Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In My Life

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed

Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you

And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before

I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before

I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

In my life I love you more

Monday, July 28, 2008

Joke Dejour from Galicia

Can you say this ten times fast?

‘Fin Ades biz Abisk, trugt a fix a bix in pisk.’

My father could. This is an old Galician Yiddish tongue twister. Try it. I’ll bet you can’t. If you cant' say that. try saying this ten times fast:

Rubber baby buggy bumpers.

Here are two other great ones:

She sells sea shells by the seashore.


I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit. And on the slitted sheet I sit. (My all time favorite!)

Vantage Point

I rented a movie last night called Vantage Point. It was about a terrorist plot surrounding an American President attending some sort of peace initiative with Arab leaders in Spain.

The presentation of the story line and plot was somewhat novel. It kept repeating the opening scenes where the President is seen being shot which was followed by some explosions. But each time the scene repeated it was from a different character’s perspective. And with each new repetition the timeline was a bit longer and more of the story and plot was revealed.

This movie was definitely action packed. It contained one of the best chase scenes ever filmed. Its PG13 rating was probably for violence and language. And as it was used in this picture, the language was relatively mild by movie standards. And there was absolutely no nudity or even immodestly dressed women in it.

Over-all though, it was a pretty forgettable picture. Nothing of substance there. A few plot twists here and there but very little character development.

Despite the gimmicky way it was presented I was left feeling flat. If I hadn’t seen a whole bunch of other action pictures like this before, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. I had a sort of ‘been there - done that’ feeling by the end of the film ...and felt that I could have found better ways to spend my time. But it wasn’t terrible either. For kids aged 12 and up… I think they’d love it. This movie got great reviews, if I recall correctly. I give it a B-.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tnai B'Get

At the end of Parshas Matos, we see Moshe Rabbenu commanding the Bnei Gad and Beni Ruven regarding there request to settle on land on the east side of the Yarden. He agrees but makes them promise to cross the Yarden and fight with the rest of the Bnei Yisroel to capture the land. Ve’Avar Lochem Chalutz Es HaYarden.

The Bal HaTurim explains that the word Chalutz has a second meaning here and refers to Chalitzah. The removal of the shoe a man does when Yivum is refused. Yivum occurs when a man dies childless - His wife must then marry a brother or perform Chalitza with him to sever that bond and then marry whomever she wants.

The Bal Haturim explains that if one goes out to battle in a war, one should write a Get, a divorce for his wife so that she will not have to resort to Yivum or Chalitzah should he die. Moshe required that here and this is what the words VeAvar Lahem Kol Chalutz means to tell us.

David HaMelach learned from that.

The Gemarah in Kesuvos (Daf tes amud beis) explains that according to R’ Shmuel Bar Nachmeni, Amar R’ Yochanan - Bat Sheva was not forbidden to David even though she was still apparently married to Uriah. This is because Beis David required all of his soldiers to write Gittin before going to battle. Rashi explains that this was done in case the soldier would die The Get would be valid from the time it was written. This is called a Get Al T’nai. A conditional Get.

In David’s case, Uriah the husband of Bat Sheva died in battle and was thus retroactively divorced.

However - If this practice was instituted to prevent Yibum or Chalitza, then if a man had had no brothers – or children - it would not be necessary. If he dies - his widow could marry whomever she wants. Tosphos and other Rishonim ask - if that’s the case, what is the point of requiring ‘All’ that go out to war to write a Get? Why the wording “All”?!

Tosephos and the Ramban explain that Rashi did not necessarily mean that a Get was written ‘in case of death’ but I case they do not return immediately from battle leaving doubt as to whether he died. Rashi used the word ‘die’ because typically when someone doesn’t return from battle its because he was killed. But the Get took place even when a husband is taken captive thus freeing her from any doubt.

So why don’t we do a Get Al T’nai today? That’s because of Rabbenu Tam and the Rashba. They explain that Rashi means that a get was actually –delivered- to Bat Sheva prior to battle and not just written Al T’Nai. This was done to prevent her from becoming an Agunah. The Navi reprimands David – not - for taking a married woman… but because this was done improperly by David since he did it in private thus preventing others from courting her. And in my own view this also created a Maaris Ayin situation since his Taking Bat Sheva would have appeared to be taking an Eishes Ish

The Ri M’Paris took from the words of Rabbenu Tam that the Get of a Shechiv Mira - someone who is in a terminal state of illness - should not be written Al T’nai because the fear of error on the part Sofrim an the details of such Gittin. So he Paskin’d that if a Shechiv Mera wants to prevent his wife from going through a Chalitza, he must give her a Get outright without a T’nai. If he recovers he an then re-marry her.

The Marsha point out that in his day a Get Shechiv Mera is given without any T’nai according to the Psak of the Ri MiParis. And indeed Uriah gave Bat Sheva an actual Get and she was a Penuiah - free of any marital bond.

Source: Torah L'Daas

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Quest

Bryn Christopher

I’m leaving tonight
Going somewhere deep inside my mind
I close my eyes slowly
Flowin’ away slowly
But I know I’ll be alright
It’s coming stronger to me
And I know someone is out there
Lead the way
Lead the way
Show me the answers I need to know


What I’m gonna live for
What I’m gonna die for
Who you gonna fight for
I can’t answer that

Verse 2

All my life/love it is
It is all my love
All my life/love it is
I know it is a life to live lately
From above I hear
I hear the sound of them sinkin’
I feel numb, I’m alive
I know I’m getting closer


What I’m gonna live for
What I’m gonna die for
Who you gonna fight for
I can’t answer that


My life has had it’s share of troubles
And now I found a place to go
I’ve said goodbye to all my troubles
’cause now I’ve find my place to go

What I’m gonna live for
What I’m gonna die for
Who you gonna fight for
I can’t answer that

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Girl with an Apple

From Deborah Lipstadt:

There is a Holocaust story making the rounds on the Internet which is clearly not true. It's about an inmate of a camp [a sub-camp of Buchenwald] who connects with a young girl outside the camp. She throws him an apple everyday over the fence.

He tells her one day in May 1945 that she should not throw any more apples because at 10 a.m. the next morning he has appointment to appear at the gas chamber to be killed. This story has so many shortcomings that one hardly knows where to begin.

Let me focus only on the most fundamental one: Buchenwald had no gas chambers. In May 1945 no one was still being gassed. Moreover, Jews were not told ahead of time that they were going to be gassed. The whole idea behind the gassing was surprise and deception.

[There is another version on the Internet that places the camp at Terezin/ Theresienstadt and the author says that they were told to report to a section of the camp the next morning at 10 a.m. and they knew this meant they were to be gassed. But there were no gas chambers in Terezin.]

If you get this email do NOT send it on to other people. Delete it.Not only do we need to be historically accurate for the simple sake of history. But on top of that, this kind of stuff is fodder for deniers.

There are many amazing stories about the Holocaust. Just the fact that some people managed to survive this hell is amazing in and of itself. We don't need embellished and/or false stories. The truth is far more than enough.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Love Hurts

This is one of my all time favorite songs... written by Roy Orbison. I think. This is the 'Nazareth' version which in my view is better than the Everly brothers performance - which is pretty darn good too. Listen and enjoy. Here are the lyrics. Sing along. It'll make you feel good.

Love hurts, love scars,
Love wounds, and marks,
Any heart, not tough,
Or strong, enough
To take a lot of pain,
Take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts

Im young, I know,
But even so
I know a thing, or two
I learned, from you
I really learned a lot,
Really learned a lot
Love is like a flame
It burns you when its hot
Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts

Some fools think of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves I guess
Theyre not foolin me

I know it isnt true,
I know it isnt true
Love is just a lie,
Made to make you blue
Love hurts, ooh,ooh love hurts
Ooh,ooh love hurts

[guitar solo]

I know it isnt true,
I know it isnt true
Love is just a lie,
Made to make you blue
Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts
Ooh ooh love hurts
Ooh ooh...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baruch HaShem

From The Jewish Magazine:

In the religious area of New York, a Rabbi left the pulpit to open up a business. After working very hard for several years and finally making some money, he decided to purchase a new automobile. Upon entering the local new car dealer, he was quickly spotted by the salesman.

"Have I got a car for you!" he exclaimed, unable to conceal his delight at finding an obviously religious man. The Rabbi turned business man, dressed in a dark suit, sporting a long beard, looked at the sales man in apprehension.

"What do you mean?"

"Ah ha," the salesman said rubbing his hands together. "Let me shown you the latest technological advance. An American car with Israeli designed computerized digital commands."

"W-What's that?" the Rabbi asked hesitatingly.

"Come right here and let me show you. You will never believe your eyes." The salesman opened the door of the new and shiny sedan. "Please sit down and I will show you.

"A one of a kind, I tell you. You won't believe your eyes. You see this car has no pedals. That's right no gas pedal and no brake pedal."

"B-But how do you stop and start?"

"Ah, that's the beauty of this, with the Israeli computerized technology all you have to do is to speak and the digital processor will convert your voice into an electronic signal that tells the motor what to do."

"I don't believe it."

"Watch, it's true. This was programmed for the religious consumer. To start, just say "Baruch HaShem" (Hebrew: Thank G-d). As the salesman spoke those words the car began to drive.

The Rabbi, was taken back, "Wow, I don't believe it! How do you stop the car?"

"That's no problem, all you have to say is 'Shema Yisroel' (the prayer declaring the unity of G-d) and the car will stop." As the salesman spoke those words, the car rolled to a halt. It's as easy as can be just say 'Baruch HaShem' to start and when you want to stop just say 'Shema Yisroel'. "

Well The Rabbi was very impressed and bought the car on the spot. Entering the car he said the magic words, 'Baruch HaShem' and the car was soon heading out and on to the local highway. Soon the Rabbi had left the city behind and was looking at the beautiful country scenery. As the car continued, the Rabbi failed to notice a sign saying that the road is closed. As the car continued it went up onto a half completed bridge.

"Oh no! We are going to crash!". Instinctively his feet searched in vain for the brake pedal, but there was none to be found. "What do I say, WHAT DO I SAY!!!" panicking he could not remember what the salesman had told him. His mind was a blank and the car was approaching the end of the unfinished bridge, together with a majestic plunge into a ravine, hundreds of feet below.

"This is the end!" the Rabbi thought. And preparing for death he began to declare the unity of G-d,."Shema Yisroel!" he said, and in a moment the car screeched to a stop with half of the car resting in a tilted manner, precariously over the bridge.

The Rabbi, soaked with perspiration, removed his trembling hand from his forehead, and looked at the miracle and exclaimed with deep feeling 'BARUCH HASHEM'".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The President of Skokie

Ok. This is the big fat Skokie Joke purportedly said by HaGoan HaRav Dr. Chaim Zimmerman.

Aleinu, Asher Yatzar ,and Mamzer were sitting in front of the Eibishter lamenting their fate, each knowing the relatively lowly status in the world.

Asher Yatzer said: Dear God, I feel so bad. The only time people think of me is when they go to the bathroom.

The Eibishter - in his Infinite mercy told him: Not to worry, you will not only be thought of in bathroom situations. You in fact have a high place of honor. The words Asher Yatzer will be said under the Chupah of every Chasan V’Kalla as part of the Sheva Barachos.

Aleinu then piped up with his great lament: Dear God, I am always said on the way out of Shul, in a half hearted rushed way. Nobody gives me a second thought as they rush out the door.

The Eibishter – again in his Infinite mercy said: You too shall have an exalted place in addition to the three time daily Davening. You will be said at the most important part of Davening on the most important day of the year, the Avodah portion of Musaf service on the Yom Kippur.

Mamzer feeling all alone at this point and quite despondent said: Dear, God, I am the lowest of low. The result of one of the gravest sins in Your holy Torah, will I be doomed in eternity to be shunned by all your people?

The Eibishter turned to the Mamzer and said: Don’t worry, I’ll make you president of Skokie.

Ba da Bing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shidduch Resume

Sent by a friend.

Bracha Leah Stern
11 Kew Gardens
Lakewood, New Jersey

Summary and Personal

Date of Birth: 3-4-1989

Father is a yeshiva educated day trader who learns two daily sedarim in BMG. Has been previously investigated by FBI for fraud but never did any jail time. Big baal tzedaka who has been honored byBMG twice.
Mother is a retired BY teacher - youngest child with four brothers and 11 sisters all living off of the Lakewood General Fund and mechutanim from Brooklyn.
Other pedigree relatively clean, except for a 4th cousin, once removed who attended YU and is now a successful Ophthalmologist in Teaneck.

Parents looking for:
solid learner from Brisk or Lakewood with neither a history of college nor foreseeable parnassa plans who will sit inKollel indefinitely.

She is looking for the same

Father willing to support 10years @$75k per year, pending no stays in Otisville.

Dark hair with standard BY hairstyle; 5'4' withdress Size 2(Mother's size after her seventh child: Size 8)

Mrs. Goldberg of Lakewood (25% commission)

Dating History:
Has gone out a few times with no measurable success. Feedback from Mrs. Goldberg points to her having the charisma of a carrot.

Yearbook picture available if requested through Torah channels.

K-12: Bais Yaakov of LakewoodSeminary: BJJPost-Seminary: Online program to obtain teaching certificate fromTorah Umesorah.

Work Experience:
1996-1998: Counselor in several backyard camps in Brooklyn and Lakewood.
2006-2008: Teacher's aide in BY of Lakewood.

Hanhagos and Opinions Checklist (Based on Interview with Shadchan):
Tehillim: completes Sefer once a week while standing in line at Jewish stores.
Mother's use of Sabbath Mode oven: not any more

Rav C. Kanievsky or Rav Elyashiv if his line is busy.

Only with Torahnet filter on Tati's business computer.

Use of a community Eruv:
Never (she's looking for a Brisker, remember?!)

Indian Hair Sheitels:
Only if on sale.

Seat Belt Use:
No, unless pulled over by a female Police Officer.

Reading Artscroll biographies, Yated, Hamodia, and Mishpacha; challah baking; asking shailos to Gedolim about her shidduch difficulties.

Her Preferred Dating Venue:
Airport lounges without visible TV monitors.

Boys She Would Not Date:
Guys without BTEP (behind-the-ear-peyos).
OTD's who have straightened out.
Guys whose Rabbeim believe that the Universe may be older than 5768 years old.
Guys who read Making of a Gadol or any of Slifkin's books.

Ideal Wedding:
Chossen and Kallah adopt demeanor combining themes of Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur.
Eyes-closed Tehillim throughout ceremony.
Kibbudim called up in Yiddish.
Separate everything including parking areas.
Simchas Chossen V'Kallah at 10:30 PM.
No Onlysimchas posting.

Shabbos Table:
White table cloth, no plastic covers, no ground beef or scraping at the table.
Would be willing to live in: Lakewood, Brooklyn, Monsey, Passaic (or Baltimore for a few years)

Music Preferences:
Yeshiva Boys Choir.
No more Lipa, Schwecky, or Carlebach.

Ideal Chesed Opportunities: helping put out cold beer and cholent at neighborhood Shalom Zachars; assisting with mass mailings from Oorah and Kupat Hair.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Banned from Walmart

The following was forwarded to me by a friend. I modified it slightly.

This is why women should not take men shopping against their will.After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart.

Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, my wife is like most women - - she loved to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Wal-Mart.

Dear Mrs. Hershkowitz,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Hershkowitz are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2 . July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minuteintervals.

3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women'srestroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the " Mission Impossible" theme.

12. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

13. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICESAGAIN!"And last, but not least ..

14. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"