The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Monday, June 02, 2008

Pen Twirling And Other Things I Can't Do

This morning, I started a chavrusah with OOS who is in for the summer to complete his masters degree. We've agreed to learn for 45 minutes every weekday morning starting at 5:45 a.m. (On Sunday mornings we daven vasikin then ride our bikes, talking Torah the entire 32 miles. Not).

I use the term chavrusah in the loosest sense. Basically, OOS teaches me the gemarah and I sometimes check out a word or two in the Artscroll. But that's ok. While I am essentially hopeless, it's good to see that OOS's $150,000 pre-college education had some good results. (The reality is that only the last $30,000 really had results, but I digress).

But learning is not the only thing I can't do. Much to my dismay, try as I might, I am simply unable to duplicate OOS's "pen twirling".

The pen twirl, of course, is the act of continuously rotating a pen (or pencil) through one's fingers while immersed in a text. This is done effortlessly and without conscious thought.

From time to time I have tried to master this art with absolutely no success. This is annoying as heck since, generally, I am very well coordinated. (My failure to pen spin is right up there with my inability to teach myself to juggle; another skill that OOS has been able to master).

So, I will just have to deal with watching OOS twirl his pen every morning and try not to let it distract me from the main purpose of our morning meetings.



  • At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a Sha'alvim alum 2 yrs ahead of OOS and I can tell you that it took me all of Elul z'man shana aleph to get that pen twirl down. B"H I stayed for 2 years and did more than just twirl my pen, but I noticed I do it now during my meetings in my office.

  • At 4:41 PM, Blogger OOS said…

    And all that time I thought you were contemplating whether Rashi is correct about the mekor for issur melacha.

  • At 10:23 AM, Blogger Erachet said…

    My brother learned how to pen twirl his first year in high school (OYS's high school, too)

  • At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you think watching your son is distracting, don't try to learn the twirl. In the beginning stages you will drop it countlessly, causing an exponential amount of distraction.


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