Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Three Friends - Then & Now [Part II]

(Painting by Ferenc Flamm)

Last week I got together with one of my friends for a cup of coffee during lunchtime. My friend was once a professional musician and now he earns his livelihood as a bureaucrat scrutinizing contracts for eight hours a day.

Our discussion centered around finding a creative outlet for our talents. I asked him if he ever had desire to return to the music business since it was apparent that this was still his true love. He replied that he wasn't yet ready to do so. He then asked me what my creative outlet was and I side-stepped the question with a non-answer. My mind raced and tried to determine whether I should tell him about my blog. I quickly decided against it, remembering the stories of others who had also regretted doing so.

As I walked back to my office, I started thinking about what this reluctance said about our friendship. Two of my current friends have absolutely no clue about my blog, while the other friend that I have never met in person only knows me through the words I write in my postings and e-mails to him.

I then reflected on these words that I wrote in a posting in November 2004:

When we are dealing with blogs, we are dealing with neshomas.

We can not see the person who blogs. We can not hear them.

We can only read their words. Words that come from within them; expressing who they really are.

I would say that my quality of friendship with my friend who I had coffee with is exceptionally strong. While we have discussed many very personal topics that I have addressed in my postings, I still have never revealed to him the existence of my blog; the inner sanctum of my thoughts. Does this fact reveal that our friendship is deficient in some manner? Or does the deficiency in friendship lie with my friend who only knows me through my blog but has never met me face to face? On one hand we have a person who only sees me for less than an hour once a week but communicates with me on an exceptionally deep level, while on the other hand we have a person who never sees me but communicates with me almost every single day on an equally deep level.

Perhaps the real truth lies within the words of Rebbe Yitzchak Meir Alter of Ger, who once said, "There are only two who truly know you: G-d and your spouse."


At February 20, 2007 at 11:30:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a truly great quote (Chiddishei haRim)!

At February 20, 2007 at 2:27:00 PM EST, Blogger avakesh said...

I also have an anonymous blog and I have thought about it as well.

Motivations differ. For me, the blog is an opportunity to influence others, to be marbitz Torah, and to learn how to inspire others so I can inspire myself. I was fortunatel to teach Torah in the past but now do it only through my books and that is not sufficient. Because of the books I learned that what you put out there makes ripples. Sometimes they go very far. Sometimes they accomplish totaly unexpected, great things.

I have to thank you for your blog which taught me how to effectively combine images and words. I am still learning. I do it so that the images reinforce words and to touch the soul as well as the mind.

Your purpose and motivations shapes the way your blog functions, looks, feels. It is a tool for self-discovery as well as self-revelation. I keep mine anonymous differently, because it protects me in the event of a slip and allows me to be a little more open than my position would otherwise allow. Yours is anonymous because it is an inner sanctum. Perhaps some day, when kedusha fills the world, the private and the public will merge, and all souls of Israel will share in one Sanctum open to all. On that day we will not be afraid to reveal ourselves. On that day we will all speak together, chaverim kol Isroel.

At February 20, 2007 at 2:34:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your compliments on my blog. I would lying if I didn't say that I too was inspired to combine pictures and text by looking at other blogs such as Lazer Beams and Mentalblog.

It is funny how people will accept ideas from an anonymous blogger but not from person they actually know. If a person knows you he will be more likely to attack you as a hypocrite; not living up to the words you write. However, if a person doesn't know you, he looks at the ideas and not the personality behind the ideas.

At February 20, 2007 at 11:28:00 PM EST, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Another great discussion. That quote from the Alter of Ger is clutch.
ASJ, you said:
"I still have never revealed to him the existence of my blog. Does this fact reveal that our friendship is deficient in some manner?"
But he knows you, so knowledge of your blog really doesn't make a difference. He might find it intersting reading, but I believe your blog is the essence of you and not the other way around (you being the essence of your blog). You friend knows the real you.

The questions I find myself asking based on reading this posting are: If you know me, then do you know my blog?
If you know my blog, then do you know me?

I'm the odd man out, b/c I blog under my own name. I have readers who know me personally and others who only know me in the blogosphere. I'd hope that whatever people think of my 'blog personality' is pretty much who I am. This is one of the reasons I chose to blog under my name.

Thanks for getting me to think a little.

At February 21, 2007 at 10:26:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

there's a difference between God and your spouse???

this distinction always bothered me.

the Notzer Hesed says that a man is always between the two women in his life, the Shechinah and his wife.

the Zohar says that a man's proper interaction with his wife in their home ensures that the Shechinah accompanies him on his journeys.

admittedly I've only been married 10 months but still, it's a disorienting dichotomy.

maybe kids will clear up the issue.

Though, ASJ, where does the chevruta fit into this relationship? your chevruta definitely also knows you.

(I think I'm going to have to go post about this..)

At February 21, 2007 at 10:29:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz...: Despite the fact that I know that I should have a chevrusa, I learn by myself because of my time constraints.

[I know, I know...]

At February 21, 2007 at 1:34:00 PM EST, Blogger avakesh said...

They asked the Beis Halevi why the Rebbetzen deserves honor. After all , the Rav studied and sacrificed and she just married to a Rav.
He answered, "When you do something wrong, the Rav tells your. But who tells the Rav when he is wrong? The Rebbitizen!"

At February 21, 2007 at 1:38:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Avakesh: Well put.

At February 22, 2007 at 11:00:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

I have a chevruta for learning Likkutei Halachoth of Rebbe Natan
(But thankfully that chevruta is content to learn in the same style as i learn solo--fast and out loud.)

but generally I prefer to learn by myself, because most of my learning is b'kiut (learning as much as I can, as quickly as possible) stopping all the time to explain to someone, or argue about what I think something means doesn't interest me. At least not in this stage, where I'm trying to absorb what the m'chaber is bringing down.

my Rav told me it's good to have at least one kavua hevruta so that your children see that your house is a place of torah..

i'm definitely more comfortable learning on my own.

At February 22, 2007 at 11:08:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I appreciate your feedback, Yitz...


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