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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Rosh Hashana Ambiguity

Most bloggers have already mentioned Rosh Hashana in one way or another. Me, I don’t know what to say. I can’t inspire, I need inspiration. I can’t mock, because I don’t think it’s appropriate.

 

I’m average.

 

Part of me is going “What, it’s Rosh Hashana already?!!!” the other half is terrified of its implications.

 

Part of me knows I’m going to be counting pages, sniggering at some people in shul’s choice of attire. I’m going to lose my concentration. I’m going to have a bad shemone esrei or two. I’m going to wonder what the heck half the things I’m saying.

 

But then there’s a part of me that really is trying, that really wants, that is really crying. Crying because I really feel and understand, or crying over the fact that I just don’t get it.

 

Everyone has those moments every once in a while, where everything is crystallized, and makes sense. Rosh Hashana presents itself with ample opportunity for that to happen. Those seconds where you understand, where you care, where you want, where you try, and sincerely mean everything you say.

 

I’m hoping that this Rosh Hashana and this year will be one of the better ones.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2008 in Yom Tov

 

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THE JEWISH NOVEL: a story of intrigue and interstate

 

            Welcome to the Jewish novel. This is where all the girls are perfect aidel Bais Yaakov girls, heaven forbid they forget to make a bracha (and it’s not explicitly written in the book every time they eat something, because how else would you know if they made a bracha.) All the boys shteig, and if they don’t, they’re working, only because they HAVE to, but are really Tzaddikim Nistarim, learning into the wee hours of the night, saving the world from greasy hair. All others (there are others?) are unmentionable, forbidden, taboo.

            The Jewish novel takes place in Paris, London Johannesburg, India, Pakistan, dark side of the moon, and any other place where you are unlikely to find a Jewish person. Never New York, which is only the largest Jewish community in America.

            In the Jewish novel, the intrigue is the letter on the counter, which appears to frame the Rav of the town as a counterfeiter, only to find out later it was an overdue bill (the irresponsibility, a shanda, how could he be a Rav?!) The interstate is between Montana and North Dakota. New Jersey and New York? Unheard of.

            This is the Jewish Novel, where you know what will happen on the next page because this happened in the last Jewish novel and the one before, and the one before that (or from a much better secular version)…They all live happily ever after.

            This is the Jewish novel. If you’re reading it, you need a better hobby, like davening harder for moshiach. Be’meharah, beymainu, amen.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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The Perfect Post

 

I was flipping through some old stuff on Shabbos and found something that I wrote in 10th grade while I was bored in class. I liked it, so I’m going to share it with you.

 

The Perfect Day

 

When asked to describe a perfect day, I answer everyday. Everyday is perfect, because that’s how it was meant to be and wouldn’t have worked out any other way. I’m not saying this on a spiritual level(oh everything is beautiful, I love the world blah blah blah), but on a logical one. If I were to have a “lousy” day, that doesn’t make it not perfect, I just didn’t enjoy it.

 

Say there is an artist who draws a masterpiece of perfection. It’s beautiful they say, but when I look at it, it’s ugly, and stupid. But my thinking it’s ugly doesn’t take away from it’s beauty and perfection. It’s just lost to me, let someone else find the beauty in it.

 

Perfection is not subjective, if it was than it defeats the entire purpose of the word. Therefore, my own biases cannot be subjected to and hold when declaring something perfect. That being said, then nothing is perfect because everything is subjected to human opinion and bias. However I believe that if there is a general consensus on something then the label perfect can be applied, but only do things that are not man made, like a day, or nature (I basically just refuted my previous example of the artist, but never mind).

 

So getting back to the original question, the question itself is faulty, a better way to phrase it would be to ask, what is an ideal day. Ideal allows for subjectivity, so here is the answer you were looking for in the first place.

 

An ideal day for me would start out normal, clear skies, sun shining, nothing special. The day can be dead boring, me sleeping through every class, maybe even being told off. On the way home I can even miss the bus. Supper can be hop plop, like eggs and mashed potatoes or something. I can fight with my sister, kick my brother, get frustrated at my non-functioning computer, complain about school…but then something good happens. I can get a phone call from a camp friend, a cousin gets engaged, I win an auction for a Grundig radio on ebay, I go out for ice-cream. Anything, but something good happens. As long as the day ends on a happy note, it was ideal.

 

A simple day, for a well, not so simple me.

 

I’m happy.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Blasphemous Bikurim

On Shabbos my younger brother gave over a short d’var torah in typical question answer format.

 

Q: When people brought bikurim, the rich brought it in gold baskets, the poor straw. The Kohanim would give back the gold baskets and keep the straw. Why?

 

I came up with several reasons, some serious, some not

 

-         -Show the rich people that they’re not so hoity toidy and “we don’t need your gold baskets”, appreciating the value of the simple straw style

 

-         It was the Bais Hamidash, there was no shortage of gold, but something simple like straw people overlooked and therefore the Kohanim took the straw they needed and returned the gold they didn’t

 

-         Or plain old, to let us ask this boring questions, to pontificate at length, come up with boring long-winded answers when it’s really something simple and obvious.

 

The answer actually is,

When the rich presented their bikurim, the Kohanim would take it out of the basket and show off the beautiful tithes. They didn’t want to embarrass the poor people with their puny offerings, so they just relieved them of the bikurim, basket and all.

 

We’re supposed to be impressed by this display of sensitivity.

 

I wasn’t

And I argued back

 

 

-         It’s not sensitivity, in fact it’s worse. It’s labeling the poor man. Why not just NOT display the rich man’s and keep his stupid gold basket

 

-         They’re assuming that because someone is poor he can’t have a good crop. Poor people can have a nice crop, just smaller. Like wise, the rich man doesn’t necessarily have a good crop, like juicy grapes, he just has a lot of them and sells them to the raisin makers.

 

-         Also if the guy has gold baskets, he can afford to lose one a year. If the guy’s poor and has – heaven forbid- straw baskets, he probably needs them. Straw doesn’t grow on trees (they grow on the ground ;) )

 

-         Additionally they are minimizing the contribution of the poor man, and lauding the one of the rich man, when really their money, or lack of, has nothing to do with them, but the lot Hashem gave them. Why point that out, and make it a factor of appreciation, when it has nothing to do with the individuals accomplishments.

 

-         We are always being sensitive to inanimate objects, the challah by kiddush, Moshe, to the earth and water. Why are they not sensitive to straw versus gold? They are making an obvious preference and placing a value over one to the other. Isn’t that a little insulting, embarrassing, belittling, and insensitive to the straw?

 

 

I went on and on.

 

I think I make a lot of sense. But the thing is, it wasn’t like the way I think it should be and the reason my brother gave still stands as their intention.

 

It’s one thing for me to challenge current opinion or something theoretical, but I’m going after the very paradigm I seek to recreate. So therefore I’m feeling a little sacrilegious, and blasphemous. I’m sure if I asked someone to clarify it, it will be, but right now I’m lazy and a little dissent feels good.

 

 

 

 

 
13 Comments

Posted by on September 21, 2008 in Food

 

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Ahoy Fellow Scallywags

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I’ve lost my touch.

Arrghh!

 
10 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Black and White

I didn’t know I had an opinion on garbage bags, but apparently I do.

 

We always had black garbage bags in my house. Pretty standard, I think. You dump the garbage in the dark black hole and you never see it again. That’s the way it goes, it’s garbage, you don’t want to see it anymore, and you don’t. The system works.

 

They were having a sale on garbage bags.

White ones.

My mother bought them.

I’ve dropped a size.

 

Do you know how disturbing it is to see yesterday’s lunch mashed together with today’s breakfast, and all the leftover’s I finally had the courage to throw out together.

 

Can I get an “EEEEwwwWWWW!!!!”

 
30 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2008 in Food

 

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Indignant Idiocies

I’m confused.

 

When it comes to kiddashim in shuls, sheva brachos, vorts, most simchas, the women get the best stuff.

 

The women get the Zeigleman cakes, Daskal’s cheese stuff, Portegal’s miniatures, chocolates by Edible Delights, the monogrammed cookies, the flower centerpieces. The everything.

 

While the men get the booze and sponge cake.

 

I’m ok with this arrangement, just as long I get my Viennese Crunch. 

 

I’m just confused by the vort arrangements in terms of where the women are situated. Based on the fact that the effort is given to show off to women, one would assume that you would put woman in a place that best displays your goodies. But it’s not so, we’re shtupt into undersized 2 x 4’s.

 

If a vort is in a house, the woman always are relegated to the side door and kitchen. If it’s in a hall, the woman’s entrance is on the side down some dark alley. We breathe our sugar laden breathe in each other’s face (this is a good reason to be tall). We squeeze by, and reappropriate some hefty woman’s padding. We jab elbow, and exchange dark looks. (you call this a simcha, it brings out the worst in us!)

 

I’m sure someone with throw the tznius argument at me, but is it tznius what they’re doing inside. (things actually looking nice, such gashmeis, it’s scandalous)

 

I don’t care if you think as a woman I’m a second-class citizen and am therefore deserving of the puny allotments you make for me. But as a society, be consistent, if I’m so insignificant, why show off to me, why shower me with all the good noshies, and artistic displays (unless you’re trying to lull us into a false sense of security, which is another story)?

 
17 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2008 in Food, Weddings

 

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