Why do I write
Some people have questioned the existence and propriety of this site. First, no one is forcing anyone to read this. If you don’t like it or you aren’t interested, don’t waste your time here, there is so much out there, go enjoy yourself. Second, regarding the propriety. I acknowledge that my position may make some uncomfortable. Indeed, those who are strictly orthodox may be offended by this, but why does anyone write. In this instance, I write for myself, it forces me to examine my own life. Moreover, I hope that I can help others who may either be on the same path as myself or may be where I am already at the end of the orthodox path and blazing another.
Communication is a fairly basic need. Recent studies have shown that removing one’s ability to communicate can be as harmful as physical torture. The internet, of course, has been a boon to communication, it has allowed for all sorts of people, who beforehand would have been unable to air whatever they think is important to do so. Indeed, what the Church feared most about the printing press is the spread of heretical ideas (not much changes in 500 years).
But, while communication may be a basic need, what about a rabbi communicating about his beliefs or non-beliefs? There is a history here as well. R. Judah Areyeh of Modena, who lived in the 17th century in Italy and was on the Venice bet din (that is, he was an accepted rabbi) had a book which contains a terrific critique of rabbinic Judaism. Modena certainly authored a response to this book, but the response was weak which has lead some to conclude that he wasn’t really trying to refute the findings of the anti-rabbinic work, to the contrary he authored not only the response but the actual book. That would make Modena the first blogging atheist or orthoprax rabbi. By the way, his commentary still appears in the Eyn Yaakov (the collection of various aggadot). Oh and the really orthodox recite one of his prayers on Yom Kippur Katon (the day before the first of the month where the especially pious or those who just like suffering, fast and say special prayers). [Yes, I am aware that he had a gambling problem but none of us are perfect – even Moses sinned.] Thus, to put an Orthodox spin on it, I have asked my rabbi – Modena – and followed him. We are like midgets on the shoulders of giants.
While my day job may force me to be a mouthpiece for Orthodoxy, it doesn’t mean I can’t ever share my own views. This is my chosen medium, this is my printing press, my own mouthpiece for my own ideas. That is why I write.