Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Watched digital animals: Part I: Greek for Dummies

Moving right along, I watched the new Ohad/Yossi Green music video, and while it's very touching, with all the pictures and whatnot, the song is not very good. As in, it shouldn't be going on anyone's CD anytime soon. I appreciate the thought behind it, and I was moved by it too, but really, it's not ready for primetime. Truth be told, it's better than what I was expecting, a sappy love-song to Shluchim.

The reason I bring this up is because I think there's been a little bit of overkill here. Reading that Asher Federman (my old counsellor!) is building a new Chabad House in the Virgin Islands is absolutely amazing. Reading yet another memorial on shmais? Not so much. Listen, I appreciate people's need to express themselves, but does every single person have to? There's a new mivtza going through Lubavitch, that all the Rebbe's Torah should be learned by the Shloshim. That is a great thing. We should focus on these positive outcomes. Yes, there is a need for memorial, but at the end of the day, what are they going to accomplish? If people would devote their energies to making new peulos instead of writing about the past, a lot more would be accomplished. Obviously.

Speaking of that, Chanukah is coming up, and once again it's time to dust off Al Hanisim '29, which is, as faithful readers of this blog will recall, one of my top five favorite maamarim. There are two main points of this maamar. The first is an explanation of the war between the assimilated Jew peoples and the faithful-to-their-father-in-heaven peoples. What was the root of their argument? The Greekifieds refused to accept the existence of G-d. Simple, no? You would think that things would've change in the last two thousand plus years, but I suppose that wise King Solomon was correct when he asserted that, "There is nothing new under the sun." The Greeks asserted the primacy of reason, as does our culture. If they didn't understand it, well, obviously it couldn't exist. And even the particularly enlightened ones, who acknowledged that reason is not the be all and end all of human existence, refused to accept a higher power. Why? Presumably because they were having too much fun attending toga parties.

So what is the way to fight this invidious form of human behaviour? There's only one way: with Mesiras Nefesh. And that doesn't mean giving your life up either. It can also mean deciding to say Tehillim after Davening instead of running to breakfast and getting runny egg yolk from sunny side up eggs all over your freshly laundered shirt. Which happened anyway, as it turned out, but I suppose that's one of the reasons for sweaters.

And why should we fight the good fight? Well, chiefly because we should. I mean, what else are you going to spend your life doing exactly? Transferring little green pieces of paper around an around 'till they get dizzy? What's the sense in that? At the end of the day, does it leave you feeling fulfilled? All the rich people claim that it doesn't, but obviously they've been doing the wrong thing with their money. They should have been giving it to me. I'm not sure of that would make them feel fulfilled, but it wouldn't hurt to experiment, right?

66 comments:

Elishevers said...

Chabad here made a memorial. But after making everyone in the room cry, they pushed taking on new mitzvahs... I feel like most of the almost 400 people there we're actually moved to do it. Yeah it was a memorial... but it accomplished something.

Also, maybe I do know you? I love the Federmans.

nemo said...

It gets worse:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDySSOWYI1g

nemo said...

Oh, and not to mention Avraham Fried ... but his isn't a new song, so it's not so bad.

http://collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=1005

Interestingly, Oholei Torah sponsors a completely Lubavitch mixed-seating event. COL tries to cover it up (perhaps out of fear of reprisal in the comments) by showing photos of only men, but they weren't skillful enough to remove the ladies from their Avraham Fried video.

The Real Shliach said...

Elishevers: 400? that's tremendous! Where was it held?
And for the other thing...there's only one way to find out, no?

Nemo: yeah, that wasn't a very good video, huh? And what is this diamond event thingie?

Nemo said...

It looks like all the modern-Lubavitch Oholei Torah'nicks (and their wives) who made lots of money notwithstanding their crappy education getting wined and dined by the fundamentalist leaders of the institution that has been destroying children for over sixty years.

The Real Shliach said...

Sick, huh? I love capitalism.

Elishevers said...

OK I don't know for a fact it was 400. But originally they set chairs for two hundred, and then after people came they set another two hundred. Not all of the chairs were taken, but people were standing against the walls. Thus, almost 400. At the JCC in Whitefish Bay...

Nemo said...

Capitalism? I call it the luck of the draw.

More chassidish people might just call it min hashomayim. But I tend to disagree with that: how is it that some people who jerked off in yeshiva ended up making lots of money, while the more learned and devout ended up without invitations to the Diamond Dinner? Brings us back to our faith/reward discussion from the day before last.

Coffee Bean said...

Hey
I just stumbled upon your blog it's pretty interesting!
Funny I was thinking the same thing whilst checking shmais and seeing only the two odd 'new engagements' without the word 'Mumbai' in the subject line, and logging onto youtube and seeing that vid on my screen...
Thing is as Elishevers said, the purpose of these memorials is not to sit and cry but rather to be proactive in doing more Mitzvos. I live on Shlichus and quite a number of people around here that are always pretty cold towards have taken on a Mitzvah in their memory. It's also giving me a bit of a kick...I've taken on the Mesiras Nefesh of saying my Tehillim during my coffee break... Pretty hard!

Where'd I find the Al Hanissim Maamar btw?

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo: Luck of the draw? Maybe. Anyway, who knows who's happy and who's not? And who cares? If you're constantly looking at everyone else, when will you have time to eat icecream?

Coffee Bean: That Maamar is in 5729. Absolutely gorgeous maamar, if I do say so myself.

Anonymous said...

chanan keeep it up
you "gezh" neighbor

Anonymous said...

your "gezha" neighbor

Mottel said...

The Ohad song is cute -but I don't feel like it was made for the event . . . it has that feeling that it was written some time back by Yossi Green, shelved, and then given a new life and purpose with the tragedy. It's appreciated, and the meaning is beautiful, but it's not making it onto my must play list.

Warhol once said that everybody would have their 15 minutes of fame, and it seems that with Chabad's name (sadly) making the front page of CNN, we're all capitalizing on it -for better or worse.

The Real Shliach said...

Cute? Maybe. I was thinking that if they worked on it a bit, brought in someone to arrange with a band and a choir, then it would probably be pretty good. And what's with Ohad's dopey pose? I've seen the guy in concert, and he is capable of doing much better.

Mottel said...

I think when singers sing for an album (which I'd imagine is form where the image was lifted) they make faces that help them get the sound out, but that don't look to hot . . . It's the only way I can explain that scarf in Avraham Freid's "Father Don't Cry"

e said...

Uch. I hate father don't cry. but then again, I hate most Jewish music. So whatever.

The Real Shliach said...

As you so succinctly say, "whatever".

Elisheva said...

Jewish music is great, but synthesizers at weddings do it a great disservice.

The Real Shliach said...

Certain artists do it a disservice.

Elisheva said...

Synthesizers are definitely a greater crime.

The Real Shliach said...

You obviously have to start going to classier weddings.

Elisheva said...

Like throwing lemon juice on a cut, the last few weddings that had synthesizers I attended were classy. After all, one family picks the music, and the other family picks the rest....

The Real Shliach said...

FLOP-obviously, not classy enough.

Cheerio said...

i wish i could stand in solidarity with my fellow woman, elishevers, but i must agree with e.
it's the music. not the artists or the synthesizers (although both of those do contribute). jewish music needs to catch up.

Cheerio said...

to address another point: the difference between the memorials being held by chabad houses around the world that are inspiring people to take on mitzvos in honor of the Holtzbergs, and the endless litany of memorial essays is the effect. a jew stands and watches his local chabad rabbi exhort him to do a mitzvah in honor of these young people who sacrificed their lives - he (or she) is moved to action. a jew reads yet another article, sheds a few tears, and moves on.
there will be a time to memorialize these shluchim, to tell their stories, of their lives and of the lives of people they affected. maybe in a month, for the shloshim.

Cheerio said...

and one more thing: who the heck is naftoli??

The Real Shliach said...

Jewish music: This is one of the five dumbest conversations that can possibly be had. Please, let's not have it.

Memorials: Yup.

Naftoli: Just some guy.

Cheerio said...

so... why do you expect us to care about his hair?

The Real Shliach said...

Certain female bloggers (no names) expect me to care about their hair...I was just trying to even the playing field a little.

Cheerio said...

wait, what?!? who?

The Real Shliach said...

That would be telling, eh?

Cheerio said...

yes, which was the point of my question! tell, please, do!
unless... this falls under the category of "a gentleman never tells"; in which case, you have some 'splainin to do!

Elisheva said...

Burn. How was I supposed to know anyone read my blog?

The Real Shliach said...

Happy Cheerio?

Cheerio said...

my curiosity was satisfied so easily! i almost feel disappointed...

Cheerio said...

i mean, whats the point anymore?

The Real Shliach said...

You want to know the truth?

Cheerio said...

nothing but!

The Real Shliach said...

Truth is, I didn't have anyone particular in mind when I wrote that. I just figured that there were plenty of female bloggers who wrote about their hair. A quick Google search will vindicate this belief. It was just icing on the cake when my arrow hit its mark and Elisheva was revealed to be guilty of this very sin.

Elisheva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheerio said...

wow.
that is a truly amazing display of chauvinism.
of course, being that your presupposition was proven true so rapidly, we are just going to have to take the hit. but we will come back for you when you least expect it! i swear it!

The Real Shliach said...

Elisheva: Oh, frabjous day!

Cheerio: Bring it on!

Cheerio said...

elisheva, where'd you end up going? i'm thinking of resorting to a friend who'll experiment on my hair for free, so i can save money for my trip to israel next week.

Elisheva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheerio said...

ok so i voted that naftali should get a haircut, just so he can join the current trend...

The Real Shliach said...

Cheerio: Birthright?

Elisheva: I think I'm going to vomit.

Elisheva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Real Shliach said...

I'll try.

Cheerio said...

trs, this is your punishment. and no, i was in sem in israel, so birthright isn't a legal and honest option for me. my best friend is getting married, and thank G-d i have generous parents, so - two weeks in the holy land, baby! yeah!

The Real Shliach said...

Wow, that it really nice. Enjoy. Eat several falafels for me.

Cheerio said...

yeesh, looks expensive!

Cheerio said...

several? can i bargain you down to two?

The Real Shliach said...

Oh, all right. But make sure they're good ones.
That's the one thing I really miss about Israel (as if being there for 11 days entitles you to miss it); the falafel. The shtuff here in America, in comparison, is awful.

Cheerio said...

yeah,no - the falafel left me cold. i miss the courtyards. people i'm staying by the first shabbos - awesome courtyard. plus, a very unique full name for their first born son. you have three guesses. i'm going for the kingdom on this one, cuz you don't have a shot!

The Real Shliach said...

Falafel left you cold? Is there no heart beating in your chest?
Who cares about courtyards?

And let me see...hmm...Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer?

Cheerio said...

how can you compare the fiery indigestion inducing falafel to the soothing uplifting israeli courtyard?
and... steeeerike one!
do you want hints, or should i just give it to ya to see how hard you'll laugh?

The Real Shliach said...

Give me the fire every time. With a Coke, of course.

Um, let me see, is the kid's name Osama Bin Laden?

Cheerio said...

try a little closer to home, but with an unforseeable twist....

The Real Shliach said...

Eliezer Menachem Man Shach?

Cheerio said...

surprisingly, that's not so far off.
the kid's name is (drumroll, please)... menachem mendel shehechiyanu.
yeah.
these people are awesome.

The Real Shliach said...

That's one word for 'em...

Cheerio said...

well, that's all for now, folks!

Nemo said...

TRS: what's going to happen when your shidduch sees all of this? You know she will.

Nemo said...

BTW, there's great falafel in Philly. But that's about the only restaurant accessible to me, so maybe I'm biased.

I have this belief about falafel that it's one of those nothing-else-to-eat foods. I mean, I certainly wouldn't travel any great distance - to wit, Israel - to have a falafel. For that matter, I don't miss the stuff.

Seriously, if you could have meat or even pizza, why the hell would you chose falafel?

Which leads to another question: who came up with the dumb idea of do it at home falafel mixes? Or the frozen falafel balls?

Falafel should be had in one instance, and one instance only: when there is nothing else to eat.

Elisheva said...

Nemo is a voice of reason.

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo: We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

Re: Falafel: I used to think the same way you did, but then I had real falafel...

Elisheva: I wouldn't go that far.