I taught a Mishlei class in the past two years in two different schools. Thankfully, my Mishlei chavrusa and I started the practice of writing four-sentence summaries of every pasuk we learned. These short summaries are saved on a Word document on my computer. Over the past two years, this document has grown to over 40 pages, and continues to grow with every new idea.
I occasionally wondered, "Why on earth am I keeping these summaries to myself?" I didn't want to post them on Kankan Ne'lam because the four-sentence summary format doesn't jive with the type of blog posts I'm accustomed to write here. Also, Chavlei Shlomo was intended to be more informal than Kankan Ne'lam, and I didn't want it to be plagued by the same writer's block problems that I routinely face here. Lastly, I want my Mishlei ideas to be kept in a separate location, devoted exclusively to Mishlei (and Koheles) in case they are discovered by other people who are interested in Mishlei, but are not partial to the type of ideas I take up on Kankan Ne'lam.
Last week I finally made the decision to renovate and reopen Chavlei Shlomo. For personal reasons I decided to nix the collaborative idea. Also, since I established that blog under my real name, I realized I'd have to take down and re-post all of the old posts under my pseudonym. Once I started doing this, I realized that I might as well take the time to re-edit all of those posts. And once I was already doing that, I decided to edit all of my summaries in my Word document (which I would have ended up doing before posting them anyway).
With the calculation and resolve of a demolition expert, I deleted all posts except for the original 2009 introduction and the post which explains the title of the blog. I revised the mission statement and added an explanation of the format I intended to use. I will replicate those statements here:
This blog is a place for me to jot down my Mishlei ideas and insights (and those of my friends and chavrusas), no matter how unpolished and underdeveloped they may be.
This is an informal blog - a venue for thinking aloud, exploring different approaches, and "learning the ropes" of Mishlei. I will be writing primarily for myself and not to a "general audience." This doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for clarification - just don't have high expections of clarity in the posts themselves, especially considering the format (see below).
This blog is also intended to serve as a repository for Mishlei ideas. That way, if I want to go back and review my prior understanding of the pesukim I've learned, the summaries will be accessible here.
I plan to have three different types of posts on this blog:
(1) Short Summary: This format will be used for the majority of the posts on this blog. Whenever my primary Mishlei chavrusa (Levi) and I learn a pasuk, we conclude by typing a 1-4 sentence summary of the main idea. I decided to do this in order to develop the intellectual virtues of clarity and conciseness AND in order to curb my "perfectionism in writing" neuroses and minimize my trend of never-ending editing. I will permit myself to stretch these limitations (e.g. by using semicolons and numbered bullet points), but I will do my best to stick to the rule as much as possible. The advantage of this format is that I'll be able to record many Mishlei ideas with relatively little hassle. The disadvantage is that my explanations will be terse, and I will not be able to show how I arrived at the idea.
(2) Mishlei Walkthrough: On rarer occasions, I'll post a full walkthrough of a Mishlei pasuk. I'll try to show in as much detail as possible how I analyzed the pasuk and arrived at the idea. This type of post will make up for the disadvantages of the Short Summary format.
(3) Mishlei-themed Post: From time to time I will write a "normal" blog post (i.e. article style) on a general theme, insight, or application of Mishlei.
And so it is with great pleasure that I formally invite you to check out Chavlei Shlomo! I posted the first short summary today, and I will aim to try and post an additional summary every day until my preparations for the school year prevent me from doing so. Although I will not follow any order in my posts, I thought it would be fitting to begin with the first pasuk in the Second Book of Mishlei: "The proverbs of Solomon: a wise son gladdens his father, but a foolish son is his mother's sorrow" (10:1).