The End of the Hirhurim Blog

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After nine and a half years of near-constant maintenance of this blog, I believe Hirhurim has run its course. We have accomplished a lot over this time, including over 5,000 posts and nearly 11 million hits. In my opinion, the ideas and dialogue have gotten stale. Additionally, for a few years already, social media has taken blogs’ former place of pride as the stage for cutting-edge communal discussion. It is time to move on to a new mission and format.

Please return to TorahMusings.com on August 18th for its relaunch as something much bigger and better.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

46 comments

  1. Don’t take the low comment count on this week’s News and Links to heart 😉

  2. My condolences.

    (That sounds like the wrong thing to say, but I’m disappointed and I see the gravestone.)

  3. This could either be really cool or utterly horrible, depending on exactly what Rav Gil means by relaunch. I hope it’s not being replaced by a mere twitter feed.

  4. lawrence kaplan

    Perhaps you’ve just gotten tired. Which is fine. Anyway, we’ll all miss it. I’m curious at to what the “bigger and better” will be.

  5. I’m very sad to see Hirhurim fold, even if the discussions will continue in a different format. Sadly, this blog isn’t the only one taking its business out of the blogosphere and into the sphere of social media. The only problem is that doing so tends to mean speaking to the already-convinced. Social media algorithms are built around push-content rather than pull-content, which means that only those who have already opted in can see the content.

    The beauty of blogs is that anyone may happen upon them and find their opinions challenged or sharpened. It’s a bit more like a conversation on an open street corner, versus a conversation in the confines of a Beit Midrash, where all the students are pre-selected according to establish criteria. While I would agree that the Beit Midrash model is easier on the educator, the price is a limitation on the number of potential learners. But then, this is the old dilemma of Rabban Gamliel and R’ Elazar ben Azaria…

    In any case, I hope to see more from Rav Gil and his many learned commenters in Hirhurim’s next Gilgul!

  6. I agree with ALL the comments posted so far. We have to have hakaros hatov to Gil for spending the past close to decade running this blog.
    I have learned a lot and have appreciated that to a very great extent Gil permitted discussion that contradicted his viewpoint. This relative openness gave Hirhurim a credibility that I don’t believe any other blog has.

  7. It’s hard to imagine another forum that will draw so many intelligent and diverse commenters. It’s also hard to picture how much work must go into the site, both in the articles and the comment section. Thank you.

  8. Not what I wanted to see when I started my day, as I do every day when I get to the office, which is open up this blog. Yasher Koach to R. Gil for the last 9.5 years, and I look forward to August 18.

  9. Hirhurim is not just a blog, it’s an institution. It’s difficult to imagine cyberspace, life, or my first daily cup of coffee without it. I hope the archives will remain available because they are a treasure trove of ideas and animated/intelligent discussion. I echo the sentiments of all the commenters in saying that I am profoundly grateful to Rav Gil for all the work that has been invested in this blog and I stand in awe of the impact it has had on Jewish life and learning. May you progress מחיל אל חיל

  10. Yasher Koach to Gil for 9+ years of thoughtful and thought-provoking posts, and for providing a forum in which the issues of the day could be discussed in an intelligent manner. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for what must be extremely time consuming labor. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  11. NOOooooooooOOOOOooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Elliot Pasik

    This can be compared to organ donation from a live donor as heroic suicide, which I learned about here. Indeed, the medical ethics series may have been Hirhurim’s finest hour. The king is dead, long live the king. I join with others in saying, thanks, Gil.

  13. Baruch Alster

    Thanks for everything and much hatslaha on your new project!

  14. I’s gon’ second mohoshiv’s point. You had rebranding trouble twice already, long slowdowns in commenting when you switched to “torahmusings.com” and when you switched format to the current newspaper style.

    If you’re having a slowdown in comments now, it’s the summer, minyanim are smaller as people go to the country, etc.

  15. r’ jon,
    what was the reason for the slowdown with the shift to torahmusings ?
    KT

  16. Too bad — I really, really hope you keep the blog archives accessible online.

  17. “Additionally, for a few years already, social media has taken blogs’ former place of pride as the stage for cutting-edge communal discussion.”

    It has? Maybe if one is “Friends” with all involved, the discussion pops up in your newsfeed and you can say your piece in….3 sentences….140 characters….or so.

    I think you’re incorrect on this. At present I’m aware of no other online forum with Hirhurim’s reach and seriousness of discussion. Any suggestions?

  18. R.Gil,you are commended for the very important Torah and discourse on important topics relevant to the Orthodox community.
    The arduous work involved and constant new ideas is difficult to imagine.
    I hope your new launch will be actually new and better.

  19. shaul shapira

    1) Thanx very, very much for a free service that provided a lot more than stuff you have to pay for.

    2) I agree with Ari Kinsberg, Machshavos, notElon, Dr Kaplan, sass, Baruch Alster, Rafi and especially, STBO. (I’m biased because I don’t participate in social media at all.) I agree partially with the other commenters.

    RJM- Sheesh! It’s not THAT bad, is it?

  20. I second STBO’s point – I have no idea what social media Gil is referring to that can compare at all to what goes on here. I think Hirhurim is very unique in both the quality of posts, quantity of quality posts, and broadness of topics addressed.

  21. shaul shapira

    Did I do something that requires moderating my comments, or is everyone getting that?

    (Of course, if this comment doesn’t show up either, no one will be able to tell me.)

  22. shaul shapira

    So my 11:41 am comment went right through, but not my 11:25 am one. Now I’m really befuddled.

  23. shaul shapira

    In the interim, I further agree with sass at 11:41 am who agrees with STBO. (My disclaimer in my comment from 11:25 am is of course all the more pertinent.)

  24. shaul shapira

    Thanks for approving it, R Gil. I now agree with myself at 11:25 am 🙂

    Maybe, 4 consecutive comments by 1 commenter sets another record? 🙂

  25. Hoffa Fingerbergstein

    Reb Gil – thank you for everything over the years and the interesting topics you have initiated. I though I agreed with much that you wrote, especially over the last few years, and hardly with agreed with anything the overwhelming majority of commentators wrote). I, like shaul, am not in tune with the latest technology (I am thinking of getting an MP3 player and I am told that its already out of date…and I still listen to tapes since I have too many of them already). As a result, I don’t know if I will still be able to participate (many will applaud this anyway).

    Also, I really want to know – did the past few years of IH’s commentary wear you down and burn you out? 🙂

  26. Thank you for all your hard work, I have very much enjoyed reading the blog.

  27. R’HF,
    I still use a tape recorder
    KT

  28. R. Student, thank you for all the work that you’ve done over the years. It sounds like you’ve set yourself up for even more in the future…

    Please return to TorahMusings.com on August 18th for its relaunch as something much bigger and better.

    I like the marketing approach. Always leave them wanting more! I hope that it is successful.

  29. I’m of course sad to see this blog end, but I know it must take a lot of you and frankly I’ve never understood how you were able to have a normal job and run this blog (with new material every day!). So thank you for the last 10 years. I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed as well. Hatzlacha in the future.

  30. Fotheringay-Phipps

    From someone who remembers the last time this blog was supposed to close due to blogs becoming passé, to be replaced by a new platform: let’s wait to see what happens.

    But if “the ideas and dialogue have gotten stale”, you may have a problem. I remember George Steinbrenner once saying about Dave Winfield, who he felt was not performing up to par: “if you can’t perform at this level, maybe you should try another sport”.

    Ideas and dialogue are what this blog has been about, and have been the core of its success. And you’re not going to cause new ideas to come about by trying a new platform. What’s here is what there is.

    You want to try another sport, take a shot. You could also take a shot at writing the Great American Novel, or becoming a licensed plumber. But if you move away from “the ideas and dialogue” of this blog, you’re moving away from the one thing that you’ve been very successful at, in favor of a new start at a new field, close to the starting point.

  31. R Gil,
    Congratulations and yasher koach for all your hard work and your intelligent and insightful writings and discussions. I must say that I have gotten a great deal of chizuk from your blog, because before that I felt there was very little intelligent discussion of important ideas in the frum community. Your blog changed that. Whatever you do next, I hope that we continue to hear your voice in the current conversation.

  32. R. Gil, yiyasher kochacha and thank you for Hirhurim, which for years has been the most important Torah blog on the Internet.

    But please pay attention to the point that YShahar made above, about the very important distinction between blogs and social media.

    I read this blog and one or two others, for instance. But on principle (for a lot of reasons) I’m not a member of any social medium. And I have no plans to change, even for Hirhurim.

    Please reconsider.

    Thank you again.

  33. Hoffa Fingerbergstein

    “But if “the ideas and dialogue have gotten stale”, you may have a problem. I remember George Steinbrenner once saying about Dave Winfield, who he felt was not performing up to par: “if you can’t perform at this level, maybe you should try another sport”.”

    FP – lucky for Toronto Dave didn’t fold it in and instead helped us in Toronto win a World Series (1992), which he never did with the Yankees. 🙂

  34. Moshe Hacohen

    Say it ain’t so, Joe!

    This is very, very sad news.

    Thank you, Reb Gil, for everything you have done for us during the past nine plus years.

    I attended your get-together at the Jewish Center a couple of years ago and have been wondering if you would ever have another one. I guess not.

    I am a reader, not a commenter, but I registered so that I could post this comment and thank you for all that you have done.

    Hatzlacha Rabba!

    Good Shabbos!

  35. Joseph Kaplan

    The upside is that my billable hours will probably go way up.

    While I will, of course, miss Gil’s posts and the discussions among us (well, many of the discussions) I will perhaps miss most of all the News and Links. It was a way to keep tuned in to parts of the Jewish community that I otherwise would be ignorant of. And without Joel’s round up of shiurim (still don’t understand how he listens to all of them), how will I know what to listen to to get me angry?

    I join with all of those who have thanked Gil for the tremendous service he has provided us (and the O community) and I’ll miss him and the chevrah. Not sure if social media will be my thing (still haven’t joined Twitter).

  36. noam stadlan

    Thank you for the time and effort and the Torah you have shared. Hopefully the discussions have been l’shem Shamayim and will endure.

  37. R’Gil
    Sad to see Hirhurim go but want to thank you for a really fantastic blog which I have gained lots from. Really appreciate all of your hard work – don’t know how you manage to do it! I hope it’ll be possible to keep Hirhurim archives available, that would be great.
    Hatzlacha rabba with the new project and thank you again.

  38. Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. The next venture will include the archives of this blog, including existing comments (but not the old, lost comments).

  39. Thank you very much Gil for maintaining the blog for this long. I’m going to have to second Joseph in saying that the News and Links section will be sorely missed. For me this blog was an excellent forum for hearing a variety of different viewpoints on a plethora of pressing Jewish issues. The diversity of viewpoints in the comments section cannot really be found on any of other Jewish blog.

  40. Thanks a lot R’Gil for the torah, conversation and good times. I have been a loyal reader of this blog since close to the beginning, and I look forward to the next step in the evolution.

    – Rael

  41. lawrence kaplan

    I’m sorry that in my first comment I forgot to give a big, truly heart-felt thank you to Gil.

  42. eli goldberg

    thank you

  43. shachar haamim

    Thank you. this was a good blog and discussion forum.
    I don’t usually participate in social media.

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