My parents and I went to a barbecue at my sister and brother-in-law’s house.  I was slightly apprehensive that either my religious OCD would come into play regarding the kosher standard of the food, or that I would feel left out of the conversation and be bored.  In the event, I had a good time.  There was lots of food, and there was vegetarian for me (I only eat meat and fish on Shabbat and Yom Tov (Sabbath and festivals)).  I was mostly engaged in the conversation, which is good, because sometimes I feel a complete outsider.  I’m not sure if that’s autistic communication issues or just that the conversation is often career and house stuff that I can’t relate to, sadly.  I did start feeling “peopled out” after a few hours and struggled through the last hour we were there, then started suggesting maybe we should leave as it was getting late.  I guess I always get anxious when I don’t have a clear exit strategy.  It was good, but I came away feeling pretty exhausted and glad that I hadn’t really planned to do much today other than barbecue, Torah study and run.

I mostly did not get the usual “My younger sister is married and owns a house, when am I going to get married and buy a house?” thoughts, but I did briefly have some “What woman would be messed up enough to date me?” thoughts on the way home.

I also managed an hour of Torah study and a run.  The run started badly and I got out of breath easily, plus at one point I developed a pain in my knee and thought I was going to have to stop, but the second half was a lot better.  I doubt the run burnt off all the calories from the salt and pepper kettle chips I ate at the barbecue…  Still, I haven’t got an exercise migraine (although they can start hours later), which is good.

***

I had two positive emails in response to my devar Torah (Torah thought) this week, which was good.

***

I had a thought today that I’m still mulling over; it hasn’t led to a change in attitude yet.  Maybe I should think of Torah study as process rather than an action.  The emphasis is supposed to be on studying (“learning” in Yeshivish, the argot of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world) rather than on content studied.  In other words, the goal is to spend as much time as possible studying, not to master so many volumes of Talmud, albeit that more recently the idea of Daf Yomi (studying one folio a day to complete the Talmud in seven and a half years) has gained traction.  Still, that’s not how it is taught in yeshivot (seminaries), where they focus on only two of the six orders of the Talmud (the Talmud is divided topically into six divisions, known as “orders” and subdivided into volumes) and not by any means the most relevant.  They focus on marriage law and tort law, because these are considered the most difficult volumes, which sharpen the intellect most.  A great Torah scholar is known as a talmid chacham which means literally a “wise student” emphasising that the idea is to study, not to know.

Of course, this may not help, as I don’t study Torah that much as a percentage of my day, even if it is a mainstay of my life.

***

That was it, really.  I didn’t do very much today.  It’s actually hard to say that, because I felt I should have done more, particularly as yesterday was Shabbat (the Sabbath) so I didn’t do anything and I didn’t do much on Friday either.  Mood was quite good most of the time, although there was some stuff lurking underneath the surface.  I guess it was a good day, although it’s strangely hard to say that too.

6 thoughts on “Barbecue and Torah Study as a Process

  1. I’m glad that you had such a wonderful day, and enjoyed your time with family. I like that term “wise student” because it illuminates that even the greatest scholars are still learning. They aren’t masters; they are students who are studying to become more knowledgeable, without expecting to attain a perfect level of wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad the barbecue went well. And that’s great about the positive feedback on the devar Torah.

    I’m curious about the process vs. action. It sounds like you’ve been self-evaluating based on time spent rather than amount covered, so I’m wondering how shifting to a process approach would change things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m not sure how it would change things either. I just had the thought yesterday, so I need to sit with it for a while. You might be right that it wouldn’t change much. I don’t know at this stage.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Studying is a process… it’s never about the end result.
    I’m glad you got to the bbq. I wonder if you could leave yourself early or take a bathroom break in the middle?
    Happy Monday

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Usually I could have left early, but I didn’t really want to this time, plus I didn’t think to bring a mask so would not have been able to get the bus. I’ve left early from similar events in the past, but I wanted to stay for the whole thing yesterday.

    I did take some bathroom breaks when I needed time out.

    Like

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