October 23, 2005

Meme Seven

Zman Biur gets tagged with Meme Seven. But researching things as is his habit, he finds it considerably changed from its original form. Being a traditional Jew, this leads to some soul-searching:

So, as one faithful to the traditions, which version should I do? Should I transmit the meme as I received it, remaining faithful to my place in the chain of tradition? Or should I aim to ascertain the original, authentic form of the meme and restore it to its rightful glory, correcting any distortions which have taken hold in the meantime?

On the one hand, tradition only bears authority to the extent that it is preserved as it has been transmitted. Within the framework of tradition, I can carry on the practices of my father or my teachers. But the moment I adopt someone else's practices, someone with whom I have no direct authoritative relationship, I am not being traditional. I am being arbitrary and autonomous.

If I follow Hassidic customs because my father is a Hassid, or because my rebbe is a Hassid, I am continuing the tradition. But if I do so because they sound nice to me, or I find them inspiring or meaningful, I am acting of my own accord and have severed any link I might have to the chain of tradition.

On the other hand, where it is possible to determine that the tradition has gone awry, that authentic practices have been lost or distorted, and foreign ones substituted, is it not my duty to restore authenticity to the tradition, discarding any errors in transmission which may have crept in - no matter for how long they have taken hold? I am not being arbitrary and autonomous - I am restoring truth to the tradition!

What does Mr. Biur decide to do? Follow the link to find out.

He also tags me. Sorry to disappoint you, Zman, but this is one minhag (מנהג) - tradition that I don't want to take on at this time. I'm not at that level.

One more thing: You forgot to mention hatarat n'darim (התרת נדרים) - being released from vows.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at October 23, 2005 11:46 PM | TrackBacks
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