Confessions of a Jewish Blogger

Women are going to save the world. That’s clear to me now. I used to think it was just kind of a cute thing that none of the women participated in the sin of the golden calf. Certainly brave that they shaved their heads in order to turn off the Greeks from defiling them before they got married. But it was hard to see that in today’s culture.

And then I got married. And I realized I’m a silly, silly man.

This became really clear during this whole Matisyahu controversy. I made the usual arguments. His whole message was against assimilation. Sure, the girl wasn’t dressed right, but hey, we all make mistakes. We’re silly guys, right?

But my wife, she wouldn’t accept it. He was our posterchild, she said. Our man, the one who everyone looked up to. Those of us in the spotlight, we can’t afford to slip up.  Yes, the point was against assimilation.  But we can’t violate our principles to make a point.

And she was right.

But here’s the problem. It’s hard. It’s really really hard. Just look at Pop Chassid.

Pop Chassid has a problem. On one hand, it tries to use the modern world to its advantage. To raise up the world of movies and art. On the other, the world of movies and art violates Jewish ideals to an almost absurd degree.

And even further, the movies whose messages are most connected to deep Jewish kabbalah and chassidus concepts are the movies that are most filled with klippah, with negativity, with scantily clad women and death and swearing and hate and other things poisonous to the soul.

So, Pop Chassid has tamer movies. Movies like Megamind. Movies that are cute, nice, pretty, and easy. Movies that aren’t so deep. Because the deeper we go, the more likely we are to mess up.

The Pop Jewish world has this problem. Look at the popular Chanukah videos from this year. One was by Matisyahu. Deep, great message, but enough bad that it has sent shockwaves through the Jewish community. Then we got the Maccabeats video. Cute, nice, beautiful, great, but little depth.

What’s a Pop Chassid to do? How do we get the message across? Is it impossible to make true art? Are all my blogs destined to be cute and nice but pathetically simple?

But here’s where a wife and a bit of Chassidus can come in handy. My wife, she says exactly what the Tanya, the written Torah of Chabad Chassidus, says. She says something only a woman could say.

She says, “No, it’s possible. It’s possible to be deep and real and make true art. It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible. We just need to stay focused, to stay strong, and when we mess up we need to do teshuva (return to G-d’s truth, without looking back).”

That’s essentially what the very first chapter of Tanya says. It says, you may be a screw up, you may not be perfect, but you can do perfection. You can live perfection. And even when you mess up, you just have to keep aiming at perfection, always keeping the target in your vision.

And that’s why it doesn’t matter if our intentions were good. Why the ends don’t justify the means. Because we’re Jews, and our job is to be perfect, even if it’s an impossible task. And when we mess up, we need to fess up.

So, I for one am fessing up. Pop Chassid’s gotten too shallow. It’s time to get real again. It’s time to do teshuva. It’s time to admit that G-d wants even the most simple blog to be totally perfect, totally deep, and not afraid to push the limits.

Women are going to save the world.  That’s clear to me now.  I used to think it was just kind of a cute thing that none of the women participated in the sin of the golden calf.  Certainly brave that they shaved their heads in order to turn off the Greeks from defiling them before they got married.  But it was hard to see that in today’s culture.
And then I got married.  And I realized I’m a silly, silly man.
This became really clear during this whole Matisyahu controversy.  I made the usual arguments.  His whole message was against assimilation.  Sure, the girl wasn’t dressed right, but hey, we all make mistakes.  We’re silly guys, right?
But my wife, she wouldn’t accept it.  He was our posterchild, she said.  Our man, the one who everyone looked up to.  Those of us in the spotlight, we can’t afford to slip up.  Even when the point is against assimilation, we can’t violate our principles to make a point.
And she was right.  If we really think about it, she was right.
But here’s the problem.  It’s hard.  It’s really really hard.  Just look at Pop Chassid.
Pop Chassid has a problem.  On one hand, it tries to use the modern world to its advantage.  To raise up the world of movies and art.  On the other, the world of movies and art violates Jewish ideals to an almost absurd degree.
And even further, the movies whose messages are most connected to deep Jewish kabbalah and chassidus concepts are the movies that are most filled with klippah, with negativity, with scantily clad women and death and swearing and hate and other things poisonous to the soul.
So, Pop Chassid has tamer movies.  Movies like Megamind.  Movies that are cute, nice, pretty, and easy.  Movies that aren’t so deep.  Because the deeper we go, the more likely we are to mess up.
The Pop Jewish world has this problem.  Look at the popular Chanukah videos from this year.  One was by Matisyahu.  Deep, great message, but enough bad that it has sent shockwaves through the Jewish community.  Then we got the Maccabeats video.  Cute, nice, beautiful, but little depth.
What’s a Pop Chassid to do?  How do we get the message across?  Is it impossible to make true art?  Are all my blogs destined to be cute and nice but pathetically simple?
But here’s where a wife and a bit of Chassidus can come in handy.  My wife, she says exactly what the Tanya, the written torah of Chabad Chassidus, says.  She says something only a woman could say.
She says, “No, it’s possible.  It’s possible to be deep and real and make true art.  It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible.  We just need to stay focused, to stay strong, and when we mess up we need to do teshuva (return to G-d’s truth, without looking back).”
That’s essentially what the very first chapter of Tanya says.  It says, you may be a screw up, you may not be perfect, but you can do perfection.  You can live perfection.  And even when you mess up, you just have to keep aiming at perfection, always keeping the target in your vision.
And that’s why it doesn’t matter if our intentions were good.  Why the ends don’t justify the ends.  Because we’re Jews, and our job is to be perfect, even if it’s an impossible task.  And when we mess up, we need to fess up.
So, I for one am fessing up.  Pop Chassid’s gotten too shallow.  It’s time to get real again.  It’s time to do teshuva.  It’s time to admit that G-d wants even the most simple blog to be totally perfect, totally deep, and not afraid to push the limits.
G-d wants it and so does my wife.
Oh man… I better get to work.Women are going to save the world. That’s clear to me now. I used to think it was just kind of a cute thing that none of the women participated in the sin of the golden calf. Certainly brave that they shaved their heads in order to turn off the Greeks from defiling them before they got married. But it was hard to see that in today’s culture.

And then I got married. And I realized I’m a silly, silly man.

This became really clear during this whole Matisyahu controversy. I made the usual arguments. His whole message was against assimilation. Sure, the girl wasn’t dressed right, but hey, we all make mistakes. We’re silly guys, right?

But my wife, she wouldn’t accept it. He was our posterchild, she said. Our man, the one who everyone looked up to. Those of us in the spotlight, we can’t afford to slip up. Even when the point is against assimilation, we can’t violate our principles to make a point.

And she was right. If we really think about it, she was right.

But here’s the problem. It’s hard. It’s really really hard. Just look at Pop Chassid.

Pop Chassid has a problem. On one hand, it tries to use the modern world to its advantage. To raise up the world of movies and art. On the other, the world of movies and art violates Jewish ideals to an almost absurd degree.

And even further, the movies whose messages are most connected to deep Jewish kabbalah and chassidus concepts are the movies that are most filled with klippah, with negativity, with scantily clad women and death and swearing and hate and other things poisonous to the soul.

So, Pop Chassid has tamer movies. Movies like Megamind. Movies that are cute, nice, pretty, and easy. Movies that aren’t so deep. Because the deeper we go, the more likely we are to mess up.

The Pop Jewish world has this problem. Look at the popular Chanukah videos from this year. One was by Matisyahu. Deep, great message, but enough bad that it has sent shockwaves through the Jewish community. Then we got the Maccabeats video. Cute, nice, beautiful, but little depth.

What’s a Pop Chassid to do? How do we get the message across? Is it impossible to make true art? Are all my blogs destined to be cute and nice but pathetically simple?

But here’s where a wife and a bit of Chassidus can come in handy. My wife, she says exactly what the Tanya, the written torah of Chabad Chassidus, says. She says something only a woman could say.

She says, “No, it’s possible. It’s possible to be deep and real and make true art. It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible. We just need to stay focused, to stay strong, and when we mess up we need to do teshuva (return to G-d’s truth, without looking back).”

That’s essentially what the very first chapter of Tanya says. It says, you may be a screw up, you may not be perfect, but you can do perfection. You can live perfection. And even when you mess up, you just have to keep aiming at perfection, always keeping the target in your vision.

And that’s why it doesn’t matter if our intentions were good. Why the ends don’t justify the ends. Because we’re Jews, and our job is to be perfect, even if it’s an impossible task. And when we mess up, we need to fess up.

So, I for one am fessing up. Pop Chassid’s gotten too shallow. It’s time to get real again. It’s time to do teshuva. It’s time to admit that G-d wants even the most simple blog to be totally perfect, totally deep, and not afraid to push the limits.

G-d wants it and so does my wife.

Oh man… I better get to work.


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18 responses to “Confessions of a Jewish Blogger”

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  2. ilana s. Avatar
    ilana s.

    Indeed art can be true and deep and also pure at the same time. In fact, art and Torah are only being fused correctly if they are both true/deep and pure.

    This is a great entry. I really appreciated it. Keep going strong pop chassid!

    1. The Pop Chassid Avatar

      Another woman saving the world!

  3. Ari S. Avatar
    Ari S.

    Indeed. enjoyed this And your wife’s post. deep is good.

    1. The Pop Chassid Avatar

      Thanks Ari 🙂 Hope to hear more from you, I’ve loved your contributions to the site.

  4. Bentzy Avatar
    Bentzy

    Because the deeper we go, the more likely we are to mess up. The End.

    1. The Pop Chassid Avatar

      Hm. What do you mean by that exactly?

  5. Avromie Avatar
    Avromie

    You should do some South Park. Some of their episodes are the most brilliant commentary on life. They cover it in lewdness, but that’s really “ochel mitoch p’soles”. One recent episode, ‘Creme Fraiche’ was a perfect example of this.

    1. The Pop Chassid Avatar

      That’s funny you bring up South Park. I was just talking about it with a friend.

      And what we were saying is that, unfortunately, it’s really completely not worth examining. All the trash and lewdness will make you stink by the time you get to the sweet stuff. I agree it’s genius, but it’s not even worth watching. It’s the total extreme of going deep and messing up.

      Sometimes, we need to really examine what we believe and where it comes from, and really ask ourselves… is this thing I want to do/watch/read/listen to worth it?

      1. Avromie Avatar
        Avromie

        I don’t know. There’s also an iconoclastic attitude about the show that appeals to me as well. It’s one of the only shows that isn’t P.C.. I do wish it wasn’t so dirty though so I could mention I watch it in public without people thinking I’m scum.

        1. The Pop Chassid Avatar

          lol. First of all, I think that most people would agree with you and love that show, actually.
          And I agree, the iconoclasm is what makes that show special. But the problem is that the way it is done is simply not… good for the soul.
          The point is just part of the message. It’s also how the message is presented. Just like you wouldn’t want a dirty cup to hold your water, you wouldn’t want a dirty vessel for the deepness of the world. It’s all gotta be pure.

  6. michael Avatar
    michael

    On your website for the first time. This article is right on. Wife + chassidus = the ability to grow as a yid in a healthy way.

  7. Yael Jex Hanover Avatar

    Torah is truth, so real, true art could be nothing but heilig. So it’s not avoiding depth, that’s the challenge, it’s finding truth.

  8. Mark Avatar
    Mark

    Hey guys,

    Check out this new passover video on youtube.
    Its filmed in Israel and very inspirational music!

  9. Ron Isaiah Avatar

    HA-DASHOT is a new news program that pokes fun at the current headlines reporting on Israel. Please enjoy the show linked below and help us to keep the program going by promoting it on your blog and giving us a good referal and constructive criticism. Thank you for your kind consideration and hope you enjoy the show.

  10. Samantha S. Avatar
    Samantha S.

    ok so yeah, “Candlelight” has little depth..but many of their other songs (worship songs on their album) do 🙂

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