inloggen
×

Mijn Crescas

Inloggen met gebruikersnaam & wachtwoord






Zonder wachtwoord snel inloggen?

Columns

Weblogs disclaimer

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Rabbijn Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo (1946) werd geboren in Amsterdam en woont sinds 1977 in Israël. Als kind van een Portugees-Joodse vader en een niet-Joodse moeder heeft hij een lange weg afgelegd. Op zijn 16e is hij ‘uitgekomen’ (Joods geworden) bij Chacham Salomon Rodrigues Pereira. Jaren later haalde hij zijn rabbijnentitel aan de orthodoxe Gateshead Yeshiva. In Jeruzalem richtte hij de David Cardozo Academy op. Rabbijn Lopes Cardozo publiceert regelmatig en neemt daarbij geen blad voor de mond.

vrijdag 26 oktober 2018

"Man is the only animal that can be bored." (1)


Psychologists tell us that one of man's greatest enemies today is boredom. Sometimes, when reading a paper or popular journal; watching television or a DVD; using an MP3 or an iPod; or posting on Facebook every hour to inform our friends of what we just did, we are confronted with the most absurd manifestations of monotony and apathy. Believe it or not, there are people who spend their time rolling around Europe in a barrel and couples who dance the salsa for hours upon hours in order to break a record. Others seek entry into the Guinness Book of World Records by developing the stunning art of eating more ice cream than any human since the days of pre-historic man.

We common people are obviously deeply impressed that at least some geniuses have grasped the ultimate meaning of life. They have accomplished what nobody ever dreamed was humanly possible.


Deep Sea Fish

What is boredom? It is a disorder that has stricken our modern world, as a result of our wishes being too easily and too quickly satisfied. Once the need has been fulfilled, we immediately feel the pressure of new urges because we cannot live without them. We are like deep-sea fish. We thrive on atmospheric pressure, and without it we are lost. Since people in Western cultures are easily able to satisfy most of their desires, they begin to look for absurd pursuits to satiate their new appetites.

It is remarkable that in the last fifty years we have transformed most beneficial occupations into anti-boredom devices. Take the case of brisk walking. This was a very healthy undertaking until we decided to turn it into a contest in which people are forced to walk harder than they are really able to. Some end up in hospital, while others commit suicide because they failed to break the record. On several occasions, it was suggested that these people be fined because while running their heads off they didn’t notice the flowers along the road, or the beautiful landscape. This was, however, completely rejected on the grounds that those who won the race received flowers in the end, and this time from the hands of a pretty young lady. Even more preposterous is the case of swimmers who try to cross the English Channel between Calais and Dover in record time. They seem unaware of the ferry service that would get them there much faster.

Of course, if this is done because it is great fun and a way to relax or raise money for a charitable cause, it should have our full support; but if it’s done solely out of boredom, it becomes self-destructive.

Even more problematic is the fact that thoroughly bored people often disturb their fellow human beings in ways that are completely distasteful. They make others pay the price for their failure to deal with their own boredom.


Having Your Fling

It has become a common experience, among people seeking a quiet corner on this planet, that after setting up a folding chair on a tranquil spot at the seashore or in a forest, intending to listen to the waves of the sea or the blowing of the wind, the peace is suddenly disrupted by the blasting of an iPod with speakers turned up to maximum volume. Looking in the direction from which the noise is coming, one sees young people lounging in their folding chairs and smiling as if to say, "Go ahead. Make our day!"

The parents of these teenagers will say that it disturbs them as well, but they’re unable to do anything about it. "But youth, of course, must have its fling!" (2) This is the well-known excuse for children who do the totally unacceptable. It tolerates chutzpah, which then necessitates therapy for the further development of youngsters who will otherwise be unable to become respectable members of society. Anyone unwilling to grant them their fling is depriving the world of future geniuses and deserves to suffer intense guilt feelings.

It is remarkable how many parents seem to believe that their children should indeed have their fling so as to guarantee their proper development. This is even more surprising since these very people fanatically cut the grass and bushes in their gardens, understanding that otherwise the vegetation would grow wild. It never occurs to them to apply similar standards when attempting to educate their children. When reading about the wantonness of today's youth, they simply shake their heads in dismay.

Having one's fling should mean proving that one is a mature human being, as in the German expression ausleben, which means to live out one's potential. A particular strength people have, potentially, is to care about other human beings. Those who have not made use of this capacity have not yet "flinged", since one of the most beautiful aspects of humanness has been withheld from them.


Be-kiso, be-koso, uve-ka'aso – af be-sachako

Our Sages make a very interesting point (3) when they say a person’s character can be tested in three different ways: be-kiso, be-koso, uve-ka'aso – by his pocket (Is he a miser or a spendthrift?); by his cup (How does he hold excessive alcoholic intake?); and by his temper (Can he control himself when provoked?). But according to one of the Sages, there is a fourth test: af be-sachako – also by how he plays, meaning how he spends his free time.

One of the great blessings of our day is that more and more young people are starting to realize that life is not just about Facebook. Many of them are showing a keen interest in matters of the spirit. Lectures on religion and philosophy in famous universities and other places of learning are becoming increasingly popular. Young people are looking for existential meaning and a high-quality spiritual mission.

In Israel, we see a large number of secular young men and women interested in studying Talmud, Midrash, and Jewish philosophy, in their attempt to understand what it means to be a Jew and what Judaism has to offer the world.


Committed Atheism and Religious Plagiarism

Most interesting is the fact that young people are finding their way back to Judaism in rather unconventional ways. Official outreach programs are losing their grip on Israeli society. Much of the time they have bitterly failed because they tried to put highly talented and creative people into a suit of armor that didn't fit them. Some of these outreach programs are being replaced by a new phenomenon: Jewish self-discovery. It is not uncommon to see young, bareheaded men with long hair and earrings wearing tzitzit; (4) others insisting on eating kosher but never entering a synagogue; young women lighting candles Friday afternoon but not observing Shabbat – praying with great fervor and going off to a party. There are even committed atheists who will enthusiastically join prayer sessions. And women, whose dress code perhaps leaves much to be desired, sincerely kissing mezuzot before entering a shopping mall or gym.

Surely, not all of this is a sign of maturity; no doubt, in certain cases it is superstition. Still, what we observe is that many people are searching for a sense of authenticity.

It is an aversion to religious plagiarism that keeps these people out of mainstream Judaism and the conventional synagogue. Repetitious prayer is a killer when it is not accompanied by discovery and novelty. By paving their own way, these people develop a fresh approach to what Judaism is really all about – open to new adventures. They are keenly aware that one cannot inherit Judaism but only discover it on one's own through an often difficult spiritual struggle, and even warfare.

The religious establishment can make no greater mistake than interfering in this development and giving advice. Trying to force one’s views on these people will uproot the seeds that have been carefully planted. "You will always find some Eskimos ready to instruct the Congolese on how to cope with heat waves", said Stanislaw J. Lec. (5)

The religious establishment needs to realize that with regard to Jewish practice many people have generally fallen victim to boredom. Today, show and ceremony have become too much part and parcel of Judaism. Ceremonies are for the eye, but Judaism is an appeal to the spirit. The only biblically required ceremony in today's synagogue service is the blessings of the priests, and even then members of the congregation are asked to close their eyes! (6)

In biblical days, the prophets were astir while the world was sleeping. Today, the world is astir while the synagogues are sleeping.

Blessed are the young people who are waking up. Facebook is great, but it will not ignite a fire in our souls and will not conquer enduring boredom. Maybe we’ll realize this when the secular seekers show us the way. May they succeed!


(1) Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 23.

(2) Gilbert & Sullivan, The Mikado, Act I, Part VIII.

(3) Eruvin 65b.

(4) These are specially knotted ritual fringes that are attached to each corner of a four-cornered garment, which religious Jews wear under their shirts. See Bamidbar 15:38-40.

(5) Unkempt Thoughts (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1962), 27.

(6) Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man's Quest for God: Studies in Prayer and Symbolism (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1954), 134.

Delen |

Uw reactie:

vul de beveiligings-code in
aug 2019The Sweetening of the Divine Word
aug 2019A Command to Cancel the Commandments Tolerating Heresy
jul 2019Life: The Courage to Say 'Li'
jul 2019The Divine Insanity of Halachic Chess
jul 2019Limmud
jun 2019The Embarrassment and Honor of Being Called a Rabbi, and Third-Epoch Halacha
jun 2019The High Priest, the Pope and I
jun 2019My Struggle with Persuasion and the Truth Concerning other Religions
jun 2019Is the Torah Divine? Thoughts for Shavuot on Combustibility
mei 2019A Vote of Confidence
mei 2019To Madonna
mei 2019On Music Baths And Art As Religious Protest
mei 2019Yom Ha’atzmauth The Eternal Marriage
mei 2019My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Question 9, Part Two
apr 2019Bread is an Arrogant Matza
apr 2019Question 9 My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Part One
apr 2019The Israeli Elections Radical Otherness
mrt 2019Faith and Freedom The Passover Haggadah of Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits
mrt 2019Thoughts to Reject Purim
mrt 2019My Hardship with Honest Teaching And Its Privilege
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 2
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 1
feb 2019My Fascination with the Chaotic World of the Talmud Ten Questions for Rabbi Lopes Cardozo
feb 2019The Kotzker, Spinoza and I Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
feb 2019The Sanctity of Shabbat Yes to the Ayalon Bridge, No to the Eurovision Song Contest
feb 2019My Search for and Momentary Loss of God
jan 2019Why I (Refuse to) Pray Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
jan 2019Torah Reaches Beyond the Boundaries of Strict Halacha
dec 2018An interview with Rabbi Cardozo: Taking issue
dec 2018Parashat Miketz The Pain of Being a Tzaddik
nov 2018Parashat Vayeshev Divine Emanations, Chanuka and the Future of the State of Israel
nov 2018Parashat Vayishlach Amalek, Jewish Injustice, Converts and a Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
nov 2018Parashat Vayetze Be Fearful of Religion (1)
nov 2018Parashat Toldot Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2018Pittsburgh - In Memory of Its Victims Faith, Death and Frontal Encounter (A Short Insight while on the ...
okt 2018The Curse of Religious Boredom
okt 2018Parashat Noach
okt 2018Introduction to Torah Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah: The Unapproachable Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah Technology and the Outdated Torah Scroll
sep 2018Rosh HaShana: Fairy Tales and Humor
aug 2018Rosh HaShanah: What Really Counts
aug 2018The Joy of Saying: I am Sorry The Portuguese Spanish Selichot
aug 2018Parashat Shoftim Surround Yourself with Cleanliness
aug 2018Achieving Unity While Remaining Divided
jul 2018Tish'a B'Av – The Ninth of Av Who Needs the Temple?
jul 2018The Controversy Surrounding My Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture
jun 2018Scandalous Halachic Decisions Ethiopians and Wine
jun 2018Parashat Chukat The Curse of Religious Coercion
jun 2018Conversion An Open Letter to Israel’s Chief Rabbis
jun 2018Parashat Behaalotecha Theocracy, Democracy, and Halacha *
mei 2018Why a Second Day Yom Tov? The Incomparable Greatness of the Land of Israel
mei 2018Atheism: Belief in the Unbelievable I have tried to be an atheist, but skepticism always got in the way
mei 2018Parshat Bechukotai To Have or to Be, That Is the Question
mei 2018Sefirat HaOmer The Secret to Human and Rabbinical Autonomy
apr 2018The Tragedy and the Challenge A Forgotten Mission
apr 2018Seventy Years of an Unyielding 3,330-Year Marriage Yom Ha'atzmaut
apr 2018Yom HaShoa – Jewish Life or Just Israeli Life? Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai or A.B. Yehoshua?
mrt 2018The Great Mystery: Why Karpas?
mrt 2018Plato’s Haggada in the “Dialogues”
mrt 2018An Open Letter to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Charedi Leadership
mrt 2018Collapsed Halacha and Moshe’s Mask
mrt 2018Megillat Esther and the Nervous-Syndrome Chess Game
feb 2018Conversion and the Birth of Amalek A Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
feb 2018Finding One's Neshome (1) Franz Rosenzweig and the Berliner Shtiebel
feb 2018The Enduring Preciousness of the Secular Jew *
feb 2018The Challenge of Yitro Would Yóu Convert?
jan 2018Parshat BeShalach Jewish Self Delusion
jan 2018Circumcision: Why Risk Your Child's Well-Being? A Call to All Israelis.
jan 2018Moses The Successful Failure
jan 2018Jesus, a Warning to Our Rabbis
dec 2017Halacha Means Full Liberty To Be Secular Would Be Hell: Everything Would Be Forbidden
dec 2017Soul Jews and Halachic Jews
dec 2017Codifying Jewish Law is Not Authentic
dec 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
nov 2017Be Fearful of Religion Parashat VaYetze
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Lectures and the Academy
okt 2017The Wonder of Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
okt 2017Freud’s Subconscious Discovery of God
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Simchat Torah: The Unbending Sefer Torah
okt 2017Sukkot Is a State of Mind Nakedness and a Desert Full of Snakes
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Yom Kippur Ultimate Love and the Danger of Religious Exhaustion*
sep 2017An Open Letter to My Synagogue The Curse of Indifference
sep 2017Embryonic Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
sep 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Tentative Thoughts Toward a Jewish Religious Renaissance
aug 2017The Turmoil in the USA
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion (2)
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
jul 2017In Defense of Rabbi Dweck and Orthodox Judaism An Open Letter to Rabbi S. F. Zimmerman, Rav of Gateshead, ...
jun 2017The Waters of Strife The Devastation of Religious Coercion Parshat Chukat
jun 2017A Modern Day Inquisition Rabbi Joseph Dweck The Tragic Story of Rabbinical Small-mindedness
jun 2017Speaking Lashon Hara about the World
jun 2017The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?
mei 2017The Desert and the Wandering Divine Word
mei 2017The Ban on Circumcision Blatant Anti-Semitism and Ignorance
mei 2017Kohanim: The Challenge of Educational Dissent
mei 2017Are We Really Living at the Dawn of the Redemption? Afterthoughts on Yom Ha’atzmaut
apr 2017Boredom and the Immature Elderly
apr 2017Pesach: God’s Sporadic Presence and Overwhelming Absence in Human History
mrt 2017Parshat Vayikra The Trouble with Sacrifices Why Spinoza’s Ethics Were Not Given at Sinai
mrt 2017Johann Sebastian Bach and the Tent of Meeting
mrt 2017An open letter to Rabbi Cardozo in response to his article on Rav Soloveitchik Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ...
mrt 2017Purim and the Challenge of the Holocaust
mrt 2017Thoughts to reject For the Early Connoisseur Purim
feb 2017Sinai Now!
feb 2017Parashat Yitro Racism and the Wisdom of a Gentile
feb 2017The Genius and Limitations of Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik z”l
feb 2017The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?
jan 2017The Unknowable, Loving and Aggravating God “I am as I shall be” (*Shemot* 3:14)
jan 2017Rabbinical Tyranny and Freedom of Thought
jan 2017Calling for Religious Unity Only Leads to Division The Need for Personal Conscience
jan 2017Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues
dec 2016Divine Emanations, Cause and Effect, and Chanukah
dec 2016God is not a “what,” nor a “when”, and not even a “who” God and the Fires
dec 2016God and The Fires “Because of Our Sins, This Has Befallen Us?”
dec 2016The Purpose of Sefer Bereishit The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha under Control Part 2
nov 2016The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha Under Control Part 1
nov 2016Walking Mountains, Shabbat and the Buddha
nov 2016The Curse of Religious Boredom
nov 2016Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
okt 2016Torah from Heaven The Deliberately Flawed Divine Torah The Theology of the Halachic Loophole
okt 2016Approaching Tragedy with Joy
okt 2016Yom Kippur: Who is Able to Eat?
sep 2016Do We Dare to Blow the Shofar?
sep 2016Against Indifference Prayer for the World
sep 2016God Does Not Exist So Let Us Serve Him! For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls
sep 2016For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls The Hopelessness of Dogma and the Beauty of faith
sep 2016Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It The Holy Day and the Tel Aviv Railway
aug 2016Wanted: Rabbis with Knives between Their Teeth The Need for a Genuine Upheaval
aug 2016A Slap in the Face to the Holy One Blessed Be He?
aug 2016Rabbinic Despair and Simple Courage
aug 2016The Chaos Theory of Halacha
jul 2016How the Mighty Have Fallen On Joy and Jealousy
jul 2016Faith is the Joy of Religious Doubt and Uncertainty
jun 2016The Kotel Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and Other “Holy” Warriors
jun 2016Israel, the American Elections and the Turmoil in Our World A Parable
jun 2016Shavuot Would You Convert? Like Yitro?
jun 2016Orthodox Rabbi Teaching Halakha Beyond the Shulkhan Arukh, Judaism Beyond the Commandments
mei 2016Parshat Bechukotai The Miracle of Satisfaction
mei 2016Sefirat HaOmer: What Really Counts
mei 2016An Unyielding Marriage of 3500+ Years Yom Ha’atzmauth
mei 2016Yom Hashoa The Quest for Authenticity Rembrandt and the Holocaust
apr 2016Blessed Are Those Who Eat Chametz!
apr 2016Plato’s Advice: Do Not Read The Haggada!
apr 2016The True Art of Sport: Game or Torture?
apr 2016Are You Really Eating Kosher? On Camouflage, Hypocrisy and Hiding behind the Kashrut Laws
mrt 2016The Making of an Enemy The Birth of Amalek
mrt 2016Purim, God’s Hidden Face, and the Advantage of a Permanent Job
mrt 2016The Hazard of Fluency
mrt 2016Rabbinical Courage and the Frozen Text
feb 2016Have Some Pity on the Anti-Semite!
feb 2016Shut Down the Kotel!
feb 2016A Remorseless Judaism
feb 2016Milk and Meat: The Dangerous Mixture
jan 2016Halacha as the Art of Playing Chess Divine Insanity
jan 2016Am I Still Orthodox? Answer to a Jerusalem Rabbi
jan 2016The Desecration of Halacha
jan 2016The Threat of Freedom
dec 2015Amsterdam Spinoza Symposium It Is Time to Lift the Ban
dec 2015Arguing Against Oneself: Joseph’s Self-Revenge
dec 2015Needed: Redemptive Halakha How Halakha Must Transcend Itself
dec 2015Chanukah: Hypocrisy or Authenticity
nov 2015A Prophetic View: The Gentile Aliyah Epidemic
nov 2015Oh, that I Could Take Off My Kippah!
nov 2015Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2015 How Old Would You Be If You Did Not Know How Old You Are?
okt 2015The Religious Scandal of Akeidat Yitzchak and the Tragic God
okt 2015Israel: The Blessing of Insecurity
okt 2015God, Where are You? An open letter
okt 2015Simchat Torah: Rush or Stagnation
sep 2015The Trouble with Kal Nidrei We Are All Marranos
sep 2015Rosh Hashana Is Judaism Your Supreme Passion? (1)
sep 2015Courage, Rabbis, Courage! The Need For Mass Conversion
aug 2015Conversion and Annie Fischer’s Interpretation of Schumann’s Klavierkonzert in A Minor
aug 2015Conversion Is Not About Halacha
aug 2015The Immortal Highway
aug 2015Marriage: The Courage to Say ‘Li’
jul 2015Torah: Hearing the Divine Voice at Sinai Now
jul 2015The Temple Is of Little Importance, It Is the Eye of the Needle That Counts
jul 2015The Supreme Court of the United States, Same-Sex Marriage and Other Prohibitions
jul 2015Faith Means Joyful Uncertainty
jun 2015Religion is Dangerous; Plato, Halacha and Dreams
jun 2015The Dangling Bridges of Halacha Making rules where rules should not exist
jun 2015Bold Ideas: Take the Bike or Tram, Get a Free Coffee, and Observe Shabbat! (1)
jun 2015Halacha: The Disturbing Search for God
mei 2015Make Anti-Semitism a Source of Jewish Pride
mei 2015Shavuot, The Wonder and Glow of God’s Word
jul 2014De paradox van ‘Wie is een Jood’
mei 2014Joden, Sisyphus en Sport – (Met enige ironie!)
mei 2014God is aan het verhuizen
apr 2014Seideravond: karpas en de veelkleurige mantel
feb 2014Groots denken omtrent het jodendom
dec 2013The Abuse of Halacha
nov 2013Limmoed en het orthodoxe fiasco