Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Modern Mussar - life-changing decisions

Gwyneth Paltrow, progeny of the Taz and a fellow Rabbi's grandkid, showed us in Sliding Doors how different decisions or happenings can affect the course of our life. The film actually showed us hashgocho protis - Divine Providence - in the way the story panned out. The scarier aspect for me is comtemplating how some of our even minor decisions can totally change the course of our lives.

Follow the course of your life back, think of decisions such as what to study in college and where, who to date or dump, what job to take etc. It's often the seemingly minor decisions that have the more delitirious effect. I know I've made some pretty dumb decisions that have changed my life for the worse (I blame the alcohol!) and a few good ones as well. That's also why I enjoy reading historical revisionism that postulates "what if?", the best example I can think of is Robert Harris' famous Fatherland, a dark disturbing tale about Germany in the 1960's following a victory for the Third Reich in WWII.

This is one reason I've never really dated seriously till recently (do I really want to make a lifelong decision right now? Shev Veal Taaseh Adif).

May we be worthy of choosing the right path in everything we do.



At 6/01/2005 11:40 PM, Blogger Litvshe said...

Heh, I must say I like your use of modern pop culture to show Jewish thought. I don't know if you ever saw a movie called Flatliners. But it came out in 1990, in Elul. It's all about having to deal with your sins and their reprucussions. Very matim.

At 6/02/2005 6:33 AM, Blogger Dark Horse said...

Both Shiurim and Getting on the tube were never the same for me after sliding doors.

Great Blog


At 6/02/2005 7:44 AM, Blogger tmeishar said...

I remember when that came out, but I never saw it because it seemed so mushy gushy, lovey dovey. Is it? If not, it sounds like something worth watching...

P.S. Speaking of mushy gushy, lovey dovey: I should warn you that two of Gattaca's characters fall in love, but it pertains to and enhances the plot.

At 6/02/2005 2:18 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Hey, Gattac's a pretty good movie also. Yeah, TRK, I totally get what you're trying to say. Since this is the wide world of blogs (not to be confused with "the wide world of sports". Quick, where does that line come from? Any-one who knows gets a lot of respect in my book for their knowledge of good movie trivia.), I will not going into things in my life that fit this category. But, I totally get what you're saying. And, P.S., go for it. The way I look at Divine Providence and its interaction with free will is this: We're not G-d. We don't know what he has planned for us. There's always more than one option. You weigh the options, think carefully, then follow the best educated choice that you can. Like, "Sliding Doors", you make one choice its sets certain effects into motion like a set of dominoes falling over. You choose something else, same thing. But, it's always for the best. So, go for it. Everything in life is a learning experience. Good luck.

At 6/02/2005 2:19 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Oh yeah, also read "Fatherland". Great and incredibly scary book. What if Hitler had won and no-one really knew what happened to the Jews? Where do you think the world would be today without a holocaust? Scary. They made it into a pretty good movie also. I suggest checking it out if you've never seen it.

At 6/03/2005 12:49 AM, Blogger B2 said...

Nice drash. (And I liked Fatherland too.)

At 6/03/2005 3:32 PM, Blogger ClooJew said...

You should put out a mussar sefer using only movies as reference material.

It could be jointly published, lulei demistafina, by ArtScroll and Dreamworks.

At 6/04/2005 4:25 PM, Blogger bird said...

no, i don't do hauman 17.
i'm a dance student at orot

At 6/04/2005 6:28 PM, Blogger Karl said...

Ok, this is getting too freaky, Sliding Doors was the last movie I saw (in the cinema). I don't think it had much of an affect it had on me at the time.
I don't think the "What if" postulates are worth very much after the event - just a look at seeing where things could have been different and what one can learn for next time.
Before the event - is when you should be thinking of the what ifs. The question of what if you were married 5 years ago my shed some light as to why you are where you are now, but the what if you chose to continue seeing someone now, carries a lot more weight and a little thought about a seemingly minor choice could have diverse consequences. Either way, you can only make one choice so don't fret about it afterwards.

At 6/05/2005 1:25 PM, Blogger LostSpirit said...

Have not had much time lately so I am not up to date with the movies. But still how very true, how many “only if” we all have but aren’t we all so clever with the 20/20 of hindsight. And BTW it’s a mitzvah’s asea so you have to go with kim vasie!!!


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