Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept 1-8

Sept 1, apropos of Republican advice, "One might consider whether their advice was worth having, considering the results the first time. There's a value to experience, of course, but OUR experience is they crashed the system (allowed the crash and militated to make the "system" vulnerable) and then stood in the way of remediation while blaming their successors. Of course, NAFTA, a Clinton era "accomplishment", exacerbated the problem."

Sept 3, "Apparently, another batch of lovely fellows took umbrage that a woman was sitting in the front of an Israeli bus. Thankfully, they seem to have inflicted nothing more violent than loud noise on her.

I don't quite get what these idiots are trying to achieve by displaying such hideous middot. My daughter went to an orthodox school, where her favorite teacher was an "ultra-orthodox" rabbi. He hol
ds an annual barbecue for his fourth graders, boy and girl alike, at his home. We go to a Chabad shul, and this is NOTHING my rabbi would condone. When those awful people spit at those little girls in long skirts and called them whores, we got three sermons in a row on how awful and how totally unjustifiable such behavior was on a Torah basis.

One wonders. Torah teaching on the subject is from Brachot: Who embarrasses his fellow in public is as if he shed (literally poured) blood. Shaming a person publicly is elsewhere one of the several reasons it would have been better if that person (the shamer) had not been born.

What I can't figure out is how they can even speak to her: Avot 1:5. "Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem would say: not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one's own wife--how much more so regarding the wife of another. Hence, the sages said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah, and, in the end, inherits purgatory." So, how dare they even address her?"

Sept 3, responding to a Reuters story, ""Iran could strike U.S. bases if Israel attacks: Hezbollah" BEIRUT (Reuters) -They could strike, and have struck US bases and other assets (Pakistan this morning? USS Cole? 9/11? US embassies in Africa? Khobar Towers? The first attack on the WTC? Marine barracks and embassy Beirut?), whether Israel attacks Iran or not. And not just the Iranians: there is enough of it that there is a term (Green on Blue violence) for Afghan trainees attacking American trainers, just like "Palestinians" did Israelis in the same situation. The Argentine Jewish Community center, of course doesn't count."

Sept 5, "It's so inspiring that the British policy of denying Jews any rights that "upset" Arabs, of recognizing the Muslim right to express "upset" violently and destructively, has spread from the British mandate for A Jewish Homeland in Eretz Yisrael ארץ ישראל to so many other places, many supposedly "sovereign" states."

Sept 8, "Many moons ago, in the green of the world, around the bicentennial, I looked up my last name. I found it odd that it meant "small lake or pond: tarn" in German but "river" in Yiddish. I chose the German meaning, and have been using Agami אגמי as the Hebrew version since the early 1980s. My daughter has heard this, like so much else, FAR too many times, but apparently, because it has a Dr. Who resonance (the companion du jour is Amy POND, whose daughter is RIVER Song, because the people who raised her had no word for pond), suddenly, it's COOL. Like bow ties and fezzes."

Sept 8, "So, I'm reading Yehoshua chapter 9, because Joan is napping and Jessica is at a friend's house (napping, I later learn), and it's Shabbat, soooo... I don't know how I missed the NUMBER of parallels to earlier Hebrew models. He meets an ange
l before a momentous confrontation like Yaakov, he stops the Yarden like Moses does Yam Suf, AND he leads his men on a forced 20 mile up hill night march and beats a confederation of kings in a rescue mission like Avraham. I mean I read this last Summer. And I guess you could say he massacres Yericho and Ai, like Shimon and Levi."

Sept 8, "The shofar or ram's horn has been used to call Jews together at least since the Exodus from Egypt (Yetziat Mizrayim). Today it is played in the synagogue on weekdays after morning services (Shacharit) throughout the month of Elul, culminating on Rosh haShanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in the month of Tishrei. In the Jewish tradition, this represents the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai betreen the incident of the Golden Calf (Egel haZahav) and the gift of the second set of tablets (Sh'nei Luchot haBrit) containing the Ten Commandments (Aseret haDibrot).

There are four "notes" played in various patterns throughout the High Holiday services. T'ki'ah ia a long, uninterrupted blast. Sh'varim (broken) is three short blasts. T'ruah is approximately nine very short toots. T'ki'ah g'dolah is basically a T'ki'ah held for as long as one has breath.

Playing a shofar requires practice. It is very similar to playing a trumpet, or any brass instrument, except that the mouthpiece is not as easy to use. Basically, one presses one's lips together and forces breath out through them, producing the sort of vibration we all remember from kindergarten. Holding the shofar against one's vibrating lips produces the clarion, inchoate call we all know so well.

But here's the catch: Each shofar is unique, and most are not deliberately worked into a nice, symmetrical, trumpet-like mouth piece. The only way to get one to work is to hold it up to one's mouth and try and try and TRY……. until that sound starts coming out.
B'hatzlachah! (Best of luck!)"

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