holy mud

I spent a considerable amount of time Friday morning scraping mud off of our Israeli grandsons’ brand-new soccer shoes. They went right from the store into the house and out to their outside plot into the mud. It was made worse, of course, when the littler one suggested to the older one to bring them into the house and wash them off. “Wait, wait–don’t do that!!” I tried to stop them. By the time I got to the sink (2 seconds at the most), it was pretty seriously too late.

They did not say this. They said lots of things at the highest volume that they have, which has grown since I saw them last in July. Oh, Lovely Mud, indeed! So I showed them how to use the plastic garden tools that they have to clean off the shoes. It worked to a point. The tempers calmed down and I was able to convince them that:

  1. this was better than the time that he stepped in dog stuff at our house. (This didn’t make him feel better, though, because he remembered how angry everyone was when he did that.)
  2. they would eventually dry. and
  3. the mud was a good thing, because it meant that it had rained enough to make mud!

The previous day, we went to visit Rachel our mother, but it was hard to know if she was even home. DSC_0157 DSC_0155

The tomb of Rachel has become a huge tourist attraction, rather than a visit of religious devotion. I shouldn’t say that, because most of the women who were there were very busy praying. But OMG, Kever Rachel even has a Facebook page now.

It used to be a place of a more private devotion. I think that was the point–Rachel was buried on the way. Her death was unexpected and her husband had not prepared himself emotionally for that loss. I have a feeling he probably regretted not bringing her to Hevron, but she became the standard bearer for the unredeemed. Even Melville uses her in Moby Dick, at the end of Chapter 128:

She was Rachel, weeping for her children, because they were not.

In Jeremiah 31:15, the prophet speaks of ‘Rachel weeping for her children’. This is interpreted in Judaism as Rachel crying for an end to her descendants’ sufferings and exiles following the destruction by the Babylonians of the First Temple in ancient Jerusalem. According to the Midrash, Rachel spoke before God: “If I, a mere mortal, was prepared not to humiliate my sister and was willing to take a rival into my home, how could You, the eternal, compassionate God, be jealous of idols, which have no true existence, that were brought into Your home (the Temple in Jerusalem)? Will You cause my children to be exiled on this account?” God accepted her plea and promised that, eventually, the exile would end and the Jews would return to their land.

But actually, what brings most women to the Kever is something different; it is G-d listening to Rachel’s prayers during her lifetime. Here is the sign that is posted.

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This is the line that is boldened on the right in this prayer that was composed to say at the Tomb of Rachel:

כב  וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-רָחֵל; וַיִּשְׁמַע אֵלֶיהָ אֱלֹהִים, וַיִּפְתַּח אֶת-רַחְמָהּ. 22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

So women are there to pray to be heard now; for the children to come, not the children who have passed.

Now why did I bring up Rachel’s Tomb and my grandchildren’s muddy shoes? After all, I could have referenced walking to the Old City my first day in Israel; or walking to the Promenade and noting the changes since I’ve been here; or tasting the sufganiyot that have gone so upscale.

But somehow it comes down to the real needs that matter. Getting mud off of new soccer shoes; getting dog poop off of the baby stroller; getting vomit out of the baby’s clothes; it’s the real that we need.

We can wax poetic later when the smell is a distant memory.

memory brings us forward

I, like so many others, am remembering the assassination of JFK. I am reading various interviews of those who were there with him in Dallas, including heartbreaking details about why Jackie was reaching back on the car after the shots.

Here’s the last line from an article in the Washington Post that describes the 4 days of national trauma:

The United States would never stop telling this story, as a loss of innocence, as a time of unity, as a rote memory.

In our family, we thought the world of him. He was good to the Jews. He was one of the good guys in a world that was simply divided. We didn’t need to differentiate.

Of course I remember where I was when I heard that he had been shot. I was in fifth grade and I was sitting at my desk three-quarters’ back in the room. I retain this image of being very far away from the center. There was an announcement over the loudspeaker that the president had been shot.

None of us knew what that meant. Death was kept far away from us, even when family members passed away. Nothing was explained, but this we knew was a change. I don’t know at what point you could place that marker of  the loss of innocence, but I know we all experienced the somberness of the veil being lifted–when we didn’t know if we could trust people who lived among us.

I also remember going over a friend’s house that Monday and watching the funeral procession on her black-and-white television while sculpting a menorah out of soap. I remember the quiet of the house, the quiet of the procession, except for the clip-clop of the horse.

Please take a moment to read this speech, “The Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy; Yeshiva University Charter Day Dinner, 1957.” It’s comparable to Washington’s speech at the Touro Synagogue, both appreciating the best of differences, welcoming religious and intellectual ideas that enrich the quality of our country, the standing of the world.

Oh what a loss! Oh how poor we are today.

I add some photos here of a recent visit to the JFK Library to mark the occasion.

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you should never be unhappy eating dessert

So maybe you shouldn’t necessarily be smiling, but at least not miserable!

We went to the Gateways Inn in Lenox last Wednesday night for their piano bar. This was following our night at Tanglewood, which will come up in this post as well. Here’s a photo from that night, to get you in the mood.

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The room is very comfortable, not too large; intimate setting, I think is the apt description. We were there from the beginning of the evening, along with the wife/girlfriend of the bass player. In walk a few couples, quiet, not really into the music, but not complaining.

The bass player asks his compatriots what should they play of Marian’s? What? Yes, Marian McPartland died that day. Rest in Peace. How about playing Someday My Prince will Come?, I said. ISHI said why not that song from that CD we have in the car and he started singing it. I said it was called For All We Know and he googled it and said I was right. They didn’t know that, so they played Someday, even though I don’t really think it was her song. And she didn’t wait for her prince; she just did what she wanted herself.

There is something about enjoying music that is performed so regally. We had the pleasure of hearing and seeing Menahem Pressler the night before at Tanglewood performing the Mozart  Piano Quartet in E-flat, K. 493. Here’s something about this 90 year-old man who smiled almost the entire time while he was performing.

Menahem, his parents and his brother and sister arrived in Haifa just a day before war broke out in Europe. Not so fortunate were his grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, all of whom perished in concentration camps.

“We were fortunate to find refuge in Israel, but I was a psychological wreck when I arrived,” he says. “I couldn’t eat. My father accused me of behaving badly, but I simply couldn’t, and I just got thinner and weaker.” He was sent to a recuperation home, where the medicine that “slowly, slowly” healed him was music.

“During a piano lesson, I fainted playing Beethoven’s penultimate sonata (Op 110). I’m sure it was my emotional reaction to this magnificent work which summed up what I felt, everything that had happened. It has idealism, it has hedonism, it has regret, it has something that builds like a fugue. And at the very end, something that is very rare in Beethoven’s last Sonatas – it is triumphant, it says, ‘Yes, my life is worth living,’ and that’s what I feel.”

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But back to the dessert.

We weren’t eating; we were imbibing, me a 9 year-old Knob Creek. Quite happy and not really missing out on the food, which was actually “kosher-style”, but not for us. Now, in walk a set of 3 couples; 2 middle-aged and one young; the 2 being as white bread as they come; the other; Asian. I was having a good time trying to figure out what their relationship was; it didn’t look like they really had any relationship at all; they were not very comfortable with each other; it didn’t look like they worked together; and it remained a nice mystery. They ordered dessert and coffee after a while and proceeded to eat. And thus the title of this blentry.

Not a smile amongst them. Not even any hint of enjoyment, not even of the dessert. Oh what a waste! My story was that one of the young people was the adopted son of one of the white bread couples, and the young woman was the girlfriend of the young man. Or maybe that both were adopted and then they became a couple and now they were meeting for the first time! In any case, it wasn’t going well.

Then something changed. The bass player called out to one of the fellows if he would like to play. OH! Musicians? I never would have pegged them as that. They had actually come to hear them play!

People can surprise you.

And then, something else. The young man picked some lint or some such thing off the lapel of the man he was sitting next to. Hm. I think I was right, or at least the first part. And then, little by little, they did indeed begin to smile. And laugh just a bit.  By the time they left, they actually seemed to care about each other.

Well, music does it for me, too, for all I know.

the corollaries of not belonging

I tried to stay focused on the day yesterday. It was Tisha B’Av, when we Jews commemorate the destruction of the Holy Temples and many other things. I’ve written about it before here and here, just in case you’re new here and interested what I’ve said before.

What I was remembering  is a feeble attempt I made 40 years ago on Tisha B’Av to write about being alien. I was visiting a friend I had made while on our junior year abroad program at the Hebrew University. She lived in San Francisco and somehow I went to see her. I don’t remember anything about the visit except sitting in her family room in the afternoon of Tisha B’Av, thinking about the word “alien.”

Now, since that time, it has come to be totally identified with science fiction and creatures from OUTER SPACE, etc. In my youth, there was this very odd, even for those days, public service address for aliens to register with the government. I looked a little for it, but couldn’t find it online. This fellow here wasn’t successful, either.  It was always shown, I think, for the month of December, telling these aliens that they had until the end of the month to register with the government. As one of the commentators says on that post (direct copy–his spelling):

As an immigrant myself I remember watching the PSA with fascintion as the endless stream of people zipped into some strange building only to emerge just as quickly out the back door with big smiles on their faces.

It was the most primitive cartoon. But clearly stuck with me and with others.

And so, 40 years ago and again today, this came to mind.

I didn’t know that I should have felt alien when I was watching that PSA. But once I came back from a year in Israel, I certainly knew that I was. I didn’t really belong there; I didn’t belong here.

But, of course, that’s what Diaspora means.

Even living in Israel is still in the time of Diaspora; of exile. Dispersion. This is indeed a trying state. Or is it just a reflection of the world around us–chaotic at all times, with just a veneer of civility. Muslims killing Muslims (etc.), Christians condemning Christians, and Jews? Well, we’re at it all over the place, in Israel and beyond. The ugliness of how people are treating each other is worthy of a word that hasn’t been coined yet. Despicable, atrocious, appalling.

And so if we are taught that (one of the reasons that) the Second Holy Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam, translated as baseless hatred, we are not any further from there, are we?

The need to belong is so strong.

When you are not included, there is a strong tendency to push others away in defense, in reaction. Childish for children; destructive for adults. We are in a world full of pushing away of others. What a loss.

Yair Rosenberg has a great article in Tablet called Other People’s Sinat Chinam. He ends with this:

On Tisha B’Av, of all days, we are not meant to point to flaws outside ourselves, however apparent they may be, but rather to examine those within. After all, we can never truly know the minds and motivations of others. The only baseless hatred we can diagnose is our own.

And Ari Zivitovsky writes about whether sinat chinam is truly the cause of the destruction here and ends with this:

The Netziv (Ha’amek Davar, introduction to Sefer Bereishit) blames the destruction on excessive “righteousness,” that is, “righteous” individuals who treated others who did not exactly conform to their beliefs as heretics (apikorsim). This was, in actuality, a particular form of sinat chinam. The misplaced persecution of those people led to the destruction, because, the Netziv explains, God does not want this kind of excessive “righteousness,” but rather moral conduct in every day affairs.[8] So too, the Chofetz Chaim views sinat chinam as the starting point for the destruction but feels that it alone would not have caused the Churban. Rather the lashon hara (gossip) that followed was the cause of the destruction.[9]

In reading all of the above, one invariably faces the question of how to understand the multiple and wide-ranging rabbinic statements. What seems clear is that certainly an element of rebuke was intended. It is understood that if a particular sin led to the destruction, observing the corresponding precept is the antidote that will lead to the restoration of the Temple. Ibn Ezra (Lev. 19:17) expresses this concept when he states that by observing the commandment to “Love one’s neighbor,” we will return to our Land, because this mitzvah is the opposite of sinat chinam, which is what destroyed the Second Temple. As has been demonstrated, sinat chinam is not the only offense that Chazal accuse the Jews of committing, and for a full redemption we need to rectify them all. However, because sinat chinam is such a widespread problem, it is the cause for the Churban that is most often quoted. Our prayer is that all the statements of Chazal will be taken to heart and all of the wrongdoings—sinat chinam and the other sins—will be rectified, leading to a complete and final redemption with the building of the Third, permanent Beit Hamikdash.

So really, when it comes down to it, we have to figure out how to reorient ourselves to ourselves. When we come to terms with who we really are, grounded, as it were, then we can truly reach out to others with love and acceptance.

Photo from Facebook, Princess Free Zone

Truth from bell hooks.

(image via Women Hold Up Half The Sky)

Repairing the World in a different real kind of way

Why did the repair man check on his repairs?

That’s pretty unusual, in my experience. He came back to see if everything was in working order, which, thank G-d, it was. But then he asked:

“Can I ask you a question, or should I ask the rabbi?”

Okay, shoot.

“Of course. If I don’t know, I’ll be very happy to tell you that.” I’d be happy to tell him that the rabbi might not know, either, but I didn’t.

“You see, my sister just had a baby, and they had the bris (circumcision) just last week. They named him [I really didn’t hear him correctly, but let’s say] Pete after our mother.”

Last week, when he was fixing the fridge, he told me how his parents were married in our shul when it was a brand-new reform temple. And also how his mother died last year and it’s been a hard year.

“The problem is that it wasn’t the exact name. She gave a beautiful explanation how the name is to remember our mother, but…”

“Let me guess–your father isn’t happy that you didn’t use the exact name.”

Except I’m thinking it’s a boy, so really, was he thinking they would?

“Exactly. And my sister wanted to know where exactly in Scriptures does it say that you have to name someone after someone else?”

“Oh, it doesn’t say it anywhere. I don’t know how late of a custom it is. And you know, the Sephardic Jews name after their living relatives, with a pretty specific order.”

Blank face.

“It’s a good question, how late of a custom is it. But it’s a very nice custom, to remember the departed.”

(Well, that was easy enough to look at:

Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe had a strong tradition that mandated that a baby be named after a deceased relative. It is important to understand that this is a tradition, and is not codified in Jewish law.

No evidence of such a tradition appears in the Bible, in which most names are unique. The custom seems to have started in the first and second century CE, and to have become entrenched by the 12th century. By the 12th century in Europe, we find given names repeating every other generation within families, as a baby was typically named for a grandfather or grandmother. Generally, the child was named for the closest deceased relative for whom no one else in that immediate family was already named. Highest priority goes to the child’s mother, if she had died in childbirth, or the father, if he had died before the baby was born.

If any of the four grandparents were deceased, a baby would be named after one of them; otherwise the great-grandparents or, perhaps, a sibling of one of the parents. During the 19th century in Eastern Europe, a girl was typically named after a female relative, a boy after a male relative. Usually, a baby was not given the same name as a sibling who had previously died, although some cases of this have been seen.

Ashkenazim (Jews from Eastern Europe) do not name babies after living relatives. Sephardim (Jews from Iberia and the Middle East), on the other hand, name their children in honor of living grandparents, usually in a fixed order. The first son is named for the father’s father, the first daughter for the father’s mother. The next son is named in honor of his mother’s father and the second girl for her maternal grandmother.)

“And my mother, G-d rest her soul (I don’t remember if he said that, but it feels that that would have been an appropriate place for someone to say such a thing.), had been sick with cancer for over 20 years. She always said that all she wanted was to see her baby grow up and graduate from college. But she even got to see her get married, so that was more than we could ever expect.”

No, we can always expect more. We just have to realize that we aren’t going to get it most of the time.

“So what was the name again?”

“Zachary. Because our mother was so kind and considerate and so full of love.”

“Actually, Zachary comes from the root “remember”, so it’s a wonderful name to remember your mother with.”

Whatever her name really was; whatever they actually are calling the baby.

“Tell your sister to print up what she said at the bris and give it to your father. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled and come to love the name.”

“I think I will.”

“So can you fix the oven doors now?”

“Oh, no, I’m too busy fixing air conditioners. What a crazy season it’s been.”

breaking which walls?

Yesterday, a little rascal who is too young to know the reference ran from his mother on one side of the women’s section in our synagogue over to the other and waited for a half a millisecond with this rascally look on his face, then proceeded to push open the emergency door in our mechitzah (separation between the women’s and men’s sections) to escape to his father.

I knew it was going to happen. I could have walked over and stopped him.

I didn’t.

A few seconds later, he returned to return to his mother via the door, but she was standing guard at this point and showed him the way to expected behavior. In this case.

I was amused because of the timing.

We are finishing the first of three weeks of  Bein haMetzarim, “Between the Straits”, which started last Tuesday with the commemoration of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, leading up to Tisha B’Av, the destruction of the Holy Temple. I mentioned it to the mom and she was too busy feeling embarrassed and being on the job to react.

She would have gotten it. I also told her how I enjoyed watching him breach the wall.

So I think you get the irony.

There’s no emergency here. And that movie about the zombies, World War Z. I’m not going to see this one. It’s not my taste, to put it mildly. I am curious about the mythology (what Bruce Lincoln defines as “ideology in narrative form ) that the screenwriter used, with [SPOILER ALERT!] the idea of the 10th man saving Israel for a while, but how the zombies breach the wall that was protecting it.

And so I’m not going to use that as my metaphor for what Judaism has to do–maintain walls and divisions. I’ve written before about how there is much to change and much to work on; I try try try to be honest in my assessment.

Divisions always are there, but they change. Different things need bolstering at different times. You can think about it like the items we women choose to wear to fight gravity. They weren’t necessary before, but oh yes they are now.

So am I saying that Judaism is an aging female?

Or a young rascal?

 

things left behind so far

this Pesach holiday, some on purpose and some with no knowledge as of yet:

  1. one sock, older daughter’s (don’t worry–it’s being washed)
  2. one marker pen top (I have no idea where the pen is)
  3. one colored pencil. Nope, the top does not fit on that.
  4. one page that came out of a book of Mishnayot. I know that’s my SIL, since I had finally convinced him to go sit at my desk to work, rather than at the table with the cream cheese, butter, chocolate powder, and matzah crumbs, and Legos.
  5. one Philadelphia synagogue directory
  6. 3 books that I had just given the children as gifts from Australia (but not the  Diary of a Wombat that I had just given our 3 year-old as an afikoman present and who has already memorized it!)
  7. two full pairs of socks, a number of underwear (boys and girls), a hairbrush, a tallis bag, boy’s dress pants,
  8. and thousands of used towels and sheets (okay, sets for 16 people, plus 2 babies with their own bedding)
  9. an I need a new word to describe the amount of empty boxes from matzah, 19 dozen eggs (yes, you heard me, folks!), wine, and more wine, bottles and boxes, and okay some grape juice, tissues, new shoes, Amazon deliveries for us and our guests (oh yes, we had another couple stay with us the whole week, as well!),

And that’s just downstairs…

I have photos.

Lots of photos.

From our outings to the aquarium and to the park.

And from our innings (:)) at home. With the babies holding hands and the older cousins being amazed and amused.

And lots of memories of the singing and the playing and the smiling and the laughing.

And just not enough time.

I think that’s the key to the whole thing, the small part of the holiday standing in for the whole experience of LIFE, that is, that we just won’t ever learn to understand and appreciate time.

That’s what the Jews needed to learn as they left Egypt; that’s what the rabbis tried to understand in our Haggadah (why else is there so much discussion about days, nights, and the Days-to-Come?), and us today.

So let’s say that we need to learn how to let it all out; fly our kite to the highest that we can.

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Letting go and

holding on.

or lean to the side

Okay, so now I switch gears.

As I was listening to the CBS program, I realized there was a whole different kind of leaning going on for us Jews coming up next week, the leaning at the seder table, symbolizing freedom.

And, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a whole lot of discussion about whether women should lean at all. The Talmud states that women were not obligated to lean, since they were not in the same category as men. I’ll leave it there for now. But then, well, I’ll let Erica Brown, from a few years back, describe it:

Fortunately, the famous Ashkenazi codifier of the sixteenth century, the Rama, clarifies this section of the Gemara. He writes, “All women of our time are considered to be important . . . nevertheless, today, reclining is not mandatory for either men or women.” Leaving aside the Rama’s conclusion, he seems to imply that a woman’s role in the community and in her own home expanded and gave her the independence that is a prerequisite for freedom. The Rama was writing more than 400 years ago yet, strangely, we may have regressed to before his day.

Pesach today is rarely a celebration of freedom for women; it marks their annual anticipated enslavement. Rather than marking the creation of an undivided nation, it sadly underlines division into those who uphold the spirit and those who maintain the stomach.

Women have no one to blame in this matter but themselves. When women today use Pesach as an opportunity to clean drapes, they do themselves a spiritual disservice. Unnecessary cleaning takes them away from the original purpose of getting rid of hametz, and leaves no opportunity for Pesach study and enjoying the seder.

Full participation at the seder is only feasible if a husband also removes the hametz, a mitzvah incumbent upon him anyway. When the physical work is divided, the spiritual undertaking is multiplied. So sit back and relax.

See why I think this fits in so well with the previous blentry about lean in/lean out?

What is it that we want for ourselves? Are we bringing ourselves in or putting ourselves down? How we are overwhelmed by choices! How we look to renew our days as of old!… חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם

But that’s not what it means, going backwards. It means being renewed, as we would have the energy and the spirit from as before. Not old-fashioned.

As I write, ISHI is finishing vacuuming the cabinets, since I couldn’t see how I would be able to. I am tired from running around from store to store to store today. (Thank you, Purple!)

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I am not Suzy Homemaker. I do not enjoy housework. It’s work. I do enjoy creating food dishes, but the tedium of the prep work and the clean-up, in particular, is work. So the only reason that I will dust and clean is in honor of guests. Really, that’s it. So thank G-d for guests, because the house does need the cleaning up every once in a while. (spring?)

So why am I the one who does it? I think I pay attention to things.

ISHI just said he forgot to ask me to get macaroons for his siyyum on Monday (finishing the section of the Talmud that gives a reason to skip the fast day. That’s a basic responsibility of the rabbi, although others do it on a regular basis.)

Has he ever asked me to get them before? Have I ever forgotten?

Oh synchronicity!

So to end this, because I do have to get back to finishing the turn-over to Pesach kitchen, I will quote from Rabbi Reuven Spolter, who wrote an excellent article about leaning during the seder:

As important as the Ra’avyah’s position is, the bottom line is that
everyone –men and women –must lean during the Seder. Unless
someone suffers from a medical condition that would preclude
them from leaning comfortably, halachah considers leaning an
integral aspect of the Seder experience. Sorry.
There’s still the question of how. What’s the best and most proper
way to lean? Ideally, get yourself a lectus triclinaris – or at least a
chaise lounge. Place it next to the table, spend the night leaning to
the left, eating grapes and living like a king. Barring that, one must
lean to the left on something and not in the air, and lean the
entire body and not just the head. I’d like to also add the
suggestion of Rabbi Eliezer Melamed (the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat
Har Brachah) writes in his book Peninei Halachah on Pesach (page
226):
Instead of sitting straight upright against the back of the
chair, one should pull his rear-end forward to the center
of the chair, such that he is able to lean his back on the
backing of the chair and lean himself towards the left.
In other words, nowadays the best way to lean on Pesach night is
to…slump. What better symbol of freedom could there ever be?
Throughout our childhood, our mothers told us to sit up straight
and not slump in our chairs. On this night we slump!
Finally, on this night, we are free to practice bad posture. Just
make sure that you’ve got the number of a chiropractor handy.
And have a wonderful, happy and Kosher Pesach!

Indeed!

Pesach is stripping down to the Disney version of

Did I get your attention yet?

Two words you probably never thought I’d use, and probably Disney is at the top.

On the way to dropping off two bags of old clothes at the thrift shop, I heard the song “Bare Necessities” on our local jazz station. I never would have thought that it was jazz, to begin with, but I really focused more on the words than the music, to be honest.

So there it is. Now what’s the big deal?

Let’s repeat the last words:

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you.

Got it now?

Stripping down to the bare necessity of matzah. Getting rid of the excess. Finding out what’s truly important.

Singing your song.

Even if it’s Disney.

get it yet? Israel is not going away

I started formulating this last week. Here’s what I read that made me realize how precious Israel is:

May I Purpose an Alternative to Prayer

Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:18 pm (PST) . Posted by: [someone in Israel on the Nefesh B’Nefesh yahoo group]

I Chas Vishalom I am not in anyway asking you not to pray,  and this is only my thoughts, but,  for those of us who are taking care of our family’s with very hectic schedules and can not Daven the way we would like   I would like to purpose and alternative  The way we will save ourselves and our nation is by Chesed and Chesed starts at home so every time you don’t yell at your kids, wife, husband, parents…. today  Every Time your turn a cheek to your neighbors annoying ways  Every time your driving and want to yell back at the guy who cut you off STOP  STOP and say I am going to smile and swallow it and say a little prayer “This is to save my family friends soldiers and nation”  Thank You and Thank You for every Chesed you have ever done to another Jew that is  making those rocket miss most  every target  BiChasde Hashem

Translation: chesed is an act of lovingkindness, one that is done without regard for payback or quid pro quo; an act that is out of proportion for the initial move or need of the other person.

And Nefesh B’Nefesh is an organization that helps bring Jews home to Israel, from all over the world.

What this woman is saying is brilliantly essential. Prayer is personal; prayer is meaningful. But when we as a nation are being judged for whether we should exist at all, our reaction should be to be with others in a significant way.

There are other articles that show the opposite from the other side, too many to mention, but of course, I’ll link a few for fun, even though I know you won’t really look at them. So go here and here, if you want to get why Israel is so important.

I’m pretty tired with the underdog sad eyed Palestinian children being held up as victims. Yes, they are victims of their own leaders, who are not leading but trailing behind, today’s actions at the UN notwithstanding.

Did you ever note how the UN is just like 7Up, the Uncola?

(From the 7Up site on its history)

Here’s proof, also from last November 21:

Outrage: Following terrorist attack in Tel Aviv UN General Assembly 2nd Committee slams Israel for “uprooting trees”…

It seems that satire brings more interest than facts. Having genocidal Sudan introduce  the Palestine “observer state” resolution is charming.

Cleverness aside, seriously, Israel is not going away. We’re not picking up and moving to Europe. They kicked us Jews out once and we don’t have to be told twice, or at least more than that. And you know what? We Jews are pretty stiffnecked, after all. We’ll stay in Israel, despite all the dancing around of the silly un-nations. And as long as we continue our chesed along with our prayers and our smarts and our guns, we will prevail.