Monday, May 30, 2005

I've been tagged!

Just got back from a whirlwind, spur of the moment trip to my aunts' (the one with the secret passageway in her house ;) ) and found that I've been tagged by en to do RandomActsofKindnesses.

I originally found the definition on survivor's blog:

RAK (rak) n. a random act of kindness done out of the goodness of one's heart, the act of helping others, Etymology: Yiddishe Mamma

Whoever started this, I like it! ;)

1) Didn't get upset at all when everyone else thought I would. In fact, I was quite nice! (והמבינה תבין)
2) Didn't talk back to avoid an argument and just did as she said (and no, "she" wasn't my mother)
3) Called my PiT-on TIME, and changed the book we're gonna learn BEFORE she bought it so she doesn't see the awful editing (or lack thereof) that I found.
4) Called someone else about the elusive Rivka (who I think might be going by Rebecca these days), with whom only I can relate, from what I understand. I still havn't called her, but I need to figure out the situation first...
5) Finished cleaning up the kitchen so my mother wouldn't have to when she got home

I'm tagging:
Stx (you knew you would be ;) )
Ger-ish (although you've been gone for a while-I guess now is peak grading time)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Price You Pay

For Rivka. I don't know you, but I know how you feel. "When G-d gives you a gift, you are obligated to use it. Use it to bring GOODNESS into this world and HONOR to the One who gave it to you." Remember that and email me if you actually read this...

Trained monkeys at a photo session
Smiling for the camera
You can learn to do it to if you agree to pay the price
You think you're great if someone calls
You think you're awful if they don't
Let your self-esteem depend upon the rolling of the dice

But that's the price you pay for the money and applause
It's the price you pay for the fun and fame because
You ordered pain for twenty without looking at the bill
Now the fun isn't funny anymore...

Well they'll cheer when you win
And then they'll cheer when you lose
And when you marry and divorce and when the wrinkles crowd your face
You're an overnight success except it took you 15 years
They'll love you now, till next month when someone younger takes your place

But that's the price you pay for the money and applause
It's the price you pay for the fun and fame because
You ordered pain for twenty without looking at the bill
Now the fun isn't funny anymore...

It isn't difficult to smile 87 times a day
If that's the way you get attention and the way you pay your bills
It doesn't mean that you are happy or you're greatful to be living
You could fool the fans in Philly; I'd a heart that never filled

But that's the price you pay for the money and applause
It's the price you pay for the fun and fame because
You ordered pain for twenty without looking at the bill
Now the fun isn't funny
And the fame...ain't such a thrill

By: Julia Blum

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Newest Midos Book Posted by Hello

Book Review

A note: I stopped reading most fiction a while ago (with the exception of pretty much one series ;) ), mainly because of bad quality, bad content, and the fact that real life (or real
history) is sooooo much more interesting.

I just got the newest book in the midos series by R' Baruch Chait and Gadi Pollack. As usual, I'm so impressed, and I just want to share it. There're three books so far, about the journey of the travellors of the Gaavatanic and their trails and travails. It's pretty cool, because it has absolutely beautiful drawings, and the lessons it teaches are really real. Using the אורחות צדיקים as its "main source of reference," the books talk about Midos, something very apropos for during Sefira. It shows how character traits can be good or bad, taken to either extreme, and describes how NOBODY can be perfect without working on themselves. Not all of the Midos are "good" or "bad" per se, it's just how and when they're used that makes all the difference.

And I'm a sucker for pretty pictures :)

Another note: I just figured out how to post pics, but not how to combine them with text...if anyone knows, please let me know! Thanks!

Monday, May 23, 2005


Thanks to, I've been catching up on R' Tatz's shiurim. Wow.

In the one I just finished, R' Tatz talks about speech. Words make concepts smaller, compress ideas, and therefore necessarilly destroy some of the concept being discussed. Once one tries to solidify a concept into finite words, so much of the concept is lost, because so much is not describable. This is why a picture is worth 1000 of them. At least. Because words are empty, and very hard to use for describing Reality. Another thing he adds-the stronger a connection a relationship has, the less the people need to speak to each other.

Random:"Aura" sounds very much like "אורה". Coincedence? I think not.

Sorry. It's clearly a concept that can't be put into my words...listen to the shiur, it's beautiful.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lessons from my past #3

רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר: כל הלומד תורה ואינו חוזר עליה, דומה לאדם שזורע ואינו קוצר
"R' Yehosua ben Karcha says: Anyone who learns Torah and does not review is similar to a man who plants and does not reap." (Sanhedrin 99.)

So I've found. I knew so much when I was in high school (ironic though that sounds). I had chazals at my fingertips, I could quote from probably 3/5 of Chumash, I knew every Navi that I'd learned, often more so than my brothers (cause they don't learn Navi in Yeshiva for some unknown reason..).

And now? Now I don't learn..much. I try to, but I don't have the obligation that a man does, so if I have a paper/exam/anything else, I'll work on that instead. It's actually quite sad. Now that I'm on vacation, IY"H I'll be able to learn again. I've been listening to lots of stuff online, which eases it somewhat, but I want to learn something inside-I want it to be MY Torah, that I've learned on my own-not something that I've heard in a lecture.

(Tangent..) There's such a big difference between a lecture and a class. Lectures are where people talk at you, feeding you information. In a class, you are part of the conversation, and therefore what you learn becomes part of you. I've learned that college courses are lectures. My Bais Yaakov courses were classes. For that, I'm grateful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A 7th grader's way of changing the world

I wish I could go back to believing that life is so simple.. :\

Dear Mr. President,

Recently my class has noticed hat there is a major problem with the compost heaps. In short, there is too much garbage! Therefore, I would like to respectfully offer you a few alternatives. Firstly, in some places in the North and South Poles there is virtually no wildlife. This being so, we could dump our garbage in the poles. If that would do something to hurt the environment, then I have another alternative. You could take a rocketship, put lots of garbage in it, and take the garbage to the sun where it could explode into nothing. However, that would be a little expensive, so you could instead invest money toward helping scientists discover a way to turn garbage into energy. That, I think, is the best idea of all.

A Fellow Citizen,
TRW, of Mrs. Bauer's seventh grade high science.

The RIGHT way to make a Takana

I love the Baltimore community.

Recently, the Vaad Harabonim in Baltimore published a letter in a weekly magazine describing what they call a "request..that the Vaad Harabanim would like to bring to the attention of the klal." The matter is indeed small, yet something that has bothered many people (on all ends of every spectrum). But that's not the point. It's worded so respectfully, with a note that "The Vaad Harabanim would very much like to hear people's response to the above suggestions." No, they don't have to write that. Yes, we know that they're much greater than the average person. And yet, they treat everyone like they're on the same level. They're offering a "suggestion" to the community (which happens to be very valid), in a respectful and thoughtful way that condemns nobody and offers suggestions on how to change.

I'm impressed.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Just Leave Us Alone!!

As I mentioned below, I'm not a rhetoratician. I know others who are, though! ;) I've had this article for a while. The copy I have is from the Hamodia, September 7, 2001, but it's been printed in a number of newspapers. I find it rings rather true.

This article...has been making the rounds as a "message from an unknown soldier"...

Upsetting the World, Again
Please, we understand that you are upset with us here in Israel. It appears that you are quite upset, even angry and outraged. Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset with us.

Today it is the brutal repression of the Palestinians; yesterday it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the yon Kippur War.

It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most.

Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we, the Jewish people, upset you. We upset a German people who elected a Hitler, we upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russian, Hungarians, and Rumanians.

We go back a long, long way in the history of world upset. We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, we so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us.

For centuries, we upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through inquisitions. And we upset the archenemy of the Church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews in them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.

It is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to come home to our ancient, G-d given homeland -- the same homeland from which we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.

What better notion than to leave you and thus love you -- and have you love us? And so we decided to come home.

Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please. Having left you and your pogroms and inquisitions and crusades and the Holocaust, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state -- we continue to upset you.

You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel. In 1920, 1921, and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered hundreds of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron. Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered in one day in Hebron in 1929.

And when you, world, proposed a U.N. partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a Palestinian state alongside a tiny Israel, and the Arabs cried and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews. Was that upset stomach caused by the aggression of 1967?

The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who -- when they had all the territories they now demand be given to them for their state -- attempted to drive the Jewish State into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "idbakh-al-yahud" -- "Slaughter the Jews!" that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream -- destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today -- but we should not "repress" them.

Dear world, you stood by the Holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres. You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were to face extinction.

And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians daily dream of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land.

We survived in your land -- unwelcome visitors -- by the grace of G-d alone. And we will continue to survive by the grace of G-d alone. We will stay in our own little, G-d given corner no matter how upset you get, and long after you forget why you got upset at us, by the grace of G-d alone.

In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.

Personal Feelings on Disengagement

I just read on Jack's Shack something called "The Exodus From Gaza," quoted from Daniel Gordis. I suggest that y'all go and read it for an account of a trip by a very insightful father who knows the importance of Eretz Yisroel to his children and his nation. He took his children to Gaza to show them the people that would be involved in the disengagement, the families that would be relocated from their homes, the parks and playgrounds that would be left barren, and the shuls and schools that will no longer echo with the sounds of children learning Torah....

I don't usually get political. I don't have the rhetorical skills for it, and it just gets me frustrated. But I feel very strongly that Eretz Yisroel is ours. It's a little tiny piece of land, and that's all we want. We saw what happened when they discovered Yosef's tomb. They destroyed it. That's not respect. That's not a desire for peace. This whole thing just makes me angry.

Can't we all just get along so Moshiach will come NOW?!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lessons from my past-#2

I found this in my 6th grade notes, and I like it:
The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or friend,
Whose judgement upon you must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life,
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you're a straight shooting chum,
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum,
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please - never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you have passed your most dangerous test,
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you've fooled the man in the glass.

Lessons from my past-#1

I'm not sure if I've made it clear, but I find history to be important, and have believed this for quite a while. I'm also a bit of a packrat, and I therefore have my class notes from 6th grade through the present (which makes for very little space in my room, but that's another story).

I find it fascinating to occasionally go through this, in the hope of meeting a much younger, more idealistic, more naive version of myself, and it ends up being a very long trip down memory lane. There's also a lot you can learn about teaching when you see how your own teachers treated you. It's absolutely amazing to me, so I'm going to share a bit of what I've learned:

Positive Reinforcement: A grade on an exam is a number and only that. The student's reaction to that number depends on the teacher's reaction. (I'm also being a bit influenced by R' Tatz's tapes, thanks to Stx and Karl, where he speaks about the problem of schools when teachers compare students to each other, thereby destroying the "lesser" student) If a teacher writes "Great, etc" on an exam, the student is elated. Even if the teacher writes something neutral to negative, such as, "what happened?" or "please see me," it shows that the teacher is interested and cares. Getting a paper back with a 65% and no comment shows no interest, and the student reacts to that. I had a teacher in the Fall semester who said that the worst thing that a student can do when getting a paper back is to crumple it up and throw it out-because that shows that they're used to "failure" and don't want to think about another one.

For me, it was so important to know that a teacher cared about ME. It was partially a self-esteem thing, partially an ego, but I wanted to be special. Getting good grades didn't matter if there was nobody who cared about them...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Why so much so suddenly?

I have a final on Friday. My last one. And I'm sick of studying. Can you tell? ;)

Update: I'm donedonedonedonedone!! Should have quote someone I know..."all well." But I got two of my grades back and they I will survive...I hope...and now-VACATION!!!

...and back to positivity ;)

On a totally opposite note, I'm feeling a whole lot better about children (no, not for me as of now-see below). One thing that has always made me kinda hesitate about teaching, and quite a bit nervous about raising kids in general, has been the rapid deterioration of kids and their midos at a younger and younger age.

BUT there is hope!! My sister has been here for the past week or so with her absolutely adorable children-3 boys and a girl. They're not angels-au contrare, they're quite mischevous, but the word chutzpa has NO place in their vocabulary. They'll destroy a house rather easily, but if one of their parents tell them to stop, they will-right away.

I was in Toys R Us with them yesterday, and, like any children, they wanted just about the whole store. But when told they could only get one thing, they chose it, and were thrilled about it! In fact, my nephew pointed out to me that they "already had" one of the toys, and was so excited! They don't get extras usually, so being able to buy a new toy is SUCH a treat!!

An interesting thing to note-they don't have a TV, they don't have internet. They live in a rather religious settlement in Eretz Yisroel. They don't have the newest toys or games, but the supply of love is never-ending. These are kids who DO live with constraints, and yet are soooo happy! Ah, the joys of simplicity and love of Torah! :)

The Grass is Definately Always Greener....

I hate dating. I hate it. I hate the decisions, I hate meeting random people I don't know, I hate having polite discussions while my brain is screaming "TAKE ME HOME!!" I hate hurting people's feelings, I hate giving the wrong impressions. Grrr....

Is there an alternative? Not yet. I agree that hanging out with the opposite gender l'lo tachlis (for no purpose) is not a good plan for anyone-there's no question that boys and girls are different and you can't pretend that they're the same. Cause they're NOT. They don't think the same things, they don't act the same's from Mars, and one's from Venus!

So what's the point of this rant? There really isn't any. I'm just thinking...if I had a sit-in, if I knew that I HAD to marry this person because that's who my parents chose, would it be easier? I wouldn't have to decide on anything-cause I'd know that there'd be no alternative waiting out there, so I'd just have to make the best of it. Would that be easier for my troubled brain? Hmmm....