I just got done dealing with a woman who decided to call very early in the morning to bitch about how she got two different forms of a prescription, both brand and generic.
Of course, she didn’t send in the second script, and neither did her doctor, and it’s all my fault.
People shouldn’t be able to bitch this early in the morning.
It’s just not normal.
Most of us are still trying to go from autopilot to manual at that point, and we’re definitely not in the mood to put that much energy in to a bitchfest.
That call lasted over thirty minutes.
I really hope it’s not the norm for the day.

Taken from customerservant.com

by Moshe Kempinski
Arutz-Sheva, Israel National News
Sep 12, ’05 / 8 Elul 5765

I made the mistake of listening to the mindless babble of several
media personalities recently. They were talking about the past year’s
trends. One of them picked up the orange band worn by supporters of
Gush Katif.

She said, “Do you know what this orange band is [as if anyone in the
country did not]?” She went on to describe that she looked on the
band and was surprised to see “I Love Gush Katif” on the band. “I
guess we won’t see much of that anymore,” she giggled. The other
individual agreed in good humor and said those orange streamers will
probably be mistaken for support of some football team. The both
giggled in childish glee.

What was so painfully evident was that they were describing their own
inner desire, rather than an objective discussion of the orange bands
and streamers that swept the country. They truly wanted to forget. It
was that nervous frenetic energy that brought about the giggles. They
did not want to remember that they were part of a heartless machine
that destroyed Jewish communities and sent their inhabitants to
wander from hotel to hotel and from city to city. The government, the
media and parts of the population in Israel will do all that it can
to obliterate any memory of what was the power and faith of Gush
Katif.

Many of the rabbinic leaders have turned to an event described in the
Talmud (Avoda Zara 18). Rabbi Hanina ben Teradion, when he was bound
by the Romans and burnt at the stake, was asked by his students,
“Master what do you see?”

He said, “I see parchment of Torah being burnt, but the letters are
blossoming and floating into the air.”

You can destroy parchment and bricks, but you cannot destroy the
spirit. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is engaged in almost superhuman
efforts to raze the flourishing settlements into the ground. He tried
to destroy the synagogues, despite the pleas of large segments of
Israel’s population and of the Jews of the world. He has become
obsessed with wiping out any remnant of his crime, like the psychotic
franticly wiping his hands of imaginary blood.

Yet, very few people are taking off their orange streamers.

The vast majority of faithful Zionism today is in the midst of
mourning and mutual comfort. They will take the time to heal the
wounds inflicted by an uncaring secular administration; yet, they
will not give up on their vision. More importantly, they will not
give up on the potential for vision laying dormant in the hearts of
the less faithful segments of our community.

Glimpses of that potential were clearly evident in the midst of the
destruction. A policewoman saw that I had stationed myself with a
sign at an intersection near S’derot after being warned by the local
police commander to leave. She called me over to her police car. I
expected another demand or a threat. She said quietly that G-d should
bless us for what we were trying to do, and that if I stood a little
to the right, then I could get away with it.

As my nephew was being dragged out of one the synagogues in Gush
Katif, the helmeted policeman bent over and said to him, “Kol
Hakavod, we are with you. Don’t give up.”

One of the police commanders came up to Rabbi Elon, the dean of
Yeshivat HaKotel, and said to him that the most dramatic and
emotional moment of this period occurred after they had cleared out a
synagogue of protesters. The commander went back into the synagogue
and found several of his men sprawled on the floor in front of the
empty Aron Kodesh (the Ark), weeping.

While it is true that there were examples of cruelty and of hatred on
the part of some of the commanders and their policemen, the instances
of sympathy and even affection seemed to be more the rule.

One might ask: if there were so many stories of brotherhood like
these, then how did these same people also participate in the
expulsion and destruction?

It takes great courage to be what you need to be. It takes a nurtured
and faithful soul to do what your soul truly desires. It takes great
vision to see beyond the fog raised by slogans and half-truths
spouted by the local and world media. It takes a burning Jewish heart
to truly act in accordance with your destiny.

Yet, every single member of the larger Jewish community, which has
survived thousands of years of oppression, recognizes truth when it
burns before them. That explains the heartfelt statements of people
in the midst of them doing things in total contradiction to their
words. That explains the sea of orange streamers in a country the
media likes to portray as being in favor of the expulsion.

The Jerusalem Talmud describes our sages looking over into the
horizon as the dawn began burst into morning. Thus, will be the
redemption of Israel, like the dawn. It will come slowly at first and
then burst into glorious light.

I wonder if, as the sages looked into the skies, they didn’t see a
haze of orange on the horizon.

Taken from customerservant.com

by Paula R. Stern
Arutz-Sheva, Israel National News
Sep 12, ’05 / 8 Elul 5765

Today, as I knew they would, crazed Palestinian mobs are desecrating
25 synagogues in Gaza, setting them on fire and destroying what it
took years to build. I have visited almost all of these synagogues,
prayed in many of them. I cannot even begin to put into words the
pain I feel today, the anger and the sadness.

The world, as I expected, is silent. The United Nations’ Kofi Annan
was asked to protect the remaining synagogues, but we hear nothing.
Empty buildings, they will protest quietly; and what did you expect?
Unspoken is the silent message that while the Christian world and the
Jewish world would respect places of worship, the Muslim world cannot
be held to the same level of accountability. Did you expect any
different? No, I did not, though it would be a mistake to assume that
knowing they would destroy these holy places in any way lessens the
pain.

We can’t say that we expected no better, of course, because that
would be deemed racist and wrong. It would be insulting to the
honorable religion of Islam, even though it is the truth. It would
imply that their values are different than ours, even though they
are. It would suggest that their culture is one that lacks respect
for other religions, one deeply embedded in violence and one that
cannot tolerate and respect the beliefs of others. We can’t say all
that, and so the lie will live on, the destruction go unpunished, the
truth left unsaid.

The world will quietly offer Israel their condolences and throughout
the world, in places like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and
even in Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Ukraine, people will wonder
if maybe they could destroy a nearby synagogue, too. Why should the
land on which these buildings sit continue to be “wasted” when there
are no Jews around? Could there be a way to rid Europe and Arab
countries of these buildings in which Jews once prayed? The first
step, of course, is to deny.

Palestinian President Abu Mazen has become a rabbi, apparently. He
can now determine the holiness of a synagogue and has issued his
rabbinic decree that these buildings are no longer synagogues, no
longer holy. If you take the wooden pews, the musical instruments,
the Bibles, hymnals, altar furnishings and vestments out of a church,
is it then permissible to burn it down? Does it lose its sanctity
because the inner contents have been removed?

Perhaps others are wondering if they too could use the Palestinian
excuse that a building stripped and desecrated is no longer holy and
can be destroyed. How many Jewish cemeteries are there in Europe? Are
Jews ever likely to return to Iraq? Must Tunisia protect the
remaining synagogues? What of Morocco?

Luckily, our holy places will be saved by the most unlikely source.
Abu Mazen has one problem in making his claim believable. His own
people reject his words. Watch the pictures of them dancing on the
rooftops of these buildings, see how they set fire to these holy
places.

In his mad rush for the border, Ariel Sharon gave the Palestinians
millions of dollars in infrastructure, public buildings, lighting,
roads and more. And yet the pictures in the media are all the same.
The Palestinian mobs are frantic and out of control in their
bloodthirsty quest to destroy the synagogues, because they recognize
that these places are holy to the Jews. Of course they are
synagogues, today as they were yesterday. The ground sacred, the
buildings holy.

What interest would they have in simply destroying a building? They
will scavenge around and take what they can – but the synagogues are
being destroyed. Why burn and damage them if not for the intense
hate-filled desire to destroy something that represents Judaism, a
non-Muslim place of worship?

But it is not only the pictures from Gaza that cause me great pain
today, not just the hatred and destruction that we all knew was
inevitable. Add in a debate going on now in England, civilized
England. At first glance, it seems like it is a different topic
entirely, and yet, in its own way, it is the same debate, albeit in
a more civilized environment. Perhaps commemorating Holocaust Day is
a little too Jewish, say a team of advisors to Prime Minister Tony
Blair. Perhaps it would be more politically correct to call it
Genocide Day, so as to avoid insulting England’s growing Muslim
population.

Words fail me. How many fronts can we fight at one time? How
appropriate that this debate would be raised on days when synagogues
are again being burned and destroyed. Would England deny the unique
place the Holocaust has in world history? Are the Holocaust and the
few days we commemorate it not sacred? There have been many attempts
at genocide throughout the centuries, but none were as systematic, as
civilized and as endorsed as the Holocaust.

Nowhere, never, was the machine of a government focused so totally on
obliterating all traces of a religion or people in such an efficient
and barbaric way, while being accompanied by the silence of nations
who could have, should have, done something.

Not since Nazi Germany have so many synagogues been destroyed. Muslim
intolerance is well known and yet the world continues to be silent.
Why was the world silent when 2,000 Hindi temples were destroyed by
Muslims in India? When will the world finally react to Islamic
religious intolerance? Would the world remain silent if 25 churches
were burned in one day? Where is the Vatican’s voice of outrage as
the synagogues in Gaza burn? I can only imagine what fury there would
be if Israel were to now demolish 25 mosques on Israeli soil.

Just three days ago, I stood in the Yamit Yeshiva in N’vei Dekalim,
the famous synagogue in the shape of a Jewish star. Rabbi Abu Mazen
has promised that this building will be destroyed. Apparently, its
continued existence would be an insult to the Palestinians, who do
not believe in the sanctity of any religion but their own.

As I walked around, there was a swirl of action. Soldiers moved
quickly back and forth removing whatever could be taken. The books
had been removed, the holy Torah scrolls long since taken away so
they would not see the shame of what would come. The High Court had
not yet ruled whether Israel should destroy the buildings in
anticipation of the desecration Abu Mazen and his government was
promising, but the soldiers knew destruction was coming soon.

In the end, the Israeli government made the correct choice. We will
not destroy synagogues. We will not send a signal to the world that
it is acceptable to wantonly destroy the holy places of our religion
or another. And so, today, as yesterday and tomorrow, mosques will
be safe in Israel, while synagogues burn elsewhere.

Jews do not destroy places of worship even if the alternative in the
end is the desecration of these Houses of God at the hands of rioting
mobs who worship terror, incite violence and care not for any
buildings or any people, not even their own. The world will not admit
it, it can’t be said or written, but Jews honor churches, mosques and
synagogues throughout our country and in our communities. Since the
Holocaust, the Jewish synagogues in Europe have largely been
protected and public outcries have often resulted when desecrations
have occurred.

Israelis even protect Arab holy sites when they are built on top of
our holy places, as they are on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,
Joseph’s Tomb, Samuel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in
Hebron.

Make no mistake, the face of the future state of Palestine can be
seen in the actions of Palestinians today. There is an impossible
divide between our culture and theirs, our dreams and the nightmares
they would force upon us.

Jews made their stand yesterday by not destroying the synagogues.
Palestinians made their stand today by burning and desecrating them.
The remaining question now is what the Christian world will do. Will
you express outrage at Islamic intolerance or continued silence?

Taken from customerservant.com

Service Level is seriously getting on my nerves.
The powers that be have decided to have one person handle service level for both projects, so the folks dealing with the Elves on the other side are now dealing with us as well.
Which means I’ve re-inherited the problem of constant ringing of the phone when I’m trying to document a call.
They know it takes longer, and with the new subscription screen, it’s making the process even longer.
It’s pissing me off.
I’d really like to go over there and wring someone’s neck.

Taken from customerservant.com

There’s apparently an article in todays Daily Rejecter, saying that residents, (or rather, former residents) of New Orleans will be moved to one of the projects in Greenville.
Great.
That’s just what we need.
More ignorance, and a higher crime rate.
Yes, we’ll probably have an upsurge in the amount of Cajun restaurants in town, but the disadvantages far outweigh any possible advantages.
I can say this though.
My employer will get a new pool of possible employees to draw from, and they will be most likely ignorant of the schemes and such that go on around here on a daily basis.
I almost feel sorry for them, but I guarantee I won’t feel that way once the stupidity level sky-rockets, and the craziness increases.

Taken from customerservant.com

How logical is this: We have to transfer certain members to other departments, depending on what group they’re with. Before transferring, we have to give them a reference number. At the end of the call, they’ll get yet another reference number. Reference numbers don’t provide any more information than a name/date-of-birth search, or ID search, or prescription number search. Complete waste of time.

Taken from customerservant.com

Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald

In this coming week’s parasha, parashat Shoftim, 41 new Torah laws–14 positive and 27 negative mitzvot–are introduced. Among the laws that are included
in this week’s parasha is the regulation affirming the authority of the rabbis.

Known as the law of the Zakein Mamreh, the Rebellious Elder, this statute underscores the importance of heeding the authority of the sages. In fact, it
was a capital crime for any judge, even an outstanding judge, to act against the decision of the Great Sanhedrin (the ancient Supreme Court of Israel in
Jerusalem).

The Torah, in Deuteronomy 17:10, warns the people to do what the judges tell them to do, and to abide by everything that they teach. The very next verse,
Deuteronomy 17:11, then states: “Ahl pee ha’Torah ah’sher yo’roo’chah, v’ahl ha’mish’paht ah’sher yom’roo l’chah, tah’ah’seh. Lo ta’soor min hah’da’var
ah’sher yah’gee’doo l’chah ya’min oo’s’mohl,” according to the teaching that they will teach you and according to the judgement that they will say to you,
you shall do. You shall not deviate from the word that they tell you, right or left. No matter what the status of the person who willfully rebels against
the words of the judges, that person shall die. In this manner, the people of Israel are bidden to eradicate the evil from their midst, and serve as a
lesson for all the people to hear and to fear.

Throughout the long and remarkable history of the Jewish people there were always rebellious groups of Jews who rejected the teachings and practices of
the Torah. Even the famous rebellion of Korach (Numbers 16), which reputedly originated from a political dispute over authority, is couched in the Midrash
as a theological debate over whether a room full of Torah scrolls requires a mezuzah on the doorpost, or whether a tallit entirely of blue threads requires
an additional blue thread (t’chailet) on the fringes (tzitzit).

Toward the end of the second temple period, the priesthood became corrupt, and many priests adopted the beliefs of the Sadducees (Tzidukim), who followed
the written code (the Scriptures) but rejected the oral code (the oral tradition that was later recorded in the Talmud). During the Gaonic period and in
the time of the early Rishonim, the rabbis had to contend with the Karaites, another sect who rejected the oral tradition. Of course, at the turn of the
Common Era, many Jews were attracted to a new religion–Christianity, first practicing as Hebrew-Christians, and then becoming full-fledged Christians.
The Christians believed that the “Old Testament” had been abrogated, and that there was no longer any reason to follow the rituals of Judaism, such as
kosher, Sabbath observance and circumcision.

The question of Jewish observance, of course, goes much further than only believing in the Bible and the Oral Code. In fact, an essential element of Jewish
theology devolves about the acceptance or rejection of the authority of the sages. It is not only the authority of Moses that must be accepted by believers,
but the authority of succeeding sages throughout the generations. For denying the rabbinic tradition is tantamount to abrogating the entire Jewish legal
system. Consequently, the faithful traditional Jew today is expected to accept contemporary rabbinic authority to be as authoritative as that of Moses
and the written law.

Among the medieval commentators there is the dispute concerning what a “Torah-true” Jew must accept as binding. Maimonides (the Rambam, the great Jewish
philosopher, codifier and physician, 1135-1204) deduces from the verse, Deuteronomy 17:11, you shall not deviate from the word that they will tell you
right or left, that every Jew must accept the following: 1. that the Masoretic (traditional) text of the Scriptures is the valid bible text; 2. that the
laws deduced from the Torah utilizing the 13 Hermeneutic principles of Rabbi Ishmael are valid; and, 3. that all decrees (gezairot), ordinances (takanot)
and customs (minhagim) instituted by the sages are similarly valid.

Nachmanides (Ramban, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, 1194-1270, Spanish Torah commentator) accepts the first two principles of Maimonides, but rejects the third,
stating that laws of rabbinical origin are not enforceable, and hence are not a sine qua none for proper belief.

In contemporary times, a related question has arisen regarding the authority of the sages. A difference of opinion has manifested itself between the Modern
Orthodox and the Chareidi Orthodox Jews with respect to what is known as “Daat Torah” or “Daas Torah.” Daat Torah is loosely defined as “an ideology which
teaches that the advice given by great Torah scholars must be followed by Jews committed to Torah observance” (Rabbi Alfred Cohen, Journal of Halacha and
Contemporary Society, Spring 2003).

The parameters of this dispute extend from those who fervently believe that the sages of old and of contemporary times not only possess a wisdom and a breath
of knowledge that helps them be more insightful than normal people in their decisions regarding Torah and even mundane issues of the day, but also believe
that they actually have ruach hakodesh, an inherent power of prophecy, (even though there are no longer any official prophets in Israel). On the other
hand, there are those who argue, particularly Professor Lawrence Kaplan of McGill University, that there is absolutely no basis for Daat Torah in classical
Judaism, and accuses those who promote the notion of Daat Torah of trying to “close and suppress discussion” of viewpoints that the Chareidi community
rejects.

In his studious and comprehensive examination of the notion and efficacy of Daat Torah, Rabbi Alfred Cohen raises some questions concerning Daat Torah,
including perhaps the gravest question of all, how was it possible for the great rabbinic leaders to advise Jews not to leave Europe before the Holocaust,
and in certain instances prohibiting them from leaving. In response, he cites in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner (1907-1980 Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta R’
Chaim Berlin in New York), an intriguing parable of two people who are standing on the roof about to jump off. The crowd below is begging them not to jump.
One of the would-be leapers is persuaded by the crowd not to jump, and begins to make his way down a staircase, only to fall and break his neck. The other
person leaps from the roof just as a truck carrying mattresses passes by, and he lands unharmed among the mattresses.

Rabbi Hutner asks if the advice given to the would-be leapers incorrect. Obviously not! The advice was indeed correct for most circumstances. The would-be
leaper who listened to them made the right decision to walk down the stairs, but the circumstances changed. “The guidance of our Torah leaders,” Rabbi
Hutner concludes “is just that–Torah inspired wisdom, but it is not prophecy, and it is not failsafe. Our rabbis are wise men, not prophets.” (ibid page
30)

Rabbi Cohen musters additional arguments in support of Daat Torah, positing that acceptance of Rabbinic authority is crucial in order to insure strong leadership
in the Jewish community, otherwise chaos will prevail. “The Torah has established the principle of majority rule, to promote the unity of Torah observance
and preserve the community. Leaders may err,” Rabbi Cohen argues, “but individual Jews who follow their instructions have done no wrong, that is why only
the leaders bring the sin offering in the instance of error, and not the community.” (page 34)

Can one disagree with the great sages? Rabbi Cohen responds affirmatively to this questions by citing the Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserles, 1530-1572) who rules
in the Code of Jewish Law, “It is permitted for him [the student] to disagree with some ruling or teaching of his [the teacher], if he can sustain his
position and prove that the law is as he sees it.” (Yoreh Deah 242-3)

Obviously, the concept of the authority of the sages is a statute of very ancient origin. However, the extent to which the authority exists and applies
today is a matter of dispute that is far beyond the scope of this analysis. I suggest that those who wish to pursue the question further, consult their
local rabbis, and argue vigorously with them!

May you be blessed

Taken from customerservant.com