Sunday, November 28, 2004

The View From Here

In an effort to help this blog maintain the high ethical standards normally demanded by the nearly puritanical American public, I have decided to use my Zev-given right to interfere with this usually excellent web-based publication and demand the cessation of printing anything that might have been regarded as something close to being smut before the end of the nineteenth century.

Also, guys, I just thought I'd say hello.

Anyway, I'm happy to see that the U of C fellowship is still going strong and that the traditional 3W tisches are still happening regularly. I trust that the regular occupation of the Hillel and Yavneh are still at their strongest, though of course I must remind you of the glory days when Dan Levy and I were occupying the chairmanship of the SSC.

Speaking of occupation, life in Israel is quite exciting. I managed to learn a communicative amount Hebrew and have started learning Arabic and German as well. I have decided to get a background in both the Semitic languages and their antitheses. I am also studying Philo, Plato, Aristotle, Rambam, and various others. I managed somehow to keep myself busy even after Chicago. The professors and classes here are excellent, though the administration is a hassle which I wouldn't wish upon anyone.

That's the update from Jerusalem. I hope you are all well and safe.



Zev said...

Good to see that the Purity Police is on patrol! Take that Oren! Yehuda, you have done a service to the blog (not by condeming Oren's post necessarily, but for posting at all). We can truly call ourselves Apt 3W. Shmuli will be happy.
Have any funny bits to quote us from Philo?

Anonymous said...

it seems we should all take a moment to consider the many things we know a lot more about now than we did at "the end of the nineteenth century:"
1- genetics
2- indoor plumbing
3- climate control
4- nuclear physics
5- polyester
the list goes on...
So while it might be fun to go back to hoop skirts, think about all we'd have to give up if we really reverted 100 years...

glad you are learning stuff, and liking it, in the holy land.


Zev said...

Miriam, I do not understand. While I may or may not agree with you, we are known to say things such as "hadesh yameinu keqedem"- but that does not mean that we do not want indoor plumbing, right? So why should catering to a 19th century morality somehow be nostalgic to a time bereft of polyester?

Anonymous said...

1- you assume i was making an _argument_. silly.

since you probably won't like #1, which is probably the real answer, here are some more:

2- it is entirely unclear which "yemei kedem" we want to be back to. Except maybe that one shabbos in the desert. So we say it, but to take it as a reference to a concrete historical time regarding which plumbing is even relevant may not be the best idea.
3- while we may believe in diminishing generations wrt mattan torah, there seems no reason to believe the same wrt secular life (in which i include nineteenth century morality*). in fact, there might be pressing religious reasons to believe the opposite - all depends on your end-of-days scenario, i suppose. (point: longing for yemei kedem is an exceptional desire prompted by the exceptional circumstances of mattan torah, not a sanction for general nostalgia. so your prooftext may not even be relevant.)

*actually, if i'm making a "claim" at all, it's probably just that - i see no reason to trust nineteenth century "morality" more than nineteenth century science and technology. But i really didn't mean to make an argument, as i said. just a reactionary thought, is all.

on the other hand, you did spell "qedem," so maybe you win no matter what.