Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In which I grumble, for a change

RenReb amazes me, and not just because she has her very own store. No, I read RenReb's blog, and find myself in despair because she is able to say things like this without getting crucified:

A medium-length lecture followed, in which I learned several important facts about groups of Jewish women who take it upon themselves to bake challah for a certain number of weeks, or something like that, and then all sorts of miraculous things happen as a result, such as people suddenly finding marriage partners; people suddenly finding themselves able to have children; unemployed and destitute people suddenly finding jobs; sick people suddenly becoming better; dead people suddenly coming back to life; entire nations suddenly laying down arms; doctors suddenly finding cures for cancer; global warming suddenly reversing itself; peace suddenly appearing in the Middle East; etc. All because of Jewish Women Who Are Much More Righteous Than I.

I've carefully monitored her comments, waiting for Ed or Chayim G. or Yonah Lazar, or someone, to arrive and announce that RenReb is a horrible human being and/or the worst Jew since Mendelsohn for daring to speak so despicably about a dear and beloved communal activity that not one of us knew about until like, last week. But, no takers so far.

Meanwhile my good friend, S, who I am annoyed at for reasons other than what I am about to discuss here, supplies evidence that the 'lo shanu et shimom/they didn't change their names' is just so much Haredi bushwa. His evidence is the list of Jewish Rabbis[*] who translated the Septuagint. Many of them have names like those you would find in any Yeshiva kindergarten. The rest have names like Chabrias. Again Chayim G, et al, are silent about this full-frontal attack on a beloved midrash.

And finally, we have this. To the uneducated, the person pictured here is attempting to pass a stool the size of a giant sequoia. In fact, she is participating at an Amen Party. How does it work? First, find some friends. Then gather together, preferably in a soundproof booth, and make brochot on various foods, taking care to scream AMEN in your loudest, most prayerful voice. From what I can tell, it works just like the Segulah Challahs (ie: it doesn't.) [Krum supplies some history]

It's a puzzlement, really. God goes to all that bother, dictating 5 big books to His servant Moshe, and nowhere does he mention Segulah Challies or Amen Parties. (I've checked) Still, great teeming masses of Jews insist that this stuff works. Also, they insist that Jews named Mark or Andrew are less likely to be redeemed, even though the prophets often said that redemption and salavation are promised to all of Israel -- not just Jews with names like Faivel.

[*]As S himself notes the mere existance of this list in not proof that the Legend of the Septuagint is true

Hat-tip: He who doesn't like me to name him for the Amen Party.

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