Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dear Person Posting Simcha on OnlySimchas,

Here's the dealio. If you don't know your friend well enough to know the first AND last name of the guy they are becoming engaged to, there is no way in hell that you are the appropriate person to be announcing their simcha with the world. I say this every day. As I make everyone aware, I am a huge OnlySimchas fan! I rejoice in all the simchas posted there. There is a lot of sadness in the world, so sharing your family's joy with the world is a beautiful thing. But I just went on to see what was new and saw this. Engagement of LUCKY CHOSSON & "Chick from Brooklyn" (not her real name, no need to write it here). The Lucky Chosson part was the real name listed for the dude. Here's the story.

A) Not everyone wishes to be posted on the site. For whatever reason, its still their perogative.
B) As stated before, let a closer friend post the damn thing. If you've never met the guy, maybe waiting until a family member or someone who knows them better gets around to it.

Well, thats all I've gotta say. Live long and prosper. But whatever you do. Don't forget to post your good tidings on OnlySimchas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

40 Days til Wedding

Forty days until my wedding on December 28th. The number 40 has great significance in Judaism. So I compiled some different sources speaking about why the number 40 is so important to us Jews.

Take for example from Rabbi Shraga Simmons of Aish:

"The number forty has significance throughout the Torah, and the Talmud.

For example, when a person becomes ritually impure, he must go to a ritual bath, a Mikveh. The Talmud tells us that a Mikveh must be filled with FORTY measures of water, and a person, must completely submerse himself in it. After being submersed, he leaves the Mikveh ritually pure. It is no accident, that in the story of Noah, the rain poured for FORTY days, and surrounded the world with water. And just as a person leaves a Mikveh pure, so too when the waters of the flood subsided, the world was pure.

According to the Maharal (16th century, Prague), the number FORTY has the power to raise up something's spiritual state. Just as FORTY measures of water purifies a person, and FORTY days of rain purified the world, so too Moses being on Mt. Sinai for FORTY days also had a purifying effect, in that the Jews arrived at Mt. Sinai as a nation of Egyptian slaves, but after forty days they were G-d's nation.

In the Deuteronomy, Moses tells the Jewish people that he had "led them FORTY years in the wilderness," (29:3-4) after he told them that "G-d has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, until this day." So we see, it took the Jewish people FORTY years in the desert before they could understand the things that took place. Accordingly, the Mishna in Ethics of Our Fathers explains that "a man of forty attains understanding." (5:26) (Ethics from Sinai)."

This I found on the site:

The number 40 occurs most conspicuously in connection with the Flood (40 days), with Moses on Mount Sinai (40 days, during which the Jews made the Golden Calf), and with the time the Jews spent in the desert (40 years, in punishment for their listening to the spies who had spent 40 days exploring the Promised Land). Thus 40 seems to be associated with punishment. Note that for violating a negative commandment the Torah specifies a punishment of 40 lashes (which the sages interpreted as 39). Perhaps the association with punishment is related to the fact that 40 is the numerical value of "yad Ha-Shem" (14+26).

This is from the site:

Forty days after a child is conceived, the Talmud tells us, the soul
enters the body. Forty, therefore, is a symbol of birth, rebirth and
change. It is interesting to note that it was recently found that
neural activity does begin at 40 days after conception. This also
means that abortion is permitted in more instances within the first 40
days of pregnancy than during the rest of pregnancy.

And finally, there is an idea that praying for a specific thing for 40 straight days is a great segula. I have friends that recited Shir HaShirim 40 days in a row to merit finding their bashert. There is a group, Western Wall Prayers, that will pray in your merit at the Kotel (Western Wall) for 40 straight days. They explain their mission as:

"Chazal (our Sages) have long spoken about the Segula of praying for 40 consecutive days. Whether one recites shir hashirim (King Solomon's Song of Songs), tehillim (King David's psalms) or personal heart-felt words, 40 days is a significant time period to arouse G-d's mercy.

Praying for 40 consecutive days specifically at the Kotel (Western Wall) is a famous practice of Jews in Jerusalem. Most people have heard about the popular Segula through word-of-mouth and have made the pilgrimage for marriage partners, income, children, healing and other.

According to Rav Sheinberger, author of a popular commentary on the Zohar (the definitive book of Kabbalah), the Segula was officially coined by Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Fischer, of blessed memory - one of the leading Sages of the last generation. Dayan Fischer reportedly said that if someone goes to the Western Wall for 40 consecutive days to pray for 1 thing, it was a special Segula of its own."

I get it. 40 is an important number. I have 40 days until my slate is once again wiped clean. Evan and I will start a brand new life together on this day. I must do teshuva. I must free myself of all my ill feelings towards others. I must make ammends. I have 40 days left to "pack" for this journey.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Who I'm Voting For

On April 26, 2007 I wrote my first of many candidate analyses. I ranked the order of the potential candidates in order of who I'd vote for and why. Senator Barack Obama was #7. The order is as follows.

1) Al Gore (D)

2) Hillary Clinton (D)

3) Bill Richardson (D)

4) John Edwards (D)

5) John McCain (R)

6) Mitt Romney (R)

7) Barack Obama (D)

8) Rudy Giuliani (R)

My defense for Senator Obama's low rating was as follows: Obama Who? Where did this guy come from? I'd never heard of him until last year. He is a first term, junior Senator from Illinois. Sure hes a wonderful orator, hes good looking, and very well educated. But what kind of experience does he have that he should be the leader of the free world? I'm 100% in favor of a President who is not a white, middle aged, male. Thats why I have Hillary (female) and Bill Richardson (Hispanic) near the top of my list. Obama, leave this race right now and run again in 8 years. You will have my vote. I promise. But first you need to put on public record where you stand on the issues. And convince me that you are passionate about Israel a little bit more.

When I was on the Fox News Channel's panel for undecided voters I said I considered myself undecided because if my Democratic choice (Senator Clinton) was not the nominee I'd consider voting for the Republican candidate. After all, McCain was two spots ahead of Obama on my list.

I had liked John McCain for a long time. I always thought he was a Moderate Republican. Didn't blindly vote party lines. Instead he voted what he believed was best for America. That was until he chose Sarah Palin. Governor Palin as a running mate is the antithesis of what all moderate voters saw in John McCain. She is just not what I would want to see in a potential running mate. Was Joe Biden ever pranked by a Canadian radio show using a ridiculously fake French President Nicolas Sarkozy accent? And if he was, would he have fallen for it? No. The woman who did fall for the prank, the woman running under a 72-year-old man with a history of health problems, is not ready to be President and frankly never will be. She is unable to make her own decisions without being schooled by instructors. She does not have the intellect to comprehend the complexity of world issues. She does not have my back when it comes to women's rights. She does not have my vote and therefore, neither does the man at the top of the ticket.

Tomorrow, I am voting for the lesser of two evils. I am afraid to vote for the Republican ticket because I am scared of empowering Sarah Palin. I am disappointed in Senator Obama for not choosing Senator Clinton as his running mate. Together the Democrats could have sailed to the Presidency. Now we are looking at a potential 2000, one party winning the Popular vote while the other wins the Electoral count. Its far fetched but its possible. It could happen again. There are other Hillary supporters out there that are hoping for an Obama upset to open a 2012 Hillary run. I want the Dems to win today! Not in four years! I'm not going to be like McCain, picking someone who my advisors decide on. I will choose the man who is best for America. And that my friends is Senator Barack Obama. I hope you all (especially those in the swing states, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, listen up, I'm talking to you) agree.