June 30th, 2011


Yeshivat Hadar Week 2 Day 4

Quick post tonight.

* For the first time, I was at yeshiva for over 15 hours, counting the commute and a quick stop afterwards. I think 9 hours at home is the minimum I need, so I hope this isn't too common of an occurrence. (On my way home, I ran into 3 yeshiva people who appeared to be going out somewhere. At 9:30pm. When we have to be back at 7:30am tomorrow. More power to them! I'd be thrilled if I needed less sleep, but I don't, and caffeine really isn't my thing.)

* I think I'm starting to understand the machshavah (Jewish Thought) class a bit. We have an hour and a half of study time on Mondays and 2 hours of lecture/Q&A on Thursdays. That three-day gap makes it hard to reorient myself, and the fact that most other people in the class have taken at least one philosophy class makes it harder. But in today's lecture (primarily about the Aristotelian/Maimonidiean G-d that is unknowable and indescribable and arguably irrelevant, versus A.J. Heschel's G-d that has "emotions" and is in search of and in need of humans and is arguably "too human"), my one comment was referred to by multiple other people as a possible challenge to the material, and the teacher started to call me out as an archetypal student who will find certain "personifications" of G-d in Heschel's conception problematic. I consider both of these unmitigated pluses.

I still don't really know what we're talking about in the larger sense, nor do I understand half of the other comments/questions from fellow classmates or half of the reading. But I'm getting something out of lecture, which is good. My "weak point" in a sense is theology. I approach Judaism primarily through practice and ritual and law and music and culture, and I'm conversational in other topics like history and Israel. Really, I'm bad at G-d. I'm even getting antsy writing about the topic now. Maybe after 5 more weeks of this class, I'll get better. I think I'm starting to.

* Short day tomorrow! Still starts early, though. Bye!

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