Friday, October 31, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Leviticus 1-4

For this week I said to read Leviticus 1-4.  These are laws of sacrifices and I’m covering them now because of a previous verse about the two offerings brought at the end of the nazir vow.
The nazir had to bring a whole offering and a sin offering.  Why?
Jewish law says that there are four kinds of sins.
One is failing to obey a positive commandment.  For that, you bring a whole offering.  Positive commandments are obeyed out of love and devotion for Gd.  Whole offerings are made out of love and devotion for Gd.  The verse that shows the connection between whole offerings and failing to obey a positive commandment is Leviticus 1:4.
There was a long discussion on the Google Jewish group about this.  We had to traverse a lot of Jewish law to find and confirm the connection.  The citations include: Babylonian Talmud Yoma 36a, Zevachim 6a; Tosefta (a commentary from the time when Talmud was being put into writing) on Sedra Qodashim Tractate Menachot 10:3; and Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah Sefer Avodah Ma’aseh haKorbanot 3:13.  The last citation is a halakhah, a final ruling.
The point is that Leviticus 1:4 is about an individual laying on hands for a personal offering, so this verse does not refer to the tamid, the eternal daily whole offering made out of love and devotion for Gd.
Furthermore, there’s no reason for an individual to bring a whole offering, an olah, except one.  There are peace offerings and thank offerings and celebration offerings and the Pesach sacrifice, and those all come for happy occasions.  The whole offering is different.
And the difference is that it atones for an individual who did NOT obey a positive commandment.  The reason the nazir brings it is that he refused to drink wine, which is required for some observances like starting Shabbat or the Four Cups of wine drunk at the Passover Seder.
The order in which offerings are discussed is: whole offering, which starts back with Exodus 29:15-18 and 38-42 and continues in Leviticus 1; peace offerings, starting in Leviticus 3; and then the sin and asham offerings.  For next week, read Leviticus 4 carefully.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Vocabulary Review V

Vocabulary review
I have given, set, placed
Dominate it
Green (n)
They were completed
Their host
He rested
He rested
He sanctified
Generations, births
Their being created

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More power to you

So I get a special mailing from my power company.
It evaluates three kinds of houses:
My houses;
Houses like mine:
Efficient houses like mine.
I don't know what they mean by efficient.
It must be the people living in those houses who aren't efficient.
Because my house used less energy in a recent month than they did.
If you get this kind of mailing or can look at it on your account,
Think what you can do about it.
From what I hear on the news, most of the time you are leaving rechargers plugged in when you're not even home.
For me, the average peak hour of energy use is the run-up to making breakfast.
Yeah, I'm really going to skip breakfast.
Eating breakfast is a cornerstone of losing that weight.

Anyway, I have to wonder.
The water company raised prices because people are doing such a good job of conserving.
What is the power company going to use for an excuse?

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY -- more clothing

You're saying, they don't make patterns in my size.
Two answers.
Vogue's Custom Fit patterns go up to size 22.
Vogue's Today's Fit patterns go up to hip size 57.
They are more than just mumus, there are some kicky dresses and tops, too.
That was just the first answer.

The second answer is you're going to die.
OK we're all going to die, but being too heavy for your height is an early death sentence.
I have struggled with my weight all my life and I'm finally having some success losing weight,
and it might help me live to see some Very Important People graduate college.
In the meantime I like the feeling that my pants aren't going to pop if I sit down a little fast.
When I hit my next target, which I think will happen by January,
I'll let you know.
For now, if you scream "fat discrimination," that's just an excuse not to do yourself some good.
Why don't you want to do something for yourself that is good?
That's what you have to figure out between now and January.
Rant over.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 27, 2014

Garden -- yard waste bags

Did the last garden post give you any ideas?
Yep,  you're right.
You can save a ton of money on yard waste bags if you don't throw out your dead leaves.
Rake carefully if you have oak trees, and separate the leaves from the acorns.
Same if you have walnut or hazelnut or chestnut trees.
Rake up the edible nuts and store them for eating.
Now run your mower over the leaves and shred them up.
Rake them back over the tree roots.
Make sure there's at least 6 inches between the tree trunk and the inner ring of shredded leaves.
Make sure the leaves are no more than 2 inches deep.
This will be good for your tree; all the nutrients it put into the leaves
will now go back to the tree.
If you push the leaves up against the trunk, two things will happen.
Moisture will get trapped around the trunk and eat into the wood.
Roots will grow vertically out of the ground to make the most of the nutrients in the leaves.
If you heap the leaves deeper than 2 inches, and also mound them around the tree,
the roots will grow tight in to the tree. 
Then if the winds are heavy, the tree doesn't have anything to stabilize it, and it goes over.
Or if there's a drought, the roots dry out, because they haven't sunk deep in the ground.
Tree mounds kill more trees than insect infestations.
Do it right.
Save yourself money.
Here's Mike McGrath's YBYG article on the subject.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Outdoors -- The Gathering

Sparrows are sociable, cheeky little things.
They're gathering for the winter in a bush at my neighbor's house.
It's a nice thick bush.
And it's only feet from where I normally hang my bird feeder.
These must be long-time residents and a kid or two.
They have easy access both to food and to my bird bath.
And if the hawk shows up for a quick meal,
it's a quick flip of the wings to get back to the bush.
I don't know if they used to do this before I started hanging the feeder,
but I've been doing that for about 5 years now
and supposedly sparrows can live about 6 years (the maximum was 13).
Anyway this is a reminder that when I buy groceries this week,
I need to buy for the birds too.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Free speech

If this is your first time here, you can read earlier posts here.
We’re discussing Exodus 22:27 and 23:1-3, Exodus 23:6-10 and Leviticus 19:15-16.  I said that Torah prohibits backbiting by criticizing (negatively) court decisions.
You’re saying, but that’s a restriction on free speech.  Doesn’t Jewish law protect free speech?
In fact somebody on a discussion group once put it more strongly; how could he be a halakhic Jew and still preserve his rights of free speech and thought under the Constitution?
Well, the thought thing was a strawman fallacy.  Jewish law never penalizes feelings and the only problem with thoughts deals with violating rules on sacrifices.  It sometimes punishes actions.  So let’s just talk about free speech. 
The poster still set up a strawman fallacy because there are forms of speech that the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect.  Falsehood is not protected when it leads to damages.  That’s the subject of defamation suits, false advertising suits, fraudulent misrepresentation suits.  Threats are not protected; that’s the doctrine of “clear and present danger”, leading to criminal trials against verbal bullies and people who make threats against the government. 
Torah does not protect power-mongering based on negative representations of court proceedings.  If the witnesses have not been impeached and the court has observed due process, then a personal loss is just that, a personal loss.  The person who can’t take a personal loss, but has to pretend that society has been damaged by it, has a character flaw.
Harsh?  I’ll give you a for instance.  When the Mendel Beilis trial of 1913 ended in acquittal of Beilis, one of the prosecuting attorneys said in Beilis’ hearing “Russia is destroyed.”
This attorney had been trying since 1906 to have reinstated a law that allowed trying people for “religious fanaticism” because he believed that ritual murder existed and was currently in practice by Jews.  The verdict in the Beilis case rejected ritual murder.  I’ve translated the transcript, I know how the charge was worded, and that’s how I know what it meant.  See my essay “Endgame.”  This attorney was a bigot who thought that if the government wouldn’t support his bigotry, it was incompetent.
Well, the government was incompetent, and events from 1905 through 1915 proved that, but not in the sense the attorney meant.  In fact the Beilis trial was not an example of due process. All the testimony and evidence against Beilis was either faked or “empty rumors”.  The witnesses who spoke against Beilis were impeached on the witness stand and some of them co-operated in proving that their depositions had been forged by the government.  The behavior of the entire “legal system” in the Beilis case demonstrated to Russian citizens that they could not count on fair play in court, no matter who they were.  That along with everything else going on in Russia from 1905 to 1915 made it impossible for the Romanovs to hold onto their throne, even with foreign troops to help.
That is a constant theme in history.  Governments that set out to oppress the Jews wind up oppressing everybody.
For next week read as much of Leviticus 1-4 as you can get under your belt.  I will slice and dice it for you, and this is not the entire context, but I’ll get to the rest of the context after next week.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bit at a time Biblical Hebrew -- Genesis 2:4

Annnd we're back.  If this is your first time here, you can see we're almost a year on the way. 
You can see the first lessons here.

Genesis 2:4
ד אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ בְּהִבָּרְאָם בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם:
Transliteration: Eleh toldot ha-shamaim v-ha-arets b’-hibaram b’yom asot **** elohim erets v’shamaim.
Translation:   These are the births of heaven and earth in their being created, on the day of the Lord Gd creating earth and heaven.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
Generations, births
Their being created
The verb hibaram has two features, one new and one you have seen before.  The one you saw before is adding a personal suffix that indicates number and gender as well as person.  The one you didn’t see before comes from the fact that this verb is in a binyan called nifal.  Nifal is the passive version of the pal/qal simple verb form, plus hibaram is a gerund or verbal noun.
I won’t give the nifal conjugation until we have another nifal verb.  That will show you how rare it is.
A classic question:  were heavens or earth created first?  From word sequence you might have thought it was the heavens, but you could only base that on verse 1 of Genesis and that would be quoting out of context.  This verse has the two words in both orders.  The answer that seems to have satisfied most rabbis comes from R. Shimon bar Yochai, see lesson 18.
The **** represents the Tetragrammaton which appears in this verse for the first time.  Before it was always elohim, Gd.  I say that as these are two separate episodes, there’s no problem that they might use different words for Gd.  You'll find the same thing in biographies, as Umberto Cassuto pointed out a long time ago: one chapter discusses the subject as child under a childhood nickname, another as a young professional using the professional title, and another as an adult parent using maybe just the last name.  The fact that this is the first verse of a new aliyah reinforces that it begins a new episode. 
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm just saying -- not on my phone you don't

So I get a phone call.  "May I talk to [name]"
I screen the call.
Always screen your calls.  There are always scams going around.  For a long time I got hit 3-4 times a day with the fake computer support call scam.
"Who's calling please?"
"Mr. X."
I wait for a business name or something.
I get nothing.
So I DK'd him and hung up.
Look.  If you're calling my phone and you play cute about who you are and why you're calling, you're going to get hung up on.
I don't owe it to you to play 20 questions.
So state your business, I'll tell you I'm not interested,
and you can go on to annoy somebody who isn't tuff enuff to hang up on you.
Once I did get a call claiming to come from a company I do business with and the caller asked first for my credit card number.
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER, that's a scam clue.
So I pretended I had to leave for an appointment and asked for a phone number to call back on.
Then I called a different phone number that I had for the company and checked things out.
It turned out to be legit and everything got settled pretty quickly.
But I told the company that their representative's approach was classic for scammers and they shouldn't be using it.

Just because somebody calls you doesn't mean you owe it to them to pick up the phone.
Don't do it, especially if you're driving and the call comes in on your mobile phone.
Screen the call with Caller ID.  Don't recognize it?
Check it out on the web site for free.  It may be a known scammer.
But don't assume that just because somebody called you, you owe them time or information.
Save that for people you know and do business with.  And maybe even like.

I'm just saying...

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Garden -- first steps

Let's just say that despite the odds, I've convinced you to start a garden.
Right now would be a good time to clear the space.
Use your search engine and find phone numbers of some garden shops.
Call around and find out who has fully composted shredded leaves.
This will be mulch to stop weeds from growing back in the winter.
Make your own shredded leaf mulch.
Rake your leaves into a shallow pile.
Run your mower over them a bunch of times.

Now get a shovel and scrape the weeds or grass off the little plot you chose.
Rake the shredded leaves over the dirt.

In the spring, you will put down two inches of fully composted shredded leaves.
That's going to be your planting medium.

If you've never gardened before, you can probably use a shovel to clear a 2 x 2 foot space.
If you have gardened before, just not this way
If you have lots of time on your hands and want a big veggie patch,
You may need a powered tiller.
That and the gas will cost you.
If you have a tractor lawn mower, see if you can get a tiller attachment.
I use all hand tools on my little patch so I can't make any recommendations.
Good luck!
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 20, 2014

Outdoors -- winter prep

It was gorgeous yesterday -- bright sun all day long.
Sharp wind, though.  Had all my windows closed and put the glass up in the storm door.
Opened the south drapes to let that sun in and warm things up.

I threw a robin-egg blue hand-knit polo over a tee shirt.
Scudded down the hill to the farmer's market with my two canvas bags.
Raided my favorite vendor for veggies.
Shlepped them back up the hill.
I have yucky Brussels sprouts but I'm going to try pickling half of them.
I'll caramelize the other half with onion and chicken for lunch.
Also green and wax beans, half to eat and half to try pickled.
Now to find some broccoli with real stems so I can try a pickling recipe.
Just for the stems.
But even at the farmer's market, they sell crowns.
They know most of you have no idea what to do with the stems of broccoli.

This morning I blanched the kale to freeze.
This will be so much better than those commercial bags of frozen greens that are half stems.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 19, 2014

DIY -- pickles

I was born north of the Mason Dixon line and moved south of it when I was 20.
I hear southerners will pickle anything.
Pickling is one of the great ways of keeping your food.
There are three ways to do it.
1.  Salt press.  This is for sauerkraut, lox, and Japanese tsukemono.
2.  Brine bath with spices.  This is for sour pickles, corned beef, and Korean kimchi.
3.  Vinegar marinade.  Most other pickled vegetables.

Pick your favorite vegetable and you can probably find a pickling recipe for it. 
Even vegetables you don't like may taste better pickled. 
"Don't like" beets?  Pickle them! 
And use the vinegar marinade to produce wonderful purple-red pickled eggs.

Use pickling the way our ancestors did: so as not to throw away what they worked so hard to grow.
Example: I found a recipe online for pickling broccoli stems.
I also found one for pickling the florets, but we all have better things to do with those.
When you go to the farmer's market and they don't have just the crowns of the broccoli,
don't fuss.  Buy the whole thing.
Cut off the florets for those other recipes.
Then pickle the stems.

You don't have to can these things and store them on a shelf.
Make small "boutique" jars and put them in your fridge. 
They'll keep up to 6 months in the fridge.

Try it, you'll like it!
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Outdoors -- it's so quiet

The robins stopped calling in July.
The starlings and blackbirds are gone.
The wrens were silent last month.
They're tuning up again, but mostly what I hear lately are northern chickadees.
And the cardinal who is overseeing the last juvenile days of his second chick.
And the mockingbird.
They'll all come flocking around in a month when I put up my feeder.
But for now nobody is waking me up in the morning.
And that's why this post is so late.
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Garden -- and synergy

This goes with yesterday's post about preserving food.
I dug up the rest of my carrots yesterday.
I raised about 5 pounds of carrots this year from less than $2 of seeds.
I'm going to cook up a couple of them today with turnips and beets that I bought Sunday at the farmer's market.
I also bought kale and collards.
Not to juice.
I blanched all four sets of greens and put them in the freezer in nicely labeled plastic bags.
I got 7 servings of greens, maybe 8 because one bag of collards is pretty big and I might use them in a stew that will last a couple of days.
The stew today will include onion and potatoes and home-pickled corned beef.
It's called New England Boiled Dinner and it's super yummy.
And I need it today because November rains have come early, even if it will hit 80 today.
Anyway, I'm going to also freeze a couple of the turnips and some of the carrots.
Maybe a beet as well, or maybe I'll pickle it.

But I won't make russell again.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 13, 2014

DIY -- keeping your food

If you're planning to garden next year, now is the time.
Think about the possibility that you succeed beyond your dreams.
I did that in 2014; I had tons of snow peas; I was eating them every other day for a month.
But snow peas are so much better fresh than preserved.

Other things are different.
Potatoes: don't freeze or can; find a cool dry place to store them.
Onions: ditto.
Beets: pickle the root, blanch and freeze the leaves.
Turnips: slice the root, blanch and freeze, blanch and freeze the leaves.
Carrots: slice, blanch and freeze.
Kale, collards, mustard greens: take leaves off ribs, toss ribs, blanch and freeze.
Chard and spinach: blanch and freeze.
Okra: slice, toss stem ends and tails, blanch and freeze.
Peas, beans, sweet corn: blanch and freeze.
Tomatoes: nah, eat fresh, unless you dry some Roma tomatoes.

Are you getting the point?
There are websites that will give you instructions for anything you can grow.

Now, freezing takes up room and requires electricity.
So you're saying why not can things?
You are probably thinking of using an old-fashioned hot water canner.
Those can produce botulism, especially in beans.
If you want a nice row of Ball jars with lids and rings full of vegetables, you want a pressure canner.
And you need to have it tested to make sure it will hold pressure properly.
That takes an expert.

And anyway, the Mayo Clinic diet says basically eat all the vegetables you can eat.
So if your garden grows more than your freezer will hold, yeah, eat until you bust.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm just saying -- oh no you didn't

"I love this woman I've been dating, except for [personal feature X].  How do I tactfully get across that she needs to change it."
Oh no you didn't.
If you need a woman to change X for you, you don't really love her.
You are sneaking into paper doll land.
Women are not paper dolls with eraseable features.
They are human beings.
They are individuals.
If you can only love a woman who changes herself for you,
you are not capable of love.
You are only capable of manipulation.
You're saying how am I going to get what I want?
I'm saying it's going to be a cold day in hell before you find anything absolutely 100% what you want and if you're not going to enjoy the good things you have, take a hot water bottle to bed with you because that's all you deserve.
And oh, by the way, you are not perfect.
There are probably plenty of things you should change about yourself.
Starting with your rotten attitude.

I'm just saying...

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DIY -- clothing

Some of you are reading the knitting posts as well as things on this page.
How far can you go making your own clothes?
Pretty far.
Knitting will turn out: hats, scarves, gloves, socks, hoodies, tees, turtlenecks, pullovers, vests, cardigans, I even have a pattern for a coat.
Plain sewing will turn out: pants, skirts, dresses, three-piece suits, blouses and shirts, sweats, hoodies, down vests, thermal wear.
Can it save money?
Absolutely.  Especially for women; we cannot buy business suits and get a guarantee that all pieces were cut from the same bolt of cloth.
Who cares?
Well first and foremost, it's anti-woman for there to be no businesswear shops that will do that like they do for men.
Second, most women I know take a different size on top and bottom. 
If they aren't made from the same bolt of cloth, they can have coloring differences and it looks less professional.

You can get a Vogue pattern for a jacket and skirt and some fine navy flannel fabric for a classic skirted suit, plus buttons and so on, for under $100.
When was the last time you bought a suit for $100?
If you sewed together your knitted jumper that I gave you the instructions for,
you can sew yourself a suit.
I've done it more than once in my life.
Think about it.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Garden -- stop mowing

I'm hoping to mow my lawn today although there's rain in the forecast.
This should be the last time I mow this season.
Murphy's Law says that it will continue to be rainy,
and that the grass will keep growing
but I will try not to get crazed because
if there's a freeze (and temps have been in the 40s at night)
it will kill the roots of the newly short grass.
Then I'll have bare spots and there's no use planting grass after next week.
Grass is a warm-weather seed -- just watch when it is that the weed grass,
like Bermuda Grass, seeds out.  July and August and September, right?
I'm not going to spend money on turf.
BTW, you should also be taking out your warm weather veggies,
especially tomatoes.  Columbus day is the deadline.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 6, 2014

Outdoors -- the promise

I was so busy with the Mendel Beilis translation last year that I missed autumn.
I have a promise to keep to myself this year: go out and see autumn.
It's just beginning.
Usually our leaves start changing before the end of September
because July and August have been dry and it continued up to autumn.
This year the trees have gotten lots of rain and they're still green.
Although I've seen a few starting to change.
The prediction is beautiful color this year.
So I'm going to put my walking shoes on later and do some tripping
on warm sun, cool air, and the first changing leaves.
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Knitting -- the full pattern

Remember, this is sized for ME, 40 inches around and with slender wrists.  You have to increase the cuff size on the sleeves if you have large wrists or want to push the sleeves up out of the way sometimes.  There are also instructions in here for short sleeves.  You need 6 skeins of Cotton Fine or to make a short-sleeved pullover; 8 skeins for long sleeves.  Cotton Fine also comes in cones, which is equivalent to 5 skeins, but if you have to buy skeins separately, there is no way your yarn-seller can guarantee that the dyelots will be the same and that will produce an uneven result that won't look right.


Cable on 288 stitches to a #1 circular needle with at least a 24 inch tether.
Work 10 rows of k2/p2 rib.
Switch to #3 circular needle and knit 140 rows, inserting a marker yarn on each of the opposite sides and working it up to the armholes.


Cast off 6 stitches in each side of the marker yarn and remove.
Decrease 3 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows then purl a row.
Decrease 1 stitch at each end of next 6 knitted rows.
Stop decreasing and do stockinette for a total of 70 rows.


Cast off 5 stitches at the beginning of the next 10 rows, 5 sets of 5 on each side.
Keep remaining stitches on the tether of the needle.  This is the back of the blouse.


Do stockinette, working the armholes the same as the back, until you have 70 rows from the start of the armhole.

Turn inside out.  Use a third needle to knit together the stitches on the end twice.
Pull the inside stitch over the outside stitch so there is one stitch left on the needle.
Repeat this for 30 stitches.

Knit around to the other armhole and repeat knitting off the shoulder.

Pick up a circular needle with 16-12 inch tether, size 1, and knit 10 rows of k2/p2 rib.
Bind off in rib.


For long sleeves, cable 52 stitches onto #1 needles to fit my wrists.
Work 10 rows of k2/p2 rib as for the bottom of the body.
Do stockinette stitch, increasing a stitch at each end of the 4th row until there are 100 stitches, then stop shaping until there are 145 rows.

For short sleeves, cable 100 stitches onto a #2 needle and do 10 rows of k2/p2 rib.
Then do stockinette stitch for 45 rows.

Bind off 6 stitches at the start of the next 2 rows.
Bind off 3 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows.
Decrease 1 stitch at each end of next and every alternate row 6 times.
Bind off 2 stitches at beginning of next 8 rows,
Bind off 3 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows,
Bind off 4 stitches at beginning of next 2 rows.
Bind off remaining stitches.

Sew sleeves into body.

I am not putting a copyright on this because I started with a pattern in my ancient, out of print Bantam Encyclopedia of Needlework.  Then I made changes for my size, and to use circular needles, and to work the neck as part of the sweater instead of separately.

Friday, October 3, 2014


If you are looking for this week's Fact-Checking post, it's right below this.
Next week is Sukkot.
The week after that is Shemini Atseret and Simchat Torah.
The next Fact-Checking post will be the week after Simchat Torah.
If you need something to do until the Fact-Checking blog comes back,
and you're frustrated by all the times I say, you ought to read the Hebrew,
NOW is your chance.
You have three whole weeks until the next Fact-Checking post.
Go to the Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew page
and start chugging through the lessons.
By the time you catch up, you will have read the entire first aliyah of Torah.
By the end of the year, you will probably finish the first Parshah of Torah.
The day after Simchat Torah is Shabbat and the one-year Torah reading cycle will begin again.
You could follow it for the first time --
or not for the first time but as something you haven't done in a long time.
You'll depend on the translation a lot and I've given you links for finding translations.
There are a lot of Fact-Checking posts left and you'll understand them better if you know Hebrew.
As if I haven't said that a few times already.
Anyway, hoping you have an easy fast if you're fasting starting tonight,
and I hope you'll seriously consider getting deeper by learning Hebrew.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Telekh rachil

We’re discussing Exodus 22:27 and 23:1-3, Exodus 23:6-10 and Leviticus 19:15-16.  I said there was another take on this for which there is some basis in Talmud.

Talmud takes Leviticus 19:16 and defines telekh rachil as follows:  This is a judge who voted to acquit but the accused was convicted, or the opposite, and the judge leaves the court and when news about the verdict gets out, he says, I didn’t agree with the court but it didn’t go my way.

We’re used to this kind of thing nowadays: judges often can get a leg up in politics from the bench.  Some of them do it by picking their target voter group and publicizing what they would do in opposition to what the court did.

This helps call courts into disrepute and breeds and feeds political dissatisfaction on which some politicians have preyed, time out of mind.  Creating divisiveness is a well-known tactic for political power and Jews know about it all too well because of events in the 20th century that started this way.

This gets people to curse leaders and judges, which is prohibited by the first Exodus verse referred to above.

The anger generated to gain political power gets people to herd together and once you get a herd of people, you get rumors, which always get out of hand as far as facts are concerned, becoming “empty” in the wording of the second verse.

This causes demonstrations and every demonstration, no matter how peaceful its start, becomes a screen for people who want violence.  They will commit violence on the edges of the group and when the police move in to stop the violence, the peaceful demonstrators get in the way because they are too naïve to understand what is going on.  Then they get arrested for obstructing the police and they get angry and you get news stories.  If you remember the demonstrations in Ferguson Missouri, you have a perfect example of what I’m talking about.  Out of 50 people arrested on one of the nights of rioting, only one lived in Ferguson and was part of the original peaceful demonstration.  People came from as far away as New York to get in on the violence.

Jewish law, in the verses listed above, rejects mob rule.  Courts are not run by elected judges or by juries.  They are run by experts in the law.  Talmud specifies that people in the audience can be allowed to render opinions in court during the trial, and the previously selected judges have to listen to them to determine if they have relevant, probative information to give or understand the law better than the judges previously did, and then “they seat him among them.”

But if he’s just mouthing off or can’t prove that he understands the facts, and then he leaves court and complains about it, he’s violating Jewish law.

You can complain all you want about people not being tried by their peers, but we all know of cases where the jurors felt compelled by law to render a verdict that the public didn’t agree with.  Sometimes the jurors also don’t agree with it, as in the Zimmerman trial of 2013.  We wouldn’t know about it except that the jurors yelkhu rachil, talked negatively about it out of court.  So this is a law limiting speech.  There isn’t free speech in Jewish law?

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- how does it sound?

Now for a culture capsule. 
Shabbat always always always comes every seven days.  That means the first Shabbat as well as all the ones after it.  So there had to be six days – six and only six – days and not weeks or months – of creation before the first Shabbat.  That is why the Bible counts six days when things were created before Shabbat – which was also created.  If Shabbat occurred every seven months, I believe the Bible would have listed things as being created in the six months before that.  Remember, the Bible comes from the Jewish culture.
There are seven days of creation, the seventh being Shabbat which, like everything else, had to be created.
The chapter divisions were created by a Christian in the 1200s CE.  The Bible existed for centuries before that and the Jews divided it into books, which were divided into large sections for reading on Shabbat.  The large sections, the Parshot, were divided into 8 small sections called aliyot because of the accompanying ritual.
So the natural Jewish way of dividing Genesis has an aliyah that ends with chapter 2 verse 3, which is the last verse about the creation of Shabbat.  With verse 4, it starts a new aliyah.
To hear how the aliyah sounds, listen to the First Reading at this website.  Find the boldface word Bereshit at the top of the page and click the little speaker symbol on the right of it.
There is an English translation.  You can also listen to each verse individually.  When the audio ends, you have heard the first aliyah.
This website gives the sing-song chant used in synagogue services to read the Pentateuch.  The text in Hebrew will look different from the lessons on this blog; there are extra little symbols you haven’t seen before.  They are called trop and they record how to chant the words.
Now I’ll blow your mind.  When Jews read Pentateuch on Shabbat in synagogue, they do it from a scroll and the scroll doesn’t have these little symbols.  It doesn’t even have the vowel signs.  The person reading aloud has to memorize how to pronounce the words and how to chant them.  The audience listens carefully and may have a copy with all the symbols to refer to.  They are expected to shout out corrections when the reader goes wrong.  So synagogue readings can be noisy if the reader doesn’t know what he’s doing but if he does, the audience still sometimes chants along with him.
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Knitting -- jumper/pullover blocking

Yes, I know it's early but I had a cricket in the house and I got up to ruin its night like it ruined mine.  Remember, Charles Dickens was an idiot.
Anyway, when working with Cotton Fine and Cotton Fleece, I never block the garments.
But if you talk to knitters, they will say you ought to.
This is especially true if you are using real Shetland wool to make Fair Isle sweaters.
The women in the Fair Isles always block their finished sweaters.
One thing blocking does for a Fair Isle made with real Shetland wool is the slight felting that keeps the steeking from unraveling.
Here is a page about blocking.  I would use spray blocking if you are going to do it.
The author says it's best for delicates, but if you get in the habit you won't ever make a mistake.
Here's a video on steam blocking.
There are lots of videos but this one seems to use a real garment, not just a swatch.
Anyway it's up to you whether you block or not.
© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved