Torah Nerds, Unite!


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, 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!

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