I am my &♥‘s and my &♥ is mine אלול

welcome to אלול

As we begin Elul, the month before Rosh haShan­nah, prepa­ra­tions for the new year start.

blowing shofar

blow­ing sho­far

The Hebrew word אלול is con­sid­ered an acronym for the phrase from the Song of Songs: 6:3a…

אני לדודי ודודי לי = I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.

The phrase is meant to sug­gest a lov­ing rela­tion­ship between the Cre­ator and the Jew­ish peo­ple, or at this time of year a much more per­son­al rela­tion­ship between God and each indi­vid­ual who is ready to re-eval­u­ate hirs actions as the world begins to con­strict (at least in the north­ern hemi­sphere). [“hirs” is my own con­trac­tion or com­bi­na­tion of “his” and “hers”]

preparing to turn

Mak­ing the changes nec­es­sary to put our lives back on course is not an easy task. To bor­row a metaphor from the auto­mo­bile indus­try (after all, we are autonomous­ly mobile), it is hard to stop on a dime and turn. We need to get into the appro­pri­ate lane as we approach the inter­sec­tion and alert oth­ers that we’re mak­ing the turn.
I have pro­duced a good deal of mate­r­i­al to help us work through these tasks. They are in the “archives” of the Web 1.0 ver­sion of davka.org. I’ll be bring­ing them for­ward, as well as pre­sent­ing some new mate­r­i­al, a bit at a time.
But, as we pre­pare, a lit­tle lev­i­ty:

…so, get ready.

for our own transgressions

On August 13, I wrote about the mul­ti­ple trans­gres­sions of oth­ers. The time has come to focus on our own trans­gres­sions.

…from the archives (with minor updating)

for the sins of… tashlich תשליך toss

[The wordsin” is not a good trans­la­tion of the Hebrew word חטא chet. Bet­ter is a phrase: “miss the mark” as in when you take aim at a tar­get with a bow and arrow, but miss. You have not done some­thing, that trans­forms your essence, for which you need for­give­ness. No, you col­lect the arrows that did not hit the tar­get, gath­er them up in your quiver and take bet­ter aim the next time.]

The ori­gin of the cus­tom of toss­ing bread crumbs to sym­bol­ize the errors in our behav­ior is shroud­ed in mys­tery. The cus­tom of toss­ing some­thing comes from the Prophet Micha.

Micha 7:19:
He will turn again, he will have com­pas­sion upon us; he will sub­due our iniq­ui­ties; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

ישוב ירחמנו יכבש עונתינו ותשליך במצלות ים כל–חטאותם

The ori­gin may be shroud­ed in mys­tery, but, nat­u­ral­ist that I am… I think it comes from a few rather pro­sa­ic aspects of our lives.

  • You’ll notice that even after you show­er and wash your­self thor­ough­ly you still have lint in your pupik.
  • Even after you send your slacks to the clean­er, when you look in the pock­ets and turn them inside out, you’ll still find lint.
  • Before the days of dry clean­ers and “lunch box­es”, work­ers would take their lunch­es (often a chunk of bread) to work wrapped (if they were wealthy enough to have it) in paper. Crumbs would col­lect in their pock­ets. A thor­ough method of clean­ing would be to turn those pock­ets inside out… and crumbs would fall out.

And so, when we are ready to thor­ough­ly clean our lives of all the crumbs that have accu­mu­lat­ed over the year… we turn our pock­ets inside out. Lo and behold, they are filled with bread crumbs!

B’Shem Omro… The list of breads for tash­lich was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed to Ravnet (the online dis­cus­sion group of the Con­ser­v­a­tive rab­bis) and is the brain­child of Rab­bi Richard Israel. A page on the Web (main­tained by Daniel Brick­lin) has an expla­na­tion of R. Israel’s orig­i­nal thoughts on the mat­ter. Rab­bi Israel died in 2000. You can read trib­utes to his mem­o­ry. Rab­bi Israel’s idea has entered the folk lit­er­a­ture of our peo­ple. On R. Israel’s page there are 56 vari­eties of Tash­lich. Since then, I’ve col­lect­ed all that I received over the inter­ven­ing years and “alpha­bet­ized” them (by form of “bread”), amount­ing to a total of 96. (If you know of more please send them to me for inclu­sion here, or add them to the com­ments sec­tion.) Rab­bi Israel’s orig­i­nal 56 are in bold.
If I learn that an item was cre­at­ed by some­one in par­tic­u­lar, I’ll add that source in [square brack­ets].

For try­ing to improve every­one with­in sight — Angel Food Cake
For the sins of the right­eous — Angel Food Cake
For sins of lazi­ness — Any Very Long Loaf
For being holi­er than thou — Bagels
For hav­ing a hole where your heart should be — Bagels
For cheat­ing — Baked Goods with Nutrasweet and Olestra
For recur­ring slip ups — Banana Bread
For polit­i­cal skull­dug­gery — Bis­mar­cks
For taste­less­ness — Bisquick
For sins of big­otry — Black and white
For sins of syco­phancy — Brown­ies
For com­mit­ting auto theft — Car­away
For the sin of car­ry­ing some­thing too far — Car­away rolls
For unfair­ly upbraid­ing anoth­er — Chal­lah
For inde­cent pho­tog­ra­phy — Cheese Cake
For depen­dence on stim­u­lants — Cof­fee cake [Ed Schein­er­man]
For telling bad jokes — Corn Bread
For racism — Crack­ers
For act­ing like a mad per­son — Crack­ers
For bad tem­per — Crusty bread
For the sin of roman­tic mis­judg­ment — Date-nut bread
For sell­ing your soul — Dev­ils Food Cake
For usury — Dough
For trash­ing the envi­ron­ment — Dumplings
For being mon­ey hun­gry — Enriched Bread or Raw Dough
For davven­ing off tune — Flat Bread
For gam­bling — For­tune Cook­ies
For exot­ic sins — French or Ital­ian bread
For sins of chutz­pah — Fresh Bread
For telling small lies — Fudge
For being snap­pish — Gin­ger Bread
For abra­sive­ness — Grits
For risk­ing one’s life unnec­es­sar­i­ly — Hero Bread
For being up-tight and irri­ta­ble — High Fiber or Bran Muffins
For the sin of turn­ing away strangers — host(less) cup­cakes
For promis­cu­ity — Hot Buns
For the sin of anger — Hot Cross Buns
For exces­sive sharp­ness — Hot Pep­per Bread
For the sin of being a men­ace — Hun-ny Cake
For hard­en­ing our hearts — Jel­ly dough­nuts
For war-mon­ger­ing — Kaiser Rolls
For insen­si­tiv­i­ty to pover­ty — Let them throw cake [Ed Schein­er­man]
For the sin of foment­ing chaos — Man­del­brot [Ed Schein­er­man]
For inde­ci­sion — Mar­ble Loaf
For sins com­mit­ted in haste — Matzah
For timid­i­ty — Milk Toast
For com­plex sins — Mul­ti-grain
For high-hand­ed­ness — Napoleons
For silli­ness — Nut bread
For being hyper-crit­i­cal — Pan Cakes
For annoy­ing oth­ers — Pesto Bread
For the sin of rab­bis who phi­los­o­phize exces­sive­ly — phi­lo dough [Ed Schein­er­man]
For the sin of cru­el­ty to ani­mals — Pita (PETA) bread [Ed Schein­er­man]
For drop­ping in with­out call­ing before­hand — Popovers
For sub­stance abuse/heavy drugs — Pop­py Seed Cake
For wear­ing immod­est blous­es — Pop Tarts [Eric Ruben­stein]
For glut­tony — Pound Cake
For tru­ly warped sins — Pret­zels
For twist­ed sins — Pret­zels
For sins of pride — Puff Pas­try
For par­tic­u­lar­ly dark sins — Pumper­nick­el
For impetu­os­i­ty — Quick Bread
For rear­ing chil­dren incom­pe­tent­ly — Raisin Bread
For the sin of raisin’ hell — Raisin bread
For the sin of mis­placed lev­i­ty — Reduced calo­rie bread
For taste­less sins — Rice Cakes
For fraud­u­lent behav­ior — Rice cakes
For sophis­ti­cat­ed racism — Ritz Crack­ers
For act­ing up — Rolls [Ed Schein­er­man]
For flaunt­ing wealth in the form of fan­cy cars — Rolls
For speed lim­it vio­la­tions — Russ­ian bread
For exces­sive use of irony — Rye Bread
For adding to injuries — Salt Ris­ing Bread
For sins com­mit­ted in less than eigh­teen min­utes — Shmu­rah Matzah
For not giv­ing full val­ue — Short­bread
For rab­bis whose ser­mons are too long — Shortn’n bread
For the sin of sin­ning — ‘Sin’ammon bread
For cut­ting remarks — Sliced bread
For being ill tem­pered — Sour­dough
For being sulky — Sour­dough
For lar­ce­ny (espe­cial­ly of copy­right mate­r­i­al) — Stollen
For inhal­ing — Stoned Wheat
For sub­stance abuse/marijuana — Stoned Wheat
For over-eat­ing — Stuff­ing Bread or Bulkie Rolls
For wear­ing taste­less hats — Tam Tams
For immod­est behav­ior — Tarts
For com­mit­ting arson — Toast
For caus­ing injury or dam­age to oth­ers — Tortes
For fail­ing to do t’shuvah — Turnovers [Ed Schein­er­man]
For snob­bery — Upper Crusts
For sins of inde­ci­sion — Waf­fles
For ordi­nary sins — White Bread
For lust in your heart — Won­der Bread
For provoca­tive dress­ing — Won­ton Wrap­pers
For jin­go­ism — Yan­kee Doo­dles
For polit­i­cal chau­vin­ism -Yan­kee Doo­dles

Pre­vi­ous update: Sep­tem­ber 13, 2006


the shofar

Many of us blow sho­far each day of Elul to “wake us up” to the tasks ahead. When we lived in Poway I would take a sho­far out to the back porch and blow it. Its sound car­ried far through the val­ley. One year I noticed a sim­i­lar sound com­ing from what must have been a neigh­bor about 100 yards away.

Even if the sound of the sho­far is not avail­able, its image is often used to “call our atten­tion” to the task at hand. And so it has been used on lapel but­tons dur­ing the move­ment to free Sovi­et Jew­ry.

I Am My Brother's Keeper

I Am My Brother’s Keep­er (a Hebrew vari­ant exists)

Date: ca. late 1960s
Size: 2.3
Pin Form: straight
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text I AM MY BROTHER’S KEEPER
CCSA

I do not know what CCSA stands for. If you do, please con­tact me.

tinyshofar

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