Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A renaissance man in our very own MoTown

This morning it was suggested to our lord and sovereign Rabbi, the real Chaim Schapiro, that he farbreng tomorrow night in honor of the upcoming holy day Yud Shevat. He pointed at yours truly and said to the the bochur making the suggestion, "As long as you are willing to take responsibility for everything he records." I was shocked and awed by this statement, and asked the leader of our humble smicha pogrom here in Morristown if he was really scared of me, an idea to which he vigorously assented. "Its not only what you write that I'm scared of," he said, "but also what you don't write."
Funnily enough, I think today will go down in the book of chronicles of the kings of TRS as the day which featured the apex of Schapiro inspired genius. I hope I'm wrong, and today is merely the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as Rick would have said to Louis, but if the fates have it otherwise, we'll always have Paris. I mean, I'll always have this 2 Shevat to look on with joy. Not only did it feature an abundance of Schapiro inspired goodness, but I got most of what I was learning. Turns out we don't have as many problems trusting Jews as you might have thought. But more on that later.

Anyway. A bochur approached the Rabbi and asked him a question regarding the biblical prohibition of Baal yiraeh and baal yimatze. I feel a great longing for those glorious days of long-gone bochurhood when I too could decide in the beginning of Shevat to go through all of hilchos Pesach, the scheduled Gemara be damned. I used to do it too. But now I'm stuck learning all about pieces of meat and drops of milk. Oh well. I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way.
I didn't catch the whole conversation, but I did hear the Rabbi compare chametz to cocaine. If you find it in your house, what is the law? How about if you inherited it? You think the Torah is strict when it comes to chametz? Try out the US government when it comes to drugs.

Next on the agenda was a discussion about toothpaste. I mentioned that I used Tom's of Maine, and the Rabbi said that he thought it was disgusting, tasted like pure fluoride. I said that I liked it, but we were already discussing the efficacy of that important mineral. The rabbi confided that when he was a mere child he got fluoride treatments when he went to the dentist, and was shocked when I too told the assembled multitudes that I too underwent the same procedure as a young pup. The question then arose as to the kashrus of commercial fluoride treatments and that of floss. The Rabbi said that if you're careful to only use kosher toothpaste then you should only use kosher floss as well.

In the Pri Megadim it mentions an edition of the Rashba that was publishes in "Crimnean", or something like that, and the Rabbi speculated that this was our modern day Crimea. We then had an hour long discussion regarding; the Yalta conference of Uncle Joe, the great Winston, and FDR that mamzer, the Russo-Japanese war of 1902 and the Rebbe Rashab's efforts therein to provide matza for the Jewish soldiers, the annihilation (did I just murder that spelling?) of the Russian navy in 1904, the Crimean War and the Charge of the Light Brigade and their annihilation at the hands of the Russians (was that better?), his great uncle's fighting in the bloodbath that was Stalingrad, the Berlin Wall, the Berlin Airlift, and several other topics that I don't remember offhand. A lot of fun.

To cap off this great day I asked him to explain the Taz's comparison of food to a woman who intentionally adulters but thinks it's all right. He explained that it's talking about a woman who's a "swinger" (I am not making this up) who thinks that there's no problem with going to parties and going home with men other than her husband. So what's the problem here? Since she didn't know she's not allowed to do this she should be permitted to her husband, just like if you think you can intentionally be mevatel an issue in a heter someone else is allowed to benefit from it. Ahh, the Taz explains, there's a special passuk here, teaching that although she may be okay with G-d she's not all square with her not so dear hubbie. So she must leave him. But in our case of the food, where no one gets hurt, there wouldn't be a problem.

As you can see, today's time in zal rocked. And tomorrow's farbie promises to be even better. All right, so the bochur who's arranging it threatened to get me drunk beforehand so that I wouldn't be able to record the contents, but don't worry. If I have to I'll manage both with the aplomb for which TRS is justly infamous.

52 comments:

Crawling Axe said...

You make me as determined as ever to hurry up in my research.

Sansa fuze. Or anything else with a recorder.

The Real Shliach said...

you mean, to come to motown?

Say what? You know, I think you're the master of inscrutable statements. Must be the motherland.

LE7 said...

Hilarious. I feel like not so long ago I had to explain the term "swinger" to you. Talk about awkward. But there was a reason. So you could engage in this rather important discourse.

Tom's of Maine is kosher? Really?

The Real Shliach said...

True your words be. The question is, who explained it to the Rabbi?

It has a big OU on it for decoration?

Crawling Axe said...

What else? At least for a little time. (Or HT. I may be Rabbi Goldberg’s relative.)

Btw, you haven’t answered: do you know Dan Lewin? Or Gil Leeds? Or were they before your time?

Sansa fuze has recording function. That’s what I use to record my rabbi. But anything else with recording function will do.

Although I am sure there is a statement in Seifer HaMinhogim about not recording a farbrengen. (Of course, there is probably also a statement about not writing about it on a blog.)

LE7 said...

Well he was in yeshiva too...

Oh I never looked. Really, you're so frum you use kosher toothpaste... really?

Crawling Axe said...

(Of course, what is Likkutei Dibburim if not a big blog.)

The Real Shliach said...

CA: I know all the guys in Tiffres by face.
I wrote them down. That way I can put in my parenthetical sarcasm while the iron is hot.
LE7: yes, guilty as charged. Contrary to the appearance I may have presented on this blog, I am fanatically frum. Besides, I think Tom's tastes good.
CA: yup.

LE7 said...

Really? Kosher toothpaste? Do you only use lemon juice on pesach then instead of toothpaste?

Nemo said...

Gil Leeds hasn't been in Morristown in probably four years.

Anonymous said...

so what happened to the gezira of drinking less than 4 (ounces, cups, bottles, barrels...I forget)

End Of world

Crawling Axe said...

Yeah, he is married now.

Crawling Axe said...

If you’re really frum, you check gasoline for chametz.

Where did I hear that? Hesh probably.

Mottel said...

You're lucking you aren't overly harassed for having a blog . . . in my days in LA I was told I was worse then Lucifer himself for having a blog (in part due to the fact that a certain bochur the year before had run a very successful deals blog from smicha).
But, perhaps, a chakira in hilchos ta'aruvos or some other interesting goody would help elevate your blog, and put the good Rabbi Schapiro at ease.

Tom's of Maine has to be the healthiest Toothpaste in the world - you can eat the stuff and it will cure the common cold.

Enjoy the farbi.

sarabonne said...

What are the kosher "normal" toothpastes? I heard colgate was bad...or was it crest? I can never remember.

Mottel said...

Unless there's milk and meat in your toothpaste, or some form of idol, there isn't an issue of 'kosher'.

LE7 said...

But we love to put hechshers on everything. Hey, even out sponga soap in Israel had a hechsher.

sarabonne said...

Ah, probably one of those superstious BT rumors then...or maybe pesach?

The Real Shliach said...

LE7: chatai ani mazkir hayom, I don't do too much for my teeth on Passover.
End of world: you have to know when the exception proves the rule.
Mottel: you came after Daniel eleff? I feel your pain.

LE7 said...

Sorry TRS that's nasty. Remind me to stay more than 100 miles away from Minnesota this Pesach.

Cheerio said...

CA, in two words, you blew this entire post out of my brain. You know Gil Leeds??

Nemo said...

Here's a web site for all BT's and future shluchim and shidduch-daters*:

http://kosherstarbucks.com/

The rest of us will just keep on drinking like we always have ...

Crawling Axe said...

CA, in two words, you blew this entire post out of my brain. You know Gil Leeds??

Yes. He went to India, by the way, didn’t he?

Crawling Axe said...

TRS — yes, ’29.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, "Crimnean" is probably Cremona, in Italy - there used to be a major Jewish publishing company there in the 15 or 1600s. So you should take that back to the Rabbi and have a new discussion about the Italian Renaissance!

Crawling Axe said...

Stalingrad was nuts, by the way.

When I was learning B"L with somebody, I used it as a moshol of middas ha’netzach. Totally crazy. More Germans died trying to take one particular street corner than in the bloodiest battle of WWI. And both Hitler and Stalin, y"sh, wanted to take Stalingrad for symbolic purposes.

The Real Shliach said...

Anon: the rabbi thanks thee
CA: as lee would say, war is fun

Crawling Axe said...

Who’s lee?

The Real Shliach said...

Robert E. "It is good that war is so terrible. Otherwise we should grow too fond of it."

Crawling Axe said...

Invention of powder killed all the fun.

If you can’t see your enemy’s face, feel his fear, feel the time slow down and everything become very clear, all feeling of pain and worry go away, feel the weapon in your hands, and so on... if, instead, you’re just sitting in some blindage waiting to be bombed (like in All Quiet on the Western Front), then all the fun is taken out of even the process of the war itself.

I think Lee was talking about the aftermath. Walking on the battlefield or in the army hospital. In his time, there was still quite a bit of medieval aggressiveness, heroics and chivalry.

Cheerio said...

Yeah, he was in India for Pesach once. Now he's married with two kids, on campus shlichus in Berkeley.

The Real Shliach said...

Are you kidding me? The civil war was the first mechanized one, and was horrible. Go read the history books and you'll get what I mean. It was no better than WW1.

Crawling Axe said...

What was mechanized?

Crawling Axe said...

The guns were becoming more accurate, prompting necessity for defensive warfare, which was not in the spirit of times (Napoleonic frontal assaults were still popular).

North paid at Fredericksburg for not recognizing this. Lee and Longstreet recognized this, but Lee was tired of being called a coward and was overconfident — which cost him under Gettysburg.

Most soldiers still died in the hospitals. The situation was worse, because this was Civil War — an American against American.

Crawling Axe said...

I don’t think you can compare it to WWI. Constant bombings. Tanks. Gas shells. Barbed wire. Positional warfare at its worst — no more decisive open battles (in the spirit of medieval and musket age warfare).

I’d say, psychologically, WWI was even worse than WWII (if you ignore all the horrors of WWII not connected to the battlefield). Except possibly in Belarus — there it was brutal (guerrilla fighters against Germans).

shmulie said...

TRS: Ilsa. Couldn't overlook that. Rick and Ilsa.

shmulie said...

CA: Because inside every Libertarian is sympathy for state rights, my pride reels at the notion that Lee did anything because he was being called a coward. Overconfident - maybe, with good reason. He was the finest battle officer and tactician in our country's history.

Outfoxed the hoity toity Yankees and their fancy (and numerically superior every time)army, delivering blow after blow. Part of the reason (the real reason of course being ineptitude) for the turnover in the Union command was that the bad press following yet another humiliation at the hands of Gen. Lee.

shmulie said...

And the real technological advance was bullets that expand to grip the gun's rifling, expanding its range fourfold.

LE7 said...

I love Civil War history as much as your average nerds, but you all are bigger nerds.

shmulie said...

Ken Burns'll teach it all to you and you don't even have to turn a page. Plus you should get something back for all those tax dollars going to public broadcasting.

Crawling Axe said...

He wasn’t called a coward outright. There were whispers and generally low morally because of constant retreats, regroupings, seeking proper positions, etc.

At Gettysburg, Longstreet offered Lee to go around Northern army, stand between them and Washington and force them to accept a battle in the place more convenient for the Confederacy. Lee answered: “The enemy is here, and we will engage him here.” He was tired. Overconfident in himself and his army. This was right after Fredericksburg. North had notoriously bad generals that Lincoln kept changing like Yeltsin his PMs.

This cost Lee.

LE7 said...

Hey I got a completely free education (even still) from all of those tax dollars... anyways, one would need a Devil Box for that and well I'm too holy.

Crawling Axe said...

I am naturally biased in Lee’s favor too, because of where I went to high school.

shmulie said...

You're right. But the real reason was that his time had come. If not then, the next week.

The Real Shliach said...

The civil war was the first to feature trains (and now you'll go and disprove me, but whatever), rifling on the guns, and iron-clad ships, not to mention workable submersibles.

Crawling Axe said...

Well, I agree, but rifling was the only thing that really contributed to the “horrors of war”, as I said. Shooting became more accurate, and the old Napoleonic-style warfare became obsolete.

The same thing happened in WWI — there was new offensive technology, but defensive technology and strategy (mainly, involving tanks) were only catching up.

shmulie said...

We know all about trains in the Civil War.

"The General" anyone? Axe? One of the all time greats, if you can cool the need for constant overstimulation.

Crawling Axe said...

A book? A movie?

I am sadly ignorant about much of Civil War History, not to mention movies and books. I had a bit of a good history teacher, so that’s where my meager knowledge comes from.

In general, although I love military history, I am not much of a book reader in that department. At least recently, I have become paranoid about reading anything too interesting in secular literature.

shmulie said...

Hilarious silent movie with Buster Keaton. Great music too.

The Real Shliach said...

Are you kidding me? One of the major factors of the north's victory was its superior train system, not to mention its manufacturing prowess.

shmulie said...

TRS, who is it you think is kidding you? I for one could hardly imagine such a thing.

Just point a finger and I'll deliver his head.

The Real Shliach said...

I don't know if such drastic measures are necessarily required. Perhaps just a little obeisance...