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

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.
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

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

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

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

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

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

The following prayer was composed by Israel’s Chief
Rabbinate on behalf
of the victims of Hurricane Katrina (See below). Rabbi
Simchah Roth of
Congregation Eitz Hayyim in Herzliya suggested also
that Psalm 69 be read, and had his congregation do so on
Shabbat. I’m including that Psalm as well.

Psalm 69

For the Conductor, on the shoshanim, by David. Deliver
me, O Elohim, for the waters have reached until my soul!
I have sunk in muddy depths without foothold; I have
come into deep waters,
and the current sweeps me away. I am wearied by my
crying, my throat is parched; my eyes pined while
waiting for my God. More numerous than the hairs
on my head are those who hate me without reason. Mighty
are those who would cut me off, those who are my enemies
without cause. What I have not stolen,
I will then have to return. O Elohim, You know my folly,
and my wrongs are not hidden from You. Let not those who
hope in You be shamed through me,
O Adonai, God of Hosts; let not those who seek You be
disgraced through me, O God of Yisrael, because for Your
sake I have borne humiliation, disgrace
covers my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons, for the envy of Your House
has consumed me, and the humiliations
of those who scorn You have fallen upon me. And I wept
while my soul fasted, and it was a humiliation to me. I
made sackcloth my garment, and became
a byword for them. Those who sit by the gate speak of
me, and of me are the songs of drunkards. May my prayer
to You, Jhwh, be at a gracious
time; Elohim, in Your abounding kindness, answer me with
Your true deliverance. Rescue me from the mire, so that
I not sink; let me be saved from my enemies
and from deep waters. Let not the current of water sweep
me away, nor the deep swallow me; and let not the pit
close its mouth over me. Answer
me, Jhwh, for Your kindness is good; according to Your
abundant mercies, turn to me. Do not hide Your face from
Your servant, for I am in distress-hurry
to answer me. Draw near to my soul and liberate it;
redeem me, so that my enemies not feel triumphant. You
know my humiliation, my shame, and
my disgrace; all my tormentors are before You.
Humiliation has broken my heart, and I have become ill.
I longed for comfort, but there was none; for
consolers, but I did not find. They put gall into my
food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let their table become a trap before
them, and their serenity, a snare. Let their eyes be
darkened so that they cannot see, and let their loins
continually falter. Pour Your wrath
upon them, and let the fierceness of Your anger overtake
them. Let their palace be desolate, let there be no
dweller in their tents, for they persecute
the one whom You struck, and tell of the pain of Your
wounded ones. Add iniquity to their iniquity, and let
them not enter into Your righteousness.
May they be erased from the Book of Life, and let them
not be inscribed with the righteous. But I am poor and
in pain; let Your deliverance, O
Elohim, strengthen me. I will praise the Name of Elohim
with song, I will extol Him with thanksgiving! And it
will please Jhwh more than the sacrifice
of a mature bull with horns and hooves. The humble will
see it and rejoice; you seekers of Elohim, see and your
hearts will come alive. For Jhwh listens to the needy,
and He does not despise His prisoners. Let heaven and
earth praise Him, the seas and all that moves within
them, for
Elohim will deliver Tziyon and build the cities of
Yehuda, and they will settle there and possess it; and
the seed of His servants will inherit it, and those
who love His Name will dwell in it.

Our Heavenly Father, Founder of the world and Creator of
the universe,
compassionate and merciful God,
Please spare and show compassion to Your creatures and
the world You
have created,
And especially the inhabitants of the states along the
Gulf of Mexico
in the United States.
Save them from every calamity, from the winds of storm
and hurricane,
from the waters of the sea, and from every sorrow and
And send deliverance and redemption to all those who
call upon Thy Name.
Save them from the floodwaters and rescue them from the
Lead them to a place of safety, and do not abandon them,
And in Your abundant mercy send them redemption in the
measure of their
And complete healing to the sick and those in pain, and
comfort to
their souls and spirit.
May all the inhabitants of the Earth know and recognize
that You are
the Supreme King,
Who rules the powers of the universe and shows mercy to
His creatures,
who praise Your great Name, amen.

Taken from