Saturday, October 30, 2021

My name is—or was—Sarah, and I was the Invisible Matriarch.

My husband, Avraham, never asked me whether I wanted to leave Charan for some unknown place.  He just expected me to tag along like an obedient wife.  

Then there was a famine in our new land, and we traveled to Egypt.  There, Avraham asked me to say I was his sister so that it would go well for *him* when I was taken into Pharoah’s harem.  He profited while I suffered.  Did he actually care whether I ever got out, or whether I was imprisoned there for the rest of my life?  G!d was the one who intervened.

I even gave my maidservant to Abraham as a surrogate mother because G?d didn’t bother telling me that I was going to have a child of my own, eventually.  But when Hagar got pregnant and began treating me with disdain, Avraham couldn’t have cared less.

Then, when G?d finally revealed--to *Avraham!*--that I was going to have a baby at the age of 90-something, I got yelled at for thinking skeptical thoughts.  Why would anyone expect me *not* to be skeptical, after trying for decades to have a baby?  And how, exactly, was I supposed to feel?  On one hand, it would certainly be nice to be able to fool around with my husband again.  On the other hand, I was an old woman with a bad back and arthritic knees.  How was I supposed to carry a fetus for nine months and give birth safely at such an advanced age?  And even if I survived labor, how was I supposed to manage months of sleep deprivation, followed by a couple of years of chasing a toddler around the tent to make sure he stayed safe?

Why did G?d keep me waiting so long?  I spent decades suffering the private pain of infertility and the public shame of being barren.  But did G?d care?  No.  The point was never for me to have a baby—the point was for me to have a miracle.  I was to be living proof that G?d had the power to make a barren, old, post-menopausal woman conceive.  My years of pain were just collateral damage.

But apparently, Avraham was even more of a skeptic about us having a baby together in our old age than I was, because he let me be taken into a harem yet again before I even got pregnant, as if he neither believed what G!d had said nor cared.  Again, G!d had to intervene to free me.  I just knew that the locals would laugh when Yitzchak was born—it certainly couldn’t have escaped their notice that Avraham hadn’t fathered a child in over 13 years.  So who was Yitzchak’s father, anyway, Avraham or Avimelech?  I’ll never tell.

It’s true that I was mean to insist that Yishmael and his mother Hagar be expelled from our home.  But, in my defense, what choice did I have?  It was clear to me that Avraham was perfectly happy to let Yishmael inherit the bulk of his estate and leave Yitzchak with the leftovers.  I had to protect my son.

Then, G?d ordered Avraham to sacrifice Yitzchakmy only child!Avraham hurried to obey without a single word of protest, and neither of them even bothered to tell me, as if the welfare of my own child was no concern of mine.

You shouldn't be surprised that I died.  What's the point in living when the only reason you exist is to prove that G?d has complete control over birth and death, and no one—human or divine—actually seems to care whether you're alive or dead?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Weighting in

It's an American obsession--*everyone* has to be thin.

And I'm not immune to that obsession.  That's why, for years, I've gotten onto the scale every morning except for Sabbath, High Holidays, Festivals, and fast days.  Ironically, I continue to weigh myself daily despite the fact that I can't take any credit for my current weight.  For openers, I'm three inches shorter than I was the last time I was roughly this weight.  For closers, well, as I've been half-joking for years, the fastest way to lose weight is to get sick--gluten and dairy are just the beginning of the long list of foods that can make me ill.  

But the real reason why I'm obsessed with my weight and, frankly, relieved to be thin, is that I've seen what can happen to people who aren't. 

Years ago, I was at a party with old friends when I somehow found myself in a discussion of weight with a woman who spends a lot of time at the gym.  At that time, I was still struggling mightily not to be more  than 15 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day.  I was very proud of having lost two pounds.  But when I told my friend how much I weighed, her response was, "That's not very impressive."  I protested that I was on a diet and had lost two pounds, which, at least, got her to stop criticizing me.

I actually felt it necessary to defend myself against the "accusation" of being overweight as if I were guilty of a crime.

It gets worse, folks.  This obsession with the scale is a classic case of "follow the money"--there's profit to be made in keeping people weight-obsessed. 

Check the Maintenance Phase for the 8/3/2021 podcast episode named "The Body Mass Index," which is about the misuse of the BMI as a diagnostic tool, which was not what it was originally meant to be.  (Thanks to Eliana Light for posting this link on her Facebook page.)  I found this podcast pretty shocking.  How did a simple measurement become a tool of--and get manipulated by--health insurance companies?

Saturday, October 23, 2021

This is your idea of serving your customers? :(

A few days ago, I received a clothing catalog from a company I've never heard of. Their cover said that they sold clothing for women size 12W to 44W. But I didn't see a single woman in the entire catalog who looked like she wore a size 44W. False advertising or fat-shaming? 😡  That catalog went straight into recycling.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

A minyan for Birkat HaMazon!!!😀

A friend of ours from the neighborhood invited us to an outdoor Kabbalat Shabbat service and pot-luck dinner held in her back yard. What a delight! We had the privilege of singing z'mirot with a group, which was wonderful, and we actually got to sing Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) with a minyan for the first time since February 2020! 😀

For those who, like me, are not tech-adept, maybe you could avoid what I ran into

I thought I was facing a cell-phone fiasco, but it turned to be just a simple slip of the hand.

I took my cell phone out of my pocket and was shocked to see that my entire calendar had disappeared! So I turned off my phone and rebooted from scratch, but that didn't help. Then I went to the "lines" (on the top left of my calendar) that one taps to display a menu--Schedule, Day, 3 Days, Week, Month--to make sure that my phone was set to Month (my personal preference). But while I was there, I happened to notice that, below Month, there was another list--Events, Tasks, Reminders, Birthdays, Holidays--and lo and behold, there was no check-mark in the Events check-box. The minute I touched the Events check-box and the check-mark reappeared, so did my Events, which is a darned good thing, because that's where all my doctor appointments are listed! I must have unchecked the Events box by accident.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

"A New Confederacy: Trump and the Republicans have already seceded"

The electoral goal of Trump Republicans is to win elections by any means necessary. The social agenda of Trump Republicans is to turn back the clock--they want people of color to "know their place," gays back in the closet, women under the control of men, and immigration reserved for white, English-speaking Christians. The legislative agenda of Trump Republicans . . . doesn't exist. They don't give a hoot about poverty, hunger, healthcare, housing, the justice system, education, the environment, or just about anything else that might benefit folks who aren't wealthy.

See the article here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

A Jewish form of recycling :(

Maybe they belong to an independent minyan or chavurah.

Or maybe they object to the very notion of "belonging." 

In either case, they certainly don't want to become, if you'll pardon the expression, "members" of a "synagogue" and pay "dues."  They'd much rather be "partners" of an "alternative Jewish spiritual community" and pay monthly fees.

And many of them meet in buildings paid for by others, "recycling" the hard work of one or more previous generations.  They just pay rent.  They don't worry about building maintenance, security, payroll, utilities.  

And then the synagogue that owns the building goes out of business, and suddenly they have no place to meet.

What a surprise.


Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Born with bull-eyes on our backs :(

Meme seen on Facebook:

When the penalty for aborting after rape is more severe than the penalty for rape, that's when you know it's a war on women.

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