Monday, July 21, 2008

My Blog - Why I created it and what I hope to achieve with it.

It is with a great deal of apprehension and trepidation (b'eimah, u'b'yirah, b'resses, u'b'zeah) that I decided to create this blog. In what I am doing I see myself as a contradiction in terms. My stated purpose with One Above and Seven Below (1a7b) is first and foremost to promote ameilus b'Torah as that is what I have derived from the Chumash and Rashi to be the Jew's sole key to success. It goes without saying that the more time one spends on the Interenet, the less ameilus b'Torah one can engage in. As such, owning and promoting a Web log (Blog, b'la'az) is counterproductive both for myself and for my "customers".

My perspective about Blogs is well reflected in the opening post of this blog: "Fiddling on the Blogs". I understood from the get go that the Internet in general and Blogs in particular are no place for a nice Jewish boy and I did my best to avoid them. Another issue is that I am not from the younger generation and I am attempting to convey a dignified aura of experience, maturity, authority and sophistication with my writing. To mingle with the cantankerous crowd of Hyde Park soap box orators is not the most dignified and sophisticated of approaches. Clearly, from the vantage point of Kavod HaTorah, blogging is not the way to go. I will hold out against it.

I pretty much knew that I couldn't hold out forever.

I knew I was asking for trouble when I went Googling around the Net to see who has been talking about my book. But what author can resist? The first discussion that I found was on an Internet chat forum called Hashkafa com. The fun thing about this discussion was that the posters had not actually read the book and were discussing it on pure speculation. Toward the end, two people who had read at least some of the book took to the stage and turned the discussion around. I thought it was quite amusing and had promotional value so I made it available as a sidebar feature on my website.

Finally, one blogger did pick it up. He went so far as to write a critical review on the book. Although I felt his review was way off target (I may post a full response later in this Blog site, Bl"n), I thought it prudent to post a succinct response. Thus I was initiated into the world of Blogs and news forums. Two of the most popular, sophisticated and challenging are Cross-Currents, and HaEmtza (Harry Maryles). These sites always deal with topics that meet head-on the issues that I deal with and there always are fiery discussions.

I knew better than to get entangled in these discussions personally but I did stick in a post here and there for the patently pretentious goal -to put in a plug for my book. Publicity is the ikar and there is no publicity like well-placed free publicity. It was for publicity sake that I allowed myself to get into a public debate with Natan Slifkin on Cross-Currents.

In the background, I have followed the discussions and have yearned to see the 1a7b Chareidi perspective expressed. However, birds of my feather do not flock en masse to the Blogosphere, and for good reason. Most of them are truly busy with ameilus b'Torah. The Chareidi voices, although they are there and are not silent, are grossly outnumbered and largely drowned out. Those that do express themselves do so with much emotion which, more than not, merely arouses the ire of the "consumers" (most everybody else) without impressing the point.

Owing that my overwhelming motivation for my entire project was to supply a coherent Chareidi voice where it is mostly lacking, I knew that it was only a matter of time that I should make it available on my own Blog so it will be available for those who are open to seeing it.

Well - the time has come.

Obviously, maintaining a Blog is a big commitment of time that, frankly, no Chareidi worth his salt should have at his disposal. I happen to be taking advantage of a lighter than normal work load at the office (and even this entails Halachic issues that I would like to avoid). I read into this gift of found time a bracha min haShamayim to operate this Blog - but, I have my doubts (I did not seek a bracha from my Rav!). Also, every minute put into this Blog detracts from the limited time that I have to work on Book Two. As such, I do not guarantee that I will maintain a constant flow of new items on this blog.

Lastly, what do I plan for this Blog to contain?

The following:

  • The 1a7b perspective on current events and issues
  • My assesment on discussions and postings on other related Blogs
  • Divrei Torah
  • Comments on News items in the Jewish world
  • Previews and Updates on 1A7B Chelek B'
  • Responses to Criticisms
  • Public Responses to Feedback and comments from my readers

Sof davar, like 1A7B itself, the main goal of this Blog is to help people on their journey to the top of Mt. Neverest and to merit the Brachos of Parshiot Bechukosai, Re'eh, and Ki Tavo. May we all be zocheh, BB"A.

Yechezkel

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