THE REASON WE NEED each other is that life rarely contains enough different viewpoints to even begin understanding Life.
But what astonishes me is that Crumb has added yet another level to the endless depth of serious Torah study.
First, about the art: Crumb is one of those Heavy Guys (like Will Eisner and Moebius) whose art defines comics through mastery of the medium and extending its possibilities. His compositions pull the reader into each panel, where subtle figures express humanity unadorned — crankiness and weird smells along with idealism and tenderness.
He looked up. “What are you sketching?”
She held out a pad, on which was written:
AWE AND INQUIRY
God is good.
He frowned. “What’s the point?”
She grinned. “Exactly.”
I HEREBY OFFER ONE MILLION U. S. dollars to the first person, corporation or agency with the vision to proclaim humanity’s name to the cold eternal stars.
The display may be black-and-white or color. It must be large enough for resolution by a 90 mm telescope, yet invisible to the unaided eye. A sound broadcast is optional, but must correct for the 1.2 light-second delay.
The location corresponds to the site of the buried monollith in the film, which is why this is so cool.
Full disclosure: My current financial position far, FAR precludes me from providing the promised reward. However, given that the project will generate far more than this sum in acquired skills and spinoff technologies (not to mention sales of telescopes and astronomy media) , I am willling to settle for 10 per cent, payable per annum. Please direct all serious inquiries to scoop at sonic dot net.
APftMoE goes back to the drawing board: we’re no longer building a MegaJumboTron. Instead, we’re going to do it via rocket-delivered “TVA1” module as detailed in http://metaphorager.net/lunar-update-back-to-the-redrawing-board/. Know anybody with a metal shop?
Sign APftMoE’s “Lunar Immortality Now!” petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/2001shot/petition.html. (By G?d and George Pal, we’ll get this thing built yet.)
– APftMoE is also soliciting donations at http://tinyurl.com/moonbucks. (Donors should probably send an email to scoop at sonic dot net so I don’t spend it on something else.)
SCRATCH A MYSTIC, FIND A solipsist.
(I DELIVERED THIS YESTERDAY AT my synagogue‘s Yom Kippur morning service, and am posting it by popular post-service demand.)
For the past 10 years, Ann & I have shared a small apartment on Sonoma’s France Street. We have hosted weekly Torah studies, annual Instant Family Passover Seders, and our once-in-a-lifetime remarriage under the chuppah in 2002. But it was also recently the setting for a powerful lesson in the mechanics of teshuvah.
When I say the apartment is small, I mean /small/. The bathroom is just big enough for a shower, sink and toilet, and doesn’t leave much space for the steam which fills it after a nice hot shower. The bathroom opens on a small dining room with a window overlooking the back yard, and as nobody usually uses the back yard I often step out of the bathroom to dry off and cool down — whether or not the blinds are drawn.
You can probably see this coming.
There I was, drying myself off, looking out the window at the finches flitting in and out of the backyard bushes when our upstairs neighbor and her two children walked by, each looking in the window at me drying my hair. A few seconds later, after I had wrapped the towel around my waist, they filed back in the other direction — each shading their eyes with their hands. Neither of us spoke during the encounter, and none of us has mentioned it since.
To me, this is the very model of aveirah and teshuvah.
We all know that teshuvah means “turning,” as in “turning to God.” An aveirah is what you turn /from/. “Aveirah” is usually translated as sin, but the word “sin” carries with it connotations quite alien to its Jewish counterpart. “Aveirah” comes from the same root as the word “Hebrew,” and means “crossing,” as in “crossing the line.” By Judaism, there are three ways to cross the line of ethical behavior — mistakenly, consciously or deliberately. For example — and I’m sure we all have our own examples — sometimes we hurt each other’s feelings without knowing it. Sometimes we know it, but think it’s okay “just this once” (especially if you buy flowers afterward). And sometimes, for whatever reason, we do so intentionally.
But teshuvah isn’t always easy. Asking for forgiveness is scary — just like standing in front of someone while naked. We are vulnerable, we are open, we are defenseless; our future hangs in the balance of someone else’s action and forgiveness.
But it can be just as scary and difficult to forgive! When someone hurts us, sometimes the last thing we want to do is say “That’s okay.” We might be afraid that they’re insincere. Or that they’ll do it again. Or we might want to forgive what they did, but not be able to forget. So we make an agreement — to let the past stay in the past, and try to build a better future starting with the present. We deliberately cover our eyes to the hurtful things, consciously deciding that those hurtful things shouldn’t be so important.
And somehow, someday, suddenly — with the help of God and each other – they’re not.
The old woman sat, softly singing, on a blue wooden chair in the middle of the vast cobbled square, rippling a carpet of birds with each cast of her hand.
Tall jagged buildings loomed on all four sides around her — blocky and black-windowed, granite-yellow in the light of the dying sun, their shadows not quite lengthened to cover her frail red-shawled form. The air was cold and redd’d her cheeks as the birds fought for dried corn and cracker crumbs.
A tall man strode toward her — dark blue and broadshouldered, a cap visor shading all but a dour mouth.
She rolled with the blow which sent her sprawling.
Fluttering clucks roared the birds swept round and round him. He raised his arms, alarmed; they were wings and he dwindled, his voice a querulous chirp among hundreds.
She felt herself, sighed, and satisfied, arose. She shifted her shawl and sat, singing softly and scattering seeds.