Friday, February 29, 2008
Weizman responded: "That is like me asking you why you drove twenty miles to visit your mother last Sunday when there are so many old ladies living on your street."
After discovering that she has many interests, styles and opinions similar to his, Aliza joked, "Hey, maybe I'm gay."
Answered Ted, "And maybe I'm hassidic."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
occupied territories (or showers), samplings of society (ducks!),
torah/mitzvah counts, grapefruit picking, surprise visit from my lion,
different people requesting different friends...
date Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 3:03 PM
subject Al tishali oti, Israel & VerveEarth
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Generously framed by your kindness and compassion
Is the canvas upon which is drawn the brilliant landscape
Of Yiddishkeit and the leadership of tomorrow"
(No idea who wrote it but liked it a lot.)
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Suppose there is an oncoming car to your left and a child on a bicycle to your right. Instead of driving between the car and the child, take one danger at a time. First, slow down and let the car pass. Then, move to the left to allow plenty of room before you pass the child.
The law states that drivers must take care for the safety of any pedestrian— but if the driver can’t stop in time to avoid hitting you, the law won’t help you. (aka "The Sin, The Return and The Effect")
Tis nearly like them daily dosages.... (l'havdil only in that the daily doses are based directly on The Rebbe's words while these are based on my interpretations of The Rebbe's words)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
First of all, does your momma know that you stopped working cuz you couldn't concentrate...?
Second, I'm glad you think that you can trick me with your cute little Hebrew/English nicknames but yo, I know you wayyyyyyy better than that!
Thirdly, I understand that you don't feel comfortable coming for Shabbos anymore--would you like to come with someone, say Chez K., so you feel more comfortable?
Fourth of all, I hope you took notice of my recent 'nice' streak. ahem ahem AHEM! (no there's nothing wrong with my throat)
I guess that's it for now...
P.S. I'm rather stumped as to what you were doing in my ears, but I'm glad you're coming out of them now.
(By Tzvi Freeman, based upon the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe)
Monday, February 25, 2008
The Lubavitcher Rebbe would often point out that a basic law of physics (known as the First Law of Thermodynamics) is that no energy is ever "lost" or destroyed; it only assumes another form. If such is the case with physical energy, how much more so a spiritual entity such as the soul, whose existence is not limited by time and space nor any of the other delineators of the physical state. Certainly, the spiritual energy that in the human being is the source of sight and hearing, emotion and intellect, will and consciousness does not cease to exist merely because the physical body has ceased to function; rather, it passes from one form of existence (physical life as expressed and acted via the body) to a higher, exclusively spiritual form of existence.
I remember a music professor who would start the class by playing a chord on the piano and asking us to write down the notes. The chords became more and more sophisticated as the classes progressed: minor 9ths, suspended, augmented, 13ths...
Then, one day, he played the ugliest chord imaginable -- and this time, not only were we asked to write the notes, but to tell him the era and composer, as well. All were convinced it was post-Wagnerian. Most placed it as "modern ugly -- likely from the 1920s." Several suggested Arnold Schönberg. Then he played us the entire piece. It was a fugue from J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavichord. The voices of the fugue fought their way into a crescendo of complexity culminating in the agonizing tension of that chord...and then smoothly resolved back into the sweetest baroque harmony.
Of course, it was all beautiful. But the most beautiful was that which we had first heard as the most ugly.
May we all merit to hear the entire symphony fulfilled, sooner than we can imagine.
(From articles written by Tzvi Freeman and Shlomo Yaffe and Yanki Tauber)
Friday, February 22, 2008
He (Moses) threw the tablets from his hands, and broke them at the foot of the mountain (32:19)
Said G-d to Moses: Thank you for breaking them.
Said G-d to Moses… The first tablets contained only the Ten Commandments. With the second tablets I shall give you midrash, halacha and agadah…
- Midrash Rabba
Chassidim would often steal manuscripts ('ksovim') which their Rebbe had declined to make public, out of a tremendous thirst for his teachings. Once, during the years that Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch lived in Warsaw, several of his chassidim succeeded in duplicating the key to his desk drawer. When the Rebbe left town for a few weeks they raided the drawer, took some manuscripts, and gave them to someone to copy. Because of this heist, these manuscripts survived the tragic fire which destroyed many invaluable ksovim.
Many manuscripts belonging to Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch were also lost in a fire. Later, he said to his chassidim: "Gevald! Why didn't you steal! Had you stolen, something would have been saved…"
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi actually wrote on one of his manuscripts: "A cherem (excommunication) in both this world and the world to come upon anyone who violates the privacy of this manuscript." This manuscript was also lost in a fire. When Rabbi Schneur Zalman later searched for a 'contraband' copy, his son Rabbi DovBer said: "But did you not write 'A cherem in both this world and the world to come'?" Replied Rabbi Schneur Zalman: "What has become of the self-sacrifice ('mesirus nefesh') for Torah…?"
Anyways, the story of Masada is beautiful and inspirational. To see the mikvaos and to hear about the religious life of these warriors brought it all home for me. These people were rebelling. They “sinned” with their suicide. But they were religious to the core. In our past Judaism was the very fabric of Jews’ lives, and they lived it and died for it and related to it personally. I can’t help but contrast that to how we seem to relate to Yiddishkeit: theoretically, impersonally, superficially. It seems to be inconsistent to “sin” for Judaism, as once we’re in the theoretical realm of this idea, we just need to look into the books, consider all of the details of the situation and get a psak. But not so for these ancient Jews. Judaism was their life, and even if they messed up, it was passionate, it was heartfelt, it was real and it was for G-d. The closest we get to that idea is the stories we hear about Chassidim who died from starvation in Russian prison camps because they couldn’t eat treif. A misnaged can’t understand: “But the torah says he can, even must, eat the treif!” Indeed. You’ll never understand the realness of Yiddishkeit of a Jew who will die not because he wants to die but because he just couldn’t put the chazir in his mouth, regardless of what the books say. You’ll never understand the Yiddishkeit of the Jews in Masada who died because they couldn’t tolerate Jewish servitude, regardless of what the books say. You can’t understand why a person would build a beis hamikdosh in a place where the torah forbids it (see previous post). Nadav and Avihu couldn’t help but serve G-d, even when G-d didn’t allow it. Right or wrong, in our consideration of history, is irrelevant. The lesson is to internalize that commitment to Yiddishkeit. Even if we would surrender to the Romans, to understand why a Jew wouldn’t. Even if we would eat the treif, to understand the Jew who couldn’t. Even if we wait patiently for the Beis Hamikdosh to be built, to understand those who couldn’t wait to serve Hashem.
Just understand, misnaged’l. (sab: And just understand, friend'l)
All of us today are souls that have been here before. In general, we return on unfinished business. Certainly, we are all responsible for doing all the good we can, and avoiding everything harmful. But that certain unfinished business, that is where the most obstacles shall be.
And those obstacles will be your only clue as to what business you are here to finish.(Excerpt from a letter of the Rebbe)
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Answered the Rabbi, "If she wants to drink milk at the Seder, it is obvious she has no meat for Pesach (as there is a prohibition to eat meat and milk at the same meal). So I gave her enough to buy wine and meat for the entire Holiday.
--And that's a continuation of this and this and this and this...
Have you ever wondered why, when you have an infection, it hurts. For example, if you have a tooth that's rotted, or you've cut yourself badly, but in a place where you don't necessarily see the wound, what would happen if it didn't cause you pain?
The answer is quite straightforward. The infection spreads, or if you're bleeding, you keep bleeding, and eventually you die. It's as simple as that. In other words, even though we go to great pains to avoid pain, such aches can save our lives.
Israel is hurting, but for some reason we don't feel the pain. Or perhaps we're ignoring it. How long have we been hurting for? I suppose I could go back hundreds and thousands of years. There's original sin, but back then there still weren't Jews. Perhaps though, as far as Jews are concerned, there's a second version of original sin: bowing down to the Golden Calf or the rejection by ten spies of Eretz Yisrael. Today, thousands of years later, we are still suffering from the identical afflictions.
Let's not go back so far. Let's start with the 'first intifada,' in the late 1980s and going into the early 1990s. There were numerous terror attacks which left many too many Jews dead and wounded. But that war is primarily remembered for 'rock-throwing,' which was not considered to be a very serious crime. Aside from the fact that rocks can, do, and have killed people, the significance of that period was twofold. First, our enemy organized himself to rebel against the state of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants, with the set goal of eventually wiping Israel off the map. (rest of article)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Here are some tips to help keep you healthy and germ-free during these cold winter months:
- Sneezing into a handkerchief just redirects germs back at you. Always sneeze outward so as to shoot germs as far across the room as possible.
- Pack your sinus cavities with Vicks Vap-O-Rub to fully mentholate your respiratory system.
- Do not blow your stuffed nose into tissues—this is a myth! Always suck your phlegm into the back of your throat and swallow it in great, goblike mouthfuls.
- You don't have to subject yourself to other people's germs. If you see someone who appears to have a cold or fever, contact your local police department.
- To prevent infections, have sick people cough into your food. This light "inoculative" dose of germs will boost your body's defenses against a full-blown infection later.
- If you are a sickly, anemic, weak person, you have a higher susceptibility to colds and flu. Try not to be such a pansy-ass.
- Sometimes, a severe respiratory infection will cause the lungs to fill with fluid. If this occurs, flush your lungs repeatedly with boiling hot water to clear them. A hose down your windpipe will help get around the gag reflex.
- Make sure your HMO package covers visits to the Halls Of Medicine.
- The flu is an extremely contagious, life-threatening disease. Flu sufferers should be either shot with a silver bullet or tortured to death by a professionally shriven excruciator.
- To keep warm in the winter, replace your blood with mom's homemade chicken soup. Noodles should be no greater than one millimeter thick to prevent coronary blockage.
- Remember: Your body produces phlegm for a reason. Always save your mucous, and keep it near you in jars at all times.
- Germs generally enter the body through the skin. To protect you from infection, shave yours off.
- Zinc and Vitamin C help fight colds. Vitamin C can be found in oranges, but zinc is a semi-precious metal found only in Africa. If symptoms persist, organize a jungle safari to seek out the fabled Zinc Mines of Sugolahara.
Monday, February 18, 2008
He also felt a deep love for his lambs and for every living creature. Whenever he brought out his flocks to pasture, he led the young lambs to graze among the fresh, tender young grasses, for they had not yet any teeth.
When the young lambs had nibbled the delicate tips, he next took there the oldest sheep and cows, whose teeth were old and weak, that they might eat the middle part of the stalks which were soft enough for them. Last of all he used to bring to the field the grown sheep and cattle, whose strong teeth could chew the lowest part of the grass nearest to the roots.
He had great physical courage and was not afraid of any wild animal. Indeed; he feared nothing and no one, except G-d alone. And whenever a lion or bear attacked his flocks and herds and wished to seize a sheep or a cow, David would rush at the savage beast and chase it away and rescue its prey.
G-d, therefore, said: "One who can so faithfully tend his animals, each according to its needs, I can safely entrust with the care of My holy lambs, My people."And Dovid was appointed as king over Israel--Dovid Melech Yisroel.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Humans err. And humans forgive.
They ought to, at least.
But it can't be that you're gonna be type a, and I'm gonna be type b, again and again and again. and again. (not you c, but you in general).
And it can't be that someone says "I tried swallowing a bottle of pills and then someone knocked on the front door and I lost the will", and you respond with, "Who knocked?".
And it can't be that someone says "I tried committing suicide and not a single friend was there for me" and you answer, "Don't be so harsh on your friends."
And it can't be that I say that I needed friends and not one was there, and you say "Don't be so harsh on people. They're only human. That's what makes them people".
It can't be like that.
Oh, but it was.
Uh ya, hence the 'whatever'.
Hence the silence.
Hence the 'let's talk about something you care about and relate to and know and feel'.
Hence the quick self-lashing in my heart, the reprimand to remember not to do it again.
Hence the inability, yes inability, to explain what was wrong.
Hence the unwillingness to 'talk it out'.
Uh cuz we kinda did already.
Feel good. For real and for always.
UPDATE: All better :)
Friday, February 15, 2008
WYSINWYG?! Is that a typo? No it’s not. Read on.
Take this quick questionnaire:
Do you think you know where your life is headed?
Do you feel that your losses and disappointments in life give you good reason to be resigned?
Do you feel that the hurt in your life has dampened (or killed) your trust and hope in a brighter future?yadda yadda yadda
They call it the OJ factor. That is: OJ as in OJ Simpson. Remember him? He clearly murdered his wife, yet he won his case and was acquitted on technicalities. Remember the jury jingle: “If the glove don’t fit, you gotta acquit.” Wonder why they didn’t turn it into a rap song…
He won, but… he lost. He isn’t sitting in a physical prison, yet he is locked in a psychological jail. A social pariah, OJ will never be trusted. He can play as many tennis games as he likes, but everyone knows that he is a cold-blooded murderer.yadda yadda yadda
So many of us are consumed with winning. And if we are relentless enough we may even get what we want. We win. Yes, we win, we get what we want, but we may not get what we need.
What may be even worse is that some people first have to win to even discover that they really lost. They simply could not be humbled with a loss; their egos and self-righteous bravado attitude could not take losing. Their humility will come from victory. They first have to win (win in their eyes that is) to be able to become open and realize the truth, that they really lost.
Had to post it here cuz I had to separate the 'hamudonet' from the 'degin' cuz they are SO different and I don't wanna ever look back and maybe compare the two posts in any which way.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
"You know math?"
"Well it's kind of just a mitzvah now, a favor almost...getting paid so little..."
"No, I'm asking if you know math."
"Oh! Well I sorta figure it out on the spot [little giggle], learn and teach at the same time kinda thing..."
"Ye? So, is math your thing? You like it? It's something you've always been into?"
That question was worth way more than the fifteen bucks I was gonna get for that night's lesson.
And that lesson was worth way more than the fifteen questions I had been calculating all that day.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Know with absolute certainty -because this is a tradition of our sages -that if your true intent is good, then only good can come out of it. Perhaps not the good you intended -or care for -but good nevertheless.
personally, the 'or care for' was the most powerful.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
LOLLLL! (every time, no joke)
I FINALLY posted it! (was waitin for a special occasion...The Return of the Brit seemed special enough...)
(Tis from Henny Youngman from my Comedy Thesaurus)
"You looked for them, madam," Webster responded calmly.
It is easy to blame others and to disown any responsibility for something. (HaSource)
Step 4 (of the 12): We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
rashi says its cuz of the miracles of purim n pesach.
waitta sec, what does pesach have to do with adar? and if we're talkin about miracles here, then yo, the miracles that occurred during the time of (and leading up to) yetziyas mitzrayim were definitely more spectacular. so why mishenichnas ADAR marbim b'simcha? also, marbim means to 'increase'. not to add something different. that means that the simcha we are increasing in during the month of adar, is a simcha that we have all year round. and indeed, we are instructed to serve with hashem with joy all twelve (sometimes thirteen) months of the year. but hold it--the simcha that we have durin the year is cuz we're jews. not cuz of the miracles of purim n pesach. so how does 'increasing simcha' fit in here?
and now im pissed off so i can't continue. how incredibly ironic. and how incredibly dumb.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
She poured out the sorrows of her heart, uninterrupted. Miraculously, they were not halved but eliminated.
Because she spoke.
She spoke and explained. She spoke and compared. She spoke and detailed. She spoke and shared. She spoke and cried. She spoke and accused. She spoke and comforted. She spoke and resolved. She spoke and storied. She spoke and sniffled. She spoke and berated. She spoke and clarified. She spoke and begged. She spoked and accepted. She spoke and laughed.
And then the phone calls became so numerous and so lengthy and from so varied a source that soon the sorrows had no time and no place to enter.
"I'm sorry Ma'am, but the library is closing. You need to exit the 'Fairytale' aisle now."
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
If you ask someone coming out of church on a Sunday, "Do you believe in G-d?" the worshipper is shocked. "What type of question is that? Of course I do!" If you then ask him, "Do you consider yourself religious?" what will the answer be? "Certainly. That's why I'm here!"
If you go to a mosque on Friday and you ask the average person there, "Do you believe in G-d?" what will the answer be? "Definitely." "Do you consider yourself religious?" "Well, obviously."
This is normal. These conversations make sense.
Now go to a synagogue on Yom Kippur. Ask the Jew sitting in the synagogue on Yom Kippur, fasting, "Do you believe in G-d?" You cannot get a straight answer. "Umm, it depends on what you mean by 'G-d'." That's if they're the philosophical type. Otherwise they'll simply say, "What am I? A rabbi? I don't know."
So then ask them, "Do you consider yourself religious?" Have you ever asked an American Jew if they're religious? They crack up laughing. And they assure you that they're the furthest things from religious. "Are you kidding? Do you know what I eat for breakfast?"
Then every one of them will say, "I had a grandfather, on my mother's side, oh, that was a religious man. But me...?"
So you ask what appears to be a logical question. "Then why are you here?" For some reason, this average Jew, who doesn't believe in G-d and is very not religious, will look at you like you're crazy and say, "What do you mean? It's Yom Kippur!"
This is not normal. Let's analyze this for a moment. What is this Jew actually saying?
You asked him if he believes in G-d and he said "No." Or "When I was younger I used to." Or "When I get older I'll start to."
"So you don't believe in G-d?"
"No. I don't."
"Are you religious?"
"Furthest thing from it."
"So why are you here?"
"Because it's Yom Kippur!"
What he's saying is this: "Why am I here? Because G-d wants a Jew to be in the synagogue on Yom Kippur. So where else should I be?"
So you say: "But you don't believe in G-d."
He says, "So what?" and he doesn't understand your problem.
He is saying: "Today is Yom Kippur even if I don't have a calendar. This is a synagogue even if I don't like it. I am a Jew even if I'm not religious, and G-d is G-d even when I don't believe in Him. So what's your problem?"
Now that can be dismissed, and unfortunately many of us do dismiss it, as sheer hypocrisy. We say, "You don't believe in G-d and you're not religious--don't come to the synagogue. Don't come here just to show how Jewish you are." The Lubavitcher Rebbe has a different approach. This insanity is what makes us Jewish. This is what shows how special we are in our relationship with G-d. That's called truth. It's not about me. I don't want to be religious. I don't want to believe in G-d, I don't want to hear about this. But He wants me here, so here I am.
The same thing happens on Passover. Every Jew sits by a Seder. Ask the average Jew at a Seder, do you believe in G-d? Leave me alone. Are you religious? He chokes on the matzo laughing. So you're celebrating the Exodus from Egypt 3300 years ago? History is not my subject. Then why are you here? Where should I be? It's Passover! That's what's so magnificent about the Jew.
Now let's put it all in context. Three thousand, three hundred and fifteen years ago G-d asked us if we would marry him. We had an extraordinary wedding ceremony, with great special effects--we were wowed. After the wedding He said, "I have a few things I'd like you to take care of for me so, please... I'll be right back." He hasn't been heard from since. For more than three thousand, three hundred years. He has sent messengers, messages, postcards--you know, writing on the walls... but we haven't heard a word from Him in all this time.
Imagine, a couple gets married, and the man says to his new wife, "Would you make me something to eat, please? I'll be right back." She begins preparing. The guy comes back 3300 years later, walks into the house, up to the table, straight to his favorite chair, sits down and tastes the soup that is on the table. The soup is cold. What will his reaction be? If he's a wise man, he won't complain. Rather he'll think it's a miracle that the house is still there, that his table and favorite chair are still there. He'll be delighted to see a bowl of soup at his place. The soup is cold? Well, yes, over 3300 years, soup can get cold.
Now we are expecting Moshiach. The Rebbe introduced this radical notion that Moshiach is going to come now. What makes that so radical? It means he's going to come without a two-week notice. We always thought there was going to be some warning, so that we could get our act together before he comes. Moshiach, coming now? But now I'm not ready. I don't want to be judged the way I am. I need a little bit of a notice.
If Moshiach comes now, and wants to judge, what's he going to find? Cold soup?
If Moshiach comes now, the Rebbe tells us, he will find an incredibly healthy Jewish people. After 3300 years we are concerned about being Jewish, which means we are concerned about our relationship with G-d. Moshiach comes today, he'll find that our soup is cold. We suffer from separation anxiety. We suffer from a loss of connection to our ancestors. We suffer a loss of connection even to our immediate family. The soup is cold. The soup is very cold. But whose fault is that? And who gets the credit for the fact that there is soup altogether?
We are a miracle. All we need to do is tap into it. We are the cure. Not only for ourselves, but also for the whole world. Through us the healing is holistic, it's natural, it's organic. Our relationship with G-d is organic. It's not a religion that we practice--it's us, it's who we are, it's what we are.
So the Rebbe tells us that the way to go is straight to G-d. Skip all the steps, skip the Kabbalah, go straight to G-d and be in touch with your purpose. The purpose is not Kabbalistic. The purpose is personal. G-d needs you to do a mitzvah. He sent you into this world to be who you are, because only you can do this particular kind of mitzvah. True, the mitzvot are the same for all of us. But when you do it, it's different, because it's holistic. It's with your emotions, with your past problems, with your family background, with your knowledge and with your ignorance. All that comes together and makes your mitzvah holistically unique.
So let Moshiach come now and catch us here with our cold soup because we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are truly incredible. When G-d decided to marry us, He knew He was getting a really good deal.