expiration date

I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the past month. You might think it’s because it’s because of the High Holiday season. You might also think it’s because of the upturn with the Delta variant and COVID. You might be right on both accounts. But this started before that. We returned from spending almost a week with the kiddies along with some unexpected viral guests. The doctor assured me it was viral, but I felt like garbage for almost the whole week following. Thus a week of acetaminophen. She assured me it would go away with plenty of warm water, not cold, which restricts the nerve endings (who knew??), and lots of Vitamins C and D. And even though I was really ready to beg her for something to make it possible to swallow without pain, it went away. At some point probably as I was getting a little better, I noticed that the expiration date on the bottle was from 2017.

Well, that wasn’t so long agghhh!

Yes, it is from the stuff we brought over on our lift. It’s whittled down, but we still have a lot of OTC meds that have officially expired similarly years ago. Could this be why it took me so long to get better? Was it half-strength-half-life? It was to be taken every 6 hours and to be honest, sometimes time was bent since I was in such discomfort. But no, Google informed me that the expiration date on meds is just a suggestion. Well, a little more than that, but not much. As long as it’s not stored in improper conditions, solid meds last up to 5 years after their dates. Another article I just read says at least three years. Hmm. But you should smell it and look at it carefully. Apparently aspirin has some ingredient that causes it not to last as long. In any case, I have to figure out what to do with all this expired stuff, plus get some more new stuff, just in case.

But clearly, only a little bit.

This is a good thing, right? We haven’t had to take meds, which means we’ve been healthy, right? Basically. But the truth is we’re getting old older. Old clothes which we brought with us are getting raggedy, need replacing. Old books are getting too hard to read (fuzzy old print), so we need new copies. Technology gets updated on a need-to-go basis, so that’s not an issue for now. But it’s the sense of things reaching their end that has me upended. After all, we wish each other גמר חתימה טובה now before Yom Kippur. It literally means “End of a Good Sealing”.

And then what, exactly?

I had to go back from the dentist (again). She repaired a molar that had broken in half that same week we were with the kiddies. If it breaks again, I’ll have to go with a root canal and then a crown. כֶּתֶר and טיפול שורש. Somehow in Hebrew that sounds better; maybe appropriate for the ten days of Teshuvah; this period of introspection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; treatment of the root that I will search my roots; and the crown that I will be glad to use to declare G-d as the King. So even my mouth declares and all my bones declare

כָּל עַצְמוֹתַי, תֹּאמַרְנָה-

ה’ מִי כָמוֹךָ

מַצִּיל עָנִי מֵחָזָק מִמֶּנּוּ וְעָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן
מִגֹּזְלוֹ

מִי יִדְמֶה לָּךְ וּמִי יִשְׁוֶה לָּךְ וּמִי יַעֲרָךְ לָךְ
הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל, הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא, אֵל עֶלְיוֹן
קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ

Hashem, who is like You? He who saves the poor from the stronger, and the poor and destitute from thieves.

Who resembles You? And who can compare to You? And who can value You? The great G-d, strong and powerful, G-d above, who shows ownership over heavens and earth.

(from Shabbat and Yom Tov morning prayers)

This will be what I will keep in focus; we don’t know we don’t know. We don’t know what G-d has in store for us. We just have to remember that He owns the store.

I’m trying to get into Shemittah; the seventh year in the cycle of rest for the Land of Israel. Bottom line; we should be able to go into any field and orchard and pick what we need for our short-term needs. No ownership. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn the laws and prepare our own garden for no planting for the year. This is our first time living here and participating in this set of laws. It’s an honor and an awesome project.

I’m in a Facebook group of Anglos gardening in Israel; a large enough group for interesting discussions. One of the people mentioned that he and his wife love coming home from work for lunch and going into their garden to tinker around a bit. And so after Rosh Hashanah, they come home and he goes out to the garden–to do nothing. Because nothing can be done. (Not exactly true because one can weed and keep up proper appearances; just not plant or do something that would strengthen the growing, but…) Someone else in the group answered, “Go sit in the garden and enjoy!”

Yes. Detach from your small world and pay attention to the larger picture. Know you are not the center. Go. Be grateful. Enjoy.

We went to a nearby winery this afternoon–Kerem Ben Zimra. I think that the experience of drinking wine in the afternoon in a lovely setting helps the wine taste more amazing; we’ll have to see how it holds up during meals. But the woman helping us with the tasting talked about the deepest connection that the Boujou family has to the wine, to the land itself. She displayed the best understanding, the deepest understanding, of the term terroir; that the land itself gives its all to the wine. But so much more than that; she pointed out the vinter; this young woman we saw briefly holding her baby in a baby carrier, who married into the family and then became the expert; she goes from vine to vine right in their vineyards and is able to pay complete attention to when the grapes are ready; how to make the best of the best right there.

This is being part of the Land. This is allowing the Land to speak to you. Not pushing your agenda onto the Land, but listening. Waiting. Allowing it to be its best. Belonging. I have such a sense of awe when I hear people who know their place speak; I am still in search of it, although I think I’m getting warmer. But when you hear people speak about how much the Land speaks to them, you know that they are truly blessed. So I am grateful that I can bless the One who allows the wine to come forth from this Land. At least I can do that.

And there is no expiration date on gratefulness.

גמר חתימה טובה. And then onto even more amazing things ahead!

See the baby stroller on the side and the high chair in the front? That’s a sign that babies are part of this story.
This is the view. This is the life. Straight north on the hilltop is another great winery, Yiron.
And just because it is the season of pomegranates. Extra blessing.

we’re all in the same boat

we’re all in the same boat

Even if it’s the Ship of Theseus.

We spent the weekend with our grandchildren (and their parents), which required a lot of driving on our part. Actually, it required a lot of sitting and OHMYGOD’ing on my part, since I never passed my driver’s license test here in Israel, and I just don’t want to try again. The way down was lovely and uncrowded, and we even got a chance to meet the new baby of friends at a stop along the way. But taking our grandson into Jerusalem after Shabbat took three times as long as usual, due to a terrible accident on the other side of the road. And then on Sunday, after shopping (successfully) for clothing for the upcoming bar mitzvah celebration in a mall in Jerusalem, it also took us twice as long to get home. And as I sat and ISHI drove (also sitting), I did a lot of looking and thinking about what I saw.

In the middle of the traffic that was starting to build up, there came a Tesla speeding from lane to lane. Now, Teslas are pretty rare still here in Israel; I don’t know how they do their electrical charging because it’s just not something I need to know about. But boy that thing moved! I could say that was great to see, except it was just one of those horrible sliding into each lane without real regard for space. But as it passed us, I experienced epicaricacy (Schadenfreude in English; new to me) as I noticed her skirt sticking out the door, like Shelley Duvall in Three Women. She was in a hurry but she was not perfect! We played a game of waiting for her to catch up to us so I could take her picture.

Skirt out the door!
I fudged out the license plate to protect the annoying.

Traffic is a sign of movement, of commerce. That should count for something. The other night when we were stuck in traffic with no movement on the other side, a car raced into the other lane and sped ahead of all of us. Look, we weren’t moving, so it could have gone slowly and still gone ahead of us. But with chutzpah, it would figure that it would speed ahead.

Until the traffic did start moving in that other direction. We don’t know if it was a car that decided to turn around and go the other way, or it got through. From the lack of sirens (other than the ambulance and other emergency vehicles earlier), we figured it was a car turning around. Thankfully, no one else copied either of them.

There was a pickup truck that had this fantastic bumper sticker:

ברכנו אבינו כולנו כאחד Bless us, Our Father, all of us as one

It’s that little strip on the top right of the tailgate. I promise you that’s what it says and I promise you it was in rainbow colors. This is what happens when you don’t bring out your big guns camera. I’m about to mix more metaphors, so I thought I’d get started.

Here is a truck driver who chooses to be our prophet of truth. We’re all in the same boat, even if we’re all in our own little separate vehicles. By saying this prayer, we are acknowledging that we need to pull ourselves together. The fighting that we do against each other will indeed destroy us, since our enemies are looking for more reasons to hate us. We are all in that Ship of Fools (but also this) who are unable or unwilling to take a wider view of what is going on in the world; that we can’t withdraw from events around us; that we desperately need everyone’s wisdom and we need to work together. Or we all go down.

It is a bit ironic, then, that this iconic prayer of ברכת שים שלום Birkat Sim Shalom has quite a few variations, depending on what community you are from. You can look at a chart describing the differences between Sephardic, Teiman, Ashkenazic, Sfard, Italy, Romania, and Catalonia here. That’s not even going into any translation or non-traditional versions. So even if we are asking for different elements, each community recognizes that we’re all asking for the same light of G-d’s countenance בָּרְכֵנוּ אָבִינוּ כֻּלָּנוּ כְּאֶחָד בְּאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ, for the sake of peace that we desperately need.

And when you see a car, or multiple ones, on the road that are loaded for bear, you know that anything they do can affect you, so you pray that G-d is really taking care of all of us.

Not Elon Musk’s rocket ship

And you breathe great sighs of relief when you get home safely.

But I brought out a smoking gun at the beginning of this post. Why am I bringing up this Ship of Theseus? Is our Jewish identity the same as always, as our enemies continue to hate us? Or is antisemitism so pervasive that they indeed push our new realities upon the old hatred? Make up your mind! Do you hate us because we killed your god or because we are making our homeland come alive successfully? Or are you dragging all the multiple choices with you ad nauseum? Is it that we Jews are traveling in a vehicle with our same purpose?–to be a nation living in the Land of Israel, providing the best for its people, living in justice and doing justice, with a side of mercy.

Because this land is indeed our home. And we’re in it together.

the clock is broken

You know the expression “like clockwork”? Well, these nine days is when the clock is broken. So what do you do when the clock is broken?

Things were not working well this week. Literally, things. I am positive that Zoom added sessions to a series that I did not. So I had to cancel them, but that just got people confused when they got the message that the class had been cancelled, since it never got scheduled to begin with. And as good as ISHI is, he can’t be in two places at once. Oh maybe he could, but it would be taxing. I certainly can’t.

And I posted a new class with a Google form that set itself as only accepting responses from those in our organization. I am so very very sure I did not check that off. But thankfully, someone let me know and I could fix that fairly quickly without having to send off more apologies and reset all of my links and docs.

I stopped watching a lecture by Avivah Zornberg on Zoom so that I could talk to my daughter (priorities, of course!), thinking that I could easily catch up the last bit, where she would tie up all the points, via video. Which hasn’t been posted. In fact, they posted the one from the week before. Twice.

The same daughter who had called was in Miami visiting a friend in need and her flight was delayed five hours. And then she stood at Newark Airport looking for an Uber for over an hour. And of course, it started raining. I didn’t ask her if she had an umbrella…

Oh! And the temporary filling that I got on Sunday apparently got eaten for lunch. How about that for mindful eating?

The nine days.

These are the days leading up to Tisha B’Av, the ninth of the month of Av, when many calamities happened to the Jewish people, including the destruction of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem, both the first and second ones. It became the keystone in the saddest events of the Jewish calendar. Somehow, the heat of summer fits that perfectly. This actually is stretched into three weeks:

…These fast days have mourning practices associated with them stretch from the first fast day – the seventeenth of Tammuz – to the second one, which is on the 9th of Av. This is a span of three weeks, during which many Jews do not get haircuts, shave, make major purchases, wear new clothing, or celebrate weddings.

The mourning customs intensify during the nine day countdown to the Ninth of Av, when the month of Av begins. During the Nine Days, Jewish legal sources prohibit people from eating meat, drinking wine, bathing or swimming for pleasure, doing laundry, or celebrating joyous occasions.

But why should we care? These things happened so long ago…

Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit and see her future joy, and whoever does not mourn for Jerusalem will not see her future joy. Taanit 30b:4

The Talmud says that being part of Jewish destiny means mourning together with our community in response to the tragedies of our past, as a way of preparing to rejoice together at our future moments of joy.

Sarah Wolkenfeld

Our problem is that we’re stuck. It’s a big Groundhog Day cycle where we’re not able to move past ourselves. I must admit that the world doesn’t want to let us. It’s been horrifying to read comments from–well, I don’t know how to label them, so let’s just call them idiots for now–idiots who say “If a guy walks into a bar and gets kicked out 2000 times, you think it’s the bar’s fault?” I read too many comments that sounded something like this; someone thought it would make a good meme and apparently it stuck with commenters on social media. If you can call that thinking. But these are not people who would understand nuance.

We never walked into the bar to get a drink. We got shoved into the bar and did our best to survive, but we didn’t want to be in that bar in the first place.

גָּֽלְתָ֨ה יְהוּדָ֤ה מֵעֹ֙נִי֙ וּמֵרֹ֣ב עֲבֹדָ֔ה הִ֚יא יָשְׁבָ֣ה בַגּוֹיִ֔ם לֹ֥א מָצְאָ֖ה מָנ֑וֹחַ כׇּל־רֹדְפֶ֥יהָ הִשִּׂיג֖וּהָ בֵּ֥ין הַמְּצָרִֽים׃ {ס}         Judah has gone into exile Because of misery and harsh oppression; When she settled among the nations, She found no rest; All her pursuers overtook her In the narrow places.

Eichah 1:3

Rashi comments on the phrase “in the narrow places”:

בֵּין הַמְּצָרִים. שֶׁיֵּשׁ גֹּבַהּ מִכַּאן וּמִכַּאן וְאֵין מָקוֹם לָנוּס It is elevated on either side, and there is no place to flee.

https://www.sefaria.org.il/Rashi_on_Lamentations.1.3.5-6

What do you do when you’re stuck, when that clock is broken? How can we change the narrative? The old methods have not succeeded, so maybe we need to change what we ask.

How do we make it about ourselves, but also about each other? How do we expand our circles so we’re not just doing a kvetch circle but an action circle? How do we defend ourselves and understand we are worth it?

We have no atheists in the trenches.

In November 1914 a newspaper in Devon, England printed an instance of the saying about trenches attributed to an anonymous chaplain 

By 1942, the expression turned into “there are no atheists in fox-holes.” (ibid)

We have a lot of foxes here by our house. I don’t think I had an idea of how annoyingly loud foxes are, especially in the middle of the night. Especially when they are joined by the jackals and the housebound dogs. They are cute, but so are cats. Here in Israel, cats are mostly feral and kept around by the idea that they take care of the mice and rats of the neighborhood, with a clear pecking order. Foxes don’t usually get into city limits, so we on the edge of the field have to put up with it.

Our local foxhole

The foxes have taken up residence in some broken concrete slabs probably donated by some local builders. I am focused on the foxhole phrase plus the story of Rabbi Akiva laughing at the foxes wandering through the newly destroyed Holy Temple.

The Gemara relates another incident involving those Sages. On another occasion they were ascending to Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple. When they arrived at Mount Scopus and saw the site of the Temple, they rent their garments in mourning, in keeping with halakhic practice. When they arrived at the Temple Mount, they saw a fox that emerged from the site of the Holy of Holies. They began weeping, and Rabbi Akiva was laughing.

Makkot 24b 2-4

The Gemara continues with Rabbi Akiva bringing together different prophecies of Isaiah, Uriah, Zechariah, and Michah to prove that the foxes wandering also promise the full redemption in the future, and that brings comfort to the other rabbis.

Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky writes a very convincing article (pdf download) about the relationship between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon, relating specifically to the rabbinic voices in the haggadah. Rabbi Akiva was all about optimism, literally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (or foxhole, as it were), but Rabbi Tarfon was all about pragmatism. The fact is that we need both. That is the moral to our story, the moral of it all.

We can’t get out of our hole without all of us working together. We have to listen to all the voices, but yes, we need to make sure we listen to the hope and the promise that Rabbi Akiva reminded us. And like Groundhog Day (and not like Sisyphus), we need to learn from our mistakes, perfect ourselves, and get us past these nine days to a perfected world.

השיבנו ה אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם Take us back, O LORD, to Yourself, And let us come back; Renew our days as of old!

Eicha 5:21

that noisy mouse

that noisy mouse

The interconnectivity of everything can show a humorous side, such as the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series. That is a nice and happy place to be. I have been reading [too] many articles on the Surfside tragedy for the past two weeks. It’s beyond tragic that it’s been that long already, but there has been no closure for so many families.

The article I just read brings up all the various factors that are being considered contributing to this disaster. And that’s the problem; we would love if we could blame one thing. Fix that one thing and then it goes away. Problem solved.

But more and more and more, that is not possible.

I need dental work. I knew I needed work. I have put off going to the dentist for this whole COVID era. Okay, maybe a little bit before that, too, but who knew? The clinic where I’ve gone to in the past simply doesn’t answer their phone. I’ve tried at various times during the day, all week now, and now my molar has lost a chunk and I don’t want to go through the weekend with this. I finally went into the clinic and they said I could show up on Sunday and wait for a break between treatments. So now I’m waiting for a call back from a dentist to get a referral so I can get a special appointment for tomorrow in one of the neighboring towns, since the ones here in Tzfat, or even in Rosh Pinna down the hill, are not open again until Sunday.

We put in some flower boxes on our upstairs balcony. I love to read out there when it’s not too hot (or cold, or windy!), and I thought it would be nice to have flowers to enjoy while I’m there, plus cascading down over the balcony. And it does look lovely.

Mt. Hermon in the distance
The length of the balcony with the variety of geraniums and jasmine

Our corner of heaven, really. Except do you notice the dark cracks by the third flower box? Yup; too much water. We need our gardener to adjust the amount of water that drips into them. Because they’re in partial shade for much of the day, they don’t require as much water as the ones below. So we need to change the drip irrigation to a separate line just for here.

Okay, we can get that done. Except, in the meantime, the water didn’t just go down the drain. We have a new crack in our kitchen wall which we thought we took care of by fixing that drain above it. Except it’s not really above it. The latest theory is that the water entered the rusting bolts on the balcony grille and descended through the cement wall into our kitchen. Except that really can’t be it because there’s no water on the ledge where the bolts are. With the heat of the spring and summer we’ve had since the rains of winter, there’s no way this is leftover from then.

Mice and cookies indeed. More like chaos theory, emphasis on chaos. I took the opportunity to look at chaos theory just enough to have my head explode with the knowledge of how little I know. Here’s the definition summarized by Edward Lorenz, a mathematician and meteorologist:

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory#cite_note-11

Straight lines, even with mice, are nice in children’s books. We live in a world of too many variables to begin to pretend we can understand the past, much less predict the future.

I also read today about a new book by Daniel Kahneman called Noise. This is the term for all the factors in a chaotic field that can’t be explained away due to specific reasons or cognitive biases that affect our decision-making. But he guides us how to reduce the noise in any decision-making process. I’ll just quote two things:

I think that the first misconception we want to dispel—noise is a big problem. Noise is generally neglected, we think, and it should not be neglected, it is worth paying attention to.

The second misconception is one that we discussed, which is that reducing noise means being completely mechanistic or that it leaves no role for human judgment. Our attempt is to maintain human judgment and reduce noise.

https://behavioralscientist.org/a-conversation-with-daniel-kahneman-about-noise/

Maintain human judgment. That means, of course, acknowledging that we are, after all, only human. That gets rid of some of the noise right away. And yet, when it all comes down to it, as quiet as it is here in our corner of paradise, it’s still a very noisy world. But as I wrote ten years ago in my first mouse tale,

If someone reminds you, then you’ll remember that you need all the help you can get.

And that really is the end of the story.

https://mysending.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/i-do-hate-soda/

happiness surely is more than we can know

During davening (prayer) one day last week, I considered a topic for an upcoming class we’re having on prayer. What is my favorite? At first, I had this feeling of puppies rushing towards me. Puppies!!–fluffy, clean, and eager. So many options! Such potential! Then I realized I’m allergic, so maybe that’s not the best model.

And what would be the best for me now may not have been in the past, of course.

Last week, I watched Dr. Avivah Zornberg give a fantastic class on Parashat Pinchas for Beit Avi Chai; here is the link. She was doing her amazing best at bringing in disparate ideas/people (performative reality, Emerson, Stanley Cavell, Paul Celan, et. al) to prove how the daughters of Tzelafchad represent the change from Written Law to Oral Law. But through and because of what she said, I got to refocus on the idea of shoes.

One of her sub-strata was the theme of אשרי. I am not translating it because it really is the question; what does it mean? It is often translated as “happy” or “fortunate”, but this is just not enough. She brought in a reference to Psalm 40:3. I’ll give you the first six verses now.

Psalms Chapter 40 תהילים מ׳

לַ֝מְנַצֵּ֗חַ לְדָוִ֥ד מִזְמֽוֹר׃ For the leader. A psalm of David.

קַוֺּ֣ה קִוִּ֣יתִי ה וַיֵּ֥ט אֵ֝לַ֗י וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע שַׁוְעָתִֽי׃ I put my hope in the LORD; He inclined toward me, and heeded my cry.

וַיַּעֲלֵ֤נִי ׀ מִבּ֥וֹר שָׁאוֹן֮ מִטִּ֢יט הַיָּ֫וֵ֥ן וַיָּ֖קֶם עַל־סֶ֥לַע רַגְלַ֗י כּוֹנֵ֥ן אֲשֻׁרָֽי׃ He lifted me out of the miry pit, the slimy clay, and set my feet on a rock, steadied my legs.

וַיִּתֵּ֬ן בְּפִ֨י ׀ שִׁ֥יר חָדָשׁ֮ תְּהִלָּ֢ה לֵא-לֹ֫הֵ֥ינוּ יִרְא֣וּ רַבִּ֣ים וְיִירָ֑אוּ וְ֝יִבְטְח֗וּ בַּה׃ He put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. May many see it and stand in awe, and trust in the LORD.

אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי הַגֶּ֗בֶר אֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֣ם יְ֭הֹוָה מִבְטַח֑וֹ וְֽלֹא־פָנָ֥ה אֶל־רְ֝הָבִ֗ים וְשָׂטֵ֥י כָזָֽב׃ Happy is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who turns not to the arrogant or to followers of falsehood.

“Miry pit” or “slimy clay” is explained somewhere I looked as quicksand.

This is a very full psalm, with many references to historical connections (King David, Iyyov/Job), but I think it’s useful on its own terms.

You’ll notice that there are two different forms of the word אשר in lines 3 and 5. (Actually, three, but let’s let the third go for now.) There is some play on the word here, which begs the question of what it means. How can one’s footing be from the same root as happiness? But that’s the brilliance here–it means surety. Sure footing; sure is the person.

Wiktionary says that אֹשֶׁר can mean all of these things:

רגש של שמחה ושביעות רצון (קצרה או מתמשכת), תחושת סיפוק ורוממות רוח. The emotion of happiness and satisfaction (short-lived or lasting), a feeling of satiety and of uplifted spirit.

That’s all in the Hebrew word אֹשֶׁר. And אישור means permitted. And אֲשֶׁר means which, or that. אשר is the name Asher, which means satisfaction, or happiness.

Avivah said that the word אַשְׁרֵי is used in Psalms as a miner’s lamp, illuminating things that would otherwise fall into shadow and not get noticed. It is the unusual things indeed.

But this roundaboutly brings me back to feet. And shoes.

Because what I thought about with the idea of prayer is shoes. Steadying of my feet, and therefore, of me. Since what we are looking for is support. Shoes are a solid way of keeping us grounded, protected, and balanced. But those of us lucky enough to have choices of shoes? Gratefulness. I choose to wear comfortable, supporting sandals during the summer. And shoes/boots for the other seasons. And sort of a little bit fancy shoes if I must on those happy occasions that require such sacrifices.

Funny. I wrote about shoes here and here and here (which I think I’ll circle back to), and oh so many other times that I’m not even linking.

How shoes are my way, at least, of comfort and yet still have style. Oh, I wrote about this in 2010!–A favorite teacher of ours knew that you could always tell about a person by their shoes–they could be wearing clothes to allow them to fit into a social scene, but if their shoes were a mismatch, then that would reveal the truth.

The truth is that your shoes represent you; maybe in how you can’t afford anything new; maybe that you favor comfort over all; maybe you want to believe you are a princess; maybe you need to strive to be taller than you physically are; or maybe you just don’t think at all how you present yourself. And I know now that it’s all okay.

Because shoes and prayers.

ISHI tells me that the angel Sandalphon is, according to Kabbalah, in charge of gathering the prayers of all of us and then directing them to G-d. I’ll leave that there.

I will look at what our prayers already inform us of their journey. The absolute beauty of Psalms, in particular, is that it is so much; it is every emotion and every victory and every loss. The psychology of having these being able to talk for us. The shoes to keep us covered and get us moving, remembering all the while that G-d has steadied our legs first. And since life is always a journey, the Traveler’s Prayer seems appropriate here:

May it be Your will, Lord, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth. May You send blessing in our handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our humble request because You are God Who hears prayer requests. Blessed are You, Lord, Who hears prayer.

Guide our footsteps!

Taken at Banias Falls. Soldiers deserve the beauty of nature as much as the rest of us.
A voice rings out: “Clear in the desert A road for the LORD! Level in the wilderness A highway for our God! Isaiah 40:3 Part of the haftarah Nachamu that will be read the week after Tisha B’Av. Taken along the old train tracks in Jerusalem.

It looks good from here

Perspective is everything.

When I look at our garden, it’s so easy to see the things that aren’t doing well; the bugs, the dead plants, the faded flowers. But I step back and take another look and am so grateful for the beauty of the whole. Colors! Fresh veggies! Shade for the summer and for privacy! Priceless.

And how fitting that this lesson is reinforced by the Torah portion of the week, Parashat Balak, in which the [evil? selfish? self-absorbed? capitalist? capitalizing?] Bilaam is hired to curse the people of Israel (oh people do that for free these days). He tries a few different times to view them from afar to get the right perspective in order to curse them, but ends up seeing only the good and blesses them instead. Seeing them from afar makes all the little things disappear. And oh how many little things there were/are! And ironically, some of the blessings that he offers do turn into curses later, as they land on the little things. But how important is it for us, the receivers of the Torah these many generations later, to take the long perspective, to gain an appreciation for how things look in general! And then to focus in and fix the little things.

Or to appreciate the little things! Amazement at the variety of colors, smells, the visiting bees, butterflies, birds.

Oh the smells! This is something I know so little about; how does the sense of smell work? Here’s a little description that I found helpful:

Smell and taste are the oldest of the senses. They are essential for survival, having evolved to play key roles in such basic processes as feeding, mating, and avoiding danger.

As the two chemical senses, they work by allowing tiny bits—molecules—of the outside world into the body, and binding to them…

One thing that makes olfaction unique among the senses is that its receptor cells are themselves neurons. Each olfactory receptor cell has filaments called cilia, with receptors designed to bind to specific molecules. Like all neurons, the cell also projects a thicker fiber called an axon. The axons come together in the olfactory nerve and go directly to the brain.

In other words, the olfactory nerve consists of neurons with one end in direct contact with the external world and the other in direct contact with the brain.

https://www.dana.org/article/the-senses-smell-and-taste/

This is it: there is a binding, for good or for bad. Whenever we travel from home along Route 6, the major highway along the central spine of Israel, we encounter the acrid smells of burning rubber. There is a bad habit among Palestinians to burn garbage, including tires, rather than take them to a dump. And their willingness to be involved with arson that burns their neighborhoods, not just Jewish ones.

A moment of frustration here–why are people so short-sighted that they are willing to hurt themselves and the whole environment? We all need to do better. How to encourage people to make those better choices? I have to reread Nudge, which talks about this. And then how to make a difference…

Oh but for the all the smells that come upon you without any control! Like the neighbors who have to paint whatever furniture with spray paint, always when the wind is pointing directly in our direction. I wouldn’t care if it’s Tzfat blue, but it’s not even that. We have to close our windows and pray it won’t hurt our plants! And unfortunately, too often I get bombarded by the smells of mangal–the Israeli penchant for cooking meat outside. I have become more and more disgusted by the smell of charred flesh. It becomes problematic when I’m with people who like that kind of thing. If I hadn’t been a vegetarian because of taste, now I truly would become one because of smell.

And then the stench of body odor, especially when encased in polyester clothing, in any humid situation, whether summer or just overdressed in winter. And why do so many Israelis especially wear black, even those who are not conforming to religious dictates but to fashion?

It is another level of irony that as my vision and hearing start to go due to aging, my sense of smell gets stronger, even if that is not often the case.

Smells, of course, release memory. Is it because we can’t control the act of smelling or be in control of the recall of memory?

We can choose, though. We can take good smells and bring them into our lives. Well, yes, that is once again very relative to what people think is good, as opposed to my sense. For example, I never knew I loved lavender! Because the only lavender I was exposed to was this highly gratingly artificial one that my MIL favored. My response was avoid lavender at all costs! But now, I am so grateful that we have beautiful bundles of lavender growing along the pathway to our house. And I have bunches of lavender hanging all over the house.

I just realized that our occasional guests may not like lavender, even if the natural variety. Now to have to add that to the “do you have any allergies or food limitations?” list…After all, I am allergic or at least highly sensitive to certain lilies and peonies, unfortunately. Oh, and lilacs. And there are probably more. But I’m also allergic to horses, and as long as I don’t stay in the stable, I seem to be able to ride them without incident. So being in the open air makes all the difference in these cases.

Being a vegetarian, I do have issues with the whole return to sacrifice concept. I don’t mind the emphasis on the incense offering, of course. I hope I’m not allergic to that…

Until then, I get to enjoy the weekly spices used every week during Havdalah, the ceremony separating us from Shabbat back to the grind. Here’s what the Rambam and the women at Deracheha have to say about the spices:

Mishneh Torah Laws of Shabbat 29:29

Why do we recite the beracha over spices on Motza’ei Shabbat? Since the soul is in sorrow at the exit of Shabbat, we gladden it and restore it with a good scent.

The spices aid in our emotional transition into the weekday.

https://www.deracheha.org/havdala/?mc_cid=b0a6531d9e&mc_eid=7245853ac6

And Rabbi Yonason Goldson adds this:

According to Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch, the Torah uses the language of “aroma” to describe direct contact over a great distance in the finest detail and in the most subtle ways. The Hebrew words rayach (scent) and ruach (spirituality) derive from a common grammatical root, and the implied connection between them appears as early as the narrative of man’s formation, when the Almighty “breathed a living soul into his nostrils” (Ibid. 2:7).  

The common derivation of the Hebrew words neshimah – “breath” – and neshomah – “soul” – suggests that our spiritual life force comes, literally and metaphorically, by way of air and respiration. By the same token, the spices we inhale as part of havdalah ease our transition from Shabbos, a day of heightened spiritual sensitivity, back to an existence defined by the physical and the mundane.

https://torahideals.com/2014/07/06/the-scent-of-spirit/

Perhaps the unexpected common consequence of COVID, the loss of smell, was indicative of our loss of being in nature. If you Google “sense of smell”, almost all of the results are about loss of the sense, and how to regain it. Perhaps we should be recalibrating all our senses to be back in the garden.

After all, when Yitzchak wanted to bestow a blessing on his son,

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, יִצְחָק אָבִיו:  גְּשָׁה-נָּא וּשְׁקָה-לִּי, בְּנִי.26 And his father Isaac said unto him: ‘Come near now, and kiss me, my son.’
כז  וַיִּגַּשׁ, וַיִּשַּׁק-לוֹ, וַיָּרַח אֶת-רֵיחַ בְּגָדָיו, וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ; וַיֹּאמֶר, רְאֵה רֵיחַ בְּנִי, כְּרֵיחַ שָׂדֶה, אֲשֶׁר בֵּרְכוֹ ה.27 And he came near, and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said: See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed.
Genesis 27

See? Releasing the blessings comes from the smell of the fields.

Our newest jasmine vine
At Banias — the smell as well as the beauty of the flowers as released by the heat of the day
Our flowering lavender towards sunset

Edit: I knew I had written about smell before, but only checked this blog and not the previous one…https://olddogwitholdtricks.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/the-sense-of-smell/. It is so similar, but maybe I’ve learned a thing or two.

all wrapped up

Our grandson’s hanachat tefillin (the first time he wraps himself in the prayer phylacteries, the month before he becomes a bar mitzvah at 13 years old, entering his life as a Jewish adult) is this Tuesday, hopefully at the Kotel. Things are steamy right now, to say the least. I am worried about the hotheads on all sides. So I am trying to concentrate on the nachas point; another bar mitzvah of another grandson.

We had gone with him and his parents to see how the tefillin are made. I had never seen the inside of tefillin, and I bet most people, even Jewish men who wear them, haven’t, either.

Yes, I had my camera with me.

The sofer (Jewish scribe) showed us how the tefillin are put together. The block made out of cow’s hide in the middle is a more stripped-down version of what the tefillin shel rosh (the phylacteries put on the head) look like. The slots will each hold four verses from the Torah that mention the mitzvah of tefillin, wrapped up individually. The screwdriver is there to hold the box open; not ritually essential;).
The four verses are shown here. The one with the bold letters is the Shema, pretty much the central verse of the Torah. I will write about it later, actually.
Here the sofer is wrapping up one verse at a time. He uses hairs from a cow’s tail to wrap it. That’s the auburn hair on the left.
ISHI was given the honor of placing one of the verses in the box. I didn’t mind not doing it; it’s not my mitzvah and I’m really really fine with that! More about that later, too.
Progress
Side view
Wrapping up the tefillin shel yad. I don’t know why it’s just one roll, rather than the sections. Maybe because the tefillin shel yad represent action in the world, and not separation?
When we first entered the sofer’s studio, we saw this sefer Torah (Torah scroll) in progress. I think he leaves it out as an educational tool to show how he works. The light box underneath allows him to use an already written text as a guide, saving lots of time and effort. It has to be perfect.
The section of the Torah that he had open for us was the last section of last week’s Torah portion, containing the mitzvah of tzitzit, as well as the first section of this week’s portion, Korach. More about that, too.

I have no interest in wearing tefillin for so many reasons. Mostly because it’s weird, this wrapping up in leather straps. I am a vegetarian who wears leather shoes, but I’d so much rather not. I never had any interest in the mitzvah and have always been grateful for my limited public role in Jewish life as a woman; being able to choose what I do but not have the public pressure. No performance, no problem. So I looked upon this whole thing with curiosity as an outsider. The reality is that I identify with the verses. The Torah speaks to me.

And when I can read the words during prayer and I have given some space for those words to be understood, I am internalizing the Torah. Thinking out of the box, in the best way. More specifically, recently I have had an experience understanding why we cover our eyes while saying the Shema. When reciting the prayer that precedes it, Ahavah Rabah, if I’m lucky/blessed, I receive the greatest sense of G-d’s love for us on so many levels. Here’s what Wikipedia says the prayer is about:

The prayer contains multiple requests to God. One of them is to be enlightened with the Torah. Another is for God to protect us from shame; it is stated that those who cleave to a life of mitzvot will not be shamed.[5] Another is that the Jewish people be gathered from the four corners of the world and returned to Israel.[4]:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahava_rabbah

So when I bring my hand to cover my face, it’s a big hug from the Big Guy, allowing me the love to internalize it all. I don’t need (or want) an external sign. If I were a man, I would have to find other significance of the externality of it all, but yay! I’m not. I’m very grateful that He made me כרצונו, as His will.

And this week’s Torah portion, Korach, all full of male bravado? Oh is there a time where we most need less of that? Posturing. Externalities. Pretenses. The hero of the story is the wife of Ohn; because this fellow is mentioned at first but not named afterwards, the rabbis find reason to praise his wife for protecting him from folly, keeping him in his tent.

The wisdom of women builds her house”

(Proverbs 14:1)

Sounds good to me.

The next hug I got from G-d was this past Friday night, as I was lighting Shabbat candles. There is this curious but dramatic custom of lighting the candles, then waving one’s arms around in a circle in front of the face before covering the eyes to say the blessing. I have never seen a good explanation other than tradition. The reason for lighting the candles first and then covering the eyes (according to Ashkenazi tradition; Jews from Sephardic/Eastern traditions do it differently) is because you can’t light the candles once it’s Shabbat, and you light them in order to declare it Shabbat, so…

I just felt G-d’s love.

Bringing it home.

I’ve been sent

I’ve been sent

This Thursday is our fifth aliyahversary; five years according to the Hebrew calendar that we arrived here in Israel as citizens. I feel that this is significant. The Gregorian date is June 29th, which I remembered only by looking at our airline tickets and then did the conversion to the Hebrew date. I should remember this and now with the help of technology, maybe I will. But the reason I remembered at all was because of the weekly Torah portion this week–Shlach. That year, 2016, because Israel and the Diaspora were on different reading schedules, we skipped Shlach, since it had been read in Israel the week before we came, and on the Shabbat in the states the week after we left. So I always felt that this is our portion, in all manners of the word.

The Hebrew word means “send”; it was the message that Moshe gave the 12 spies who were chosen to scout out the Land before the people went in for good. G-d says to take for yourself 12 men to tour the Land. After identifying who would go, Moshe has specific questions that they should answer to inform the rest of the nation what this place they were inheriting actually was like;

see what kind of country it is. Are the people who dwell in it strong or weak, few or many? Is the country in which they dwell good or bad? Are the towns they live in open or fortified? Is the soil rich or poor? Is it wooded or not? And take pains to bring back some of the fruit of the land.

BeMidbar 13:18-20

They did just that and so much more. And less. They spent 40 days checking out the physical properties of the Land and the people there. And that’s where ten of them failed. They held themselves to the physical; they forgot that G-d had promised their inheritance. They lost the narrative.

They had promise. They started out just fine:

This is what they told him: “We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.

BeMidbar13:27

Then they literally lost it when they said

אֶ֚פֶס Nothing

BeMidbar13:28

The commentators go to great lengths to figure out what this אֶ֚פֶס means here, for it’s not a usual conjunction. The Vilna Gaon gave me the suggestion that their problem was that they saw the inhabitants as those who would have no compunction to steal from anyone. So if the only thing that they were concerned about was the little that they had taken from Egypt, that they hadn’t paid attention to the part where G-d says to them “You will go out with great wealth” having nothing to do with stuff but with the promise of the future of a life with Torah in Eretz Yisrael, their own land, their own chance to create a full life of wisdom in action…

And then it goes downhill and down the drain for 40 more years in the Wilderness. They lose their chance to enter the Land, leaving it for their children.

And these were the princes! Of course, with this bad PR, how could anything work towards their favor?

Yes. Things have not changed. We have indeed met the enemy, as Pogo said, and he is us.

So I have taken it upon myself to be Calev.

וַיַּ֧הַס כָּלֵ֛ב אֶת־הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר עָלֹ֤ה נַעֲלֶה֙ וְיָרַ֣שְׁנוּ אֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־יָכ֥וֹל נוּכַ֖ל לָֽהּ׃ Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”

BeMidbar 13:30

Yes, we can.

I became enamored of this song שלח לי מלאך last year sung by Eviatar Banai in a series of songs updated by contemporary singers “to preserve the Israeli soundtrack”. Does it need to be said that I had never heard the original and that Eviatar rescues it completely? Your choice. His simple vocal style allows the words to shine. The words are on the YouTube linked above, but I figured I could translate some of it here:

שלח לי מלאך
שאותי ואותך הוא לא ייקח
למקום שאין בו
מה שיש פה כל הזמן

ולפעמים הכל נראה אותו דבר
ולפעמים, פתאום, יש רגע מאושר

שלח לי מלאך
שישמח וידליק פה את האור
וישמור על מה שיש לשמור פה
כל הזמן


Send me an angel
That he will not take you and me
To a place where it is not
What’s here all the time


And sometimes everything looks the same
And sometimes, all of a sudden, there is a happy moment


Send me an angel
Let him be happy and turn on the light here
And will keep what is to be kept here
All the time

Eviatar Banai

I am featuring four somewhat recent photos that represent the four directions of the Land; its outward and inner beauty. And truth. Since clearly, we have to be the angels/messengers for each other.

Eastwards
Westwards
Southwards
Northwards

is it too much to ask for pockets?

If you haven’t figured out yet, if we don’t know each other personally, I’m not so big on possessions. In fact, I am still working on how to determine what is essential; clarifying values and all. I saw this yesterday on Monday Morning Memo and chose to pursue it a bit:

https://twitter.com/brianscudamore

With the foundation that he’s formed a crazy successful business of getting rid of other people’s junk, he would most likely say that people hold onto the wrong things. That’s how the Monday Morning Memo takes it. But I’ll go the other way. It’s what you hold onto that does define you in the best way, if you are paying attention. This might be a different way of expressing that sparking joy business of Marie Kondo, but looking at it from a positive point of view gets you to your essence.

It’s not about valuing experiences over goods. That’s very nice, but we do need stuff. We are creatures who need protection. And tools for continued existence. And beauty. We just don’t need as much stuff as many people have.

It’s not what would you grab if you had to leave your house quickly; no immediate emergency here. Deep thoughtful process of what are your essentials. What matters to you, literally? Well, perhaps it is a matter of emergency, or how something emerged.

For me, the surprise answer is pockets.

During the last weeks of the war situation here in Israel, even though we were relatively safe here in Tzfat, we never knew when things would or could go wrong. And wrong means that we would have 30 seconds to get to our safe room, even if we were home. So we chose not to go out too far or too often, because we didn’t know if Hezbollah would want to join in the fun and thus make us targets. Here is the boundary between being cautious and realistic, which will most likely keep changing. But something that became an essential thing for us during these days was our phones. Here is when smartphones live up to their name. Receiving messages through the various apps was such a top priority that also keeping the phone charged, on overnight, and even over Shabbat, became a necessity. We needed to be able to connect. The need for connection is my clarified value.

Thus the need for pockets.

Women’s clothes don’t always have them. Or if they do, they’re decorative or too small to actually hold anything important. If you want to look the subject up, Google has many many fascinating articles about it, basically all saying that women value looking slim uber alles, and pockets interrupt a clean line. Oh that’s so not my concern. My concern is being practical. So my choice of clothing during that period always included a skirt with pockets, deep enough to hold my phone securely. I only have a few summer-weight skirts that match these criteria. Actually, two. I haven’t bought new skirts in forever, since I haven’t had a need to do so. When I was in LA a year and a half ago, having come directly from Australia in order to sort out my father’s affairs after his stroke, I did need to buy some clothes because it was so hot, and I only had Australian-winter-weight clothing with me. So I found one lightish-weight skirt with pockets online. I didn’t have time or energy to go to stores in person. Adding it to the one other one I’ve had forever makes two.

It was like traveling but not leaving your home; capsule wardrobe.

Yes, I do have bags of all sizes that I can sling over my shoulder if need be. I can make do until my clothes fall apart. But again I ask, is it too much to ask for pockets? I will be happy to allow that to define me.

Speaking of definitions, I felt that I should include something in Hebrew in this post. So I looked up the word כִּיס to find some connection to something deeper. Yes, I’m searching for deep pockets. #sorrynotsorry

I came across this reality statement from Mishlei/Proverbs 1:14:

גּ֭וֹרָ֣לְךָ תַּפִּ֣יל בְּתוֹכֵ֑נוּ כִּ֥יס אֶ֝חָ֗ד יִהְיֶ֥ה לְכֻלָּֽנוּ׃

Throw in your lot with us; We shall all have a common purse.

This sounds like a great idea; that we are all affected by the actions of others, and we should embrace our commonality; No man an island, and all that.

Except this is the problem with picking and choosing quotes to fit a need, whether temporary or long-lasting. This conclusion would be out of context. If you read the previous lines and then continue to the end of the first chapter, you will easily see that the author is telling us that this is quite dangerous.

בְּנִ֗י אַל־תֵּלֵ֣ךְ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ אִתָּ֑ם מְנַ֥ע רַ֝גְלְךָ֗ מִנְּתִיבָתָֽם׃ My son, do not set out with them; Keep your feet from their path.

כִּ֣י רַ֭גְלֵיהֶם לָרַ֣ע יָר֑וּצוּ וִ֝ימַהֲר֗וּ לִשְׁפׇּךְ־דָּֽם׃ For their feet run to evil; They hurry to shed blood.

כִּֽי־חִ֭נָּם מְזֹרָ֣ה הָרָ֑שֶׁת בְּ֝עֵינֵ֗י כׇּל־בַּ֥עַל כָּנָֽף׃ In the eyes of every winged creature The outspread net means nothing.

וְ֭הֵם לְדָמָ֣ם יֶאֱרֹ֑בוּ יִ֝צְפְּנ֗וּ לְנַפְשֹׁתָֽם׃ But they lie in ambush for their own blood; They lie in wait for their own lives.

כֵּ֗ן אׇ֭רְחוֹת כׇּל־בֹּ֣צֵֽעַ בָּ֑צַע אֶת־נֶ֖פֶשׁ בְּעָלָ֣יו יִקָּֽח׃ {פ}
Such is the fate of all who pursue unjust gain; It takes the life of its possessor.

חׇ֭כְמוֹת בַּח֣וּץ תָּרֹ֑נָּה בָּ֝רְחֹב֗וֹת תִּתֵּ֥ן קוֹלָֽהּ׃ Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, Raises her voice in the squares.

בְּרֹ֥אשׁ הֹמִיּ֗וֹת תִּ֫קְרָ֥א בְּפִתְחֵ֖י שְׁעָרִ֥ים בָּעִ֗יר אֲמָרֶ֥יהָ תֹאמֵֽר׃ At the head of the busy streets she calls; At the entrance of the gates, in the city, she speaks out:

עַד־מָתַ֣י ׀ פְּתָיִם֮ תְּֽאֵהֲב֫וּ־פֶ֥תִי וְלֵצִ֗ים לָ֭צוֹן חָמְד֣וּ לָהֶ֑ם וּ֝כְסִילִ֗ים יִשְׂנְאוּ־דָֽעַת׃ “How long will you simple ones love simplicity, You scoffers be eager to scoff, You dullards hate knowledge?

תָּשׁ֗וּבוּ לְֽת֫וֹכַחְתִּ֥י הִנֵּ֤ה אַבִּ֣יעָה לָכֶ֣ם רוּחִ֑י אוֹדִ֖יעָה דְבָרַ֣י אֶתְכֶֽם׃ You are indifferent to my rebuke; I will now speak my mind to you, And let you know my thoughts.

יַ֣עַן קָ֭רָאתִי וַתְּמָאֵ֑נוּ נָטִ֥יתִי יָ֝דִ֗י וְאֵ֣ין מַקְשִֽׁיב׃ Since you refused me when I called, And paid no heed when I extended my hand,

וַתִּפְרְע֥וּ כׇל־עֲצָתִ֑י וְ֝תוֹכַחְתִּ֗י לֹ֣א אֲבִיתֶֽם׃ You spurned all my advice, And would not hear my rebuke,

גַּם־אֲ֭נִי בְּאֵידְכֶ֣ם אֶשְׂחָ֑ק אֶ֝לְעַ֗ג בְּבֹ֣א פַחְדְּכֶֽם׃ I will laugh at your calamity, And mock when terror comes upon you,

בְּבֹ֤א (כשאוה) [כְשׁוֹאָ֨ה ׀] פַּחְדְּכֶ֗ם וְֽ֭אֵידְכֶם כְּסוּפָ֣ה יֶאֱתֶ֑ה בְּבֹ֥א עֲ֝לֵיכֶ֗ם צָרָ֥ה וְצוּקָֽה׃ When terror comes like a disaster, And calamity arrives like a whirlwind, When trouble and distress come upon you.

אָ֣ז יִ֭קְרָאֻנְנִי וְלֹ֣א אֶעֱנֶ֑ה יְ֝שַׁחֲרֻ֗נְנִי וְלֹ֣א יִמְצָאֻֽנְנִי׃ Then they shall call me but I will not answer; They shall seek me but not find me.

תַּ֭חַת כִּֽי־שָׂ֣נְאוּ דָ֑עַת וְיִרְאַ֥ת ה לֹ֣א בָחָֽרוּ׃ Because they hated knowledge, And did not choose fear of the LORD;

לֹא־אָב֥וּ לַעֲצָתִ֑י נָ֝אֲצ֗וּ כׇּל־תּוֹכַחְתִּֽי׃ They refused my advice, And disdained all my rebukes,

וְֽ֭יֹאכְלוּ מִפְּרִ֣י דַרְכָּ֑ם וּֽמִמֹּעֲצֹ֖תֵיהֶ֣ם יִשְׂבָּֽעוּ׃ They shall eat the fruit of their ways, And have their fill of their own counsels.

כִּ֤י מְשׁוּבַ֣ת פְּתָיִ֣ם תַּהַרְגֵ֑ם וְשַׁלְוַ֖ת כְּסִילִ֣ים תְּאַבְּדֵֽם׃ The tranquillity of the simple will kill them, And the complacency of dullards will destroy them.

וְשֹׁמֵ֣עַֽ לִ֭י יִשְׁכׇּן־בֶּ֑טַח וְ֝שַׁאֲנַ֗ן מִפַּ֥חַד רָעָֽה׃ {פ}
But he who listens to me will dwell in safety, Untroubled by the terror of misfortune.”

To reiterate Wisdom’s message: How long will you simple ones love simplicity, You scoffers be eager to scoff, You dullards hate knowledge?

There are many words for idiots in Hebrew, aren’t there?

So not to leave this on a bitter note, I had forgotten about the lovely children’s song שמחה רבה that I would teach every year to prepare my kindergartners for Pesach!

תָּפְרוּ, תָּפְרוּ, תָּפְרוּ לִי בֶּגֶד עִם כִּיסִים

Sew, sew, sew me clothing with pockets!

And may we fill them with all kinds of blessings, especially of deep knowledge.