- 01:17 Headed to bed. #
- 09:21 We’ve made it to Wednesday. #
- 12:17 Hetting hungry. #
- 19:48 @tallin32: If they told you stuff like that they’d ne giving you info,, and we can’t have that. #
- 20:20 Beer and a book. Great combo. #
- 21:14 PM, wtf is your problem? Plz display the brl right, or i’ll do a clean reset, or worse. #
- 21:34 K PM, time for a hard reset. #
- 22:02 Bad technology! Bad! #
- 00:25 New blog post: Happenings customerservant.com/?p=3713 #
- 19:07 Getting off work. #
- 19:49 Thinking about having dinner. #
- 20:05 Damn phone crashed. #
- 20:40 Going through old offline journal entries. #
- 21:10 New blog post: Campus Radicals: A New Muslim Student Group Tries to Rouse the Moderates customerservant.com/?p=3714 #
- 21:50 New blog post: cream of zucchini and leek soup dailyfoodtips.com/?p=14 #
By JANE EL HORR and SANA SAEED
June 20, 2008; Page W11
The school year that just ended brought to the fore a couple of controversies over Muslim students on U.S. campuses. The University of Michigan announced in the fall that it would be spending $25,000 on footbaths for Muslim students. In the spring, Harvard’s decision to provide women-only gym hours to accommodate some members of the campus Islamic society sparked debate in the ivory tower and beyond. Yet away from the often-harsh media glare, a profound shift has begun across the country. Where dogma and conformity once defined the Muslim scene on campus, students with liberal outlooks are emerging to assert their voices on the quad. At some American colleges where the only official Muslim events used to feature gender-segregated seating, new programs are drawing diverse Muslim and non-Muslim participants to explore the complexity of the Muslim community.
I had to laugh at this. The medical examiner’s calling it an accident. I call it providence, and am glad that the home owner wasn’t hurt, and I also hope he was able to laugh a little.
A 19-year-old man accidentally shot and killed himself Tuesday morning while he was attempting to rob a Grand Prairie home, authorities said.
Cameron Sands, 19, of Fort Worth kicked in the door of the house and then shot himself in the stomach as he pulled a gun out of his pants to shoot the homeowner, Grand Prairie police said. The homeowner was not injured.
After Mr. Sands shot himself, he dropped the gun and ran out of the home. Police found his body around 5:30 a.m. in the driveway of the home in the 2800 block Garden Grove Road, said Lt. John Brimmer, a Grand Prairie police spokesman.
“This is the first that I’ve heard of a robbery suspect killing himself as he is drawing a gun out of his waist band,” Lt. Brimmer said. “The criminal evidence points to that. It certainly isn’t common.”
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has ruled the death an accident.
“Six years shall you sow your land and gather in its produce. But in the seventh year, you shall let it go and abandon it, and the needy of your people shall eat, and the wildlife of the field shall eat what is left; so shall you do to your vineyard and your olive grove.” (Exodus 23:10,11)
Maimonides, in his classical work, “The Book of the Mitzvos,” discusses the above mitzvah, and he writes:
“By this injunction, we are given a mandate to renounce as ownerless all produce of the land in the Shmittah Year, and to permit anybody to take what grows in our fields.” (Mitzvah 134)
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch discusses the above verse in his biblical commentary, and he writes:
“By observing the mitzvah of Shmittah, an entire nation proclaims before the world that its land belongs to God and that He is the land’s one, sole true Master. In the seventh year, the nation refrains from exercising its rights of ownership and humbly returns its land to the Master of all the earth. By doing so, the people acknowledge that they are strangers and sojourners on their own land, dwelling on it only by the grace of the Owner. Then the arrogance that causes people, secure in their own land, to become callous and harsh in dealing with those without property, melts away, yielding place to love and kindness toward the stranger and the poor. Even the wild animals, as God’s creatures, are considered endowed with rights on God’s earth, on which all are to dwell together.” (Commentary to Exodus 23:10,11)
A related mitzvah is the Divine mandate to desist from cultivating the land during the Shmittah Year. The source for this second mitzvah is found in the following verses where Hashem, the Compassionate and Life-Giving One, speaks to Moses about the Shabbos – Sabbath – for the land:
“Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: When you come into the land that I will give you, the land shall observe a Shabbos for Hashem. For six years you may sow your field and for six years you may prune your vineyard; and you may gather in its crop. But the seventh year shall be a complete rest for the land, a Shabbos for Hashem; your field you shall not sow and your vineyard you shall not prune.” (Leviticus 25:1-4)
Through this mitzvah, states the Talmud, Hashem is telling Israel: “Sow for six years and let go of the land in the seventh year in order that you know that the land is Mine” (Sanhedrin 39a).
It is written, “The land is Mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with Me” (Leviticus 25:23). With these words, say our sages, Hashem is conveying the following paradoxical message:
“When it is Mine, then it will be yours” (Sifra).
When we acknowledge that the land belongs to the Creator, then the Creator gives us the right to live in the land and to serve as its custodians. To serve as the custodians of the earth was the original Divine mandate given to humankind, as the Torah states that the human being was placed in the Garden of Eden “to serve it and protect it” (Genesis 2:15).
Today, a growing number of farmers in the Land of Israel are fervently fulfilling the sacred principles and laws of the Shmittah Year. Through their observance of this mitzvah which causes them to give up their control over the land, they are proclaiming, “To Hashem belongs the earth and its fullness, the inhabited land and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1).
During the early days of the State of Israel, there was a beloved sage, Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, who was the founder and head of the Ponivez Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. Rabbi Kahaneman was aware of the difficulties facing those farmers who were striving to fully observe the Shmittah. On the eve of the Sabbatical Year, this sage traveled to Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim, a religious kibbutz affiliated with Poelei Agudath Israel which was keeping the Shmittah laws. He desired to strengthen the spirit of the farmers, and he spoke to them about the holiness of this “Shabbos for Hashem” – a holiness which permeates each plant and each “boimelah” (an affectionate Yiddish term for a tree). As the Shmittah year was about to begin, he suggested that every farmer go over and wish a tree, “Good Shabbos, boimelah!” He himself then kissed the earth and wished it a “Good Shabbos”!
Have a Good and Sweet Shabbos,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)
1. This year is a Shmittah Year in the Land of Zion. During the previous Shmittah Year, for the first time in the history of the State of Israel, the grounds of the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – were managed according to the laws of Shmittah. The Jerusalem Municipality also observed the Shmittah laws in the city’s parks. Although some of the secular city council members were critical of this practice, council member Anat Hoffman from “Meretz,” a secular leftist party, endorsed the observance of the Shmittah Year. She praised the city’s efforts to observe the Shimittah laws as illustrating respect for both Judaism and the environment.
2. The story about Rabbi Kahaneman appears in the book “Builders” by Chanoch Teller. This book is distributed by Feldheim Publishers: www.feldheim.com .
3. Many of the farmers who observe Shmittah find that the year of “Shabbos for Hashem” gives them the opportunity to increase their Torah study; thus, special educational programs are organized for these farmers during the Shmittah Year.
- 00:31 New blog post: Happenings customerservant.com/?p=3705 #
- 10:03 Welcome to Wednesday. #
- 10:06 Cubs lose to the Rays. Thus, today is good. #
- 12:22 I’m really thinking I should drop another sound card in this machine. #
- 13:39 New blog post: Property Rights customerservant.com/?p=3706 #
- 14:57 OK, can we quit it with the job vacancy spam plz? #
- 16:21 New blog post: Quick Post From Outside customerservant.com/?p=3707 #
I’m on my lunch break, and since I’m not very hungry, I figured I’d take advantage of the free time and sit outside for a while.
I’ve started work on my first book review, which I hope to post later today.
I’m also experimenting with different ways of writing post
[The entire original message is not included]
Rabbi Yosay would say: …Perfect yourself for the study of Torah, for it is not an inheritance to you Ethics of the Fathers, 2:12
Surely Rabbi Yosai does not disagree with the Torah’s own statement, taught to the Jewish child as soon as he/she is capable of speech, that “The Torah that Moses commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob”?
But our relationship with the Torah is described, again in the Torah’s own words, in terms of several different models of ownership and possession:
(a) It is our “inheritance,” as per the above- and oft-quoted verse (Deuteronomy 33:4).
(b) It is an “acquisition” that we have “purchased” (“I have given you a good purchase, My Torah, so not forsake it”—Proverbs 4:2).
(c) It a “gift” that has been granted us (“From the desert, it is a gift”—Numbers 21:18).
Not only are these analogies for our relationship to the Torah categorically different, they are also, in certain respects, contradictory . A “purchase” is something that is paid for, unlike the windfall “inheritance” and “gift.” The right for an “inheritance” is determined solely by who you are, a qualification not shared by the “gift” or the “purchase.” And the “gift” seems to be in a category of its own: is it who you are? Is it what you’ve done? It’s seems to be a bit of each, but not quite either of them. Obviously, you’ve done something to deserve it but, then again, a gift, by definition, is something that has not been paid for or earned.
The Three-Fold Metaphor
Much of human speech consists of metaphors. We speak of a “deep” feeling, a “lofty” idea, or a “cold” look. Obviously, we don’t intend to attribute physical properties to non-corporeal entities; we are merely using the metaphor, an indispensable tool if we are to attempt to make sense of the intangible in our lives.
At times, however, a single metaphor will not suffice. The concept we wish to articulate is simply too unique, too complex, too nuanced to be incorporated in any single model that is part of our concrete reality. In such a case, we enlist two or even several metaphors to make our point. Each model is used for its own properties; together, they piece together a new concept, one that incorporates these various, or even contradictory, elements. In this way, we able to envision something which has no single counterpart in our experience.
The same is true of Torah. No single phenomenon in our world can serve as a model to convey the nature of our “possession” of it. Only by speaking of it as an inheritance, purchase and a gift can we gain some insight into our profound, multifaceted relationship with Torah.
Essence and Expression
On the most basic level, Torah is the eternal heritage of every Jew, by virtue of the fact of his Jewishness. In this, the “inheritance” aspect of Torah, the most accomplished scholar “possesses” it no more than the most simple of folk. Two brothers may inherit the fortune of their father; the first may be a seasoned businessman, and the second, a day-old infant. But because a heir is defined by the “who” rather than the “how,” the extent of one’s aptitude for or interest in the inheritance is completely irrelevant.
Yet at the same time, there is also another dimension to our “ownership” of Torah, one in which the “you get what you pay for” maxim applies. True, Torah is yours, regardless. True, your “inheritance” is an function of who you are and of your quintessential bond to your heritage, even if you never drew a cent from your “trust” or you’re not even aware of its existence. But what does it mean to you in practical terms? How does it affect your daily existence? In this sense, the Torah is yours to the extent that you invested and sacrificed for it—a “purchase” acquired with the currency of time and toil. The more you study and observe, the more you will experience your heritage as a consciously meaningful element in your life.
Toiled and Found
But the combination inheritance-purchase model still does not sufficiently describe the nature of our relationship with Torah. A third mode of acquisition, the “gift,” must also be introduced.
A gift often seems to arrive out of the blue, without regard to the identity of the beneficiary or the extent of his investment. But, as the Talmud points out, there is really no such thing as a completely “unearned” gift. Some thing or act on the part of the beneficiary must have evoked the benefactor’s desire to give: “Had he not caused him satisfaction in some way, he would not have granted him a gift.” Because of this, many of the laws that govern a sale also apply to a gift.
Yet when it does come, the gift is a true windfall, totally without proportion or any traceable connection to the initial investment. The same is true with Torah: the rewards of its study are infinitely beyond the scope of anything the human mind can possibly invest. In the words of the Talmud:
“Should someone tell you, `I have toiled but not found’—do not believe him; `I have not toiled but I have found’—do not believe him; `I have toiled and I have found’—believe him.”
The choice of the word “found” (rather than “gained,” for example) seems inappropriate – a “find” implies an unearned benefit, while the Talmud’s message is that toil, and only toil, produces anything worthwhile. But this is precisely the point: without toil and effort, nothing happens; but when one does apply himself, to the full extent of his resources and talents, the result–also on the experiential level–is above and beyond anything he could possibly have envisioned.
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 16, 2008; A01
When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away. (Read the whole thing here).
- 00:25 New blog post: Happenings customerservant.com/?p=3698 #
- 09:12 Morning tweeple. Welcome to Monday. #
- 10:24 New blog post: cave In Jordan Could be The Oldest Christian Church customerservant.com/?p=3699 #
- 13:15 Attempting to register for a Bookshare account. #
- 14:30 Time for some lunch. #
- 15:02 Back to the grindstone. #
- 17:17 Meh. A headache. #
- 17:24 New blog post: Why my Torah is crying customerservant.com/?p=3700 #
- 19:05 One day down;, four to go. #
- 19:26 Dinnertime. #
- 20:09 New blog post: Homeowners Seek Divine Intervention to Help Sell in Sluggish Real Estate Market customerservant.com/?p=3701 #
- 20:36 New blog post: La Santa Muerte customerservant.com/?p=3702 #