First, a message from a friend (posted in another forum) which I want to put “out there.” It’s timebound, but also timeless:
From: Micha Berger http://www.aishdas.org
Subject: 23 Elul
Tonight begins the 23rd of Elul.
What is 23 Elul, you may ask?
Last 23rd of Elul, at around the current time of day, I was dodging
peices of building in a thick cloud of smoke in some picture of downtown
Manhattan as portrayed by Dante.
23rd of Elul is the yahrzeit of every person who died last September 11th.
We'll be lighting a yahrzeit candle before my wife makes the
blessing on the Shabbos lights.
Those of us on this list who don't normally light Shabbos candles may
find lighting two candles tonight a fitting gesture. Just a thought.
In other news: My eye appointment is set for Sept. 5. Thank G-d I still have eyes, however imperfect, and a body with which to use them, and people to love with all three and more…
Oh, yeah ? funny story: While waiting for my ride home from school, I was hassled for the first time EVER about my yarmulke by some beefy 18-year-old jerk in the back of a Ford Explorer who thought he’d impress his pals by calling me “a f—–g Jew.” I advanced on the vehicle and asked him what his problem was; he opened the door menacingly and repeated his opinion of me. We growled at each other in primate language as his friends drove slowly out of the parking lot, with me advancing on him every time they pulled away. As he was incapable of uttering other phrases, I expressed the ultimate in domesticated primate contempt: I flashed him the Universal Digit and turned my back on him, walking away (while listening for the sound of pounding feet behind me). I am not a confrontational fellow, at all, at all, but had I somehow got it in my head that Jews Don’t Back Down From A Public Fight. My wife is proud that I stood my ground, and even advanced. My rabbi and I are engaged in a discussion about the Right Thing To Do. Her argument is that there’s a difference in fighting for self-defense and egging someone on — my argument is that, “Just because he doesn’t know that he’s made in the image of G-d doesn’t mean I have to put up with his crap.”