Night-time Toddy

A ZOROASTRIAN (BECAUSE HE WAS, and because sometimes it really does matter) once jumped the battery of my otherwise unbroken vehicle on an otherwise sad day and, because this is my life, we got into a discussion of God(1) and it wasn’t long before we were agreeing on the need to sleep peacefully at night and that one cannot do that without being right with God (read, said he: right with one’s fellows), and hoping for the best of whatever’s the next world, or even next unseen moment, without such store of good- and God-will is a vain enterprise indeed; which thought seems to be one also preached by at least all the paths I traveled in the circuitous route to root and seed which is the path of all life and words and, and to ignore this discomplicating fact my new Zoroastrian friend told me (and still tells in brain-snapshot’ metaphor, read: man jumps battery; jumpstarts the journeyer; recharges the charge; do I have to make it plainer?) would keep it unshared with wherever and whoever your Sunday finds you: snugly newspaper-nested, walking the line, paddling madly onshore. And isn’t that what he was really saying?

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(1) That Indescribable Essence which is never the same from you to me or anywhere in between, and which I persist in describing here and there.

Santayana Amended

THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN from history doom their children to redeem it.

(And on that unironically hopeful note, Shabbat Shalom / have a nice weekend / go Red Sox!)

Essentials of Domesticated-Primate Character: Food Chain Consciousness

AT LEAST ONCE IN ONE’S life, one should encounter a place where one is in the minority: it has the potential to sharpen the senses, humble the soul and question the assumptions. A different, but equally primal, experience, can be had by entering a place where one’s species is in the minority — or to be blunt, prey. Something essential there is through knowing the bottom of the food chain.

To The Victor Goes the Printing Press

IT’S TRUE THAT THE VICTORS write history — but not all victors are dishonest. Ask yourself: Do they learn from, or at least admit, their mistakes? Trying to overcome one’s own Bad Self ™, personal or cultural, is a good sign that the necessary self-correctives are being observed. If not, dissent is not only patriotic: it’s a sacred duty.

Blog: “Oy Bay”

JEWISH BLOGS CAN BE DICEY: on the one hand are individuals writing about everything from raising kids in Israel to student-rabbiing to Torah to protesting one’s Torah(1), and on the other are institutions often conducting “outreach” or fundraising. The former tend to shoot from the heart, the latter try (too self-consciously(2), methinks) to “engage and inform.”

One which seems to do both is http://oybay.wordpress.com/, a volunteer-written guide to the Jewish Bay Area. (I say “seems” because it hasn’t been updated since early July, but perhaps this trackback will stimulate them.) Most of the entries are written by “Oyster,” who presents as every synagogue’s zayde(grandpa)-of-all-trades (ours are named Sy and Addy), but the “About Us” list is decidedly under 30 (OyBay’s target demographic). OyBay’s pleasant mix of RSS feeds, links and occasional dispatches makes it an accessible jumping-on place for Bay Area Jews.

Neal’s rating: Four whole-wheat bagels with a glass Cel-Ray.

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(1) To speak of “one’s Torah” is as to speak of “one’s Zen;” it’s really “one’s principles and demonstrated grasp of same.” Some people also speak of this as “one’s Jewishness” or “one’s “Yiddishkeit.”
(2) That self-conscious thing is deadly. If you too wear a yarmulke in public, you know what I mean. If not, then imagine someone making a big deal about not making a big deal about something that’s worth making a big deal about, then emailing you updates.

Fists Against The Posts

One kept thinking there had to be another way of looking at it, of really seeing *I*T*, and kept lamenting that particular brand of consciousness so limited in terms of time, space and perception. Oh, to soar as a school of fish — to feel the sea passing between its thousand fins now this way, now that. Or a yearning of swans — the intertwined indefinity of wings passing air down along the silent wind for others to grasp and master; Or roots pushing deep into moisture-thick earth, hardness yielding to an infinitely subtle softness; or to cry with the million-voiced dawn, not as birds but their urgeful chirping and its solid unyielding core: ball of life whirling through sunbound courses to push and dive and collide and bend around and back on itself again — and to know the immediate, im-mediated, proxyless and inviolate NOW of all and none of these NOW: … instead of one of six billion desperate afterimages, held in fading fingers as proof.