Archives 2003

What everyone else is too polite to say about Strom Thurmond

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Take it away, Sean Collins:

The revelation of Thurmond’s fathering a child with a black woman makes him even more loathsome in my eyes, if that’s possible; to him, black people may not have been good enough to go to the same schools or eat at the same counters or drink from the same water ...

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...until Ben Zoma explained it to me

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

According to a well-known midrash, when Joseph asks the cup-bearer to put in a good word for him to Pharoah (Genesis 40:14–15, in last week’s parsha), Joseph was exhibiting insufficient faith, and as punishment, God kept him in prison another two years.

For a very long time, this midrash bothered me. When we’re in ...

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Expanding your musical horizons

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

If you’ve ever been over to chez Gordon for a Shabbat meal, you know that Psalm 126 (which is traditionally read before Birkat ha-Mazon) scans to “Scotland the Brave.”

But did you also know that “Maoz Tzur” scans to “Fortuna Imperix Mundi,” the opening song of Carmina Burana?

And did you know that ...

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Seasonal humor

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

A woman walks into a post office and tells the clerk, “I’d like to buy some Hanukkah stamps.”

The clerk asks, “What denomination?”

The woman says, “Oy, has it come to this? Six Orthodox, twelve Conservative, and fifteen Reform.”

Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they bill 300 gold pieces an hour

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Heidi Bond contemplates the contract-law implications of this paragraph from Fellowship of the Ring:

“As a small token of your friendship Sauron asks this,” he said: “that you should find this thief,” such was his word, “and get from him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he ...

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More like <cite>Survivor</cite> than <cite>The Partridge Family</cite>

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

After Joseph is sold into slavery, Judah “descended from his brothers and associated with an Adulamite man” (Genesis 37:36). As Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald put it, he was fed up with this Jewish dysfunctional family. But why should Judah, of all the brothers, be the one to leave? After all, Judah was the most effective ...

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Separated at birth?

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (may the memory of the righteous be a blessing) and (lehavdil ‘elef havdalot) ex-President Saddam Hussein (may the name of the wicked be erased).
a good man with a big beard a bad man with a big beard

Dialogue across a chain-link fence

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

15-pound dog: WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!

25-pound toddler: Woof, woof, woof.

Dog: WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!

Toddler: Woof, woof, woof.

Dog: WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!

Toddler: Woof, woof, woof.

(Dog runs to corner of yard, lifts leg, and urinates next to fence. Toddler does not respond.)

Reading in context: a lost art

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

On Saturday night, thanks to the babysitter sponsored by gnomi and mabfan, my wife and I saw the Simon & Garfunkel concert at the Boston GardenFleetCenter. A curious incident from that concert:

When they played “The Sound of Silence,” and sang “And in the naked light I saw / Ten thousand people, maybe more,” spotlights swept over the audience on the floor, and the crowd cheered. Why did the lighting ...

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A time for deals and a time for donations

Last update on Nov. 11, 2014.

The Jacob of the last two parshiyot is the consummate deal-maker. He sells his birthright to Esau (25:33). Impersonating Esau, he tells his father, “eat my game, so that your soul will bless me” (27:19). His oath to God is conditional: “if the Eternal God will be with me, and guard me on ...

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