Tuesday, March 21, 2006


First things first- it's Mom's birthday! Happy birthday, Mom!

It happens to be Jonah Goldberg's as well- Happy birthday!- and, as it happens, I wanted to mention this column by him. [Off topic, Brookhiser has never seen The Merry Wives of Windsor? The horror! Oh, and also: John Podhoretz is really, really, out of his element in The Corner.]

Anyway. Quoth Jonah:
...I think it’s better for everybody concerned if we start from a foundation of
libertarianism and build up from it. In public policy — as opposed to cultural
politics — I think the default position should be libertarian and then arguments
should be made for why we should deviate from libertarian dogma.
(Come to think, Ben Chorin's post is somewhat related.) The important thing is, with all this talk of new movements and all, I'm beginning to think of myself as a "Goldberg conservative." Well, as a Lamm-conservative, but he's more famous.

There's also this:
I can still be stunned by the barbarism of really anti-Semitic e-mail. What’s
even more depressing is the anti-Semitic e-mail from people who are otherwise
normal and then slip it in because they simply get comfortable.
I hate to say it, but the man has a point. Of course, it comes out on the Left more. Just see this.

One last thing: What sort of question is this?
"Do you believe this, that the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism are signs
of the apocalypse? And if not, why not?"
Huh? Is she trying to trap Bush as being for it or against it? What do you answer to that? Well, what Bush did answer, I guess.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

What the...?

I don't doubt the quote from the Vaad president here is true. It's just a prime example of not letting greenhorns into positions of influence before they realize what's what.

Of course, it's not like native do a much better job, but first things first.

Reading the dude's site, it seems clear he's pulling the old "be a troublemaker and claim they don't like you for other reasons" shtick. It also seems clear that YU is pulling the old "don't like someone and claim he's being a troublemaker" shtick. Wouldn't things be so much simpler if people were honest, and YU had lawyers and staff who had certain, well, values, aside from PR?

One more thing: I'm certainly glad I never vote for Democrats. Mayersohn represents my district. I've never voted for her.

On a completely different note: Memo to self: There are certain people out there (especially on Mail-Jewish, it seems) who take the things they have a strong interest in very seriously indeed. Do not anger them. You've done it too many times (three at least) already.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sheloshim Yom Kodem HaChag...

(Not to neglect Caesar, of course.) Well, a bit more on Purim, in honor of Shushan Purim. (In Chevron, they celebrate both days; as a friend of the family's said to my sister, "We exchanged Purim Shel Galut for Yom Tov Sheni Shel Geulah. Hee!)

After Shacharis yesterday, I spoke with the Rabbi a bit about the two famous repeated words in the Megillah- he'd given a shiur once about what the correct version was, and I wanted to know what to do, as our Megillah has the "incorrect" versions. Turned out his does as well. In any event, we fell to talking about what may have caused this- perhaps the fact that "leharog" is mentioned twice before (and, he point out, bifneihem earlier in Tanakh with similar words) led to them being written in those forms here.

I then mentioned the fact that some people repeat "B'Omrom" when that is certainly just a k'tiv; he told me that he asked the Grach that very point, and he said the same thing. But as I read the Megillah later that day, I realized that B'Omrom, too, occurs earlier, and there may have a been a similar- and, obviously, much older- mix-up leading to the k'tiv.

Something to ponder. And now on to Pesach!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Kol Rinah V'Yeshua B'Oholei Tzadikim...

Well, that's the "official" explanation of the word "Krovetz." Probably just a form of "K'rovah," but that's typical, as we will see shortly.

What a great Purim! Relaxing and exhilirating at the same time! It does remind me that I've wanted to comment of the "Krovetz" for Purim for a while.

A passing reference at a shiur of R. Leiman led to some research in the Encyclopedia Judaica, where I made an interesting discovery: The nineteenth bracha in Shemona Esrei is not Minim, as we've always learned. That was always there, at least as a general request to defeat enemies, with the later Tanaaitic "creation" (merely) being the addition of language against internal enemies. (Come to think, the Gemara seems to differ with that idea. Anyway.) The actual nineteenth blessing seems to have been "Et Tzemach," the content of which would seem to be covered in the previous Bracha. (Or, perhaps, according to the "traditional" view, it was incorporated there by some to maintain the eighteen total?) That it wasn't added until much later, at least in Israel, can be seen by the fact that the various weekday k'rovot (and, despite what your siddurim of today will show, there were many, for many weekday semi-holidays), written in Israel, do not contain added text for that bracha.

Of course, Artscroll, proudly obscurantist to the last, as a glance at their catalogs (arrived today) will show, chooses to ignore this (if they ever knew it). Instead, they give a cock-and-bull story about how Esther and Mordechai were from the family of Sha'ul and thus there's no k'rovah for the bracha dealing with the line of David. Typical.

My father, in fact, was m'chaven to Artscroll and thought of the same reason on his own. But he, you see, is not editing a new siddur. (Nor am I.) Artscroll is, and should know better.

Speaking of siddurim, I had another interesting experience. I was going through siddurim at the YU library recently (don't ask why), and came across the Kabbalah Centre's [sic], by none other than "Rav Berg" [sic]. Right away, I flipped through to the "Shelo Asani" brachot. After all, if you're changing for a modern audience, that'll be the first to go- and not entirely without halakhic support, if I may. I was much surprised- not a word was changed. There were lots of explanations, of course, about how "goy" doesn't mean, well, "goy" and so on, but nothing too far from what Artscroll will give you. It made me wonder if the Bergs relate to their center (notwithstanding that they created it) in a similar manner to the Young Israel rabbis I discussed here- that all that stuff may be good for them, but there are some lines they can't bring themselves to step over. Odd.

One good thing about taking the day off was that I got to hear Rush for the first time in a while. He was great- oh, how I've missed him. One good moment, however inadvertent, occured right after Rush, responding to a caller, explained all about why entitlement programs, specifically Medicaid, have to (or want to) push for "customers" so hard. It was followed immediately by an ad trying to convince people that they really need to sign up for the...Medicaid prescription medication boond...er, program.

As long as we're on politics, the little bit at the end here is just ridiculous. It's not like the reporter didn't know full well where the President gets his news- and with the kid and his family right there, he tries to score a cheap point. Bush, of course, pulled it off great, God bless. (Hat tip.)

A new Tradition, and it's a beaut. Congrats, especially, to the new online editor!

Oh, and I must quote this email in full:

Dear NAVites,

Many thanks to everyone who responded to Geoff Lester's question
about his "mystery flag." Below is the email that I received from him
today. I didn't mention last time that he was referred to us by the staff
of National Geographic. Both the referral and our response are convincing
proof that NAVA is "where it's at" when it comes to vexi-matters. Well
done, everybody!

Peter Ansoff

President, NAVA


Dear Peter: What a response! The flag turns out to be that of the West Indies Federation, 1958 to 1962. I do very much appreciate your help and have thanked those who responded to your request, namely: James Ferrigan, Nathan Lamm, Steve Wheatley, Whitney Smith, Roger Baert, Luc Baronian, John Ford, David Ott and Fred Barcel. I salute you all. Geoff.

Me and Whitney Smith in one sentence! Oh, my, goodness. What a great Purim.