Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Haven't Reached A Conclusion

I don't know why, but recently I have been considering the idea of not blogging anymore…

…and then I reflect on all the chizuk people have given me to continue and on this teaching from the Degel Machaneh Ephraim and...


At May 14, 2008 at 8:20:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No way-
DO YOU KNOW what inspiration and guidance your blog gives me every morning?! Do you know how many times it lent me a new perspective in my avodas hashem?!
I can't imagine life without it. A Simple Jew, has become a regular part of my me. I understand if you must stop blogging for some reason, or it is taking up too much of your time or something, then go right ahead. But please don't stop because of burn-out.
May Hashem bless you.

At May 14, 2008 at 9:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger Leora said...

I, for one, (OK, it looks like anonymous agrees) would seriously miss your posts.

By the way, I loved your tulip photo on the tsniut post. In a nutshell, if one has a conflict between V'Nshmartem Meod L'Nafshotehem (staying healthy and meeting your body's needs to breathe--I'm not talking running around in a bikini, just wearing comfortable clothing) and tsniut (of which details vary from rabbi to rabbi), I know what I pick.

I like this photo, too.

At May 14, 2008 at 10:27:00 AM EDT, Anonymous shoshana (bershad) said...

Your presence here on the web serves purposes that you, yourself, may never know or appreciate, but it serves as inspiration to many of your readers (including me). Your blog is a beautiful, serene refuge in which to start the day and focus on what is important in life. Your questions are ours--and perhaps because they are posed as questions, not dry statements, they mirror the quest we all are engaged in. Your meanderings through life and Chassidus show us a pathway for spiritual growth. The sincerity of your emunah and avodas Hashem shines through in everything you write, and it definitely has a ripple effect. As you've told me, time and again: there are no coincidences, nothing happens by accident. You're here for a reason, even though you may not know why. Please don't leave us!

At May 14, 2008 at 10:34:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz.. said...

To me it is clear as crystal that A Simple Jew is a unique blog on the internet. There isn't anything else quite like it. It also appears to be a major focal point of a positive Jewish perspective on the internet. Something that is so rare it might be considered extinct. (The difference between ASJ and everything else out there, is (on one foot) a lack of agenda--you don't have any hidden agenda for people to fear (ie. you aren't aish, chabad or any organization at all that makes a person have to question "now why are they really telling me this? what's their angle?")-- and you are willing to examine any perspective)

Would you mind sharing some of the reasons you're thinking of stopping?

If anything you should take on some volunteer collaborators. (to take the burden off you alone) My vote would be for DixieYid or someone like him who has a similar tone, there's a lot of overlap between your two blogs, though he doesn't seem to have any free time either. (i've just contradicted myself seeing as how I said ASJ is unique a few lines ago. But i think you had a very big impact on him and he began his blog along the ASJ template and is still identifying what's unique about his blog.)

In my admittedly limited experience, when anyone tries to let go of something to create more time in their lives for other projects, the spare time that letting go was supposed to create never actually materializes. The only way to do something else, is to do it in addition. Similarly life never slows down and gets easier, so when you let go of things in order to slow life down, something else usually takes up the slack and you haven't gained a second.

Of course you really know best of all.

All I can tell you is that today I experienced something in the middle of mincha that made me realize how much work i've still to do and that i have to keep on my path despite how much i've been interested in so many alternate paths lately. I would/should/could despair from this revelation of how little I understand of anything true, if it weren't for the fact that it's so clear that only HaShem can help me or anyone closer to Him, we can't do it alone, and since He put us here, He intends to get us there.

i imagine it's good advice to mix it up, try radically new things with the blog, but don't stop.. because we both know how much the Torah opens up to you, when you learn with the desire to give Torah over to others.

kol tuv,

ps. not at all ironic i think that on tiffereth (torah) she'bi netzah (infinity) your yetzer would give you this challenge.

ps. to Dixie Yid, i hope you weren't offended by anything i said, this was originally an email to ASJ reposted as a comment and when I went to repost it, I thought of deleting what I wrote about you.. which only then made me realize that if I wasn't sure to post it in a comment, then perhaps i shouldn't have even said it in a private email..(at the time i didn't think of it possibly being motzi shem ra or lashon hara).. so i posted the email in its entirety, so that you would see what i said--- and i desperately hope you aren't offended. I genuinely hold you in the highest regard. (and not just for your herculean learning schedule :))

At May 14, 2008 at 11:03:00 AM EDT, Blogger Alice said...

What Shoshana said! No way Jose.

At May 14, 2008 at 11:20:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

The Degel's comment alone should keep you going. What is the location of that comment? Although I don't post nearly as much as you, I would have stopped a long time ago (I did slow down a lot due to lack of time), but every time I want to, I get another email from someone who benefited from something written. If that’s so for me, then I’m sure a great many more have benefited from ASJ.

At May 14, 2008 at 11:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Anonymous, Leora, Shoshana (Bershad), and Alice: It is comments like yours that keep me doing what I do. I can't thank you enough for your warm words.

A Talmid: It can be found in Parshas Chayei Sarah, Page 29.

Yitz: I don't know if I truly have any good reasons to want to stop, and perhaps you are right when you wrote that trying to free myself up to focus on other things will ultimately not accomplish much; perhaps the feeling to stop blogging in my case comes from the yetzer hara.

Last year, the Sudilkover Rebbe asked me how many people read my blog. I told him that I get about 400+ hits a day. He then asked me if it was possible that even just one person who might not have thought about Hashem that day would think about Hashem when reading my posting. I answered in the affirmative. The Rebbe told me what a HUGE mitzvah it is to spread Torah in such a warm manner on the Internet.

Furthermore, he said that while there are a lot of rabbonim that forbid a person to use the Internet, in his opinion this certainly did not apply to my site. He also told me that he agreed to my anonymous blogging since in the case of my blog, posting anonymously helped focus my readers on ideas rather than on personalities.

In our Q&A from March of this year I quoted a teaching from the Degel Machaneh Ephraim, Parshas Mishpatim:

"Sometimes a person can be thinking good thoughts and he is cleaving and connecting to Hashem. But the thoughts are easily interrupted and forgotten. This is because he has not yet brought them out through speech or action."

I guess when I take it all in to consideration, writing blog postings and interacting with others via my blog has helped me bridge this gap between thought and action; ultimately forcing me to be accountable to my words and propelling me to action.

At May 14, 2008 at 11:36:00 AM EDT, Blogger DixieYid said...


#1 I'm certainly not offended by anything you said. To the contrary, I am flattered that I can even be compared in any way to A Simple Jew. It is safe to say that he was my "blogging rebbe" in every sense of the word. He taught me many of the technical things I learned along the way and I imitated several of the stylistic things on his site. I frequently ask him about things I'm thinking of posting and we have certainly become friends in the process. He has a very high quality site that's devoted to growing in avodas Hashem and learning Torah. He's one of the sincerest people I know and certainly one of the most positive influences that exist on the internet.

When a Tzadik leaves a city, it leaves a roshem, a mark. And I think if A Simple Jew were to leave the blogosphere, it would certainly leave a gaping hole that no one could quite fill.

Again, Yitz I'm flattered that I can even be compared in any way to A Simple Jew, and I hope, like everyone else, that he will continue with the great work he's doing!

-Dixie Yid

At May 14, 2008 at 11:47:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If for some reason it doesn't work for you anymore, do what you believe is best. Please factor into your consideration, however, that your entries, links and posts have a real and positive effect on me. I start my day with these posts, find them inspiring, and consider it part of my limmud. You help to keep me advancing in my limmud, avodah and understanding, not to mention my compassion for self and others. I so enjoy this and often share parts of entries with my wife. Thank you kindly for the work you've done so far.

At May 14, 2008 at 12:01:00 PM EDT, Blogger chaviva said...

Don't go! Don't go! Don't go!

:) I second what all the other good people on this comments forum have said.

At May 14, 2008 at 12:12:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Yirmeyahu said...

You have blogged in accordance with the advice of your Rebbe and have given us no indication that the situation has changed, what heter do you have to stop?


At May 14, 2008 at 12:23:00 PM EDT, Blogger Miriam Woelke said...


Hello Simple Jew,

I can understand your feelings very well. Sometimes we do ask us if there isn't enough Chizuk on the net anyway and that it wouldn't really matter too much if we were blogging or not.

But blogging is also a responsibilty because your readers like what you write and wait for your next article. Every blog has its special character and countless people love your articles. This should give you a great inspiration of continueing, as your readers get a Chizuk and you cannot even imagine in what ways you are helping them.

At May 14, 2008 at 12:43:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

Your blog is a beacon of light on the dark seas of the internet . . .

At May 14, 2008 at 10:47:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Simple Jew,

Your blog, including your readers' comments, is a truly positive thing and makes it clear that there are people out there who really share a commitment and feeling for the inner work in a Jewish context. I would miss it if it were gone.

I've often wondered, though, "How does he have enough time for his family and his learning and his job?" I'm also a dad and am trying to balance these things, and I'm not also putting out a high-quality blog daily (for no pay yet!). So I would certainly understand it if you needed to reduce your time blogging. Don't feel guilty if you need to give your family more time.

Whatever you decide, thanks so much for all your good work and chazak u'baruch.

Sechel Tov

At May 15, 2008 at 6:35:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thank you all for your comments. I am humbled by your kind words and plan to keep blogging.

At May 15, 2008 at 9:12:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baruch Hashem! Oh, am i relieved to hear that you'll continue. Thank goodness.

At May 15, 2008 at 11:49:00 AM EDT, OpenID bahaltener said...

Your blog is definitely very positive and unique place in the Net. But I perfectly understand that the lack of time can cause such thoughts.

I personally don't hold that one "HAS" to produce some content on periodical basis (as a sample of "good blogging"), otherwise being scared to loose potential readers. Blogging isn't about getting more readers. Those who are interested will come. The blogging is - if you have something to say (to record) - record it. Otherwise wait until you have it. So it should come naturally, sometimes every day, sometimes just once a month. In such case you don't feel pressured to write "on a schedule".

At May 20, 2008 at 12:01:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

You know my thoughts about your blog and its' Gadlus! The fact that the content is fresh and covers the vast arena of Torah Judaism is in itself a reason to continue, IHMO. :)

At May 20, 2008 at 12:01:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

BTW, no reply needed.


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