Monday, December 30, 2013

More shir with Ofir

I found a few more videos of performances by Ofir Ben-Shitrit on The Voice.  Enjoy!
There are more video links in the previous post.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A shir with Ofir

I just found another video of Ofir Ben-Shitrit singing on The Voice.  I know this shir/song, "Katonti," from Israeli folk dancing, and Ofir herself is swaying to the music.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 28, 2014, 9:37 PM update:
The interesting thing about watching this video was that, without the folk dance to distract me, I paid much closer attention to the song's lyrics than I usually do--given my limited Hebrew comprehension, I have enough trouble just trying to figure out the dance steps.  And a couple of phrases jumped out at me, even with my limited Hebrew--"sh'nei machanot, two camps," and "hatzileini na, rescue/deliver/save me (pick your preferred translation), please."  Hmm, they sounded familiar.  Sh'nei machanot?  Isn't that how Yaakov/Jacob ended up, the night before his reunion with his brother, Esav/Esau?  Was it possible that the lyrics were a biblical quotation?  So I turned back a few parashiot (weekly readings) in my trusty Chumash (Five Books of Moses), and sure enough, here are the lyrics (which end after the first two words of version 12):

B'reshit/Genesis, chapter 32

יא  קָטֹנְתִּי מִכֹּל הַחֲסָדִים, וּמִכָּל-הָאֱמֶת, אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ, אֶת-עַבְדֶּךָ:  כִּי בְמַקְלִי, עָבַרְתִּי אֶת-הַיַּרְדֵּן הַזֶּה, וְעַתָּה הָיִיתִי, לִשְׁנֵי מַחֲנוֹת.11 I am not worthy of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shown unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two camps.
יב  הַצִּילֵנִי נָא מִיַּד אָחִי, מִיַּד עֵשָׂו:  כִּי-יָרֵא אָנֹכִי, אֹתוֹ--פֶּן-יָבוֹא וְהִכַּנִי, אֵם עַל-בָּנִים.12 Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother with the children.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Parashat Vaera, 5774/2013 edition

Yes, I studied Torah on Nittel--like JoeSettler, I see no good reason not to do so in this time and place.

Basics here.

And here’s a link to my previous Vaera/Vaeira posts.

My new thing, which I tried last week, is to make notes as I’m reading the parashah, then publish the notes (giving new meaning to the term “post-it note”* :) ).  So here goes.

Exodus/Sh’mot, chapter 6:

9 And Moses spoke so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for impatience of spirit, and for cruel bondage. {P}

10 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:

11 'Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.'

12 And Moses spoke before the LORD, saying: 'Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?' {P}

13 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. {S}

According to verses 9 and 12, Moshe has already spoken to both B’nei Yisrael/the Children of Israel and to Par’oh.  Why is the command repeated?  Is verse 13 from a different source?  (See Documentary Hypothesis.)

15 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.

A Canaanitish woman? Who else was there?  I asked before and I’ll ask again—who did the other sons marry?  It’s not as if they could have “googled” a shidduch/marital match for themselves on JDate.

20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife . . .

He married his aunt?!  Our ancestors were certainly a rather ingrown bunch.

Chapter 7:

1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'See, I have set thee in God's stead to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.
ב  אַתָּה תְדַבֵּר, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּךָּ; וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ יְדַבֵּר אֶל-פַּרְעֹה, וְשִׁלַּח אֶת-בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאַרְצוֹ.
2 Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.

(For the record, I’m copying mostly the English, so as to avoid the possibility that I might be taking G-d’s [Hebrew] name in vain by posting it on my blog.)

When does Aharon speak to Par’oh?

7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spoke unto Pharaoh. {P}

Good grief, how old was Moshe’s and Tziporah’s son when Tziporah circumcised him?!  Or did Moshe just wait forever to get married and/or have a kid?

9 'When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying: Show a wonder for you; then thou shalt say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent.'

Hmm, I thought Aharon was supposed to be doing the talking, not the acting.  Yet he seems to do most of the rod-casting, while Moshe seems to be doing most of the talking.  Notice, too, that it’s Aharon’s rod, not Moshe’s, that’s getting cast down.

15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water . . .

If you’ll pardon the indelicacy of this discussion, I heard or read somewhere that the Par’oh waded into Nile every morning to hide the fact that he was human and had to “relieve” himself.  Heaven forbid that the commoners should think that the mighty Par’oh needed to use the men’s room.

20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
כא  וְהַדָּגָה אֲשֶׁר-בַּיְאֹר מֵתָה, וַיִּבְאַשׁ הַיְאֹר, וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ מִצְרַיִם, לִשְׁתּוֹת מַיִם מִן-הַיְאֹר; וַיְהִי הַדָּם, בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.
21 And the fish that were in the river died; and the river became foul, and the Egyptians could not drink water from the river; and the blood was throughout all the land of Egypt.

The plagues, standing on one foot:

". . . it's all a matter of pollution--once the Nile turns red/becomes polluted, all but the last plague (the death of the firstborn) pretty much follow as a result. It's natural for the frogs to bail out if the water's polluted, then die of whatever got under their skin (literally). The insects follow the mass death of the frogs, and disease results from the insect infestation. Naturally, I can't find the video, but the History Channel telecast a theory that the death of the firstborn was caused when a natural body of water released trapped gas, which killed only those privileged few who slept on close-to-the-ground beds (firstborn sons and high officials) rather than those sleeping higher up on rooftops (the majority of the population), who were at a high-enough elevation that the poisonous gas passed under them. Traditionalists shouldn't be alarmed by this interpretation--all of these natural phenomena could have been caused by G-d."

15 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh: 'This is the finger of God'; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken. {S}

Is this the origin of the minhag/custom among many folks to dip a finger in their wine, rather than pouring it, to diminish the amount of wine in their cups at the seder in commemoration of the plagues?

18 And I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end that thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
19 And I will put a division between My people and thy people--by to-morrow shall this sign be.'

  • Parsha catch-up: Vaera (Sunday, January 02, 2011) Included is a link to a DovBear post containing more links than you can shake a stick at.
" . . . is it possible that the area then known as Goshen has or had a microclimate different from the area of Ancient Egypt that was, according to Torah, struck by the plagues, thus accounting for it having been spared most of the plagues? To mix this theory with a more traditional perspective, could HaShem have chosen shepherds to be our ancestors for the purpose of ensuring that, when we went down to Egypt, we'd end up in Goshen and be spared?"

22 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Stretch forth thy hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.'

Okay, this plague doesn’t result from pollution of the Nile.  Could there be any connection between hail and a volcanic eruption, such as that of Thera/Santorini?

Rice with spice is nice

Instead of adding salt to the cooking water or at the table, try using your favorite spices and/or herbs. My husband has developed a recent fondness for turmeric, which he uses on rice and just about everything else--it gives an Indian taste to his food, being one of main spices used in curry.  I can't eat such hot food, but I really enjoy sprinkling cinnamon on my rice--it makes it taste a bit like rice pudding without the unhealthy sugar.  Try it, you may like it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ofir update

Here's some recent news about Ofir Ben-Shitrit.

My life as a barre-fly :) *

Since my injured toe** has left me officially without a good foot, it's a good thing that Haim Kaufman's Israeli folk dance sessions take place in a dance studio, 'cause I was hugging the barre all evening this past Sunday.  I can't dance far and I can't dance fast, but, hey, at least I can still dance.


**You'll be happy to know that my podiatrist's x-ray showed that the toe was not broken, but it still hurts enough that I have to keep it under wraps, literally.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A sinking feeling, or the saga of our sink

We thought our new bathroom was finished, but alas . . .

First, the new bathroom sink's vanity (a fancy name for the cabinet, if any, under a bathroom sink) arrived with a defective knob.

Then, the downstairs neighbors politely complained of a leak in their bathroom.

The leak was repaired, as was the damage downstairs (at our contractor's expense).

But the damage in our own bathroom had already been done--the new vanity had suffered permanent water damage on the left side along the floor.  The contractor offered to have one side of the vanity replaced.

Before he could do so, however, we ran into another problem--water was dripping from the left side of the counter-top and causing further water damage in the same place because the counter-top was not level.  The counter-top was straightened out, and the waterfall ended.

No sooner had the counter-top been straightened when I found an unpleasant surprise one fine morning--out of nowhere, and for no discernible reason, the vanity's left door had developed a crack.

That wasn't the only thing that was cracked, either--there were scratches and pits all over the counter-top, even on the decorative areas where we couldn't put anything.

And finally, adding insult to injury, we discovered yet another leak.  By process of elimination, we concluded that the water was coming from where the bathtub drain pipe led under that darned sink--the leak was in a location so well hidden that the entire sink assembly would have to be removed to find and repair it.  

At that point, we'd had it up to here, and told the contractor's foreman to throw out that piece of, um, junk, find and fix the leak, and install a new sink.  The contractor has agreed to "eat" the cost of the current vanity and counter-top, telling us to deduct that amount from his bill.  We're looking forward to having a non-leaking, undamaged bathroom, hopefully by tomorrow, when we expect our new pedestal sink--I think it's this one (in biscuit, with widespread faucet)--to be installed.  Wish us luck.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Parashat Sh’mot, 5774/2013 edition

Quick post composed in Word between assignments and published at home.
Basics here.
Links to my previous Sh’mot posts here.
A few thoughts, standing on one foot ('cause I didn't have time between assignments to stand on two  :) ) :
18 And when they came to Reuel their father, he said: 'How is it that ye are come so soon to-day?'
1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the farthest end of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb.
Reuel or Yitro?  2 sources?

14 And God said unto Moses: 'I AM THAT I AM'; and He said: 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I AM hath sent me unto you.'
15 And God said moreover unto Moses: 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.
2 names = 2 sources?

3 And He said: 'Cast it on the ground.' And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
4 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Put forth thy hand, and take it by the tail--and he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand-- "
Moshe is a trusting soul.  Notice that Hashem never tells him that the snake (a) will not bite him and (b) will revert to a rod.

14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: 'Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee; and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
How did Aharon know to meet Moshe?
וְגַם הִנֵּה-הוּא יֹצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ, וְרָאֲךָ וְשָׂמַח בְּלִבּוֹ.
Notice that the Hebrew is written in the present tense--the text seems to indicate that Aharon was already on his way. 

19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian: 'Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead that sought thy life.'
Why didn't Hashem tell Moshe this in the first place, instead of getting ticked at Moshe's reluctance to undertake the liberation mission?

Snuck a quick peak at Conservadox, who notes here that, according to the commentator Abarbanel, the Hebrews would ask their neighbors for precious metals and clothing because they wouldn’t be able to take their heavier possessions with them.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Proof positive . . .

. . . that men's clothes have deeper pockets than women's--I managed to lose two packets of tissues and a comb before I'd even left our apartment!

[No wisecracks about women having pocketbooks, please--do you expect us to carry purses all the time and everywhere?  Pockets are better because they're "built-ins"--they're part of one's clothes, and don't have to be carried separately.]

Hmm, I thought this post sounded familiar.  "Scuse me for repeating myself.  It's a hazard of long-time blogging.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Asarah B'Tevet/10th of Tevet on a Fri: info, a tad late

Parashat Vayechi, 5774/2013 edition

Monday, December 09, 2013

The joke's on me

Now that I'm approaching 65, I applied for and received my Medicare card, which will I'll be eligible to use next month.  I was so pleased at the thought of having the government pay for (most of) my medical bills that I completely forgot one major detail--one must pay one's own premiums until one goes on Social Security (at which point the premiums are automatically deducted from one's monthly Social Security retirement benefit payments).  I got an unpleasant reminder today in the form of my first quarterly premium bill.  That's a lot of money, sonny.  :(

Am I blue

Yes, but not exactly this way.  To be precise, it's my poor "baby" toe that's blue, not to mention black*--I stupidly left something where I could stub my toe on it, and stub my toe I did.  Ouch!  My poor little toe is now about one and a half times its usual size, and I've been limping around like Grandpappy Amos.  I spent this evening with my toe under ice instead of my feet on the dance floor--I'd rather be Israeli folk dancing.  Phooey.

*Black and blue

Warning: Light blogging ahead

I'm working on a major project at the office, and it's taking approximately forever (partly because some of the folks contributing various portions of the text can't be bothered to do a Spell-Check and/or watch their grammar, which means that I can't just copy and paste, I have to read every word in order to make corrections when necessary). I'll see you when I can come up for air.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Zot Chanukah

Apparently, there are a number of reasons, some kabbalistic, why the last day of Chanukah is called Zot Chanukah ("This is Chanukah.")  Not being mystically inclined, I prefer a more rational explanation--even though the first night's light was not unusual, since there was enough oil for one night, we express our gratitude for the ordinary miracles as well as the extraordinary ones.  Enjoy Chanukah's last hurrah.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Oldest and newest dreidlach in my collection, plus bonus :)

Did you think I was kidding when I said that our son teethed on a dreidl/sevivon?  :)  The large wooden dreidl on the right in this photo is the "teething victim," and has the teeth marks to prove it.  :)
Most of the big wooden dreidlach on the right in the second photo here were purchased to ensure that our then-toddler, now 30, wouldn't swallow a dreidl by accident.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The fifth Chanukah lecht/light (repost)

I'm linking to this old post of mine in memory of my maternal grandmother.
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