Friday, April 30, 2010

Hair

I have a very good friend who is tall, skinny, and is a redhead. Some of you may know him.
Years ago, on mivtzoim, we met a Jewish guy on the street.
He took one look at my friend's head, and said, "Next girl I meet with hair the color of yours- I'm marrying!"
"Well, you're too late for my sisters, they are married, but good luck!" my friend told him.
After the thirty second rule, we both noted that it was a good thing my friend was a guy.

Birthdays

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. To me, 'birthday' brings to mind original song and balloons.
So that's what I did.
I spent the whole day huffing and puffing, and managed to blow up over a thousand balloons. It didn't have desirous effects on my fingers or lips, from all the latex, and now I'm extremely congested, but it was well worth it. Thanks to the few friends that came and helped for some of the time.
If you want to find out who your true friends are, ask them to come in the middle of the day and help blow up a ton of balloons.
And once my sister's birthday comes to a close, we start to look forward. There are two more birthdays in my family, eight days later. One is mine. Can you guess whose is the second?
Twenty two is mighty old, but I look forward to it. My birthday is on a Thursday this year, which is swell. I get to have a solemn, holy day, followed by a farbrengen that night (the renowned R' Paltiel presiding). It is not very pleasant when you farbreng the night before your birthday, since hungover is not the proper way to celebrate this occasion.
I plan to go to the ohel, and I know at least a few others on the bus with me share my birthday. An old learning teacher of mine was on the bus with me a few years ago, so I surmised that we share birthdays, and I was correct. If you think about it, it is very cool. There is a small group of people that all share the same birthday, on a bus together with one purpose: going to the ohel. While I said earlier that hungover is not the right mood to be in on your birthday, that doesn't mean you can't say a few lchaims, especially with those on the bus with you (and who might have the same birthday, so they really deserve a lchaim!). We'll see who is interested in drinking to a grand new year with me. A friend's mother has everyone on her Ohel bus (or any Egged bus (not as in 'vandalized'. This word has two syllables.)) finish the whole tehillim, and not just on her birthday but every time she rides somewhere.

I'm sure I'll be pontificating more about my birthday when we're closer, but one last item:
One special thing is Thursday morning. After just one night's rest, I will wake up being suddenly an entire year smarter, more responsible, more chassidish....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yes, but why death?

One of the reasons we are so happy on Lag B'Omer is that this is when Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students stopped dying. The gemara gives the reason for their death: They were disrespecting each other. Not enough r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
What?? Rabbi Akiva's students not according each other with respect? But his whole 'thing' was Ahavas Yisroel!
Their misguided behavior was in fact a form of Ahavas Yisroel. They each felt the other was not understanding their teacher's Torah in the correct manner, and out of Ahavas Yisroel they were determined to not let this continue.
But that still doesn't explain why they were deserving to be killed.
The Rebbe answers this by pointing out that all the students died during a very small period of time. Did all of a sudden everyone start disrespecting each other? There is a similar story in the Yerushalmi Gemara that many students of the house of Rebbi died, simply because they were a large number, gathered together, and there was an Ayin Hara.
So, too, when R' Akiva finally amassed 24,000 students, and possibly they were all together (hey! For a Lag B'Omer parade!), there was an Ayin Hara on them, as well. When a person is in a dangerous situation, chas v'shalom, even the smallest transgressions can weigh him down. Hence, the act of disrespect during this time was able to warrant them such a harsh punishment.

The second reason we celebrate on Lag B'Omer is for the death of R' Shimon Bar Yochai, one of the five star pupils R' Akiva taught after the tragic demise of his yeshiva. R' Shimon Bar Yochai was able to encapsulate and carry out the truest form of Ahavas Yisroel that his teacher believed in so much. We see this in the story the gemara tells us after the Rashbi finally left the cave.
After 13 years of being cramped up in a cave, the very first thing he did (after doing those airplane foot stretches they show you in the manuals) was ask for something to fix. He was told that there was a large tract of land that Kohanim had to circumvent, since there was a body buried somewhere inside. He did some Kabbala/Ruach HaKodesh stuff, and was able to tell them exactly where the man was buried, so they could fence it off and allow the Kohanim to walk right through the land.
He did that just so some Kohanim wouldn't have the discomfort of walking farther.

Also, Rashbi said famously that he could exempt the entire world from judgment. His Ahavas Yisroel went so far, even to those that were in a predicament of being judged for their crimes.

The gemara says about an argument regarding the latest time possible to say Shema at night, that although the halacha is not like Rabbi Shimon, it is proper to rely upon him 'Bsha'as Ha'Dchak', in a pressing time.

So, too, now we are in a pressing and hard golus, the Rebbe says. We are able to rely therefore on the Rashbi to exempt us all from judgment, and we can speedily herald in the coming of Moshiach!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mild correction

In my last post, I said I would wear a onesie. I did not mean this. Perhaps I don't understand the exact dictionary definition of a onesie versus a footy. I believe I meant something more like this. It of course doesn't need to have the buttons down the front, but it can't be a diaper like that first link.
My bad for misleading some of you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Treif, Trolls, and Onesies

A friend and fellow blogger, over at Letters Of Thought has recently published some emails he has received, from some people vehemently opposed to different controversial topics Mottel has blogged about.

I'm afraid that I am no exception to this War on Bloggers.
I have been hounded from different sides about my stance on Pajama Day.
Now, Pajama Day enthusiasts and extremists may not be as publicly vocal as animal rights activists, for example, but they are just as militant.

So here is my compromise. Whoever will buy me one of those onesies/footy's for adults, I will send them a picture of me wearing it, on pajama day in camp. That's right. I will go back on my previously published pajama opinion, and make sure to reinstate pajama day in my camp. After all, if I had one of those adult footy's or onesies, I would probably make pajama day once a week.

(Link to website that sells these, to come. My internet is slowing down, perhaps from the volcanic debris.)

Siyum HaRambam

Here's a conversation I overheard last night late in 770, between a half-crazy guy and an old, frum guy.
OFG: (Something about being hungry)
HCG: Why don't you go to the siyum?
OFG: No, I know there's no food there, except for some small stuff.
HCG: How do you know, did you go there tonight?
OFG: No, but I went to one twenty years ago, and they didn't have any food.
HCG: Well that makes sense. I can understand why you might be upset at that.

As I was leaving, I heard the Half Crazy Guy say: "I didn't ever meet the Rambam, but I respect him a lot."

Egghead

Each morning when I don my Tefillin, I notice that someone has been in my Tefillin bag. I know it wasn't any Goldilocks (I didn't find any blond hairs, and little girls do not put on Tefillin).
I could tell my Tefillin is worn before me, from the different style of wrapping up the Retzuois.
That, and the telltale head shape. (You thought I was going to say telltale heart, didn't you?)
I must always fix my Shel Rosh. The guy before me must have his head shaped like a lopsided egg, for the Bayis is waaaay off center. His head must bulge out between his right ear and his forehead.

So I've been on the lookout for my eggheaded culprit.

Celebrating the New Year, Shpittsburgh style

It is a tad early to start thinking about my Rosh Hashana plans, but when I saw Jet Blue's crazy deal to Pittsburgh, I chapped a ticket at 86 bucks round trip, and there you have it.
Last year I was also in the hometown of Agent Emes, for the New Year- and it turned out to be a pretty great year. 5771 should be even better!

SMR

"Shalom Mordechai is not on trial. America is! We'll see whether America is really the medina of chesed, or chas v'shalom not."
-Rabbi Paltiel

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Note: not to be confused with this post of the same name

As dorm counselor for Lubavitch Yeshiva, I eat my meals in their yeshiva. For the last couple of weeks, starting from before Pesach, they were being served chicken every night! Nonstop pollo (pronounced poy-o in Spanish).
Personally, I loved it. The chicken tasted fine, and chicken every night in other words means: no more nasty fish.
However, just like the Yidden in the desert after they saw miracles and were redeemed from Egypt, the bochurim in the Yeshiva weren't satisfied, and asked for a different menu. The Jews of the Wilderness weren't satisfied with their Manna from Heaven, they needed their quail. Somehow, some bochurim thought that if they wouldn't be fed chicken every night, they would get something better.
You'd think at 18 and 19 years of age, they would know better.
So now of course, we're back to chicken only some nights, and fried nasty fish the others.
They're still waiting for the steak they thought they'd get if it wasn't chicken.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Birthday blues

It is my sister's birthday this upcoming week, and I've been trying to come up with some over-the-top ideas for a suitable present. Unfortunately, animal rights laws and bureaucratic red tape have shot down many of my ideas.
For example, I thought it would be fun to get a Silver Man, like this guy,
to follow her around for the whole day, and stand silently behind her at her work.
So as soon as I got back to New York from Pesach vacation, I started contacting various agencies, hoping to hire a Silver Man out for the day. Did you know there is a Silver Man Union?? I found out quite soon that it would be a daunting, if not impossible, task. I first needed approval from the NYC comptroller. Than I needed a permit from the Crown Heights Community Council. The New York Board of Health would require that I present paperwork detailing the Silver Man's vaccinations records.
The whole time that I was meeting with these groups, and learning which requirements I needed to fulfill, I was being hounded by S.P.A.S.M. -the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Silver Men. These folks are ruthless and I finally had to change my phone number, stop wearing fur, and notify the FDNY not to come to my apartment at 2:00 AM every night of the week.

So I might be stuck with just giving a cake.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

See ya in your PJ's!!

As the school year comes to a close, and with Pesach behind us, we start sliding down the hill of Spring, gaining speed until we finally bounce into Summer. (Yossi, grammatically we don't capitalize seasons....)
Summer equals camp, and for most day camps, it also equals Highly-Inappropriate-Come-Dressed-In-Your-Form-Fitting-Ninja-Turtles-Nightwear-Day, or 'Pajama Day'.
Finally, I'm in a position of power (best friends with the head counselor, and co-planner of all summer fun). I am utilizing this power to put an end to the horrible idea known as Pajama Day.
There are so many times during the day that as a counselor, I am extremely cautious not to get into situations that could chas v'shalom lead to baseless accusations regarding the camper-counselor relationship. I cannot be alone with any camper in a room, for example. I must not let a camper jump up on me and hug me. When I go to visit a camper in his own home, I must be very careful in this area, also.
It's sad that it must be like this. The depressing truth is that an eight-year-old's word usually will win over an adult counselor.
And yet, we have Pajama Day.
Putting those concerns aside, Pajama Day is such a non-tznius camp activity. And to encourage the counselors to participate? I'm sorry, but campers and staff alike all need to be wearing normal clothes throughout the day, especially if you would see what some of these kids wear (or don't) when they go to sleep.
Am I being fanatical? A prude? A party pooper?
I'll let you decide on the poll.

And if the camp has a girl's division right next door? Pajama Day should for sure be banned and abolished!

Deciding which camp activities and special days we want to have on our calendar, we were looking through past years' calendars. One day said, "Pajama Popcorn Day! See ya in your pj's!!"

No. We'll just make a "Clothes and Popcorn Day! We don't wanna see ya in your pj's!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thank G-d!

In Parshas Kedoshim (the second of a double Parsha this Shabbos), we are commanded to not eat the fruits of our tree the first three years of its planting. A kabbalistic reason for this is that they generate their lifeforce from the Gimmel Klipos HaTmaiois. The fourth year's produce is holy,  as such that you must eat them only within the walls of Jerusalem. Finally, the fifth year's produce you may eat, even outside of Jerusalem, even if you are ritually impure. These are the highest level of produce, like the Alter Rebbe explains that the fruit from the first three years represent the lowest three spiritual worlds (Briah, Yetzirah, and Asiya), the fourth year represents Atzilus, and the fifth year is likened to the tip of the letter Yud, in G-d's name (each of the four letters of His name correspond to the four worlds just mentioned).

So the Rebbe asks the following simple question-
If the fifth year's fruits are the holiest, how come you don't have to eat them only in Jerusalem and only when you are ritually pure? From the psukim it is even clear that the whole reason for the laws of abstaining the first 3 (4) years, is in order to receive the abundant blessing of produce in the fifth year. How could the fifth year be so great, and yet be taken so... casually, and eaten in such a mundane way?

To address this question, the Rebbe quotes from his father-in-law, a story about the Ba'al Shem Tov.

Before he revealed himself as the great sage, Kabbalist, and revolutionary founder of the Chassidich movement, the Ba'al Shem Tov used to travel from city to city, meeting with the simple Jews, and help bring them closer to Heaven. One such mission he took on himself, was to ask every Jew (man, woman, child) how they were doing in their business, health, and prosperity, hoping to elicit a "Very good, thank G-d!"
Praising Hashem was something very important in the Ba'al Shem Tov's eyes, and he loved to help the townspeople praise and thank Hashem.
In one such village, the Ba'al Shem Tov went to the town hermit, or Parush, who had worked for the past fifty years to avoid as much of the physical world as possible. He spent day and night learning, and would only eat some bread and water late in the evening.
"How is your health, and livelihood?" the Besht asked. The Besht looked like a simple villager, and this Parush didn't even answer him. After being asking twice more, the Parush motioned with his hand for the Ba'al Shem Tov to leave at once.
"How can you deny Hashem His parnasah??" the Besht asked?
The Parush thought this man was crazy. Hashem!? Parnassah???
The Ba'al Shem Tov explained, "Dovid HaMelech says in Tehillim: 'V'Atah Kadosh Yosheiv Tehillos Yisroel', which means that Hashem 'sits', and settles into this world, on the praises of the Yidden. We get our Parnassa from Hashem, why don't you thank Him for it, and give Him His parnassa?"

The Rebbe analyzes this story. The Parush was learning Torah day and night. He specifically avoided any and all things physical, especially health and parnassa. Why would this not be good enough to 'sustain' Hashem? And why would the Ba'al Shem Tov specifically ask about such physical topics, knowing the Parush abstained from them?

The message from the Ba'al Shem Tov is that it is easy to see Hashem and thank Him for the holy things in our lives. But what about the low parts of our lives, and of the world? Hashem wants us to make for Him a Dirah Btachtonim, in these physical, low parts. We cannot live separate from the world, like this hermit tried doing. We must work to refine and elevate our bodies, our cities, and the world.

It is mainly in the low parts of the world, and in the mundane that we are meant (and able) to draw G-d's essence, His 'Atzmus', down in a Dwelling Place in this world.

Therefore, it is so important to thank Hashem and praise Him for the physical parts of our existence, as well, and it is for this that Hashem 'sits' down and we draw His Presence into the world, as King David described.

Now we can understand simply why it is the fifth year's crops, which can be eaten while impure, and in any location, can still be, and specifically for this reason be, the holiest type of produce.

(Taken from the first sicha on Parshas Kedoshim in chelek Zayin)

Gone Fishing

There's a little activity I sometimes do, which I call fishing.
When I'm bored, in bed, or waiting for a chavrusah, or standing in line at a store, I'll text a 'What's up?' to about six different people in my contacts. Not everyone is bored or has time to text at the same moment I do, so naturally not everyone can respond. But this way I get into some nice chatty texts with multiple friends, to wile away the time.
It gets a little complicated when my chavrusa returns, and it's back to learning, since I've got some conversations to wrap up.
(If you don't understand why it's called fishing: it's simply because I throw out a bait text, and see who responds.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why I'm afraid of Twitter (and why you should be, too)

I am not concerned about the ill effects Twitter could have on me. I do not worry I would become like the most popular Jewish celebrity Tweeter, G-Fish. If you recall, G-Fish felt obligated to Tweet so often, that he let his friendships wither (he didn't bother to redeem his friend Jono from slavery at a peach farm), and his parking tickets abound.
No, I am mostly concerned about you.
I know what type of Tweets I'd sooner or later be sending into cyberspace. Things like:
"Walking to 770..."
"Going to the ATM, hope I don't get mugged...."
"My foot itches..."
"I'm picking my nose..."

I'm not sure if there yet exists a term for the phobia of Twitter. I do know of the term: Anatidaephobia, which means: The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you. (that's from the Gary Larson's Far Side comic, of course)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Romeo

Sitting in Penn Station, waiting to board my NJ Transit train to Trenton, I was surprised to hear someone singing our national anthem. When I looked to the source, and saw it was a homeless lady on crack, I became incensed (not like the offering, and not that she was offering...).
Didn't she know it was Sefira!!??? AND kol isha!! Had she no respect at all for the Jewish faith???
I'm teasing, of course. Her main priorities were singing off key and avoiding the police who had been following her and kicking her out of each waiting area.
Many of the waiting passengers had their ear out, to listen of course to how she would hit the high note of: "Free-e-eeee-eeee". Based on the earlier part of her performance, though, nobody held out high expectations. Of course it was awful, and as I tried to block out the hideous sound, I couldn't help but give praise to her bravery and lack of stage fright.
Later she walked among the aisles of seats, asking people for money. She came to me, and asked, "Well, Romeo?"
Romeo. Why, she hardly even knew me. This older, African American woman didn't care about my funny wardrobe, or my religion. The bond she surely must have felt between us, which was perhaps amplified by her cocaine (I'm sure it was medicinal...), caused her to seek me out and call me by the name of perhaps the most famous lover in literature. I was flattered, and taken aback. I certainly must have blushed. Romeo. Was she my Juliet? Who can really know what G-d intends for us?
As I was thinking these thoughts, and wondering if I should at least invite her to come visit my grandparents with me (why not take advantage of a trip I was already making? It would only be some time later when she would want to meet my family, and I hers...), something happened, and it felt like my heart was plunged into a bucket of liquid nitrogen.
She passed me, and asked the man two seats over, "How 'bout you, Romeo?"
And just like that, the mysterious fog of romance and intrigue was swept away from my eyes, and I once again saw this crazy crackhead for who she truly was.

She was taken away by a policeman in the middle of her next musical venture: "If you're happy and you know it..."

As the real Romeo put it so nicely, "Call me but love....henceforth I never will be Romeo." 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rebirth!

There's a great sicha all about Tzara'as in chelek chof beis. Here are some of the points. It's too late at night for me to put it all together correctly, so take it or leave it.

The Rebbe asks: Why are these two parshios called Tazria and Metzorah? If you look at the content of the parsha, and look at what the name implies, you will actually see that the names have opposite meanings from their parshas! Tazria speaks all about a person getting Tzara'as. Metzorah mainly speaks about how a person becomes Tahor again.
So what do the words Tazria and Metzorah mean? Tazria in the context of the posuk refers to fertilization and childbirth. However, the parsha Tazria is all about disease and death (a leper is considered like a dead body, in halacha). Metzorah is the correct term to describe a leper and disease, but its parsha speaks instead about how the person becomes Tahor again, comes back from his ex-communication, and is rehabilitated and reborn as a new person. That sounds much more like the word Tazria which denotes life and birth!!???

Good questions, right?
The Rebbe explains that Tzara'as was not just a form of punishment. What is punishment, really? In Torah, the purpose of punishments is not just for G-d to take vengeance on us. Rather, any punishment meted out is in fact for a person's benefit, to help him reconnect with G-d. We see this clearly with Tzara'as. He wasn't affected first. Instead, his house, then his furniture, and then his clothes would get leprosy. These were all helpful warning signs for him to reevaluate his way of life and choices about speaking evil. Finally, if he did not yet repent, he was sent outside of the camp, to be secluded, not as a punishment and 'time out', but to really reflect on his past and be prepared to enter society a new person.
The Rebbe brings the Alter Rebbe's famous explanation about Tzara'as.
The Alter Rebbe asks a question in Likkutei Torah: If the term 'Adam' when referring to man is a very high level (as opposed to 'Ish' or 'Gever' for example), than how could it be that an 'Adam' could get tzara'as, as the posuk says?
The answer is that Tzara'as is actually a wonderful thing, and only happens to someone on an outstanding level of his service to G-d. The blemishes on his body represent all the bad in him. So tzara'as is showing him that he is near perfect. The only bad he has left to be eradicated is on the very outer extremes of his body and clothes, spiritually speaking.

I have to get ready for Shabbos, but basically, the point of the name of the Parsha as Tazria meaning 'new life' is to teach us this very lesson from Tzara'as: that no punishment in Torah is just a form of vengeance, rather every Onesh is really to help the sinner reaffirm his connection to G-d, and to be healed from his sickness (leprosy) and bad behavior.
The next parsha is Metzora, to teach us that the entire healing process which is explained in the parsha, is not the only thing which makes the leper Tahor again. The very fact that he had Tzara'as in the first place, and was a Metzora, was part of the healing, as understood from the above-mentioned piece from the Alter Rebbe, along with the Rebbe's explanations.

Anyway, I suggest you all learn it.
Have a great shabbos.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The apple and the tree

At a restaurant this past Sunday, we were all listening to our waiter describe the menu.
"And the soup of the day is........ and the catch of the day is halibut."
"I knew there was a catch," my father said, shaking his head sadly.

Hiskashrus

When I was a counselor four years ago in CGI Montreal, an overnight camp, one of my most pleasurable times of the day was at night, after lights out. It would take forever to convince the stragglers to hurry up and finish brushing their teeth. We also had to kick out of the bunkhouse at least one camper a night, who was intent on causing a ruckus and preventing his fellow campers from going to sleep. I also had to take time and energy reminding and convincing a certain camper to take his 'Krias Yam Suf' pill... But after that, and the whole room was silent,  my co-counselor and I had the floor. Before beginning a story, I would point with my flashlight to the picture of the Rebbe that adorned our bunkhouse. Soon it became a tradition for all of the campers to add their own small lights (which can be taken as a metaphor, as well) to mine, creating a brilliant spotlight on the Rebbe's picture. Each night, I would tell the campers, "Make sure to look at the Rebbe before going to sleep, and think about him. Because you can be sure that he is thinking about you."
After that, we got to confiscate flashlights, when their owners turned them into lightsabers and shone them into each others eyes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm a bookie

I have always been a voracious reader. In the summers of my youth, I would borrow piles and piles of books from the library. I love to read.
Actually, I think that's why I love to write. In school I normally excelled in both. In fact, I was pretty good with all three R's. (If you don't know what the three R's are, they are: Literature, Writing, and Mathematics.)
As I entered yeshiva, of course, my opportunities to read became more and more infrequent (and less and less frequent. Both.)
Each year, I add more to my plate, and have higher expectations in learning. This equals less time to read.
Therefore, these are the books I have read most recently. The first of which I started months ago.

The Case For Democracy: the power of freedom to overcome tyranny and terror, by Natan Sharansky- This was an excellent book, in which he presents his well-founded and time-proven theory that democracy provides for the safest well-being of a country's citizens, and that of the country's neighbors. President George W. Bush is even quoted as saying, "If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy... For government, particularly — for opinion makers, I would put it on your recommended reading list. It's short and it's good. This guy is a heroic figure, as you know. It's a great book."

The Year of Living Biblically: one man's humble quest to follow the Bible as literally as possible, by A. J. Jacobs- This is a really amusing story of how the author lived as close as he could to how the Bible demands. He grew his beard, wore only white (a recommendation from King Solomon, if I remember correctly), would carry a chair with him wherever he went, so as not to sit on the same seat as someone impure. He puts real fringes on everything he wears. He tries to stone adulterers and those that break Shabbos. He builds a Sukkah in his living room.... It's also an experiment for him, to see if living Biblically will change his agnostic opinions about the existence of G-d. He also visits his crazy uncle in Israel, Uncle Gil, who is the very Guru Gil with whom the Rosh has a unique friendship with!

Going Rogue: An American Life, by Sarah Palin- This is her autobiography, and tells all about growing up in the wild Alaska frontier, becoming a city council-member, then mayor, then Governor, and of course her status as the Vice Presidential Republican candidate. It's a great book that gives you the real story behind this remarkably ordinary, yet impressively passionate woman. I was shocked and pleased to see her bravery in revealing her strong faith in G-d, and she entreats her readers to turn to Him.

Moses of Oxford, by Shmuley Boteach- I only read some of this book, actually. It comes in two large volumes, and is basically a huge collection of essays and conversations he had with students and professors during his time as a Shliach for Oxford University. Reading his opinions about dealing with homosexuality, race relations, and other tough topics made me understand why many consider his views to be on the fringe of the regularly conservative Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox sect.

Now make sure to answer my poll on the left.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Old Friends

I'm packing up and getting ready to fly back to the city that never sleeps.
I am also putting together a box of clothes to be sent to me, for camp this summer. This means I must sort through all the clothes I have kept at home in various drawers and suitcases, finding the familiar pants and shirts that smell like summer. There are always surprises.
Pants that didn't fit- do, and pants that did fit- don't. It's an odd occurrence, this garment-swapping. I leave behind clothes that don't fit now, and take back some things I haven't worn for two years. I expect I'll soon be leaving these items behind again, only to reclaim them in the future. It's a sad cycle.
The one constant in this cycle is the Kleenex.
In almost all of the pants I tried on, there have been tissues in the pockets. Clean, yet fossilized.
The most endearing part of it all is when you slide into an old pair of pants, and they greet you like an old friend. They fit like you never stopped wearing them. The immutability of this garmental bond is extraordinary. Their color and strength may be transient, but the outpouring of love you feel as you step in: eternal.
Beautiful.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Did you know?

Did you know that Har Sinai was chosen as the place for The Giving of the Torah, because of its great humidity?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doctor, Doctor!

Baruch Hashem, I'm fine. I don't want to worry anyone, but there was a small soreness under my thumb that has been there for a while, and I wanted to get it checked out.
Living 2,500 miles away from home, I opted to let my father find a doctor and make my appointment for when I came home after Pesach.
Imagine my amusement when I take notice of all the other patients in the reception area. They all came with their own drivers!
No, I wasn't admitted into the health facility of the rich and famous, it was for the geriatric, and geriatric at heart. (Because I think it is unfair that you can only be a kid at heart!)
My smooth skin and all original teeth left me at odds with the over-80 club that ruled the place. All the funny stares and glances made me slightly anxious.
I quickly texted my father, ascertaining to the exactitude of my current location. He told me there was no mistake, and that he himself had been told by the doctor I would soon be meeting, of the title he earned as the doc's youngest patient. Well. Guess who lost his title to his own son??
The doctor informed me that there was nothing he could really do, and that I should just try downing advil a lot.
That's not exactly what he told me, but that was the basic message in his diagnosis. He called it something like tendon-itis. He was required to make up a medical sounding name for it, to input it into my patient file he was creating on his computer as we were speaking. To make me feel like I hadn't wasted my time, he went ahead and got all my pertinent family data to put in his system. So I was answering questions like how is it to have a twin, and where I'm spending my summer.
The doctor's official opinion as to the source of my thumbulur pain? Texting and typing. If that's the case, then he can bet on seeing even younger patients than me, when all the tweens start coming in.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some Pics

In the second picture, it is a view from the bottom of the Royal Gorge, and you can also see the Skycoaster that flung us out over the top. The last picture is from the Garden of the gods

My Shlichus

I uploaded a bunch of pictures from my two plus weeks in Colorado.
Email me if you think I'd let you see them, and I can give you the link url.

Bullseye!

The three in the center are mine. I got three bullseyes; one on a different target.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shorts

We were bored, so we made our own tribute to baby Simba, using the shliach's adorable baby. Youtube video coming soon.
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I went to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, which prides itself as the highest suspension bridge in the world, towering over the Arkansas River, spanning the Gorge over 1,000 feet high. The Gorge also boasts the steepest incline (sorry Pittsburgh), and the 'scariest Skycoaster' which swings you out over the Gorge. The Skycoaster was a huge adrenaline rush!
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The worst thing about Chol HaMoed trips is the constant munching of Matzah by the guy sitting behind you.
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An anxiety filled pastime is watching a game between two below average chess players.

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"Don't push off visiting a boy you are friends with, who lives an hour an a half away, because you never know if punkt that night, the shluchim's kid will run away from home, or the next night their mikveh might flood."
-Anonymous
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It is possible to listen to 8th Day's new song 'It's Shabbos Now' over and over and over again.

Pesach Jokes?

nevermind.