Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mystics and rationalists

When I spend too long among happy-clappy Breslovers who dance in the streets and commune with nature, hoppy-hippy Carlebachers who sing more than they daven, pseudokabbalistic Sephardim who are in awe of superstition, it brings out the rationalist intellectual in me. Judaism is about learning and fulfilling the mitzvot, not mystical significances, amorphous "spiritual experiences", emotional highs and rebbe worship.

When I spend too long among hyperintellectual Briskers, analytical hairsplitters from RIETS and Gush, Soloveitchikian "halachic men" who view the world exclusively through a priori religio-legal categories, religious professors who pray dispassionately in pure fulfillment of obligation, yeshiva bachurim who view zemiros as bitul Torah, it brings out the chassid in me. There is more to Judaism - and life - than is dreamed of in your philosophy.

Talmudic Man is a merger of Halachic Man and Aggadic Man.

Interesting that at the seder we carefully carry out precisely-defined mitzvot, but the text of the haggadah focuses on storytelling. We fulfill halacha, but discuss aggada.


YBM said...


I really like your blog and have recently started one of my own. I would love to link to your blog and have you link to mine.

Jack said...

Interesting thought, worth considering.