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Monday, October 03, 2005

Confessions of a 'content miser'

Have you ever intended to leave a quick comment on someone's blog/journal and ended up leaving what amounts to a blog/journal entry?

Worse still, have you ever caught yourself doing it, and before hitting the 'submit' button decided to post it on your own site rather than 'waste' it on someone else's?

Yeah, me too.

While I love many of the things I have gained from keeping this journal (clarity, self-awareness, a sense of humor about myself), I don't like the pettiness I've developed about hording 'valuable insights' and content for use on treppenwitz.  I'll admit it... keeping up a web site has made me a 'content miser'.

The other day Shira Salamone, the talented author of 'On the Fringe' sent me an email asking for my thoughts on a post she had just written.  The post was about an extremely difficult personal epiphany she had experienced.  Simply put, she realized that no matter how good a Jew she might consider herself, she knew that her faith would never be strong enough to allow her to offer up her only son the way Abraham had.

As I wrote what started out to be a very brief comment on her blog, I realized that I was writing my Rosh Hashannah entry for treppenwitz... and a selfish part of me wanted very badly to save it to my hard drive and instead submit a comment to the effect of '"Nice post, thanks for sharing" in it's place over on Shira's site.

But this time I didn't do that. Shira had not only bared a very vulnerable part of herself, but she had inspired me by doing so.  I owed her my honest first impressions... not some 'atta girl' pat on the head.   So when I submitted the comment on her blog I was genuinely glad that I had given her my honest feedback... but I was a bit sad to have lost the opportunity to share it on treppenwitz. 

However, as I was rereading her post and some of the other responses it garnered, it occurred to me that there is really nothing wrong with also sharing my response here.  So, what follows are my Rosh Hashannah thoughts, thanks to (and inspired by) Shira's very thought-provoking post:

This was a very powerful post on a subject that any observant person (especially one with children) has confronted on one level or another.

I sit in 'shul' (synagogue) on Rosh Hashanna each year and look out the window at the actual route through Gush Etzion that Avraham and Yitzchak (Isaac) took on their way to Har Moriah. The hill across from where I live is most likely the one from which Hashem actually pointed out their destination (it is the furthest point south from which Har HaBayit can be seen).

Yet even with this close proximity to direct reminders of the Akeida story, I have wondered whether I would pass such a test.

Then last year as I sat looking out at the hillside over which this famous father and son must have walked, I realized the missing component from decision-making process; Direct contact with G-d.

For whatever reason, you and I live during a time when G-d's 'face' is turned away from us... or at least his intentions are obscured. Avraham, on the other hand, had the benefit of direct communication with G-d (ok, there was an angel as intermediary).

Our test today is with emunah - belief. In the absence of direct contact with the Creator of the world we face a daily struggle to simply continue believing in the existence of a master plan (and a Master guiding that plan).

Avraham's test was one of obedience. He and his wife had both had fairly solid empirical proof of G-d's hand in the event's of their lives, not to mention the world. Therefore their test (meaning both Avraham and his adult son Yitschok), was not one of belief, but rather of obedience.

It is frustrating to be so far removed from the Divine Presence that we must struggle daily with simply believing in It's existence. But I sit at my window in shul and listen to the story of Avraham and Yitschak and thank G-d that I am only asked to believe... and not offer up my most precious possession in order to prove my obedience.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a sweet, healthy and prosperous new year (even if you don't follow the same calendar as I do).  I mean really... who couldn't use a little sweetness, good health and prosperity, right?

L'Shana Tova!


Posted by David Bogner on October 3, 2005 | Permalink


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Nice post. Thanks for sharing.


I have similar issues with comments at times. I have read several posts in the last couple weeks that started a lot of thoughts brewing in my head, but there is SO MUCH that I can't seem to get it down ANYWHERE - in comments or in my own blog. Soon. Maybe.

Enjoy a wonderful holiday and new year with your family.

Posted by: jg | Oct 3, 2005 8:53:36 AM

I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing really. I think that it is something that happens to most of us, or so I suspect.

I know that I often make a comment on a blog and then extend the comment into an entire post on my own.

I don't think that there is any reason why you cannot comment in one place and blog about it in another.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 3, 2005 9:54:17 AM

Yes, we could all use a little sweetness, good health and prosperity; thanks for the good wishes. And my best wishes go out to you and your family for a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

Posted by: Steve Bogner | Oct 3, 2005 2:47:23 PM

L'Shana Tova.

Posted by: Ocean Guy | Oct 3, 2005 2:47:34 PM

L'Shana Tova to the Bogners and the "Treppies".

Posted by: val | Oct 3, 2005 3:54:19 PM

Best wishes to you and your family for a sweet New Year.

Posted by: Jaime | Oct 3, 2005 4:27:03 PM

L'Shana Tova

Posted by: beth | Oct 3, 2005 4:33:31 PM

David, shana tova to you and all your family! Thanks for giving us good things to read and think about.

Posted by: Rahel | Oct 3, 2005 5:19:44 PM

Very nice post and thought provoking. Thanks so much. Shana Tova.

Posted by: Essie | Oct 3, 2005 5:26:22 PM

It's not selfish, that's why trackbacks were originally invented. And there's nothing wrong with crossposting either. :o)

Have a wonderful and peaceful new year.

Posted by: Tanya | Oct 3, 2005 5:57:14 PM

Thanks for the great post! I should be careful about such things myself. Perhaps I can sell "content miser" yamulkas on ebay? Would you want a cut?
Wishing you and your family a Kesivah VeChasimah Tova!

Posted by: Jewish Blogmiester | Oct 3, 2005 7:30:04 PM

I do exactly the same thing, but I always link to the original post, so I don't feel too guilty about it.

I take the Abraham/Isaac story as a metaphor.

Posted by: Irina | Oct 3, 2005 9:19:59 PM

Happy New Year! ; )

Posted by: Irina | Oct 3, 2005 9:21:00 PM

I wrestle very much with the binding of Isaac, myself. Both your response and Shira's post were thought-provoking.

Shanah tovah to you and the entire Trep family.

Posted by: Stacey | Oct 3, 2005 9:25:34 PM

I do it all the time. Especially on Jack's blog, because I know my comment will quickly end up on the bottom of a very long scroll because he's constantly adding new posts (I mean that in a good way, Jack). I don't think there's anything wrong with it. But maybe leave a little note on the original post saying how appreciative you are of the blogger for sparking this thought in your brain, and that you will address it more fully on your blog (and leave a reference back, as you have done).

I think any blogger would feel flattered to know that they inspired you.

Posted by: psychotoddler | Oct 3, 2005 11:02:09 PM

Shana Tovah!

Posted by: jennifer | Oct 4, 2005 1:12:03 PM

okay, before I repeat myself, let me add a little twist:
לשנה טובה -- יפה ושונה

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Oct 4, 2005 9:05:10 PM

Shana Tova!

Posted by: Eyal | Oct 5, 2005 11:33:50 AM

L'Shana Tovah U'm'tukah! Please keep updating your very enjoyable blog frequently in the year ahead.

Posted by: Drew | Oct 6, 2005 5:37:42 AM

Val, thanks for a new word... Treppie...

Posted by: Ocean Guy | Oct 6, 2005 2:20:22 PM

Your comments to your friend wondering about her faith echoed my immediate thoughts as I read your report of her feelings.

You answered as a man after G-d's heart. Allow me to reassure the G-d fearing Jews of the world (to whatever degree you can accept it) that His face is not turned away from you. Israel itself is a miracle and it's continuance and prosperity in the face of the never ending satanic attempts to destroy, is a symphony of miracles shouted out to all mankind and the heavens.

You and we are living in at least the run up to the Time of Jacob's Trouble and your trial will not last much longer. The time of the Gentiles is comming to and end soon and The Anointed one shall bring the culmination of all the promises. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 9, 2005 6:24:09 AM

"I think any blogger would feel flattered to know that they inspired you."

You can say that again, PT.

David, thanks so much for writing such a thoughtful comment to my post.

And thanks for linking to me here. Being the low-tech soul that I am, I haven't even managed to set up a blogroll yet, much less figure out how that Trackback function works.
Sorry it took me so long to catch up with this post. (Thanks for sending me here, Elie!)

G'mar chatimah tovah to all, and have an easy fast.

Posted by: Shira Salamone | Oct 12, 2005 6:21:46 AM

An interesting webiste with an interesting design. Nice to see something different. keep up the good work!

Posted by: Bryce | Oct 26, 2005 11:18:49 PM

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