In "Gender and tefillin: Possibilities and consequences" Ethan Tucker waxes poetic about the Jewish ritual of wearing phylacteries.
"Put simply, tefillin, at its core, encodes full citizenship in the world of learning. Wearing tefillin is nothing less than the embodiment of the value of Torah study, the manifestation of a commitment that by studying Torah, Jews strive to make their very essence a concrete extension of God's will in the world. Those who wear tefillin thereby demonstrate their full responsibility to transmit and produce the next generation of Torah."
I do appreciate the poetic sound of the previous paragraph. But "put simply" I have no idea what any of it means.
Let me enumerate what I do not understand.
1. What is "at its core"?
2. What is "encodes"?
3. What is "full citizenship"?
4. What is the "world of learning"?
5. What is "the embodiment of the value of Torah study"?
How does one come up with these phrases and assume I would know what they mean?
What makes tefillin, "the manifestation of a commitment that by studying Torah, Jews strive to make their very essence a concrete extension of God's will in the world"?
Where is my "very essence"?
"Those who wear tefillin thereby demonstrate their full responsibility to transmit and produce the next generation of Torah."
I don't know what "full responsibility" means. "Transmit" what? "Produce" what? "Next generation" - huh? "Of Torah" - huh again!?
Suffice to repeat - I do not know what he is talking about. But he seems like a nice person and a real good Jew.
The rest of the article seems quite learned. Oh except I don't understand a lot of it, like the point of the conclusion:
"The advent of indoor plumbing and hygienic products has enabled all people to be cleaner than in earlier centuries, and the advances for feminine hygiene have been particularly striking. Even one on the branch of the halakhic tree that is concerned about guf naki in a gendered way can plausibly claim that such concerns no longer apply the way they once did. But as we have shown, guf naki is likely not really the heart of the matter to begin with: tefillin’s connection with Torah study and the issues of gender and class that surround it are much more central."
Guess I think it's not enough to sound learned. Also have to make some clear sense in every sentence.