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Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Problematic Poster Puzzle

Couldn't find the picture I wanted for this post... been looking since Succos... but I'll do the writing anyway. So just picture a classic succah-poster of the Bais Hamikdash, ok?

Something always bothered me about those posters. I couldn't figure out what it was or why, but there was something wrong. Even the most beautifully illustrated pictures of the Bais Hamikdash never appealed to me.

Finally, while musing about the geula and the Bais Hamikdash one day, it dawned on me.
All the pictures show a building. A very beautiful building.
The Bais Hamikdash is not a building. And you're not allowed to look at it to enjoy its beauty.
The true beauty of the Bais Hamikdash is when it is filled with our prayers and service of HaShem.
Visualize in your mind the Bais Hamikdash rebuilt. Or in the past, before it was destroyed.
Picture the courtyard filled with Cohanim rushing about in perfect order to perform their duties.
Hear the Levites on the steps playing their music.
Smell the ketores and watch it rise in a straight pillar from the kodesh.
See the throngs of Bnei Yisrael coming towards the grand gates, leading animals for sacrifices, bearing gifts and tithes for the Cohanim. Hear them on the roads, trading wares, greeting friends they haven't seen since the last holiday, exchanging news, tending children.
Feel the excitement of coming close to HaShem, of doing the mitzvot of the Bais Hamikdash the way they are meant to be done.
Now where is all that in the posters?
I want to draw the Bais Hamikdash in all its glory -- the glory of its fullness, of the population filling it, of the activity all about it. Of Life.
The problem is, I'm not going to do it wrong. And I lack the knowledge to do it quite right.
Never mind the time!
So for now, I'll just continue to be disappointed until someone prints a livelier picture.
May we all merit to participate in the life of the Bais Hamikdash ASAP!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rock the boat!

There. "The System" has now been explained to you.

Now what are you going to do about it?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Day in the Early Life

Well, the personal glimpse didn't exactly garner a very enthusiastic response, but I'm doing another one anyway because I don't have another post cooking yet and I wouldn't want to abandon my li'l bloggy too long.
This one is from the history files, a short episode from my subbing experience in kindergarten.

My first lesson on the job was that in Bais Yaakov, at least in preschool, the fine line between English and Hebrew is never drawn. Now, I can communicate in Ivrit, but we are talking here about a completely different language. So, by the time I translated
"Mo-wuh, I need to go to the base-ha-kee-say."
it was already fairly obvious what the kid needed.
The kids were fairly innocent, a refreshing change from my usual clientele, and I didn't anticipate any discipline problems from these sweet little things who still believed that teachers are G-dlike. Little did I know...
There sure was a behavior problem in that class, and she was a real terror.

Every few minutes, during circle time, davening, free play, and even Shabbos party, I'd have a kid whining and tugging my sleeve:
"Morah, Ayala pinched me!"
"Ayala kicked me!"
"Morah, Ayala took my doll!"
"Ayala's not sitting nicely!"
By 10:00, I wondered what the kid was doing in a general ed classroom.
By 11, I wanted to send her home.
By 12, I vowed that if the teacher wasn't feeling better on Monday, I'd refuse to come if Ayala was going to be there.
The most disturbing part of it all was that I couldn't even identify the little perp. I mean, who'd think that 5-year-olds could be so sneaky?! As I began to pick up on the kids' names, I met an Atara and an Ayelet... but where was Ayala? I began to worry that she'd run away, but never fear -- within moments yet another little girl was on my knee, crying because Ayala had pulled her hair.
In exasperation, when her tears were dry, I said, "Now show me which girl did this to you!"
She turned her big, fearful eyes up to me and said,
"Oh no, Morah, we're not supposed to say loshon hara! Morah Rivky said that if we need to tell on someone, we should just say that...

I was floored.
Morah Rivky was back on Monday.
And now I teach middle school. :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Day in the Life...

Welcome to Miss Melech's class, where every person shines.

If you fail to see the humor here, then you are welcome to come take over for a day or three. By then you will probably be just desperate enough to appreciate it, while I will have recuperated enough to produce some more appealing literature.

The ~s indicate a fast-forward, usually past boring stuff.


Miss Melech: Gentlemen, recess is now over. Please sit down.
Sam: Oh yeah? Who asked you!
Nick: OK.
Miss Melech: Zack, you're our calendar monitor this week. You know what to do; go ahead.
MM: OK, what month is it now? It's not December anymore, it's...
Zack: mrthsndstkfl
MM: What?
Zack: more-need-sticky-this-tack-fall.
MM: Do you need some more fun-tak for that?
Zack: Yes.
MM: How do we ask? a full sentence would be nice.
Zack: Please?
Miss Melech: Last week we learned about Native Americans who live in the desert. Now we're going to learn about Native Americans from a different place: The Great Plains.
Sam: Oh yeah, teacher -- Who asked you?
MM: When I say plain, I don't mean an airplane. A plain is a type of place, the way deserts, forests, and oceans are different types of places. Both kinds of planes sound the same, but they're spelled differently.
Mark: My uncle went on a plane!
Sam: Well my father HAS a plane!
Mark: He goes on planes all the time!
Sam: It's the most expensive plane in the world!
Mark: Tomorrow I'm going to the airport to pick him up!
Sam: It costed a thousand -- no, ten thousand dollars!
MM: How interesting. Maybe we'll talk about airplanes a different day. Right now we're going to learn about a place called the plains.
Sam: Oh yeah, well who asked you?
MM: The book I just gave you has a lot of pictures of plains. Please open your book and take a look at them.
Sam: I don't have to. Books are stupid.
Nick: OK.
MM: Look at the pictures. What does a plain look like?
Joe: I know! I know!
MM: (Really? Oh, I mean--) Yes, Joe?
Joe: It's big and white and has lots of seats and seatbelts.
MM: OK, you're telling me about an airplane, right? Now please look at the pictures in this book. The place in the pictures is called a plain.
Joe: Oh.
Miss Melech: Nick, can you please open your book?
Nick: OK.
MM: Tell me what you see.
Nick: OK.
MM: (pause) Well, what do you see?
Nick: A picture.
MM: Tell me about the picture.
Nick: OK.
Mark: grrrrr
Miss Melech: Now we're going to read this story about the Plains Indians.
Nick: OK.
MM: Turn to the first page.
Nick: OK.
Mark: grrrrr
MM: Can you find the title of the book?
Nick: OK.
MM: Nick, please stop saying "OK" after everything I say.
Nick: OK.
Mark: ka-pow!
Miss Melech: Let's review. What kind of place is a plain?
blank stares
MM: What can you see on a plain?
blank stares
MM: OK, what can't you see on a plain?
blank stares
MM: Nick?
Nick: No trees!
MM: Very good! There are very few trees on a plain.
Joe: I get it!
MM: (beams) What is it, Joe?
Joe: An airplane also doesn't have trees! That's why it's called a plane!
MM: speechless