[insert creative title here]  

Posted by inkstainedhands in ,

So, Pesach 2010. I really don't have much to say about it. No words of wisdom or inspiration, nothing about how I feel about the holiday, and -- quite honestly -- nothing of much significance at all.

I actually started this blog right before Pesach 2009, so I suppose that it has been one Hebrew year. (Yay!)

I'm hoping to do a lot of reading (and maybe some living) over the holiday, so hopefully by the end of it I will have something of interest to write about.

For now, I just want to wish all my readers a chag kosher v'sameach. :] May this Pesach be a meaningful one for you.

Phone Etiquette  

Posted by inkstainedhands in

There is something about mornings that is just not fun. It's a time when you don't particularly want to do anything, and quite frankly, you don't want to deal with life yet. Good or bad -- you don't want to hear about it. And you also probably don't want to wake up with 5 missed calls and peppy voicemails, which you know you have to return eventually.

You know how some people say you should not call others past a certain time, especially if they have little kids sleeping? Well, here's a new one -- people, please don't call me before noon on a day when I have no classes and am trying to get back all those hours of sleep I lost in the past weeks, especially if you already know that I sleep late on days like these. Calling me that early won't get you anywhere, even if you call three times. My ringer is off and you will not reach me until I wake up anyway -- so just wait.

It always annoys me when people call a few times in a row, or leave multiple messages, as it will not increase the chances of me picking up when I am asleep.

So the next time you are thinking of calling me, ask yourself two questions:
1. Is it at all possible that I might be sleeping?
2. Did you already call me a couple of times that morning?
3. Have I told you in the past that I don't want you calling me early in the morning?

Thank you. And now I am off to have breakfast.

Moliere: Of Yichus and Hypocrisy  

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Don Luis: Are you not ashamed, to be so unworthy of your origins? What right have you now to take pride in your birth? And what have you done in the world that would prove you a gentleman? Do you think that it suffices to bear the name and the coat of arms -- that we may glory in our noble blood and at the same time wallow in infamy? No, no, birth is nothing if virtue doesn't attend it. We share the glory of our ancestors only in proportion as we strive to resemble them; and their splendid deeds, which shed a lustre upon us, oblige us to honor them in kind -- to follow in their footsteps, and not to forsake their fine example if we wish to be their true descendants.

~Don Juan, Moliere. p. 115

I think most of us have heard the idea that our yichus is like a string of zeroes, and if we have nothing with which to recommend ourselves, it is worthless, while if we are the 'one' in front of all those zeroes, it amounts to a lot.


Don Juan: It's no longer shameful to be a dissembler; hypocrisy is now a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices pass for virtues. The part of G-d-fearing man is the best possible role to play nowadays, and in our present society the hypocrite's profession has extraordinary advantages. It's an art whose dishonesty always goes unchallenged; even if the whole world sees through the imposture, no one dares denounce it. All the other vices of mankind are subject to censure, and anyone is free to upbraid them roundly; but hypocrisy is a privileged vice which knows how to silence every tongue and enjoy a perfect impunity. The hypocrite, by means of pious pretenses, attaches himself to the company of the devout, and anyone who then assails him is set upon by a great phalanx of the godly -- wherein those who act sincerely, and have a true religious fervor, are always the dupes of the others. The true believers are easily hoodwinked by the false, and blindly second those who ape their piety. I can't tell you how many men I know who, by means of a feigned devotion, have glossed over the sins of their youth, wrapped themselves in the cloak of religion, and in that holy disguise are now free to be the worst of scoundrels! It makes no difference if their intrigues are sometimes exposed and their true natures laid bare; they don't cease, on that account, to be respected, since by soulful groans, and bowings of the head, and rollings of the eye toward Heaven, they can readily persuade the world to excuse whatever they do.

I propose to take refuse in this modish style of deception, and thus protect myself and my interests. I shan't give up any of my cherished pursuits, but I'll be careful to pursue them quietly and on the sly. If ever my secret life is discovered, I won't have to lift a finger: the whole cabal of the pious will take my side, and defend me against all corners. In short, I've found the ideal way to do whatever I like and go scot-free. I'll set myself up as censor of the conduct of others, I'll condemn everybody, and I'll approve of no one but myself. If anyone offends me, however slightly, I'll never forgive him, but shall nurse instead a secret and implacable hatred. I'll appoint myself the Avenger of Heaven, and with that convenient pretext I'll harass my enemies, accuse them of impiety, and stir up against them a swarm of ignorant zealots, who'll assail them in public, heap them with defamations, and officiously doom them to Hell. A clever man will thus explot men's follies, and adapt his style to the vices of the age.

~Don Juan, Moliere. pps. 135-136

Lesson in Tzniut from Arthur Miller  

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Catherine: Guess how much we paid for the skirt.
Eddie: I think it's too short, ain't it?
Catherine, standing: No! Not when I stand up.
Eddie: Yeah, but you gotta sit down sometimes.
~A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller. p. 6

We look in the dressing room mirror at that skirt, and it is perfect. It reaches past our knees and nobody could have any objection to it. What we sometimes fail to realize is how different that skirt will look once we sit down; or perhaps we simply don't want to think about that and push that thought from our minds because we know it might prevent us from buying that 'perfect' skirt or dress.

One of my friends recently remarked that she needs to make some alterations to it in order to make it longer, and I replied that I did not see any need for that as it completely covered her knees. She explained that when she sits in it, her knees are visible, and she would rather put some extra fabric at the bottom than have it as it is. I was kind of impressed by that, because from what I have seen in Brooklyn, a lot of girls really don't care how the skirt looks when they're sitting down. Imagine sitting in a tight pencil skirt that barely covers the knees while standing -- once you're seated, it definitely does not cover them. (Then imagine girls sitting with their legs crossed in those skirts, when there's really not much left to the imagination.)

I was just surprised to come across an idea that applies to Judaism in an Arthur Miller play. I guess he knew what he was writing about.