Me-me-me meme

If I post little else, I can always post memes:

A little survey thingie. Take the time to cut, paste, and fill out, if you are so inclined.

1. Name I Know You By:
2. Age:
3. Single or Taken:
4. Favorite Movie:
5. Favorite Song:
6. Favorite Band:
7. (there is no question number seven)
8. Tattoos and/or Piercings:
9. What do you do for a living?
10. Do you have another website?

HERE COMES THE FUN ... ... ... or maybe not ...

1. Do we know each other outside of LJ?
2. What song reminds you of me?
3. Would you have my back in a fight?
4. What is your favorite memory of us?
5. Have we ever been drunk together?
6. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you?
7. Do you think I'm a good person?
8. Would you drive across country with me?
9. Would you come over for no reason just to hang out?
10. Will you repost this so I can fill it out for you?
  • Current Music
    susurrus of air fans

15 th Anniversary dvar torah

We recently celebrated 15 years of marriage (march 10th or adar 24th) with a small dinner party at a local dairy restaurant (called Bermuda; we honeymooned in Bermuda, although we didn't realize the name coincidence until the dinner was almost over).

I gave a little dvar Torah linking 15 yrs of marriage with the 15 stages in Dayeinu, which connect (as the Vilna Gaon points out) with the 15 stages in the Seder (count Motzi Matza as two), and with the Beis Hamiqdash (there are 15 steps from the courtyard to the Hall (Heichal), on which the Kohanim said the 15 psalms of Shir Hama'alot (Songs of Ascents); also the Haggadah is drawn from the Confession over First Fruits (Vidui Bikurim), which clearly indicates that the process beginning with the Exodus concludes when we bring our First Fruits to the holy Temple).

So Pesach is a process of growth from slaves towards total national identity as the People of God with the Beis Hamiqdash. So too, our 15 people at the 15th-anniv party weren't 15 without the two small children, so we shouldn't take our 15 as a resting place, rather as it needs growth to get there, so we should continue to grow, personally and communally, ad bias haGoel and the restoration of full national identity.

Debbie (mamadeb) posted about the party at greater length.

Memories meme

Why not?

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a memory of you and me. It can be anything you want, either good or bad. When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people remember about you.

Live Shows

* Reply to this message telling me which of these 20 artists you have also seen.
* Take the ones from my list that you have seen, and post them in your own LJ.
* Add more until you have 20.

Gacked from alisaek, although we only overlap in the first group.

They Might Be Giants
Boston Symphony Orchestra
I Musici
Jupiter Symphony
Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Bob Dylan
Grateful Dead
Max Creek
The Pogues
Greg Kihn
Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
Sidney Beckerman
Margot Leverett
Andy Statman
Carla Ulbrich
Charles Neidich
The Goldman Band
Joseph Malovany

[not part of meme]
all right, they're not all pop/folk, but hey, I haven't seen a lot of them.

The Theology of Rabbi Irving Greenberg

The theological meditations of Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg have become fodder for the Jewish blogosphere lately, so I thought I'd summarize what little I know about R' Greenberg's ideas.

R' Greenberg, in various articles and in a recent book, FOR THE SAKE OF HEAVEN AND EARTH:
The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity
, expresses a theology that seems close to Reconstructionism or to classical Epicureanism (from which the word Apikoros).

Each major destruction in our history has signaled a change, a distancing, in our relationship with God. The first Destruction, in which the Ark was lost/hidden, brought an end to God's revealed presence in the world. God had hitherto interacted with us directly, through prophecy, through the Divine fire that accepted the sacrifices, through open miracles. These came to an end during the first 70-year exile.

The second Destruction removed the Temple as the focus of Judaism, the sacrificial service as a Divinely-ordained means of achieving atonement. Divine worship, and receiving atonement for one's sins, become entirely an individual responsibility, as teshuvah and tefillah became the real paths towards personal salvation, and ultimately towards the communal salvation through the Moshiach.

The Destruction of European Jewry indicated a third distancing. If the first was removal of God's direct influence, and the second removed our direct Torah-mandated path of communication to God (the Temple service), the third Destruction indicated the end of the Covenant. In allowing the Holocaust to happen, God signaled that He had abrogated His covenant with us, and the mitzvot were no longer binding.

As reviewer Michael Kress states, "In trying to answer that fundamental theodicy question—how to reconcile the idea of a just God and the flames of Auschwitz—Greenberg concludes that we have passed from a stage in which Jews are commanded to one in which the covenant with God is voluntary. God has undergone a further tzimtzum, or self limitation, which God first undertook to enact Creation, giving humans full responsibility for perfecting the world, without any divine intervention." See the full review.

In light of this view, R' Greenberg is amazed and pleased that the Jews have voluntarily continued to observe the mitzvot, given that they can't expect God to respond to them.

This leads to some disturbing questions, though:

- is it true, as a Christian preacher claimed in the last century, that God no longer hears the prayers of the Jews?

- If God has restricted/constricted Himself away from the world, does he no longer care about what happens in the world?

That would seem to be R' Greenberg's point, most like Reconstructionism or like Maimonides' definition of Epicureanism: "[Laws of Repentance 3:8] 8) There are three types of heretic [Apikorsim]: One who says that there is no Prophecy at all and that there is no knowledge given by God to men; one who refutes the Prophecy of Moses; and one who says that God doesn't know the actions of men."

Note that expressing such sentiments need not separate one from Orthodoxy. R' Mordechai Kaplan, founder of Reconstructionism and shaper of much of Conservative Jewish theology in the last century, was employed by Orthodox synagogues, and spoke at Orthodox functions, for years after he began to publish his heterodox ideas. He begain to write articles on these ideas starting around 1909, but he was not forced out of his rabbinic position in an Orthodox synagogue until 1922.
  • Current Mood

Purim. First Leining with Megillah

My megillah turns out to be kosher. I've never learned how to lein it, so I just read along with others. But a few years ago, I bought a nice old megillah, with some minor decorations between the columns, 11 lines, Ksav Ari, Hamelech. It's faded in spots, particularly the first panel, and was repaired with blue ink on a couple of letters, so I wasn't sure if 'twas still kosher. Sure, I've learned the relevant gemaras and codes, and know that once a megillah was kosher to begin with, it's very difficult to ruin it. Still, it was nice to have it confirmed.

A woman came in after davening, having missed the leining (we started at 7 AM), so everyone could get mitzvot out of the way before Shabbat prep began). Some people suggested neighborhood shuls with late reading, but it seemed she would not have been comfortable in those shuls. So R' Dr. Mark, who is a baal kriah, offered to lein if a megillah could be found. And I had the megillah. I offered it, with the caveat that I didn't know if it was kosher. He ran through it, pointed out a couple of potential trouble spots, and said it was fine. So he leined for her, and she rattled a gragger at appropriate times, and I said the appropriate verses out loud, and a fine time was had by all. Mark did the last verse to the theme of Magilla Gorilla, which he said he was sort of hesitant to do at a public reading, but for a private reading, why not. He also did the antepenultimate and penultimate verses to the tune of Gilligan's Island, for the "iyei hayam" (islands in the sea).