Rough Drafts, Sloppy copies and Shavuos

In a discussion with my 5th grade son about a research paper he was completing I attempted to explain the importance of a rough draft, as a blueprint for what would be his final product. My 3rd grader, who was listening (and thinking her brother was getting a lecture) chimed in, “My teachers call it a sloppy copy.”

I have always enjoyed the origins of slang words/phrases that seem to make it into our general daily conversation. My fascination probably is rooted in some adolescent form of, as R Mordechai Torczyner would call it, “coolkeit”. Fortifying myself with the language of our youth makes me feel younger and it is less painful than dieting and exercising.

So, I have to wonder, when a “rough draft” start being called a “sloppy copy”?

I am not against the name change, just taken back. This is, again, an example of Niskatnu HaDoros, the diminishing of the generations. “Sloppy copy” seems so, well messy. “Rough draft” does sound abrasive, but it’s a draft. It implies putting in time and effort into making something. There is a feeling of a work ethic associated with a “rough draft”. To me a “sloppy copy” is when you photocopy something and pull the original off the copier glass at the last minute so that the far right side of your photocopy is all wavy and blurry.

Now, with any draft or copy (even this post, which had two drafts) the goal is a completed product that has a feeling of shlaymus (wholeness). The Torah, and both sets of luchos, is a perfect draft in its’ original form. No editing or revising needed. I hope I have used the past 49 days to fix up my, as the kids call it, “sloppy copy” and make myself ready to receive the Torah.

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