Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Dead Cat

It's a nasty job, but someone has to do it. An alley cat chose the bomb shelter of our apartment building to rest in peace for eternity. He could have stayed there for months undisturbed were it not for the "savory aroma" that started to permeate the entire building. A frantic search by the neighbors for the source of the odor lead to the miklat.

Inside the miklat the stink was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. On the floor our cute feline friend. "He looks like he's sleeping but he smells like he's dead", I thought to myself. I wrapped a plastic bags around my hand as I went to pick him up.

I pondered, "Why do people say that cats have nine lives? Maybe he's not dead, and when I touch him he will scratch or bite me! Maybe he will jump and let out a loud 'Meowwwwwww'!"

Yalla, get it over with! I reached out to pick him up. He was cold and stiff as a board. "I guess that means he's dead", I concluded using the logic I acquired after years of learning the "daily page" of Talmud. I wrapped him in a plastic bag. "Poor cat, I'm sure he lived a noble life. He probably never spoke Lashon HaRa and the such. In the end he died all alone like a dog!", I thought to myself. Without a delivering a eulogy, I threw the the bag, cat and all, into the dumpster.

Aren't you glad that I shared this with you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Israeli Memorial Day

Tonight is the beginning of Israel's Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers and victims of terror. It is good to remember those who gave their lives so that we could live. May their memories be a blessing.

Personally I often think about our soldiers. I know that seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, they are putting their lives on the line for us. While I am in my air conditioned office they are out on patrol in the scorching sun. They "wake up the dawn", lying in ambush during cold, rainy nights while I lie safe in my bed under the covers waiting for "the dawn to wake me up". Our soldiers are the best.

Thank you, soldiers of the IDF! May God be with you wherever you may be!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Killing Time?

Do you ever kill time?

I remember as a student how we counted the days till the end of the school year, marking an X on the calendar as another day passed. Hurray, one day closer to summer vacation!!!

I heard something nice about "counting the Omer". We count the days and weeks from Passover, from the Exodus, until the giving of the Torah on the holiday of Shavuot.

But this count is very different from the count I mentioned in the first paragraph. There we were killing time, just waiting for the school year to end. We were counting backwards: 20 days left, 19 days left, 18 days left, etc. When we count the Omer we count ascending: "Yom Echad LaOmer", "Shnei Yamim LaOmer". We are not killling time. Each day is important, each day we prepare ourselves to receive the Torah. As the counting ascends, we ourselves strive to ascend, to correct within ourselves whatever needs correcting in order to receive the Torah in holiness and purity.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Yom HaShoah VeHaGevurah

Tommorow "Yom HaShoah VeHaGevurah" will be observed here in Israel. Features of the day include the following:

1) At 10:00 AM (?) a siren will be sounded and you are required to stand silent for a couple of minutes until the siren fades out. This is a really lousy and annoying custom.

2) Israeli MSM photographers will show us pictures from ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of those black-frocked dudes that don't stand still during the siren. If they don't succeed they have another opportunity next week on Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers.

3) The radio stations will play depressing music.

4) The radio stations will broadcast depressing interviews with survivors and/or their children.

I'm not against "Yom HaShoah VeHaGevurah". I'm for observing it in a more meaningful and Jewish way.

See also this old post.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jerusalem During the Second Temple

19 Nisan 5769

Amazing model! I remember seeing it 27 years ago (man I am getting old!) at the Holyland Hotel. Nowadays it is housed at the Israel Museum.

Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Birkat HaChama in Jerusalem

I had the privilege of davening on the rooftop of a high building this morning. A pic before we started:

Can you make out the Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge? I was careful not to look at the sun until we made the blessing. Afterwards I took this picture. Great ball(s) of fire!:

I took a few more pics from the rooftop. Here I zoomed in on the Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu's synagogue. They went out to make the blessing as well:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge Update: Pedestrian Passage is Open!

Now that I've finished checking the apartment for Chametz it's time to blog something. I've been following the construction of the Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge from the start. So I'm pretty happy that they finally opened it up for pedestrians. Here's a pic of the entrance to the pedestrian path from Herzl Blvd.:

Here's the view from the middle of the bridge:

How long will it take before we'll see trains on the bridge?
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