So, I haven’t blogged for a bit. Some might call it Tishrei. Some might call it a new job.
But I know the real reason.
The more I enter this Jewish blogging world, and the more that I speak my mind on issues, the more that I see a disturbing trend.
It seems that the more popular a Jewish blog gets, the more it tends to speak negatively. It creates more controversy, gets people excited and talking, and creates a culture of debate and divisiveness.
You can see this on almost every popular Jewish blog around today. The only ones that don’t seem to do this are the ones that are going out of their way to show Judaism in a positive light (think: Jew In The City).
There is an obvious reason for this: the easy way to stay popular on the net is to create controversy. I’ve talked about this before.
But as a blogger who is slowly becoming more popular, I’m beginning to experience the temptation myself.
It’s a temptation that for most is too hard to ignore. It’s so much easier to get people debating Matisyahu’s struggles or the hatred against the ultra-orthodox than to get people to truly introspect, to truly look inward and change. And to change yourself along with them.
The result is an Jewish online cultural landscape that in no way reflects the true teachings of Judaism. It’s a world that is for the most part only focused on causing people to look outward for the solutions to their problems rather than inward. It’s a world that loves talking about Jewish culture, but rarely says the one word that should matter to a Jew more than any other: Hashem. It’s a world that folks on what other Jews and non-Jews do rather than what Judaism is.
Because, let’s be honest, you’d all prefer someone you trust online to tell you everything you want to hear. To tell you that the reason you’re off the derech is because of the Jewish Popularity Contest. Or perhaps you’re religious and you’d like further reinforcement in your beliefs that anyone that doesn’t hold the way you do is confused, lost, or stupid.
And so the bloggers give the people what they want. I’m thoroughly convinced that it’s a minority of Jewish bloggers who started off with an agenda to focus on people’s disagreements rather than on unity. But it seems like a law of nature: you can’t be a popular blogger unless you are hurting others, creating controversy, casting one group as wrong, and yourself as completely right.
Of course it’s important to stand up against the things we believe are wrong. But the question every Jewish blogger needs to ask themselves this Tishrei is whether they’re fighting for what they believe in or whether they are encouraging a culture of blame and division. I know that at times I have.
So yes, I guess you could blame Tishrei for my not blogging. Tishrei is the time we need to remind ourselves that no one is responsible for our failures except for ourselves. That blame, almost always, is a waste of time. And that true growth only occurs when we forgive the people we’re divided against.
I hope this year, Pop Chassid will succeed in that. We’ll see.