Monday, September 24, 2007

Daily Rant and Chant

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Teaching is a privilege and a blessing.There is no "but" that I wish to add to that statement. The other day I told someone I work with that he's unusually nice and even keeled in the way he deals with people. He asked me - "..But?" He was sure there had to be a but. But that was the whole message I wanted to tell him.

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When I say that I feel like the tiredest man alive I mean no offense to those who with good reason are actually tireder than me. I woke up at 7 this morning, which - in a twist of fate that sometimes feels cruel - is late. How can one be late that early in the morning? My day was saved by a true friend. True friends are an amazing thing to have around. I recommend everyone get one. And a Dust Buster.

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On Motzai YK Rav Schachter gave a shiur in the YUBM and then Rabbi Reichman headed up a singing session with two guys on guitar. I live in a good place. Thank G-d.

Rav Schachter mentioned how when the GRA was told that you should start building a Sukka right after YK he began learning the masechet from the start where it talks about building the Sukka. When he finished the elaborate shiur he said that the GRA went on much longer but people were tired after YK so he'd call it a night.

The presentation involved the reasoning behind why a Sukka can't be over 20 amot high. And he addressed the case where someone raises the floor to make the schach within 20 amot. The question is if that helps and the answer depends on whether or not the added floor is permanent. And then the question becomes how you define permanent. The discussion included several parallels to tum'ah and taharah. While discussing tumah and taharah, Rav Schachter told a story about the YUHS recently using the Museum of Natural History for a fund raiser and how a wall had to be built especially for that night to section of a displayed dead body in the hall being used so that kohanim could enter the room. The next morning I went up to the principal, who is an old friend, and asked if he was a kohein. I told him I knew because Rav Schachter had mentioned it in the talk. The principal then mentioned how kind Rav S was in investing a lot of his own time into the situation.

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Today I bought The Ode Less Travelled. The author was, if I'm not mistaken, one of the performers on the original - British - Whose Line Is It Anyway? He had me with his opening line: I have a dark and dreadful secret: I write poetry." It was 15% off because of a special sticker they mailed me, plus 10% because of my membership, so - as my father (HSLABW) quipped to me many years ago when I told him about a discounted non urgent item I bought - they were practically giving it away to me.

Today I bought The Shape of Love, a book about water crystals and how our thoughts affect them and what we can learn from this and more. I also bought a copy to give as a gift to someone who might appreciate it. This is not something I know much about or was looking for, but I think it's worth a look.

Today I bought a book called Ease Chronic Pain, which comes with a CD and instructions for using music as a musical massage. I have scoliosis and it can be uncomfortable. So, we'll see what this does for me. It may also be helpful with general relaxation and with worn out feelings and colds. I'll keep you posted.

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Last Thursday our annual teshuva speaker in school was Rabbi Mordechai Becher. He opened by saying that he wanted get the word bagel into the dictionary as a verb. He imagines bagel as the fitting verb to describe what a Jew who doesn't clearly appear Jewish does to a very recognizable Jewy Jew (not the terminology he used) to let them know that they're also a member of the tribe. Like when he gave a guy directions and got the response - hope we don't get lost and wander for forty years like the last time!
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His words got me thinking, because he put a positive spin on something that sometimes gets to me. He seemed to see "bagelling" as a way that Jews announce their pintele yid and reach out (cry out?) to other Jews. I sometimes just see it as annoying and as reason to don a baseball cap disguise (which works surprisingly well to ward off random questions about G-d from strangers in Barnes and Noble). Something to think about. Hmm.
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Rav Aryeh Levine said that "if you can't say no to people, you can't say no to your yetzer hara." Sharp, particularly from him. Today I heard someone point out that we keep promises to ourselves the same way we keep promises to others. Either way, when we say we'll try, we leave ourselves an out.
l

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Met an old college friend on the A train. Wrote this:
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Business, not pretense
Academic with a heart
Old professorial friend
k

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Lately I've been thinking about speech, particularly the silent aspect of it. What don't we say? What does what we don't say say about us?
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Some people announce
everything they see, they think
They announce themselves
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Do you speak your thoughts?
"I have to go meet someone,"
Would I have said that?
[

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I haven't quoted him for a while and want to give credit where it's due. In the words of the late great Red Skelton: Goodnight and G-d Bless.

4 Comments:

Blogger Chana said...

This is so interesting; I just came across a poet who is new to me (although he has been around for a while and is relatively famous,) Mark Strand.

I feel like you would appreciate his poem, "Eating Poetry."

Eating Poetry
Mark Strand

I

Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man,
I snarl at her and bark,
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

September 25, 2007 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks for the comment.

I feel a bit humbled and dumb. I love the opening three lines, then I get confused. What's the meaning after that - the darkness, the dogs, his turning into a dog?

September 25, 2007 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger kishke said...

Proud of our silence.
We're proper, high-toned. But they
are deaf to silence.

September 25, 2007 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger kishke said...

A haiku for Succos:

The fierce winds gather.
A branch is waved, they are tamed.
Succah, safety zone.

September 26, 2007 at 11:30 AM  

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