Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday morning feelings

Yesterday I had a conversation with my "best friend and colleague" who mentioned that the reason certain blogs thrive is because they are controversial, while other blogs which pretend that Judaism is all roses and chocolate fail miserably.
In other news, our not only fearless and gallant but also obedient to his wife leader R. Chayim Friedman Farbrenged for a bit before riding off into the sunset in order to make shnitzel or something. He told a story that's been retold countless times, and doubtless has a beard longer than your average Indian mystic who's been using Rogaine since he was six. Additionally, I have a feeling that I may have written this story already, but I can't remember, and anyway, it can't hurt to write it again. Basically, there was an old Jew in the Gulag who one Pesach had no Matza, and he suffered great agonies over his inability to fulfill this important Mitzva. The next year he had Matza, and he wanted to share it with another Jewish inmate who was incarcerated for dispossessing people of their hard-earned belongings in a manner usually associated with those of the thieves of Arabia. But I digress. This Jew had no interest in taking part in this important Mitzva, and made that known to the old Jew. Some of the cutthroat types who also inhabited the cells, and respected the old Jew as an extremely holy man, heard about the not so holy Jew's refusal to obey the old Jew's command, and threatened to slaughter him if he didn't eat the Matza. So, like any normal person, he ate the Matza. Wouldn't you?
The question is, which Jew's performance accomplished more; the old Jew who suffered intense agonies worthy of Job because he couldn't eat Matza, or the not so holy Jew who suffered intense agonies worthy not only of Job but possibly also of your average chain gang slave because he did eat the Matza? The answer, of course, is that one of these men accomplished something, while the other didn't. Eating the Matza fulfilled the biblical command. Crying, while exemplary, and quite impressive to boot, did not fulfill the Mitzva.
It's a nice story, no? Please don't all comment with more details, because 1. I know them, and 2. I purposely left them out of the story.
Everyone have a tremendous Shabbos, and remember to stay the course. Or something like that.