Wednesday, January 30, 2008

English, hockey, and some other shtuff

Many many years ago, when I was a mere child of twelve (as opposes to being a mere child of 21), I had an English teacher at Torah Academy who would make us free write for the first ten minutes of class. This was preparation for learning how to conjugate verbs and other fun shtuff, like swallowing chickens whole (Just for the record, I don't know how to conjugate verbs, and I'm little better at swallowing whole chickens, though I'm sure that with a little practice I could learn how to do either).
For some reason, I thought that this teacher was a practitioner of Wicca, though I really couldn't tell you why I thought so. I also suspected my eighth-grade teacher of being a secret communist (well, until I outed him). Speaking of my eight-grade science teacher, we used to have a floor hockey league, and various teachers were the "owners" of the teams. This teacher of mine was also my "owner", and he was persuaded by the "commissioner" (our gym teacher, Mr. C.) to trade away one of our better players in order to make the teams more fair. We ended up not winning the championship, while the kid who was traded lead his squad on to victory and eternal joy. I've never forgiven my science teacher, for obvious reasons.
An interesting future poll might be: Which is worse, a communist or a wiccan?
Anyway, my seventh-grade English teacher always told us that if we had writer's block then we should just write, "I have nothing to write", or something similarly inane, until we thought of something more edifying to write, at which point we could record that. Again for the record, I don't recall ever having nothing to write, much as I don't recall ever having nothing to say. Ahh, the curse of genius. Or maybe that's idiocy? Which President talked more, Carter or Polk? You be the judge.
This whole reminiscence has been (as you might have guessed) leading to the point that when I began to write I had nothing to say. In fact, I began this post three times before I could think of anything to type. As you see, I didn't exactly come up with anything too brilliant to say anyway.
In order that you shouldn't feel that you've been wasting your precious time, I'll relate a recent exchange that I had with a fellow Merkos Shliach, who also happens to be the brother of our very own almighty editor. I learned in the Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 685, that some people have the custom of spending every Thursday of the weeks of Shemos, Vayera, Bo, Beshalach, Yisro, Mishpatim, Teruma, Tetzavah, Vayehakel, and Pekudei, in fasting and prayer. This, by the way, is only in a leap year, the likes of which we all are currently enjoying. Anyway, my question was, why not Parshas Ki Tisah, the only week in Chumash Shemos that no one bothers to fast.
The answer I got is a good one, particularly because it has a source, Eliyah Rabba 685. The answer provided there is that since Ki Tisah is always Parshas Shekalim (in a leap year), the Tzedakah (charity) replaces the fasting.
So yeah, it's a nice answer, and yeah, it's a leap year, which means that we all get an extra month of Pesach cleaning! Woohoo!


Anonymous said...

Did You In Fact Out Him? Was He Deported?