Sunday, July 12, 2009

S. Joseph+Manhattan=Fun Galore!

They say that if you empty your mind of all extraneous thoughts and allow your conscious to just drift with the tides, then good things will happen. Well, let me tell you friends, it's not true. I've been trying it out these last few days, and the only thing which occurs when you empty of your mind of all thought is that your mind becomes empty of thought. Generally it's tough to achieve this for any length of time, but I seem to have mastered the technique, because right now I can be sitting reading a book which is actually quite good (even if the editing stinks) and yet my mind isn't in it. Same thing, l'havdil, by Rambam-it's all very interesting (the laws of repentance) and very topical, but is my mind in it? Not really. It's like I've gone onto a higher plane of existence or something. Maybe if I stopped smoking this shtuff or practicing this shtuff... (I joke).

Anyway, two years ago, things were a lot different. I was in Kansas (and Missouri), and for some reason I was writing two posts a day. Silly me. Anyway, here's the first from Friday, July 13, 2007, written at 2:18 AM (see, even then I was certifiably insane!), originally entitled "Finishing up".

I think I'll finish with S. Joe, shall we, before moving on to Manhattan. Let's see, where was I...

Ah yes, City Hall. Magnificent building, made even more magnificent by the, well, magnificent air conditioning. Do I get a prize for using the word "magnificent" three times, in a relatively intelligent manner, in one sentence? I did mention it was hot, right? Anyway, no new info from the secretary, and so we drove off to the Pony Express Museum. None of the horses had any Jewish affiliation.

There was a store that we meant to visit, but by the time we arrived it had already closed. Oh, well. But right next to that was a beautiful park that we drove and walked around, finding many beautiful vistas but unfortunately no Jews. Then we had a brilliant idea. Where do people hang out? Baseball games. So we tried to find the baseball game. Forty minutes later we ended up at the town library, so we walked in.

Gold. Both librarians were very talkative, which is perfect, because so am I. Turns out there are no decent jobs in S. Joe, but there is plenty of meth. Sounds like a good place for a nice Jewish boy, huh? We did look in the White pages though, and finally found him. The one we'd been waiting for. The whole reason we'd come into northern Missouri. A JC Penney's.

Just kidding. We found a Jew. He didn't really want to meet with us. And so of course he didn't. We don't force people to do anything. It's counterproductive.

And besides for a quick stop at the local mall, punctuated by some more talkative but unfortunately non-Jewish people, that was basically it. A success? There's a famous story that two students went a'roaming and came home depressed, having accomplished nothing. And that Shabbos, the Rebbe said that no, they had accomplished. An old woman had seen two young men walking around, with beards, hats, and jackets, and decided to light Shabbos candles. Point is, you never know what you've done. And as I said, we certainly did our fair share of walking around in beards, hats, and jackets. So please do your part and light those Shabbos candles. ;)

Next Time: The Little Apple-Big results
And now for number two, originally entitled, "Little Fruit", and published just eleven hours and 16 minutes later. I must have been crazy. Here goes:

Why do I have a great desire to begin every sentence with the word "so"? Is there something wrong with me? Should I take English comp. 101? Does anyone really care? Would you like it if I started writing about Manhattan and stopped gibbering?

They say that you can turn on cruise control, fall asleep, wake up, have lunch, turn the steering wheel, and be all good while driving on the I-70. Point is, it's a straight road. Not too much to look at either. Since it's the three weeks we can't listen to music, so instead I popped in a CD of a Farbrengen with Rabbi Gordon. Which Rabbi Gordon? I have no idea. Not that's it's too important anyway.

Here comes the inspirational part:

Rabbi Gordon said that some people ask, "Why go out and help Jews? Live in your own world, keep your kids religious, and let everyone else do their own thing." The answer is best explained through a parable. Life is a big sea. And when people come down into this world, they're dropped into that sea. Some people happen to fall onto boats. Some people are immediately swallowed up by the dark, frigid, shark-infested, non-chlorinated, probably salty waters. The guys on the boat get to suntan. And some people even fall off the boat. Now what's the law if you see someone foundering in the depths? You must go save them! There's no Well- I-have-a-schedule-plus-my-wife-will kill-me-if-I'm-late-what's-in-it-for-me type of talk. You go and rescue the drowning person. And if the cry of "Man Overboard!" is heard? Everything stops! The man (or woman, or child, or whatever) immediately becomes the focus of attention. You must save them!

The analogy is clear. Some lucky people are born into observant homes, where Torah is learned and Mitzvos are kept. And some people are born into the opposite. And they're drowning. And it's our responsibility to save them. And if someone leaves their religious lifestyle? A man is overboard? How much greater is our responsibility?

Inspiring, huh? I certainly thought so. And guess what? There's more! Joy!

Well, next time anyway. I have to go now.


Dovid said...

TRS, you've become like a war veteran that sits at home reminiscing past military achievements, while the young soldiers go out to fight on the front lines.

Cheerio said...

enough with the nostalgia!!
the first paragraph would have been a good post - short, but good.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Nice. So that's today's hafatza story.

Sebastion said...

When i was your age...

Just like a guy said...

Dovid: yup.

Cheerio: nu, what should I write about?

Modeh: yup.

Sebastion: yes...?

e said...

Just kidding. We found a Jew. He didn't really want to meet with us. And so of course he didn't. We don't force people to do anything. It's counterproductive.

I wonder what that looked like before it got edited.

Just like a guy said...

Probably a lot nicer.