mardi, mai 10, 2005

an amazing letter that captures so precisely what I have thought much myself...

I just read this letter and found that it highlights a particular and very special concept I feel so strongly in my own life -the balance of kodesh and l'chol. How much better these very special persons (individuals and not groupwise people) phrased it than I could!

Dear friends,
We could not imagine a more meaningful s'udat preida than the siyum you collectively made yesterday. With all the pressures of the university, it's very impressive that you all have the motivation not onlyto sustain a vibrant Jewish community here in college, but also to study Torah. It's particularly touching that you would make a siyum for us. For us, integrating the diverse methods of intellectual inquiry and the vast wisdom of humanity at large into the overarching moral framework of the Torah represents one of the supreme challenges of Jewish life. Academic studies tend to be all-consuming. For the most altruistic reasons, one can decide that one's personal duty as a Jew is to specialize in a certain academic pursuit or a profession. It often seems impossibleto study Torah seriously and simultaneously realize one's full potential in another discipline. On the other hand, many people believe that only by total devotion to Torah study, to exclusion of everything else, can one realize one's full potential as a Jew. Nevertheless, we believe that if one simultaneously strives to understand deeply the truths of both Torah and secular wisdom, with all their inherent conflicts, the two strengthen each other. Ultimately, this mutual strengthening may surpass the advantages of focusing on either byitself. In pursuit of this overarching goal in particular, as well all other endeavors, we wish you all the best.
Kol Tuv,

Indeed so often I have seen people choose one thing over the other --stepping back and refusing to be courageous in the face of the conflict or suffering that occurs in one's attempt to try to balance everything. I am proudest when I witness humankind's courage and ability to perservere. When I see people step up to the plate and bat under duress. It matters little to not at all if you get the ball anywhere to me. What matters most is if you step up and bat.