Sunday, August 21, 2011


My love she speaks like silence ...
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all.
Bob Dylan, Love Minus Zero, 1965

In Judaism there is the concept of rav hamuvhak - the identifying teacher. For example, one thinks of Plato as the student of Socrates or Margaret Mead as the student of Franz Boaz. In the world that I come from the teacher is the master of the student and the student bears the master’s mark. Thus, Israel Salanter was the student Rav Yosef Zundel who in turn was the student of Rav Chaim Volozin - as I am the student of my teachers, Rav Zechariah Fendel and Professor Jerry Hirsch.

Success for a teacher is to have students who bear his mark. In that sense, I have failed. But, as my father taught me, by sheer repetition, “we live in hope.” I still have work to do. Each day I shovel sixteen tons and what do I get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don’t you call me, cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.
Merle Travis, Sixteen Tons, 1946.

No comments:

Post a Comment