Wednesday, August 31, 2005

one problem with disengagement

I was on a high, writing every day about something that interested me, that fueled my passion for writing. Disengagement was a battle that could be fought against by bloggers. Helping people mold their opinions. I probably should have come out for it because I have heard from a couple of readers that they read my opinions and immediately decide the other way.
Now the disengagement is over, at least the first stage, and I am finding it hard to get excited about more mundane topics. Sure, there is more disengagement to write about, the lives that have been broken, the success stories, the corruption, the lost innocence... But this is not a disengagement blog. This blog likes to cover current topics of all sorts and the disengagement is not current anymore - it is so last week. Like get out of Tel Aviv and start your life, for crying out loud. In my opinion they should move to Tel Aviv and start a nice outreach group. After a couple weeks the Tel Avivians will be demanding that we take Gaza back and send these settlers away.

But until that happens, I am going to have to come up with fresh topics that I find interesting. It is just hard to do after a rush of disengagement adrenaline. As with all adrenalines there is a down period until the next spurt. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some new exciting topics over the next couple weeks.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

picking berries

This friday we went blueberry picking in the Golan for our weekly tiyul, which I have finally roughly translated as outing. This was the last Friday of summer vacation for the kids and the last week of kids before my wife's vacation, otherwise known as school. It's hard being a fulltime mother in the summer because you get absolutely no time to yourself. Once the kids start in school she's going to try putting together and selling gift baskets to the natives. Hopefully that will put a couple more shekels on the table.

Before I go any farther, what kind of idiot calls a suicide bomber in beersheva an "indication that the Palestinian Authority must take proper steps against terror." The BBC reports that as coming out of the mouth of the Prime Minister's spokesman.

That was my rant for the day. Back to the blueberries.
So we headed out towards the Golan on a beautiful, sunny day. We decided not to take the bnos yaakov bridge this time and instead headed on the brown Jish road and upwards towards Kiryat Shemona. We passed through Lahavat haBashan and I told my children about Og, King of Bashan. I told them how Moshe was 10 amos high and his stick was 10 amos high and he jumped 10 amos and rapped his ankle and the giant fell down dead. My older son (not that he is older then anyone but his little brother) especially enjoyed that story. I don't know if Og was from this area, but there is also a gemara that some Amora found the bones of Og somewhere near Tiberias and walked 3 miles and still didn't come to the end of his hip bone. (I may be slightly incorrect on the details of that story)
I don't really know if Lahavat Habashan has anything to do with Og or not, but I feel that one of the great educational opportunities in living here is telling my children stories about the Jewish history that happened in all of these places. Whether it is Taanaic, or even biblical, it doesn't matter if it is really true, as long as it is possible to be true. And what isn't possible.

We also drive by the Chulda Valley, which is very famous.

The blueberry picking itself was fun, we ate a lot of them and then brought back a container full. My wife made a blueberry pie for shabbos (yes we took off truma and maaser beforehand this time) which was delicious.

For those who are wondering about the halachos of truma and maaser when in an Israeli U Pick orchard (Jewish owned), this is what my friend said the rabbi told him.
You can eat off of the trees without any problem. But if you have a basket then once you put it in the basket it is like completing the process because you already paid for it. Therefore if it goes in the basket, even if you are walking around with it, you can't eat until you take off truma and maaser.
I have issues with that ruling because you pay for free access to it all and it doesn't matter if you eat 1 or 100, so obviously you are not paying for the blueberries with the admission fee and therefore it is not gmar malacha. I'm going to speak to the rabbi about it this week, if I have a chance.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

the lighter side

Posting about Disengagement issues is fun because it makes me think and put into words how I feel about the issue. But there is another side enjoyable side to posting, a blog was originally a weblog of things found on the interesting with the bloggers comments on them.

On today's ynet page they speak about a tradition among the local students to have sex on Ben Gurion's grave. They interviewed someone who said while he, personally, has never had sex on Ben Gurion's grave, his close friend had.
"One friend told me all about it," he said. "He called his girlfriend and asked her to come with him that night to the graves. Two hours later, he came back and told me what they'd done."
Can you imagine that. A guy decides it is time so he calls his girlfriend, who is probably not ready for this yet. They get over to the graves and just start talking, maybe having a beer or two (that's what southerners everywhere do in graveyards) and suddenly she was like, Oh my god. is this ben gurion? and his wife? I need some now.

Somehow I just don't see it.

Ben Gurion's grandson thought it was great, and suggested that his grandfather would approve.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

what next

The forced eviction of gazan Jewry from their homes has been completed. The towns in northern Samaria are just about empty. There is a world of hurt felt by people who feel they were betrayed by their country. The soldiers (at least those with a conscience) who were given orders to evict these people are going to have nightmares for the foreseeable future. The Israeli government is going to fall as soon as Sharon says that he has finished throwing people out of their homes, as that is all his Labor partners are interested in.

What next? Do our people need time to heal? Is the rift in Israeli society between the religious and secular bridgable? If these evictees move into the West Bank now, are they asking for more hurt?

This past shabbos a friend (religious zionist) told me he was not ready for comfort yet. This was shabbos Nachamu, the shabbos of comfort. I told him that he was wrong. Jews aren't allowed to stay depressed. Look at the Arabs who have remained in refugee camps for 57 years and compare that to Jewish people who within 1 week of having the bais hamikdash destroyed, 1 week after the greatest tragedy that could happen to the Jewish people, we have the shabbos of comfort. Because we have to get on with our lives. You would think for a tragedy that big, we would need time before we are ready for comfort. You might think that it needs to settle in first and that you have a right to stay depressed until you are ready to reenter society. We learn from shabbos nachamu that we are not given that time. We have to take what has happened and accept that it was decreed from heaven. On tisha Ba'av we read about the 10 martyrs, the midrash tells us that Rav Yishmael the high priest went up to heaven and asked if this was a real decree, when it was answered in the affirmative, he and the other 10 accepted it. That is not to say that it was not a tragedy. It was a tragedy and because of reasons that we do not understand, God decreed that a tragedy had to happen. So we cry over the 10 martyrs, and within a week we have shabbos nachamu to say no matter how bad you think it is, we have to stand up and continue our lives.
It is true on the personal level as well. No matter how distraught you are over the death of a loved one, comfort has to start the same day that you bury the person. In pirkei avos it is written, "don't comfort someone when their dead is lying in front of them." However, as soon as the dead is buried, the mourner has to come out of his cocoon and reenter society. There is a mourning period, but it is a reentering filled with comfort and talking about the deceased. And after a week he has to get up. He may continue mourning for a long time for his loss, but at the same time his official mourning time has ended and now its time to get on with life.

Monday, August 22, 2005

a day in the fields

I now look like a redneck, having been out in the field working in the sun all day, my neck is about as red as it can get. Talk about an physically exhausting day.

We didn't build greenhouses like we were supposed to. We got to the Mavrichim mishtala area ,right outside of Nitzanim, at around 11 and were split into 3 groups. I was part of the heavy physical labor group (along with Rav Boaz Cohen, who said if I write his name in my blog he would find it). We carried iron tables to put plants on, once they are built, and iron gates for some other purpose. I realized what lousy shape I am in, and after a little more then an hour couldn't walk another step. After that we decided to move on to less strenuous work and carried trees from a truck to their place in the mishtala. It was still strenuous, just there were no iron bars digging into your hands as you tried to walk on sand.
After about an hour we emptied two truckloads of trees and I went back to carrying the iron fences for another 45 minutes or so. After that I decided to take a break for a little bit and instead of very physical labor, I got a pair of scissors and trimmed plants for 2 hours. At least that was partially in the shade.
We left at around 5, after being there for a good solid 6 hours. I was a little bit dehydrated, though I had been drinking on a regular basis - apparantly just not enough.

This place was taken down from Jewish Gaza before the eviction and that it why it was ready to go. The owners planned this in advance, having accepted the reality of what was happening, even though they were unhappy about it.

I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish:
1) Not to just complain about the problem, but be part of the solution
2) I taught my children how to behave by my actions
3) I helped the former people of Gush Katif, who I felt needed to be helped.

It was definitely worth the vacation day that I took, I feel like I did my civic duty.

Friday, August 19, 2005

nitzanim ho

The Rock of Galilee has sat for too long, contemplating the help that needs to be given to the former residents of the gush katif. I have commented on what needs to be done and have not done a thing.

Sunday that will all change. I am heading down to Nitzanim with the Maalot faithful, only men and teenage boys are invited, to help build greenhouses. I am looking forward to being part of the solution instead of just another armchair criticizer/commentator. This is a historic process where the northern Jews of Israel go help the southern Jews of Israel.

While we may be Zacks, we certainly don't have the problems of the North Going and South Going Zax. When we hit a problem we help each other through it instead of standing there staring at each other for 59 years.

(For those of you who do not know the story of the Zax, read it now.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

there is hope

My little sister (26 and available if you know anyone) told me a couple days ago that she was heading down south to the disengagement after disengaging from my parents who were here visiting. I called her yesterday late afternoon to find out if she was in jail yet.

She surprised me.

She was not only not in jail, she hadn't even tried to break into gush katif. She was in Nitzanit where a lot of the families were evacuated to. She went there to volunteer to help out. The idiots running the place said they didn't need any more volunteers and she should come back in 2 weeks when there might be something to do. Thankfully my sister has at least some degree of intelligence and went out to find people who needed help. She found a family that moved from a nice sized house in South Central Gaza to a tiny little caravilla that wouldn't hold most of their stuff. She and her friend helped wash the floor and straighten and then played with their kids for a while. They then went off in search of more people who might be able to use a little help.

This is the light of klal yisrael shining through. We take the drek and try to put a positive spin on it. Instead of being miserable and bitter that people are causelessly getting thrown out of their homes, doing something positive. You have to take a lousy situation and put a smile on it in order to survive, and that is what we're doing here.

I'm proud of my little sister. You can read her blog to get first hand accounts.

BTW, does anybody want to bitchslap Yossi Sarid? What kind of idiot says publicly, while people are being thrown out their homes, that he feels they should apologize to the arabs who terrorized t

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Protest and the National Religious

Legitimate protest has its limits.
Until the implementation of the disengagement plan, actively protesting it was a requirement of everybody who felt the plan was unconscionable from a moral, diplomatic and/or political standpoint. Calling on soldiers and policemen to disobey orders before the plan is implemented is also valid, though I don't know if it is wise. After the implementation starts and a number of communities have been evacuated already, the odds that the government will change their minds is nearly impossible. This means that any further protest will at best push the withdrawal off a couple more days. After removing a number of communities it would be next to impossible to stop the process, apologize to the evacuees, and continue where they had left off. Standing on the side in solidarity with the evicted settlers is also legitimate.

This begs the question, what are 8000 extra people doing in Gush Katif right now trying to fight off this evacuation? It is going to happen in any case, now is the time to lick your wounds, retreat and begin a strategy of how to win the next fight or how to turn this into a PR victory for your side. Active resistance at this point is futile. It will just hurt you in the future as media pictures will show crazy settlers who are fighting reality and further public opinion that these are not good people who just lost their homes and deserve public smpathy. These are psychopaths you were just there to harass innocent arabs.

The problem that we are facing here is a crisis of the national religious movement. The national religious has built their identity around Zionism and the land of Israel. If the modern State of Israel is indeed the manifestation of the redemption and the government of Israel is the legitimate government of the redemption then there is a major problem when they start behaving in a manner unbehooving of a redeemed Jewish nation. The hesder soldiers joined a Jewish army, not an Israeli army, and therefore they have to refuse to do anything against Jewish law. The Bnai Akiva youth movement has based their entire philosophy that the state, as we see it today, is the legitimate Jewish government of the redemption and therefore it cannot accept anything that stands against it.

There seems to be a crisis of faith amongst the national religious and there is a reckoning amongst many now on their base Jewish philosphy. I have heard from more then one person, that he is now realizing that we are still in galus (exile). I was in a shul where they did not say the prayer for the State of Israel, because of the political situation. The next couple months may be one of reckoning, as the terrorists run wild and free in the Gaza strip. We can only hope that the moshiach is on his way and will arrive soon. Although he may delay, we await his imminent arrival.

Monday, August 15, 2005

a real tisha b'av

You've heard the stories and the superstitions that Tisha B'Av is a bad day for the Jews, both spiritually and physically. We don't do things during this time of year, because the assumption is that something will go wrong. Mr. Murphy (of Murphy's Law fame) owns these days. Well I have to say that we met Mr. Murphy yesterday as we attempted to leave Jerusalem in the early afternoon, as the sun beat down upon us with a hellish heat.
I left kinos just before the 3 hour rule ended. For those of you who don't know, the 3 hour rule is the amount of time possible to spend in shul if it is not yom kippur (or similar). I went to get my wife and kids who were playing with my mom in the rova. We packed everything up and then I got my dad from shul to say goodbye to us all. It looked like even he had had enough of shul for the day. But there was a/c in the shul which gave a pretty good argument to continue with the kinos.
We walked to the car, parked on the second (farther) Har Zion parking lot because we couldn't get a spot in the old city on Friday and the first parking lot was closed. The sun is mercilessly beating down on us and we get to the car and realize that we don't have the keys. That this should be the worst thing that happened. I walk back and get the keys, while everyone else waits in the shade. Finally, we pack up the car and say our goodbyes. By this time it is after noon, so it isn't considered that taboo to leave. We start driving and something doesn't feel right. I pull over and lo and behold, a falt tire. There was a screw deeply embedded.
Thank God, a local Jerusalemite walked by and offered to help. While I didn't need the help, changing a tire is really a one man job, I accepted after telling him that I understood if he didn't fast day and all. Then the gas station didn't accept the credit card so we used all our cash to put in half a tank. After that the trip went fairly smoothly. (Other then being completely drained because of being in the sun for so long). We went to a mall in Haifa and let the kids play in their play area for two hours, and then they got kids meals at burger ranch (The girls got purses as their prizes and the boys got batmobiles) and they were pretty much happy until we got home.

I'm back at work today and not worse for the wear, so I can't really complain. I told my kids that this was gam zu l'tova to give them an education, though I'm not sure if the Tisha B'Av satan was just out to get me in a Iyov (Job) like fashion.

My daughter asked me to sing another tisha B'Av song after I stopped singing the first one. My wife thought it was inapproriate to sing, "the roof is on fire" song (even though I changed the words to "let the Bais HaMikdash burn"), so I didn't sing it out loud.

In the end the maple pecan rolls were excellent.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

southward towards jlem

We're making this a very travelsome summer as we head back down south towards Jlem for a final get together with my parents before they leave the holy land flowing with milk and honey and make the arduous trek back towards the land of the free and the home of the brave.

On our way down we will be stopping in Tel Aviv, for a birthday celebration/hafgana. Celbrating 55 glorious years for mom and protesting the withdrawal from the Gaza strip. Apparantly, if you don't throw in a good hafgana it just isn't worth getting older. The celebration will take place at Apropos Alexander, the same Apropos (I believe) that got blown up a little while ago. And I suspect the rally will be in the same square where Rabin was shot. How ironic would that be. A protest of his policies on the hallow ground where his life was meaninglessly ended. It would be like pissing on his grave. On second suspicion, I suspect that the rally will be held somewhere else. Nope. It was just confirmed, the rally will be in Rabin Square.
This is the first hafgana that I am taking my children to. I think they are a little young for this and would prefer not to bring them, but we don't really have a place to put them as we will be in transit from the northwestern galilee, so they will gain this experience. I don't imagine there will be any violence. Maybe a cop slamming someone's head into the ground or trampling a random protester with a horse, but other then the police we should be perfectly safe.

We're going to spend shabbos camped out with my parents in the old city once again and then sunday morning bright and early after kinus we're going to head back towards maalot. Conceptually, I would have liked to spend tisha b'av in the old city. It would be very emotionally powerful to sit at the wall and cry over the destruction of the city. It is, however, impractical with 4 children who are not old enough to understand and need constant attention.

I will probably not be posting before tisha b'av again. The question of whether the long exile is ending or whether the redemption has already started is one of the primary debates between the national religious and the "ultra" orthodox. A good number of the national religious are now feeling, what with the current situation, that the modern state of Israel is not the face of the redemption. This is seen in shuls where they have stopped saying the prayer for the state of Israel and rabbis who are encouraging their students to get an army exemption and not join a hesder program.

I want to leave you with these words of comfort: May God comfort you along with the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

ramifications of the withdrawal

It might be thought that sitting here in the Galilee, a four hour drive from south central gaza, the withdrawal from Jewish Gaza strip would have little to no real effect on me. The argument may be theoretical , based on a conceptual right or wrong, rather then a feeling that it will directly effect me. Nothng can be further from the truth.

Just to get a picture as to the way the police have been trained to deal with the citizens who pay their salaries, read this article by ynet detailing how a training exercise was stopped because the police were being too vicious to the soldiers they were training with. After the disengagement, these police officers will return to their home cities, including those here in the Galilee, with a new understanding in the brutal methods they can employ against citizens who get stopped for a traffic violation. They have seen that the punishment for a senior officer telling his men to "shit on them like you know how" was simply that he could not be part of the disengagement anymore.

Aside from this being a training ground for our police to learn new methods of "permitted" violence, we have to worry about our buddies across the border, the hizballah. Now when we moved here one of our stated reasons is because we prefer the Hizballah to all the other terrorist groups opperating in the country. This is because we have a good understanding of how they operate and what drives them. As it is written, "Know thine enemy." We are slightly concerned that a barrage of rockets will be on their way towards us, what with all the security forces in the country hanging out in the south trying to evict 9,000 Jews from their homes. Hizballah knows how to play the game, both politically and militarily.

When it comes down to it, the ketyusha is the father of the kassam. Hamas saw how the mighty ketyusha drove the imperial zionist from the land of the lebanon, and decided to employ the same tactics to remove the zionist from the shores of the gaza strip. Guess what, it worked there as well. I somehow don't see this stopping. Remmeber that the stated goal of the arabs is not a peacefull palestinian state coexisting in economic harmony and brotherly love with Israel. On the contrary, the stated goal is to remove every Jew from this side of the Mediterranean. They have declared exactly what they are doing many times in various public forums: A little piece here and a little piece there until they are weakened enough to actually lose a war. They realized after a number of wars that they can't win that way, so they are getting into poisition for the next war. Oh. and Egypt is putting troops on the "demilitarized" border to they can "help" with the palestinians. CAN ANYONE SAY TROJAN HORSE?

One big problem for us is that our car has been drafted by the armed forces in case they run out of tanks. I was surprised to hear that, but in case the last tank gets shot up, I am supposed to drive my minivan to the supermarket parking lot where it will be sworn in to service and shot at.

In short, this is the middle of a big mess that should have been cleaned up a long time ago. We Galileans are rightfully concerned.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The day after

While I am very much against the disengagement plan, I think we have to be practical about it, and discuss what to do if they actually succeed in judenraating the gaza.

There are tons of plans for preventing the expulsion. Block up the country on expulsion day, because there are no police there to do anything about it. (won't make a difference)
Everyone go down to gaza and take an active part in civil disobedience (may work, but they're expecting it)
Fight with the police and army (Bad idea from all perspectives)
and so on.

One of the anti-expulsion propaganda reasons is "don't allow them to make people homeless, taking away all their hardwork and their livelihood" I thought about this and thought, what happens if that actually happens? If they get disengaged, is that the last we hear about them? It better not be.

We need to start planning for their reemergence. These are the Israeli heros who have spent the last couple decades on the border, facing conflict both from within and without in order to protect us and to protect our land. I would hate to see these people become refugees, as happened to the arabs who ran away and pledged Israel's destruction in both 1948 and 1967.

We need to make sure that these people are integrated into new communities, that there are job opportunities available for them. We can't rely on the government to help them. The government is the ones who are doing this to them. We need to find venture capitalists who are interested in helping out. We need to help them start businesses, in their fields and give them back the pride that is being taken away. We need to have support available 24 hours a day, so they will always have a shoulder to cry on. Government specialists be damned. We need people wearing orange shirts saying "we love you guys and appreciate what you did and who you are." We need training seminars for those who want to switch industries, money available for the entrepreneurs and food and warm shelter available for those who just aren't going to make it.

Instead of disappointment, which will be there, we need to have a heros welcome for these pioneers who are now going to be integrating back into society. There should be a banquet where they are recognized for their acheivments.

And it should all be done by people wearing orange shirts, not posturing government politicians who were part of this disgraceful eviction. And no. bibi should not even be allowed in the door.

Monday, August 08, 2005

to be or not bibi

What does netanyahu think people are going to do with his resignation on the eve of the disengagement? In the next elections they may look at him as a hero who could not stomach the thought of giving land to terrorists for no reason at all other then they want it. They may vote him in as leader of the Likud and he may become the next prime minister.

Have y'all stopped laughing yet?

Netanyahu voted yes for disengagement.
Netanyahu gave away Hebron
Netanyahu signed the Wye accord.
In all probability, if Netanyahu became prime minister tomorrow he would lead the disengagement and say he had no choice. spineless coward.
All thinking individuals know that he quit now, when it wouldn't make a difference to anyone in the world just to give himself a rightist spin. He could have stopped the disengagment a couple months ago, when it would have really made a difference. He could have denied funding for the disengagement in the budget and gotten fired for being principled, but the low-life spineless coward Benjamin Natanyahu waited until it made no difference whatsoever and then quit.

What a jerk.

Even if his 4 Likud buddy ministers resigned with him, it wouldn't make any difference at all. At this stage, unless the prime minister stops and calls for new elections right now, he has the implicit support of meretz and the arab parties, probably Shinui as well. I would love to see Sharon relying on the support of the arabs to pass the disengagement bill. I don't know what would prevent him from just shooting himself at that point.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

shfaram shoot up

Does the shooting up of a village of potential terrorists deserve to make the news? Did Shimon Peres have anything to do with it? Should potential terrorists receive aid when a Jewish man given a gun by the Israeli army shoots them or their families? Should Israel check into the resulting lynch that occurred after the man was already handcuffed?

I feel that the answer to all of these questions is yes. Potential terrorist is a term used for all those people who believe in the way of the terrorist but have not yet acted on their impulses. We see from the Torah example of Yishmael, the grandfather of terrorists, that people are only punished after they have actualized the evil potential that lives within them. Even though God knew about the future Kasams, Ketushas, suicide belts, explosive cars and more, he still gave Yishmael water to drink, because he judged him only based on his current life. That being said, the people in Shfaram were still innocent at the moment.

But what did Shimon Peres have to do with it, if anything? We know from the Rabin story, that he will do anything to get power, and if he can blame it on the right wing at the same time - all the better. Has anyone ever looked into exactly how much money he made off of Rabin's death? Or how he fits into all the conspiracy theories? In any case if you think about it, you will realize very quickly that Peres has the most to gain out of this type of shooting. Money from Europe will come pouring into the Peres center for peace. He will get a ton of publicity as the primary peace monger in Israel. The publicity will help his bid for the Labor leadership which he is campaigning for right now. How did he do it? His shabak people ignored the guy's family when they warned them about a posibility like this occuring.

The state obviously shares responsibility for the act of killing potential terrorists because they were killed with the state's weapons by someone on the payroll of the state. The state also drove the person to feel the need to do this with their illicit disengagment. To drive someone to the brink and allow them to keep their weapon is irresponsible. I see it as no different then if he got mad at non-potential terrorists and shot them. Therefore the state is responsible to give aid to the families of those killed. I feel it should come out of Shimon Peres' salary, or the family should receive shares in the casino that is being built in Gush Katif by the Israeli's who are pushing the disengagement. That way at least the family would profit from the disengagment which brought them so much sorrow.

The question of investigating the lynching is also a no-brainer. I can understand the people their being upset. I would also be upset if someone took a gun and shot up my neighborhood. Once the person is arrested, especially after being handcuffed, the vigilance is done. There is no call to lynch the person and I feel the community should be censured for that and those responsible brought to justice. There are Israelis sitting in jail right now for the same type of behavior. After apprehending a terrorist, they beat, shot or otherwise harmed him. This is understandable behavior, they got a guy who tried to kill them, probably not the first time. May have been directly responsible for killing friends or loved ones. So the beat the crap out of him. Israel, as a law-abiding country says that is unacceptable and throws them in jail for a long time. The same standards have to apply to the potential terrorists as well. We cannot afford to dehumanize them and say, what do you expect from potential terrorists. They were angry and if a potential terrorist is angry that it is ok for him to behave in a manner unbefitting the human race. We must find those responsible for this evil lynching and tell them that they were wrong, that they are human and that they must sit in jail for a very long time.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

ATM for singles???

I just want to know what ynet was thinking when they posted
Today's Singles article
. Ok, we all know that women are crazy. That is not the issue here, however "She pulled a Bonnie and Clyde on rituals that protect her, and like a horny prisoner just released from prison, she rudely shoved the ATM card into slot" seems to be a little too much.

I've been in Israel for 2 years and I have never lost a card in the ATM machine. I don't pray before I put in my card. I don't gently feel up the machine first (what nice buttons you have), there's no tongue involved or anything and I have certainly never felt like putting my card in the machine was going to do it either for me or for the machine. In fact I think it generally works the other way. The one putting it in is the one who pays, not the other way around.

In any case, if you are single and happen to meet Karin Arad, the author, it shouldn't be that difficult to get some serious play from her. Just be nice and make sure you don't shove it rudely into the slot.

office move

I transferred offices, or rooms as they call it in Israel, today. I graduated to a bigger office with more desk space on the new 5th floor of our building. The problem is that my back is still towards the door. I hate sitting with my back to the door. For one, you never know if someone is going to walk in and shoot you in the back. That has always been a concern for me. The second issue is that people walk by your office they can see what is on your computer, so you have to constantly make sure that only the appropriate stuff is on your computer screen. So I'm relegated to blogging and reading the news during lunch. I like to go over some daf yomi during lunch, but recently we've been having construction and I can't hear the guy on the Internet go over the daf with all the racket. My new office is right next to my boss's office, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. There may be some status in this new move, such as moving up to the executive floor, but I don't know if it can be quantified as that yet.

Most of the important things have already been taken care of on the new floor, such as a well stocked fridge in the kitchen. The kids have a small office with a computer and cable tv has not been hooked up up yet on this floor. I've only brought a kid to work once, because she had a dr appt in the area right after, it's good that we have a very child friendly environment.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

disengagement and belief in god

I missed my bus yesterday because I was finishing up some documentation and when I looked up I was 15 minutes late. So I got a tremp down to the bottom of the hill and got a bus from there.

When I got in the car, the driver asked me if I was for the disengagement or against. I said against. He joked, I'm pro - get out of my car. I asked him why he was pro and obviously he asked right back why I was against. I explained that I didn't see any advantage that we would gain and that we were running away from the terrorists and they know it. They have already promised to continue to shoot at Israel as they see that rcokets work. Our disengagement is an encouragement to them to fight.

He asked, but what if it leads to peace? I told him that this is not part of a peace plan. We are not even getting a single worthless promise out of them. All we are doing is throwing good people out of their homes, gaining nothing and losing a lot.

He then asked if I was a believer. I was confused as to his meaning (problem with translation), but he explained that if I was dati (religious) I was probably a believer in God. I agreed. He then said that if it is obvious that God is letting the plan go through, then obviously it is what he wants. If we believe that everything comes from Hashem, then how can I be against his plan. If God didn't want it to happen, then he wouldn't have given Sharon the ability to do it.

I explained quickly (because he had reached my destination and I had to get out) that we believe that God gives us the power to change things. That is what prayer is all about. If God does something thatr you don't like, how can you pray, obviously this is what God wants. The answer to that is that we have to do our part and show God that it means something to us. If in the end it happens anyways, then we have to accept it, but that doesn't mean we should just accept things as they come.

At that point I got out of the car, not being convinced that he was right and not convincing him that I was right. Or he may have decided I was right and travelled to Sderot, but I doubt it. I may have convinced him that religious people aren't as fatalistic as he originally thought.

It was good to see that people with completely opposing viewpoints can have a rational discussion about it without getting upset at each other, no yelling, name calling...

The 6:30 train actually came on time, which I took as a sign from God that he was happy and that the conversation was probably the reason I missed my bus. My family waited for me for dinner and it was a good evening, all in all.

Monday, August 01, 2005

the lord in the wall

Some people feel that the lord makes the Western Wall holy. Other people cannot see the lord in the wall. But it is there. If you look towards the upper center of the exposed part of the Western wall you can very clearly see a capital L. You have to ignore it. Right next to the ignored letter there is a lower case l, which may look like an uppercase I to the untrained eye. After the lowercase l there is an obvious O. right after that is a lowercase r. The r has a little hook on the bottom, and that is to give reward to those who see it anyways and punishment for those who scoff and say it is not an r. This is similar to the reason why God made nature seem so natural, so that scoffers have the ability to say, there is no lord. If it were obvious, there would be no freedom of choice. Finally, after the r is an upper case D.

Tradition has it, that this is the spot that the lord's presence was felt the most during the time after the bais hamikdash was destroyed, but before the mosque was built. There are 2 traditions as to how the word lord appeared on the wall, in the exact spot that the lord's presence was felt. On commonly held view is that it was chiseled by Reuven ben Chaim, a known sculptor in the second temple era, as the second temple was burning. He felt that as God's house was burning, he would make a new temporary home for the lord close by until he could have a new house built. The second tradition is that it appeared miraculously one day as a beaten and battered woman was standing at the wall pouring out her heart to the lord. She finally cried, lord, show me your sign. When she looked up, she felt some light debris fall on her face and then she saw the word lord engraved in the wall. There were eyewitnesses to both accounts, so it is possible that they are both true, and that after the second temple was burnt, the word lord was covered by dir and debris, which wasn't knocked off until after the woman's prayer.

Until Eliuyahu Hanavi comes and clarifies, I suspect that it will remain a question in some people's minds of the exact significance of the lord's name.