(Warning: This post is highly provocative. Access to ideologically drunk readers strictly forbidden!)
I’ve been blessed with indifference.
No, it’s ignorance I mean.
No, still incorrect, it’s disinterest…
No matter how you put it, the connotations of all these words have one thing in common – their negativity.
But I really want to tell you that for me, indifference to specific topics is a real blessing!
What’s so special in something being a “blessing”?
A blessing (hold on here to imagine the yeshivishe intonation…) is not something you can truly chose. A blessing is not a matter of a fact, not bound to any particular person or circumstance, and it is not something I could truly work for to earn. True, I know people who told me that a person’s deeds and work contribute to the blessing of his life. Too many old women at the Yehuda Halevi staircase before the Western Wall tried to make me believe that their red threads will guarantee me blessings (especially if I put money into their plastic box).
A blessing in its actual sense is not something you can necessarily induce. It comes from the outside, it clings to you, and you just cannot know why it has chosen particularly you.
So what about the indifference, ignorance and disinterest, which my mum personally considers some of the worst qualities a person can have?
I claim she has them, and she enjoys them, and most of us have them somehow, and it’s good that way.
I’ll explain why.
Usually, when I say, I am indifferent of what’s going on in the world, I could end up being harsh, dumb, and kill my sense of involvement in life around me, and thereby annul my reason for existence, so to say. If I am ignorant, I could miss plenty of opportunities, fail to develop myself and fall victim to silly mistakes I could’ve prevented if I knew better. And if I chose being disinterested, I sort of fail willfully.
But I know that I was granted a special blessing, which turns these negative qualities into something protective and useful, and without much effort.
I believe in God.
To be specific, I believe in the God who gave the Jews the Torah. He is the Almighty who made it all clear to us, who regulated all for us, who gave us the rules for living and and understanding. He chew it and fed us with it, and gave us nannies in the robes of respected teachers who’d continue to do the job for us.
And here I am, thousands of years after I firmly believe we got that Book, while the trend of the young intellectual generation of 2013 is “seeking the truth”. Both the personal truth, and the ultimate one. This generation is neither satisfied with what they were taught by tradition, nor with what they find out during the years. They say “my truth is mine, it’s not universal”, but they never 100% stick to it and keep looking for more.
It’s an era where Biblical criticism, evolution and all these exciting theories which were groundbreaking and still unproved in the 19th and 20th century already turned into a cultural dogma. Young people in universities keep discussing philosophers, contradicting each other, and dismiss them because of new ones, who arise and write books and sell them for a high price. Their ideas aren’t new but at least newly edited and “trendy”.
And here I am, a modern young woman, addicted to her smartphone like everybody else, dancing to mainstream chart songs, having learned to read and write at age of 3 and finished a quite modern non-Jewish grammar school.
And I don’t think Biblical criticism is true. I don’t agree with liberalism, I am not a feminist, and I see the faults of global humanism every day anew. I don’t think Reform Judaism has anything to offer to the Jewish people, I don’t want civil marriage in Israel. I do think a Jewish state should be Jewish first and democratic second. I do think that the entertainment business did much harm to kids my age, I do think that the Western world has drown in sexism. There are many more ideological Do’s and Don’ts I could add to this list, I won’t write them down for certain politically technical calculations (although I’d like to!)…
All these conflict-charged usually spark wild, furious discussions among my friends and colleagues, they form the topics for countless seminar weekends, speeches and articles, they are parts of political agendas, and even fuel the idea of the “Clash of Cultures” between the West and the East. Big issues, yeah. Conflicts make the world go round.
By now, I have been blessed by inner distance. I am just indifferent to the ideological pain it inflicts to others. I am ignorant of the doubts it creates within certain good boys and girls around me, and I am disinterested in the new reforms people might have produced in these fields.
I remember myself aching and suffering when I saw my social environment contradict to my beliefs.
Well, for now the time is over. I’m fine with who I am, what I believe and dream of. My ideological inner self seems firm and pure concerning what I hold to be true.
Some might say it is a form of lazy thinking. Or a state of denial. Or God forbid, backwardness!
There are too many conflicts others around have seemingly chosen to adopt.
But does this oblige me to do the same?
I’ve got other plans for the future.
I’m going to enjoy my blessing quietly, smile at upset counterparts and seek how to do well to my surrounding, practically, instead of developing imaginative Save-The-World plans.
And I believe that God is with me in this.
So for the end of this eulogy of my state of mind, I propose two verses to think about and try to understand me:
“It is not the learning but the deeds that count.” (Pirkey Avot 1.17)
“For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge, increases pain.” (Kohelet, 1.18)