Sunday, April 06, 2014


11 AM - I never know what to write, or where to write it.  Let alone what to say, when and where and to whom.

I left my home at about 8, got here to Staten Island -  at about 10:30 AM.  Just the 2 of us.  Dad's got "the news shows" on. I don't quite get these shows.  Someone just said that money is speech and lots of money is lots of louder speech when it comes to politics. Yet, they quickly added that today no-one really listens to speech, they'd rather read tweets.

I'm reminded about the Seinfeld routine in which he says how his father is in front of the TV every night to watch the news no matter what. He wonders if his father is preparing for a call from the Pentagon: "Mr. Seinfeld, we know that you've been watching the news for 50 years.  Since you're an expert we'd like you to come to hill and advise us on some things."

11:12 AM - Had enough on my Metro card for the bus ride (6 dollars) and enough on it for the return ride.  Brought a roll of quarters just in case because I didn't know what was on the card. I was happy to find that on the back of the card was "Poetry in Motion:"

11:20 AM - The news is on.  Bob Shieffer is holding court. Who will run? Who will win?  Will there be an immigration bill? When? How does Jeb Bush relate to all this? What about "Bob" Gates? And now commercials - Buy Mercedes Benz, it's the best thing ever... Get a reverse mortgage with AAG, it's the best thing ever...

Bush has a new hobby, and he's not bad at it imho.  Here's the Times' take (this link make not work, or be truncated eventually). Here's an interesting opinion piece on the matter.

12:16 PM - Been talking with dad, sitting together before the big screen TV on the big grey/blue comfy couch.  We oscillated between serious talk about life to watching McLaughlin and talking politics, and and and. 

12:23 PM - Now we're watching this PBS show about Israel and the Jews, way back when.

12:38 PM - Just took Do Unto others  off my brother and sister in law's livingroom shelf. I gave and inscribed it to them in October 1998 with the words "My hunch is that you will enjoy this book. Shanah Tovah! Love, Neil." I think if I'm pressed to pick one of the 50ish that I own I'd say that this is my favorite Rabbi Abraham Twerski book. My brother told me that he realkly likes it too. It is filled with stories that are followed by to the point morals like this one:

"If you cannot accept help, you cannot give it either."

1:09 PM - There's a commercial on now with various men named Ronald McDonald saying how much they love Taco Bell.  And then one for a Buick- about how it's so good now it doesn't even look like a Buick. I'm not sure how smart that Buik commercial is or isn't.

1:15 PM - There's an English Rav Kook Hagaddah here in the house that came out in 2005. It starts out with some interesting introductory comments.

Though it's the holiday of freedom we are not free to celebrate it any way we want.  there are many rules to Pesach.  And there is a set structure, an opening Seder that kicks it off.  This is representative of our view of freedom in general.  We are freed by rules, but are not free from rules.  Everyone must follow the order of the Seder, yet no two Seders are the same.  Similarly everyone must keep the mitzot, yet no-one's traditional Jewish life looks the same.

1:57 PM - Kadesh - Rav Kook notes that this is written as an imperative and in the singular form. Every one of us is implored to sanctify ourselves.  Rav Kook says that there is a specific focus to this sanctification.  The first mitzvah given to the new Jewish People was to sanctify the new month, that is- to sanctify time. So, Rav Kook says the sanctification we're to work on at the start of and throughout the Seder is the sanctification of our time, our lives.

2:23 PM - I made scrambled eggs and lox for lunch. "Special orders..." We watched the Knicks come back.  At half-time we discovered Chopped Canada.

3:43 PM - Rav Kook says that it's not enough to not be enslaved in order to be free. Freedom means enjoying life within the proper context.  that's why the Seder is not simply a prayer or a ritual for the Synagogue or home.  The centerpiece of the Seder is an aesthetically pleasing lavish meal, celebrating our loly freedom.

4:23 PM - I found a channel that's having Doris Day Day.  I don't remember ever watching The Doris day Show.  It seems to be precursor to Mary Tyler Moore. It's cute and doing the trip to help me stay awake... Doing some schoolwork and learning... Trying...

4:57 PM - Basketball is on, though I have the option to put on whatever I like.  We'll see. Que sera, sera. 

Rav Kook says that the idea of Hillel's putting the Matza and maror together is that we don't simply recognize exile and redemption and separate entities. Suffering and freedom and parts of the same whole, there is no one without the other.  by putting the two together we represent how they can each only be fully accepted and understood when taken together. (From Light of Redemption, By Gideon Weitzman, based on the writings of Rav Kook.

5:03 PM - I'm  going to get the 6:30 bus.  Going to eat dinner and hang more before heading home.


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