Thursday, September 29, 2005

Silly Historians...

I'm doing research for a paper, and found this fascinating quote:

"To a modern reader inadequately equipped with Talmud's knowledge, it is virtually impossible to penetrate...even a simple letter...even ordinary letter writing was heavily affected by the literary style flowing from the intensive Talmudic training..."

--The Jews of Early Modern Venice, essay by Robert Bonfil, 172-173 (Italics mine)

DUH. It's so frustrating to read studies on Jewish history by people who have never learned what the Jews of the period learned (and continue to learn...), and therefore have no clue of the mentality of the people, and so of course can't understand the society!!

At least this guy figured that out...'course, he then goes on to attempt to "penetrate" the culture...

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Note Before Entering Shabbos

From a girl in my class:

"Judaism is such a beautiful religion!"

Isn't it, though? ;)

Have a wonderful, meaningful Shabbos-selichos start this week...are YOU ready?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What's on your...primary document?

As y'all know (or should know), I'm a History major. This means that I do a lot of reading of private books-journals, diaries, personal letters-to find the past within them.

So I was thinking about my personal journal (no, not my blog...the one I actually write in occasionally with, y'know, a pen...), which I use for detailing private things that I need to get out on paper but don't want to share with the whole wide world (the www..;) ). Could my journal be used as a primary document for a historian? (Not a biographer...) Do I describe world shattering events, politics, or natural disasters? I write about personal "world shattering events," many of which are not so world shattering...I write about the politics of my personal surroundings, and I don't think I've ever included an entry on the weather!

That's not to say that I think my journal is so important that people will later write papers on it (at least I really really hope they won't...). It's just a comparison. In years past ('s the Miniver Cheevyism again...), what went on it the world around them was so important to peoples' lives that they wrote about it in their most personal accounts. Now we are (or at least I am) so self-centered that the only world we care about is the one within our ד' אמות.

Just something to think about...

Boy? Crying?

I was sitting in class the other day, minding my own business (or rather, writing as fast as I can to keep up with the prof.), when I saw a male creature crying. It was weird. I got uncomfortable. He kept rubbing at his eyes, and every once in a while, his face would crumple and he'd cover it. It was scary, almost. I felt so bad, just being there and not being able to do something. (I wanted to give him a hug...but never fear, I held back ;) )

And I got to thinking (as I sometimes do). Why is it that we it's so much worse when guys cry then when girls do? I guess it's something to do with the whole masculinity thing..they try so hard not to show emotions that if something leaks through, it must be pretty bad.

It reminded me of a funeral I once went to (one of my first). It was a girl in my school, who had an anurism and suddenly died. I didn't realize the gravity of the situation until my principal stood up to be מספיד. And he started to cry. My unshakeable, infallable, pricipal...crying! Suddenly I realized how awful it was that this girl had been struck so young...

I don't know. I don't really have much to say about it. It was just a thought that struck me and I've been thinking about it. It affected I'm sharing it.

Why am I writing? I've finished an essay. I really should be doing research for my 7 pg. paper due on Rosh Hashana or my thesis...but I'm just gonna blog a bit before I disappear again. 'Cause...well...I'm an official quintessential nerd! ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sakrfys: Get Out

Incidentally, my favorite ;)
'Cause I WANNA move to Omaha!

Ain't it comfortable to live in a big community,
Shuls and Touros every corner, and we're right near the city,
We got pizza falafel, Italian and Chinese,
Ice cream, candy stores, Mendy's and Dougie's.
This is Gan Eden on Earth - what an opportunity

Got my choice of Daf Yomi shiur morning and night,
Where to send the kids to school, wife and I get to fight,
It's like a ghetto where we live, every house another Yid,
You think we'd all be friends in the neighborhid,
But we don't even know the people living next door to our right.

Is this what the Aibishter really wants from me?
To sit here in my ghetto community...
I could be sharing and caring for Jews round the country,
Don't be selfish, live more sacrificially!

Get out of New York, New Jersey, LA, Chicago,
Toronto, Montreal, London, sayinara!
Move out to Edmonton, Charleston, Oakland, Omaha,
You wanna waste your life away or reach a Jew that's far?
They're all or brothers and sisters,
It ain't about survival of the fittest,
(If you wanna do His ratzon ultimately,
You gotta give up some of life's luxuries)
Go and make a difference - sheves achim gam yachad.

Meanwhile our fellow Jews are dropping off the radar,
While we're here enjoying our fire-poppers and potatoes,
We're losing more and more, more and more, more and more, more and more,
Brothers and sisters - they ain't gonna wait-a,
That's it, I'm off help the Jews, keep the change, see ya later.

Don't gotta be a rabbi, rebbe or schochtor,
There's loads of rooms for lawyers, therapists and doctors.
Just think of the impact you'll make - it's a piece of cake,
It won't be for naught, just living in our courts,
On a faraway brother, maybe Christopher Schwartz.

The disclaimer is one of the best parts of the song, but you have to buy the CD (which, by the way, looks like a vinyl record) to see it ;)

Why, Why WHY???

I see the negativity, the cynicism.
It could come abruptly, but sometimes it grows slowly.
"They don't care, hypocrites, selfish, two-faced..."
Why do we perpetuate this?
Can't we HONOR Hashem's Name?

Defeated sigh..

I'm sick of hearing the bad stories. Can't there be some good ones? Why don't the inspired ones speak up...wait...they ARE doing it!
It's zeh l'umas zeh in this world. There's gotta be a lotta good somewhere if there's so much bad.
It's just a matter of finding it...and I'm IY"H going to see the film next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ktav Publishing?

Does anyone know about this publishing house? I was looking at some of their books, and am definately interested in them, but does anyone know anything about them?

Random Fact.

I'm doing a mini-thesis this semester on Hebrew printing-truly fascinating!

Did you know that there was only one printer in Portugal from 1489-1493 and he was Jewish? His name is given as simply "Rabbi Eliesar."
(Then there was that issue where they got expelled, so he had to leave...)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Beloved Daughter - Sakrfys

I am a King writing a letter to a daughter that ran away from me.
Hoping that this will eventually find her and she will return back to me.
Dearest precious child, I wanna be close to you, I want it to be like it was before.
In the hardest situation, full of pains and tribulations, it is you I'll never ignore.

Please come back to me, join me for eternity.
I know it sounds crazy.
I know it's not easy.

But you need to know why,
Why I need you by my side,
Why you seem to terrified,
Why you seem so petrified.

Coz I know why,
Why you ran away,
From before my eyes on that early month of May.
You were mixed up, didn't understand,
You were running into a no-man's land.

Not knowing where to turn,
Not knowing who to ask for directions.
Not knowing if they're real, not knowing if they're illusions.
Not knowing what is true, not knowing what to believe in.

But My door is open for anyone here,
Anyone who wishes to live,
All you got to do is walk up the steps and be ready for the love to give.

Speaking of Honesty....

I'm all proud of myself, so I'll toot my own horn. I had an essay to write (yes, school has officially begun) for a teacher that I'd had two years ago. It was a different class, but he had assigned the same essay. Being the packrat that I am, I still had it. I know, I checked. But I didn't use it, 'cause it wouldn't be honest. Instead, I spent about 2 and 1/2 hours writing a new one.

I'm proud of me, and I know He is, too :)

You Take Jesus, I'll Take G-d

My return to university after a relaxing and enjoyable summer semester was a bit shocking. I walked onto campus the first day, and, although I'd been warned about them, it was quite unnerving to see the lovely people in their "Jews for Jesus" t-shirts...

As a rule, I'm pretty tolerant in terms of other religions. Judaism is not one that requires making the whole world follow it (although we do strongly suggest that people who are Jews look into their heritage before giong elsewhere ;) ), and is probably the only religion like that. I was talking to my Partner in Torah the other night, and we came to the conclusion that it's a matter of self-esteem. We're confident enough in our religion that we don't need to proove ourselves right by making others convert. In fact, we tell would-be converts to think it over. Again. And again.

But, hey. Some people want to spread their message around the world, and that's their perogative! But here's the rub...

I spoke to the lady. We both had fixed smiles on our face while she told me the verse in Genesis that proves Jesus's divinity or Messiahship...or something. I asked her if she had a Hebrew Bible to see if we could actually discuss the verse, but, quite unsurprisingly, she didn't. (I then brought a Tanach to school every day after that-except today, when I forgot, and they came back :( ) I looked up the verse. It doesn't fly. At all. (3:14-16...Jesus apparantly struck the serpent, and therefore is prophesized in about the serpent striking him at the end of the verse? And how is he THE "son of Eve"? Huh? HUH???)

So I took a pamphlet and told her I'd go look up the passage and get back to her. And THEN I got mad. The pamphlet was about how Moses didn't go to yeshiva, married a shiksa [sic], grew up in an Egyptian household, and STILL became a leader of the Jewish people. And so, apparantly, did the poster boy "Yeshua" But the point in this and another pamphlet I saw was to show the reader that the Orthodox way of living is pointless and cruel and thoughtless and...grrrrrrrr. Um. Hi. I'm Orthodox. I don't hate all non-Orthodox. I don't pronounce them dead, "like a snuffed candle," just 'cause I'm in the mood.

The methods they practice use deception and destruction. Deception, by using verses mistranslated and out of context to those who've never heard of them before. Destruction, by sowing the seeds of hate toward a community of Jews in order to preach their "love."

So I have one message for you people: Do your own thing. I don't care. But stay away from MY people. Unless you can give them a truly logical answer, showing all the evidence (not just that which suits your case), stay away. Get out and stay out.

And for all you people who wanna know what we should be doing? Redt mit Yidden!

[For those interested parties:
In general, classes are good-TONS of work, but no surprise there...;) and it was a REALLY good thing that I had that practice with Harrius Potter! ;)]