Sunday, July 8, 2012

Less talking; More doing!

I worry that these words will be offensive. I worry that the contents of this essay will be misconstrued and misinterpreted. I worry that people will scoff, mock, and ridicule these attempts. But too many have worried and not enough has been done.
Change is not an easy and comfortable endeavor; but the time has come and it is now. Catalysts for social movements are not individuals who are nice and gentle; Ben Gurion was not nice, Lyndon B. Johnson was not nice, Churchill was not nice. Even the great torah "movers and shakers" were not known to be the pleasant type. Rabbis Kotler, Shach, and Yosef had their fair share of fights. Perhaps, pleasantness and amiability displace courage and ambition, and the only way around this it to avoid one or the other. I choose the latter.
In basic economics, one ascertains the assorted uses that one can obtain from an object and attempts to receive the most utility he can. In an economical perspective, do people use their time wisely? Who has decided that writing blogs about social issues is more important than collecting money for the poor? Who decided that reading academic journals and intellectual publications override the responsibilities to a community? For every several dollars we spend on a book and newspaper, we could have helped another child dying of starvation? Are we really so selfish? Can we fathom, can we understand and penetrate the meaning, of the cries of pain across the globe?
                        Please, someone tell me, that this logic has some fallacy. Albeit true that our first obligation is to ourselves; are our secondary and tertiary interests more important than another's primary? We create a fanciful value system in which we place intellectual pursuits on a lofty plane, and yet as we scour obscure academic sources the pangs of hunger resound in silence. We justify our pursuit as the path of the divine, yet the road of humanity lies flagging.
                        I agree, it is a bit gauche, a bit tactless and lack social grace, to admonish the very life and behavior I display. But since when does hypocrisy negate truth, fault negate merit. I am attempting to foment, incite, and stir up, a movement of "do gooders", an attitude in which reading sophisticated books, writing rigorous prose, and theorizing about the existential matters do not trump the basic needs of humanity.  
                        This does not mean living frugal, thrifty, and inexpensive. This does not mean to impede, hold back or obstruct, the pursuit of desirable pleasure. It does mean that inasmuch as one has this altruistic desire to do what is right, to improve oneself, and his relationship to G-d, the focus should not be on self development but rather the needy. It is not my wish to implicate anyone; if anything, the desire for social change is evidenced throughout much writings and arguments. It is merely a wish that we focus our efforts to the more practical as opposed to the theoretical.
                        We talk about whether yeshiva students should go to the army.  It is an important and critical juncture of our history. But so it the lonely widow down the street. Should we not focus on issues more germane, more relevant and appropriate! We sit and attempt to foreshadow the future of Iran, to suggest beforehand election results and Supreme Court decisions, while the poor go hungry and the depressed remain despondent. But is not the future of world Jewry of most intense concern, the vitality of Israel our focus? It is; but, really, really, how does all the talk and conversation affect the results.                 

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