Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Coherent rambling

Some of you might remember from last year I just don’t feel connected to Purim.
I don’t like to drink nor do I like to see drunk people.
The seudah somehow lacks meaning enveloped by the balagan of the day.
An introvert like me just doesn't feel comfortable letting loose like that.
I much prefer Tu B'Shvat

There is one aspect of the day that I always found to be very true though. The idea that on Purim the real you comes out.
You’re unmasked by your mask.
The Hester Panim...hidden..revealed..
I find that people dress up as their supressed selves. They get to play roles they wish they could all year.
They get to express what they really want to..
In essence that’s what we do through ou all year through our blogs.
We create personas that perhaps reflect more accurately the real you that somehow cannot always exist in the arena of physical reality.
So for us its Purim all year..

So I'd like to wish you all a Happy Purim!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Incoherent Rambling

Ok. I'm just rambling here.

Some things that I've been wondering about..please don't go looking for any deeper meanings or parables....

So you pay $16 for a cd or $24 for a dvd and now you can't open it.
Don't you hate that?
First they tease you with this tiny little plastic string/tab that says pull here but you need to be an elf to get a grip on..and when you finally do get 2 fingers on it it just comes right off...the tab does..
So now u start scratching and clawing at the plastic...
The dept of Homeland Security should hire these people to secure our borders.
If they can manage to make a thin piece of plastic sooo imprenable..
So you get a kitchen now the jewel case is all scratched up..
When you finally get that off, you sit down with a sigh of relief, open the cd player..but wait a second they slap on one more obstacle..that thick plastic crazy glued on sticker ..just on the this point I usually just smash the jewel case to smithereens and go to iTunes and order the songs..

But honestly..thats childsplay compared to what gadget/toy/electronics/flashlight makers put you through to get into their products!
You literally have to use a chainsaw to slice through the thick plastic that surrounds the product. By the time thats open.. my hands and wrists look more cut up than a depressed goth teenagers...

Logically...if I swipe my credit card randomly at a cash register..shouldn't the bar come out on the right side 50% of the time?
I mean mathematically..
Why do I ALWAYS get it wrong?
It makes no sense.

How do Furniture stores get away with having "Going out of business" sales for years at a time??
Aren't there laws about these things?

These are the type of things I think about on long bus rides or in Shea Stadium..


Saturday, February 24, 2007


Why do we sometimes feel so distant?
Just when we need a divine hug..
Its not there
Even the tears
Arent there

Last night I was feeling just this...when as a Godsend I was looking at a sefer with a collection of the Baal Shem Tovs words..
And saw that one of his disciples asked him just this question.

And he replied...

When a child
A baby is born
He needs to be held

When the parent understands
Sees the child stands
Is somewhat steady
The child is ready
He takes a few steps away
The child is scared..alone
For a moment on his own
Until he looks up and sees
His loving father on his knees
Just a few steps away
Arms open
Take a step...he pleads..
Walk to me
I will never

Always for our good
God sometimes steps away from us..
Wants us to take steps on our own...
He’ll always be there waiting
Making sure we don’t fall

I went to sleep with a smile on my face.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Silly Young Duke

There was once upon a time
A great little estate in rhyme
Nestled there between the great peaks
Of the Abramennes and the Sinaidennes
An estate of extraordinary beauty
Owned by the Dukes of the Jacobinian Family
It was a source of great pride, the jewel in the crown
Father to son to son and on down
Surrounded by larger hostile landowners
Yet secure in her mountainous perch

Life was good on the Jacobinian estate

Until that day when it fell to
The silly young Duke Otto

Oh that fateful day

Poor Otto was seen wandering
The hills surrounding
The blessed land
That was his clans
But was now
being plundered
Oh Otto how
Have you blundered

With a shrug you exclaim
To the gate they came
Holding papers. Claims
Claimed that it belonged to them

Shaking him by his lapel
But but why didn’t you repel
Whats yours?

But, retorted the foolish duke in return
They had proof...
They had arguments
I don’t know

Silly Bloggers...
Defend whats yours
Who cares what others say?
Let them take their claims and proofs
And lay their own stake to the truth
We are secure
in our mountainous perch
The gates closed and secure..



Monday, February 19, 2007

Sour Grapes and Green Grass

I’m just thinking aloud here. This has been bugging me for some time now.

There are 2 well known fables that seem to contradict one another..

1. The fox and the grapes. The fox sees a bunch of beautiful purple grapes on a vine and attempts to get them but he cannot reach. After trying for awhile he walks away and mutters to himself “they were probably sour anyhow”.

2. The sheep that are gazing in their field, across the valley there is another field but they're having a hard time enjoying their pasture noticing how much greener the grass appears on the other side.

Two very flawed human reactions to two very similar situations. Yet the two reactions could not be more different.

When faced with something desirable but out of reach when do we react like the fox and say, eh they’re probably sour anyhow and when do we react like the sheep and think that the grass is greener on the other side?

Is the fox saying that because he tried to reach the grapes, and exhausted all his physical resources?

Whereas the sheep, if they really want to could cross the fence to the other side, but are being held back by something more abstract.

If we could train our heart to see that desirable item that does not belong to us as grapes that are simply out of reach, would they become sour to us?
Rather than seeing them as lush green grass just over that flimsy picket fence.

Just some food for thought (if you’re a sheep)


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Friday, February 16, 2007

Broken Vows

We were once so soo close..
I knew
Everything about you
Your secrets
When you whispered to me
I listened
Your beauty
I knew your every alley
Hill and valley
Your streets
Plush carpets
Of gold
Like one surreal
Family room
Whenever I needed to
I cried my heart out
To you

Other cities have wowed me
Allowed me
To forget
For awhile
Your smile
Your song
Not for long

I need you
More than ever now
To renew my vow
That I have broken
I have let you fade
While my right hand
Still functions
Just fine



Thursday, February 08, 2007

Beware the Issuemakers

Beware the issuemakers
You know who they are
Those that seek..shall find
Small quirks..and
Shall furiously spin....
For some imaginary Rumpelstilskin
And churn out issues..issues
Co-workers, friends, spouses...strangers
Those that create towering mountain ranges
In their mind
Only to find
It too difficult
To catapult
To pass
Their vast
Vast peaks
yet find it impossible
To vanquish
Make vanish
Their issues..
I watch from the side

Just chilllll
Let the mole hill



Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When Zaidie was young...and other fictional tales..

I have always held a fond spot for that near mythical locale in New York City where so many of our anscestors passed through, The Lower East Side. Stories I heard from my Grandparents, When Zaidie Was Young tapes and a whole library of books that cheerfully describer the innocent, but rough life in the teeming neighborhood.

Imagine my sense of shock and almost betrayal when my eyes opened to an entirely new Lower East Side. One I had never even contemplated but no less real. The Lower East Side at the turn of the century was teeming with Jewish crime.
Jewish criminals affectionately known as Melamdim would create gangs of local children, yes affectionately called Talmidim, to roam the streets pickpocketing unsuspecting passerbys.
There was even a Yiddish term for a pimp (a simcha).
The streets were full of Jewish prostitutes.
One Rosie Hertz was observed by a traveler at the time..”Dressed in the traditionally Orthodox garb with her hair covered and wide white apron..she would affectionately pinch your cheek when she greeted you. There isn’t a woman in America that has coached and mentored more prostitutes than she...”
Then there was such local aidele fellows like Lepke Buchalter who even mobsters like Lucky Luciano abbhored his tacticts and brutality.

Now I don’t exactly expect Shmuel Kunda to sing songs about Rosie Hertz and her Simchamobile nor do I think Papa Herman had much to do with that seedy underground but it raised an interesting point in my mind.

Frum Journalism, History and Literary works are very much removed from realism.

Another eye opening book for me was one entitled The Cap written by a survivor of the camps where he vividly and realistically portrayed what the camps were really like, including many cases of inter-prisoner abuse and sometimes sexual assault.
Did you know that in Auschwitz the Polish prisoners would not talk to the Hungarian prisoners??

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder, who knows what went on in the Shtetlech that they’re not telling us about.

120 years ago in France a young writer names Emile Zola started writing books which portrayed every day life in the slums of Paris in startling reality. The whole literary world rose up to criticize him. Up until then literary works were centered on an idyllic world of the the imaginations of those that frequented the salons of Paris. His philosophy eventually won out.

We suffer from the same mentality. We create an idealistic view of our community and hide everything that doesn’t fit that rosy world, when in reality there’s nothing more beautiful then the truth and nothing more idyllic then facing human flaws and struggles and correcting them.

Whitewashing reality doesn’t make anything go away not in the past and not in the present.

See the above painting...
One of the great art movements in the last century was the pointilist art movement of George Seurat and others. The basic premise was that instead of the artist mixing the paints on his palette and them applying them on the canvas, he would would use the 3 primary colors of red, blue and yellow in tiny dots and let the observer do the mixing in his mind, thus making the observer part of the creation process.
I say..historians should not be doing the mixing for us. Give us the primary facts let me do the mixing in my mind..I’m sure I can create something beautiful with the facts.

Perhaps we wouldn’t be so overcome with helplessness when confronted with our modern day “crisises”, if we’d only be armed with the knowledge that other generations have grappled with issues and problems before us.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I won the lottery!

I could not believe my eyes..
Imagine my shock and surprise!
Dizzy..sitting on the bed
Numbers are read
One by one..
I won!

Not so fast..
Here’s the see
I won Gods lottery
But I cannot choose the lump sum payment
My millions are held for me..
Under lock and key
I get the money in the form of a daily allotment

Not as I want..but as I need..

In this past weeks Parasha it says..V’Luktu dvar yom b’yomo l’maan anasenu im yelech b’torasi...
“And they picked the Manna daily in order to test them..if they will follow my Torah..”

The test give them their food every day..just what they need...
The test was and is do we trust Hashem enough to have him safeguard our fortune?

Do we truly believe that he gives us ..just what we need?

Not an easy test..but those that pass it..have truly won the jackpot.