Some people say that the Torah can only be meaningful if the events depicted therein are true. In other words, if 600,000 people didn’t march through the Sinai Peninsula; if the plagues were just a mythologization of natural disasters; if Lot’s wife never turned into a pillar of salt — then nothing else about this Text of Texts can be worth the parchment it’s inscribed on.
To which I say, “What’s the fun in that?”
I’ve written on this topic at length, and although my own approach differs I don’t quite know how to describe it. “Who cares? Shut up and study!” is accurate, though a tad impolite; “Judaism as Fanac” comes pretty close, but a) non-fen don’t always know what “fanac” means, and b) some Jews seem to think the phrase a trivialization. (Which indicates that they also don’t know fandom, and how seriously fen treat the objects of their fascination.)
And then, in the middle of a conversation, out it popped: “I guess I’m just a Torah Nerd.”
So with a little help from cafepress.com, I present the Torah Nerd Lifestyle Identification System. Far more than a kitschy piece of ephemera (although it’s that too), the TNLIS is designed to identify the wearer as someone who:
- Doesn’t take Torah literally to take it seriously
- Doesn’t believe in the concept of “overanalysis”
- Has $1.49 to spare. Collect the set!