Monday, February 23, 2009

The Obama-nation Is An Abomination!!!

Michal's reaction to this article:
Obama pledges to slash deficit — after increase

I hope this link doesn't go away. However, I will make my comments relevant in case the link expires out.

This is an article about how Obama is put his little pork barrel spending Stimulus bill into fruition and yet he still states he's going to cut the budget. Is he for real? He wants to confront the crisis without confronting how we got to it.

The fact that some many people voted for this man is sheer and utter proof that the nation is stupid and uneducated. Spending another $787 billion dollars is *NOT* the way to reduce a deficit. He states, "We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences." Oh, yeah? It seems as though that is what you are doing with this stimulus bill. He wants to shun, "casual dishonesty of hiding irresponsible spending with clever accounting tricks." Meanwhile, this is exactly what the stimulus bill is. It's nothing more than a pile of casual dishonesty to hide... oops not spending, however, he's hiding what he's doling out to lobbyist and such.

They want to give the government the banks. It must because the US government is sooooo good with it's money . Oh, and Abomination claims he's going to fix the impending social security and healthcare issues. Oooo! Can I have lemon Merengue? You know, for my pie in the sky....

The writer of the article (Liz Sidoti) states, "With his re-election race just a few years away, he also has an interest in avoiding being labeled as a big-government, big-spending Democrat." If he's trying for that label, he's off to a good start.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Terumah-the building of the mishkan

Before I leave you with the Dvar Torah that I wrote in 2007, let me describe where I was this parshah last year. I took the parshah Shavuah class with Rabbi Feldman in Midtown East at a late lunch time. This french guy was there. That morning, I had davened in shul and the knowledge tidbit for the day was mevushal wine. I remember because I went to Rabbi Feldman's class. I come back from washing for bread and what are they talking about, but mevushal wine. So, I was like, "is this in the parshah or something?" No, of course not. I knew that, because you see this handy dvar Torah below, I had written the previous year and I looked at it before going to this class. However, I thought maybe it was one of those sneaky kabbalistic things like in Parshah Yisro, they say the Torah was offered to all the nations. Only it's not actually in the parshah, it's one of those sneaky kabbalistic things. So, I thought perhaps mevushal was somehow attached to this parshah as two separate places they were discussing... nope, just an odd coincidence.

2007 dvar Torah
At the opening of this parshah, G-d tells Moses to gather up various items from the people. These items are to be broken down so they can be used to build sanctuary, also called a tabernacle.

First the building plans for the ark are given. It was to be made of acacia wood but, covered in gold. It was to have carrying poles (acacia/gold). Also, the ark was to have cherubs carved into it in a manner that their wings would shield the cover.

Next, came instructions for a table. The table was to also have carrying poles. Also, it states that on the table will be bread forms, incense bowls, and side frames. he bread loaves will have golden dividers between them.

The lamp (menorah) was made out of one single piece of gold that was hammered into shape. It has six branches and one light in the middle. The six branches are connected at the shaft of the menorah with a sphere dividing each pair from it’s counterpart.

The next section goes into further details as to the Tabernacle itself. There were two sets of five tapestry panels. The pattern on the tapestry was of cherubs. The two set were connected by fasteners that hooked into loops that were directly on the tapestry. The tabernacle was then covered by goats wool. The wool was put together almost the same way, except that one of the groups had six sheets but, the other had only five. The extra sheet... half to hang in the front and half of a sheet trailing behind. Additionally, a roof was formed of animal hides and skins.

The beams were made of acacia wood covered in gold. There silver bases under the beams. The beams all had a spot in the middle for the crossbars to go through it. The crossbars were acacia wood covered in gold.

There was a cloth partition made of sky-blue, dark red, and crimson wools that were woven together. They had cherubs woven into them. Behind this curtain was where the Ark of Testimony was kept, making this curtain the important curtain to separate out the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies. There was also a drape for the entrance of the tent, held by five gold-covered acacia pillars.

The Altar was made from copper covered acacia. There were copper instruments like fire pans. There was also a copper screen around the Altar. The poles to carry the Altar were made of copper-covered acacia wood.

The north and south sides of the enclosure were 100 cubits long and held by 20 pillars with copper bases. The eastern and western ends were half that size. The entrance was on the eastern end. The pillars used in the enclosure would have silver hoops and hooks with copper bases. The equipment itself used to make the tabernacle was to be made of copper.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Purim (2007)

March 4, 2007

Since today is Purim, I thought I would write about it for a “credit”, if you will towards my conversion. At the end is my concept I had come up with when I thought I was going to be writing the Purim play for the beginner’s shul in Manhattan.

The story of Purim begins where the heroine is humble beginnings. Esther was just a poor little orphan girl who was staying with her uncle. Meanwhile, back at the palace the current queen, Vashti, thought she didn’t even have to listen to the king.

The king held a beauty pageant and Esther was selected as the new queen. At some point, she and Mordecai turn in two traitors. This later becomes important.

Haman who is the villain of the story, gets promoted to become Ahauverosh’s right hand man. He goes power mad and makes everyone bow down to him. For whatever reason, Mordecai won’t do it. As a result, he comes up with an elaborate plot to exterminate the Jewish people, by a lottery system, giving the holiday the Purim name since the word is related to lots or lottery.

As the story unfolds, Esther and the Jewish people fast and pray for three days. Then she goes for it... she goes to see Mordecai and is received, not put to death (well, she was his favorite) so, there’s a banquet and then another banquet and finally she tells the king who is her husband but, well, very removed, “Haman doesn’t have your best interests at heart, he’s tricking you into getting rid of the Jewish people when they haven’t done anything they’re just different, oh, and by the way, I’m Jewish so, he’s going to kill me, too.”

So, the king says, “What? You want to kill my favorite wife?” The gallows prepared for Mordecai are, in sweet justice, used for Haman instead.

Now, we celebrate with triangular cookies symbolic of Haman’s hat. The four Purim mitzvot are: listening to the megillah, gifts of food, gifts to the poor (meals preferred) and the festive meal.


This next parshah that comes after the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai continues on with more Torah. The laws relating to how to treat a slave are highlighted in particular. However, various laws are given throughout this parshah.

At the end of the parshah, Hashem tells Moshe to come up to mountain and there is where the Torah was actually transmitted. The parshah closes by stating that the appearance of Hashem is like a devouring flame.

Was Yitro the first convert?

Was Yitro the first convert? As a convert, this most definitely interests me. After all in this parshah he brings offerings to Hashem. Then again, he went home rather than crossing into the land of Israel. However, he was with the Jewish people when they accepted the Torah. Perhaps he wasn’t a convert because of that fact. After all, he did come in before Sinai and was there at Sinai.

The rest of this parshah involves preparation for and receiving of the Torah. One controversial item surrounding this parshah is that ten statements seem to some to be the whole Torah to some people. However, the whole Torah was given. Reading the parshah it seems to me that this is the part given directly to the people, the rest was given to Moshe and Aharon.

I have some memories surrounding this parshah. The first year of my conversion, I was working as a Shabbos shiksa goy at a shul on Friday night. They had a speaker. So, there was some discussion/question and answers after the speech. I remember the rebbetzin saying that as Jews, we have to push our way in. I don’t remember how it related to the parshah, however, it struck me. While Jews have pushed the way in throughout history, here was I pushing in the opposite direction as someone who was converting. Although, no one there knew that I was converting at that time. I don’t think that really relates so well to the parshah, however, it’s a memory I have from this parshah, so I thought I’d stick it in there.

Last year, when this parshah came around, I was away for Shabbos. I was at the Intermediate Minyan of Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side. It was my first exposure to the fact that people stand for the Ten Declarations. The previous year, I had been in a class at a shul, so I missed that.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gyoress agrees that conversion rabbis are being too maikil...

I have to say something about this. I am speaking of these conversion scandals where all these conversions are being overturned. Yesterday, a friend of mind who is in the process called me. During the conversation she tells me she met over Shabbos, one of those overturned conversions.

This overturned conversion was a woman who had supposedly been Jewish for a number of years. I say this because, if she didn't learn during her conversion, she had a number of years after to continue learning. My friend, who herself is supposed to be learning saw blatantly that after all these years, the woman still doesn't know. According to my friend (who, let me reiterate started her conversion so recently, she's not up on this scandal) the overturned conversion even stated that they wanted to get the number of invalid conversions up to add more non-observant Jews to the country to counter balance the Chareidim.

As a gyoress, I want so badly to defend anther gyoress. However, when I hear stuff like this, how can I?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

To Be or Not To Be Shalach? That Is The Question

This parshah (Be Shalach) is about the trip out of Egypt. There is of course, the splitting of the sea. Then there is the rejoicing after. I know one speaker I heard speak last year, highlighted that Miriam brought a drum. She had a drum and lead the women to rejoice with that drum. Obviously, she had enough faith that this trip would turn out well. So, she made sure to pack a drum.

So as we go through the trip, the Israelites need water, Hashem uses Moshe to make the bitter water not bitter. Then when the Israelites are hungry. They wanted meat. Hashem gave them Quail for a night and then from then on they got manna. We see Shabbos is already in place at this point. They are to gather manna for Shabbos on Friday. The people were thirsty, again. This time the water came from a rock.

It seems as though people consider the Amalek the highlight of this parshah. As I’ve heard this part of this parshah highlighted with disproportion in previous years. To me, it seems like an after thought at the end of the parshah. After all, the exodus and splitting of the Sea of Reeds is the pinnacle of the parshah. However, this year, it seems particularly appropriate. As the Jewish people are currently in awe that Hashem has watched over our soldiers in the modern day attack of the Amaleks sneaking up through Gaza.