Tonight is the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's 107th birthday. She was born in 1901, in case you couldn't do the math. It's okay. We all have those days. Anyway, you can probably read or hear much more interesting and knowledgeable writers and speakers about her, but of course since you chose to read my blog, you'll have to hear my two cents about it. Sorry. I just wanted to quickly say that the Rebbetzin is an incredibly remarkable woman. Everything about her easily gives reason to many chassidim calling her simply "Der Mama", "the mother". Many also say about her that she was the ultimate chossid of the Rebbe. While most chossidim try to give themselves over to the Rebbe, she did this quite literally, by giving up her own rights to him, to give him to the chassidim. The Rebbe barely spent time at home, often coming back extremely late at night. She let her husband become the public figure she knew the world needed. Not many would do as she did. And just one more short point, the Rebbe said about Yud Daled Kislev, his wedding anniversary, that this was the day that connected him with Chassidim. (I believe the Rebbe Rashab had said the same thing either about his own wedding, or the birth of the Freidiker Rebbe, I need to look into that...)
Okay, I really need to go back now and evaluate... well... everything I ever learned. Here's why: I always heard that cutesy rhyme: "How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck wood." And who hasn't? For some reason, I always assumed that a Woodchuck is like a beaver or something. I mean, do you know what a woodchuck is??? Anyway, since I assumed that a woodchuck is like a beaver, I also assumed that to chuck wood meant like to gnaw on wood, like beavers do, right? So the riddle was asking: if a woodchuck could actually do that with wood, like eat it or gnaw on it, then how much could they do? And then I always had that nagging question: if a woodchuck really can't chuck wood, then why is it called a woodchuck???? So just recently I heard someone say that they heard the exact amount calculated how much wood a woodchuck could chuck. And I assumed it meant "eat". But talking with him, and everyone else at the table, I found out that "chuck" here meant "throw" the whole time!!!! And the question was how much wood could this animal throw if it could throw wood? This whole time and I never knew!!! Did you guys know this whole time, and nobody felt the need to tell me!!!!!?????? Everyone was just laughing not with me, but at me??? I feel so hurt that I was wrong this whole time. But again the question remains, doesn't it? Why is it called a woodchuck if it can't do what its name says? *OOOHHHH!! I was so right the whole time. Thanks for the help, p puff!!
This isn't so far back in the past. It happened two and a half years ago, in the beginning of my first year of Zal. My roommates and I decided that we needed to get a refrigerator. There is a Best Buy near that yeshiva, and we walked over to choose the best one (i.e. the cheapest). We found a small one, a little bit more than 1 cubic foot, for around fifty dollars, maybe. I don't remember the exact price, but it looked awfully spacious, and it was really cheap. It said on the box that it was "thermo-electric". I didn't know what that was, but I was sure it had to do with one of those crazy environmental laws, you know what I mean. It was also about fifty pounds. The Best Buy was a three minute walk from our yeshiva and dormitory, and I was young and naive. Therefore I bought the darn thing and hoisted it up and carried it slowly back! It was heavier than I thought it would be. Anyway we set it up in our room, and followed the directions to turn it on. I noticed again how there was a lot of space, and I thought it was strange that there was no big engine thing-a-ma-gigee at the back, like I thought most fridges had. Oh well, we all thought. When we put our drinks in the fridge, and came back a few hours later, we saw that they weren't cold. The fridge itself was like fifty or sixty degrees inside!!! We finally read the manual and found out that what a "thermo-electric fridge" basically means is that instead of being a fridge, it's just a box with a fan at the back, and can cool things down about 15 degrees colder than the room temperature. Oh. Everyone made a lot of fun out of me, since it was my idea to buy it. And then we had to return it. What did I decide to do? Of course, being young and naive (again, I know, I don't learn from my mistakes) I shlepped that big piece of junk back towards Best Buy. The only thing was that I realized when I almost got there that the day was Sunday, on which the store closes early!!!! So I stopped, not wanting to carry it any farther for no reason, and lugged that bad boy back home. But when I got back I found out that because it was the Kratzmach holiday season, really the store was open!!! My back was pretty sore by now. The next night, of course, I carried it back once more, all the way, and returned it. That was it for us and for us buying in stores where they try to dupe you into buying junk fridges that don't work. I had my dad order one from online and ship it to us. Of course, when that fridge came, we saw right away that there was a lot less room on the inside, and it had the big reassuring engine thingee-doo at the back. The moral of the story: Never buy anything thermo-electric if you want it to work.
My Purim was good, baruch hashem. Thanks for asking. How was yours? I read the megillah three times. Twice at Dumbo, and once on my mivtzoim route. That time was probably my favorite, because afterwards we offered everyone a L'Chaim. I know most of the three people who voted on my poll thought I should either dress up as my brother, or as a folding chair, but I couldn't find those costumes. You guys are all talk. It's easy to suggest what I should dress up as, but nobody explained to me how to achieve any of them! Instead, I dressed up in some overalls, and a bright orange shirt, and a hat I borrowed from a friend of mine, that was big and pink (the hat, not my friend. Gosh, why do I need to clarify these things for you guys??). The hat said Happy Birthday, and had candles coming up from the top. Walking around in Manhattan, everyone gave me a second or even third glance. You'd be surprised at how many people wished me a happy birthday as we passed on the street. After mivtzoim, when I was riding on the subway back to Crown Heights, an old, crazy man came into my subway car, dragging boxes of candies and cassette tapes to sell. He looked at me with large, scary eyes, and yelled: HEEEEYYYY!!!!! I thought he might start spitting on me, or who knows what. Instead, he just started singing Happy Birthday for me really loudly. Everyone started laughing. I explained to him that it wasn't my birthday, I was just wearing the hat. Ummm.... what else? I think I was M'Kayim: Ad D'Lo Yada, a little on Friday, more Friday night, and a lot on Shabbos Day (Shushan Purim, so it still counted.) The weather here was pretty bad, in my opinion. It wasn't so cold, but it was extremely windy. Okay, now that I'm talking about the weather, you know this post is going downhill, and I better stop now.
Since there were two Adars this year, I decided as a Hachana for Purim I should learn every Purim Sicha in Lekutei Sichos, and every Mugedike Maamer. That is about 14 1/2 sichos, and six maamarim (including two for Purim Katan). Baruch Hashem I did it. I learned them all before Purim, in about a month's time. So next time you see me, feel free to give me a pat on the back. I earned one.
That wasn't the end of it. Last Friday night, my class was invited to eat and farbreng at a teacher's house. I had been in his apartment before, so I knew it was either on carroll or crown street. I was walking with a friend of mine, and we went up to an apartment building which I thought was the right one. The first doors were wide open, and we walked up, and then I realized we had the wrong place. I asked a guy who just walked in if so-and-so lived there, but he wasn't sure. As my friend and I left and crossed the street to head down to crown street, a big, white-bearded Lubavitcher ran over to us and started screaming at us. Lots of people walking back from 770 turned to here him. This guy was mad about something, and it took me a while to figure it out. He kept saying: "You just left there and you let that drunk black man (he actually used a different word) into your apartment building!" We both kept asking him: "what are you talking about?" we had seen a black man walk up to the door after us, but we didn't think anything of it. "You guys live there, you should go back and kick him out of there! He came in after you left!" the guy screamed. I thought he meant we left the door open, so I told him that the doors were wide open to begin with. Then I told him that we didn't live there, and we got the wrong address. "Still," he said, "why should I have to go kick him out? You guys need to go do it, since you let him in" and so it went. We basically just walked on, and let him go to that apartment building. I couldn't believe why he was so upset at us. I mean, am I to assume that if someone is black, he does not live in an apartment building???!! That is ridiculous! So that upset me a lot. You Crown Heightzers really need to make it up to me if you want me to like you again.
You know, I was beginning to like you guys, and then you blow it. Here's how: On Friday morning I buy challahs to give out to the people on my mivtzoim route (which I'll post about later). At a certain bakery (I won't spread loshon hara), I asked the man in charge of the bakery if the flour was kemach yashan. I did this because every week a guy asks me if the challoh we give him is yashan. So the guy told me it was. Okay, fine. (That is a big inside joke, you really needed to read my blog well to find out what I'm talking about.) I was waiting for my order to be filled, when this guy walked around the counter and asked me: "Can I ask you a question?" I told him yes. He asked me if I knew what Yashan is. I told him I wasn't 100% sure about all the halachos, but it had something to do with waiting until a pesach passes, to use the flour. He got angry and asked: "If you don't know what Yashan is, why are you asking me if the challah is Yashan? I don't know either what it is." Now, he was the bloody manager of the bakery!!!! I can ask him any darn question about the flour I want, and he better darn know about the flour he uses, since he's the guy in charge!! But I got a little flustered, and told him I didn't care, but it was for a guy on my mivtzoim route. He asked me if the guy was frum. I told him not really. "So you see something is a little fishy, right?" he asked me, implying that it is wrong for someone to seek stricter standards of kashrus, which totally ticked me off. I was really angry at this manager now. He didn't care if someone wanted Yashan, if he wasn't frum, and also, he kept implying that if I don't know myself exactly what it is, I have no right to ask him, the bloody owner of the bakery (I like the word bloody)!!!! So I asked him one more time if everything was yashan, since he had just admitted that he had no idea what it meant. So sorry all you Crown-Heightzers, but he just caused my respect of ya'll to plummet.
Last night I was incredibly exhausted and just good ol' stressed out. And sitting in zal after most guys had already left, I wondered: when was the last time I screamed out loud as loud as I could, with all my heart and all my soul (that is a little joke, you've got to read some earlier posts), like one long aggravated: ARRRRGGHHH? My chevrusa told me I should just go ahead, even though there were still two other bochurim in zal learning (this was about.... 10:40 PM, maybe?) But my clear-headedness (Which I highly doubt is actually a word) of course came in to ruin the party, and I realized it would be silly. I'm almost 20. You do that when you are seven. Right?
I've been pretty busy this last week, so sorry for not posting. I do have posts I want to share with you, I just don't have enough time. I'll have to put things up after Purim, for these last few days. To sum up quickly, I gave blood yesterday again, so yay for me. I have to finish reviewing my leining the megillah for Purim. I'm reading the megillah in Dumbo, IY"H. If you don't know what I mean, tough. Okay, I'm sorry. Please excuse me. I'm tired and I'm not in the best of moods. It stands for Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass. I didn't make it up. So bear with me, and IY"H next week I'll have much more time to do what I'd like.
On Mivtzoim recently, it was slippery outside, and I accidentally bumped into an old men with a cane. We both kept walking, and I turned around and called after him that I was sorry. He looked stern, and then shook his cane at me!!!!! How cool is that? I thought that old men shaking canes at people stopped in the 1600's. or maybe in the 1950's. But since when did they do that anymore, nowadays, in the 21st century? It's such a cool move, that I plan to bring it back into style in 80 years. You just might have to remind me that I said I would.
I just took on another chevrusa for outside of seder. That makes number four. How do I have the time to learn with four different people a week outside of Yeshiva, update my blog regularly, check facebook, my aol email, my gmail email, do chitas, three perakim of rambam, practice laining megillah for purim, do pull-ups and push-ups when I can, do laundry, go shopping and everything else in my limited time? I have no idea.
There was a small wedding that took place recently in my Yeshiva's hall. They needed bochurim to be the Edim for the Kesuba. I was one of the four that were picked to go downstairs to help out. My job was that of an: Areiv Kablan for the Chasan. Which means that if he cannot pay, or is unavailable to pay, for the expenses of the wedding, or of the Kesuba, I'm there to pay instead. Nice, huh? I mean, weddings aren't that expensive, right? So I signed my name where I was shown, and pics were taken. They failed to ascertain whether I was financially secure enough to take on such an obligation. Big mistake on their part, because they would have found out that the only time I worked in my whole life was this past summer at an overnight camp, where I made about 30 cents an hour. Oh well.
When I was young (Cue The Lion King's: When I was a young warthoooog!!), I was your average, run-of-the-mill (does anyone actually know what that means? Just wondering...), immature, getting into minor trouble, kid. But I had this other side to me, and which I still have today, and which I hated then and sometimes it still aggravates me now. I was always, always, always, the "Guys, I think we should go back" guy. Aaarrghh. It drive me nuts to think about it. I guess it was a strong sense of practicality, or of right and wrong, or even a mature responsibility. Maybe it was because there was nobody else to say it, so I had to take on that role. But no matter what it was that we were doing, whether it was walking in the snow with our sleds farther and farther into the golf course and away from our house in order to find better sledding hills, or whether it was leaving our bikes under a road which ran over a brook and we would be scrambling over wet rocks to explore in the woods along the path of the creek, or at the beach when we would make our way slowly along the cliffs and the steep sides that would take us to other parts of the water's edge- I always was the "Guys, maybe we should head back" guy. Since I was always worried, I could never have fun. And it was hard for the others to have fun when I kept nagging them about "Maybe we shouldn't be doing this". I wonder what kind of fun and awesome experiences and memories I would have if I never had opened my mouth. On the other hand, I wonder how many scratches from branches I would have gotten, or broken bones from falling off of slippery rocks, or dinners missed, or bikes stolen, or a certain body part spanked, if I hadn't. I would continue writing this, but I should probably stop, because "It's starting to get dark", and "what would Mom and Dad say?"
First I must tell you a story that I heard two years ago from a shliach of mine. There was this frum bochur who was about 18 years old. He ate over at this family's house on shabbos. They had a 12 year old daughter. Don't ask me any questions, but he basically decided: okay, I'll marry her. And for the next six years, without any concerns for his future at all, he was able to accomplish many things as a bochur that otherwise he wouldn't have been able to do. Because he knew who and when he would get married. So when that girl was 18, they got married, and he's now a big shliach in Russia, I think. So the same thing happened to me this past shabbos, where I ate the day meal. There was a girl there who was pretty, mature for her age, and smart. She also had a really good sense of humor. Like when we were all sitting there and she called out, "TUSHY!! TUSHY CREAM!!" Come on, that's hilarious! The only problem is that I don't know if I can wait like 16 years for her to be ready to get married. And also she has to get rid of that diaper rash problem. Oh well.
I am trying to go to Israel this summer. (No, I've never been there before. Yes, I'm serious. Gosh! Why don't you believe me? Well, just because I've never gone, okay?) Anyway, I needed to be interviewed by my trip organizers as part of my application. I had a pretty interesting conversation with the girl that interviewed me. She would start to ask me a question, and then kind of fluster, and cover her face with her hand and say, "Oh, my gosh, this is so embarrassing for me to ask!" and she would laugh. Now, I thought an embarrassing question to ask might be like some of the ones they ask you when you donate blood, like: Have you ever shared a jail cell with another man? or Have you ever contracted aids? I laughed when she finally was able to ask me the questions. It was stuff like: Are you religious? Are your parents Jewish? and etc. Those weren't embarrassing for me! Somehow she thought it was. Then she asked me if I have ever been in Israel. I said no. She asked if I ever visited with my family, and I said no. Then she checked off other questions like if I've ever been on a tour there, since I had already told her I had never gone to Israel. Finally she put her papers down and looked at me like I was from the moon and asked wide-eyed: You've never been to Israel? I answered her: NOOOOOO!!!!! That's why I want to go! Stop looking at me like that! I know! Everyone asks me that! Don't make me feel like a bigger idiot for not going until now! The other girl doing interviews went through a different approach about the going to Israel question. She would ask: "Have you ever gone to Israel?"At which you must answer No. Then she asks: "You've never ever gone?" And you answer No. "Never ever never ever?" And she keeps adding "never"s and "ever"s into the question until you finally slap your hand down on the table and shout: Listen lady, I've never gone to Israel!! Then she'll finally understand. Anyway, back to my interview, she asked me if I was allergic to anything that they should know about. I answered her, "No, I'm not allergic to anything. I can eat peanuts." She started laughing really hard. She told me she works in an Elementary School, so she is petrified of peanuts. What's really funny is that my twin brother went after me, and when she asked him, he gave her the same answer about being able to eat peanuts! (Freaky, huh?) Then she asked me if I have ever been to a psychologist or psychiatrist. I told her, "No, I don't think so. Unless my mother took me to one, and just told me he was a dentist!" at which she really started laughing hard. She told me I seemed pretty well-rounded, and I probably don't need to see a shrink. (Pshhhh. I'm not mentally ill! Give it up for me!) (And I didn't mean by that last statement that only mentally ill people go visit doctors like that. We all have problems that we could use extra help solving. Please don't label me as a bigot, or whatever....) So I think I passed my interview. One step closer to Eretz HaKodesh.
You read that correctly. No, I was not joking. Because of my blog, the Free World as we know it will be changing forever. Allow me to explain. My sister reads my blog, and therefore felt comfortable with how blogs go, etc. So she is working on making a blog for somebody important who may or may not work for someone who works for President Bush, and who is in the line of succession (meaning if like 10 people should chas v'shalom die, this somebody the somebody works for will take over, I am pretty sure). Therefore, the laws of logic dictate that my blog is effecting the President (or future president), who is the leader of the most powerful country in the free world. So loyal readers give yourself a pat on the back for picking a winner.
Well, it's that time of year again. This March commemorates my second month anniversary as a blog. I told you that I thought the first month anniversary is rust, so this must be something like my burnt toast anniversary. Unless blogs have different years than humans? Like how dog years are different? I should really look into that.