Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Judah Explores Jerusalem by Himself A Bit Today

I forgot to mention a good experience I had last night.  After we finished auditions for Kol Nativ a capella, my friend Garret wanted to have a minyan for his grandfather's yartzheit.  It was a touching moment that over 10 Nativers took a couple minutes before dispersing for the night to be there for a friend's spiritual need.  I hope that in the future we'll have plenty more spontaneous miyanim.

After Chumash this morning, I had an errand to do.  I bought a tallit in Me'ah She'arim last week but bought one in the Old City that I liked better after the fact, so I went back today to return the first tallit.  At first it was easy - just walk down King George Street. On King George Street, a frum beggar looked me in the eye and started walking over to me, and I kept walking but he decided to talk to me.  I didn't use much common sense here - I decided to give him 2 shekel.  Then he asked me where I learn - I said the Yeshivat Masortit (Conservative Yeshiva - this conversation took place in the Holy Tongue).  He asked where it is, I said just down on Agron Street.  So here's something chutzpadik - he asked about me getting money there or something, at which point I said Shanah Tovah and walked away.

So I was walking down King George St as I said and was doing fine.  However, once I got to Me'ah She'arim, finding the store I needed to find wasn't as simple as I thought it would be, and I had to ask for directions.  Being Israeli, the couple of residents I asked weren't so specific - "ehh, just take a right here and ehh walk a little that way."  Once I was on the street I had a hard time finding the shop, when I finally developed some common sense to look for the address.  Not that these stores have clearly marked numbers, but once I was in the right zone I found the store.  I found a nice tallit bag that I liked, and when I explained that I wanted to return a tallit and buy the bag, it turned out that the bag was the same price for which I bought my tallit, so that was easy.  By the time I got out, I managed to stop at a pizza shop that I had discovered last week that's good and got a couple of slices to go, walked back to Agron, put my stuff away, wolfed down my lunch just in time for class.  That was my first time walking past SuperSol by myself in Jerusalem.

Modern Jewish Thought this afternoon was wonderful, especially since I stayed awake this time.  We talked about Shmuel Ha-Nagid as a Soul of Chaos, in Rav Kook's terms, sort of a person that feels constrained by order and needs adventure, to reshape the world even.  We compared him to Rabbenu Bahya who wrote Hovot Ha-Levavot, which lauds the aesthetic value of order.  Aryeh, our teacher (who is impressively learned in many different fields), asked the question "does the world we live in prevent people from rising," and we talked about equality - whether it is the revenge of the weak.  That was a long discussion.  We discussed Shmuel Ha-Nagid's influence on Yehuda Amichai, and then started talking about Friedrich Nietzche and his views on morality and aristocratic society.  It was an eye-opening afternoon.

After that, I ran over to Pomeranz - third day in a row making a purchase - to buy a couple of books I lacked that I didn't realize I lacked until the other day after he did his yeshiva sale.  But he now knows who I am, he's a very cordial guy.  Unfortunately they didn't have the Albeck Mishnah set, which I especially wanted for my Mishnah Bekiut class, so they said they hope to have it in by Monday, since it's already a week late.  I also got a copy of Masechet Sukkah (I hate loose papers, if I ever study it again I won't have the notes I need and all), chumash with Rashi, and a Tanach.  I left and then I saw my friends Tyler and Seth walking towards the pizza place at which I ate today - given that Agron food isn't my favorite, however, I went with them.  So that was essentially my 2nd experience walking alone in Jerusalem.

At the beginning of Modern Jewish Thought this afternoon, Aryeh asked us how we like things so far.  The first thing I mentioned is that I love not traveling by car.  As time consuming as walking around town can be so far, there's something liberating and experiential by walking, and it gives me much to appreciate as I spend my semester in Jerusalem.  I look forward to walking around town more soon.

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