03 January 2006

Returning To Yeshiva & Realizations

I returned to school today, after a couple of weeks of not having school, and it was good as I came to some realizations.
First of all, it started out bad the night before as I was having trouble getting to sleep as my eyes were so tired, yet my body/mind was not, but rather my body was requesting to exercise. I really ought to have lifted weights and jogged last night, but felt kind of tired as well as wanted to get to bed at a decent hour and decided, instead to forego the exercise. As that failed miserably and I was stuck between being slightly unable to fall asleep and slightly unable to really function mentally, I decided at 5 AM to go lift weights and jog, which, ברוך השם (thank God), I was able to do, got back, shaved, showered, and got dressed, and made it to yeshiva (I survived today on one of God's specially-blessed creations, caffeine.
Both of my major realizations came in the afternoon. My first one was that, even though I am in yeshiva and am surrounded by rabbis all day, I do not have a rav, per se. When I was in Israel after college, I would put all my queries to Berel Wein, who taught at my yeshiva, and I found him highly knowledgeable, which was great. However, I didn't feel right making him being a rav with some personal connection to me, as I'm sure he was really busy and knew so many people, that I would be unimportant to him. Last year, while at yeshiva, I went to asking halakhic queries to a particular rabbi at yeshiva, a halakhic talmid hakham (someone highly knowledgeable in Jewish law), but I was (and still am) unsure as to getting a total all-encompassing hashkafa (philsophical outlook) from him. So, I was thinking it would be great to get a rebbe. However, the problem with being in a rabbinical school is that it is assumed that you are able to look up sources yourself. Thus, in the past year, whenever I had a query concerning some particular ענין (subject), I would do some עיון (looking) into it. While I am a huge fan of checking out things for oneself, I'm now wondering about some guidance to go along with it. On the other hand, I should shoulder a lot of blame as I am bashful on these matters and we all know that bashful people don't learn much. I came to the possibility of seeking out Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Yehuda (who I had referenced in my Hanukkah posting, and who resides in my favorite state) (what makes him so great is that he is tremendously humble, smiley and crazy knowledgeable), though that might not work as he is retired, in another state, barely knows me, and is old (okay, I don't know if that is actually significant). I should probably overcome my bashfulness and e-mail him. As Rabbi Wein said (he was referencing Rav Moshe), you should try to take as much advantage of the knowledge of sages.
My other realization was when we had a representative from Spark come in and asked us to close our eyes, visualize how we are now -today - in five years from now, five years from that, and twenty years beyond that. I was stuck with today - I saw myself as a confused and muddled young man. See, my world outlook (Weltanschauung) is largely colored and stems from a Jewish/Halakhic perspective (though that is also tempered by the book of Koheles (Ecclesiastes) as to how I perceive living one's life). The shifts, and thus the gradual uncertainty crept in, while I was in yeshiva at Ohr Somayach after college. This not only continued, but also got a catalyzed while at YCT, especially that first semester as I was trying to synthesize a lot of new information. Over the past year, I have come to the realization that my life is a continual synthesis, but then again, as a student, that's a good thing for growth - all the more so for a rabbinical student. Fortunately for my continued intellectual growth, but unfortunately for figuring out where to metaphorically place my feet, I see a lot of things not in black-and-white, but rather varying shades of gray. While this makes very much sense in this post-modern world, it can be difficult to navigate in a moral framework - which is something which Judaism is (I'm not claiming that it is not a religion, etc. - I don't know exactly what Judaism is - I just try to live it.). So that will be a continuing struggle for me.
Aside from that, I started looking into the Rambam's view(s) and/or conception(s) of sleep - I started looking at his Hilkhot De'ot. I plan to finish scanning through it tomorrow, though if anybody has any other mekorot (locations) they think that the Rambam discusses sleep, please let me know.
Oh, and also, I'm still human, people, so please take that into consideration when you are considering lashon hara about me, whether true or false.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...barely knows me..."

That's a significant chesaron in terms of choosing this person for a rav/rebbe.

Anonymous said...

you are human but you are in the public eye...because you put yourself there. you are just human... but put yourself in the spotlight and people will critique...especially when you totally set yourself up for it

aljbfun said...

You make a good point about lashon hara. Everybody is human. We all have to be extra careful about lashon hara.

Drew_Kaplan said...

Anonymous (1),
That's why I ended up not choosing him as a Rav, even though he had a vast knowledge and good grasp on many things.

Hinda said...

Human? Is that some kind of club I should aspire to be a member of? Eh, it doesn't matter anyway...I can't afford any membership fees right now.

Anonymous said...

"Scanning" Hilchos Deios?

I'm not certain those two should ever be in the same sentence.

Drew_Kaplan said...

Anonymous,
"Reading through it" might be a better terminology, but I am concentrating on searching out statements on sleep.

Drew_Kaplan said...

Hinda,
I wouldn't worry about this "human race" thing, it's probably not worth your time.
:)
See ya around.

Hinda said...

Yeah, you're probably right. :)