Pro­duc­ing con­tent on the Web since 1995.


some say­ings of ר‘משבצונה“ל

For many years I have worked hard, and strug­gled with mas­ter­ing virtuous. Now, in addi­tion, I’m work­ing on becom­ing more virtual.
This is an expres­sion of that effort.
* * * * * * *

השיבנו ה‘ אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו
כעוד לא היו
* * * * * * *
ומביא גאלה…
לצאצאיהם

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All pho­tographs are by Mark Hurvitz unless they are obvi­ously not (or credit oth­er­wise is given).

The pho­tos in the ban­ner at the top (only a shal­low sliver of a much larger photo) are either from our home or our trav­els and are offered for their beauty alone (though a brain-teaser for me: “Where was that?”).

…the real thing?

can you speak for 3 min­utes on any subject?

Early in our stud­ies at rab­binic school, one of our classes intended to make us bet­ter pub­lic speak­ers. Our instruc­tor was Hol­ly­wood actor Stan­ley Wax­man. He would often assign us the task of speak­ing extem­po­ra­ne­ously for three min­utes on any sub­ject he would present (usu­ally offer­ing one word). This par­tic­u­lar morn­ing in the autumn of 1973 he called on a class­mate and sug­gested the word Torah. Our class­mate, who had a sense of humor the size of his stature, of over six feet, stepped to the front of the class and said (I para­phrase all but the first three words):

Tora! Tora! Tora! is the name of a movie I saw recently.

We all thought he was incred­i­bly funny, but Stan­ley (עליו השלום) was not impressed.

التوراة 虎 torah

This story came to mind recently as I con­tin­ued to fol­low the Twit­ter feed for #Torah.
I saw numer­ous mes­sages in Ara­bic script men­tion­ing #Torah and #Mubarak. I did not think they had much to do with תורה.

some find torah lib­er­at­ing… oth­ers find it confining

I checked the loca­tion of the Tweet­ers. They were from Egypt, so I searched for Torah and Mubarak and found…

Mubarak’s Sons in Torah Prison

And Google Maps shows (though the Eng­lish spelling shifts a bit now and then):

Torah Mahk­oum Prison

Torah Mahkoum Prison

Torah Mahk­oum Prison
the Nile is on the left
the entrance appears to be at the inter­sec­tion of
Police Man Insti­tute & Masr Hel­wan Agri­cul­tural Street

Torah Mahk­oum prison is one of the places used by Min­istry of Inte­rior to uphold detainees “await­ing” sen­tence. They keep get­ting re-referred to pros­e­cu­tor every 15 days who either extends their deten­tion or release them. Such wait­ing period and exten­sions could be legally extended to a max­i­mum of six month. For this rea­son it is usu­ally used to pun­ish and deterr [sic] polit­i­cal pris­on­ers who can spend up to six months in this place with crim­i­nal pris­on­ers and/or under inhu­mane con­di­tions with­out solid charges or court sentence.

This is the con­fin­ing lim­it­ing space of التوراة on the nar­row con­stricted green strip that is Egypt.

tyger tyger

What of our class­mates “tora”?

To para­phrase William Blake:

Through what dis­tant deeps or skies,
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dared they aspire?

As they came upon Pearl Har­bor dur­ing the night of Decem­ber 6–7, 1941, the Japan­ese pilots reput­edly called out 虎 虎 虎 (which is pho­net­i­cally “tora tora tora”) and means “Tiger, tiger, tiger” indi­cat­ing that com­plete sur­prise had been achieved. You could say that the Japan­ese came upon the US naval fleet as fly­ing tigers, iron­i­cally the name of an Amer­i­can Vol­un­teer Group of the Chi­nese Air Force at the time.

One of my con­tacts in Japan checked with some Japan­ese lin­guis­tic pros about the phonol­ogy of “tora 虎 トラ”, because it did not sound par­tic­u­larly Japan­ese in ori­gin. They did not know the word’s ori­gin. My friend sug­gested that:

It is an Indone­sian loan word that came in with the orig­i­nal south­ern strain of Japan­ese DNA many years ago which the Japan­ese don’t like to talk too much about because of the sup­posed purity of their blood line. Tora, me thinks is Indone­sian, orig­i­nally. Proof below, maybe:

how bright is torah?

The sun­light reflect­ing off moun­tains of snow can often be blind­ingly bright. And the smile of the young woman who car­ries the name because her par­ents under­stand it to mean “bearer of great mes­sage” matches that bril­liance. She was brought to my atten­tion by Efraim Fein­stein on Twit­ter @efraimdf, a bio­physics post­doc, coder, and self-professed liturgy geek who, when he learned about our inter­est in “Tweet­ing #Torah to the Top” tweeted:

Answer: #Torah trended on twit­ter in Feb 2010 when @torahbright won the gold for wom­ens half­pipe at the Win­ter Olympics @JewishPub

bright Torah Bright

Torah Bright of Aus­tralia flashes her trade­mark smile at the U.S. Snow­board­ing Grand Prix Ladies Qual­i­fier in the Main Vein Half­pipe back in Decem­ber at Cop­per Moun­tain, Col­orado. Pho­to­graph by: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images, Can­west Olympic Team; Can­west News Service

will the real torah please stand up?

When we raise the light of Torah up and cause #Torah to trend begin­ning at 7:42 in the evening of the 6th of June, 2011 (5th of Sivan, 5771), how will we know which of these var­i­ous “torahs” is “the real thing”?

In these words by Rabbi Rami Shapiro

In each age
we receive and trans­mit
Torah.

At each moment we are addressed by the World.

In each age we are chal­lenged by our ancient teaching.

At each moment we stand face to face with Truth.

In each age we add our wis­dom to that which has gone before.

At each moment the know­ing heart
is filled with wonder.

In each age
the chil­dren of Torah
become its builders
and seek to set the world firm
on a foun­da­tion of Truth.

Each moment “we are addressed by the World” is a moment of rev­e­la­tion. Please join us as, around the world, peo­ple of all faiths tweet their thoughts on Torah, shar­ing the wis­dom and knowl­edge that has been revealed to each of us.

this project has been men­tioned in var­i­ous places on the Web

And a spe­cial tool devel­oped by the Jew­ish Pub­li­ca­tion Soci­ety enables any­one to break a Torah text into Tweet­able sized chunks:

…the real thing

the real thing

Torah …the real thing

I have begun wear­ing this but­ton. I received it many years ago when liv­ing in Los Ange­les. I do not know the who made it, or for what pur­pose. I have a sim­i­lar but­ton with an old (no longer active) Los Ange­les phone num­ber. I thought I knew who had pro­duced it, but it has no iden­ti­fy­ing text.

Date: late 1960s or early 1970s
Size: 5.6
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid
Text Learn
Torah
Trade Mark Reg
“It’s the real thing”

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jacket you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­ally attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate museum. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

2 comments to …the real thing?

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