Friday, December 31, 2004

Moshe and the Characteristics of a Navi

Since this shabbos is the Rambam's yeirtzheit, I wanted to write a dvar Torah with something from the Rambam. After doing a search to find something, I came across this dvar Torah and thought it was so well done and the message so perfect for the day that I had to just copy and share it with all of you!
Moshe and the Characteristics of a Navi
by Rabbanit Chana Henkin
from Nishmat--The Jerusalem Center for Advanced Jewish Study for Women (I was actually going to study there this summer)
In the second chapter of the book of Shemot, Moshe is involved in three incidents, all cases of protecting a victim from a victimizer. After having spent his childhood in Pharaoh's palace, when he matured he went out to see his brothers, the Hebrews. The first day, he killed the Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. The following day, he intervened to prevent one Hebrew from assaulting another. In the course of the intervention he discovered that the word was out regarding his having protected a Hebrew and slain an Egyptian, and he was forced to flee Egypt. Immediately upon arrival in Midian, in the words of Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim II:45 "a fearful, fleeing stranger," he intervened yet a third time, this time to rescue the daughters of Yitro from the Midianite shepherds.
The number three in Jewish law represents a "hazaka". An action repeated three times is considered not a random occurrence but an established behavior pattern, a manifestation of the very essence of the personality. In all three cases, Moshe did not know the victims. Nechama Leibovitz makes the point that without the repetition of incidents, we might be tempted to attribute Moshe's intervention either to a naive assumption that he would be appreciated for his assistance or to partisan concern for his own people. By the third incident, we realize that it was a love of mankind and an abhorrence of exploitation which motivated Moshe.
Rambam, in Moreh Nevuchim, counts eleven levels of prophecy. The highest level, eventually attained only by Moshe, consists of a face-to-face address of the prophet by G-d. The middle levels all involve a Divine message to a prophet in a prophetic dream or vision-for instance the prophet hearing a voice in a dream, or seeing an angel in a dream, or even seeing G-d in a dream. But it is the first level of prophecy which he calls "ruach haShem, the spirit of G-d" which is, in many ways, the most remarkable.
Rambam's first level of prophecy is based on Moshe's three rescues in our parsha. It does not consist of receiving a message from G-d; rather, it consists of a person's experiencing an "inner awakening and compulsion" to save others -- either to save a single very righteous person or a large number of ordinary people -- from oppression, or alternately, an awakening to do a great good for the public. Rambam maintains that the prophet's sense of social justice is so finely honed that cannot resist the compulsion to help the persecuted. That is why Moshe had first jepoardized his position in the palace to help the assaulted Hebrew. And that is why, even as a fearful stranger who has lost his home, family and property as the result of having helped the persecuted, he again intervened in Midian the moment he witnessed oppression. Simply stated, Moshe was unable to stand by and witness one person making others suffer.
It seems to me that Rambam's levels of prophecy are concentric circles. At the core of prophecy and the readiness to fight for G-d's word is the readiness to fight for justice among human beings. Unless the prophet is so impelled to act on behalf of others that no pragmatic or personal considerations cloud his sense of justice, the higher, more "godly" levels of prophesy cannot follow.
Note: In his commentary "Chibah Yeteirah," my husband, Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, points out that Moshe saved a Jew from a non-Jew, a Jew from a Jew, and non-Jews (the daughters of Yitro) from non-Jews. What about the fourth possibility in this typology, that of saving a non-Jew from a Jew? Probably, under the conditions of Egyptian bondage, the eventuality did not arise.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, December 30, 2004


"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right--here I am stuck in the middle with you..."

I haven't been able to stop singing this week. I sing when I see a word from a song. I make up tunes to simple words that I don't know from songs. And I don't know why this is. I did, however, come up with a list of possible explanations:
1. After years of being subjegated to my spacebar's masochistic hitting fetish (what?), I feel liberated that I no longer have to hit it between each word I type. (alright, alright, I really drowned it in coffee last Friday and it stopped responding to me anyway...)
2. Chaim has come to be with me in New York!!!
3. My absolute favorite blogger from one of my favorite blogs gave me attention. Is it normal that I feel like those were my 15 minutes of fame?

Monday, December 27, 2004


Hey everyone, just wanted to say that I'm leaving for Europe tomorrow night, getting married to Europe (thank you Randi). I'm going to bring back some stuff for the Hillel room, but I don't know what to get, any ideas?

I hope everyone's vacation is going well.


Thursday, December 23, 2004


I walked into the kitchen, where my father and mother were sitting at the table, to find something to eat. After opening the fridge, I heard my father say, “Dina, would you like a job on the floor? I can call my friend Pete and you’ll have one in a minute.” “No, Daddy, I’m not interested in that kind of job.” He looked at me and earnestly replied, “you’re not?” I didn’t know how to respond! Luckily, my mother did that for me by saying, “No, [insert my father’s name], she’s not. But maybe you didn’t hear her the last 68 times she said that.” Hehe.
My father wants me to get a job, but the only jobs he considers “jobs” are the ones he knows--which limits me greatly. It also doesn’t help that he thinks I’m a flake. Now, I’ll admit to occasionally being flaky--but a complete flake? No, that’s not me.
My mother was told she needed to get something useful when she was in college and ended up graduating with a degree in economics that did diddlysquat for her. She always wanted to do something more creative and artsy but, because she wasn’t allowed to follow through with that, had to wait until my youngest brother was a year old to go to Parson’s and finally become an Interior Designer (and she’s good).
Granted, my father does have good cause for concern. Growing up, my job ambitions included “tightrope walker,” “diamond miner who owns twelve Dalmatians,” and “really famous actress.” But I’ve matured since…I want to be a writer now. “You’re 19; if you’re serious about being a writer, you should be published by now,” he says in response to that. Okay, so maybe being a writer is a cop-out I use when I am not sure how to tell him that I can’t make up my mind. There is a crazy world out there with so many fields I wish I could venture into! I want to run philanthropies, be a foley artist, direct movies, produce newsmagazine programs, manage political campaigns, own a café, buy land in Israel and the Sinai desert, write editorials, and be a stay-at-home mom.
To protest my father’s pleas that I switch my major from Creative Writing to Poli Sci and go to law school so that I can work in politics or switch my major to Economics and consider going to business school because I would do great as a customer service person and do well off commission, I tell him I can’t do the 9-5. I’d die. His response is always the same, though: “do you want to do mortgages--selling them to customers? You’ll make a lot of money off commission…or how about at the stock exchange? I can get you a job on the floor...”

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

And now for my random thought of the day…

When I was younger (read: last year), I had a secret yearning to be black. I just didn’t think it was fair that just because I was born into a bland, washed-out skin color I couldn’t lay claim to the blues. I mean--I love the blues. Robert Johnson, Taj Mahal, BB King…everyone! The only thing I found comfort in is that we have Dylan. Truth be told, I’d take Dylan and his inability to sing on key over the soothing voice of Albert King anyday. Thank God I'm a Jewess whitey.

the doctor the camel and the malboro man

This has nothing to do with judaism but u folks might like it anyways

The Doctor, the Camel and the Marlboro Man

Any sane person who bothers to walk by Hunter West, will always be greeted by the morbid sight of young people slowly killing themselves, not to mention funding our imperialists, war-mongering, capitalist machine with more exorbitant tax money. Rationally speaking it is extremely sad that so many people would be engaged in such an irrational activity, especially in front of a sacred house of learning and reason, namely Hunter College. But being depressed about things never gets one anywhere it just makes one feel bad, until oneself is drawn to drown his of her misery in the fumes of the Marlboro Man.

On the other hand, I and many other people stand to benefit from the stupidity of smokers. You see dear readers as a premed student, I want my profession to be as profitable as possible when hopefully get there. If there are a lot of young people lighting up now, then by the time I finish my training they will be lining my pockets as a result of their Emphzema, Lung Cancer and Asthma. As their conditions deteriorate and my wallet grows larger, I will take on more of their cases of Strokes, Heart Attacks and High Blood Pressure. Their smoking will make Ol’ Me a rich man one day, so keep on puffing.

Today in America there is a debate going on about the legality and morality of doctor-assisted suicide. This is essentially when a doctor helps those who are in a lot of pain from terminal illness terminate their existence, aka kill them self. But for some strange reason no one mentions anything about Doctor-Assisting Suicide. When those kids in front of Hunter West are knowingly or unknowingly killing themselves, their future bypass surgeries are currently paying for my 2014 BMW flying convertible. I say currently because many people are now paying insurance for the ailments that will afflict them later in life. Their current suicide is in actuality assisting the doctor in the patient’s not-so-speedy quest for the after-life, not the reverse as the politicians and ethicists are debating about.

The part of this issue that does not please me, is that by buying cigarettes, particularly Camels, you are in effect promoting almost total US reliance on a much sought after Middle Eastern product. This reliance in effect has helped to promote some of the reasons for our own White House Marlboro Man’s cowboy style invasion of the People’s Republic of Saddam-land. Of course how can it be a “people’s republic” if it’s Saddam’s land is a good question, therefore let us just call it Iraq. The United States is tied to the Middle East for a whole slew of reasons including Camels and “black gold”. As a result of our great reliance on Saudi and other oil producing countries of the region, we were forced to go in there and secure our supplies for our free world and the rest of the French-dominated semi-free world. Or so they didn’t really tell us, but any prototypical Homer J. Simpson with an IQ slightly higher than that of our national cowboy could figure out. What happens if another evil dictator with his great stockpiles of mythological weapons of mass paranoia decides to rise up and threaten our Camel supplies? Will the great savior of the free world, namely the Marlboro Man and his sidekick “not-so-little Dickey” extend Haliburton style freedom to another innocent dictator’s country? Will our troops be waking to another dialect of the Muezzin’s call?

This constitutes a difficult dilemma for us potential medical professionals. On the one hand we want people to assist us in their suicide. But on the other hand we do not want to find our Marlboro Man being burned in effigy in all around the world. We want to see him burned for real, by real Americans who will help fill our bank accounts. The solution of course is to start grazing Camels in the few great open spaces left in this country, namely the Bush family ranch and the white house front lawn. That way by the time the herd grows large enough we will still be only maintaining a minimal occupation force in much less then half of the globe.

At the end of all western movies, one sees the heroic cowboy riding off into the sunset. At the end of Michael Moore’s next thriller, one will see the following picture. There is a camel riding off into the sunset with a Marlboro man riding it. But unlike the traditional western movie this one is featuring the camel pulling a carriage. Inside this odd little carriage is a doctor waving to his former patients as he rides off. Since this movie is a Middle Eastern as opposed to a western, our heroes are riding into a cloud of rising ash that is emanating from the latest mass effigy burning session as opposed to the sunlight of dawning of a new capitalist day.

Monday, December 20, 2004


To anyone unfamiliar with our chapter of the Elders of Zion, allow me to explain.
After coming to the realization that our very small group of Hunter Hillel congregants totally controlled the politics, classes, and administration of Hunter, we only saw it fit, as scions of the Elders of Zion, to start an Elders of Zion: Hunter College Chapter.
And so we have The Punks of Zion...
The First Annual
Punks-of Awards!
As the end of the Fall Semester nears, I have decided to dole out awards in honor of proven punkiness...

The Punkiest Punk of Punks Award:
Randy Agadi
The Raging Bull proved himself worthy of this award when he gained control of well over 100 Hunter students…
just by bringing the Millard Fillmore Fan Club to Hunter.
Sometimes it takes a nut with balls to get the job done!

The Punk of Media Award:
Steve Yuniver
Steve made us all proud when he landed himself on the front page of the (Metro section of the) New York Times after our pro-Israel hosted debate watch party! Steve manipulated the media by having them portray him so that he looked like he was rallying a crowd when all he was doing was telling people not to leave…
Way to go Steve!

The Punk of Make-Overs Award:
Miryam Eisenberg
Through sheer talent and easy male control, Miryam was able to turn an ordinary Jew-boy into
the hottest guy in the Hunter Hillel! And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Doni, under Miryam’s guidance, went from wearing the pants his mother bought him when she was still buying him pants (read: the 90’s) to a cologne-scented-boot-wearing-flared-jeans Jew of Hotness!

The Punk of Freshiness Award:
Moshe Karten
Moshe proves himself worthy of his self-made-title everyday that he pointlessly argues with us, his, ehm-hm, elders. He did, however, come up with the name “The Punks of Zion,” and for that he deserves our respect!

The Punk of Misused Big Words Award:
Doni Berger
If not for his control of the more syllabic, sophisticated words of the English language, Doni would never
have been able to pro-actively defend himself against the fictitious accusations brought against him by The Palestinian Club for alleged vandalism of their anti-Semitic poster.

The Punk of Fratness:
It has to be handed to him, Nukes is our resident frat boy without a frat...Nukes, we really appreciate your ability to put up with the ridiculous names we call you from Nuc-u-lar to Nukes! We love you!

The Punk of Politics:
Sorry, I couldn't resist. I think I deserve this award for having nearly complete control of the male members (hehe) of the Hunter College Undergraduate Student Government.
All hail the power of my Jewess-boobs!

 Posted by Hello

online articles every punk and punkess of zion must see

here's some proof that we dont completely rule the world just yet -

Nobel laureate compares Israeli nuclear arms to gas chambers
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire on Sunday compared Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal to Hitler's gas chambers and called on Israel to lift travel restrictions on nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu........

"When I think about nuclear weapons, I've been to Auschwitz concentration camp," Maguire said during a joint press conference with Vanunu in Jerusalem.

"Nuclear weapons are only gas chambers perfected... and for a people who know what gas chambers are, how can you even think of building perfect gas chambers?"

well what do you want, she's french, it must be the wine.

Here's more funny news from the world of the goyim

Pope condemns Christmas materialism
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul has warned against rampant materialism which he says suffocates the spirit of Christmas....
"The message of the Christmas tree is that life is always green if you give, not many material things, but of yourself through friendship and sincere affection, through help and forgiveness, by spending time together and listening to each other," he said

What would santa say if he heard this? Are the Pope and Chris Kringlereally going at it? Maybe Santa will quit, than the pope will have a real mess on his hands. Now this is my kind of channuka shpiel.

Are we forgetting someone?

Time Selects Bush As Person of the Year
NEW YORK (AP) - After winning re-election and "reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style," President George Bush for the second time was chosen as Time magazine's Person of the Year.

What about Millard Fillmore? He is definitely more popular than G. Dubya. Plus he hasnt started any wars, at least in the past hundred plus years.

"Am Yisrael Chai"

Friday, December 17, 2004

I hate Christmas Songs

Me, "excuse me, would you mind changing the radio please?"
Mr. Taxi driver, "what do you like?"
Me, "anything but christmas songs, please--what ever you want."
Mr. Taxi Driver turned off the radio and laughed.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Why I’m Flunking My Way Out of School

Over a month ago, I heard that there’s a sign in The Palestinian Club room saying something warped about Hitler and his victims. One day, when I had been told that the clubroom was empty, I went down armed with two other students to see what was really hanging on their wall. We walked in and found a club member standing around. She asked if we were there to see someone. I told her we weren’t and noticed that sitting on the wall behind her was the sign we had come to see. Right there, in the corner of the room, was a sign saying “History Repeats: Look What Hitler Taught Some of His Victims” in letters dripping with painted blood. Under the copy was a Magen David morphing into a Swastika. That's right, not an Israeli flag morphing into a Swastika or Ariel Sharon learning from Hitler--a Magen David--the symbol of Hitler's victims, the Jews, on the sign. I was offended. I was bothered. I had to do something.
I tried to consider the possibility that the people who made the sign and the club who hung it on their clubroom wall don't realize what it might be like for a grandchild of Hitler's victims to see a sign that calls her a Hitler. Maybe The Palestinian Club didn't mean to call me, whose grandmother spent her teenage years in Bergen-Belsen and whose grandfather's entire family--entire shtetl--was massacred by the Nazis, a Nazi, but intended, rather, to make a political statement. But regardless of their intent--they took it too far.
After many meetings with the president’s council of Jewish Student Life, our Hillel director, and a few adult mentors, I sent an e-mail to The Palestinian Club president, asking to meet with her and a couple of representatives from her club. Of course, I was not going to meet her alone but along with the president and treasurer of the Israel activism club because, while we would just serve as representatives of the Jewish Student population, the sign was clearly inspired by Palestinian-Israeli politics.
The Palestinian Club may have a legal right of free speech, but their sign has to come down. The Dean explained to our Hillel director that making them remove it would violate their first amendment right…but that the school, too, is not happy about this situation. We know that the only way to win anything in the long run is to keep our footing on the moral high ground. So while The Palestinian Club president keeps pushing our meeting off for one reason or another and threatening to cancel it at all if there is either a moderator or tape-recorder (just to keep things on the record), I keep doing more and more poorly in my studies.
As much as I'd like to walk into my classrooms and erase the situation from my mind so that I can focus, I can't. As hard as I try convincing myself that right now my priority is doing well in school and not combating anti-Semitism wherever I find its smelly breath stinking up the air around me, I simply can't be convinced. Part of why I can't be convinced is that only a week before I saw this Nazi sign, the Hunter Women's Rights Coalition decided not to cosponsor an event with Hillel (that the Women's Center and Women's Studies Department were cosponsoring) because "it was decided that the HWRC shouldn't get behind it since Judaism is linked to Israel, which is linked to the Palestinian conflict, which is extremely polarized. Bottom line is that would be a bad idea to be associated with any political ideas other than our own, especially when we're not yet known on campus" (from the minutes of the 11/03 meeting).
Not only does The Palestinian Club not recognize a distinction between the Israeli Defense Forces and Jews, but the HWRC wouldn’t do something with a Jewish group because they can’t differentiate between Jews and the Jewish state. Putting my mind to my schoolwork when it’s already in overdrive trying to placate my nerves just seems tedious. And so I end another day of avoided homework and wasted class time trying to make peace with the dole of fate given me.

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