Tuesday, June 27, 2006
SHLEPPING and SWEATING
Holiday plans? travel destination? Hotel? Apartment? Relatives? Where are you going this summer?
So much ado about nothing reminds of one of my first posts which no one read back then, so I count on you guys not to disappoint me again.
I still stand by my post, even though it was written over 11 months ago…
Vacation is supposed to be something you’re looking forward to, something you can't wait to have.
Yet I can't wait to be back from it.
People stress for weeks, if not months in advance, making plans, changing them, and then returning to the original plan, arguing and paying fortunes to get away.
If you ask me it's nothing less than some sort of illness that has ensnared almost everyone I know.
People seem to forget the three N's of vacation: No Alarm clock, No Stress and Need to Relax.
My ideal vacation would look like that: I'd move into my parent’s spacious apartment five blocks down, while they are away. And I'd do ,well, pretty much nothing, just unwind and enjoy the fact that I don't have to sit in front of a computer for 9 consecutive hours and taking orders all day long.
But the three N's are no longer a reality.
- No Alarm clock: Forget it!-Waking up early to catch a minyan before the flight leaves-Waking up early before the breakfast room closes-Waking up early 'cause the bus is leaving at 6:30 am to dodge traffic. Before I know its back to -Waking up early- to go to...Work
- No Stress: In my dreams (if I get any sleep, with the mosquitoes and all)-Three weeks of planning, booking, canceling, changing dates and using my lunch break to take care of all the aforementioned details.-Packing, running, realizing passport has expired and flight is delayed-Walking miles in huge airport, being stopped 51 times to show passport and boarding ticket, having foreign(clean???) hands rummage through private belongings in luggage.
- Need to Relax:” we didn't spend a fortune just to hang around the hotel"-Daily trip, usually two or three hours driving (getting lost on the road not incl.)-Reading a book only possible in the plane.-Believe it or not my Ipod just crashed.-Seeing you hard earned money spent on hangers, postcards and other useless souvenirs that won't be appreciated anyway...
But I'm being pragmatic about all this.First I calmly suggested we stay on deck this year, the response was sheer laughter.
Accepting that my counter attack had backfired, I just smiled and am going to go ahead with this tiring and needless trip.After all I’m the eccentric one. Which “normal” person would want to stay in the same city for the summer holidays?
It’s worse thinking about the fact that the only two weeks ‘till Sukkos, I could really relax if they would let me, is going to waste. When I come back I'll be exhausted from the long trip but the next day I’ll be back in front of my favourite flat-screen.I'll tell everyone how wonderful it was and how much we enjoyed it. I’ll smile before, during and (even brighter) after the trip.If we're going to go, why spoil it for the others.
It's the pragmatic thing to do...is it also the right thing?
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Blog- real- Life
About a year ago my blog and the people I interacted with in blogland were nothing more than escapism.
I wrote a few very impersonal lines when I had some time and waited three or four days to read a few responses (yeah, great!, visit my blog, etc…)
Then J blogland grew and the bloggers were no longer some screen names I read and wrote to.
They were people, with sorrows ,worries , great ideas and some solids opinions.
Worse! (i.e. better) they worried ,thought and rejoiced about the same things I did, they were funny, hilarious, deep and meaningful.
They were people, very smart thoughtful people.
Worse! (i.e. better) they would bring comfort in times of distress and share and express joy when a Simche occurred.
Real life and Blog life had totally blurred.
Instead of “I really should call Alan, I haven’t spoken to him in a long time” it has become “OMG someone might have a new post up"!
I used to get excited about getting a letter in the mail, now I’m excited for being included in an Havel Havelim edition.
“Who’s on the line”?, I ask my wife.” “Your friend in Israel”, she quips.
Why do I need to talk to him? I’m commenting to a post by an Israeli blogger, I think to myself, “Say I’m busy”.
Yes blogging and real life are no longer separate units….
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Sometime before my wedding, I shared some concerns with a number of “friends”.
Deciding there was nothing in what I said that was confidential they felt free to repeat my talk with anyone that would listen.
This mistake brought about me being looked upon as an ungrateful snobby little fellow.
The conversation centered around my pragmatic head refusing to desire a lavish wedding.
How foolish must I’ve been?
I didn’t need a philharmonic orchestra, I didn’t need a 7 course meal, I didn’t need 2 new suits, 9 new ties and 2 new hats.
And I personally cancelled the limo that was supposed to drive me to the Chuppah.
What's wrong with an uncle's car?
I just wanted a modest and joyous evening.
I was offered ‘the wedding of the year, and declined.
I felt it was wrong and idiotic to spend staggering amounts of money on a one night event. Truth be told most Chassanim barely remember the actual night of the wedding, it’s like a whirlwind flying by.
At the end I was the chassan of a lavish wedding, apparently my concerns were less important than my parent’s honor and image.
For the longest time I held that it was a bad idea for anyone to throw a over-the-top wedding.
This changed this morning while reading Emes V'Eumunah’s take on this matter.
And what about the vendors? In many cases the vendors are members
of the Torah community and make their Parnasos from the Simcha industry. Frum
musicians need work too. So does the Frum florist or the Frum party planner, the
Frum invitations seller, or caterer. Why should they be denied the financial
benefit of a wealthy person who wants to spend their money for these
I rarely turn my opinion around so easily, but his aguments are sounds and well constructed.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
You have two choices in life:You can stay single and be miserable, or get married and wish you were dead.
At a cocktail party, one woman said to another, "Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?""Yes, I am. I married the wrong man."
A lady inserted an ad in the classifieds:"Husband Wanted"Next day she received a hundred letters.They all said the same thing:"You can have mine."
A woman is incomplete until she is married. Then she is finished.
A little boy asked his father,"Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?"Father replied, "I don't know, son, I'm still paying."
A young son asked,"Is it true, Dad, that in some parts of Africa a man doesn't know his wife until he marries her?"Dad replied, "That happens in every country, son."
Then there was a woman who said,"I never knew what real happiness was until I got married, and by then, it was too late.
" If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep.
Just think, if it wasn't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.
First guy says, "My wife's an angel!"Second guy remarks, "You're lucky. Mine's still alive."
A Woman's PrayerDear Lord, I pray for Wisdom, to understand a man , to love and to forgive him, and for Patience, for his moods.Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll just beat him to death.
I recommend you all head out to Chasidishe Shaigits' blog for his brilliant dissertation on Blog vocabulary.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Save don't destroy!
What jumps off the pages are the extraordinary leniencies accorded to save lives.
While it makes sense and we’ve all learned that saving a life takes precedence over almost any prohibition, it is nevertheless very interesting to see how far Hatzalah personnel is permitted to transgress the Shabbes, even in cases of doubt.
Any suspicion of something serious that may have happened is good enough to pick up a phone and ride an ambulance while various ‘melachaos” are set aside for the sake of human lives.
I have so much admiration for these people.
Yes it’s wonderful that for no compensation whatsoever they will run towards a person in need regardless of the time and day.
But this isn’t the only thing I admire.
I know how awful it is to have to transgress the Shabbes for medical reasons.
And while it’s mandated to do the necessary when ill ח״ש to get better, there’s this disagreeable feeling that’s hard to push aside.
And yet there they go, Shabbes, Yom Tov, day or night, always shaking off whatever feels unpleasant and focus on the person in need.
Now if Rabbonim universally agree that saving a life in the physical sense is important enough to set all Halachos temporarily aside, then why is destroying lives in the emotional sense so rampant?
How come someone who wouldn’t dream of transgressing the Shabbes (even in private) would so easily ‘kill’ a fellow Jew?
How come that orthodox people have to face so many traumas, directly linked to way communities function?
I believe that the Torah teaches us that saving a life is a bigger Mitzvah than all others, then surely destroying one, albeit not physically, has to be the worse Averah (sin) possible.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Jews helping nazi!
One is a hypermarket and the other one is an electronics giant selling computers, stereos, television sets etc…
The culprit, otto beisheim, who it may be suspected, committed terrible crimes against many Jews, own both of these brands.
While I was a frequent customer of both stores there’s no way I’m ever setting foot in either one again. (bli neder).
However I was dismayed to hear many others say that they will continue patronizing the stores citing that:
-It’s not really going to hurt him if I stop
What about principles??
-The prices are lower than somewhere else
Search and you’ll find as good or even better, I already have.
-It’s so conveniently located
What about principles????
Would you continue giving business, albeit negligible from the Rasha’s (evildoer) point of view, if you knew a former nazi and probable Jew hater was making profit from your purchases?
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I usually don’t wander through the streets that late but what can you do if up until 11 PM you didn’t get a chance to pray Maariv? That’s when I encountered Mr. Bohohoo
He looked grim and discontent.
I didn’t want to go down that road but nevertheless I asked what was wrong?
He shared the heartbreaking news that the expensive new piece of furniture he had ordered over a months ago cold not be delivered before Shabbes
Besides his patience not being rewarded with the ordered goods, this news was very disconcerting to him since he had out of town guests for Shabbes and was looking forward to have it (i.e. show it off) before their arrival.
With upsetting news of this magnitude I couldn’t help but inwardly roll my eyes, put on my sweetest soothing smile and gently told him there were worse things in the world.
I bid him goodbye and a murmured a sarcastically charged ‘good luck’.
Two whole weeks hadn’t passed and I got a phone call from a friend who was going through some hard times. I agreed to meet with him to talk about it all.
Immediately I had a déjà-vu when seeing his pained expression.
And then it hit me.
Discomfort, unpleasantness, and pain are sensations.
If you feel distressed, sadness or pain, than this is what you feel.
The underlying cause is of little importance once your body has translated it into physical and emotional sensations.
When someone experiences distress for little things, for stupidities for narishkeiten in heimische Yiddish or when someone experiences distress and pain caused by more serious factors, what they feel is the same.
True, serious problems tend to be intense and coupled with worry etc…
But if person A is very sad about the loss of his prized chosson watch and person B feel tears trickling down after he just learned his son went of the derech, then in the end they both feel sad, despondent, helpless etc…
And if Mr. Bohohoo has the luxury to feel distress due to a late delivery, than his state of feeling distressed has to be acknowledged.
He deserves a word or two of comfort, not a condescending look and sarcastic mouthful.
“I wish I had his problems” people are wont to say.
That may be true, but you would not want to feel the way someone who’s been healthy all his life feels when his little finger hurts…
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Headlines from the year 2029
White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.
Baby conceived naturally - - scientists stumped.
Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.
Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.
France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica.
Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.
George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 036.
Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.
85-year, $75.8 billion study: Diet and Exercise is the key to weight loss.
Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.
Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.
Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.
Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.
Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.
IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.
Florida voters still having trouble with voting machines.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
My Non Jewish colleagues send me off with smirky smiles, wishing me a lot of fun.
While I can’t deny that I’m happy, it’s not that much fun.
It’s a pretty serious Holiday, with lots of praying and studying of the Torah involved.
Unlike the rich and delicious fleishig seuda (meal with meat) we have on the other Holidays, we get to eat yoghurt and cheesecake (whish as imperfect Jew I’m not so fond of) tonight.
Many men (me included?) will spend tonight wide awake listening to lectures on Torah topics or bury their face in uncomplicated Seforim(Torah books). They will start praying at 4.30 am and go home 2 hours later to get some sleep.
No computers, no talking about work, no getting stuck in traffic…just pray, learn and relax.
Not so much ‘fun’ but wonderful nonetheless.