Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Leave an entire month without a blog posting? And risk messing up the index on the side? (Yes, that's how my mind works.) Well, despite a request not to put up pictures of the simchot, I, quoting Patrick Henry, say, "Forbid it, Almighty God!" And so, some thoughts:

-As kids, we had a Purim coloring book which began with a picture of snow falling. I remember thinking that was silly- snow was for Chanukah! And this morning, the first day of Rosh Chodesh Adar, we get snow! And they say the world's getting warmer. Or cooler. Or something.

-On the bus home Sunday, I observed, as I have a few times recently without comprehension, an advertisement for Burger King, in Spanish. Above it, someone had added the observation that we "have Bush to thank for this," and advising those coming to America to "learn English or go home." Below this fine sentiment was another, in a thicker pen, altering "America" to "Amerikkka", as is the way of the Left, and calling the former editorialist a (you guessed it) "racist." Well, I'm omitting some of the more pungent New York tawk. But you get the idea.

Anyway, it just made me marvel how we've reached a point where the supposed fanatical right-wing president is defended, at least somewhat and on some grounds, by the Left. Go figure. Someone on National Review recently made the point of how the lack of will among Republicans to take on certain issues (immigration, multiculturalism, etc.) only encourages the real loons further right. (Or left, or what-have-you.)

-I was on the bus as I was returning from Kollel Yom Rishon. Very good, as always. Rabbi Blech had a line that, well, spoke right to me, but was sort of rendered moot today, at least for now. And the Yiddish from the other presenter (both, really) was kept down to somewhat tolerable levels. (That reminds me- I still haven't done a review of the book I received. Not sure if it would be polite to write too honestly.) As long as I was up in the Heights, I took in a fine and hospitable siyum by a good friend and the last day of the Sefarim Sale. I didn't buy anything this time, but it was nice to see as it wound down. Although I regret giving my number more than getting it, as seems to be a theme.

-Finally, the status of gedolim seems to be an issue, as one may see here (and here), here (and here), and here (don't miss the comments on any of those posts). Two Sundays ago, I attended the OU's second Mesorah Conference, just as good as the first (although no big dinner after, alas). One thing I noted especially: The audience were ba'alei (and ba'alot) bayit, serious, certainly, but I would imagine not particularly "into" the big fights, followers of the blogosphere, militant Modern Orthodox, or anything like that. And yet whenever something particularly silly done by contemporary gedolim came up- not gratuitously or maliciously, to be sure, but these things happen more often than ever nowadays, it seems, and so come up they did- there were reactions ranging from knowing titters to outright guffaws. An offhand mention of Slifkin, laughter. An example of poskim deciding things not at all in their purview, the same.

Oh, and one more thing- it seems there's a growing number of Orthodox (again, leaning right, not part of any of the categories listed above) who have taken a real interest in Masoretic issues. An offhand reference to Ben Asher and Karaism by a speaker at the conference brought an impassioned reaction from one audience member, for example, and I've been seeing quite a bit of this in recent times. I'm getting the strong feeling that a lot of people are starting to grasp that something's not quite right with the party line ("every letter from Sinai" is just the tip of the iceberg). Lord knows where it will end, especially when combined with the other sentiments above.

Enough for now. I'll write about the Artscroll treatment of the K'rovot for Purim closer to the day itself, I hope. For now: Was there really no other option than to write the word "Bavli" over and over again in the edition of Shekalim?