We went skiing on Friday morning. The whole time we stayed at the Jewish Discovery Center. It wasn't Chabad. It was a mushroom. Or, more precisely, the rabbi was a mushroom. If you are confused, I'm planning to discuss this later in a future post. Some guys were really upset, and actually slept somewhere else. Anyway, it was a nice shabbos, and Motzei Shabbos we couldn't go bowling, for whatever reason, so we just stayed in and had pizza and dancing (one guy was really good at the keyboard, and brought all his equipment.) Before the dancing, I went with a few friends down the street to the strip mall, which had grocery store and hair salons, and stuff. There was a dollar store, where I had some fun in. We went in, and I asked the girl working there how much everything was. To my utter astonishment, she informed me that everything was a dollar, and there was another room with more expensive items. We ended up buying balloons, streamers, and party hats for the dancing later that night. Before we left, though, I saw that since we had walked through all the snow, we left dirty tracks throughout the whole store. I couldn't let that happen. So I grabbed a mop I saw and started shooing everyone out of the way, and I made a big deal about cleaning up after ourselves. It was so funny. I mopped the whole store, and the girl at the desk kept complaining to me that I didn't have to, and she would later. Then of course, as we were leaving, another yeshiva guy walked in, and started leaving tracks on the now spotlessly clean floor. Did I yell at him. And he thought I was really serious! Ha, ha. Anyway, sunday morning we went to Niagara Falls, but only to the American side. Now we beat Canada in every single thing. Except for the falls. Our side sucks. I had brought my passport, but since most guys didn't, I couldn't just leave the group. But it was really nice, with snow everywhere, on the trees, and in the water. We saw parts of the falls actually frozen. It was pretty cool. On the way back, we stopped to have dinner at the Chabad House in Rochester, NY. Guess what kind of soup we got? Mushroom barley. A day late.
There's so much to talk about. In a nutshell, it was awesome, and I returned tired and extremely sore. You would be also if you were on a bus for 16 hours, went skiing for three, and slept on a floor (cold and hard, of course, I wouldn't have it any other way) for three nights. THREE!!
But it was a lot of fun. I've never gone skiing before, so naturally I thought I would be a...natural.
Well, I wasn't. I started off on the bunny slope, which let me tell you, it's harder to go up then come down. You had to hang to this rope thingee which pulled you up, and I fell twice. I wanted to see what the easiest normal slope was, one level up from bunny. I saw it. And freaked. It was this giant huge steep slope! I was really nervous, and I asked an instructor what I needed in order to safely ski down. He said I needed to know how to turn and stop. The two hardest things of skiing. (The easiest being falling.)
So I went down the bunny slope around five times before I gained a teensy bit of confidence. Then I went up the chairlift! And it didn't stop. It kept going up. And up. And up. They should really make points in the middle where you can chicken out. And when I got to the top, I found it really hard to leave. No, I wasn't emotionally attached to my chairlift, or at least I won't admit to it, but it tilts you out of your seat to start skiing immediately. Of course I fell flat on my face, and they had to stop the whole chairlift until I could untangle myself from my own skis. That's what's so annoying about falling, your skis are so awkward and it's really hard to pick yourself back up.
But of course, that didn't discourage me, and I skied on with my friend, looking for signs for the easy slopes, with the green circle. Now Easy, Medium, and Hard, or green, blue and black, or circle, square and diamond (everyone has heard of the black diamond slopes) don't necessarily mean they are hardest. It's just black diamond are the steepest, so you can go the fastest, which could be easier than maneuvering around all the turns of an intermediate one. So we went following signs to the easiest slopes, and I found skiing to be really fun.
Until we somehow managed to find ourselves on the brink of a fantastically steep and suicidal black diamond slope. We looked at each other, and there was one way down. We started making as many turns down the slope, trying not to pick up speed. But the slope's snow wasn't so compacted, and it was snowing like crazy in our eyes which made it hard to see and did I mention it was my first time? And we both crashed and fell midway down the mountain. Not a fun experience.
I was going to call it quits, but we decided to try again. This time an intermediate slope. And it turned out to be really fun. There was this one turn, which I didn't make so well, and I almost fell off a cliff and off like the whole mountain, but baruch hashem I didn't. But it was scarily close.
Then at the end of this particular slope, there was a long, steep hill down to the bottom, which I picked up a ton of speed. It was so cool, because it was blizzarding, the snow was flying in my face, all I could see was white, and I was whipping down at really high speeds.
The only bad part about skiing is twisting my ankle. Twisting your ankle. Twisting one's ankle. Whatever. It happened to me, I'm not sure when. But I found out how much it hurt after I took my boots off and tried walking. When I took my equipment off, I couldn't feel my fingers, they were so frozen. And my toes were so frozen and cold, I thought I must have some ice somehow in my sock. I took off my sock and realized what I thought was ice were just more toes of mine, frozen numb.
It was all really awesome, and I was the first in my family to ski. If you knew my family, you wouldn't be surprised.
You read correctly. I donated blood. I'm a DONOR. Isn't that so cool? Me and my buds have been giving for a while now. But this latest time, like two weeks ago, was crazy. Let me explain. It was flipping cold outside, and my veins must have been too deep under the skin. Usually they go for my left arm, but this time it was my right. First mistake. So my doctor lady was poking around with this HUGE needle (second mistake), trying to get my vein, or something. For some reason, my blood was just too stubborn to be sucked out (and I'm proud of it. To just leave my body without anyone trying to convince it to? You go, red blood cells.) I looked up at my doc, her name was Lorelai, I think, and said, "You know, maybe it's not working, because of my supernatural healing abilities, your needles might not be able to puncture my skin," and I said this all with a straight face. She actually looked shocked and looked down at me with wonder. It took her a second, an actual second!, to realize I was joking. I mean come on, how foolish to actually believe me! Then my friend called out, "Yossi, we weren't supposed to tell anyone!" and everyone just started laughing. So my right arm apparently held no veins or blood, and she had to try my left. It worked, but the blood flowed very slowly. Later she saw there was some sort of clot or something. They have this twenty minute maximum for donors, and I passed it, still not completing a pint. I was so embarrassed I couldn't perform properly. Usually I'm so good at donating. Anyway, I was nervous because she was going to stop the whole thing, but I wanted to make sure it was enough blood for them to use. I believe it is such an easy way to do something so important to help people literally, survive, and I wanted to make sure I was of some use. She told me they only use full pints for adults, but it would work for how they use blood for babies. So I saved babies that day. Pretty cool. Now, normally the needle only hurts when it goes in and out, but this time it KILLED for the whole time, which if you don't remember, was TWENTY MINUTES!!! I was so sore, and both my arms were bandaged up. The whole time I was making small talk with my doctor lady, and her trainee who was watching. I mean, I'm totally allowed to. It's one of the rights of blood donors, to annoy the heck out of the people sticking huge needles in them. So I started getting to know my nurses, and I asked the trainee what she saw so interesting in poking people with needles and sucking out their blood. She told me that she had never taken blood from volunteers before, only from nonvolunteers. Now you tell me if that wasn't the easiest lob to the batter, in the whole world? Of course I was gonna take it and run. So naturally I asked in astonishment, "You mean you would drive around in a white van, stop suddenly, drag a person from the sidewalk into it, and force him unconscious to take his blood?" Again, it wasn't my fault, she set me up for that joke, I had to take it. Whatever, all in all, it was my least favorite donating experience. But they so make it up to you by giving a free dinner, which I used at Esther's this time. You can bet in a month and a half, you'll see me there again. By now all the whitecoats know me.
I told my parents about my blog. Not that I was hiding it, but I just didn't get around to it. So everyone say hi. Now I'll have 5 people that read my blog. Yay!! Actually, their birthdays just passed, so please wish them a happy 25th birthday. If you want to try to find them on my blog, they'll be the ones commenting on my grammar and choice of diction. And their comments will be ones like: that didn't happen to you, it happened to your brother... Anyway, welcome to my blog
This weekend my yeshiva is going on a shabbaton to Buffalo. We're are going skiing, and also having more fun: driving 8 hours in the snow each way, sleeping on the floor of a shul, and Niagara Falls!!! Yayyy! It should be a lot of fun.
Oh, and it just so happens that this shabbos is the one shabbos when Crown Heights will be teeming with hordes and hordes of thousands of teenage girls. What a coincidence. But I mean, who'd really want to stay here for that anyway?
We've got this cat who hangs around our dormitory, her name is Chaya Sarah. We know her name, because she told us. We know it's a she because... well whatever. Her name has nothing to do with the parsha, but there is another cat across the street at Yeshiva, who we name VaYetze, and because of the parsha. But anyway, since it's so cold out, she's always trying to get inside. Some guys don't mind here, since they mind the mice more. But this one time, I woke up in the morning and I wasn't wearing my contacts ("nu, feh, the Rebbe said..." yeah, I know....) and I smelled right away that something wasn't right. The cat had left a huge, smelly, really nasty surprise right at my door! My door! And I almost stepped in it. So of course I most certainly did not scream at the top of my lungs like a girl. What, I didnt? Why don't you believe me? Anyway I called up Weinfield, who got somebody to clean it up. But for the next day and a half, it still smelled. Then we found out that in the room next to our's, she also did her business and left it under a bed. It was because she had managed to get into the dorm, but the door was closed and she couldn't leave. So now Chaya Sarah and I are not on speaking terms. (yes, before I was)
I have this fantasy about myself when it comes to sports, talents, or skills. I always believe that I could be really good at it, until I actually try it. So I naturally thought that I was an incredibly fast runner, should I ever find myself in a race when I would need to call upon all my speed and agility. Every year at the JCC were the Maccabiah Games. These are like the Jewish Olympics on the international level, and on the city level, they're just pretty much: lame. When I was around 11, I entered myself in the track-and-field category, being an extraordinarily fast runner (why wouldn't I be?), with my eye on the 400 meter race. There were only four kids in that race (I told you it was lame), and only three of us were boys. On, "Go!" we all started sprinting around the field, following the orange cone marked boundaries. I soon was shocked to discover that I was not nearly as lightning fast as I had assumed. It was the home stretch, and it was obvious I was about to lose the race. I was left with only one choice. I let myself trip up on the somewhat rocky ground, and fell forward. I slowly got to my feet, knees stinging. I felt tears come to my eyes, which I'm still not sure if they were because of the acting, or because I really got hurt, or because I felt guilty about the acting. But now it wasn't so embarrassing if I lost: everyone always applauds the guy who fell but was determined to finish the race. Now when I think back to that day, I go red with embarrassment. I know I was young, but how childish and wrong that was! I was such and idiot (keep those smart aleck comments to yourself about my choice of the word: was). It was a really dirty and low thing for me to pull. Man, I was such a loser! Oh, don't tell anyone, now that you know the truth.
What if my bookshelf falls on me, and breaks my bones in two?
What if I'm hit by a bus: then what would I do?
What if masked men break into my room, and snatch me from my bed?
Or what if a stampede of elephants tramples me instead?
What if I get struck by lightning, or my plane falls from the sky?
What if I can't lift a boulder off me, no matter how hard I try?
What if a man comes from behind, and stabs me in my back?
Or what if I become too excited, and get a heart attack?
What if Earth gets hit by a comet, or by a meteoroid?
But worst of all, and I dread to think- what if I were paranoid?
One of the things I can't stand about Crown-Heightzers is how they don't speak properly. Please, please, try to put a little teensy bit of grammar and thought into your daily lives. Instead of "scrame", say "screamed." Instead of "costed", say "cost." It costed five dollars? No it didn't, it cost five dollars. Also, your team can never win anything besides for a game, not another team. Also, sentences don't end with the word "but." It's these small things which just make you sound so stupid. Another thing is how you tell stories. First of all, stop with the "okay, fine" you always add in every two lines. And don't repeat words to stress them. I'll give an example: "So I was walking to the butcher, okay fine. And I wanted to buy a chicken- a chicken!" and you end in that higher note. Arggh, it drives me crazy. Just say the darn story and get one with it. Thank you.
So our Yeshiva's Kovetz came out yesterday, but we had to go back to the printer (I'm one of the guys in charge of it this year (pshhhhh)) because they screwed up a lot, on the 650 books. But it's gonna be great. It looks very Chosuv. And you can find Your's Truly's name inside on some HaAros, and some other guy's names on more that I wrote, but left my name off of.
In the 1630's, Renee DesCartes said the following philosophical statement: "I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am." Or in Latin: Dubito, Ergo Cogito, Ergo Sum (or something similar. I bet you didn't know I knew Latin). In 5768, Rabbi Paltiel corrected DesCarte's statement, saying it was only true regarding Ruchnius, where everything is rationalized, but in Gashmius which is created by Atzmus, the following is actually true: "I Am, Therefore I Am." The deepest truth is existence.
The biggest problem in Lubavitch is that when you read the title to this post, each of you thought of three different topics I could be talking about. The biggest problem is that there are so many problems (deep, I know).
But the one I'll talk about now is the Ant-Mishachist, or Lubavitch-Anti (as in against lubavitchers) problem. It is a political war, and driving us all apart. In war both sides lose no matter who comes out on top. War is bloody and brutal. The only side which will truly win is the "Side which doesn't take sides" side.
I want to try to stay out of the politics, but I feel I have to mention those women who don't fast on Yom Kippur because Moshiach is already here. Any idiot on the street can look outside and tell that this is not the Geulah HaAmitis. And whether or not the Rebbe is hiding in the basement of 770, I don't want to discuss.
One thing, for sure, is that the Rebbe is 100% against us fighting, and people who physically beat up others because of their opposite views, and who throw seforim and break a Shliach's legs and tear-gas the Rebbe's secretary at an Achdus rally in Israel... you get the idea. To hate someone for thinking differently is not the Ahavas Chinam that is supposed to bring Moshiach. That was the problem with Rabbi Akiva's students: each thought he was helping his friend by showing him the correct way of thinking, by being angry and hating him. 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva died, Haya Lo Sihiya (it's hard to transliterate)!
Therefore the best way to solve the problem is to stay out. Nobody is changing anyone else's opinions. It doesn't matter that an event does not have Yechi signs up, you can still go to it.
You know, in Oholei Torah a bochur invited friends to his house for shabbos. His father started to farbreng with them, his own guests, but when the yeshiva found out about it they told the bochur not to invite classmates over to his house again, since his father is an Anti.
That is ridiculous!
To quote the Moshav Band: "Will it never stop (woah, oh) will it never end?"
"All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again."- What is that supposed to mean? All the king's horses? Obviously they couldn't put a broken egg back together!!? What's the chidush?
Why is the word: "overwhelm"? What would it mean to just whelm someone? If overwhelm is to shock someone, then to whelm someone should mean to give him exactly what he can handle. Couldn't the word overwhelm really be whelm, and whelm be underwhelm?
Who really thought that olives were so lacking that the only way people would buy them was to stick those red things inside?
Is life really all about doing the Hokey Pokey and turning yourself around?
I'll be going, IY"H, to the ohel this thursday for yud shvat. I went last week also, on Erev Rosh Chodesh, which is Yom Kippur Katan, in case you haven't heard any of the Rosh's speeches. For us that were in yeshiva in L.a., it's basically an L.A. Yom Tov. When I went, the ground was freezing my toes! You don't wear shoes, and I could've worn sandals but didn't. I actually like the feeling of my feet numbing while I'm davening there. It's kind of an act of Bitul, showing that you'll do anything to have your prayers answered.
So if you see me there this Thursday, let me pass you in line, k?
So the shabbos before Yud Shvat, the Rebbe told us to all get aliyos. It's always really fun to watch in 770, because it's like a pick-up game in basketball. You have to call the Torah next and get your seven men. This year it wasn't so bad because Yud Shvat is Thursday, and yeshivos didn't come in yet. Last year it was on sunday or monday, so everyone came for shabbos.
So one year I was part of an after-school baseball team. You are probably going to say, "Oh, wow. I didn't know that. I bet he was really really good!" And you'd be absolutely right; I was amazing, truly spectacular.
Now I know what you are thinking, that that was my humorous, dripping with sarcasm, introductory paragraph. You would be right again.
I was awful at baseball (can you see any patterns evolving?)! My position was 'extremely far back right field'. I remember standing out there, hands on my knees, bending low and squinting, trying to make out any of the players from the infield. Only twice in the season did the ball actually come within 50 feet of me. One of those times, another fielder ran in to get the ball, but the other time- it was all me.
I remember that glorious moment as the ball soared high over my head (thank G-d, or else I'd have to catch it, and my coach and teammates were thinking the same thing). I ran as fast I could toward where it landed. Gripping it tightly I threw it as hard as I could towards home plate, and the shortstop ran towards me to catch it (ahem). The coach later told me, "Nice hustle!" which was the only other compliment I got besides for, "good eye".
My batting record was just that: a record. The only player to reach the negative numbers. I actually made contact with the ball a few times, but either they were fouls, or slow pop-ups right back to the pitcher. I got walked twice, and once I was hit home, from third base.
We had some good kids on the team also. You could tell who they were because they somehow ended up at the plate more than me, and also they got to wear cups. Oh, I had a hat, a shirt, and those weird, purposely-a-little-too-short pants, and cleats, but only the elite players found it necessary to have the whole package (no pun intended).
The only thing I helped my team achieve was to guarantee our non-existent post-season.
On any blog now you see something like, " My random rants about..." or "sorry for ranting on but...". The word rant really rankles me (although I do like the word rankle). It's so over-used, so cliche. Why do people use the word 'rant'? The whole point of a blog its that it is one big rant anyway! You don't have to apologize for ranting, because that is what everyone is expecting. If it isn't ranting that which you are doing, then what is it? Giving a factual opinion? There's no such thing.
Therefore, I will try not to ever use the word 'rant' in my blog. (I know, "Yossi, look at your own title!"). It's just one of those things for me, I guess. Like how people say 'scrame' instead of 'screamed'. It makes me upset for no reason. Ergo, if I should accidently use the 'R' word, please let me know, and I'll send you a nice gift.
These two guys were hunting together in the woods. Suddenly one of them falls to the ground, apparently hit by a stray bullet. He's bleeding and not moving. Scared, his friend whips out his cell phone and calls the park ranger service. "Help!" he yells into the phone, "I think my friend might be dead!" The lady on the other end answered him, " Ok, sir, please calm down. First make sure he is really dead." The man said, "Oh, one second", and the sound of two gunshots could be heard in the background. He got back on the phone and asked, "Ok, now what?"
What did the mathematician do when he was constipated? He worked it out with a pencil.
A general was giving President Bush an update on the War in Iraq, "Two Brazilian soldiers died yesterday." Right then Bush fainted. When he came to, they asked him why he suddenly fainted. "Well," President Bush answered, "I don't really know how much a Brazilian is, but it's more than a million, right?"
So I did the Dor Yesharim testing two nights ago. It feels like my future is catching up with me. Like I have a giant countdown clock over my head. Like how a prisoner can see from his window the sheriff erecting the gallows. Like a mask was just pulled over my head and I'm about to be lead to the guillotine- you get the idea.
But hey, if any of you should fall in love with me based on my witty and charming blog, my ID# is: 555555-555, and my birthdate is 2/30. Honest.
The water. The adrenaline. The pride. The Speedo's. For four straight summers, starting at the tender age of 7, I was mercilessly thrown into the dark world of competitive swimming. My older sister had been on the swim team, so I guess you could say I had chlorine in my blood. While she had enjoyed it, made friends, won awards and walked away with life-long lessons for leading a better life, I had not.
I hated it! I hated jumping into the cold water. I hated wearing that stupid bathing suit which did nothing to cover me. I hated (and I'm not making this stuff up) coming in, prancing into the pool area while dancing the macarena (I know, yuck. You can decide to apply the "yuck" to the prancing part, or to the macarena part, or both). I hated going to practices and doing stupid exercises.
Why did I hate everything about being on a swim team? Only after many years of profound analysis and deep thinking, I may have at last come to a sketchy hypothesis: It was because I sucked.
It was only in my third summer that I learned that only the first "heat" counted for the competition. Only those first six racers from our team mattered. The seventh heat definitely did not matter. Throughout my whole professional career, I won only a handful of "heat-winner" ribbons, and some "3rd Place Relay" ribbons. Oh, yeah, and about 80,000 "Participant" ribbons, which in Old Latin means "Big Loser". Those are given to the kids to make them feel like real idiots for thinking they can swim. There is no other reason. I did get a cheap plastic trophy each year, and that was kind of cool.
The pool was only about 25 yards long, but still, in the first summer I had to stop twice and hold onto the floating lane dividers to take a breather and swallow my tears. What took some boys 45 seconds would take me about 4.5 minutes!
I remember this one time, I was doing the back stroke, and somehow I managed to turn myself around and go back towards the starting point! Someone had to jump in and turn me back around. How embarrassing.
I did this for four summers of my life, and then stopped because my new age group had to swim there and back: a full lap! I couldn't do that!
Anyway, I did not make very many friends. I was shy and unsocial; meaning I was really uncool.
So the memories will remain buried in my heart forever. As to the important life lesson I took out: Never, ever, wear Speedo's again.
Hi. I wasn't sure which type of introduction to my blog to write, so I wanted to let you know what I definitely did not want:
1) OMG! OMG! I've like always wanted to start a blog, but never actually did it. 'Til now, obviously! LOL! This is gonna be like really cool. I hope everyone reads it. Maybe my blog will become the most popular one ever! How cool would that be, right? Ok, so I have so much on my mind that I want to say, and I'm gonna set up really great discussion forums and stuff! This is so cool! I'm finally gonna be heard and my opinions will be printed on the internet. OMG- I just thought of something- this is like my work is being published, something I've always wanted! This will be awesome, I'm really excited. But where do I start? Um... well I did have this idea about everyone deciding to visit the big oil companies' web sites and with so many visitors the site couldn't handle it and it would crash and we'd shut them down, and it would be totally legal, right? - You get the idea... You know how some people are too happy and perky and "OMG this is gonna be great!"? It makes me a little sick. I want to burst their perky little bubbles.
2) Welcome friends and soon-to-be friends, to my web log, or blog. Together we will delve deeply into the human psyche. We will discuss current issues and the rationale behind our leading decision makers on the political and social levels (and possibly -I'll suppress the urge to giggle- the socialites and "celebrities" so adored by the public masses). Feel free to post a comment about something you perused on my blog, or perhaps bring up an issue that is close to your heart. The pen (or keyboard- now I simply cannot resist that nagging but lovable guest, the giggle) is far mightier than the sword. With your help, kind readers, we can bring hope, comfort, intelligence and a helping hand to the rest of the world and to all mankind. Let's journey together, and see where this adventure can lead us! -Ew, yuck. Those snobby sentimental freaks. This is probably the lamest and most un-okay way to start a blog. And finally
3) So, um , don't tell any of the guys about this, but like, here's my blog. My sister is pushing me to write about- okay, fine, I won't mention you in this- to write about my feelings. Um, so here it is. But seriously, I'm not so cool with this, so put up with me, I'm sorry. - Yeah, if you don't want to write a blog, why the heck are you wasting our time, now we've gotta press Back and go back to our search results.
See I don't want those intro's, they are all very loserish, in my opinion. Hope you enjoy my blog, cause I'm not really sure I will.