Friday, November 24, 2006

The Beauty of Blogs

The Torah tells us that Ya'akov was a "quiet man, dwelling in tents" (Gen. 25:27). Why does it say "tents" in the plural? Rashi explains that Ya'akov studied Torah in the tent (i.e. academy) of Shem and the tent of Ever. But why did Ya'akov have to study in two different academies?

R. Baruch Simon, in his Imrei Barukh, quotes R. Baruch Dov Povarski as explaining that someone who loves Torah will seek out the insights of all of the great Torah scholars. The Gemara in Avodah Zarah (19a) says that someone who learns from only one mentor will never see success in his Torah studies. Why? Because one needs multiple perspectives in order to grow.

One of the wonderful aspects of the internet in general, and blogs in particular, is this access to Torah worlds that one would not ordinarily encounter. One of the best blog posts I've seen is that of Jameel of The Muqata, writing about how he served as the medic/guard for his son's second grade field trip to visit R. Avraham Shapira (link). There is one of the great Gedolim of today, of whom my only knowledge is a conversation he once had with R. Hershel Schachter that the latter likes to repeat. Now, thanks to blogs, I get a glimpse.

That case, of course, is just a personal story that struck me and not Torah itself. However, Torah is also transmitted in that form. There are countless other cases in which I have gained access to batei midrash in foreign lands and different communities thanks to the recent, amazing advances in communications, of which blogs are no small part. Sitting in my basement or my office, I can now access today's tents of Shem and Ever across the world.

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