Thursday, January 03, 2008

A michtam* for Artscroll

I would like to thank everyone who posed suggestions for new posts. Thanks on two counts; one, for the ideas themselves, and two, for showing interest in this blog.

It may soon be time to reflect on this blog and to revisit my "Who am I" page. But first, a short thought.

In the second volume of Hakirah there is a letter from Yaakov Elman, part of which reads as follows:

"I wish you all the luck in the world in cultivating intellectual curiosity in Flatbush and among frum people in general. Decades of experience have shown me how difficult a task that is. Good luck!"

On the other hand, a mere three years experience has shown me that much that could not be accomplished from within the ivory tower can be accomplished from without. Please don't think of this as any sort of condescension, veiled or otherwise, toward my readers and blogging chaveirim. On the contrary, many people who know a lot more about the things I'm interested in and have known them for a lot longer than me seem to read this blog and contribute to the comments. But not everyone in 'Blogistan' fit that description, and I'm happy to say that you can cultivate intellectual curiosity among frum people, to say nothing of the curiosity which is already there.


This funny poem by Jacqueline Osherow is from her Dead Men's Praise, a book of poems "address travels in Italy, the vanished Jewish world of the Ukraine, and insights into the nature of God that can be gleaned from the Hebrew psalms."

By the way, I'm always so critical of Artscroll, but the distant dove of silence sounds perfectly poetic to me, not that it seems to actually mean anything.

(Complete poem is on pp. 69-72.)

Another excerpt:

To my bubbe, I'd have written michtam
Upon michtam. Who decides when it's a michtam?


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