Showing posts from May, 2013

Everything looks like a nail when you're a hammer

Everything looks like a nail when you're a hammer is the reaction I had to  It's Not About The Nail
making the rounds on social media. I notice that most of the people sharing appear to be males, as they find it perfectly expresses their frustration of wishing to solve an easily solvable problem when their female significant others prefer to talk in nebulous terms about the effects of the problem and turn aside any suggestions for a solution.
What the video doesn't get that in real life, most problems are not nails that can easily be removed with no problem. In fact, many difficulties have no simple solutions at all and require an approach to deal with that. And trying to reduce everything to a situation that will be solved as easily as removing a nail is not going to help when empathy will.Yes, I do get it. And I'm sure it appeals to the "Men are from Mars/ Women from Venus" fans who like everything put into simple terms of gender division. Seehttp://www.psy…

The mezuzah app

Further proof that smarter phones lead to ... well, people who feel they don't need to actually learn stuff for themselves. And now, we bring you a mezuzah app: First off, I'm sure they mean well, and they really deserve credit for stressing a kosher mezuzah. So many people think "it's the thought that counts" rather than the klaf.  I wonder if they also point out that the concept that you can live in your permanent home for 30 days before affixing the mezuzah is a distortion of the halachic definitions.

However, really, how complicated is all this? You just have to know to:
 1) buy a kosher mezuah
2) pick out a cover that fits it and appeals to your taste
3) hang it up on the right side of the doorpost  in the bottom of the top third at a slight angle toward the room entered by the door. You really don't need a measuring tape or a level or even a protractor to figure this out…

Recipes posted

Easy dairy dishes, including a crustless cheesecake that's perfect for Shavuout are now up at

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The physical and metaphyical

Recently, I commented on a misinterpretation of the saying of Chazal recorded on p. 31 of Tractate Niddah  isha mazria techila yoledes zachar. The conception of a boy is attributed to the female in this case. While some like to point to this as "proof" that Chazal were ch"v wrong about biological function, in truth Chazal's understanding of conception encompasses the biological and the metaphyscial.

See p. 23 of Eyt Dodim the paperbound supplement to Rav Elyashiv Knohl's Ish V'Isha reviewed here. The gist of it is that the mazria does not refer to ovulation, but to the si-- to use the Hebrew term. (Hamevin yavin, as we say.)  As it says in other parts of the same page of that Talmud, this is offered as advice to men who wish to have sons.  Rabbi Knohl explains, Chazal were not offering this as a biological  fact but as a "amira musarit" for the man who would be concerned about his wife and not just himself  will merit that the Holy One Blessed be …

The essence versus the details

I was struck by this thought this morning when I read some comments about organizations that confuse their mission statement with various values or goals. A mission statement is meant to be a short, definitive statement, not a bucket list. And that reminded me of what Hillel said is our mission statement.

I do try to avoid repeating myself, but since the last post I wrote about this topic appeared over a year ago, I will repeat here:

All you need is ... All you need is love, and maybe not even that I got the link to this in my Twitter feed:
John Lennon’s hierarchy of needs is so much simpler than Maslow’s. No wonder Lennon was so popular.
Practically speaking, of course you can't live on love alone. But from the point of view of simplicity and focus, there actually is something to reducing all to one guiding principle. That is exactly what Hillel did in response to the person who demanded that he teach him all of Torah while the listener stood on one foot. Hillel's answer (whi…