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August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
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Sounds Of Silence


Schmutter-041213

Okay, so maybe we only know the first two words, but we still love the song and emphasize the “Bar.” Such is the power of Rabi Shimon bar Yochai.

Dear Mordechai,

Why do new stores have ribbon-cutting ceremonies? “Wow, we cut a ribbon.” My wife does that when she wraps Chanukah presents.

Impressed

Dear Impressed,

Is this even really a question? Every Jewish simcha involves breaking or cutting something.

On the other hand, if you think about it, they only need to cut the ribbon because they put the ribbon there in the first place. They’re just making more work for themselves. And they always use these comical oversized scissors — the kind where if you walked into a barber shop and he pulled it out, you’d run for your life. Unless it’s right before sefirah. (“Yeah, give me the big scissors. I have 33 days coming up.”)

But they want to generate excitement and have a ceremony where they let people in, and if the way they do that is by just opening the door, then their backs would be facing everyone. The ribbon allows them to face the crowd and give speeches. It’s weird to give a speech and then turn your back to an audience and open a door.

Second of all, if you’re just opening a door, everyone will be like, “I’m not going to drive two hours each way to watch him open a door. I can watch that any day.”

And third of all, they’d have to stand there holding the door open while everyone piled in, and you know how it is when you open a door for one person, and then the whole world decides to pile in behind him once you’re holding it open anyway.

People like ceremonies. If there’s no building yet, they do something called a “groundbreaking ceremony.” A groundbreaking ceremony, despite its name, is nothing special. Definitely nothing earth-shattering. Basically, what happens is that the officials dig up a couple of shovelfuls of dirt, like they’re going to put up the whole building themselves, even though they’re using a small ceremonial shovel, often adorned with a bow, that is woefully inadequate for the job, plus they’re all wearing suits, and then they give up after about 3 shovels full.

“Whew! This is harder than we thought! Let’s leave the rest for the contractors. You got a picture of me digging, right?”

And then you don’t see them again until it’s time to cut the ribbon.

Have any questions for “You’re Asking Me?? Please send them in. I’m alone with my thoughts, and… Well, you’ve seen my thoughts.

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