Other times, there were experiences and insights (whether mine or others) I hoped might be helpful, comforting, or inspiring to others.
But it was tough getting stuff published in magazines and newspapers. Sometimes, I would pitch an idea to an editor, which would be rejected and then I’d see that same idea or similar published in the magazine anywhere from 6 months to a year later.
And no, no one was stealing my ideas.
Ideas really are a dime a dozen and a dozen people can come up with the same idea.
My problem is that I’m not great at pitching.
And sometimes, you can also get one bad egg who purposely sabotages your efforts.
And all it takes is just one baddie out of a whole batch of high-quality grade-A eggs.
Secondly, when I first started going through the Kli Yakar on the Chumash, I ended up with high-lighted parts of his commentary that had impacted me with their profound insight and beauty…and no outlet for his insights and inspiration.
Initially, I never thought I’d have my own blog. That took more confidence and initiative than I thought I had. But eventually, with the encouragement of others and lots of prayer, I took the leap and it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as I’d feared.
(Well, not yet, anyway…;)
But the big huge drawback in blogging is that you have no oversight.
There is no editor, copyeditor, proofreader, content editor, or rabbinical board to catch you when you’ve inadvertently committed something as minor as a typo or something as major as lashon hara or misconstruing of Chazal or Torah viewpoint.
You literally end up blogging on a hope and prayer.
Anyway, I’ve been on a search for truth ever since I was a little girl and spotted the words:
“O Lord, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking guile…” toward the end of Shemoneh Esrei and for some reason, felt that was a very important goal.
And when I post my thoughts and learning experiences here, I honestly try my best to detach from my own bias and present the Kli Yakar and any other facet of Torah in its own light.
But I’m far from perfect and it’s always in the back of my mind that my own flaws and limitations are somehow fogging up the prism.
In a letter to her about-to-be-married daughter, Pear S. Buck wrote about the difference in intelligence between men and women:
“It is as though clear spring water were poured into a rose-red glass bowl and appeared rose red. If the same spring water were poured into a blue glass bowl, it would appear blue. Essentially, it is the same but the container changes the hue.”
["What Shall I Tell My Daughter?", The Complete Woman, pg. 25]
(Sorry, I used to be a huge Pearl S. Buck fan until I realized that her stories have you sympathizing with characters who sometimes did heinous things and I got rid of all her books...except this little book with her non-fiction letters and speeches. She makes some excellent & intelligent points about women's roles in the face the feminist takeover of that time.)
When I present the Kli Yakar, for example, it will have a different “hue” than the same presentation from someone else. The Kli Yakar, and anything else I discuss here, can speak for himself. But when I look at a commentary or event, I see it however I personally see it and even the most strenuous attempt at pure objectivity cannot temper my innate flaws and limitations.
This is why I strongly encourage people to do their own research and look up the original sources as much as they are able.
This is also why I strongly encourage people to discuss their issues with Hashem directly.
Very few people have been able to make themselves a pure vessel for transmitting the ideas of a great Torah Sage. Rebbe Natan was able to do it for Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and Rabbi Yehudah ibn Tibbon (known as “the father of translators”) was able to do it for his Hebrew translation of the original Arabic Chovot Halevavot/Duties of the Heart. And most famously and thankfully, Moshe Rabbeinu made himself a pure vessel to transmit the word of Hashem.
But who else can come close to their level?
And even if I (or any other writer) is correct in our presentation, we’re still limited.
Basically, on this blog, you’re getting the water in a purple bowl, but maybe you need to get your water in an emerald green bowl made from pebbled glass and etched with floral swirls?
In short, I’m flawed and I’m limited. And obviously, you already knew that.
But for my own good, I needed to say that I know it too.