Sunday, May 30, 2010


To send a message to someone, you must often speak twice.

The first time, you open their heart, making them receptive to what you are saying. Only after can you successfully communicate to them the content of your message.

-R' Amital

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Azrieli triangle, meet your Los Angeles equivalent.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Timtum halev

Do not make yourselves disgusting through all the swarming creatures, and do not make yourself impure through them, venitmetem (ונטמתם) through them. (Vayikra 11:43)

What does “venitmetem” mean? The most obvious explanation is that it means “and you shall become impure”, being derived from the word “tamei”. That fits well with the theme of impurity which is a central aspect of the kosher-animal chapter, though it does seem redundant, since impurity was already mentioned in the previous phrase. (The problem with this explanation is that “tamei” has the letter alef in it, and “venitmetem” does not. However, there are cases in Tanach where an alef disappears from the spelling of a word, since it is not pronounced. This could be another such case.)

Ibn Ezra on the verse cites the above explanation, but then brings an alternative. “Some say they [tamei, venitmetem] are two different roots, as in [נטמינו בעיניכם], its meaning being, like a person who does not have wisdom.” If so, then the verse should be translated: “...and do not make yourself impure through them, and become foolish through them.”

This grammatical understanding may be the “pshat” basis for the idea of “timtum halev”. As for what the idea actually means, well, that's beyond the scope of this post. But you can find an interesting discussion here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yom Yerushalayim

"They spoke of thousands of deaths; there were no bomb shelters. Calls came from the diaspora to send abroad the women and children. On the 8th of Iyar, the entire army was mobilized and there were two weeks of waiting. There were throngs of prayers by Jews of every kind and variety. My daughter told me that in school they did not learn a thing - they only recited tehilim. On Friday night, after the meal, people gathered in the synagogue to say tehilim. There was discomfort and apprehension that are difficult to describe. The danger was felt. ... There was a feeling of Erev Yom Kippur. People looked at each other with love and affection. And then the redemption came."


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Virginia lacrosse

The gemara says that the law of ben sorer umoreh was never applied and never will be. That is unfortunate, because at least one person seems to have deserved it.

(This incident also makes it easier to understand the Torah's death penalty for hitting/cursing parents.)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Attention Google Maps

This caption is weird/creepy. Please change it.