellow; a Dutch-American from Washington State who converted to Judaism. His blog deals with proper diet and weight loss (called "Kosher Weight Loss"). He writes as he speaks; funny, assertive and right to the point. So if you struggle with your relationship with food-consumption (and who doesn't, really) his blog will be beneficial to you.

In other news, the author of the Bad for Shidduchim blog ended up winning the trip to the Blogger Convention. I'm happy, yet at the same time concerned about what it says about our community if our most popular blog is not one about religion or philosophy, but one about dating stories. Oh well...

Personally, in my haughtiness, I find fault in almost all the blogs in my blogroll (which is why I write one myself!). Many of them are about the totally unimportant and uninteresting things that occur in peoples lives, others are constantly complaining about the Ultra Orthodox community, and yet themselves still choose to be part of it, others are about dating and still others about raising a family. So while many of them can be helpful to read, I don't consider them the most earth-shattering subjects...

[This just in!: another friend from the same yeshiva just started a blog (though almost nothing is written in it at the moment) at]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blogger Convention Nomination

In the land chosen by G-d as a gift to His people, which they refuse due to their obstinacy, in the city on which the name of G-d is called upon it, there has begun a tradition of yearly meetings for people who write popular electronic journals (bloggers). This year’s situation is a bit awkward, since there are three equally worthy people (among a few others) who very much wish to attend this gathering, but need to be nominated by other bloggers.

I understand why each of them has a legitimate claim for being the best candidate; Chaviva is someone who, of her own volition, decided to become part of our religious and national consciousness. Chana is a masterful and professional author and Jewish thinker, and “Bad for Shidduchim” also has a quite popular blog and is eager to go. If I want to donate my two cents to the cause though, only one of these three lovely ladies must be nominated.

I therefore choose Mrs. Wiznitzer, since, as she mentioned on her blog, she's been writing longer than anyone else, writes longer and more quality posts, and has more to offer the public as a speaker and influencer due to the depth of her religious and philosophical thought.

If you have a few moments, I would suggest that you too choose someone to nominate (since none of the candidates seem to have enough nominations yet)...


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ניקוי ירקות: נוסח אלול

[Upon cutting spoilage out of a cabbage]

It seems queer to me; this cabbage that has such deeply ingrained spoilage that a foul odor emanates from it also has parts with a palpable freshness. Is it a spoiled cabbage? No. Is it a fresh cabbage? No! But from it's exterior one would consider it spoiled. All that can redeem it is an amputation of the affected tissue.

What is of gravest concern is if the spoilage reaches our core, our id. Of course even such a growth can be removed, but at that point all that would be left is a very small and awkwardly shaped piece of cabbage . The non-soiled parts are so negligible that it might as well be discarded. It should not be that the only purity within us is such a negligible part of our personalities that we aren't "worth keeping" in the day of judgement.

This conflict is by far one of the most crucial; the fight for our core; what defines us. Will it be the spoilage within us or crisp cabbagy freshness. And what better time to engage in this conflict if not now, during the month which precedes our judgment? Even if it seems that the lions-share of our "מהות" is spoilage, what can often be found during Ellul is that the spoilage is not intrinsic within us. Our fresh parts testify that we have our source in steadfast and fertile ground; ground that yields only the freshest of cabbages. Rather it is, many times, external influences (from other spoiled produce) that has blackened our exterior. That or disuse. But the "pintele cabbage" is, and always will be, pure and ruggedly fresh.

All that can be done in this struggle then, aside from attempting to expressly amputate major parts of ourselves is a removal from these spoiled exteriors, into the world of the interior. The interior world of Ellul. It's not quite the same as placing the cabbage in an exterior that encourages freshness, such as a refrigerator (a yeshiva, or any other place of potential spiritual growth), but even within our daily drudgeries there must be a place made for introspections of this sort.

העבד, ס"ט

[I forgot why I ever stopped signing my name.]