Great, Serious Rabbis as the Most Potentially Powerful Artists of them All / by Marcy Nehorai

He looks at me, well worn expression, gesturing to the papers piled on his desk, his mouth in a calm, apologetic smile.“ I have no time to write,” he explains after I suggest he write a book, almost content with the knowledge that he cannot do it. Because if he could, if there was time, then that would be much more difficult to bear. That would require a lot more thought. But even if the time was there ( which it never is), there were other statements backing him up in his head, that would not allow for such a catastrophe such as spending time doodling, or fantasizing. Or movie editing.

Such as- It is not IMPORTANT.

And-  it is not for them.

It is for some other man, with shaggy hair in a ponytail and sparkling eyes that light up, always with some crazy, brilliant idea running around in his head. And it is for that man because that man is an artist and that is his destiny, and each man has a mission and he must prioritize and focus on his. And that is that.

And so, I sit there, in obvious disagreement, with nothing to say. Because all I would say is that “you are wrong” or “there is time” or some other logical variation of the two.

Is it too radical, too idealistic , to ask something more from someone who is already slaving away to bring light into the world? Except to suggest that perhaps they have forgotten the biggest channel and expression of light of them all, the ultimate malchus of malchus. The arts.

Sigh. Nevertheless. What do I know. The point is that I should focus on myself, and develop myself, and I cannot ask more than that. He certainly has much more knowledge and experience than I.

But I wonder. I wonder if there is a truth out there- that great, serious rabbis are actually the ones who could be the greatest artists of them all. I think so, but I can’t prove it.

And so he is right- he is busy, and there is little time ( there never is time, is there). But maybe, just maybe, he could be something? Something else as well? That truth that still lies mysteriously floating in neverneverland, and even he cannot say there is a definite answer to it. Maybe. Maybe he could. And with that, that possibility, I walk away, able to be grateful of all the enormity that he has done because he knows and I know that possibly there could be something more.

And even if he spends his life with that remote possibility whispering to him in the back of his mind, even if never picks up a paintbrush or learns guitar or composes a song or learns how to dance, even if that book lies in the celestial worlds never to come down into reality, even if that voice within him stubbornly will not consider this important, or important enough, within him there might be some other nagging sensation. And the beauty and power of nagging sensations means that at any moment, there could be a break, and it could happen. And he would release. And only the greatest laughter and joy from his creative works would result.

Maybe.