Tuesday, December 27, 2005
How To Be A Slightly Poetic Modern Chassidic Orthodox Jewish Writer
Live in New York, where Jews can be Jews without Judaism. Question, but know when to accept. Be idealistic to a fault. Daven your way - in your own words, in silence. Meet angels in your dreams. Linger near the waters and rocks. Write before sunrise and after sunset. Welcome solitude and laughter. Love films by unafiliated Jews - Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble In Paradise and The Smiling Lieutenant; early to mid-Woody. Hide your kippah under a cap. Be impulsive. Revel in the rain. See truth and beauty in havdallah and lit candles. Find your place in your family. Absorb trivial details. Believe in souls. Watch from the sidelines. Live your fictions. Trust in Chassidic joy. Announce you are an artist to convince yourself. Get lost between the pages. Work in light and shadow. Overanalyze. Sculpt in clay, and wood and glass and food. Wherever you are, be in Jerusalem always. Sing a niggun. Aim for Malamud and Singer and Ishiguro; ignore them all. Save what matters. Note the leaves. Drink in the innocence of toddlers. Hurt easily. Find your kavannah. Move with the clouds. Dance for the moon. Acknowledge your difference. Listen to photographs. Take long walks on tree-lined paths. Make time for hitbodedut. Champion the uninvited. Write stories around lines and curves. Struggle with the burdens of your people. Give up. Start again. Miss friends. Answer to all your names. Languish in the serenity of shabbat. Admit when you are wrong. Re-create your life. Avoid television - not for religious reasons, for peace of mind. Feel yourself fading. Hold fierce to independence. Believe in possibilities still. Write what you know. Feel guilty about it. Expand time. Avoid centers and edges. Swirl with music in the air. Chart something. Wear gray in a sea of black. Search for the impossible. Be reserved and free. Dream. Dream. Dream. Disdain hypocrisy. Keep Torah with you. Remember to breathe. Be drawn to the mystical. Recoil and return. Crave closeness and depth. Avoid definition. Believe in hashgacha pratis. Let "Lecha Dodi" and "Ani Ma'amin" touch you. Smile wide and often. Laugh fully. Acknowledge kindness. Trace the seven strap marks tefillin has made on your arm. Search for precedents. Know your worth. Derive pleasure from the wind in a night sky. Be a Jew. Wish to be a Jew you can be comfortable with.