Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Amateur

I saw a man today was down on a knee.
He wasn’t praying, nor was it blasphemy.
I wondered maybe he was a little cuckoo –
His fingers were tying the lace of his shoe.

I saw a woman today sitting on a bench.
She wasn’t clean, nor was there a stench.
I wondered if maybe she was jesting –
I could swear she was off her feet resting.

I saw a girl today pushing a carriage.
She wasn’t in love, nor was it marriage.
I wondered if maybe she was a quitter –
She had a sign that said, “babysitter”.

I saw a guy today had stains on his pants.
He wasn’t hip, nor was it askance.
I wondered if maybe he was a bummer –
The letters on his van said he was a plumber.

I saw a teen today give someone the finger.
He wasn’t rude, nor was he a bling-blinger.
I wondered if I might not understand –
The above finger was really a hand.

I saw an adult today wearing a mask.
He wasn’t a thief, nor did I ask.
I wondered if it was even possible –
He walked straight into a hospital.

I saw a man today pointing a stick.
He wasn’t threatening, nor was it thick.
I wondered if I was losing my mind –
His sunglasses reflected he was blind.

I saw a boy today was writing poetry.
He wasn’t very versified, nor did it rhyme.
I wondered why he wasn’t my soup-de-jour –
It seems he is only an amateur.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Random Toughts

Random I
When one starts dressing dull moments in imitation silk – like burying milky Gefilte fish in triple-action horseradish – you know it is time to start creating new moments (or, at the very least, start buying real silk or stronger horseradish). Though it is much easier, definitely cheaper, to sprinkle a plastic Timex with diamonds than it is to set them in a platinum Cartier, it would be like making an omelet out of Faberge eggs. It is always easier to wear your talents in sackcloth than in royal robes, and easy is the name of this game.

Random II
If one were to place in front of you two boxes, one containing many small diamonds within a large coal, the other containing many small coals within a large diamond, which, of the two, would you choose – ugliness plated in beauty or beauty plated in ugliness?

Random III
Hopeless sits on a rickety bench. Desperate limps over to him and asks, “Can you please help me out?” Hopeless says, “I don’t think so”.

Walking her dog, Lonely passes by the rickety bench. Hopeless stops her. “Excuse me, what’s your name?” “Please go away,” she begs. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Lonely walks on the green grass and her brown dog follows. The brown dog bites Violated tanning on the lawn. “I’m so sorry”, Lonely says. “Don’t be”, Violated tells her, “I’ve been bitten before”.

Random IV
Shall I tell you an old de-tale, one of humanity and divinity? It goes like this: G-d created man in His image. Period. Perfect. Now methinks, “I am created in the divine image, so everything I do is divine”. But then you-thinks, “I am created in the divine image, so everything I do is divine”. How original. A bit of a conflict in interest, don’t you think? You do realize what just happened here – instead of Man created in G-d’s image, G-d is being created in Man’s image.

We are blind as far as the I can see.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Why Do You Smile?

(Continued from Between The Confines)

Rabban Gamaliel, R. Elazar Ben Azariah, R. Jehoshua, and R. Akiva were going to Jerusalem. When they arrived at Mount Zerphim, they tore their garments; when they approached the Temple Mount and saw a fox running where the Holy of Holies used to be, they began to weep; but R. Akiva smiled.

They asked of R. Akiva, “Why do you smile?”

He replied: “It reads [Isaiah, 8.2]: ‘Witnesses, Uriyah the priest, and Zecharyahu…’ Why is Uriyah conjoined with Zecharyahu, was not the former at the first Temple and the latter at the second? It was because the passage bases the prophecy of Zecharyahu upon the prophecy of Uriyah. Uriyah said [Micha, 3.12]: ‘Therefore for your sake shall Zion be ploughed up as a field…’ Zechariah said [8.4]: ‘Again shall there sit old men and old women in the streets of Jerusalem…’ As long as the prophecy of Uriyah was not fulfilled I feared the prophecy of Zechariah will not either come to be realized, but now since I see that Uriyah's prophecy is fulfilled I am sure that Zechariah's prophecy will also be fulfilled in the near future.”

Upon hearing this, they said: “Akiva, you have condoled us, you have condoled us!”
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa(Loosely translated from the conclusion of Mesechta Maccos)

It has been another week now and the child hasn’t left his perch on the roof. He still trembles from the booming thunder, and can feel the menacing gray clouds about to unleash another barrage. The confines have gone nowhere and destruction is everywhere. He can hear the enemy’s chant – and a fox runs where the Holy of Holies once stood.

He would love to tell of how a manufacturer in the south, whose rival company in the north was forced to close its operations due to the falling rockets, extended the use of his factory to his competitor; of Ro’i Klein, a thirty-one year old commander who sacrificed his body on a grenade so that no one else would get hurt; of people giving up their homes so that misplaced families would have somewhere to stay; of a silver lining in this bleak coal; of a slice of heaven in this jagged hell.

But how can he when he turns his head and sees a good man die?

The child stands on green grass, under a tree. He is surrounded by stones, people’s names engraved on them. It is the funeral of his friend’s father and the summer sun has the chutzpah to smile. The child can hear the women sob and tears flow everywhere, even down the sides of melting water bottles.

The saddest day in the Jewish calendar has come and gone, but the sadness has not. We sit on normal chairs and wear shoes of leather, but there are those who sit on the ground and wear shoes of canvas. The Shabbat of Consolation has consoled us, but there are those still in need of consolation. The daughters of Jerusalem are dancing in the vineyards, but Jerusalem still has daughters who sit under the vines and weep.

The child sees the Rabbis weep. They weep not for themselves but for G-d’s humiliation – how can Divinity’s resting place, the Holy of Holies, the purest place on earth where no man can enter save for the High Priest on Yom Kippur, be defiled so?

And the child weeps. He weeps not for himself but for G-d’s humiliation – how can His children, imbued with His spark, created in His image, fade like yesterdays?

The child sees R. Akiva smile. He smiles for he sees not pain but pleasure. He smiles for he sees not tears but laughter. He smiles for he sees not destruction but rebuilding. He smiles for he sees not exile but redemption.

The child tries to smile, but it’s so hard.