web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘face’

10,000 Pounds

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Staring out his window, Yakov tried ignoring the overwhelming sweep of emotions. He watched as the horses calmly grazed in the fields, oblivious to the deep hate brewing on each side of the farm. The audacity his brother has, Yakov shuddered thinking about it. Shaking his head he couldn’t think. Things hadn’t been easy since Father had died, he admit, but why now? After all the legal issues to deal with. After all the emotional pain. After watching their own mother wither away from the ache and void. But Levi couldn’t let it go.

He couldn’t let that child rivalry pass. Fighting over toys. Fighting over who sat where at the table. Why couldn’t it just disappear with the childish freckles? Why couldn’t they just move on, and start their lives all over again? Was it still about whose sandcastle stayed over night? Whose tower didn’t topple? Whose snowman didn’t melt? Somehow it still leads to those subconscious levels of hatred.

Silently Yakov had hoped it would stop, now that Father had died. Didn’t Levi realize it wasn’t a game? Can’t he see that this is real life now? But still, for Levi it was about whose side of the farm was better. It’s still about who can do it faster.

The glimmering blue water, shining in the sunlight. Biting his lip, Yakov couldn’t believe this immature gesture. Levi had built a lake. A lake to separate them – like a trap in Capture the Flag.

A lake! To separate their halves of the farm. Like the jump rope they had tied across their bedroom. Swallowing, Yakov couldn’t hold back anymore. Levi was no brother. This was not the way brothers acted. Years of this, and still it hadn’t stopped. He was tired of it, he decided.

Yakov watched as the muscled workers carried long wooden panels across, their sweat laminating in the sunlight. Ten thousand pounds of wood, the contractor explained. A couple of weeks and the wall would be up – a wall that would cut Levi off from Yakov’s side of the farm. He wouldn’t have to watch Levi’s children running through the meadows. He wouldn’t have to watch Levi come out every morning, content with life, while torturing his younger brother, just a couple of acres across the field.

Turning from the window, Yakov sat down to eat his breakfast, finally satisfied. All these years of tireless childish arguments would come to an end. A wall blocking his view of that half of the world. Blocking him off from the entire idea. Running away from the reality of facing the painful rendezvous.

Hours later, Yakov turned back to see his masterpiece. A forced smile was on his lips as he strutted towards the lake, and that’s when he saw it. There wasn’t a fifty foot wall, blocking every ray of sun from that side of the planet. It was just a thin bridge. One that went from one end of the lake to the other. Connecting his half to the other. Breaking the gap. Ending the problems.

Staring blankly Yakov didn’t understand, “I asked for a wall,” he yelled at the contractor, “To block that devil out of my life forever.”

Rummaging through his pockets, the contractor extended the blueprint, “It was the same ten thousand pounds of wood,” he explained.

Biting his lip, Yakov tried holding back his anger. He thought these useless games were over. But Levi would come back at him some other clever way. He would think of another childish prank to break off their ties once again. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes in defeat.

Scratching his head, he looked up at the contractor, “You’re going to need to take this down,” he demanded. “You’re going to have to build the wall I asked for.” Pausing he tried biting back his anger and then burst, “I don’t understand! You know I hate him!”

Shaking his head, the contractor whispered, barely audible, “It was the same amount of wood. It was the same effort.”

And then Yakov noticed, under the splash of the watercolor sunset, his brother’s shadow came closer and closer. Levi stood humbly in front of him, a slow smile creasing his face, “You did it, dear brother. You built a bridge.”

Sarah And Hagar

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

A historical drama unfolds before our eyes in this week’s Torah portion. It is a dramatic confrontation whose impact has shaped Jewish history for thousands of years.

Sarah and Hagar, two women – two worlds – faced each other.

On the one hand Sarah, Avraham’s wife and the mistress of the household; on the other, Hagar, the defiant slave girl, Avraham’s concubine, chosen by Sarah as a surrogate mother.

Can you picture yourself in Sarah’s position? Would you be able to make the ultimate sacrifice as Sarah did, elevating her maid to the position of her husband’s concubine for the sake of providing him with an heir, as he so keenly desired?

But Hagar proved less than equal to the task. As soon as she was certain of her pregnancy, Hagar displayed the characteristic arrogance of those who achieve a sudden rise in status without a corresponding growth in dignity.

Of the two women, it was Sarah who emerged victorious from the conflict: she retained her dominant position while Hagar, humiliated, fled to the desert. It was there that Hagar learned through divine prophecy of her destiny to give birth to Yishmael, “v’hoo yihyeh pereh adam, yado bakol v’yad kol bo — and he shall be a savage creature; his hand shall be against every one, and every one’s hand shall be against him.” (Bereshit, 16:12)

This prophetic pronouncement established Yishmael’s propensity for violence and lawlessness and his descendants’ future history as a road map of an incessant war of terror without borders.

The savagery of Arab history, the Muslims’ centuries long, bloody incursions against their neighbors, is well documented. Was fourteenth century Arab historian, Ibn Khaldun echoing the Biblical prophecy when he wrote in his Muqqadima (Introduction to History): “The Arabs are a savage nation… savagery has become their character and nature… it is their nature to plunder whatever other people possess… they are not concerned with laws. It is noteworthy how civilizations always collapsed in places the Arabs took over, and how such settlements were depopulated. The Yemen where the Arabs live is in ruins. The same applies to contemporary Syria.”

Was Susan Hatis Rolef, dovish editor of the Labor Party monthly SPECTRUM, doing the same when she wrote in the Jerusalem Post (August 13, 1990): “But we know, and we have known ever since modern Zionism began over a 100 years ago, that the other nation which inhabits this land has an extremely violent and brutal streak in it, which is part of its cultural heritage and is unlikely to change overnight.”

And yet, I believe, for Hagar the most painful aspect of the Divine revelation was the command to face reality – to return to the civilized world of Avraham’s household and peacefully submit to its laws, accepting Sarah’s rightful, dominant position. Hagar did so and Yishmael was born there, destined however to leave it early for the wilderness, choosing to live by the laws of violent physical force.

In the dramatic confrontation between the two women, Sarah and Hagar, a symbolic pre-enactment of history took place. The sons of Hagar have yet to learn to face the reality of their situation. They have yet to learn to rise above their impulsive nature of savagery and submit to the laws of civilization, where nations respect the possessions of others, and refrain from plundering what is not rightfully theirs. They have yet to acquire a set of values other than violence inherited from historical antecedents.

And the sons of Sarah – is it their destiny to painfully reassert their rights to Avraham’s legacy time and again – or perhaps there will come a time when their survival in this land will not be analogous with reiterated victory.

Turkey… Goes Turkey (Video)

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

In Turkey, the referee attacks the player.

Seems in August, one soccer official decided enough was enough. During a low-league soccer match in Turkey between Altinorduspor (red) and Pazarspor (blue), a Pazarspor player was preparing to take a free kick when one of the linesman suddenly ran out onto the field and socked an Altinorduspor player right in the face.

Why? Who knows?

And you wonder why they can’t get the Marmara affair straight?

Visit My Right Word.

It’s A Boy’s World, You Know

Friday, October 19th, 2012

You’ve gotta settle, stop being so choosy, it’s a boy’s world after all
And you’re just one of the millions who think their worth something, have the gall.
You’ve got to start looking better, so that you’ll be noticed when you walk through town
And perhaps you can lose a few pounds too, so we can pull your resume dress size down.

‘Tis a boys market, you know, so stop being such a case
Fess up and accept the reality that you’re being forced to face.
You can’t just tell a shadchan “no” because the guy’s very bummy
For it’s the reality that all girls are gold while all the guys are crummy.

Shadchan after shadchan tells you this, their words sting like an open wound
Your hopes of ever finding Mr. Right for you, suddenly shattered and ruined.
Their conversations were so similar, that they all seem like one big blur
And the sad reality is that your parents seem to side with him or her.

They convince you to at least try to date him, with “no” “ifs” “ands” or “buts”
So what if he’s missing a screw or two so what if he’s completely nuts?
So what if he recalculates his every move, so what if he’s weird and nerdy?
So what if he looks disheveled, his hair all loose, his suits all dirty?

It’s a boy’s world you know, and girls come a dozen a dime
So you have to be on your best behavior, always and graduate college on time.
You have to do everything right, from high school, to work-life to sem
You always have to look great at weddings and portray yourself as a gem.

You always have to act nicely to people; you always have to act stable
You can never act moody or vent, but rather have to empower and to enable.
You have to act sweet and happy, and if you’re not, you just have to pretend
Otherwise, how on earth do you expect your singlehood to ever end?

Yet he can do as he wishes and pleases, and nobody says a peep
He can sit around and klutz all day, and arise at 12p.m. after sleep.
He can flunk out of school and take his time with things, because there’s simply no rush for guys
Despite how completely messed up he turns out to be, they’ll be flocking to him like flies.

Because it’s just a boy’s world you know, so he can act like a jerk
Date hundreds of women and live it up, and then dump them for every quirk.
He can still be warming the bench in yeshiva, and so what if he’s 24?
There will somehow still be a million girls lined up, knocking on his door.

Hang out in the coffee room till 12 a.m. comparing Chock-full to Nescafe
Daven three times without a minyan and not go to shul all day.
He’s few and far between, you know, so why should he bother to try?
He’ll be easy to marry off anyway for his chromosome is XY.

It’s a boy’s world, so I better get used to it, for I’m a mere commodity
Valued by how many thousands my parents will give if he so chooses to marry me.
Perhaps I may be a top girl, but I’m defective merchandise nonetheless
Simply because I’m not wearing pants, but instead put on a skirt or a dress.

So what if I’m pretty and fun to be around, so what if I’m in Columbia law?
So what if I come from the most charming family and can make the prettiest cakes you ever saw.
So what if I have the best track record, while his is far less than great?
He’s one of those hard-to-find yeshiva bochurim, so I better accept the date.

So what if he appears to be obnoxious, wants to marry a slave to him, get a free ride
So what if his ego’s humongous, and nothing can ever shatter his pride.
So what if he looks like a monkey, and is 4’11 and rates a Tanner II
So what if he takes his life easy and parties, as though he’s got nothing better to do.

EJC’s Kantor Unveils Model Bill for Europe on Regulating Ritual Slaughter

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor unveiled a model bill designed to set “strict legal terms” on religious freedoms for the continent.

Kantor, who is also co-chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, or ECTR, presented the model bill on Oct. 15 at the European Parliament.

Designed to delineate the legal boundaries of tolerance in light of “anti-Semitism, racism and attempts to limit freedom of worship in Europe,” the document proposes to enshrine Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter practices, shechitah and halal, as well as ritual circumcision. It also recognized the state’s right to regulate the practices.

Citing “overriding” public safety reasons, the bill proposes to ban burkas and other face-covering headgear. Kantor said he hoped the parliaments of European Union member states adopt the principles laid down in the model bill in legislation, as “only by defining the boundaries of real tolerance can we ensure it.”

The model bill was co-authored by Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Polish president and co-chair of ECTR, a Brussels-based NGO comprised of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, several former heads of states and others recognized for urging tolerance.

Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.

“Many support tolerance as an abstract idea but find it hard to specify how it should be applied,” Dinstein told JTA. “This document tries to translate aspirations into practice.”

The Odd Couple of Barak and Joe

Monday, October 15th, 2012

The presidential and vice-presidential debates provided us with two snapshots of two different and yet very similar men.

The Obama who showed up to debate Mitt Romney and the Biden who showed up to debate Paul Ryan were outwardly different types. One white and one black, one elderly and one middle-aged, one a veteran of the Senate and the other a political tyro rushed through the ranks on the promise of his electability.

But Obama and Biden showed once again at the debates that they have more in common than anyone would give them credit for. Obama was surly while Biden was belligerent, but both men behaved the way they did out of an innate sense of entitlement. With their every word and gesture they made it clear that they were too good to be here.

While Romney and Ryan have often been accused of elitism, both as a personal accusation and as a class accusation, they behaved with dignity and discretion. Obama and Biden on the other hand treated their opponents with contempt beginning with their lack of preparation for the debates and their lack of grace in the debate.

Obama believed that he had won the debate after he lost it and Biden believed that he won the debate before it even began. Biden’s braggadocio and Obama’s disdain both came out of their own exaggerated senses of self-worth that made them feel that they were too good for the forum and too good for their opponents.

Biden and Obama may not have race, religion or age in common, but they both share a common narcissism that leads them to believe that their innate specialness transcends competence and that their rhetorical gifts can overcome their laziness and lack of preparation. Neither man bothered to hide their belief that their opponents are inferior to them in every possible way.

Strip away the years and races, the experience and the capped teeth, and you have two petty egotistical men who believe that they are destined for greater things than whatever thing they happen to be doing at the moment, even if what they happen to be doing at the moment is occupying the two highest offices in the land.

Their thin skins and fake smiles go together, along with their contempt for each other and the whole world. They are men who live oblivious to other men, who occupy a current of their own imagining, who are always certain that life has not rewarded them sufficiently for all that they have done, even though they have done nothing. They are men of ambition, but not talent. Their only gift is one of imagining themselves in greater and greater positions and the accompanying talent of convincing others that their imaginary abilities should be rewarded with real positions.

They are glib, but not smart men. They have a facility for speaking off-the-cuff, but that facility betrays them as often as it rewards them. Like actors they love the sounds of their own voices so much that they never notice when their own song becomes a siren call dooming them to the crash of their own stupidity.

They can tell stories, but they are always the stars of their own stories, the “I’s” of the legends that they build around themselves, the gods who stride from their own temples, the heroes who come to their own rescue and then marry themselves and cheer themselves on.

Both men have come out of political machines where rhetoric was more important than competence. Political machines disguise their mechanisms of corruption with high-flow rhetoric and tribal appeals that convince their audiences that while may be thieves, they are ‘their’ thieves who steal on behalf of their race, their community and their group.

Biden and Obama both excel at the rhetoric of grievance. They summon up displays of fake anger to disguise their own corruption and incompetence, striving to convince slices of the electorate that they are fighting for them, because they know that they have no hope of convincing them that they are competent managers.

Obama is the new face of the Democratic Party, the perfect public face of its coalition between the government upper class and their minority voters, while Biden is the face of the old Democratic Party, the one that played on the working class Irish, Italian and Jewish vote in urban centers on behalf of the social planners of the New Deal and the New Frontier.

The Democratic Party is losing its grip on the Reagan Democrats, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the growing conservatism of small business is leaving less and less room for the kind of barstool campaigns that Joseph Robinette Biden was once good for.

The 2012 election is the last hurrah of the Biden class, those grinning senseless storytellers and glib millionaires with hard-luck tales and rolled up sleeves pretending to be working class, shaking hands with union steelworkers, mill workers, factory workers, telling them, “Oh boy that’s tough, but lemme tell you about the time my wife almost caught me with Cindy. Don’t worry the Democrats have your back. Stick with us and we’ll take care of you.”

Those voters are vanishing, falling through the cracks of EPA fascism and globalized outsourcing. If Obama wins another term, there may still be room for a few thousand of them to put together solar panels and windmills from China, but even those jobs will go to the new face of America. To Somali refugees and Mexican immigrants, and those workers will not need Biden to stand outside their bar and shake their hands. Some of them won’t have bars and most of them won’t care about anything but the benefits package they get through their local cultural center.

That’s the new face of America that Obama represents. It’s the same old story of the urban political machine which caters to the revolving door of new immigrants, stocking up front men who speak their language and know all their customs, only to give those front men the boot when the demographics of the alleys of Slumville and Immigrant’s Row change.

Tammany Hall’s leadership went from English to Irish to Italian, Jewish and Black in some 170 years. The process has since accelerated and Joe Biden with his fake working class mannerisms and outdated jokes doing his best to be everyone’s fun crazy uncle is almost done.

Biden’s currency, like Obama’s currency, was his identity. Not a real identity, but an artificial identity. Crazy Uncle Joe is as authentically working class as Barry Hussein is an African-American. Neither of them was chosen for anything but their ability to mimic the identities of others in order to project a lower class sensibility that they have no part of.

Debating Ryan was Biden’s last hurrah, it was the thunder of a dinosaur crashing through the trees, snapping his teeth and roaring at the sky, without understanding that the big fire above is a meteor coming down on top of him. The world in which Biden might have aimed at the top job is long gone. Biden’s function today is to snap his teeth, to roar and remind the youngsters that old time political crooks didn’t need to call themselves community organizers or bolster their credentials with fake teaching gigs. All they needed was a barstool and a great deal of nerve.

Biden has ushered in that new world, and yet he has no apprehension of it. Joseph Robinette Biden imagines that the future still belongs to him and that he can keep hold of it so long as the hair plugs keep hold of his skull. And while he may be an object of fun back at the White House, his boss should carefully consider his fate as an object lesson.

The only thing really separating Obama from Biden is a generational shift and the shift is driven by the political agenda of the left. It is not too difficult, although quite horrifying, to imagine an America in the year 2037 where Barack Hussein is as much of an anachronism as Crazy Joe. The Democratic Party has reinvented itself numerous times and the stresses that it imposes on the country come out of the left’s program.

The smirking fake working class pol was not the endpoint of the Democratic Party, though in his own time the creature seemed every bit as radical as a man with Muslim roots in the White House. There is no reason to think that Barack with his Third Culture image and his fake veneer of culture is going to be the endpoint either. If the left has taught us anything, it is that its narrative of cultural destruction is always able to conceive of more and more horrifying worlds than anything we might behold today.

Obama has already gotten his, and so has Biden, though the corrupt Senator still fantasizes about a White House he cannot have. The difference between political ambition and political success is often timing and luck. As a child, Obama used to tell his classmates that he was an Indonesian prince. That position wasn’t open to him, but he lucked into a political career that coincided with a wave of Muslim terrorism and an accompanying wave of appeasement by his party.

Had that not happened, it’s quite possible that Obama’s exotic bio would have meant nothing and he would be sitting in the Illinois Senate watching Cory Booker making his acceptance speech in the race to unseat President McCain. And conversely, had the Democratic Party not swung so far to the left and stayed focused on the American working class instead of an artificially imported diversity overseen by a college educated upper class. Had it embraced tariffs and protected American manufacturing, then the country might be a very different place and President Joe Biden might be inveighing against Republican elitism while boasting of showing Chinese products the door.

But these worlds are not places that narcissists like Obama or Biden, who believe in their own specialness, rather than the random chance of world events and the influence of ideological movements, can visit or appreciate.

Obama and Biden see themselves as men of destiny, when they’re actually front men for a massive scam that has been going on long before their grandparents got out of diapers. The scam has evolved and become more sophisticated, and that growing sophistication is why Biden is only useful to the scam as a scarecrow shouting at Ryan about anything and everything, while Obama is useful as the healer who will reassure the country of its new moral stature.

But though they play different roles, that does not make them different men. It is the accidents and plans of the machine that made them fit only for these different roles, that left Biden no choice but to play the loud buffoon, while Barack got the star part of the new JFK.

Barry and Joe are the same man because the machine they serve is the same machine and though they imagine that they rule the machine, it is the machine that chose them, it is the machine that uses them and it is the machine that will throw them away when it is done.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Training in Lebanon-Like Terrain

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

These are future IDF commanders practice infantry maneuvers in thickets that resemble those found in Lebanon – lots of trees, plants and shrubbery.

We took this image from the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, which also wrote the above inscription.

I shudder at the talk of war. I hate war. I’m not trying to sound liberal or enlightened. I hate war viscerally. I was 12 during the ’67 war and didn’t like it, despite all the miracles. I remember my dad’s ashen face during the three weeks before that miraculous victory. He had seen war. He knew war could come at you and everything you thought would be there forever is suddenly a small heap of rubble. My dad taught me to hate war.

Both my dad and I also recognized that at some point you must fight. We were not pacifists. We just hated war.

I was a soldier in a terrible war, in ’73. It was even more hateful than the one before.

I hated every single war we’ve had to endure.

In the poll we ran over bombing Iran, I checked the option “Avoid attacking at all costs.”

Only 73 out of a total of 1,016 voters sided with me. And 31 chose “Do nothing.”

Seeing this image of sweet Israeli boys preparing to do war in a Lebanese terrain frightens me. I could recite as well as anyone else the sound reasons that exist to send them into yet another war. I only pray we won’t.

Avoid attacking at all costs. I suppose what I really mean is “Avoid attacking for as long as absolutely possible.” Obviously, I don’t mean we should take it on the chin if our somewhat unstable neighbors to the north decide to go nuts on us.

But I can’t bear the thought of yet another war. I’m not ready.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/training-in-lebanon-like-terrain/2012/10/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: