Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Finding My Place

There's a gentleman in my shul whom I sometimes (privately) refer to as "The Wandering Jew". While most regular shul-goers each have their unique "makom kavuah" - a fixed, set seat in shul - this fellow will typically change his seat a couple of times during any given Shabbos morning. It doesn't generally appear that he's looking for better spot per se, it seems more like he's just plain indifferent to where he happens to sit.

I think the only reason I even notice this man's innocuous foible is that I am at the opposite end of the spectrum. I am so attached to my regular makom in shul that I could not bring myself to follow the usual custom of changing it - at least on Shabbos - during my year of aveilus for my father. The couple of weeks I tried to do so, it felt so uprooting and disorienting that I deemed it, subjectively, to be too public a display of mourning - something which is discouraged on Shabbos.

Beyond this personal reason, I also felt that I was very much following my father's own example. He was always conscientious in the extreme to not to take another's place in shul. On the rare occasions that he had to daven in an unfamiliar minyan, he would stand at the back of the room throughout the services rather than incur the slightest risk of usurping someone's makom kavuah. So in a sense, I felt that in breaking with the prevalent minhag, and not changing my seat during the mourning period for my father, I was actually honoring his memory all the more by holding fast to one of his core values.

All this has been on my mind lately because I feel like I may need to start looking for my place again. Not in shul this time, but in that amorphous, nebulous realm known as the "J-blogosphere". And unlike the synagogue, there is no seating plan to help guide me, no gabbaim to direct me to my special niche.

Since its inception nearly a year ago, this blog has never exactly been monolithic or tightly focused. Posts of a deep emotional nature have alternated freely with discussions of rock music or comic books. That's certainly the way I wanted it, the way I needed it to be. But underlying the diversity /eclecticness, there was the central core of my Aaron-related writings. For multiple reasons, I now find that my desire, my need, and my ability to write those particular posts has lessened. I don't think I'll abandon them entirely, but they no longer feel like they can continue to be the stabilizing thread for the blog that they once were.

This is not simply one of those "bloggers-block" kvetches; been there, done that plenty of times already. Rather, taking a page from Mirty, who was one of my two original inspirations to start blogging (SD of course being the other), I am pondering where I really want to take this blog, and indeed whether I want to take it anywhere.

So where do I go from here? Do I continue to write whatever I feel like at a given moment, moving the blog even further beyond "classification"? Maybe. I mean what the heck, I'm not gunning to win a "JIB" anyway! But on the other hand, being multi-focused is not quite the same as the complete lack of a focus, and while the former has always been comfortable for me, I'm not sure the latter is what I really want.

As always, while the ultimate decision is mine, your suggestions, opinions, and feelings are both welcome and valued. And whatever direction I do decide to take, thanks as always for being along for the ride.


At 6/21/06, 4:10 PM, Blogger SS said...

Hey there, it sure seems like a lot of people are going through this type of thing right now here in blogland. It may be selfish of me to say it, but I would be very upset if you decided to close your blog. I always enjoy your posts (unless they are about sports;)), and you do have a perspective that is often refreshing. That (whether to stop blogging), however is up to you. You COULD take a summer vacation, like Mirty and then come back. Your first entry back could be an essay on "what I did on my summer vacation". Good luck with your decision.

At 6/21/06, 9:25 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Yes alot of ppl seem to be in this sort of confused state. It's normal take it easy. Blog if and when you want. Do it at your own pace. Whatever makes you comfortable. Whatever you choose to write is yours and worthy.

At 6/21/06, 11:14 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

You're a fine writer. Write about whatever you want. People will visit.

At 6/22/06, 12:10 AM, Blogger torontopearl said...

Keep the meter running, Elie.
I'm in for a l...o....n....g ride. Wherever you choose to drive is fine with me -- the company is good, the scenery is lovely, and you've got yourself a fine vehicle.

Just keep your eyes on the road ahead...

At 6/22/06, 12:38 AM, Anonymous Tova said...

I may be biased because I am your sister, but I encourage you to keep blogging. You have inspired and moved us, made us laugh and made us cry, and made us think and ponder. Your blogging has helped you cope this very difficult year, but it has also inspired and guided us. Please continue to blog if you can, even if (and here I invent a new word) it is merely "Seinfeldian" in nature (i.e. a blog about nothing.

At 6/22/06, 1:57 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...


I enjoy your blog. You have many different interests and I appreciate that. I don't mind a blog that wanders but then again I am the prime example of writing about anything and everything.

At 6/22/06, 2:38 AM, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...


The beauty of blogging is that it's a way to express yourself and everyone expresses themselves differently at any given time. As you know from reading my blog, I hit the whole spectrum of topics; divorce, movies, political stuff, current events and jokes to name a few. The important thing is that YOU feel comfortable with your topic(s). When you write so well (like u do), people will come just to hear what you have to say, doesn't matter if it is part of a theme or not.

BTW, I loved your analogy about the seat in shul. (I just changed shuls and I know what it's like being concerned that you will grab someone else's spot.)

keep em coming...


At 6/22/06, 9:59 AM, Blogger Elie said...

Thank you all for the support and chizuk! It makes a real difference to me.

At 6/22/06, 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be honest and say that I found your posts about Aaron, loss and mourning inordinately more compelling than anything else you post. But I'll keep stopping by.


At 6/22/06, 6:57 PM, Anonymous Yaakov Menken said...


Interestingly enough, I posted my own question on blogging on Tuesday. My question was the opposite: since Cross-Currents is so tightly focused, is it worthwhile to post the occasional, off-topic whim of the moment?

The responses there favored blogging about whatever you want to share with readers. You don't need to find a special niche; writing your particular variety of "whatever you want to share" creates one.

At 6/22/06, 11:32 PM, Blogger Esther said...

I have really appreciated getting to know you (as much as one can through other people's blogs) since I discovered your blog earlier this year. And I agree with Rabbi Menken that it is exactly the variety of topics that makes this blog so interesting to everyone. It's actually closer to how one has conversations in real life -- sometimes we talk to our friends about our deepest feelings, other times about "issues," or the latest movie, or (as Tova said) nothing.


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