It’s often stated that blogs are the modern day equivalent of pamphlets, like those (largely anonymous) pamphlets we know today as the Federalist Papers. I wonder what the world would look like today if blogs and the Internet had existed 2000 years ago. Would Jewish the rabbis have blogged? Would the Sadducees? Beit Hillel? Beit Shammai? The Essenes? I don’t know. I tend to think most of these groups would have reacted to the Internet and blogs much the way Gary Rosenblatt of the NY Jewish Week does, treating blogs with disdain and using the Internet to promote his own agenda while disdaining other’s.
But I do think Jesus (or, at the very least, his close disciples) would have blogged. Much of Jesus’ life was dedicated to righting what he felt had gone wrong within the Pharisaic movement, particularly the positions and behavior of the Beit Shammai faction. He would have screamed in the courtyard of the Temple and blogged about it that night. To many Jews, what I just wrote treifes blogging. But it should not. Why?
Just look at the numbers. Christianity has grown in leaps and bounds, both during times of persecution and during times of plenty while Judaism has shrunk, almost without exception. Christianity has always been based on bringing its message to the masses, while Judaism has largely been about favoring the rich and influential at the expense of the masses. (Yes, I know this goes against the Torah, but it is our history, nonetheless.)
Blogs and the Internet (and their technological progeny) are here to stay. Is Judaism? If you look at the numbers and speak to teens and college students, the answer would have to be no. They see no relevancy to Judaism and feel no uplift from Jewish leadership. We’re stagnant and vapid, and we’re vested in maintaining institutions and not maintaining Jews.
Tonight, as you eat Chinese food and talk with your friends about how glad you are not to be goyyim, remember this. Also remember that every Jew alive 500 years ago has at least as many non-Jewish descendants as Jewish ones. And the reason for that goes well beyond persecution. It is the elitism of Jewish leadership coupled with the vapidness of their message that has done the most damage.
A Freilichen Nittlenacht.