Monthly Archives: June 2007

Get inside yourself

There’s an interesting online personality test available here. Among the things it sheds light on are the ways we communicate and how we learn. I found it to be pretty on target with how I see myself.

I’m curious how well a blogger’s personality matches their blog in regards to this study?
Let me know what you think, if inclined.

What sits on my bookshelf

I never met my paternal grandfather. I do share his name, Solomon (which is my middle name in English, Zorach in Hebrew). Then about 8 years ago my father brought me a collection of ‘Jewish books’ that were owned by my grandfather.

The collection includes:
A machzorim set printed in Austria in 1889
A linear Chumash printed in 1905A set of Mikros Gedolos from 1889
A siddur (Hebrew-English) printed in Austria in 1857
And a set of Graetz’s History of the Jews printed in 1895 (which if you know anything about Rav Hirsch, he had colorful history with the author)

I usually use the machzorim for at least on davening during any given Yom Tov.
Once in a while I’ll open the siddur and daven from it. When I do use the siddur or the machzorim I admit, I feel some kind of connecting to something. Maybe it’s just because they have been in my family for a long period of time. Maybe it’s because I am looking for some connection on any level.

It does blow my mind that because these seforim haven’t been opened or used in the longest time. I’m the first Torah observant person on either side of my family in at least three generations.

On April 15 of this year my son came home with his first Chumash and the homework that came along with it. After I listened to him say and translate the first pasuk in Breishis I opened up to the same pasuk in my grandfather’s Mikros Gedolos and let my son read from it. It was an incredible feeling to listen to him read in a sefer that was 118 years old.

I am proud and thankful to have these seforim in my collection and it is a constant reminder that Limud HaTorah spans the generations.

My thanks to A Simple Jew who suggested I write about this topic.

The photo in this post is of several of the seforim mentioned above


This isn’t a cheap attempt to post. It’s just that after taking a break from blogging and getting back into the groove I found a few posts that I really liked:

Psychotoddler’s great Father’s Day video was awesome

Rabbi Avi Sharfan’s message to graduates. This was published from Am Echad Resources and also posted on Cross-Currents (Torah Judaism’s proverbial Algonquin Round Table)

A Simple Jew tells a personal story about how a simple act can have a powerful effect

Rabbi Harry Maryles discusses the term Torah True Jews

Rabbi Without A Cause reflects on blogging and identity

RabbI Yonason Goldson writes a superb article posted on BeyondBT

Dixie Yid has translated a Kuntres by Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern that deals with Chochma and Bina. Feel free to follow is links in the six part series

Rafi G has an amazing thought on Parshas Chukas

Happy reading!

Summer of Sequels…

(Make slick signs here)

As I was walking through a hotel I caught a feature on CNN this past Sunday about how this summer boasts an unpresidented high number of movie sequels.
They interviewed a person representing the movie industry who said that now there is so much uncertainty in America with the war in Iraq and the upcoming presidential election (topics that are not usually covered on this blog) that movie goers are looking for stability. Audiences, he said, are looking for familiar faces and movie brands that they can count on.

He’s right, we do crave the familiar. At least, I do.

I remember hearing a tape by Rabbi Akiva Tatz (the Chicago Community Kollel brough him in to speak in 1998 and I purchased a tape) discuss the idea that ones’ neshama naturally gravitates toward mitzvos. That’s why, he said, when someone becoming observant learns a concept or a certain halacha dealing with Shabbos or Kashrus, for example, it clicks or makes sense to him or her. We feel as if we ‘knew it’ already.

It could also be why lighting the menorah and having some sort of a Pesach seder are the most common Jewish ‘rituals’ celebrated by our not-yet-Observant brothers and sisters (see this post). On a neshama level we connect with these actions.
There are time in life when I hear, see, or am reminded of something and a wave of happiness, content, or excitement comes over me.
Example: Several years ago I was able to hear Rav Shmuel Brazil daven Hallel on Simchas Torah in Yeshva Shor Yoshuv. Whenever I hear certain niggunim I am transported back to an incredible 45 minutes of intense davening and simcha.
Example: After about a year of living in Indianapolis I stumbled upon a 7-11 store. Ahhh…Slurpees! A favorite drink of mine anytime of the year. Just seeing those familar numbers “7” and “11” gave me a weird feeling of comfort. It’s the same way when we drive to New York and start seeing signs for different expressways, bridges, and tunnels.
The neshama (and in the case of Slurpees, the guf) craves what it knows…Torah and Mitzvos. It’s interesting what things we hold dear from childhood through adulthood.

So, coming back to sequels (yes, I intended to make the pun…ha-ha), this is trend of the “summer of sequels” might just be an echo of something much more deep. Thanks for reading!

Blogging Break

(Graphic from

I’ll be taking a break from writing and reading any blogs for a week or so. I’m currently learning Mishnayos.
I don’t mean to come off pretentious by chosing learning over blogs, but my mother-in-law was recently niftar and I am learning in her memory.
She was an extraordinary person and a Bubbie par excellent.
For more info about learning in memory of Rivka Bas Chaim Yosef you can go here.

Finally, something new

Firstly, thanks to those who check daily for a new post. Sorry it’s been a while.

While I do have several posting that are, like, 85% complete sitting as drafts in my Blogger Dashboard. I’ve been waiting for just the right topic to grab me and say, “This would be a great post.”

In truth, it was just an excuse not to write. I’m not really motivated to write, but I need to. For now this will have to do.

I had planned on posting something pre-Shavuos, but had a family situation that made any postings pretty much meaningless.

I’ve spent over 30 hours during the past two weeks on highways looking at the following printed word emblazoned on the back of semi-trucks: IF YOU CAN’T SEE MY MIRRORS I CAN’T SEE YOU.

As much as I tell myself that what others think about me doesn’t really matter, it’s only a 1/2 truth. To quote an influential hardcore punk icon, “Others matter, but only in the proper perspective. What really matters are the ones who love you”.

Certain aspects of who we are and what we do, say or write about are meant to be seen by others. If someone looking in a mirror can’t see you driving behind them, it’s as if you don’t exist. It does not mean that your existence is based only on being seen by everyone.

I’m a bit mixed up, I admit. I blog under my own name. I don’t hide the fact that I blog, but I don’t really advertise it either. I’ve let some friends know that I blog, others have no clue. I know of someone who would have really shepped nachas from what I’ve written. I, sadly, never shared this aspect of my life with that person.

If you think someone outside of the blogosphere might enjoy what you have to say take a moment and share before the moment is gone.