14 September 2006

A man of my word?



I recently did my good deed for the day and went to be Menachem Avel someone. It wasn’t someone particularly close but that’s the way things have become. Go to every Vort, Shiva call, Parlor meeting, breakfast, etc that you can fit into your life. But that’s a gripe for another post.

Anyhow, I did my best to stay away from the Mishnayos sheet, but it was practically forced on me. After all, Baal Habos is such a mentch, such a Baale Batish Yid, surely he has the desire & time to learn an extra Mesechta of Mishnayos. Surely he is just looking for some extra Mitsva in Chodesh Elul. Try as I did, I could just not get out of it.

So, here’s the question. Do I learn it? After all, even though I don’t believe in it, I did volunteer????? for it. Or do I say, hey, it has no impact, so what’s the point?

I might as well have signed up for 3 Hail Mary’s and 2 Novenas. Or agreed to review “Roger’s book of Alchemy”.


So, what would you do?

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    42 Comments:

    At September 14, 2006 12:15 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Learn the mishnayos because they are the true words of the Almighty God!

     
    At September 14, 2006 12:20 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    i read them.

    i figure if we believe (as ive heard ly types say) that saying the words in prayer has a power on its own, even if we have no clue what we are saying (the words themseleves are kodosh), then why not the same for mishnayos.

    i would read them because you are a man of honor, who will good about himself for keeping his word.

    just because you dont believe what you read doesnt make it less honorable to read them if you commited to.

     
    At September 14, 2006 1:38 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > i figure if we believe ....saying (the words themseleves are kodosh), then why not the same for mishnayos?

    Happy, Because I'm a skeptic, that's why!


    > i would read them because you are a man of honor, who will good about himself for keeping his word.

    Do you need to keep your word if you were coerced? And do they really want a skeptic's mishnayos anyway? That reminds me of a shmuz I once heard from a rebbi. When you get up to Shomayim, they'll judge you by the types of people that attend your funeral . Oy L'rasha Oy Leshchaino. You have good people at your funeral then they know up there you're a good guy (If they can determine the attendees are good, then why can't they determine the character of the deceased without looking at his friends. But anyway). If you have crooks coming to mourn you, then you were a bad guy. So do these people really want MY mishnaoyos.

     
    At September 14, 2006 2:12 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    > i figure if we believe ....saying (the words themseleves are kodosh), then why not the same for mishnayos?

    i mean by these words that SOME in OJ believe merely uttering the words has value. so if you dont believe its not relevant. somehow when you say those kodosh words, the malachim start singing or something like that.

    im not saying i believe that. im saying the dead guy probably did. so its almost no effort to say the words, and if the dead guy is right, you did him good. if he was wrong, you wasted about 10 to 25 minutes (depending on what you picked)

    the side benefit is that you may recall some of it when having frum conversations.

    now as to would HASHEM Want it.
    same point as above. the words them selves are holy.

    let me ask you a more personal question.

    i dont know if your parents are alive or not. Hopefully they are. After 150 years, would you go visit their kever? would you say what people say at the kever?

     
    At September 14, 2006 2:14 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Just rat yourself out and tell them that you don't believe that saying mishnayot is going to do anything.

    Stop being such a coward.

    Why build lie after lie?

     
    At September 14, 2006 2:14 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    BHB,
    Have to agree with happy.
    If you feel you were coerced, then you don't have no obligation to do it.
    Coincidently I heard the following vort today.
    Someone who knows the he is disqualified from being a eid (witness) because of some aveira that he did, is nevertheless still required to testify. Until he is not disqualified in a beis din by two witness who testify that he committed the aveira, he is not allowed to "make himself a rosha".
    I think that likewise, your Mishnayos will be beneficial to the nifter (and yourself) whether you believe that or not.

     
    At September 14, 2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Learn the mishnayos because they are the true words of the Almighty God!

    Jewish Philosopher, so now God wrote the Mishna too?

     
    At September 14, 2006 3:51 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > if he was wrong, you wasted about 10 to 25 minutes (depending on what you picked)

    If I do it, then I try to learn it, not say it; that is several hours.

    > the side benefit is that you may recall some of it when having frum conversations. true.

    > now as to would HASHEM Want it.
    same point as above.

    No need to go there again.

    > let me ask you a more personal question. i dont know if your parents are alive or not. Hopefully they are. After 150 years, would you go visit their kever? would you say what people say at the kever.

    Ooooooooh - Tough Question. I think you're referring to the Maane Lashon. I'll be honest. I do go , and if I'm alone I say one Kappitel tehilim, Kail Male and dispense with the Maane lashon. If you'd go thru the language there, it's real kabbalistic stuff, not my cup of tea. Even before I turned, the stuff was not something I had a good feeling for. Sounded like something written in the 17th century.

     
    At September 14, 2006 3:54 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Stop being such a coward.

    Why? we've been through that.

    > Why build lie after lie? It's called locked in. And Anyway, I'm still orthoprax even in private, remember. So, there reaaly isn;t much lying going on. Except in my brain.
    Part of the issue here is the unwarranted external pressure to agree to learn mishnayos.

     
    At September 14, 2006 4:00 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > BHB,I think that likewise, your Mishnayos will be beneficial to the nifter (and yourself) whether you believe that or not.

    Interesting take, except that of course, it's a little different. Ain Adam Masim Atsmo may apply when someone is a mumor L'teuvon.

    Welcome back, Can you email me at baalhabos@gmail.com

     
    At September 14, 2006 4:08 PM, Anonymous Jewish skeptic said...

    In my opinion its morally dishonest. You were asked to say the mishnayos because people assumed you are one of them,a believing Jew.That's gneivas daas.

    In the long run it wont do you any good.You'll get pangs of guilt feelings.I can assure you.

     
    At September 14, 2006 4:49 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > In my opinion its morally dishonest. You were asked to say the mishnayos because people assumed you are one of them,a believing Jew.That's gneivas daas.

    Ok, ok; don't be so logical. But on the other hand, why can't it be like a white lie? Why is it so "immoral"?. Of course, I'm operating on the premise that it's all hocus pocus. Who's losing anything if I don't learn it. The only possible answer is me because I'm not keeping my word. But it seems foolish. Like a Christian who tells his child, he'll wait up for Santa, but goes to bed at 11:00.

     
    At September 14, 2006 6:32 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Bhb
    about santa.

    That's not lying. But your word is your word. I've learned to say no.

    Now A rav telling a story of some rebbe who spoke to malachim. That's lying.

    I was in flatbush this shabbos and the Rav was telling such stories.

    Asked my father about it. He said he can't stand when the whole speech is based on rebbe nissim.

    I told him there are people in shul who believe it.

    He dismissed them as extremists.

     
    At September 14, 2006 6:33 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Bhb
    about santa.

    That's not lying. But your word is your word. I've learned to say no.

    Now A rav telling a story of some rebbe who spoke to malachim. That's lying.

    I was in flatbush this shabbos and the Rav was telling such stories.

    Asked my father about it. He said he can't stand when the whole speech is based on rebbe nissim.

    I told him there are people in shul who believe it.

    He dismissed them as extremists.

     
    At September 14, 2006 7:04 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >Coincidently I heard the following vort today.
    Someone who knows the he is disqualified from being a eid (witness) because of some aveira that he did, is nevertheless still required to testify. Until he is not disqualified in a beis din by two witness who testify that he committed the aveira, he is not allowed to "make himself a rosha".
    I think that likewise, your Mishnayos will be beneficial to the nifter (and yourself) whether you believe that or not.

    Didn't know that.

    I still think you should stop being a coward, I know it was big releif off of my shoulders when I told my then girlfriend about my internet identities, and told her all the evil parts of myself.

    however, since you arn't in a part of your life where you are willing to take a risk foryourself, looks like you are obligated to do it anyway.

     
    At September 14, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > still think you should stop being a coward, I know it was big releif off of my shoulders when I told my then girlfriend about my internet identities, and told her all the evil parts of myself.

    Granted it would be a relief, but it's really not about me. This is about my wife. As I said in previous posts. Why should I plant the seeds of doubt in her.

    And, there's nothing evil about my skepticism. She knows my faults.


    > since you arn't in a part of your life where you are willing to take a risk foryourself, looks like you are obligated to do it anyway.

    Do what?

     
    At September 14, 2006 8:21 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy,
    >Bhb
    about santa.

    That's not lying. But your word is your word. I've learned to say no.


    Please explain the difference.

     
    At September 14, 2006 9:40 PM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    I would say them because I said I would. But I love reading Mishna. It's interesting and funny in places, so maybe I can't talk.

    What masechet did you get?

     
    At September 14, 2006 9:45 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    santa is a acknowledged MUTUAL fantasy.
    its a social contact between parents and children. I know its not true, you do, or you will shortly. but its fun to MAKE BELIEVE that its true.

    between people (especially adults) the social contract is if you come and sign your name for mishnayos, then you have indicated to the others you believe this is of value. whoeve put out the paper believed it be of value of well. so its unfair to promise to something the other side believes is true, and that you would keep your word to do it.

    and i disagree with Jewish Skeptic. its not hyprocritical to say the words.
    jews generally believe that spouting these holy words has power effects on the palmaya shel whatever.
    (i dont believe any of that by the way - all this talk of malachim and spirits, and this koach and that, i think is heebie jeebie stuff.)

    therefore you are doing a favor, which is a nice thing to do, by saying the words.
    you say, if you are going to say it you need to learn it. well thats your problem!

     
    At September 14, 2006 10:20 PM, Anonymous Mis-nagid said...

    Learn the mishnayot for two reasons:
    1) You promised. End of story. No need to even read #2.
    2) Mishnayot is fun! You can learn it as skeptically as you want and it still holds up. That's your ancestors puzzling out how best for man to live his life. Grab a reliable guide and start trekking into the your past. You're not a cheder yingele anymore, you can study a sefer without agreeing to a single assumption, premise, result, or belief in it. Homeric scholars aren't pagans, you know. Dig in!

     
    At September 14, 2006 10:55 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    I have a better idea. Share with us your thoughts on each mishna you learn!!

    That might turn out quite interesting.

    Maybe when we finish, you can publish a "Mishnayos Im Pirush Ha'bloggers".

    Your wife will sure be proud.

    LY

     
    At September 14, 2006 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I empathize with the first part of your post. Going to every Vort, L'Chayim, Wedding, Shava Brachot. I take great pride in the Rebbetzin when she now tells me to meet her outside after the first course. My next goal is to have her agree to go to the chupa, get some "face time" with the bailei Simcha grab the table card and escape into the night.

     
    At September 15, 2006 12:48 AM, Blogger Shtreimel said...

    BH,
    if you promised a sick person in hospital to deliver a letter for him after he died will you do it? there’s a certain ‘feel good’ sentiment in doing a “good” deed even if the one who benefits from it actually doesn’t benefit from it.

    “So do these people really want MY mishnaoyos”

    This is the thought that you discard. THEY have no idea that according to THEM your mishne won’t get accepted. YOU don’t believe in what they do, neither are you going to tell them that you don’t believe. Therefore, you don’t consider this at all.

    Oh, and I loved Misnagid’s advice

     
    At September 15, 2006 2:04 AM, Blogger Begreatfull said...

    The way I see it, right now your living your life as a volunteer you obviously don't believe anymore (at least thats what I'm getting) so whats the difference that your reading a mishnayes or not? your doing all of it for the time being, and as long as your there your doing it beacuse your in that world where its expected of you, if and when you ever decide to leave and start living openly who you really are then you will. for the time being you do everythig according to what your surrandings expects of you, unless your ready to take that step over to the other side (what ever side that might be) on another note nothing can be forced upon you unless you allowe it to

     
    At September 15, 2006 8:18 AM, Anonymous Jewish skeptic said...

    >"and i disagree with Jewish Skeptic. its not hyprocritical to say the words."
    I used the words "morally dishonest".I think it's dihonest towards the person who asked you.He asked you because he believes that by you saying mishnayos there is an 'aliyas neshamah,this does NOT work if the saying is by a skeptic or apikores.It becomes a mockery & the believing Yid woudn't have asked you.He probably would have thought that instead of 'aliyah it's a yeridah for the neshamah.

    It's as if you were asked to write the 'klaf' of a mezuzzah,t'filin or torah.No matter how perfect your k'sav is & how makpid you are,if you are an unbeliever they are pasul u'tsrichin gnizah,& you are deceiving the person who asked to you to write them.I see no difference between that & your case.
    As to what Misnagid wrote:I too learn a lot(maybe more than many yeshivah bochurim...)but with no religious significance attached to it.

     
    At September 15, 2006 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    At the end of the Shiva the Aveilim will look at the Mishnayos sheet and see how many people cared. Perhaps you made someone feel a bit better.....

     
    At September 15, 2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Billy Jean, Sorry, I'd rather not specify the Masechta (or Masechet as you please) it's just too much of an identifier.

    Happy, I still don't get the difference between Santa to a child, and Mishnaoyos.

    It seems I misunderstood what Jewish Skeptic was saying. I thought he was telling me to learn it because I'll have guilt feelings if I don't. Upon closer look I think he meant, I should not sign up in the first place. Agreed, but it's imposed upon people. Believe me, I didn't volunteer.

    When I do learn mishanoyos, I don't just read the words, people who rely on that are really mis-leading. I learn with the Bartenura or the Kehasi

    Wow, LY and Mis-nagid issuing the same p'sak. This must be a conspiracy. As a matter of fact, excluding Jewish skeptic because it's still slightly ambiguous, it seems we have a unanimous vote. We all know what sanhedrin says about unanimity when it's not Dinay Momonous (monetary); we go the other way! Hmmm , this is a sign from H-shem.

    LY, I really like your idea. Now when my wife asks me why I'm on the computer so much, I can say, I'm learning. Hmm. Maybe we set up a syndicate blog "Mishna Yomi", each day expounded by a different blogger. It was your idea so I'll leave it you, if you don't maybe I'll do it (Bemokom She-ain Ish.)

    Mis-nagid, you should know be by now, I have no aversion to learning, I do all the time. It's intellectually challenging and a great social activity. It's the "imposition" of this one instance that bugs me.

    Anon, you are really right. Weddings are nice, BUT. They used to be special. It's become a burden, because people feel they must invite everyone in their phone book even if they just share a cleaning lady. And people feel they must go everywhere. I'm proud of my Rebbetsin for sayig no and for holding down the guest list when we made simchas.

    Shtreimel, welcome. A mis-nagid and a Heimishe in the same comment thread. A promise to a sick person? Sure I'd feel bad (which is why chazal threw in Mitsva Lekayem Divrei Hamais, it's an easy mitsvah. Also, presumably theres purpose behind the letter. But what if the ill person, asked you to do something ridiculous? Like after I die, please stop wearing blue ties, because it bothers me? So you agree. Are you really bound to something like that?

    Begreatful, it's just a matter of time. And again, people place undue pressure on others to learn Mishnayos. I've once seen a house where they asked everyone to learn, even though the chart was full, they started a new one, to be mezake the rabbim.

    Anyhow, the peoples court has spoken and I accept. Which I really would do anyway, After all, I am a man of my word. I bet most skeptics are.

    Good Shabbos.

     
    At September 15, 2006 12:59 PM, Blogger szhgknb said...

    Baal Habos,

    I have to concur with the majority in this case -- a promise is a promise is a promise. True, the imposition of this great Z'chut gets to be mighty annoying, but you have to learn to get out of it. Part of the trick is to stop caring if people start looking askance at your diminished piousness; it can be exasperating at first, but it comes with the territory of being a pious skeptic.

    You can always claim you already have too many shiurim on your plate -- no time to except new ones. If pressed further, you can point to the posters exhorting people to do Teshuvah to appease the merciless Deity who's apparently been killing our young indiscriminately lately -- at least that's the impression you get from those posters. With so many people dropping like flies, as claimed, you're bound to have accepted too many Masechet already.

     
    At September 15, 2006 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Maybe we set up a syndicate blog "Mishna Yomi", each day expounded by a different blogger. It was your idea so I'll leave it you, if you don't maybe I'll do it (Bemokom She-ain Ish.)

    OK, anyone who's interested should please acknowledge.

    We set up a mishna yomi blog. We start from brochos (I would start with the Mesechta BHB was coerced into, if he agrees.)

    Everyone who wishes to participate gets put into the schedule, and on his day, he posts the next mishna along with his thoughts on that mishna. If we get at least 6 people, then you just have to post once a week.

    Anyone?


    LY

     
    At September 15, 2006 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Whoever is interested should please post their email.

    Thanks

    LY

     
    At September 15, 2006 1:13 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    LY, we can cross post this as real posts on our blog, Create a blog and give the password to whoever wants it. But of course skeptics, women, everyone is welcome. I do have a problem with when I'm away and can't post, on a scheduled day, so maybe it should not be true round robin, just someone post when they're ready.

     
    At September 15, 2006 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Create a blog and give the password to whoever wants it.

    I will get to work on it.

    >But of course skeptics, women, everyone is welcome.

    Everyone is welcome.

    >I do have a problem with when I'm away and can't post, on a scheduled day, so maybe it should not be true round robin, just someone post when they're ready.

    I intend on creating a weekly schedule and communicating to the posters via email. Anyone who can't make it should email me or leave a note on the comment thread, and I'll find a replacement (or do it myself :) )

    LY

     
    At September 15, 2006 1:38 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Part of the trick is to stop caring if people start looking askance at your diminished piousness.

    SZ, Some people are just very persistent. Availim are sometimes emotional and take things very personal. It's sometimes, easier said than done.

     
    At September 15, 2006 2:44 PM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    BHB,

    Check your email

     
    At September 15, 2006 3:38 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    I would love to be part of the Mishnaiois program.

     
    At September 16, 2006 6:17 AM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    BHB: that's fine, I totally understand, was just curious.

    LY: I'm in: bilbulatsia @ gmail . com

    Are we going by mishna or perek?

     
    At September 16, 2006 10:12 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

    Are they counting on you to finish a certain amount? Then do it! Mitoch shelo lishma bah lishma...

     
    At September 17, 2006 8:38 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    FG, Mishnayos learning is usually for the Shloshim. Mitoch Shloh Lishma does not apply if somepone is learning Lkantair, meaning (the way I understand it) in an attempt to disprove, etc.

     
    At September 18, 2006 2:29 AM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    So nuuu, LY, what's happening?

     
    At September 18, 2006 7:10 AM, Blogger lakewoodyid said...

    >So nuuu, LY, what's happening?

    I'm in middle of setting up the site. I will post the address once I'm done.

    LY

     
    At September 18, 2006 9:12 AM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    Excellent.

     
    At February 03, 2010 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    My friend and I were recently talking about how modern society has evolved to become so integrated with technology. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.


    I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory drops, the possibility of uploading our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about almost every day.


    (Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://kwstar88.livejournal.com/491.html]R4i[/url] DS Ting2)

     

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