So I've got a lot of stuff going on right now... be right back when I sort out the jumble

Shabbos "songs" #4

I often wonder why stupid rumors like Barack Obama's Islamic terrorist connections or dumb email/medical stories last so long within the frum community. The simple answer is that the "mental ghettoization" that the frum world lives in doesn't provide refutations or answers to things that are obvious to those ourside our bekishe'd walls.
I've heard people make emphatic B"H's when they realize that it will be hard to educate their children about aspects of "modern" (read: western) life... and I understand this emphasis to a degree. But I also wonder, in a time when Solevetchik style "modern orthodoxy" has been largely been replaced with laxity under the guise of a principled religious stance, how do we live kodesh lives within a non-kodesh world and still take part it in?

Anyway, more on the echo chamber:
On The Media - The Pleasure Principle


Unexpected Upsides

When I was a kid I was obsessed with all things mechanical, whether it was a plane, train, or automobile I loved it. So during today's IAF flyovers I stood on the roof of my yeshiva (B"H they flew over during our lunch break) and turned into my 8 year old self at an air show. I think I actually jumped into the air and whooped. The best part is that I think I still "have it". First were F-15s, then a TON of F-16s, Gulfstreams flanked by more F-16s and to top it all of a 707 tanker with F-16s flying in a simulated refueling run. Wow, I'm a dork ;)

On daf 35: in Brachos Rava says to his students, "During the months of Nisan and tishrei do not come before me (ie: don't show up in the beis medrish). In order that you won't be preoccupied during the rest of the year." Rashi explains that during those months grapes were harvested and crushed and olives were pressed providing work for the talmidim. Besides being a cute source for bein hazemanim, it also demonstrates that working is an old Jewish concept upheld by even the most holy among us (this post here got me all upset).

Rav. Yonasan Shteif z"l said this about this suggiah:
After 6 years of learning 10 months and then working for two months, chaval, the talmidim would have spent an entire 12 months not learning... So it's a wonderful coincidence that that at the end of this 6 year cycle they were free to spend an entire year "resting" by learning full time during the shmittah year.

Anyway it's all about balance...

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Ha yom yoledet

Though I won't be saying hallel tomorrow, or going to all the festivities... I'm glad to be here.
The nation passed the 60 year milestone today and I passed a "60" milestone of my own, I ran a 10 mile time under 60 minutes! On the way back from the kotel, my target, I was hugged by a random Israeli who said, with more than a little hint of alcohol on his breath, "I love you, you know why... Because we are both Jews!"

Chag sameach, happy birthday

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never knew that the word vesper applied to bats

I'm downtown, stewing with righteous indignation at the fact that the government is going to throw a party/concert for Yom Haatzmaut that I can't attend, when I notice something. In the light of the spotlights for the even that they were testing above me it seemed like someone was throwing gravity defying confetti into the air every time the lights came on. So of course, I'm trying to figure out how the effect was done when a piece of the "confetti" starts falling to earth... and swoops back up into the air on leathery wings while making a high pitched squeal. I transitioned from awe at human technological prowess to awe at nature, there were literally thousands of bats flying in completely random patterns gorging themselves on mosquitoes.
Which is good because for as long as I can remember I have had a insect phobia...

When I was probably about 4 years old, before being exposed to the myriad accents (southern, hick, hillbilly and country) of Riverdale elementary school I had an accent that is probably best described as foreign. So when I ran inside after having been sent to play outside for a few minutes and said, "mummy, the flies are troubling me!" the combination of my pathos and the quasi english accent kept everyone in stitches for hours... so much so that this story was repeated at least twice a year till I left for college.
What stayed with me after college is my completely irrational doscomfort whenever a fly, bee, mosquito, dragonfly, moth, or any other six-legged flying object comes into my personal space (read: anywhere within the 50 feet of me).


Dat yehudit as mentioned in a mishna in kesubos clearly only refers to women... so what are are the halachik grounds for community dress standards for me?

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curiosity killed the cat or how google wrecked my early night

So I'm minding my own business, reading articles and listening to my favorite news podcasts during the last hours of the day in an effort to slow down and get to sleep, when I hear the commentator refer to the outfits that the men and women of the polygamous sect that's been in the news lately wear...

This is where I should have told myself to step away from the computer...

It took a while to figure it out, but the "fashionable in the 1800's" style that the rogue sect are sporting is referred to as either pioneer or "prairie style" clothing. And it's not just unfashionable and extremely tznius, the clothes are also woven with special religious stitching; interesting...

Again, I could have gone to sleep at this point; but no I couldn't...

Because Mormons have a fascinating tradition regarding clothing: They wear special undergarments to "remind Smith's priesthood brethren of their sacred oaths - especially oaths of secrecy regarding the plural marriage doctrine."
And then wikipedia grabbed me and held me captive with its insightful and interesting lay-written articles:

Did you know sherlock holmes was Anti-Mormon?

Which made me wonder, is there a "Dat Yehudit" for men? Never read anything about it, but then again I've never looked.

So what did I do after reading all this stuff and going way past my bed time? Write about it here *sigh*

Good night, and be well

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I miss snow days... Shabbos songs #3

Nisan is one of the beginnings of the year given to us by the Torah. So it's the right time to "start over"... I've been mulling over the last 12 months since last pesach, and while I can't say that I've been a great success, I have grown and want to start building upon some of the rubble of the last year.
1. Utilize the only time I'll ever have to really devote myself to yeshiva study at the highest degree possible.
2. Emulate my mentors, I know the life I've wanted to live and who are already living it, I'm going to try and connect to those who are "doing it" and get their advice as to how to do it.
3. Let things happen, G-d's in control.

Hopefully in the coming year I'll be able to live up to my new year's resolutions and bounce around like a pinball a little less.

so the question is:
what do I listen to when I'm not allowed to listen to music?

the answer:
David Sedaris

Definitely a candidate for "things white people like" which honestly should be "stuff hipsters and ex-hippies are into".

This shabbos I'm off to the famous Rav Machlis. it should be an experience... gut shabbos (see the R. Eiger footnote #13)!

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Time, where does it all go?

"the _____ will begin promptly at 8:30 pm on 4/30/08"
How many times have we all seen this line, or some derivation thereof, and then had the next thought:
"eh, I don’t have to be there until 9:00 at least, the *name of event here* will be on *insert ethnic group here*-time.”
In my current context the ethnic group in question is “Jewish”, but this is not the first group which I’ve belonged to that had difficulty with attending events in a timely fashion… my family is Ghanaian which means that when a fellow Ghanaian friend showed up 3 hours late to my 8 or 9th birthday party when I was a kid, there was only minor grumbling. To show up on time for a Ghanaian event is asking to wait 4 hours while the hosts awkwardly tiptoe around the question, “what’s wrong with these people? They’ve been around white people too long!” But being “time-challenged” doesn’t only plague those from the dark continent Ecuadorian time is roughly the same, Italian time is later, Jewish time varies depending on where the person is from (but is always late), and though I can’t speak for all of China add an hour for Cantonese time.
Today I went to a vort for one of my rabbi’s daughters (she was behind a bulletproof mechitza) me and 10 or so other yeshiva bochrim showed up about 30 minutes after the scheduled time thinking that we’d factored in Jewish time. What we forgot to factor in was the fact that he’s Chassidic, to calculate Chassidic time you estimate jewish time then multiply by a factor of 2, so when we got there the hall was empty… they hadn’t even set up the tables!
So this begs the question, “who the heck actually does everything on time?”
Racial/Ethnic stereotype time!
Germans, and only ze Germans. It seems to me that that while they’ve given a lot to the world (cars, beer, and expensive watches) they are in the minority when it comes to timeliness, much like lactose intolerance. I thought I was a weirdo because I can’t digest milk but most of the world is lactose intolerant, so really the 1.5 percent of the world that can digest milk are the mutant freaks… and it seems like being on time is the same, ONLY THE GERMANS ARE ON TIME. We need to take a stand, no longer shall we be shackled by unreasonable standards, after all out lateness is probably genetic, we must rise up and declare that time is dead! We are not late, we just aren’t German!
Did I mention that there were more than a few l’chaims at the vort… I’m going to sleep.

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