Speed Reading?

My first rabbinic position was as an assistant rabbi. I started during the summer, right around now, during the post Tisha’Bav lull. I was a newly minted rabbi and was joining an established shul, whose rabbi had been in that position for nearly 20 years. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous how I would fit in with both the community as well as the rabbi.

My first week there coincided with the rabbi’s vacation, so I settled in slowly. I began drawing up potential classes, meeting with congregants, and getting to know the shul better. I hoped that by the time the rabbi returned I would have something to show for my having started while he was away. When the rabbi returned he called me into his office. We chatted for a bit, how the housing was working out, which people I had met, etc. When I interviewed for the position, I found the rabbi a bit cold, distant and ponderous, although I knew his congregants loved him. Now, meeting him as his assistant I found that my initial impression was off. He was very friendly and gregarious and with a smile shared his vast institutional knowledge with me. We must have talked for over an hour about the shul and his experience there. At the end of the conversation he said, “[T]here is one more thing I would like to discuss.” I was a bit nervous as to what this would be and hoped he hadn’t heard anything negative in my short time at the shul. I shouldn’t have worried. The rabbi explained that he wanted to offer me the opportunity to daven Mussaf for the shul on the second day of Rosh ha-Shana. I was flattered that he would ask me to do so, especially as I had started less than a month before his offer. The rabbi explained that when he came to the shul some 20 years earlier, his first major duty was to lead the Rosh ha-Shana teffilos, and he was extending to me the same honor. I was euphoric and ecstatic, and I look back now at that moment of pure and unbridled joy as one of naiveté, but also longing, knowing that those feelings and emotions were both misplaced and of incredible importance, and I recognize they are not coming back.

I went home, almost running the whole way, to tell my wife the good news. Being that leading the teffilos was a coming out party of sorts for me, I immediately began practicing. I got tapes of various chazzanim and spent hours each day memorizing the tunes. I recorded myself so that I could hear how I sounded. As it got closer and closer to Rosh ha-Shana, I became more and more apprehensive, viewing this, perhaps unfairly, as a make or break opportunity. My wife was enlisted to listen to Mussaf, over and over again. I had a friend in Yeshiva who was something of a Chazzan, and we spent time on the phone going over each tune I intended on using. In the end, I knew the entire Mussaf by heart, no small feat.

Finally, the day came and I would like to think that I acquitted myself well. Although I was standing for hours I barely felt it; in fact, Mussaf felt like it was over before it began. Afterwards, the rabbi congratulated me on a job well done and noted all the preparations that had gone in to making Mussaf what it was. He particularly enjoyed the tune I used for kaddish, and I still use it today.

I was, however, surprised at the comments by the congregation. Everyone I met complemented the davening, but I was startled to discover that although each congregant focused on something different—a particular tune or tefilah—they, almost uniformly, included a variation on, “and we got out so early” or “it was so quick.” At the time I didn’t know if they were being polite – perhaps they didn’t really enjoy it and that was all they could come up with. Over time, however, I learned that my congregants weren’t sugarcoating their praise or trying to come up with at least one redeeming quality from my Mussaf. Rather, the most important factor for most everyone during the Yomim Noraim, almost uniformly, was to make sure they were home by noon. There was no inspiration to be had, no greater truth to uncover. This was simply a group of people going through the motions, doing what they have always done, stuck in neutral. They were not challenging themselves regarding their rituals and beliefs and they were certainly not embracing this spiritual opportunity for what it was; they were simply docile functionaries, doing what they have always done and passively moving from one ritual to the next, allowing the only bit of concern and effort to be expended in worrying about what was for lunch and if taking a nap will lead to a sleepy year.

Upon first being exposed to this attitude, I wrote it off to people being unable to convey what they really felt. I came to realize, of course, that for most, teffilah, even on the holiest days of our calendar, isn’t all that meaningful to those sitting to our left and to our right. It is something to get through, something to have survived, and to then tell war stories after about what time we finished and how long the break was. Davening was yet another hurdle to get past, a brief stop on our way to do what really matters. I only realized years later, after my path to Orthopraxy was well along, why this mattered so much to me, why it still matters to me. It was true, I discovered, that idealism is often defeated in its confrontation with reality.

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62 Responses to Speed Reading?

  1. avraham rosenblum says:

    There is good and bad by breslov but one thing you will never find by Rebbi Nachman on Rosh Hashanah is people set into neutral.

  2. Shades of Gray says:

    There is plenty of depth in the davening in the perfectly ordinary Yeshiva where I have beem davening for many years on RH; I look forward, in fact, to aspects of the Rosh Hashanah tefilah the entire year.

    This is one “problem” raised on this blog that has various solutions; though, I have absolutely no problem with those wish to travel to Uman on Rosh Hashanah– “ashreihem sh’yeish la’hem rebbe kazeh” :)

    • Dov Kramer says:

      I agree, SOG.

      There are those that can’t wait to get home, there are those that find real meaning, and there are those that can’t wait to get home yet experience moments of meaning while they are there.

      And there are places where there are higher concentrations of one or the other (or the other). I went back to Yeshiva for years because not only did the davening there bring meaning to me, but I sensed that it did for almost everybody else there as well. The place I daven now (every Shabbos, not just RH/YK) has that as well (it’s a Yeshiva Almuni minyan).

      In between though, I davened at a shul that was started as an attempt to build a Yeshiva and then a Kollel. It was fine, but nothing special. The minyan had a mix of those who went for meaning and those who couldn’t wait to get home but experienced meaningful moments while they were there. Then they got a “real ” building, and instead of the one minyan that started on the early side, a second minyan was started, which began much later (and attracted people from all over the community who preferred getting up later). On RH/YK, however, they had one combined minyan, and I couldn’t put my finger on why the davening didn’t resonate with me (aside from my personal Shemoneh Esray). Until I realized that it was because of the higher concentration of those who couldn’t wait to get home even if they appreciated the moments of meaning they had while they were there.

      It is no secret that the majority of OJs are mostly going through the motions. That doesn’t mean the theology isn’t meaningful. It was always understood that besides the moments of meaning the majority of Jews experience, the society they create serves mostly to help those special individuals who live a more completely meaningful life.

      • Shades of Gray says:

        DK,

        First, does being at WFAN with the moniker “Davening Dov”, which I assume is you, help you any in tefilos ? :)

        I would say that to an extent, there is a natrual process which takes work.

        When I was sixteen, in a “Ask the Rabbi” session with a well-known rosh yeshivah, I submitted a question “what is the effective what to have kavanah in davening?”

        He began his response, before discussing practical tips, by saying that “99.9999 %” of people don’t have proper kavanah, and that he thinks that the decimal place of those who do is infinitisemal !

        Perhaps he was exaggerating, but if not, I would say that with all due respect to this distinquished Rav(and I imagine he might agree),

        A) This might have changed since he spoke

        B) if you look around, there are plenty of people who do have kavanah for small or larger amounts of time, though they weren’t born that way(note that Baltimore recently made a community intiative to study R. Heshey Kleinman’s sefer on prayer, “Praying with Fire”).

      • Dov Kramer says:

        SOG,

        1) That “nickname” came because my first name begins with “D” and the host who called me that associated “davening” with frum people (his stepfather was OJ).

        2) I agree that the pendulum may have started to swing the other way. An anectodal comparison of “older” communities (such as the one I grew up in) and “younger” communities (such as where I live) shows that davening takes much longer for the current generation than for the previous one.

        3) That said, I don’t know if the percentages have changed all that much. It recently occured to me that the reason tefila is called “avoda she’b’lev” may be precisely because of how much work it takes to stay focused during davening.

  3. David says:

    The davening– even the weekday davening– is tedious, repetetive, and unimaginative. Poetically, it’s lame. Musically, it rarely rises above mediocrity. And the one constant over the centuries is that it gets longer and longer as someone always seems to find some clever thing we need to add. Then we’re told that, if we don’t find it meaningful, the fault lies with us.

    • Am HaAretz says:

      @David
      Brilliant. I could not agree with you more.

      • Dov Kramer says:

        David,

        There are many great lessons my father, ad me’ah v’esrim shana, taught me growing up. One of them came when as a young kid he caught me faking the davening. He said to me that he doesn’t care if I don’t say the whole davening, but whatever I say, I should really say it.

        The concept of whatever I do, do it right/well (or at least try to)has stuck with me ever since.

    • >Poetically it’s lame

      I have to disagree I find some of the tunes and piyutim on the Yamim Noraim to be very moving.

      But obviously there are just way too many of them and people think of them not as songs (which is what they are) but rather magical prayers which must be said at all costs! Even at the cost of forcing people who don’t like poetry and don’t like liturgical songs to bear it as “an obligation!”

      Piyutim should be 100% optional.

      (Also no one likes the Avoda! It’s long, boring, and badly written!)

  4. Jacob Stein says:

    If you want to see really idealistic, enthusiastic prayer, even on weekdays, let alone Rosh haShanah, I would suggest visiting for example the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, Israel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponevezh_Yeshiva

    But since those people are so spiritual, I suppose our Orthoprax blogger would criticize them as being draft dodgers and parasites. So no one Orthodox is really OK in the eyes of the skeptics.

    Regarding daily repetition prayers in general, I look at them being a sort of spiritual workout schedule. Like daily workouts at the gym, it may be repetitive, however it will have positive results.

  5. Am HaAretz says:

    Davening and clubbing baby seals have something in common. The more you do it, the more meaningful it becomes.

  6. At the end of the day repeating something three times a day for your whole life is just a colossal bore and can only be useful if you think that davening magically makes God happy whether or not it actually means anything to you.

    It’s uninspiring, eventually degenerates into davening by rote, and is just a waste of time.

    Yes, in Yeshiva we all had that one or two amazing Yom Kippurs but as one of our Rabbis said “As you get older Yom Kippur starts meaning less and less”

    smartest thing a Yeshiva Rabbi ever said.

    • Dov Kramer says:

      >>At the end of the day repeating something three times a day for your whole life is just a colossal bore <<

      Alternatively, if one makes sure to pray on a regular basis whether inspired or not, occassionally inspiration comes at times it wasn't expected.

    • Or you could just pray on those days when you feel inspired and save yourself lots of time

      Seems like a lot of wasted words for that one time that counts

    • avi says:

      Simplest way not to be bored, is dont daven. I have stopped davening years ago. My life is no better or worse for it, except that now I am not bored.

  7. YC says:

    Some people are careful to eat by noon but even if one doubts that is the main motivation. Looking forward to Seudat Yom Tov and the mitzva of simchat yom tov with friends and family should not be downplayed.

    Putting aside the question of 1/2 for you and 1/2 for God (prayer-learning) on RH the 1/2 for you for a group that may be fasting until kiddush should also not be overlooked.

    With all that- what can be done. I am sure of the avg person put even a % of the amount of time the new asst rabbi put into davening the attitudes will start to change

  8. joel rich says:

    “As you get older Yom Kippur starts meaning less and less”
    ================================
    Anecdotal data indicates the opposite is true (as anyone who ever crammed for finals can attest:-))
    KT

  9. Jack says:

    Davening shouldn’t have to be endured, but far too often it is.

  10. Daniel Schwartz says:

    Sorry rabbi if all you could get was people to compliment you on the speed of your davening, then you abjectly FAILED as the shliach tzibbur. It was your job to render the machzor congnizable, meaningful and relevant to each of your congregants that R”H morning. And you failed miserably. I’ve been a cantor for 25 years. I’ve been paid my fair share of compliments and had my share of detractors in the various congregations I’ve served. But no one ever complimented me for the speed of my services. Very few ever criticized them as too long either. But I’ve been told by many that I brought the machzor to life for them. You however were incapable of that.

    • Abe says:

      If no one ever complimented you on being quick and few complain about being long, then you’re long and your comment proves nothing.

  11. shim (Shimon) says:

    It may be true that people don’t have קוונה but that seems to me to be caused by how short a time there is given to daven. It is clear from the gemara brachot to R Kaplan that tfillah is supposed to be a study in meditative commune and if you are rushed it just doesn’t work.

  12. moom says:

    The services are way too long. I agree with everyone who says that unneccessary stuff has kept getting added.

  13. This post is unfortunately very true. Most people are just watching the clock. I recall in the RH minyan I attended two years ago, we went slower than we had in years past and some people complained. Mind you, this is an early minyan which would get out way before lunch, but still.

    In more general terms, I agree that it seems there are too many piyyutim. I personally have a particular gripe (thank you artscroll) that when it says responsive reading, and the chazzan chooses a catchy tune to sing, some congregations will still do it responsively instead of collectivelly. None of the piyyutim in hazarat hashatz need be responsive! It wastes time and kills what could be an uplifting moment. Be that as it may, the poetry itself is very meaningful for me, though I can understand how it would be challenging for others. Those who pay attention might struggle with G-d as King imagery, especially because we don’t understand what monarchy truly is.

    • I too have wondered about the responsive readings. Goldschmit doesn’t have nearly as many as Artscroll does. Moreover, I could find little evidence that responsive reading is required (in some cases the responsive nature actually alters the meaning as the congregation repeats or includes words in a stanza that they shouldn’t). The Arugos Habosem also doesn’t mention the responsive nature of many of those that Artscroll does.
      I am unsure if the problem is that we don’t understand what monarchy is, or that there is something more fundementally wrong at work here.

    • Dov Kramer says:

      >>None of the piyyutim in hazarat hashatz need be responsive! It wastes time and kills what could be an uplifting moment.<<

      Then perhaps there could be a class before the high holidays that will add meaning to certain parts of davening (not too many, just a couple) as well as some guidelines.

      During the "guidelines" part, it could be taught that piyutim do not need to be said responsively. This part could be reiterated in the shul newsletter ("as discussed in the shiur about davening," etc.), so that this disappears in short order.

      • Easier said than done. I have tried to do just this before. We did a class and had meetings (for those interested) and we have removed a good portion of the piyyutim. But, there are still many that are hard to take out. While I typically give a class on the Avodah section of the yom kippur mussaf, most still don’t get it. But, can one really remove that? It is a big portion and I think many aren’t that inspired by it.

      • Dov Kramer says:

        OPR-

        I didn’t suggest “removing” anything here (as part of the official service), I was suggesting a way to raise awareness regarding the need (or lack thereof) to say things responsively.

      • Sure, not a bad idea, although I am sure some will argue that opposite, that not being able to participate in the responsive readings make for an uninspiring teffilah.

  14. David says:

    Dov Kramer–
    I don’t disagree that things that are worth doing are worth doing well. I’m just not persuaded that the davening is worth doing (although, for the record, I’m open to being persuaded). To put it simply, the davening doesn’t express any feelings that I have about God. On the contrary, it reflects the feelings and thoughts that some group of rabbis had, and that they apparently believed I ought to have. Regrettably, this merely serves as an unpleasant reminder to me of the fact that I do not have those feelings or thoughts. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine that my recitation of words and thoughts which do not reflect my own feelings or beliefs would be a meaningful experience, either for me as the pray-er, or for God as the pray-ee; is He really so enamored of ritualized hypocrisy? So, in the end, what’s the point?

    • Daniel Schwartz says:

      You could of course look at the inclusion of those piyyutim as the thoughts and perceptions our sages believe a community ought to project. They are aspirational. An individual is of course free to harbor his emotions and feelings about G-d and to even express them privately; in a conversation between him and G-d.

      • David says:

        Daniel,
        That’s exactly how I look at them. They are the thoughts and perceptions that someone else thought I “ought to project.” I respectfully disagree. I just don’t see any good reason for me to attempt to project those thoughts.

    • Dov Kramer says:

      My dad’s point (to his less-than-a-decade-old first-born) was about saying the words vs. pretending to say them, not about kavana.

      If you react that way to the institutionized prayers, perhaps you should limit your saying them. Choose one or two that resonate (Shema twice a day would be ideal), and then add, in your own words, how you would like G-d to intervene in the world (for you or others).

      I can’t say that I stay focused for most of the “18 blessings,” but when I add my own stuff right before the last “yehi ratzon” at the very end, I do, allowing me to connect with G-d at least then at least 3 times a day.

      • David says:

        Why Shema twice a day? First, it’s not really a prayer, it’s a declaration addressed to a group of people, stating a rather mundane proposition. God is one? So? As to how I’d like God to intervene in the world, since He couldn’t take the trouble to (say) prevent the Holocaust, is there any reason to think that He might get involved in order to land me a higher paying job or make my sick friends well again? Frankly, if He did, I’d be embarassed for both of us.

      • shim (Shimon) says:

        David I understand your sentiment but don’t knock שמע there is a ton of meaning packed into that short “declaration”, and the very fact that it is to a “group of people” is why it is so central in our practice, our focus is on people and the pursuit of happiness [ :) ]
        and as to the use of the Holocaust example, why not use the destruction of the First or Second Temples and consequently the beginning of thousands of years of exile, spilt blood and dispersal, or is that not a greater tragedy?

      • Dov Kramer says:

        >>since He couldn’t take the trouble to (say) prevent the Holocaust, is there any reason to think that He might get involved in order to land me a higher paying job or make my sick friends well again? Frankly, if He did, I’d be embarassed for both of us.<<

        Then you don't understand how G-d works. Perhaps you should ask a different question instead:

        If I deserved a better paying job, why do I need to ask for it? And if I don't deserve it, how can prayer help?

    • Dov Kramer says:

      >>I don’t disagree that things that are worth doing are worth doing well.<<

      There's a big difference, btw, between doing things worth doing well, and doing whatever you do well. Once it has enough "worth" to do, do it well.

      One of the big issues I have with "frum" schools that give secular the rift is that it teaches the students that it's okay to do things half-a**ed.

  15. Shades of Gray says:

    R. Dov Kramer,

    Thanks for your input on the tefilah issue(my brother, a long-time listener to WFAN and Steve Sommers, had always been curious about why you got that nickname, so I had to take the opportunity to ask) :)

    (I was just reading your article on Kri U’ksiv, which has alot of interesting sources, though that’s the subject of previous post)

  16. Deb says:

    The minyan I prefer for RH ends later; it has a dynamic and moving baal tefilah. The one that ends early is boring.
    Why do you assume EVERYONE finds things to be the same way you do?

  17. I believe you are over analyzing this. I served as chazan on the yomim noraim for the last 10 years and it is possible to get a lot out of the davening without schlepping. Perhaps the person to daven before you took a very long time, which is often unwarranted and could lead to less kavanah. I know of a number shuls where the rav is makpid that the davening not take to long because there is no reason for it.

  18. Rabban Gamliel says:

    “Rather, the most important factor for most everyone during the Yomim Noraim, almost uniformly, was to make sure they were home by noon.”

    An Orthodox shul expecting that during the Yomim Noraim they would be home by noon? It doesn’t even sound like at least many a Conservative shul.

  19. Rabban Gamliel says:

    What time did Shacharis start?

  20. Leah D. says:

    Don’t sweat the complaints, it is impossible to please everyone. I think that it is definitely beneficial to have an ongoing dialog with your congregants about the service’s structure if people continue to be antsy. Stilling the mind enough to have kavanah in davening is not simple. Honestly, some years the Yomim Noraim davening is way too long for me and I find my mind wandering. Some years it doesn’t say at all what I personally need it to say. And then there are some truly difficult ones where I found the service very comforting and uplifting, and too short to fit in everything I wanted to say to Hashem. I believe that speaking with the unknowable Creator of the Universe (if you do believe in one) should be a meaningful and personal experience, and yes… sometimes community participation can be healing. But if you find the service is not affording you a meaningful connection because it is too long or that you cannot still your mind, assuming that you are an adult, you can quietly excuse yourself and go out. Seriously, I do not understand all the fuss. And if you are worried what others will think of you, why bother even being there? (You might want to re-examine your motives for attending.) Not every year is going to be perfect.

  21. Yaakov Yechiel says:

    I heard about this rabbi when my rabbi, Rav Ben Greenberg, mentioned him during his sermon this shabbat. I have no problem with his practicing MO while being an atheist (although I find it interesting that he has so much faith in his atheism as to be so confident that there is no G-d). However, one does not have to be orthodox or even a believer to see that his interactions with his congregents are unethical, even by the standards of secular humanism.
    First, human interactions are based on mutual trust. We make assumptions about one another based on we how present ourselves. Orthoprax rabbi (OR) presents himself such that others will naturally and predictably assume many things about him that are not true. He trades on these assumptions and the trust of his congregants while betraying both. He is impersonating an orthodox rabbi, and his relationship with those he leads and counsels is fundamentally deceptive. He fears that if he were honest, his congregants would behave differently towards him, implying that he understands that the truth about him is significant to his congregants, yet he hides it from them. In sum, he is dishonest.
    Second, he is condescending and patronizing to his congregants. He sees many of them as “blissfully unaware,” confused, rigid, and benighted. He wishes that they could be as enlightened as he. Is it ethical to serve as a leader, mentor, and spiritual guide to people one does fully respect? I think not.
    Third, his congregants are not getting what they contracted with him for. When a congregant requests a modern orthodox rabbi in situations like comfort in mourning, facing the end of life, beginning a marriage, and making important life decisions, one is seeking spiritual help of a particular sort. Only a cynic can believe that the effectiveness of someone who is merely mouthing the words or simply reporting what rabbinic texts say is equal to someone who deeply believes what he is saying. In moments of crisis, the core of one’s being is critical to how one responds and how one communicates. OR is not fully there in the I-Thou relationship with his congregant in crisis.
    Assuming OR is not a hoax, I feel sorry for him. He is someone who does not believe those who love him can accept him if they know the truth about him. He is someone who feels the need to expose his inner turmoil to the public and seems to relish their support as well as their opprobrium. He seems to be trying to integrate his fragmented identity through a blog. He must be on constant guard not to let the truth about him slip out. This is no way to live.

  22. S. Benson says:

    “… idealism is often defeated in its confrontation with reality.”
    That is a motif of the Jewish people. We get the Torah and make a Golden Calf. We have Manna but want meat. Etc.
    Our aspirations are high but reality is tough. Davening has the potential of being moving and inspirational but the feet hurt, the stomach is growling, and the piuytim (another one!) long. We are supposed to act in a certain way and yet, every year, have a Yom Kippur to remind us of how we failed to live up to our ideals—again.
    So the congregants only find it “meaningful” if it’s over by noon. Bummer for you.
    So what? Breaking news: the average Jew is the average Jew. Yet somehow this surprised you. Welcome to the real world where being idealistic and having standards is a challenge.

  23. David says:

    Shimon–

    I don’t understand what you mean by “our focus is on people and the pursuit of happiness.” Being frum does not make me happy– quite the contrary. And I don’t mean to say that I wish to lead a life of reckless, wanton dissolution; the truth is, I don’t. I just don’t find any meaning whatsoever in the endless cycle of rituals and obsession with details that characterizes frumkheit.
    As to your examples, I really don’t see why I should care about the destruction of the temples. What makes you think I’d be happier participating in animal sacrifices? The idea is revolting. As to exile, I’m not an “exile.” I live in America, and I have the opportunity to live pretty much wherever I want– if I wanted to go and live in Jerusalem, I could do that. By making an affirmative decision not to, I pretty much disqualify myself from any meaningful definition of exile. As to the spilled blood, yes, that’s pretty sad. Thousands of years of it, and all for what? Is that supposed to make me feel something positive about Judaism?

    • Dov Kramer says:

      “Being frum does not make me happy– quite the contrary.”

      Does that reflect more on “frumkeit,” or your approach to it?

      ” I really don’t see why I should care about the destruction of the temples.”

      I think Shimon was asking why the tragedy you mentioned was singled out over others that were just as tragic, perhaps moreso. I also think his underlying point was that G-d never promised to prevent tragedies; just the opposite, He warned us that tragedies of such magnitude would certainly be allowed to happen if we weren’t acting the way we should.

      But that’s on a national level. Personal prayers operate on a different plane.

      • David says:

        DK,
        Frumkheit’s not making me happy could be indicative of one (or more) of a number of things: 1) defects in frumkheit; 2) my approach to frumkheit; 3) defects in me; 4) taste. There are probably others, but I’m not sure why your question is phrased as an “either-or” proposition. My personal guess is that frumkheit is fine for some and not so much for others. The fact that it has not managed to attract more than about 1 in ten Jews for quite some time suggests that its appeal is obviously not universal.
        As to God and tragedies, your argument is weak. God “warned us” about tragedies if we didn’t toe the line? Remember, this God is omnipotent– nobody’s opposed to a little tragedy now and then, but God is standing idly by the blood of thousands of innocents, and you expect me to buy into the notion that this is justified by the naughtiness of a few others?
        Absurd.

      • Dov Kramer says:

        David,

        Why are you okay with “a litle tragedy?” If an omnipotent G-d is supposed to prevent tragedy from happening, why does the amount matter?

      • Dov Kramer says:

        David,

        Just saw this on Hirhirim. Uou might find it interesting (see comments).

        http://torahmusings.com/2010/07/do-it-yourself-theodicy.html

      • shim (Shimon) says:

        For the most part I agree with you Dov, but I just want to add two things. first I don’t profess to know all that much about why tragedies happen all I know is that God has a real liking for free will decisions by humans and if we have that then its pretty much given that we will screw up really bad sometimes.
        Also, David you’re missing one thing in the list why frumkheit isn’t making you happy: 5) some of the people who hold themselves up as the paragons of the religion act in a seriously disgusting fashion to others. To that all I will say is judge the religion by the religion not by its practitioners.

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