I am still reading Tuvia Tenenbom, who describes himself as a 'recovering intellectual,' and would like to share this with you. The clever people here in Tel Aviv seem to be a universal type: one who cannot see past the end of his nose but confidently looks down it at you.
I sit down with a number of leftist intellectuals, university professors and such, for dinner in quite an exensive restaurant, and talk with the nicest-looking of the bunch who holds the title of 'political psychologist.' The first thing she says to me is this: 'I am a liberal, super liberal, and I'm an atheist.' When the waiter comes she orders café latte, but being an intellectual that she is, she can't just order latte without making it tasteless. Her latte, she tells the waiter, should contain coffee without caffeine and milk without fat, and be served in a clear glass.
Her speciality, she informs me, is religious extremists, mainly settlers. The settlers, she declares with authority and certainty, are idiots. And when I ask her if she read any of their literature, just to make sure that they are 'certified nuts,' she tells me that she doesn't have to do so since she has read many of their detractors who quote them, and this is more than enough.
In addition to her settler expertise, she tells me that she's also an expert on Judaism, which she classifies as a 'pagan religion.' I ask her if she has ever studied Judaism, a question that makes her raise her voice in anger. For years and years and years, she yells at this offender of her high stature, she has been studying Judaism over and over and over. I light up a cigarette, inhale and exhale, look at her and ask her: Could you tell me, please, what the 'Vision of Isaiah' is? That's the most basic question one could ask and any student of Bible 101 could have answered this question in his sleep, but this learned lady has no clue. What vision? What Isaiah?
I am befuddled by her lack of knowledge but everybody at this table asserts beyond doubt that I lack the mental capacity to understand higher concepts. They pound me with super brainy words of no meaning, and I sip my Chivas Regal I reminisce about one of my favorite rabbis from the day of old, a genius by any standards: 'He who cannot explain his thesis in simple words is he who has no thesis.'