Mar 26, 2014

L'Maiseh ...

continued from previous post

I think back to some book reviews I posted here over the past six months or so, Shlomie, Joseph, The Chicken Lady.  I am so impressed by each of the people written about.  But in what way has my admiration for them translated into anything practical?

There are two approaches I think one can take.  One is the "Rabbi Akiva and water dripping on the rock" approach.  You may not see immediate results or any results, but if you keep on hearing positive, Torah messages, they have an effect.  Even if you cannot clearly see the cause and effect, like water dripping on a rock, which eventually wears it away, we too, are affected by what we hear and read.

The other approach, which responds to his second question: given limited time and energy, what is the most effective way to foster change, requires you to come up with a practical application.  Maybe, after reading or hearing something that makes you so "wow," the next step must be - okay, so now what? What can I do to emulate them?

As to whether a formula can be devised to make it more likely that a talk or article will have positive, practical effects, it is probably impossible to find out which speaker or writer has the most impact.  There are very popular speakers, they can be funny, deep, and insightful, but aside from the entertainment and educational value, who can say what moves whom to lasting change? If there are speakers out there whom we know can be credited with numerous baalei teshuva or communities that have grown spiritually, can we analyze their method? I think it often comes down to their particular personalities and siyata dishmaya; I don't know to what extent they can be copied.

1 comment:

  1. People can always give their time to those organizations that already exist; they don't have to form new ones. That is how we can emulate them. Everyone can decide how much time that they can devote. We have community leaders like Devorah Benjamin but there were plenty of volunteers helping at the Chinese auction. They are not all Devorahs but they make her job possible with whatever time they give to her cause. Some people don't even have to leave home to be of help. For example, they can invite a new BT into their homes and teach them to read Hebrew or some other subject or help someone's struggling child with Hebrew if the parents don't have the ability.
    Those of us in smaller communities are often called upon to help others in need so we don't have to look too far.