שיינע געדאנקן אויף ענגליש

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שיינע געדאנקן אויף ענגליש

הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » מיטוואך יאנואר 04, 2017 2:55 pm

In the Book of Genesis, the bible relates of the confrontation of two long estranged brothers. Jacob escaped from his parents’ home in fear of his brother Esau from whom he’d robbed their father’s final blessing. Now, when the scene is set, it is thirty-five years later and Jacob heard rumors that his brother is coming to meet him, so Jacob sent messengers to get exact details:

The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” Jacob was greatly frightened; in his anxiety, he divided the people with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking, ‘If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape.’ Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord… I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant… Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; else, I fear, he may come and strike me down, mothers and children alike… After spending the night there, he selected from what was at hand these presents for his brother Esau… For he reasoned, “If I propitiate him with presents in advance, and then face him, perhaps he will show me favor.”” (Genesis 32:7-21)
Our sages take note that Jacob prepared for the dangerous encounter with three different methods, or plans.


War [see first bolded sentence]
Prayer [see second bolded sentence]
Bribery [see last bolded sentence]


Let’s examine theses three approaches and attempt to apply them to our own struggles in our day-to-day lives.

War
If examine the verses closely, we realize a fascinating phenomenon in Jacob’s approach to war. Our common understanding of war is, that two parties fight each other with the objection to defeat their enemy. Thus, the fate of the loser will determine the winner. In all of history I don’t think there was an army that fought purely defensive. Jacob, however, has no intention to harm Esau in any way. There’s no reference even to offensive warfare, like preparing weaponry or planning an ambush etc. from Jacob’s part. Moreover, our sages teach, that when the verse states that Jacob was frightened and anxious, “he was frightened he will get killed and anxious that he might kill others.”

Instead, Jacob’s strategy was, to separate a group of his people and take them off the battlefield; so that even Esau will triumph there will still be some who will survive. For, Jacob understood that Esau is an experiences warrior and has strong chances of winning. If Jacob would invest all energy and manpower at hand, he risked losing everything; and that’s a dangerous gamble. By removing the most he can from the eye of the storm he weakened his fortress and shifted the war to his disadvantage, but ensured a win outside of this particular battle.

In our struggle with ourselves, we have to learn from our ancestor Jacob. First and foremost, we should understand that as hard as we fight we stand a very strong chance of losing. That is not pessimistic, it is the reality we learn from our previous struggles. If we invest all our emotional strength and mind space for the subject in which we struggle, we risk complete decimation might we be defeated. Jacob teaches us to approach the battlefield i.e. smoking, alcohol, anger etc. by investing our energy in areas where we feel secure, where our positioned is not in jeopardy. For instance, if you are struggling with addiction engage in kindness; if you struggle with anger, be very truthful and wake up on time. This will make you feel good about yourself and ensure that even if you didn’t win over your enemy, you are not completely devastated, you still have something to yourself. You might be wounded and bruised, but you’re still standing on two feet.

Prayer
The undertone of Jacob’s prayer is utter hopelessness. He tells God, “I’m not worthy… I fear he may come and strike me down…” Jacob stared at his shortcomings and saw no path to victory. Esau was a hunter from young age, he was a man of the field; he was familiar with weaponry and physically built for strife. Jacob spent his time studying and shepherding, he didn’t know which way to hold a sword or a bow-and-arrow. Esau was a general of 400 men, Jacob was an exhausted father of twelve and husband of four wives. It would be foolish and suicidal for Jacob to think he is a match for Esau. So he surrendered and turned to God.

Let’s face it, we are weak. We need to make a living, raise children, build and sustain relationships, watch our health and balance responsibilities. We are tired and maxed out even before we appear on the battlefield. Our inclinations, on the other hand, have none of that. No job or family, no emotions or feeling, they only crave and lust. Their only job is to make us crazy by craving and lusting. For that they have an army of immorality and billion dollar industries targeting our intrigue and interest. The only match for our restless and relentless enemy is God. Surrendering to God in our area of test and outside of it, makes us stronger and safer. For God is Almighty and nothing can win over Him. By turning to Him and handing Him your weak sword, you chose the strongest General and undefeated Warrior.

Bribery
Jacob knew his brother well. He understood that an angry bloodthirsty man can be satisfied by a small gift and thereby avoiding or significantly minimizing the chance of face-to-face battle. In the same fashion, we should offer our craving beast what it appreciates before it challenges our morality or spirit. Good food with measure, safe sports that you enjoy, traveling to interesting place, balanced and steady sexual relationships, are all satisfying and will calm our lusting, or at least make them controllable.

My brothers and sisters, we live for this struggle. It was why we were born. “Man is born to trouble” (Job 5:7) Follow the lead of Jacob and you will survive. Maybe bruised and bleeding, but standing tall and proud!
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » דאנערשטאג יאנואר 05, 2017 2:22 pm

Hater's
Oh, dear haters

Why do you wake?

What keeps you alive

Satisfaction to take




You feel so empty

So blinded by light

Happiness of others

Stabs at your sight



You strive off misery

It fills your void

It soothes your pain

Yourself to avoid



You might be creative

You might be smart

What is it worth

If you don’t have a heart



You say you’re a victim

Somehow that condones

But murdering others

Never atones



So let us live

Spill no more blood

It will help you too

Unstuck from the mud



Spread love and peace

Vacuum fill with grace

You won’t feel so empty

It will lighten your face
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » זונטאג יאנואר 08, 2017 2:31 pm

Any hobby that I ever had, took me through four stages.



I got to know my hobby-to-be. I got a liking to it, and started to explore its ways and nature.
I fell madly in love and obsessively engaged in my hobby. Distracted myself from everything else and just spent days and nights carelessly, ceaselessly engulfed in my hobby. I ignored the basic responsibilities of life and bonded my soul to this hobby in the most intimate way.
I came to the realization that I’m completely invaded by whatever this former foreign entity was, and might be in mortal danger if i don’t act quickly. So I withdrew spontaneously, leaving a tremendous void in my soul.
I tried to find the right balance. Sometimes successfully and sometimes failing miserably.
By now, I’m neck-deep in step two, with my writing-blogging. Where it will take me from now? God knows. I’m full of adrenaline, excitement and creativity. But it may very well be heroin or Ecstasy in a different form. It is simultaneously fatal and lifesaving…

What did/would you do?
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
געפינט זיך: הלואי ווען איך וואלט געוויסט!
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » מאנטאג יאנואר 09, 2017 4:41 pm

My Dilemma
The morning sun breaks through the density of the dark forest night, signaling to me that another day dawned. A day like the many that preceded, one of ceaseless search and hopeless attempts of finding my out of this lonely nightmarish forest, to the Promised Land. The map I acquired was insufficient for it was written in old letters and the diagrams seemed outdated. So I decided to find the path on my own, but I admit I failed terribly. For the landscape is more complex than I estimated and I don’t have the requisite experience of navigation in situations like these. So I climbed high mountains and swam through rivers progressing slowly to what I thought to be the way to freedom, but after weeks of excruciating physical work I realized it was all in vain. I had drifted yet deeper into the dark.

Heartbroken and despaired I continue on my quest, and to my surprise I confront a crossroads. A fork forming two divergent paths is displayed before my eyes. To the right, I see a road cemented with granite, evidently paved thousands of years ago and endured with pride and majesty. It survived the earthquakes and natural disaster, outlived the seasonal storm and prevailed over catastrophe. With a closer look at the pavement I recognize my father’s footprints and the signatures of many ancestors. They marched proudly on this way confident and doubtless, leading the way for their youngsters to follow. The sprouts of grass in the cracks of the road tell me my mother cried while trekking this hike, watering the lost seeds in the road. It is this same trail that led to the Temple and Mezbuszh, to the universities in Babylon and exile in Siberia.

Yet, to the left is another road, contrasting its parallel not in durability but in beauty. Trees baring exotic fruit create a shade and protection from above and vineyards form a shelter for the passenger along the way. The pavement is coated with a bed of roses, fresh water gushing down the brook at her side, and the aroma of lemons mixed with fresh berries fill the atmosphere. Melodious birds sing in harmony to the sound of a spring breeze to the oak trees, offering a symphony unprecedented in music. It is this path that produced the philosophy of Maimonides and the peoms of Halevi, the art of Beethoven and the genius of Einstein.

But with much contemplation I realize that as pleasing it might be, it is at least as daring. Yes, its plains are richer than the former but it’s endangered by the cruel winter storm, and even from the thorns that inevitably hide behind pretty flowers. Its destiny is unknown, thus maximizing the potential of an explorer offering him a vastness of opportunity and quality, while also explaining rumors we heard of hikers that drifted off to uninhabited worlds and were never found.

Only one path can be experienced to the fullest. The former offers certainty and security, the latter is tempting, appealing and seductive. I sit on a rock at the parting of the roads and burst out in tears, tortured by conflicting interests, and in pain of being ripped in two
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » דינסטאג יאנואר 10, 2017 3:45 pm

I recently wrote of my obsession with blogging and writing [I put it into poem form too]. It is something that I am thinking a lot about lately. I found that since I began blogging, I started to write more frequently to keep up with the pace of the blogging culture. While the pressure to ‘keep up’ forced me out of laziness and encouraged me to record thoughts that were just gathering dust, there was a negative component to this ‘keep up’ atmosphere.

Let’s face the fact. We do not have brainstorms every day that are worthy publicizing. Maybe some of our thoughts are worth remembering, others might be interesting to close friends, but the majority of what rides our brain waves are absolutely useless and not interesting to the world at large. That is why we have a rug. The rug is that space in our brain under where we discard all useless information to rot for everlasting eternity. It is that same rug, which consequently differentiates between our good materials that we hope to refine and revise until it is ready for the public, and our mundane thoughts, which the community would gain if they were forgotten.

Writing is not a selfish activity. Writing, in its very essence is a vehicle with which we can transmit thoughts and information that is for the public benefit, or the opposite. In the near past and present, for instance, among tens of thousands of others we had Heimlich’s Maneuver, Penicillin, Einstein’s theory, Marx’s Communism, Hitler’s Nazism, Orwell’s vision, Tolstoy’s stories, Rowling’s imagination, Peanuts’ depictions, and Gladwell’s speculations in one form of writing or another. Selfish writing is an oxymoron. That is why we have memory and personal cameras. And most importantly the gift of forgetting unimportant thoughts.

That is until the world of blogging. Blogging and social media destroyed that rug. They obliterated the concept of thinking before talking/writing/photographing. They convince us, that whatever crosses our paths is noteworthy and ‘postworthy.’ Therefore, when scrolling down the Reader and checking out what people write, I wonder. I wonder why it is important to me what someone’s dog ate for midday snack. I wonder why I needed to know about someone’s sister-in-law’s-neighbors-best-friend’s breakup or birthday. I wonder why people can’t keep anything to themselves anymore. I wonder what forces people to write when they do not have what to say.

My frustration peeked yesterday. I read some new post; it came across as poor, raw and irrelevant. I was deeply saddened. It was my latest post
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » דאנערשטאג יאנואר 12, 2017 2:06 pm

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21)
I usually write out of inspiration; I first have an idea, poem, senseless piece of thought-garbage etc., then an impulse forces me to grab a pen and inscribe the thought, and then perfect it and then post it here online for everlasting life. Not so today, though. Today, I don’t know what to write. I don’t even have an idea of which direction I want to take this post. I’m not writing to say something. I’m writing because I can’t remain silent!

I have an unspoken policy on my blog (that I’m about to break). Like most Americans, and even many non-Americans, I have opinions regarding the recent US election. But I’ve never mentioned them or spoken about them here on this blog. For me my blog has always been a haven free of the strife, hate and bad feelings that politics brings. The world is divided enough without me I don’t need to add gasoline to the fire.

But what I saw today forced me to break my rule, for there was a red line that was crossed. When I first saw the meme proposing an “extermination” of one of the worlds largest faiths, I refuse to believe my eyes. What bothered me was not so much that some crazy person can post such a picture, I always knew terrible people exist. However, the fact that so many thousands of people liked reposted and commented favorably to that horrendous meme is terrifying. Did they even think what they were “liking”? We’re not talking about killing a serial killer, a rapist or cannibals, we’re talking about wiping out hundreds of millions of men, women, children, families, communities and countries, across every continent!

So you say, don’t take it so seriously, don’t be so technical, it was just a joke… and I say A JOKE? You’re joking about wiping out hundreds of millions of innocent people? What’s wrong with you? Who makes jokes of this sort? A decent human being wouldn’t exterminate flock of sheep… Did we not learn anything from recent history? We cannot afford to let demagogues preach hate and violence and simply let it go. [I didn’t compare anyone to Hitler, I would never. I just said that we have to learn from history.]

So, my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, as a Jew who has very clear and vivid imagery of the manifestation of ‘extermination’ threats, I shout out today NEVER AGAIN! It is not the first time in the election that people made terrible comments about your faith and your communities, but perhaps the snake of Islamomphobia is more poisonous than I thought. And I pray to God that people see its danger and kill that serpent before it kills all of us. For hate unleashed knows no borders, language, color or background.

And love is the same, in that way. So rather let’s engage in love and embrace each other, and our differences. In harmony and peace.
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » זונטאג יאנואר 15, 2017 2:17 pm

Ever since I can recall, there was a dream in my heart.

The day will come and I will climb the hill and reach the Land of Promise, the promise of quiet and peace. It is an atmosphere where the sun shines but does not burn, the wolves cry but do not scare. I will assemble the sheep in the meadow by the shrill of my whistle, walk them to the brook and comfort them with the song of my flute. I can visualize the birds chirping in the blue sky, a breeze stroking the tree’s branches like a harp adding harmony and magnificence to my tune. This melody exists only in my dreams for its scales are too delicate and sound too tender to be recorded and played outside of that Land.

After many years obsessing with this thought, I decided to embark on my quest for the Promised Land. The next morning at dawn, my flute in tow and an old map I started my journey with optimism and joy. I past by towns and villages the countryside and major cities, the farther I traveled from my hometown the surroundings seemed foreign and the population more strange. Their language sounded dull and their stories were boring, their music was flat and wine was sour, they did not understand my mission and I did not appreciate their humor. Therefore, I decided to disregard their opinion and progress to my destiny.

The map I drew guided me on the highway through tunnels and across bridges, and eventually expired only leaving a trace of a dirt path leading into the dense forests. Lonely and lost I try to follow this path uncertain of the footprints I am trailing and in whom I am putting my trust. As a blanket of darkness descended on the woods at dusk, I sat down on a tree stump and let my thoughts drift far away- to my homeland. I regret my decision. I should have stayed near my family. Why did I put myself in danger? Will I ever get to the Promised Land? Is the Promised Land accessible?

After tiring moments of meditation, I wiped the sweat off my forehead and attempted to find my way, but fell to the ground. I could not go anymore, for the darkness was blinding. I lay on the ground griping my flute and cried myself to sleep. In my head I hear a voice:

“My son, why have thee to this chaos arrive
Where does your young spirit strive?”

My angel, the Promised Land I put my goal
I will find there tranquility for my soul

“Oh, my dear son the way is so very long
Dangerous and weakening even for the strong
Climb onto my wings I will carry you there
Your instrument leave it’s heavy to bear.”

No. I shall never cut the way or fly any wing.
If my music will be muted and my heart won’t sing

With that, I awoke to a thunderstorm raging in the forest. I picked my flute up and trekked forward, deeper into the night
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
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הודעהדורך חוקר וסקרן » דינסטאג יאנואר 17, 2017 3:41 pm

The Story of Lonely Faith

As our patriarch Jacob prepared to depart from this world, he summoned his son, Joseph, the vice king of Egypt, and his two children Ephraim and Manasseh for final blessings. Jacob then exclaimed to Joseph:

And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. Your offspring whom you beget after them, shall be yours; they will be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance.” (Genesis 48:5-6)
Basically, Jacob “kidnapped” Ephraim and Manasseh, and left Joseph with the children that will be born thereafter. Which makes us ask, why? What is so special and unique about Joseph’s children in contrast to the children of Levi and Benjamin? Secondly, why did Jacob superfluously mention the time-frame of their birth, emphasizing that it was before he’d come to Egypt? Finally, being that Jacob was a prophet, he probably knew that Joseph won’t have any other children from that point on (as it is evident from the future census’ in the book of Numbers and elsewhere); what, then, was the point of engaging Joseph in the status of his irrelevant ‘future children?’

Before we address these questions, perhaps let’s observe the nature of counterculture movements. (I think that is redundant, for a movement that is not counterculture is not really a movement, it is another fraction of society.)

The pattern is almost always identical. There’s a guy that comes up with a revolutionary idea, he is instantaneously rejected by everyone besides for a small group of people that are drawn to his personality or who can identify with his message. The followers’ passion for the movement allows them to abandon their families and communities; to accept shun and mockery, and sometimes even torture and death. They then raise their children and students with the teachings of the leader, and eventually the children, too, will pass it on.

The second generation, however, is very different than their precursors. They don’t have to leave their families, for their families are in this community. They are not persecuted nor shunned, for in their circles they are just like everyone else. Basically, for the second generation it is not counterculture, it is common society. Consequently, the vigor, passion, excitement and fervor that fueled the founding of the movement dies down and dries up.

Jacob lived in pagan Canaan, but believed in One God. He raised twelve children by the Word of that God; and taught them that the norms of society as they know it, are immoral. His children saw idolatry wherever they went; whether it was in the pasture with fellow shepherds or in the market selling goods, their cousins from all five sides were devout worshipers of the pagan gods. They lived in constant strife with all that surrounded them. Their children, in contrast, grew up in Jacob’s extended home. They joined their fathers in the field and had many cousins with whom to study the teachings of their grandfather. They didn’t know much of Canaanite culture.

At the same time, Joseph was raising Ephraim and Manasseh in Egypt, the leader of the pagan world. Their grandfather, Potiphe-Ra, was a priest in the Temple of the Egyptian sun god Ra; and the palaces in which they were raised housed more idols than people. Idolatry and Egypt were inseparable and even synonyms, yet Joseph taught them of the One God and related to them the lessons that he’d learned from his father.

Ephraim and Manasseh are a story of two lonely brothers who lived indifferent to the entire world and culture that surrounded them, by the teachings of a prophet they’ve never met. Thus the words of Jacob:

…your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine
However, once Jacob was in Egypt with his whole clan, rejecting Egyptian gods was no big deal. To emphasize this point Jacob elaborated:

Your offspring whom you beget after them, shall be yours…
We can visualize a young Ephraim standing on a palatial balcony overlooking the capital city, battling with himself to reject all his eyes saw. We feel the same as we walk in the streets of the twenty-first century and try to resist the overwhelming seductions of common culture. What keeps me strong, is when i let my conscience hear Jacob tell me: “your sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt… they shall be mine…”
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זיך רעגיסטרירט: פרייטאג מאי 20, 2016 1:22 pm
געפינט זיך: הלואי ווען איך וואלט געוויסט!
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