Thursday, July 02, 2015

An Attempt At An Old School Blog Post

This morning I ate up time getting my internet to work using the sophisticated technique of turning everything off and on again.  For a while nothing was working, then some things were and some weren't. My morning project. This blog was one of the hold outs...

So here I am, in the summer after and before a past year and a next year of teaching.  Thinking about my life and the life of others.

And what of my mother and her soul? Mom has appeared to me recently in a dream, not in a mystical visiting me kind of way.  It was in a well produced independent film based on a true story kind of way.

Listening to WFUV on and off today, Carmel did the mix tape.  I requested Colin Hays' Next Year People.  I think I mentioned him and his new album here recently.  or maybe it wasn't here.  Or it wasn't him. Or it wasn't me.

I recently met someone who told me he'd bought several copies of my book.  That made my day.  Wouldn't that make your day?

Roseanne Cash is wise:
G-d is in roses and thorns,
she once wryly wrote

I am grateful to HaikuHorizons for inspiring me to write haiku, which I don't usually post here, but rather, here, at my haiku blog (almost at 800, poo poo poo).

If being alive and present and feeling and listening and talking and writing are actions then I'm all for action.

Stiff, sharp and pointed
that's the way I feel your words
like a rose's spikes

Jordan Davis, a dear student from years past, just sent me this poem.  It's amazing.  It reminds me of a comment I heard someone make, that we were so busying worrying that the robots would take over that we haven't noticed that they did.

The Glass G-d:
Some thoughts while riding the 7 train home
By Jeffrey Pascal

They sit with their heads bowed to their screen,
A worship of glass, their faces erased.
A city flies by, no matter the scene,
Curiosity’s child now plastic-encased.
Bright minds that once soared, now tethered by wire
Peck at bright spots with fingers a-twitch
To save them from shifting demons from dire
Or run through the woods from Dorothy’s witch.
What sorcerous spell has seized these bright lights?
What cunning pied piper has snaffled our young?
Did we not perform the ritual rites?
Have we forgotten the songs that were sung?
The high sun at noon cost Icarus dear,
The Glass G-d we made eats children, I fear.
Recently when saying Shmosh Esrei's words asking G-d to gather us from the arba kanfot - four corners of the world I had a flashback.  When I was a child my dad used to call tzitzit "Arba Kanfos."  I like gathering these memories from the corners of my life.

I am grateful to G-d that I had Rabbi Pesach Oratz in my life as a guide and mentor for the years that I did. I may have looked like a fool literally following behind him in Camp Morasha, sticking to his words, but I'm so glad I did.  Before I really knew him, in my thirties I learned from him in Morasha Kollel when I was still in my late teens.  And I remembered for years and still carry with me something he said the first time I heard a shiur from him.  He quoted Rav Yosef Engel as explaining "Poteach et yadechah u'masbiah lechol chai ratzon" in a novel way: It could mean that G-d provides all who live with the ability to be satisfied with what they have if they want to be.

The summer, like life, is an interesting time.  And time is a challenge.  I've written quite a few poems about time.  Many of my summer days are amorphous and that's as strong a challenge as my days during the other ten months that feel non stop, with so much packed in emotionally and just physically. that old saying about the best two things about teaching is cynical and untrue.  July and August have challenges all their own.

Speaking of lines that are cynical yet untrue- the one that says, "Man plans and G-d laughs," is also cynical and untrue.  G-d does not laugh at us.  Yes, His plans  prevail, but it's not about his getting the last laugh.  It's about abundant love and what is best for us.

There's always the thorn
in every situation
even rosy ones

I got a haircut today. For the past two years I shaved my beard right before the three weeks and then grew it right back.  Pondering...

I'm going to close this post.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Pesach Oratz - I had him once in high school. that is definitely someone I would have wanted to be influenced by more. Glad you were!

July 8, 2015 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

In Brooklyn? Shulamis?

I'be written about him before -

Sorry you weren't closer. He was very humble, self effacing, and from what I hear- a high grader/easy teacher to do well with, that many people missed how holy and wise and special he was.

July 9, 2015 at 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't see your reply till now. Yes, to both.

August 17, 2015 at 11:59 AM  

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