Am I lonely?

Well, I’m not sure. Based on the titles of what I’ve been reading lately the answer could be ‘yes’.

I recently finished an essay titled Alienation and Faith.
I am currently reading The Lonely Man of Faith.
While looking for something in my basement I started flipping through a book I haven’t looked at in over 14 years called Lonesome Traveler.
It all started when I decided to learn something by Rav Soloveitchik and finish by his yartzeit (the 18th of Nissan). I recently bought a copy of The Lonely Man of Faith, by the Rav and thought it would be good choice. I admit, I first read the book when I was 19, while in Eretz Yisroel and mostly read it because my Rabbeim were all students of Rav Soloveitchik. I figured that my perspective on life is different now and I might get more out of reading it again. The book starts out like this:
The nature of the dilimma can be stated in a three-word sentence. I am lonely. Let me emphasize, however, that by stating “I am lonely” I do not inted to covey to you the impression that I am alone. I, thank God, do enjoy the love and friendship of many.

Two weeks ago I finished an essay called Alienation and Faith, by Rabbi Jonathan Sack, chief rabbi of Great Britian . It is a great introduction to The Lonely Man of Faith, but stands alone as a great read if you have the time. His puts a very chassidic twist on loneliness. Here are a few lines:
Not only is the Jew an intrinsically divided self, but also ineluctably, a lonely one. For each unquiescent element of his being defeats the attempted consummation of the other…This internal rift is given added poignancy in our time which is an age primarily of technological achievement. Faced with a community of Majestic men the man of faith is bound either to betray himself or be misunderstood; and all that faces him is a retreat into solitude.

As I wrote before, I was looking for Purim costumes in our basement and found a box of my old books. Included were several books by Jack Kerouac including Lonesome Traveler. After finding the book I was instantly remined that once upon a time I actually enjoyed reading for the sake of reading. I decided to read a bit here and there. I found this passage very interesting:
I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of “thinking” and “enjoying” what they call “living”. I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds-
They say, too, in ancient scripture: -“Wisdom can only be obtained from the viewpoint of solitude.”

Am I lonely? No, I just like to read.

5 thoughts on “Am I lonely?

  1. Un-Uberdox Jew

    BOO HOO!
    Maybe less reading and more socializing would help?
    Why don’t you start commenting again on RHM’s blog? I miss reading what your have to say about his posts.

    Why even bother with this post?
    Wouldn’t a post about the connection between bloggers and loneliness be more interesting?

    Wow, you admit to reading secular works…
    Maybe I’ll see you tonight at ACHDS…

  2. Neil Harris

    Un-Uberdox Jew,
    Gut Chodesh!!
    Funny, I almost wrote about the whole blogging/loneliness deal, but figured that my readers are smart enough to have made the connection (re-read the quote from Rabbi Sacks).

    At least we agree on where our to send our kids to school.
    Give me a call if you ever want to meet.
    Thanks for your comments and have a great day!

  3. yingerman

    Ahh the art of being lonely.
    You do realize that lots of out great ones spent time alone.
    Yakov avinu, Moshe Rabbainu and Dovid Hamelech, attained the spiritual level of nevuah after spending lotsa alone, (with the sheep,) time.

  4. Bob Miller

    Mr. Lonely (Bobby Vinton song):

    Lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely
    I have nobody for my own
    I am so lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely
    Wish I had someone to call on the phone

    Now I’m a soldier, a lonely soldier
    Away from home through no wish of my own
    That’s why I’m lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely
    I wish that I could go back home

    Letters, never a letter
    I get no letters in the mail
    I’ve been forgotten, yes, forgotten
    Oh how I wonder, how is it I failed

    Now I’m a soldier, a lonely soldier
    Away from home through no wish of my own
    Thats why I’m lonely, I’m Mr. Lonely
    I wish that I could go back home


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