Sunday, March 25, 2007

Only in America

A few days ago I found in my mailbox a flyer from my Assemblywoman announcing the special New York City Sanitation Dep't garbage pickups on Erev Pesah. For many years now, the City is going to the trouble and considerable expense of special Sanitation pickups in Orthodox neighborhoods just so we can have the hametz out of our sight by the zman ha-bi'ur. Never mind that garbage bags set out on the curb for the next scheduled pickup are probably not halakhically in our possession anyway. Can you imagine anything like this happening in Poland, Hungary or any of the other benighted tyrannies of Europe from which our parents and grandparents came, and for which some of us seem to pine for so badly? And to think that some people who hold themselves out as religious Jews debate the permissibility of cheating on one's taxes (where do they think the money for those special pickups comes from?) and stealing from the government. Meshuga, no?

Spring has sprung!

Good bye winter; you will not be missed!
Hello sunshine! Longer days and warmer temps. Soon we will see green busting out all over. Playgrounds full of kids in all sizes, shapes and colors. Runners, including yours truly, out in the streets and parks in shorts and tank tops. Waking up to pleasant bird song.

54 years young

For us, it's the season of geula. The first geula from Egypt and the current geula that we, barukh Hashem, were chosen to witness. Perhaps it is more than coincidence that God wakes up the earth (in the Northern Hemisphere) at the same glorious time of year that He wakes us up from our long national nightmare. Hag Kasher v'Sameah!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eli A. Shiv repents

Bulletin from Shushan News Service 15 Adar 5767:

A shake-up of epic proportions is unfolding tonight at the headquarters of Rabbi Eli A. Shiv. A spirited Purim party was going full tilt when the 93-year-old rabbi, often referred to as a "kalte Litvak," began shiv-ering. Like many buildings in Jerusalem, Rabbi Shiv's yeshiva lacked central heating. Frantically, his gabbaim searched under all the pillows in the yeshiva's dorms for forbidden science books. Triumphantly, they ran into the party room with a few handfuls of contraband, which they tossed into the fireplace to gleeful shouts of "burn baby burn." No sooner did Shiv thank his gabbaim than Magilla Gorilla came rushing in, knocking over some bottles of Absolut Shtuss and waving geneological records just unearthed from the archaeological dig at the ruins of King Ahashverosh's palace in Iran. "So you are my long-lost cousin after all," exclaimed Shiv as he embraced Gorilla, "but how did you get this out of Iran?" "Simple. I just told them that the scrolls prove that the building King Solomon built in Jerusalem was really a temple for Allah Yidden." A little tipsy, Galilee-O from Tzfat began prancing up and down, "It moves, it moves!" "What moves, you drunken fool?" "Earth moves. Earth moves." "Nonsense. We heard that already from Kopher-nik. Anything Kopher-nik says is poppycock." "Viagra pop your cock then you see Alice. It moves just the same." "It moves just the same," roared Australia Pithecus as he bounded to where Rabbi Shiv was sitting by the fireplace, warmed by the crackling books. "You think Galilee-O is horny? Wait till you hear this." He whipped out a shofar and blew the loudest tekiah ever heard in the yeshiva. Rabbi Shiv's jaw dropped from fright. The gabbaim exclaimed in unison, "Wrong Yom Tov." "No," said Pithecus. "Right Yom Tov. Yom k'Purim. Yom k'Purim. Rabbi Shiv, I'm fed up with you sticking a knife in good people's reputations. You have a lot of teshuvah to do, and you don't have much time left, so you better hurry before you join me in the Land Down Under." The books stopped burning and Shiv began shiv-ering again, from fear as much as cold. "Voos iss doos? Voos iss doos? We're all going to die. Gabbaim! Saddle up your fastest horses and fan out over the land. Me'ah She'arim. B'nei Brak. All 127 districts where Eli A. Shiv rules. Gather up all the pashkevils and all the book bans. Bring them all here in one month's time and let us burn them with the hametz.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Don't Get Carried Away

Have a Happy Purim, but remember it is Hatzalah's busiest day. Don't give them any more business; they work hard enough and deserve to spend Purim with their families too. Not to mention the hillul Hashem created when large numbers of observant Jews end up in emergency rooms with alcohol-related injuries and illnesses.
While there are halakhic sources for drinking more than usual on Purim, that does not mean getting drunk. Also, the shulkhan arukh was written before the invention of the automobile. Do not get behind the wheel if you had too much to drink, and do not serve alcohol to children.
Let's all enjoy ourselves, but don't get "carried away."