6 Reasons to Write Torah Commentary on Twitter

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7 comments posted
I am trying this out. It is

I am trying this out. It is too early to tell if it has any use....
So far:
On the one hand, it is limiting and restrictive of the flow of information, so it is not conducive to in-depth exchanges and interactions about the text. I am too mindful of the character limit, and feel I have to leave out a great deal to make any points at all.
On the other hand, it is more likely that folks will type 140 characters than that they will sit and compose a long message.... so perhaps it will draw in some who would not otherwise participate. And broadening the number of those involved can only be good.

Rabbi Joe B

Posted by rabbijoeb on March 26, 2009 11:56 AM
Hi Joe, thanks for taking the

Hi Joe, thanks for taking the plunge and jumping in.

You can follow Joe on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/rabbijoeb

The form really makes you have to ask, "What do I want to say, now.?"

Posted by Shai Gluskin on March 26, 2009 12:36 PM
Lovin' the Twitter Torah

Lovin' the Twitter Torah Craze! Check out my full post on the topic;
http://frumhacks.blogspot.com/2009/04/following-lead-of-hillel-elder.html#links

Posted by Frumhacks on April 14, 2009 1:19 AM
Shalom All, Hillel may have

Shalom All,

Hillel may have been one of the original Twitterers. His "on one foot" style in the following two instances
demonstrates handily that verbal parsimony is a virtue.

1. If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? If not now, when?

2. What is hateful to you, don't do to another; the rest is commentary; now go study.

Mo'adim L'simha,

Biv'racha,
Jordan

Posted by Jordan on April 14, 2009 1:20 PM
I am finding that this is

I am finding that this is quite limited, as noted. What it forces me to do is to post serially, weaving a larger text out of small bits, tying them together by a few key words.... I am not too sure this is actually a workable approach over a long term. It seems to be very likely that it will become fractured to the point of broken, with all connections lost and the larger message invalidated.

Rabbijoeb

Posted by rabbijoeb on May 1, 2009 1:34 AM
Joe, I laud you willingness

Joe,

I laud you willingness to experiment with a different form.

What's "workable" over the long term depends on what your goals are.

I'll take this moment to share an idea I have that I'll write another post about should I move forward with it. The idea is that during the 24 leading up to Shavuot that we spread the word for the masses to Twitter Torah. One practical goal is to get "#Torah" into the top 10 for trends for as much of the day as possible. Watching the tweets come in at a site like Twitterfall would be a cool way to feel connected to other Jews (non-Jews) who are going into the Chag (holiday) by taking some moments to tweet Torah and thereby connect to a global, visible, putting out of Torah.

Writing commentary? Not even necessary... just type a verse as your tweet. Although I would argue that even that is a commentary, because the person is choosing what verse to write.

So Joe, as someone who has actually tried it... I hope you'll stay tuned to some special use-cases, even if you don't find it a compelling method of Torah expression.

Shabbat shalom,

Shai

Posted by Shai Gluskin on May 1, 2009 1:06 PM
Over a year after the start

Over a year after the start of this idea. I stopped posting back a while because I felt I was not finding that the tool was suited to the task (at least, the task I wanted to accomplish).

When I looked today, what I found in the twitterverse with the hash tag #Torah was not very much Torah, but lots of polemics, nasty trash, and people pushing their agenda and trying to shout down others, rather than trying to share, teach and learn, which is the essence of what we should be doing with/for Torah.

Sad to see that a whole bunch of people have taken this idea over and made it so negative, to the point of worthless. Even those few posts with something positive to say were submerged and drowned out by the junk.

Technology is a tool, and as such can be used for good or for ill. Here it seems to me it has been hijacked and is used for ill.

My take on it now is that this experiment has concluded, and the result is that for the purpose of sharing Torah it is not a successful tool.

I am not too surprised - I have come to believe that Torah cannot be shared in a vacuum; there is almost always a personal relationship that is the vehicle for the connection over which the actual sharing takes place. Whether one to one, or one to many, I see the sharing as soul to soul, mutually sharing, and both/all growing and learning from that sharing.

The best sharing of Torah is thus face to face, with both/all parties participating and listening. This also means that writing about Torah is less desirable than talking about it, but in writing (extended, not limited to tweets) there is a possibility of explaining so that some of the sharing can take place, at least in one direction.

A worthwhile experiment to try to take Torah where people are going, but ultimately not something I think is worth pursuing. (Though I am sure others opinion's may differ.)

Rabbi Joe Blair

Posted by Rabbi Joe B on June 27, 2010 10:37 AM