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?”).

#blogexodus : future (tweet #torah at sinai)

aim­ing toward the future

How do I long for Your pres­ence? Let me count the days:

הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוֻמָּן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר.

Hin’ni muchan um’zuman l’kayem mitz­vat aseh shal s’firat ha’Omer.

I am ready to move from free­dom to respon­si­bil­ity, as I count the Omer days.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר.

Baruch atah Adonai, Elo­heinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid­dis­hanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu al S’firat Ha-omer.

Blessed are You Adonai our God, Sov­er­eign of all space and time, who has made us dis­tinct through Your direc­tives and has directed us to count the Omer.

הַיּוֹם יוֹם שֶׁהֵם שָׁבוּעוֹת וְ יָמִים לָעֹמֶר.

Hayom yom she­heim shavuot v’ yamim la’Omer.

Today is the day which is weeks and days of the Omer.

פסח points to שבעות

Con­sider Pesach and the Seder as point­ers to Shavuot, the time when we receive the 10 Com­mand­ments at the foot of Mount Sinai. We begin count­ing the Omer at Pesach.

Many Omer cal­en­dars exist. Imag­ine a dif­fer­ent one here. It fol­lows the color wheel. Begin count­ing in the upper right cor­ner on the first day of Sefi­rah with the “bright red of rebel­lion” and end forty-nine days later at the “bril­liant vio­let of roy­alty” ready to receive Torah. Each day of Sefi­rah focus on that color (and its qual­i­ties) as it appears in our world.

"roygbiv" omer calendar

royg­biv” omer calendar

and if it is a pointer…

tweet #torah to the top

Once again I pre­pare to count the Omer online. Once again, I expect that some of my friends will also be count­ing the Omer on Twit­ter and Face­book. I enjoy see­ing this count­ing and all the dif­fer­ent ways we do it. Last year I felt momen­tum build as we neared the moment of Revelation.

what

In 2009 Recon­struc­tion­ist Rabbi Shai Gluskin orga­nized an attempt to bring Torah to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble on the evening of Shavuot, using Twit­ter. As he expressed it then (on Twitter):

Are you in? A 49th day of omer prep for Shavuot #Torah fest. Goal: get many tweet­ing Torah and see #Torah trend in top 10 dur­ing the day.

Some peo­ple won­der why we might do this. Did not Hil­lel say that among our pri­mary tasks is (Avot 1:12) lov­ing mankind (all of human­ity), and bring­ing them (all) close to Torah. אוהב את הברייות ומקרבן לתורה?

That year (5769) we were able to Tweet #Torah to the mid-30s among trend­ing top­ics. I do not know how “high” we reached in 5770 or 5771. I pro­pose we give it our best again this year.

when

The “day” of May 25 2012 is “erev” Erev Shavuot. I sug­gest that we pre­pare as many 133 char­ac­ter Torah lessons as we can to “release” on that day. If you have been shar­ing #Torah Tweets through the year… Torah does not go bad or stale. You should feel free to “recy­cle” those thoughts. I would like to begin tweet­ing at sun­down Jerusalem time on the 25th. Does any­one know how to cal­cu­late that?

why

I think this is a great way to encour­age aware­ness of Torah. I’m sure we each have many sim­ple “Torah thoughts” that can be expressed in 133 char­ac­ters. (Don’t for­get to leave room for the final space and #Torah, that’s 7 more char­ac­ters.) If you think that 133 char­ac­ters is not enough for a pro­found thought from Torah, con­sider that the fol­low­ing sen­tence is only 102 char­ac­ters (also from “Hil­lel the Tweeter”):

If I am not for myself, who will be for me. if I am for myself alone, what am I. And if not now, when?

how

Or con­sider these:

  • #Torah is not in heaven, that you should say: Who shall go up for us to heaven, & bring it to us, & make us to hear it, that we may do it?
  • Nei­ther is #Torah beyond the sea, that you might say: Who shall go over the sea, & bring it to us, & make us hear it, that we may do it?
  • But #Torah is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.

I’m sure that some of us still have Joseph L. Baron’s A Trea­sury of Jew­ish Quotations which can serve as a lit­tle gold­mine of tweet­able thoughts.

who

I sug­gest we each pre­pare a num­ber of “tweets” in advance. Set up a text file and then sim­ply copy, and paste them into our pre­ferred Twit­ter tool about once or so an hour (depend­ing on your “capa­bil­i­ties” (sched­ule, etc.)). For those who use Twit­ter with your con­gre­ga­tions, your con­gre­gants, too, can join in… either with their own thoughts, or ques­tions about #Torah, or re-tweeting yours. Let’s get every­one involved in think­ing Torah as a lead-in to Shavuot.

If you expect to be busy on May 25, you can use any of a vari­ety of *free* tools that have been devel­oped that enable you to pre­pare your tweets in advance:

You can learn about more sim­i­lar tools here (they may, or may not, still be functioning):

If any of you are active on other list­servs you think might be inter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing, please spread the word.

Some addi­tional thoughts about this project. In 2011 JPS offered a tool to “shred” the book of Ruth. We may be able to do some­thing sim­i­lar this year. This enabled peo­ple to eas­ily share tiny bits of the actual text of TaNaKh with lit­tle effort.

But, Twit­ter has lim­i­ta­tions on how fre­quently any one indi­vid­ual (account) can tweet. There­fore, and for gen­eral “encour­ag­ing broad par­tic­i­pa­tion” rea­sons, it would be good to have as many peo­ple tweet­ing as possible.

  • I don’t know at what age peo­ple get their accounts, but, Bar and Bat Mitz­vah stu­dents could be encour­aged to tweet a thought or two about their Torah Portion.
  • Con­fir­ma­tion stu­dents could be encour­aged to tweet a thought or two about the Ten Com­mand­ments (as well as, the Torah por­tion from their Bar or Bat Mitz­vah). They might also con­sider what it means to be “com­manded” or to “receive Torah”.
  • Any adult edu­ca­tion class could tweet their favorite Psalm, Prophetic thought, Rab­binic maxim.
  • Any­one can tweet a thought about: what it means to be com­manded; what “rev­e­la­tion” means in a world of infor­ma­tion overload.
  • In 2010 David Levy of Suc­ca­sunna pre­pared a tweet for each of the Parsh­iot. I know that some of us write haiku, oth­ers write lim­er­icks. These short forms often fit quite well as tweets.
  • If you have ser­mons that are online, shorten the URL using a ser­vice such as <is.gd> and add that short URL to a phrase that describes the sermon’s theme.

you get the idea….

After Shavuot 5771, one of the par­tic­i­pants wrote (on that year’s Face­book event page):

What an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence for me! Although we never quite reached the “top”- I was moved by the learn­ing, the com­mu­nity and the incred­i­ble oppor­tu­nity to learn from my friends and col­leagues! Thank you for cre­at­ing this chance to stand at the foot of a vir­tual Sinai and count me in for next year’s program!

Oth­ers wanted to know how “high” we climbed…

The big ques­tion some asked:

How far did we get to the top of the trend­ing list?

is a bit harder to answer, than:

  • Did you learn something?
  • Did you meet some­one new?
  • Did some­one else’s #Torah tweet cause you to think in a way you had not thought before?
  • Did your under­stand­ing of #Torah grow?
  • Did you feel a bit more a part of the rev­e­la­tion we cel­e­brate at Shavuot?

Please help us broaden the par­tic­i­pa­tion as much as pos­si­ble. I think you and your con­gre­gants will gain from the expe­ri­ence. If you feel so moved, let us know on the Face­book event page for this year that you plan on attend­ing. Check the side­bar on the right “Prepar­ing for שבעות” for more thoughts on this project.

how will you move from cel­e­brat­ing our free­dom to accept­ing our responsibilities?

what is “#blogexodus”?

This is the last post in the series “#blo­gex­o­dus”. My friend and col­league Phyl­lis Som­mers has thought of yet a new cre­ative way to pre­pare for Pesach. You can learn more here.

#blogexodus schedule

blog­ging the exodus

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