Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Marking what feels like an infinite number of test papers is wearying not so much because it is boring (it is) but because it constitutes a sequence of arbitrary and capricious decisions. A student who memorized a proof gets full credit; one who invented an interesting but flawed proof on the spot does not. Mistake A costs four points and mistake B costs five, or was it the other way around. One thoughtless flick of my pen and some poor student is doomed to the misery of preparing for another test (moed bet) or, worse, to suffer through the whole course again (very possibly with a lecturer who is actually happy to flunk him the next time around).

I sit on the couch, buried under a thousand notebooks, dispensing injustice and suddenly almost any other topic seems endlessly fascinating. Today I'm taken with the idea that this whole Haredi/MO distinction that fuels so many blogwars is a crock. If I finish marking all the tests today, I will write a long post on this. For now, just a brief thought on a distinction that I think does resonate: Polish chassidus is about removing the facade of respectability to reveal the true nature of man while Hungarian chassidus is about creating a facade of respectability to hide the true nature of man. I believe you can see this attitudinal difference even among people two or three generations removed from a spodek or a shtraimel.

1 Comments:

Blogger espaklarya said...

"Polish chassidus is about removing the facade of respectability to reveal the true nature of man while Hungarian chassidus is about creating a facade of respectability to hide the true nature of man."

Yes! Finally, someone will address the real sociological division in Orthodoxy, the hungarians vs the Poilische!

1:54 AM  

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