Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Potpourri of Postings

Instead of individual postings, I've decided to mix it all up to save ME time writing this, and save YOU time reading it. It's all here: humor, politics, Israel, and more. Actually, this isn't really potpourri, it's more like the "everything bagel" (Which tastes much better in the US than here in Israel, and an "everything bagel" has much more appeal than a bowl of potpourri which you mostly find in bathrooms anyway)



So, without further ado, sit back...and read on.

Dentists. A few weeks ago some of my kids were watching a movie on TV...The Little Shop of Horrors. They weren't really into it, except for the scenes with the plant saying "Feed Me...feed me" At some point I told them -- hey, this is the best scene in the movie. They were slightly shocked by it...but I don't think there will be any long term psychological damage.



This should probably have an entire posting of it's own, but I decided to just address it quickly now. Perhaps in the future it will warrant followup. Is "The Giving Tree" a positive or negative book? What does it teach us? When I was younger, I used to think it was a great book for teaching about giving, chessed, and volunteering. In hindsight, I think the book's message is rather bleak. The message of the tree is not for us to emulate. We are not supposed to give and give till we have nothing left to offer. There doesn't appear to be any appreciation from the boy to the tree...its a give and take relationship (tree gives, the boy takes), and all the tree craves is love from the boy. At the end of the day, only when the boy is old and tired, does he devote any time to his friend the tree...who has nothing left to offer. So they live happily ever after, but I don't think the process along the way was very educational for the boy. I could hear the "Cats in the Cradle" playing in the background -- somehow connected to this...


However, if it weren't for Shel Silverstein, I wouldn't have known about one of his other classic books, which is by far, much more educational: Uncle Shelby's ABZ book. My mother in law would throw out this book every time she saw it in the house, and my father in law would go right ahead and buy another copy...







Smoking Kills.


One of the Muqata's loyal readers sent us the following unphotoshopped picture from a cemetery in Israel.


Personally, I can't stand smoke. Not in restaurants, not in bars...and not at weddings. Secondhand smoking kills as well...smoking is murder. Period. Full Stop.


Got the following in my mailbag this week: An open letter to R' Matisyahu Solomon (mashgiach of the Beis Medrash Gavoha/Lakewood Yeshiva) in response to his lecture against bloggers at the Aguda Convention. If you haven't read it, print it out and read it when you have time. A word of caution; the Modern Orthodox world/Yeshiva University/OU rabbinate should not smirk at this, because their handling of the Lanner affair and their beit din was just as shameful. Only after a tremendous outpouring of anger did the OU do anything...

Orthomom posts a heartwrenching, yet respectful letter from an Orthodox person grappling with identity issues which appeared in the Jewish Press. A followup post disappoints with the responses in the JP... Important reading.

Many of you commented about the Olive Tree posting and how excited my kids must be. To tell you the truth, this is what happened after I went to the olive press:

I called up son #2 at yeshiva to tell him that his olive picking was successful, since we got 5 liters of oil from this olives. I explained that I drove to Itamar to the olive press, and it worked out well.

SMS conversation from my oldest, about 5 minutes after my phone call

Did you really go to Yitzhar?

No, I didn't go to Yitzhar. What R U talking about?

I knew you didn't go and were just joking.

Huh?

The olive oil.

No, I really did get it pressed...but in Itamar.

Really?

Yes

Are you pulling my leg?

No.

And you really got 5 liters?!??

Yes.

Cool!

You can read all about it on the blog...with pictures :)

Yesterday afternoon, I received an email from my daughter:

Abba, why didn't you put up any pictures of my caravan on your blog? :(

This blog is a no-win enterprise...sigh

The same daughter excitedly announced that she took pictures of a hachnasat Sefer Torah procession, which I agree are definitly blog worthy. Maybe Sunday I'll put them up.

Oh, lastly, a political tidbit:

Dr. Yossi Beilin, the MK from Meretz wrote this week:
We're really good in history. The right-wing opposition competes with the Olmert-Lieberman government over the question of who scares us more on the Iran question; who will cause more involuntary-immigrants not to come, more Israelis to leave the country, and more former Israelis not to return?

This scare campaign is a blatant anti-Zionist act. If Berlin 1938 is here and now, then the conclusion is clear to everyone: The Jews should be packing their bags.

I can't believe this man. How he compares modern Israel, with the IDF, to the Jews of Berlin is beyond understanding. Perhaps he's more Neturei Karta than Neturei Karta -- and that Jews aren't capable of defending themselves in Israel. He's wrong about history as well. As Shimon Peres loves to say, "There isn't anything to be learned from history."

Our Minister of Education Yulie Tamir has just decreed that our textbooks need to remarkate the Green Line, and must stop calling the West Bank by it's historically Jewish name, "Yehuda vShomron" -- and refer to it only as the "West Bank." Luckily, she hasn't cancelled Chanuka yet.

MK Benny Eilon takes Beilin to task as well with an op-ed piece of his own:

He [Beilin] states "If Berlin 1938 is here and now, then the conclusion is clear to everyone: The Jews should be packing their bags"”. If Dr. Beilin were present during the London Blitz, he would have turned to Wiston Churchil and accused him of causing the disaster by provoking the Nazis with his pre-war hysteria.

No, it is not time to pack our bags; it is time to preempt the threat by fighting back against the axis of evil. Zionism is not about packing our bags and running when the going gets tough, it is about collective self-defense.

Israel is the one place in the world where Jews can defend themselves, where we don'’t have to run when we are threatened, where we can face our enemies head on. Yes, we do face threats, but make no mistake about it, the State of Israel can and will overcome.

And on that note, a Shabbat Shalom to all our readers.

Jameel.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

One time I included a character like my 10 yr old son in one of my stories on my blog. My 5 yr old daughter was furious. So I wrote my Simchat Torah flag story just to help her feel included. Now they wrie their own stories on the blog. You are correct. You can't win.
Larry (The Maggid of Bergenfield)

Fern R said...

Equating smoking with suicide or murder is a "slight" exaggeration. There is a big difference between doing something that is really bad for you and possibly bad for the people around you (the science is inconclusive when it comes to second hand smoke) and purposely and instantly ending your life or the life of someone else.

And no, I'm not and have never been a smoker.

PsychoToddler said...

flight

of

ideas

segue, Jameel, segue...

kasamba said...

WOW!!!!
So much info!
-That Shel Siverstein book always did make me feel guilty.

-I second you with the smoking thing. But as the great philospher Rosanne Barr once said, "Be nice to smokers, they don't have long to live"

Ari Kinsberg said...

jameel:

"unphotoshopped picture"

no way this is a legit picture. (is it?)

my family had a hell of a fight with an israeli hevra kadishah over my grandfather's tombstone (i don't remember if they wanted a civil date or an english name on it). not that my family cared, but they felt bad because my grandmother would not have understood the hebrew text.

shabbat shalom

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Larry - make sure you get a blogger login name, so you don't have to leave comments as "anonymous" (and so that people can easily find your blog :)

Fern: Secondhand smoke is inconclusive? I'll have to get back to you with more details.

PT: More like; streams of consiousness...

Qasamba: Once I got started, I couldn't stop :)

Ari K: Yes - they pix are totally real. I'll send you another one by email...

Ari Kinsberg said...

jameel:

i was also surprised at fern's assertions, but i did not call her on it because i have no time to look it up. (Few sights bother me more than when i see parents smoking around their babies or young kids.)

reggarding the other picture of the haredi kid smoking. it reminds me a poster that was hangining in the classroom of my 12th grade tanakh teacher. it was a picture of a cigarette that morphs into a shovel. the caption: מאפר לעפר (or something like that).

shabbat shalom

Anonymous said...

Shel Silverstein's stuff has always weirded me out big time. I could never see why people liked it so much. That book especially was both creepy and depressing. Her work must appeal to a certain type of sensibility or taste, but it sure aint mine!

mevaseretzion said...

The Giving Tree is an example of how not to live The boy is unthankful, and the tree gives everything. However, the book does pretty well describe the feeling that parents can have if their children do not know how to be thankful. You still give, even though you know it will not turn out well.

I love your post today, Jameel. Let's see Benny Elon and people like him in control, and not fear-mongers like Beilin. Better, let's set up a muqata pledge drive to raise money for a one-way ticket for Mr Beilin to go live in Europe for the rest of his pathetic life!

Shabbat Shalom, everyone.

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Anonymous said...

i actually like your mixed post!
:-)

good points on the giving tree -
you're right about the lack of hakaras hatov -
that bothers me more than the ohter disturbing factor....
of the tree feeling the need to give until it is laid bare.

About the 'giving' -
On the one hand...the most wonderful thing in life is having the ability to give and doing so...

it is something that is almost difficult to overdo..because we really do grow and exist in a greater capacity through contribution...
But,
I think it becomes detrimental, when
1- when what we give detracts from who we are
and
2- when we cause the taker - to lose 'self- value' - by allowing him/her to become selfish

also enjoyed the 'pointers' in your posts to other letters..

Thanks!

-towik

Sara with NO H said...

Aww the giving tree! I haven't seen that book since I was a little girl!

Oh and I have to admit, I saw the Little Shop of Horrors too, and FEEEEEEEEEED me really is the best part of the movie. I have yet to appreciate the idea of blood and gore at the dentist. I hate the guy enough as it is...

elchonon said...

i am a past smoker, used to smoke a pack a day..

I think from now on when I get bored I will SMS you! ;)

Anonymous said...

ABZ book. We have it. I just let my 9th grader read it. He was definitely a sick dude. OTOH kids really love that stuff. I sang the Boa Constrictor song to my son today (he's 7) and he couldn't stop laughing and asking me to sing it again. It was the "slurp, gulp" that got him (from _Where the Sidewalk Ends_, tune by Peter, Paul and Mary).

What ever happened with the law to outlaw kiruv? Is it still on the table?

nikki said...

on last night's "the heir," uri geller devoted the last few minutes on-air with a passionate stop-smoking plea, complete with disgusting exhaled-tar-stain-on-a-tissue-this-is-in-your-lungs moment. i was very surprised, happily so, to see all those grossed out faces as the camera panned the audience.

Anonymous said...

*ahem* ....

I like the scene that comes after that one ... the one with Bill Murray.

Those kids with the cigarettes is kinda freaky. What are they, like 6?

Avi Shafran Speaks said...

http://avishafranspeaks.blogspot.com/

Ben Bayit said...

A new collection of shel silverstein penned songs was out out last year
http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:5077gjvr56im

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