Tuesday, February 27, 2007


One week until Purim, the big question is what costume am I wearing. Traditionally, I wear a cowboy hat and go as my real self. This year I am thinking about going as a shochet, but I doubt I am actually going to.

Number 2 is in a concert tonight. This is her first concert, so she will now be a concert pianist. It is actually only 1 song, but we are very excited that she has agreed to do it. She's generally very shy and we wouldn't force her, but we were able to convince her.

I gave a lift this morning to the guy who had asked me for help in fund-raising for our girls school. We hadn't talked about it in a while, so I asked him what the story was. He said there is no need anymore because we got a ton of money from the foundation that was giving out money to fix northern institutions in the aftermath of the war.

Well the Hizballah and the histadrut are talking war again. Israeli intelligence says that the Hizballah is not ready for another war and would prefer to keep it quiet. According to media reports, they are building a new stronghold south of the litani river and expanding their infrastructure.
The histadrut has decided to shut down Israel again, and starting tomorrow, unless an agreement is reached (and it won't be), the trains and planes won't be working and a number of other crucial services will be disrupted as well. I am in favor of paying workers, but there has to be a better way to get them paid then shutting down the airport. Airport workers are getting paid. It is municipal workers in certain cities who haven't gotten paid in a long time.

My parents are supposed to arrive on Thursday, but now we're not sure if they will make it or not. I suggested that they do it the old way. Fly to Cyprus and get on the Aliyah Bet boat going near the coast of Haifa. Then get into a small boat and try to make it to shore. It worked in Exodus.

I think that along with every pulsa denora curse against a prime minister, 2 should be made against the head of the labor union.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Busy day today.
My little brother had a baby boy, Purim bris. As I said to him, "Lets hope the shochet isn't drunk." Actually, the bris will be taking place in Jlem, so it is not purim for them. Our purim plans have changed, we will probably be feasting in ramat bet shemesh. Maybe I can score a drink with Rafi G.

We had a couple yeshiva boys up for shabbos from Jerusalem. At the end of shabbos one of them asked if there were any graves nearby that were worth visiting. Our entire region is filled with the graves of pretty much every tzaddik in the book. But he didn't have a car, so there was no way for him to get to Shmaya and Avtalyon, who are resting in peace about 10-15 minutes away.

Our tiyul on Friday was excellent, we went to Nachal Galbon (Jalba'own). The weather was perfect and I am sure the children learned more then they would have learned in school. Especially during Adar, where they dance and have shtick more then class. We walked through a former Syrian military camp and down to the first waterfall, Mapal Devora. We then heded upwards to the other side of the bank to the ancient village of Daburah. This was a Jewish village in the time of the Mishna and the Gemara, they found the address of R' Elazar Hakapar's bet midrash, written in Hebrew when we redeemed it from the Syrians in 1967. The address stone is now located in the museum of Katzrin, so we didn't see it this time. The village was very cool. It was basically ruins, but we saw how houses used to be built, and I showed the children what a shared chatzer was. It was like a walled city. But there were a bunch of them. You walk into a doorway and then there are houses inside with a big courtyard.

We went back down towards the waterfall, and then crossed over the river a number of times walking on rocks, following the red trail. At one point I left the wife and kids to head back to get the car and meet them at the exit point. They saw 2 more waterfalls and had a very steep climb up from the wadi.

I highly recommend this tiyul, but it is well worth reading up the history before going, so that you understand what you are seeing.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


My old secretary would have known what the weather for tomorrow would be. And if she didn't know she would have checked for me. In any case, I found the weather forecast on ynet and it is supposed to be hot tomorrow. This is good because I was planning on taking the family on a tiyul instead of sending them to school.

We haven't decided exactly where we are going yet, but I would like to go see some waterfalls. During Sukkos we went to Nachal Iyun (in Metula) and all 3 waterfalls were dry. This might be a great opportunity to go back and see them full of water.

In Israel news, everyone's favorite billionaire Gadyamak (prounounced Giddymak) started a new political party. The news reported that he told Olmert to be very afraid. Gadyamak is not planning on running for public office himself, but will have a strong hand in developing the platform. I don't know if I would vote for him, but I don't like any of the other parties either. Lets wait and see what his platform actually is.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

trippin' hate

On my way home today I was tripping down memory lane when my thoughts were suddenly invaded by a certain person who I was once good friends with. The total feelings of utter hatred and contempt rose in my chest and surprised me. I had forgiven him for the sin of being alive more then 10 years ago.
It led me to the question of can you hate someone who you have forgiven? If you still hate him maybe you didn't really forgive him. So I called my sister, who is one of the few people who would understand that question without needing any explanation.
She felt that you can hate someone who you have already forgiven and it is still a full forgiveness. Her reasoning was that while you have forgiven a specific act that the person has done, the person isn't going to change and what you hate is the way this person behaves, which will continue with or without your forgiveness.

I'm not sure I agree with that. When I forgave him, it was before Yom Kippur and I said "I forgive that jerk, but I still wish he fell off a roof and was still alive to feel himself get rolled over by a truck." In any case hatred is very powerful. As it is said, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to the dark side." In the newer movie (which I haven't seen) Yoda says that hate leads to suffering, but in the original he stated correctly. Hate leads to the dark side.

Another question I was thinking about is why this person invaded my thoughts. Does that mean that an event had occurred with him, so his presence was stronger in the universe or was it just a random occurrence. A lot of people from the past came to me while I was driving and for the most part it was a very pleasant experience.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Adar

It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to write. I've turned into one of those few people who actually spend his whole day at the office working and who has time to blog when they go home.

One of the funniest things I have had the opportunity to hear is a business meeting in English by two high level people who don't speak the language very well. They certainly made themselves understood, and we are talking about very smart people, but the way they used the language made me feel very good about my Hebrew. They didn't have much of a choice in the language, it was a Swede meeting with an Israeli who made aliyah from Russia a long time ago.

It is the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar and that means that it is time to get ready for Purim. Last year my favorite costume set in our village was a husband and wife. The wife was M in english and אם in Hebrew. The husband was wearing a couple pillows on his stomach and he was P3 in English and פי שלש in Hebrew. For those who don't get it, think again.
We have a great theme for our shalach manos this year, but I'll probably just put on the old cowboy hat and go as myself.

I haven't been by the Muqata in a while, so I haven't seen what the plans are for the jblogosphere, but I plan to check it out later on today.

Last night I saw a movie that I truly enjoyed called Bulworth. It's about a senator who hires a hit man to kill himself and then endears himself to the black community of South Central LA. If you haven't seen it yet, see it now.

In Israeli news, the chief of Police quit half an hour before he was supposed to be fired. He said he was taking personal responsibility. That brings out memories of "you can't fire me, I quit." Now the head of the prison service will be the head of police and the deputy head of police will be the head of the prison services, the music stops and this country is just as screwed up as it was before the music started. Oh and the head of the tax authority quit, he's being investigated for...tax evasion.

I think I saw a skit like this country at Second City once.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Now that I am driving to work, I have started downloading MP3 shiurim to listen to on the commute.
I heard a great shiur on kabbala and golus by Rav David Bar Chayim of Torah Light. I really enjoyed it and it definitely was on my wavelength (which sme people would say is odd). It is about an hour and a half shiur, but it is well worth it.
I'm currently downloading the daf yomi for Megilla. If I can make the time to actually go over it inside as well, I will have a much better understanding then I have been until now.

Monday, February 05, 2007

army tremp

This morning I gave a soldier a ride from tzomet Achihud all the way to Nesher, a suburb of Haifa. He got in my car and heard the shiur on the cd player and immediately put his hand in his pocket, pulled out his kippa and put it on his head. He asked who the rabbi was and I told him it was Rav Elon, and his response was, "He's the best".
The shiur ended with a great connection between last weeks haftorah and this weeks parsha (not just the yisro relation angle and not the shira). Barak told Devorah that she would have to go to war with him or he wasn't going to go. This is because he didn't want people attributing the victory to him, but to God with the people's help. This is the reason why Yisro came to the Bnei Yisroel, according to rashi, because he heard that God was working with the people. In that same way when Yael the wife of Yisro's grandchild heard that the Jewish people miraculously beat the Canaanites, she went to the other side and killed the final Canaanite general who her family was aligned with.
After the shiur, we started talking about computers and he asked me if he could call me in the evening to help fix his computer. I told him that he should find a teenager who loves computers and he would be fine. I dropped him off without giving him my phone number because he didn't have a pen.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

religious or something

According to Walla news (sorry it's in Hebrew, I haven't seen the story in English yet), Rav Elyashiv has instructed the heads of girl schools and seminaries to ban entrance to any girl whose parents use a "non-kosher" cell phone. The idea of "kosher" cell phone is to remove the Internet/tv/(camera??) features of the cell phone so that it cannot be used for viewing inappropriate material.

They have not gotten to the level where the phone automatically disconnects if a boys voice is heard on a girl's phone, but don't think that is far behind. And no, it doesn't matter if it is the father calling his daughter. It is bitul torah to talk to your daughter in any case.

Why is it that every time I hear news from the Chareidi world, I thank God that I moved to a dati leumi community?

On the other side of the spectrum a non-religious yeshiva opened up in Tel Aviv. No it is not for people who want to become religious, it is for people who want to stay secular. It aims to give over Jewish culture without Jewish religion. Sounds Greek to me. They have not formulated a policy on cell phones yet, but I imagine that they will only allow people in who use their cell phones in inappropriate ways to counter to negative publicity of inappropriate cell phones.

On my way to work this morning I listened to a Rabbi Mordechai Alon shiur on parshas Yisro (I haven't fallen so far off the derech to say Yitro yet, but one more chareidi news story...) So far I've listened to 45 minutes of it and he has talked entirely about the haftorah of last weeks parsha. The connection is there as the girl who kills the bad general (sisro) was married to one of Yisro's children or grandchildren. It will be interesting to hear how he brings it all together. I guess when you give a parsha shiur for so many years it becomes hard to find some connection that you haven't already used.

Friday, February 02, 2007

no bukser for me

Happy Tu Bshvat, New Years day for the trees.
This Tu Bshvat, I thought about playing God and pronouncing death sentences on certain trees that I was planning on cutting down this year. You know the whole "who will live and who will die, who in their time and who not in their time..."
In any case, I did some of the who will be born and I planted two cherry trees, one sour and one sweet. The guy in the store told me that they were three years old and that he had them for 1 year. I went straight from the store to the rabbi to find out when i could eat the cherries, if they actually grow. After some quick negotiation, he gave me a one year dispensation and said I could eat them Tu Bshvat 2009. This is because the flower pot they were growing in had holes on the bottom and the flower pot was sitting on the ground outside the nursery. The guy who takes care of it is not religious and therefore generally would not be believed for the purpose of religious issues. However, in this case, since I had already bought the trees before asking about their history and he had absolutely no reason to lie and he is ind of the "expert" because he takes care of trees the rabbi said he could be considered somewhat reliable.
So y'all are invited up for cherry pie in Feb. 2009.

Have a great shabbos