I just got done reading a post on Jewlicious about attempts within the Orthodox community to deal with the issue of premarital sex.
The post has 681 comments at this point.
It literally took me all afternoon to read through everything.
I emailed UM (who I’ve taken to referring to as Mr. Frodo due to his short stature), and John, making my case for the admin position.
I also applied for it this morning, and will be emailing my resume to John when I get home.
I really hope it works out.
It would solve the current problem, and keep it from croping up in the future.
Maybe this way I’ll be productive soon.
I’d actually be Mr. Frodo’s administrative assistant, and there’s a pay raise.
Everybody keep your fingers crossed, pray, chant, or whatever you do, that I get this promotion.

The Journey to Unity ? 173b

When Animals Take Priority: Part 2

This letter contains some teachings from Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, which
were cited in “The Vision of Eden” and which I later studied in the original
source, “Ein Rayah”:

Dear Friends,

We have begun a discussion on the mitzvah to feed our animals before we feed
ourselves. This mitzvah is based on the following verse where the
Compassionate One promises that there will be food for the animals before
promising that we, the People of Israel, will have enough food:

“I shall provide grass in your fields for your cattle, and you shall eat and
be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 11:15)

In the previous letter, we mentioned the following reasons for the mitzvah
to feed our hungry animals before we sit down to eat:

1. It prevents us from violating the Torah’s prohibition against tzaar
baalei chayim. (A related reason is that sitting down to a meal may also
cause us to forget about feeding our animals.)

2. It enables us to fulfill the mitzvah to emulate the compassionate Divine
ways, especially since the Compassionate One promised that there will be
food for the animals before promising that there will be food for us.

In this letter, we shall discuss some additional reasons for this mitzvah,
and we will begin with excerpts from some teachings of Rabbi Abraham Isaac

“Aside from enjoining us to recognize our obligation of active concern for
the welfare of all creatures, according to the lofty station of this holy
directive, it is required as an act of justice, since by means of the
animal, the human being brings forth bread from the earth, and ‘abundant
blessing from the power of the ox’ (Proverbs 14:4). Given this, the one that
does the work (the animal) deserves priority in benefiting from his labors.
In addition, this teaches that the human being must not exploit animals ?
not only because of compassion, but also because of the justice of showing
gratitude; for if not for the animal, the human being would not gain the
necessities of life. Therefore, because one is compelled and obligated to
feed his animal before eating, his consciousness is raised to know that his
obligation to be concerned for animals is not only loving piety and
altruism, but an obligation of integrity, righteousness, and justice.” (Ein
Ayah, Berachos, Vol 2, chap 6, p. 180)

In the modern western world ? especially in urban areas – many people have
animals in their possession for the purpose of companionship. They are
deriving some benefit from their pets; thus, feeding their pets first would
be what Rabbi Kook calls, “the justice of showing gratitude.”

Since we are discussing the theme of gratitude, I will mention an ancient
custom of our people during the winter season which expresses our gratitude
towards the birds for a benefit which we received from them on our journey
to Mount Sinai: There is a winter Shabbos when we read the Torah portion
that includes the song which we sung after we crossed the sea, when we were
saved from the Egyptian army that was chasing after us in order to enslave
us again. This is a joyous song of deliverance, and it also alludes to the
future age of universal redemption when all people will accept the
sovereignty of the Compassionate One; thus, the song concludes with the
words, “The Compassionate One shall reign for all eternity” (Exodus 15:18).
The Shabbos when we chant the Torah portion which includes this song is
known as the “Shabbos of Song”; moreover, there is a special custom
associated with this Shabbos which involves the birds. I will describe the
custom as it is practiced in my community of Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem. Before
sunset on Friday, we put out food for the wild birds. “Nefesh Kol Chai”
cites halachic sources which state that the reason for this custom is
because the birds also sung a special song when we were delivered at the
sea! We therefore express our appreciation to the birds for singing their
song by giving them food just before the arrival of the Shabbos of Song;
moreover, this custom reminds us of the great joy of the Song at the Sea
(Aruch Ha-Shulchan).

This year, the Shabbos of Song begins at sunset on Friday, February 10th.

Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)

Related Teachings:

1. Jewish tradition encourages us to have gratitude to everything in
creation, and we discussed this idea in a previous letter, which was titled,
“Gratitude to the River.” A copy is available upon request.

2. Rabbi Kook also discusses another reason for the mitzvah to feed our
animals before we feed ourselves. He points out that a human being who lacks
food temporarily can quiet the distress of his soul by pursuing various
forms of spiritual gratification. The soul of the hungry animal does not
have this option.

Hazon – Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/


January 30, 2006; Page B6


EarthLink Inc. plans to begin offering a high-speed Internet and
online-calling package for consumers in three metropolitan markets
an expanded partnership with Covad Communications Group Inc.

EarthLink, based in Atlanta, was set to offer the service in the San
Francisco and San Jose, Calif., area, as well as Dallas and Seattle
starting this week.

The Covad partnership, terms of which weren’t disclosed, will allow
Internet-service provider to offer a competitive digital-subscriber
or DSL, and Internet-telephone service without having its own
with telecommunications companies.

That is important because the Federal Communications Commission ruled
August that phone companies no longer would be required to lease line
capacity to competing ISPs like EarthLink and Time Warner Inc.’s
Online under common carrier regulations, threatening the ISPs’ ability
offer competitively priced DSL services.

However, common carrier rules still require incumbent carriers to
lease the
connections between consumers’ homes and their central offices to
carriers like Covad.

“By us moving in this direction, we are jumping on the piece of the
regulation that remains intact,” said Jim Bagnato, EarthLink’s
director of
voice services.

EarthLink said it intends to bring its offering with Covad to other
metropolitan areas.

Covad, San Jose, Calif., whose relationship with EarthLink dates back
least seven years, has access to 40 million households. Its top
markets are
New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington.

Jan. 30, 2006

Balloons to be tested as cell-tower replacement
Associated Press


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Why put up costly cell phone towers in thinly
populated areas, when a few balloons would do?

In North Dakota, former Gov. Ed Schafer is backing a plan to loft
network repeaters on balloons high above the state to fill gaps in

“I know it sounds crazy,” said Schafer, who now heads Extend America
Inc., a wireless telecommunications company. “But it works in the

Extend America and Chandler, Ariz.-based Space Data Corp. are
the technology, which is believed to be the first to use disposable
balloons to provide cellular coverage.

A trial balloon will be launched in the next few weeks to test the
said Schafer, who left office in 2000 after eight years as governor.

“To cover every square mile of North Dakota, it would take 1,100 cell
towers,” Schafer said. “We can do the whole state with three

If successful, the hydrogen-filled balloons could be drifting across
stratosphere above North Dakota this summer, providing cellular
coverage at
a tiny fraction of the cost of building cellular towers.

Jerry Knoblach, the CEO of Space Data, says that although the balloon
technology, called SkySite, is new to the cellular industry, “the
is very well proven” for other purposes.

His company has launched thousands of the free-floating balloons in
Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico over the past year. The
wireless data network they encompass tracks oil company vehicles and
monitors the production of oil wells and pipelines, he said.

Knoblach is certain the balloons will work for cellular service in
Dakota — even in cold or stormy weather. He said balloons were
even during Hurricane Katrina.

Up to 20 miles above the earth, well above commercial airliner
steady stratospheric winds would push the latex balloons across the
at about 30 mph. Each balloon would deliver voice and data service to
area hundreds of miles in diameter.

“Nine balloons would always be in the air, with some going up, some
down, and some in the middle,” Schafer said.

The balloons swell from six feet in diameter to 30 feet after they
altitude. Once a balloon leaves the state, its toaster-size
pod would jettison, deploy a parachute and fall to earth, where it
signal its position.

“We’d pay some guy a bounty, put in a new battery pack and send it
again,” Knoblach said. Schafer said the repeater could be used
indefinitely “unless it lands in a lake or gets run over by a

After the electronic equipment is released, the balloons rise and
with the drop in air pressure until they burst. Knoblach said the
cost about $55 each.

Schafer said it costs about $250,000 to build one cellular tower in
Dakota, and many remote areas don’t have enough customers to pay for

“The nice thing is that we don’t have to weld a bunch of steel
together to
build a tower,” Schafer said. “We just let these babies go.”

Weston Henderek, a senior wireless analyst with Current Analysis of
Sterling, Va., said he was not aware of a similar system of using
to provide wireless relays.

“It’s difficult to say whether it’s a pie-in-the-sky idea or if it
actually work,” he said. “It’s one of those cutting-edge type of
that people are starting to look at. It will be interesting to see how
testing pans out.”

At the height of the Internet boom a few years ago, several companies
looked at providing broadband or cell phone service from manned or
blimps and aircraft.

So far, none of those plans have fully materialized, but GlobeTel
Communications Corp. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has signed contracts to
provide the nation of Colombia with unmanned communications blimps
would hover 10 to 13 miles up.

In North Dakota, plans call for the service to be sold wholesale to
existing wireless carriers. The state government is an “interested
observer,” said Jerry Fossum, the telecommunications director for the
state Information Technology Department.

“It’s certainly a possible solution to some of our demographic
problems of
a lot of space and not a lot of people,” Fossum said. “I hope it


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