Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blind Knowledge


This image has been borrowed from M.W. Kaluta

Reinstitution of Censored Material

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dreams Can Be Reality


Tears flowing down the softest cheeks
fears growing lofty as mountain peaks
each drop more precious than diamonds
preach atop a holy soul un-wizened
her pain stabs me inside my gut
my strain of emotion visceral cuts
I will remove her sorrows despite mine
I’ll spill all the sands of time
Sometimes it is another that heals wounds
So sublime not a tick-tocking cocoon
I am the other to remove it all
despite my frequent internal falls
A sin to behold such beauty suffer
chagrin I’m told is rudely rougher
Our souls demand to be entwined
flowers wholly grow signs divine
The cosmos beckons one to another
the logos beseeching us to hover
Afloat above all sinking below
remote from all anguish carried in tow
an eternal station under the suns
A new creation her and I one

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mar Cheshvan


Today is the Yahrzeit of HaRav Meir Kahane zt"l... please learn some Torah [perhaps the Sefer, Or Hara’ayon] in his name, a martyr who died Al Kidush HaShem, may HaShem avenge his blood.

Also - There will be a memorial at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday, November 12, 2006 :
Ocean Avenue Jewish Center
2600 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11229

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Who Resembles God’s Myrtle of Bohemia


This girl crawled into my head
now its all been done and said
its been over from the beginning
gnawing thoughts at my mind still clinging
was I a toy or a decoy ?
or just a boy lacking in joy
it was doomed from inception
my souls entombed from conception
shallow waters are in abundance
hallowed slaughter my hearts ascendance
rejection on a physical plane
seemingly an eternal stain
it is all truly for the best
it is only but another test
lessons learned and earned for tomorrow
my person churned toward avoiding sorrows
bliss was clearly not intended for today
but I presume it shall arrive another way...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Parshas Noach




A bit of irony...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Treasure Hunting...


Here is the trove of over 1,000 images requested by a minority's consensus. I acquiesce particularly because of the sincere desire of a young lion of Judah who hails from the holy establishment of Efrat... Enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reappearance


I’m back! . . . not that anyone missed me. Due to unpopular demand I will resume posting on the blog for the sake of my immense audience. In actuality I have been in Brooklyn (I’ve tried to argue that actually I am “visiting” the US until I return HOME to Eretz Yisrael) for quite a bit now, but have been contemplating deleting the blog, or simply abandoning it to cyberspace and letting it just float around like another piece of spacejunk. Perhaps at some point I will post a link to a digital photo album of my summer in Eretz HaTzvi if my lazy self gets around to it - or if enough people harass me about it [which is something I highly doubt would occur]. Rather than give a cap up of the events in my life, I’ve decided to simply resume in the same manner in which I have approached this enterprise from the beginning, that being to simply post whatever piques my interest at any given point in time, along with an image - usually one that I have created or captured myself... Oh yeah... and I hope everyone’s holidays went well [Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, Shmini Atzeres, Simchas Torah (did I miss any?)] - wishing everyone a belated happy, healthy and sweet new year - hoping we were all inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I've joined a commune...


Today I am leaving to Eretz Yisrael to spend the next 7 weeks working on a Religious Kibbutz. The name of the Kibbutz is Sde Eliyahu and it is located in the Bet She’an Valley. I am considering pursuing a career in agriculture and so in a way for me this will be an internship... allowing myself to become more familiar with the field, and ultimately help in the decision making process as to whether I want to devote my life to a similar occupation. I also am very much so interested in what the Halachic obligations are in relation to The Land, and what the practical ramifications are [there is an entire order of the Mishnah/Talmud devoted to agriculture (Zeraim)]. Ultimately, God willing, it should be a very rewarding experience, allowing myself to become more fully immersed in Israeli society and becoming better acquainted with the culture and particularly the language in its modern usage. I really do not really know what to expect - aside from blistering heat and hard work... from what I understand though most of those working out in the fields get a mid-day break [kind of like the Spanish siesta] in order to avoid working during the harshest hours of the day. Before going to the Kibbutz my first stop on the way there will be Shabbos in Shiloh at my grandparents' home, who unfortunately I have not seen in some time... The fact that I am leaving has not fully registered yet - but on the other hand I am simultaneously highly anticipatory ... Well, I’m off - and since I don’t know if I will have an opportunity to post while there.. have a great summer everyone!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Uncle Sam's Birthday


Happy 4th of July! Today is a day in which we can all show our HaKaras HaTov for this great nation, what better way to celebrate the ratification of the Declaration of Independence than to barbeque?! ... Anway for those of you wondering why that flag has 51 stars - then here is an option for you to consider: NYC Statehood. Well, off I go to enjoy the festivities.... enjoy!

PS - I know our national personification [Uncle Sam] as a figure didnt emerge until the War of 1812... but if I abide simply by the facts than the title of my post gets less interesting, heheh..

Monday, June 26, 2006

An Ode to Giovanni da Verrazano

עֵת מִלְחָמָה וְעֵת שָׁלוֹם


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

- King Solomon [Koheles 3:1-8]
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Let us not forget that although we hope and pray for peace, sometimes it can only be achieved through war. May HaShem strengthen us in the proper pursuit of redeeming our captives [pidyon shvuyim].

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Madonna & Swee' Pea


Not long ago I had been flipping channels on the tube and came across a classic cartoon that I had not seen in some time... It was Fleischer’s ‘Popeye’. As a child I found it amusing and entertaining, but had not really explored the depths of some of the messages and symbolism inherent in the work. This time around I began to notice things that I had not grasped previously and came to some possible conclusions about this fascinating cartoon. As a child it hadn’t really struck me that Olive Oyl was a single mother caring for her child Swee’ Pea. Perhaps part of the reason being, is that I grew up in the home of a single mother, and therefore didn’t recognize it as anything other than ordinary... but for the time period in which this cartoon initially debuted [1930's] such a notion to be presented in a mass media form, to children nonetheless, seems a bit ahead of its time.

So that was one cultural issue being addressed in a rather bold manner... but then I dug further and realized some other interesting parallels between some of the premises of 'Popeye' and Christian theology. Now if we look at the term “Christos” we realize that it is the Greek word [Χριστός] for Moshiach [מָשִׁיחַ]. Moshiach literally means annointed (obviously for a particular role, which the Jesus figure does not qualify for)... Annointed specifically with the Shemen Mishchat [שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת-קֹדֶשׁ] (Shemos 30:22-25). One of the main components of the Shemen Mishchat is olive oil. Now lets look at the character Olive Oyl, who has a child that appears to have been immaculately conceived [speculative - because who Swee’ Pea’s father in fact is, is never stated] much like the alleged Jesus figure idolized by much of Christendom. Realizing that Olive Oyl is Mary - a conduit through which Swee’ Pea as Jesus is immaculately anointed/conceived blew my mind. When I realized this possible connection I attempted to explore the idea further - and so in such a theoretical circumstance, the other characters would have their parallels as well. Popeye would have to be Joseph. In the New Testament Joseph is often presented as the adoptive father of Jesus, in the cartoon Popeye sometimes plays this role for Swee’ Pea [lacking a carpenter - sailor connection... suggestions anyone?].

Now... why the name Swee’ Pea ? Well after looking into it apparently the Sweet Pea [Lathyrus odoratus] plant has beautifully colored flowers and a pleasant sweet fragrance however its seeds unlike most peas should not be consumed as they are poisonous. We know that in Midrash Tanhuma, Vayikra and Rashi on Toldos 26:34 that Edom [Rome/Christianity/Western Civilization] is compared to a pig. The pig is one the most repulsive non-kosher animals because outwardly it presents itself with split hooves but internally it does not chew its cud. Outwardly displaying and proclaiming “look I’m kosher!” but in reality fully treif veiled in the aesthetic trappings of something wholesome, a very deep hypocrisy. The Midrash is an attempt at a criticism of a culture in which primacy is placed upon seductive presentation rather than virtue and deed.

Were the animators and creators of ‘Popeye’ trying to subversively convince the youth via Swee’ Pea that indeed the trappings of Western Civilization often lead to the adoption of a theology in which an entity that outwardly appears pleasing is in fact harmful to the soul ? In other words - were they condemning Christian doctrines much in the same manner that our ChaZaL were ? Well... this all does sound a bit like a conspiracy theory - whilst still maintaining a degree of plausibility to me. It is always fun to speculate, maybe this will lead to the next ‘Davinci Code’, heheh... If anyone can think of any further connections, rationales and motivations for some of the other characters, I would truly enjoy hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Achdus


Seeing this display of unity with Am Yisrael at the parade made me a little bit confused, but otherwise happy...

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PS: Here are some unusual links
Arabs for Israel
Pro-Israel Sheikh
Former PLO member Walid Shoebat
Arab American Woman Nonie Darwish
Zachariah Anani - former Muslim Lebanese Terrorist

Friday, May 26, 2006

Yom Yerushalayim - Parshas Digalim


אִישׁ עַל דִּגְלוֹ בְאֹתֹת לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם יַחֲנוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִנֶּגֶד סָבִיב לְאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד יַחֲנוּ

Monday, May 15, 2006

*Lamed Gimel*


"Where are you going with these flowers?" - R' Shimon Bar Yochai

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"... I wish I were in Meiron right now..." - Me

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Embryonic Blaine


On Sunday a friend and I went to Lincoln Plaza to check out David Blaine’s latest stunt. I wasn’t expecting anything too exciting, and as such was not disappointed afterwards. Seeing a man in a giant bubble of water is rather interesting... for about a minute. One point I really enjoyed though was the visual resemblance to a fetus in utero. I am not a big fan of his stunts, but his street magic is incredible. I imagine Houdini was similar in that regard, except a grand spectacle in his day and age probably drew a relatively larger crowd. I heard recently that Blaine is Jewish (his mother being a Russian Jew, and his father Puerto Rican), and have already known that Houdini was a Jew (born Eric Wiess). What is it with Jewish illusionists (I prefer the term illusionist, as I would be hesitant to call such performances "magic")? What draws a Jewish soul to desire such large crowds gather in order to witness such spectacles? Is it simply ego? Or something grander? Anyway - I watched last night on ABC when he emerged for the first time in 7 days and then attempted to beat the record of longest amount of time spent underwater while holding ones breath. Ultimately he failed and came short of the record (which is 8 minutes, 58 seconds) with a nonetheless impressive 7 minutes and 8 seconds. After being rescued from the tank he seemed rather ill and depressed, I imagine it will take him some time to truly recuperate from this feat. His hands looked rather disgusting frankly and presumably large swaths of his skin will fall off (imagine the pruney look of your hands after a long bath multiplied by thousands). Hopefully there wasn’t extensive nerve damage which would put a bit of a handicap on his career. All in all... it was entertainment for the 21st century.

Monday, May 01, 2006

- Korban Pesach * Korban Omer -



First I read this interesting article over at ArutzSheva:

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel: Paschal Sacrifice is Still Obligatory
"It's not a question of 'maybe' or 'if'," says the Temple Institute's Rabbi Yisrael Ariel. "Bringing the Paschal sacrifice is a Torah obligation incumbent upon the People of Israel these very days."
(Rest of article).

Then later on stumbled across this at JTA:

Wall Sacrifice Blocked

Israeli police prevented the attempted sacrifice of a Passover lamb at the Western Wall.
A group of religious Jews led by far-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, lamb in hand, was blocked from reaching Judaism’s holiest site Wednesday.They said they wanted to slaughter the lamb as part of pre-Passover rituals.
(Rest of article).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have heard [though I have not yet had a chance to investigate myself ] that HaRav Kook held that in the Third Beis HaMikdash only non animal sacrifices will be offered such as the Omer. Any thoughts on wether the Korban Pesach should be re-instituted sans Temple? Any thoughts on wether animal Korbanos should be offered in the future Temple?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Counting


What is the darkness within the trees
before whom the silent truths do flee
Rising to see the shade within
shining against the gleaning sin
Contrast to the last before the beginning
forecast of the trespassed is singing
Redeem the glow from its shell
renewed too slow under hypnotic spell
Falsehood a skin atop a fresh fruit
childwood to fan the flame of soot
Soon to emerge from the cocoon
rising once again like a new moon
Seven cycled immortally gathered
woven and eternally fathered
From whence will this be the resurrect
ascent and spired cleansed of defect
Pining for that moment to repeat
to be witnessed not solely in defeat
Let us grab a piece of infinitude
to find solace in what has been renewed.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Avian Flu in Israel


I have read reports that Israel's Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has allowed for the continued elimination of chickens over Shabbos because of possible contamination by the H5N1 avian influenza virus in order so that human life is not endangered. Who could rationally be against such a thing? - Clearly the issue of Pikuach Nefesh, the potential danger to human life outweighs the abrogation of the Melachos Shabbos and the loss of chickens. However I am curious why there has not been much said about the method being used to do the job. According to ArutzSheva “People are being offered 2,000 shekels a day to kill chickens in the Sharon region because there are not enough people willing to do the job, which involves denying the birds food and drink, and then offering them poisoned water.” Clearly we as the Jewish people are more prone to being under the sway of the Midah of Rachamim as it says “and He will give you mercy” - "וְנָתַן-לְךָ רַחֲמִים" (Devarim 13:18) and as such shy away from such activities. Why is it then that we have not heard about the issue of Tzaar Baalei Chaim here? It may be an unfortunate necessity to kill these birds... but the manner in which it is being done does not have to be so cruel. They are starving the birds and then poisoning them, which seems rather efficient but at least from my limited view - contrary to Halacha. I am certain that there is a manner in which both the concerns of Pikuach Nefesh and Tzaar Baalei Chaim can be addressed and am perplexed as to why it is seemingly not.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Getting closer...


My mom and younger sister decided to embark an a real potchka job... the creation of Hamentaschen. I tasted them once they were done.... and they were too delicious. I was soon kicked out of the kitchen once I was assessed as a threat to the longevity of the Hamentaschen. Purim is one of the best holidays ever... I know I’m gonna be thinking about these bad boys during the fast tomorrow. I know they look a little messy but they will beat out any store bought ones you will ever taste by leaps and bounds.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Matthew Miller @ Hammerstein


We arrived in time to only catch the last few minutes of the opening act Trevor Hall, which is a shame... but that’s not who we came to see. Last night my sister and I went to see Matisyahu perform at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It was one of the best concerts I have been to in a while. It is very interesting to see a crowd of primarily gentiles of many different subcultures congregating whilst being peppered with Orthodox yarmulka wearing Jews. I was a little bit surprised when he recited the Shema with HaShem’s name hand over his eyes before this humongous crowd in a venue that is walking distance to Times Square. Yossi Piamenta made an appearance for one song - which was really rather unexpected I thought... I think that unfortunately many people there had no clue who the aging rockstar was. Matisyahu was more polished this time around (I saw him play last year at Irving Plaza)... guess that’s what happens when you tour the country performing constantly. The concert coincided with the release of his new album “Youth” and its Dub counterpart as well as Moshe Rabbeinu’s Yartzeit/Birthday [7th of Adar]. The crowd was shaking and dancing and expressing their joy throughout the entirety of the event. I didn’t really plan on going initially but my little sister kept on bugging me to find a way to get tickets [despite them being sold-out], so I went on to Craigslist and found some for double the ticket booth price and bought ‘em. Needless to say - it was worth it. I received the new album in the mail today - and ripped open the packaging as soon as I saw it... it will be on heavy rotation for a while. Anyway, its always cool to see a Frum Yid singing about the Geulah and Moshiach in a pop culture forum without even attempting to dilute the message - and then on top of it seeing the masses drawn to its appeal. Aside from my sister being a little bummed out that he didnt do Reggae/Hip-Hop version of MiShenichnas Adar , all in all we had an excellent time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

*Marbim B'Simcha*


A friend sent me this video - it is perfect for the month of Adar - these Yeshivah Bochers have way too much time on their hands...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Adar Commences


In the Midrash Rabba on Meggilas Esther it is noted that the term karahu in:
“Mordechai told him of all that had happened to him (karahu).”(Esther 4:7)
" וַיַּגֶּד-לוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר קָרָהוּ "
is reminiscent of the wording about Amalek:
“Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt. When they encountered you (karcha) one the way, and you were tired and exhausted, they cut off those lagging to your rear, and they did not fear God”(Devarim 25:17-18).
זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל-הַנֶּחֱשָׁלִים אַחֲרֶיךָ--וְאַתָּה, עָיֵף וְיָגֵעַ; וְלֹא יָרֵא, אֱלֹהִים
Mordechai is communicating that these events were linked to an ancient encounter with Amalek as Haman was a descendent of Agag, King of Amalek. Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar - last night R’ Efraim Klein was murdered (HaShem Yinkom Damo) in Crown Heights by cowards of the very same nature. How unfortunate that as we say “m’shenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha” “When Adar comes, joy is increased” - the same vile people that attacked us then attack us now in the same manner. As noted at MysticalPaths it matters not wether it be in Israel, France, Uzbekistan, or Brooklyn. Ultimately however we know that just as in the events of Purim, the evil decree will be overturned “v’nahafoch hu” and we will merit seeing the redemption of our people.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Joys of Youth



Coney Island always has something interesting to say. I was walking along the boardwalk yesterday during some free time I had, when I noticed that the only other people around at the time were the elderly and the young. At another point I noticed a child feeding seagulls which triggered memories of an earlier self that flooded my mind. It was nice to partake in such frivolities when I was just a boy. Life was simple and uncomplicated. Thinking to my self, I came to the conclusion [it was more like a confirmation really] that it is truly a shame we can no longer imbibe in such innocent pleasures during adulthood without seeming like a loon (think of the pigeon-lady in Home Alone 2). Perhaps we are all born with a drop of sagacity that tells us “enjoy being crazy while ya still can” and over time it evaporates with the discovery of greater wisdom. Which reminds me of the adage brought to us by Rabbi Meir in Pirkei Avos Ch. 4:
" אל תסתכל בקנקן, אלא במה שיש בו: יש קנקן חדש, מלא ישן; וישן, אפילו חדש אין בו "
Do not look at the flask but at what is in it; there may be a new flask that is full of old wine and an old flask that does not even have new wine in it.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have brand new flasks with old wine in it ? I guess we cant really have it both ways... to enjoy the reckless and carefree youth or to enjoy the enlightenment that comes with age. One is sacrificed to the other.

PS - Matisyahu is releasing a new album called "Youth" on March 7th for those of you who dig Judaeo-Reggae .

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tehillim 148: אֵשׁ וּבָרָד שֶׁלֶג וְקִיטוֹר רוּחַ סְעָרָה עֹשָׂה דְבָרוֹ


Tu B'Shvat seemed a bit odd to me this year. It hadn’t really snowed all winter, and then suddenly the heavens dumped 2 feet of it upon us right before Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanos. There was a certain amount of irony in it I felt - but wasnt able to discern what precisely it meant. I played around and found that the Gematria of Sheleg (Snow) is 333, and that Ilan (Tree) is 91... when you subtract 91 from 333 you get 242...The Gematria of Ariel(Lion of HaShem) is 242. Incidentally the holy Ari [Yitzchak Luria] instituted the Tu B'Shvat Seder - vague connections ? Perhaps... but it certainly is striking.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Choosing Torah for Medinat Yisrael


If you are interested in directing the flow of over 1 billion US dollars towards Torah institutions rather than those representing anti-Torah Hellenistic Fascism, than make your presence felt with a Vote for Torah in the 35th World Zionist Congress - this is a historic opportunity for those who believe the “Jewish State” should actually represent Jewish values. There is a nominal registration fee of $7.00, or $5.00 if you are a student - hurry up as registration ends after February 15, 2006. May we merit soon seeing the spiritual nature of the State change for the better in our days.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Learning Like Fish in Memory of Kaduri


The Sage HaRav Kaduri has passed away last week, may his memory be a blessing upon Yisroel. He lived a long life - I have heard and read estimates anywhere between 103 and 111 years of age [birth records were not kept in Ottoman Iraq]. He was laid to rest at the Har HaMenuchos cemetery in Yerushalaim after being escorted there by 300,000 mourners who came to show their respects. Many newspapers have been writing articles about the life he lead and who he was as a man and what he represented. One thing I found of interest was that he was a vegetarian - except for Purim and Erev Yom Kippur on which he would eat some fish. I can only presume that he did such for some deep, hidden and mystical reason - nonetheless I will hypothesize as to why from my shallow perspective. For Purim the astrological [mazel] symbol of the month of Adar is the Fish ‘dagim’ or commonly referred to as Pisces. For Erev Yom Kippur this minhag of fish consumption has been adopted by some based on a Midrash in Bereshis Rabbah 11 . If anyone knows or would like to suggest any other possible reasons for why this righteous man has chosen such a path - I should love to hear it - and in doing so we would be collectively learning something in Rav Kaduri’s memory.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Chacham Yitzchak ben Tufacha Kaduri


The revered Mekubal, Rav Kaduri has recently fallen ill and is in care at the Bikur Cholim Hospital in Yerushalayim for pneumonia. Many across the world are praying for a quick and immediate refuah shelaima for this sage. Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Moshe Amar has called for a prayer gathering at the Kotel today. For those who wish to pray on his behalf the name is Yitzchak ben Tufacha (Tufacha means ‘apple’ in Arabic). It is said that when Rav Kaduri was a young man studying in Ottoman Turkish Iraq the Ben Ish Chai had told him in a blessing that he would merit being present during the Revelation of Moshiach. ArutzSheva's Yehoshua Meiri claims the Rav at his bedside has told him that "The time of Redemption has come."

Sunday, January 01, 2006


8th Night of Chanukah