Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ranting Again

As mentioned in my earlier posts, ranting is a prime reason to have a blog, so here I go. If I pay for a month of phone service, I want the full month. I'm sure you'd agree. I am really mad that I have to pay full yeshiva tuition and they have random half days, and every erev and isru chag off. If the yeshivos want us working parents to be able to pay full tuition and then some for the people who need scholorships, they need to realize that we who have to be at work need to be at work full days, every day and on time. Otherwise, please provide daycare if you can't provide a classroom. If your're having half the month off for chagim, be selective on the erev's and isru chag. I would argue that Rabbaim have more time to prepare being that their job's are less hourly. Give me my moneys worth. Please!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shidduch Crisis?

Last week, my wife and I took our kids to Liberty Science Center. There was an obvious shidduch date there, and I asked my wife why the guy couldn’t leave his hat in the car. Does wearing a hat during a date make you a more “desirable” commodity? Have we come to such stupidity? I asked my neighbor “Gilmour” (so dubbed by Jacob Da Jew) his feelings, and if the shidduch crisis was somewhat manufactured by our own stupidity. He agreed that much of it is. He told me of a girl he knows who broke up with a guy because the guy rolled up his sleeves. I can understand looking into a prospective mate. My Rav told me his wife checked him out during davening to see how he davened before they got married. What’s the silliest reason you know that people break a shidduch?

Artscroll words of the week

Sorry for the tardiness, but the Artscroll words of the week are from last week’s parsha (Re’eh) from the Stone Chumash on page 1000.
1. Homiletically- A: relating to, or in the style of, a sermon or homily. (Encarta)
B: relating to the art of writing and preaching sermons. (Encarta)
2. Verdant- green with vegetation or foliage (Encarta)

Have Thesaurus will travel!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frum Stuff

If you ever read my first post, I think you'll get the idea that honest discussion doesn't exist in the "frum" community at the level that it should. I think this article in vos is neias relates and is interesting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bitten Again

While dropping off some lasagna at Jacob Da Jew’s home, I had to take the time to just chill in the really nice yard he has. I was also privileged to meet frumpunk. Da Jew’s got a nice setup, and the baby is really cute! The only drawback was getting nine new mosquito bites inside of 15 minutes. While schmoozing, we had sent our kids in to hang with Jacobs kids, and some of my neighbors kids who we took with us to visit the baby & “Mrs. Jacob Da Jew” because sometimes adults want to have adult conversations. (We being my other neighbor “Gillmore” who was thoughtful enough to get some beer to go with the lasagna). My son who is 9 going on 20 informed Jacob’s Mrs. that “We were sent inside so my dad and his friends can talk about inappropriate things and use inappropriate words”. The words, as those of you who know me are not inappropriate. I almost never use objectionable words because I don’t like them. I guess I have to work on his Lashon Harah a bit. What do you do when the kids don’t want to hang out with the kids anymore? And more importantly, how was the lasagna?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Anonymity For Everyone

This post is a response to the jblog stuff that’s being espoused by experts (here and here for example). My feeling is that blogging is a way at this point to:

  1. Rant.
  2. Be anonymous. Lion of Zion even asks in his comments “Please make up a name instead of signing "anon."
  3. Ask questions you’d be a little hesitant to ask. Jacob Da Jew
  4. Read a D’var Torah you’d be interested in, and ask those questions that your high school rebbe would sigh about.
  5. Rant.
  6. Make a point without fancy English. (When I find a good Artscroll word of the day, I post it)!
  7. Find a niche
  8. Did I say rant?
  9. Praktise speling skls.
  10. Learn how to think. Let’s face it, the more you write, and re-read your own work, the smarter you’ll be. Writing really helps you organize your thoughts. I think that’s why I like the children’s book “Dear Mr. Henshaw” .

Feeling Chicken

Is it just me, or is everybody else just as squeamish when it comes to Kaporos? I was reading an article about PETA starting it’s “war” on Kaporos and it got me thinking. In this great age of technology, why not have “Virtual Kaporos”? A simple flash program could be made to have chickens flying in circles. You could in theory choose and customize your chicken, and have a list of tzedakas where the value of the chicken you create is automatically sent to. The program could even help you with the brachos, yehi ratzons etc… For more chicken fun click here here and here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to Brooklyn

Why be normal?

So my neighbors came back from camp today, and they looked so great for about two minutes. I asked what the problem was, and they said that they were sad to come back to Brooklyn because everyone in the camp was normal. To be specific, they said no one was a faker or judgmental, and everyone was genuine. There was also a noticeable lack of characters and weirdoes. I was glad to hear that in a setting for children, the camp lacked Machers, Hockers, uniquely scented tzedakah collectors and so on. Personally, I like weirdoes because they have the most introspective and interesting views about life in general, and Judaism in specific. I don’t like being accosted for tzedakah when I go to daven Mincha. Once or twice is OK, but why should it be acceptable for people to shove wads of cash into my face while I’m davening and expect me to give them more? I do sympathize with some of them, but there has got to be a better way. I wonder how much the average collector makes in a day. I also always wonder what minyan they daven with. Getting back to the subject, I’d have to agree that out of town is better than here sometimes. But where else can you get a shawarma at 1:00 in the morning?

Vacation 2

Vacation part 2.

So here is the rest of our vacation. As I said in my last post, we went to the Philadelphia zoo. It’s a good place to go because it’s big enough to be a real zoo, and small enough that you can do the whole zoo without being exhausted at the end. I also like zoos that have lions, tigers and bears. I always feel that the Prospect Park, Queens, and Staten Island zoos are a let down because there’s such a lack of animals. Also, we went early. This is always a great idea because by the time the zoo gets packed, and the heat of the day hits, you can be on your way home and still feel you got what you were overcharged for. A note about the hippos. My kids have an “Uncle” who comes over to our house a lot. One time we were all out for pizza, and my kids were playing with a claw machine, and won this stuffed hippopotamus. They started showing my friend the hippo and just saying “hippo-o-o-po-o-otomuuuus”. This eventually led to my friend (my kid’s “Uncle”) starting and ending conversations by saying –Hippo! Good morning-Hippo! Did you get my e-mail-Hippo! Good Shabbos-Hippo! Of course, it gets a little annoying to the kids, that’s really the point, but it’s a part of my kids’ fun. Of course, we now email and photo anything having to do with a hippo.

We went to the Franklin Institute for the second day, and there was a hippo’s heart in one of the displays. (Of course, we sent a picture to him!). On the subject of the Franklin Institute, we did the whole museum. They had a really nice exhibit of a pirate ship, the Wydah . The display was really cool and informative but not for kids. I was really happy to ride on the steam engine. It moves for about 10 feet. My son got to “drive” it by working some of the controls with “help” form the conductor at the museum. It’s actually been there since 1933! Truthfully, they could use an update to make more interactive stuff, and there is plenty of technology that could be used to enhance older exhibits, but all in all, it was a great air conditioned place to be on a 90 degree + day!

Next, we were off to . We all like it better than Sesame Place. It was like someone took Sesame and squeezed it all
together so you didn’t get exhausted going from one end to the other. The price was better too!

The last place we went was . The place was immaculately clean, and the kids had a great time. I really liked that the Strasburg railroad rumbles right through the middle every 20 minutes or so. It gives such a “country” ambiance to the place.

This week, it’s back to school. What did you do on your vacation?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vacation, Lakewood, Carlbach

So we went to my parents for vacation...
Now I have to admit, going home is always a trip. One of the things that I really like (aside from the familiar and mostly comical fights) is the sheer amount of food my mom makes for us. This is really touching considering how picky my kids are. She really tries, and I get to be the beneficiary of many delicious foods, and leftovers ( I like leftovers until Tuesday). On another topic, my shul is one in a older section of town. I was asked, as were a few others to make this weekend work to be here because of the lack of people for a minyan. This led to a weird but enjoyable Friday night. Someone who knew of the shuls minyan woes invited his brother in law, who asked to please daven Kabalas Shobbos. He also is a "Carlbacher". He told us straight out that he would only sing Carlbach, and start with Ydid Nefesh, which my shul never sings. He had a very pleasant voice, and I enjoyed him. The person next to me who was visiting from Lakewood did not seem to enjoy this kind of davening. He kept on asking me when we should start dancing around the bima. I pointed out to this guy (whom I know from when he was born BTW) that he is a Levi. I reminded him that when the Third Bayis comes, it will be his job to sing and dance. He did not seem to appreciate me pointing this out. I also have to point out Mr. Lakewoods little boy. This boy is one of a set of triplets, and was very cute. He asked me where my beard was. I feigned shock, and started looking around for it. I asked him if it was under the bench, maybe someone cut it off while I wasn't looking and hid it under one of the benches. He then told me that shuls don't have benches. I assured him that he was correct and that he and his father were sitting in a pew. This was enough to send him running out of the shul to play with his brothers outside. Last, today we went to visit the Philadelphia Zoo. I really liked the variety of animals, and it was a good size. I really liked the hippos!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Today’s Artscroll phrase of the day comes from Page 35 A2, Note 10 in the brackets. The gemarah is talking about women swearing that she did not yet collect or receive her Kesubah. The woman in question swears using a weird phrasing, even after Rav assured the practice of swearing in this circumstance. Ok, enough. Here it is:
[As found often in the bible, an oath can take the form of an elliptical statement witch omits specific mention of an implied curse].
Encarta: elliptical
1 - mathematics in the shape or pattern of a geometric ellipse
2 - grammar relating to ellipsis or containing an example of ellipsis
3 - extremely concise in speech or writing, sometimes so concise as to be difficult or impossible to understand
Have thesaurus will travel!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today’s Artscroll word of the day: trousseau – The bride uses the time between kedushin and nesuin to prepare her trousseau. Page 34A2 Note # 17.

Encarta says: Trousseau- a bride's clothes and linen, especially items such as nightgowns, underwear, blankets, and sheets, that she has collected during the period of her engagement.
Have thesaurus will travel!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

While looking at , I was caught at the idea of a jblogger complaining that jbloggers are mostly whiners. My take on that is a weird one. When I was a kid, I was always told that when moshiach comes, there will be a shofar blast heard by everyone. As I got older I wondered what this really meant. I started to feel as I got older that none of our collective problems (agunah, get, Israel (pro or con), sinas chinam..) could ever be broadly addressed because there was no forum for people to get together. I do know that the “Yeshiva World” monitors us. Could we collectively come up with better solutions than our Gedolim? I doubt it, BUT, at least the ideas are being presented and debated, and you can be sure that as a greater “kol” goes out over the jbloggosphere, people who never would have listed to an idea because of what another person looks like ( ) may actually read an idea and think about it. This could foster communications, and possibly create some achdus where none existed before. Maybe instead of the internet being an evil place, it is our shofar blast, causing us to collectively listen to each other-hopefully B’Ahavah.

Todays words..

Todays Artscroll words are:
1. potsherd - this is a translation of the word "CHERES" in todays context meaning a worthless document. Page 32b1 note 6.
Encarta says-a fragment of pottery, especially one found at an archaeological site
2. forestall - yeah, I know it only means to stall
Encarta says-to prevent or hinder somebody from doing something, or something from happening, by acting in advance.
Page 33b1, note 1.
Have thesaurus, will travel!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Post Tisha B'Av

What did you break your fast on?
So it’s all over. The 3 weeks, the 9 days, and Tisha B’Av. What have I learned? First, that I’d rather break my fast on a bowl of chicken soup than a tuna patty. Also, it’s difficult prepare food on the fast for after, but I’m thinking that it makes it harder, and so I realize that maybe I’m getting more “points”, after all, Tisha B’Av is not supposed to be an easy or happy day.
Bar Kamtzah
On that note, someone pointed out to me something I was thinking about. The story is presented to us to point out that it was the lack of concern for others feelings that put us into galus. It was pointed out that the worst part was that the Gedolim of that generation, due to Kamtzah’s wealth, ignored the problem and didn’t protest. My question is, without naming people myself, have the attitudes of our Gedolim changed? I can think of a number of people who “get away” with various things in our community due to their financial position. Giving tzedakah is great. If they didn’t to it, who would, but does that excuse bad behavior? More so, does that excuse our Gedolim for not saying anything? I know, you’re thinking “maybe they get talked to in private”. It’s possible. I myself have been at schmoozim that it’s obvious who the schmooze aimed at. I just get the personal feeling that it’s not enough. A non chasiddish friend of mine was talking about a Bobov wedding he was recently at. When a certain part of the now broken dynasty walked in, a number of guests, in unison, got up and walked out. Is this the way we are mesamayach a Chosson and Kalah? And if the respective Gedolim are acting like children, who should say something? I for one don’t want to see us get another divine lesson. The ones we are currently suffering are hard enough for me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's 8:00. I have a headache. Could I have survived exile and no food? I don't think so.

Tisha B’Av thoughts.

This year, Tisha B’Av fell out on Motzei Shabbos. I know it’s not nice, but I was happy to have flieshig before the fast. I’ve never been a big dairy person, and I was able to come into the fast w/o being really hungry.

When I got to shul on Motzei Shabbos, I was busy looking at the different types of “Tisha B’Av” chairs people had. I remarked to a friend who had bought in a webbed beach chair that I remembered the webbed chairs we used to have in my back yard. They don’t really make them any more, most chairs are made of resin. I remember my dad having these big rolls of webbing material, and he would make me repair the busted chairs every year. We never did manage to pull the darned stuff tight enough, and the chairs always sagged through to the ground when we sat on them. We also tended to run out of one color and use another color halfway through. It gave us these bizarre green and orange chairs. We must have had a whole shed of half webbed chair frames that didn’t close properly. One day my mom tossed them all, and got resin chairs, and that was that. My dad wasn’t to pleased, but my brothers and sisters were perfectly fine with it.

Regarding Eicha and Kinnos, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a lot more from my Rav about keeping in mind present tragedies and specifically, tragedies in Israel. He mentioned Merkaz HaRav, and the fact that we accept dead soldiers back from terrorists, and still, we don’t “get it”. Apathy is easy, of course. He was good about explaining the Kinnos, and although we skipped quite a few, the ones we did say had more meaning. At one point he asked the Kehillah to say the Kinnos with a bit more feeling. I think he felt that mumbling the Kinnos does not make you cry over the loss of Israel. If you say it like you mean it, it may come to have more meaning. He also pointed out not to be so happy when we see the Western Wall, but rather lament and try to understand that it is a remnant. There are muslims praying ongoing today on the site of our Bais HaMikdosh, and it is easy for us to think of that as our norm rather than an abomination!

If any of you out there have good ideas of what to do with the kids for next year, let me know. I had a tough time balancing how I wanted to present the day to my son. At what age do you really put the day in perspective? Davening is hard enough for kids (and adults). I found that sitting on the floor for Kinnos did nothing for him, even though he had learned about the day and knows what it is. Maybe some kind of program. Who knows…

Artscroll’s word of the day: This comes from the Daf on Shabbos, Page 29 A1, note #9-

The Gemarah hermeneutically derives… I personally use hermeneutically in my every day speech. Don’t you?

Hermeneutically: serving to interpret or explain something. In other words, the gemara derives derives… Have thesaurus will travel!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The way I sees it!

Welcome to my little blog. This blog will be snippets of my life, as seen through my eyes. I chose the name because my mother in law tells me I’m “frummer” than I was when I got married. I don’t think so, but my views have certainly matured. The Falling Down part is because I see frum Judaism becoming so lost in the details (case in point a hechsher on raw fruit as pointed out by FrumSatire). Does this mean I hate the frum community? No. I just think that by towing the line, the Yeshiva world is doing itself more harm than good. Keep your eyes open for my favorite summer hypocrisy-doing teshuvah by keeping your distance with anything to do with loving Israel.

The way I sees it

So I made a blog. Hurray for me. Here are my thoughts of the day. As each person decides to write a blog, and more and more people express positive and negative points of Judaism, especially without the fear of being ostracized. More and more people are exposed to a greater and more free feeling of what “frum” should really mean. This can have two effects. It can cause people to get upset, and write nasty responses and comments furthering sinas chinam (oh, the evils of the internet)! The second effect is creating honest dialogue and thoughtful interaction, spurring achdus. I believe that the Yeshiva world is monitoring what the jblogisphere is doing, and is nervous. Not because they are power hungry, but because they don’t like “non experts” putting out their views, and in some case their opinions. Halacha is often open to interpretation, hence Bais Shammai & Bais Hillel. True, we pasken like Hillel, but Shammai’s reasons should be examined, don’t you think? BTW, watch for future posts on Artscrolls word of the day. The authors, who do a really good and difficult job with translation become fun in the commentary. Have thesaurus, will travel!