Friday, October 21, 2005

A shortage of G’Quan Eth plants: The Great Sukkot Scandal of 5766/2005—"I can’t get no . . . " lulav action

Lots of davvening, not enough goofing:
Time for this blogger to have some fun.
This is a “two-fer,” blogger folks:
You get two for the price of one.

First, re “I can’t get no . . . ,” watch A Very Shlock Rock Purim and enjoy—you'll hear why when you get there. (Thanks for the link, PT.) Okay, it’s more than a little out of season, but it’s worth a chuckle anyway.

Then, check this out—here’s an e-mail I just got from blogger PT on Monday:

I have an idea for a post for you: Have you read about the Lulav shortage due to Egypt refusing to export them? It’s very similar to what happened on an early episode of Babylon 5 with the gquan eth plants. Sounds like a story that’s right down your alley.

Mark S. Skier, MD
Internal Medicine and Primary Care

Boy, did that ever sound familiar! Where had I heard that comparison made before? On a hunch, I went into my Word archives—I keep copies of all my posts, and the comments thereto—and did a search for the phrase “eth plant.” And, sure enough, there it was:

“C . . . [better known in Olam HaBlog as Mrs. Balabusta] had the fascinating theory that the G'Quan Eth plant desperately sought for a religious holiday by Planet Narn's ambassador G'Kar in the first season's "By Any Means Necessary" was based on an etrog, which, like the G'Quan Eth plant, is also valued only as a ritual "object" during a specific holiday (in the case of the etrog, that would be Sukkot, the Feast of Booths). Not only that, but Commander Jeffrey Sinclair had used talmudic logic to help enable G'Kar to celebrate his holiday.”

Of course that comparison sounded familiar—it was Mark’s wife who’d first mentioned it to me!

Great minds think alike. :)

But seriously, folks, I found a few posts on the lulav-shortage scare included in the weekly blog-post “round-up,” Haveil Havalim, recently hosted by Biur Chametz here. He referred us to this post , as well as to the Tuesday, October 11, 2005 post “Is a Stolen Lulav Kosher?” at

I also found Rachel Barenblat’s post concerning Sukkot, "What's shakin'?," interesting reading. You might want to give it a look.

Moed tov—Happy "Intermediate Days" (of Sukkot).


Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I absolutely love Joe Straczynski. As far as I can tell, he's the first Sci-Fi TV/Movie writer to suggest that Judaism will survive into the future and go with us to the stars. And he's the first to put a Rabbi in a space show (Theodore Bikel, no less). Here's a quote from him about criticism that the Rabbi may have eaten something non-Kosher on the show:

"On the treel/kosher discussion...I can only shrug. Nobody's ever shown that jews go forward into the future, placed them at the heart of a science fiction show as a regular character, nobody's shown shiva before in (and possibly out of) an SF series...and some folks are complaining that not every aspect of a treel's kosher-ness was discussed at dinnertime.

Some days, you just can't win....


I met him at a convention once. Not only was he very friendly, but we talked for a while about what it would be like to be Orthodox in space.

Sat Oct 22, 08:53:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

That reminds me of the great debate about how many times a Jew orbiting Earth has to davven. :)

For an atheist, JMS was remarkably respectful of all religions, be they the real McCoys or the ones he invented for Babylon 5's alien races. Someone must have done some research for Commander Susan Ivanova's shiva scene in the first-season-episode TKO, because the prayer that Ivanova recited was a translation of the first sentence of Kel Malei Rachamim/G-d Full of Compassion, as I recollect. And I also noticed that, at the end of the last episode of the second season, Ivanova lit the Chanukah candles in the correct direction. It was thoughtful of JMS to check.

Sun Oct 23, 02:32:00 AM 2005  
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