Friday, May 30, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Ribit

We’re still working on Exodus 22:24, Leviticus 25:36-37 and Deuteronomy 23:20.
When you loan silver to my people, to the poor with you, you shall not be urgent with him and you shall not place neshekh on him.
Do not take neshekh from him or ribit, you shall fear your Gd and your brother shall live with you.
You shall not give your money to him by neshekh or your food by ribit.
You shall not impose neshekh on your brother of silver or food or anything that can be the subject of neshekh.
We now know that neshekh is a lender’s fee, not necessarily the sort of interest we pay on our cars or houses.
I said at the end of the last discussion that a person might bond himself out for a day here and there if he needed spending money, and I said this fed into today’s topic.
It’s ribit.
The translation of ribit should be “unequal deals.”
This means two people agree to a deal but one gets more out of it than the other.
The classic situation is two people agree to help each other with field work on their farms.  It is only an equal deal if they are working on the same crop, at the same stage of growth, requiring the same sort of care, and the two crops are of equal quantity.
If farmer A gets help on barley but farmer B doesn’t ask for payback until it’s time to work on wheat, they need different amounts of energy to work on them.  If A and B exchange services on barley, A may have a more scanty crop requiring less work than B’s crop. 
The rabbis say what they should do is pay each other at the going rate for that day.  Then if there turns out to be a glut of workers on the market, the farmer getting help that day pays less, but it’s no different from what the other farmer would get if he hired himself out that day to some third farmer.
The phrase “food by ribit” means you can’t exchange barley for wheat or good wine for bad.  The classic situation is that if a man agrees with a baker to give wheat in exchange for prepared bread, but the wheat isn’t grown yet, that is potentially ribit.  When the time comes that the baker would normally get the wheat, if the crop has been destroyed, the man on the other end of the agreement might try to get the baker to accept barley.  But bread made from barley doesn’t sell for as much as bread made from wheat, so the baker comes out on the short end.  All the more so as the man might try to substitute wine, which the baker can’t use at all.
In short, bartering of services or products has to be done very carefully to make sure everybody comes out the same.  For next week read Leviticus 25:17 and we’ll discuss the last form of financial bad behavior.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Vocabulary review III

Make sure to memorize the words above the line.  You will see them many times as you read the Bible in Hebrew..
make (v)
He put
them (direct object)
gather (3rd s.)
appear (3rd f.s.)
dry land
gathering, collection
grass, plant, herb
making seed
seed (n)

kind, sort, type
sprout (n)
sprout (v)
brought forth (v)
to shed light
He put
them (direct object)
To control
 © Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Knitting -- pullover/jumper

This is for when you finish the body.
Go back to the tag end of yarn at the start of the sweater.
Thread a "darning" or tapestry needle with a contrasting color of yarn and run that yarn up through to find where the middle of the armhole should be.
Now count around the bottom of the sweater, 140 stitches.
Run another piece of yarn up at that point to mark the middle of the other armhole.
Now, where you finished the 140th round of knitting, back off six (6) stitches.
Unknit them onto the left needle point.
Now knit two stitches, and pull the one stitch over the other.  Remember, this is "binding off".
Bind off six (6) stitches on both sides of the middle of the armhole.
Knit around to the other side except for the last six (6) stitches before the middle.
Bind off six stitches there.
From here it gets complicated so I'll wait until next week because as busy as you are, you might not have finished the body yet.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


My veggies are going to have to wait for a watering and the bird bath is going to have to wait to get filled.
The mockingbird chick is sitting on my fence getting fed and I don't want to scare it or its parents.
OK I scored some brownie points with them by helping chase squirrels away.
Don't want to ruin that now.
Soon the baby will be ready to take care of itself and the parents will send it off.
Then they'll start all over again, at least once this season.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Garden -- almost there!

I'm putting the yardwork to bed for the summer, except for mowing the grass.
But only until our normal summer drought.
No sense running a mower over dormant grass.
Anyway I evened up the hedge that I just shortened by about 2 feet.
I was supposed to do this in January but I couldn't get to it because of the snow and cold.
I did as little as I could and still get close to my goal, which is to shorten it by another foot.
I'll give it a year to recover and meanwhile there are other hedges that are way too high.
I also managed to pull out some poison ivy without getting infected.  See next week's post.
I also had to cut out a baby honey locust, child of a tree that was cut down some years ago because it regularly pulled on the power wires and took the electricity down when we had hurricanes and other serious storms.
Honey locust smell nice but they put out tons of pollen and they are really a weed tree around here, in May everywhere you drive you can see their white flowers.
My wild iris ("blue-eyed grass") has finished its first bloom.  I don't know if I'll get more; maybe these will drop seed that will bloom in a couple of months.
It's summer!
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 26, 2014

Outdoors -- he drives me crazy

So I came home from the grocery store and the mockingbirds are rasping and flying around.
Aha, I thought, somebody decided to move in on the turf.
Then I noticed the cardinal hanging nervously off a bush.
Ohh, must be a cat.
The robin was also sounding off.
Half an hour later all the groceries are put away and I have made a cup of tea for lunch with croissant, and the mockers are still at it.
Must be serious, I thought.  So I went out. 
They were sitting on some bamboo my neighbor put up, staring at his house.
So I looked up.  There was his cat looking out of the window on that side.
Mockingbirds don't understand the concept of the cat being locked up so they kept at it, screaming "Cat! Cat!"
The other birds couldn't see no stinking cat so they all went home.
The mockers kept it up.  I went out again.  This time it was on the other side, where a cat was sitting in the window enjoying the show.  (Yes, both my neighbors have cats, more than one apiece.)
Finally both cats disappeared into the house. 
It wasn't bad enough the cats showed up.  Now, like the Cheshire Cat, they had disappeared.
Normally, when a cat is outside, the mockingbirds will work off their anger chasing it away, diving on it and pecking it until it's off their turf.
This time, the damn things just weren't there any more.  The mockers couldn't understand it.
For an hour, the mockers flew from the fence on one side of my yard, looking up at one neighbor's windows, to the fence on the other side of my yard, looking up at the other set of windows, screaming "Cat" the whole time.
Finally, the Mrs. got hungry and remembered she had kids to feed, so she left.
The Mr. kept it up for another half hour before he went to lunch.  Then he was right back at it.
About 4 p.m. Mrs. Mocker came back and chased her husband all over the roof of a gardening shed on one side, screaming at him, "I can't take care of these kids all alone.  You drop this nonsense and come help me!"
Didn't make any difference.
The robin came by and told Mr. Mocker, "You're crazy, man.  Ain't no cat here."
Mr. Mocker kept screaming "Cat!"
The house sparrows in the cedar tree started up, loudly gossiping so everybody could hear: "Cat's crazy, I mean, the man's crazy, no cat around, why's he so upset."
He ignored them.
About 5:30 his wife brought him a nice tempting orange berry to eat.  He wouldn't take it.  She flew off in despair.
He kept it up until about 6:10 when a brief thunderstorm seemed to cool him off. 
Mockingbirds don't mind rain, in fact they are as likely to come out and shower off in it as to hide from it, but this time was different.
When the rain ended, the robins came out.  They like rainbaths, too, and then they usually do some singing.
And here came the mockingbird back for another go-round.  By 6:45 they were both back at it.
Not until almost 8 p.m. did my poor friend Flicker Jee the catbird get a word in edgewise.
With the dark, things got quiet.  Mr. Mocker went home.  His wife probably gave him a good scolding because things were back to normal -- QUIET -- the next morning.
Turns out it was the famous "new parents" situation.  This is the first year of mating for this pair, and their first chick was just out of the nest.  I have been hearing it peep from the bushes and seeing leaves flutter when it moves or the parents show up with bugs for it. 
I've known lots of mockingbirds over the years but I've never seen one, let alone a pair, this crazed, not even with a chick newly out of the nest.  So it never occurred to me that I might want to kill a mockingbird, apologies to the shades of Gregory Peck.  Until this happened.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

DIY -- beets fermented and beet kvass

Ukrainians swear by the health benefits of beet kvass, a fermented beet juice.
Actually the history of beets is that in Roman times, the thin yellow roots were used for a medicinal tonic.
Beet kvass continues this tradition.
Ukrainian Jews call the fermented beets and juice "russell" and I just finished my first batch.
As you  can see from this site, almost everybody got mold on theirs while it fermented.

So did I.  You just skim it off.  I went the extra step of boiling the beet juice before pouring it into the jars and putting lids on.

Notice that the recipe at the site uses whey.  This is not kosher to use with meat to make russel fleisch, a Jewish recipe.  My recipe uses just beets and water, and ferments for 3 weeks not one.

If you "don't like beets" you probably won't like russel or kvass or pickled beets, another great recipe.  But I didn't like beets either until we grew them for ourselves and I got to eat them within 24 hours of picking, before all the sugar turned into starch.
Remember, it was beet sugar that made millions for Lazar Brodsky and Yona Zaitsev.  Sholem Aleichem writes about Brodsky who built what is now the Kiev, Ukraine, Chabad (Chassidic) building.  Yona Zaitsev founded the brick factory where Mendel Beilis worked.

So if you have a small garden, try growing beets in it.  Eat the thinnings in salads or soup, and then try cooking the beets fresh out of the ground after scrubbing and peeling.  You might find out that the beets "you don't like" add a robust, earthy flavor to soup and stew.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Exodus 22:24, etc.

Your assignments for today were Exodus 22:24, Leviticus 25:36-37 and Deuteronomy 23:20.
When you loan silver to my people, to the poor with you, you shall not be urgent with him and you shall not place neshekh on him.
Do not take neshekh from him or ribit, you shall fear your Gd and your brother shall live with you.
You shall not give your money to him by neshekh or your food by ribit.
You shall not impose neshekh on your brother of silver or food or anything that can be the subject of neshekh.
Yes, of course I’m going to talk about the word neshekh and why I didn’t translate it.
The usual translation is “interest.”
What does that tell you?
You’re getting the point now! “Interest” is not a correct translation.
In modern finance, “interest” means that given the current balance of a loan, a given percentage will be charged as interest and the rest goes to pay off the principle.  That works fine in modern arithmetic with our ability to calculate percentages as fractions, but arithmetic has only been using fractions, decimal or otherwise, for about 400 years now.
Before that, 3/7 was thought of as a ratio of the whole numbers 3 and 7.
The Babylonians did their astronomy and the Egyptians did their engineering of the pyramids, by adding up a set of rational numbers based on tables they had drawn up.  They did not think of these numbers as fractions.  You’ll see another example of this later.
The definition of neshekh comes from Talmud and it says: If somebody borrows a dinar, which is worth five selas, the lender can charge up to four selas.  More than that is neshekh.
This says nothing about the charge being paid off little by little until the whole loan is paid back.  If it was required to pay the entire fee up front, that would resemble a thief having to pay the whole restitution in one payment, and having to take out a bond on himself if he didn’t have that kind of money.  Mishnah and Talmud don’t clarify when the payment had to be made.  Maybe that means it was so well understood that nobody had to argue such a case, leading to a clarification.  Maybe money loans to other Jews were far less common than taking out a bond. 
I mean, remember, six years is the maximum term on a bond.  Nothing says that a bond had to be for so much money that it was necessary to work six years to pay it off.  A person might bond himself out a day here, a day there, as he needed money over and above what he could get for his farm produce.
And that leads to the next concept, ribit, which is also addressed in these verses.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:18

Genesis 1:18
יח וְלִמְשֹׁל בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה וּלְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחשֶׁךְ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב:
Transliteration: Va-yiten otam elohim bi-rqia ha-shamaim l’hair al-ha-arets.
Translation:    Gd put them in the raqia of the heaven to shed light on the earth.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
To control
This verb is going to be very important in chapter 4 in the story of Qain and Hevel.  For now, it’s a completely “regular” verb so let’s conjugate it completely.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Knitting -- pullover/jumper

Now, maybe you want to do more knitting but not Fair Isle this time.
Here's my knitting pattern for a pullover.
It's adapted from a pattern in my out-of-print Bantam Encyclopedia of Needlework.
First, it's knit in the round, like a Fair Isle, but with set-in sleeves not steeking.
Second, the collar is of-a-piece with the sweater, not added on.
Third, you will have to know how to purl after the armholes because you will no longer be working in the round.

This is a shaker-style rib tube body pullover (jumper) for a 40-42 inch chest.  Using Brown Sheep Cotton Fine, you will add or subtract 6 stitches in the body for every inch larger or smaller that your chest is.  Ladies, take your bra size into account.

Cast on or cable on 280 stitches.  To cable on, you put on your slip knot on your left needle point, then put the needle through it as if knitting a stitch on.  But when you pull the yarn through, you add it on to the same needle instead of moving it to the other needle.
Now put the right needle point BETWEEN the two stitches on the left needle point, yarn over, pull through, and add to the left needle.  This makes a sturdy edge with a slight eye in it which is almost lacy in effect.
When you have your 280 stitches on the tether, join them carefully to make sure the row is not twisted.
Now do 10 rows of 2 knit/2 purl rib.
Then knit in the round for 140 rows.  This will make a body of 23 inches below the armholes.
I'll leave you to that.  It could take you a week given that you have jobs, kids, and so on.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Garden -- turnips

It's time.  I have to thin the turnips back heavily this week.
If I don't, I won't get nice fat roots.
It's all good.
This is also the time when the turnip greens are still baby-fine enough to eat well.
They are starting to get scratchy.
After this they will need more cooking to eat right.
I have leftover fish from last week so I'll fry them up together with some red bell pepper, onion, and garlic.
If you planted turnips for the first time and you see pinholes in the leaves of what you are thinning out, don't panic.
They are HOLES.  The bugs are gone.  Want to be sure?
Turn the leaves over on every side before you pull a specific plant out as a thinning.
You won't find any bugs.
So pull that one out, twist off the stems and throw those and the roots into your compost.
Take the leaves in, rinse in cold water, and cook as soon as possible so as to keep all the nutrients.

Now, how do you make sure you thin out the right thing and don't ruin something you don't need to thin?
I never make a map of where I planted what, but if you did, you're done reading.
The difference between turnip greens and mustard greens is that mustard greens may be frilly and wrinkly, but they aren't scratchy.
The difference between turnip greens, and those relatives of cabbage -- kale, cauliflower and broccoli -- is that turnip greens don't have the slightly bluish color of the others.
The difference between turnip greens and beets is that turnips have definite purple on the root and beets have definite red, plus beets have smooth leaf edges as well as surfaces.
Chard, which is related to beets, has yellowish roots like their mutual ancestor.  In fact, I planted oriole chard instead of swiss chard, because of that yellow.  Makes a colorful garden.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 19, 2014

Outdoors -- on the job

Oh, have we got a mockingbird!
So after one of our torrential downpours, he was patrolling my garden for bugs.
Here comes a squirrel across the walk from my back neighbor's yard.
He realizes the mockingbird is there.
So he pretends to just casually be hunting under the euonymus at the end of my west neighbor's yard.
The mockingbird knows he's there.  He stops hunting and watches a little while.
Then he launches to the top of the fence where he doesn't have the mesh obstructing his view.
The squirrel realizes he's been spotted.
So he races down the rest of the walk and turns west toward a nice, high oak tree, hoping in his squirrelly little heart that the mockingbird won't attack.
Mr. Mocker let him go this one time.
My yard has been nice and squirrel-less since Mr. Mocker took the job.  The only day he was too busy to patrol, I caught the squirrel twice and chased him off.
I've also sprinkled those new sprouts with a tiny bit of cayenne to keep the rabbit away as well as the squirrel.
Support your local mockingbird!
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DIY -- dry roast peanuts

I admit  it, I spent more on this the first time than you spend on a one pound jar of Planter's.
If you keep kosher or halal or are vegan or vegetarian, you need to know why.
Planter's changed their formula within the last couple of years. 
They now put gelatin in the product.
Why?  I have absolutely no idea.
But they refuse to guarantee that they use plant gelatin.
So it might be made from animals that have not been slaughtered kosher or halal.
Besides the fact that vegetarians and vegans don't eat meat.
So I spent $5 on a pound of jumbo raw peanuts with no shell.
There are lots of recipes online for dry roasting peanuts in your oven .
Personally, I don't need organic peanuts, and I don't need jumbo peanuts.
Next time I will probably buy their product that still has the shell on, and get a couple of pounds so that shelling them still yields plenty of peanuts.
That will definitely save me $2 a pound.
Pay your money and take your choice.
This is another thing that DIY is good for besides saving money: YOU control the ingredients in your food and you avoid getting caught by a manufacturer who does something goofy such as putting pink slime in ground beef.  My butcher can't do that because it wouldn't be kosher, but plenty of cut-rate stores did it.
DIY also avoids your manufacturer suddenly changing to a Chinese factory that puts in ingredients that later turn out to be poisonous.  There are kosher Chinese factories and they get inspected over and over to make sure they're sticking to the contract.  But I don't have to worry about that because I cook from scratch almost exclusively, besides the DIY stuff.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Exodus 21:37, 22:3

Your assignments for today were Exodus 21:37 and 22:3.  This will help finish off the discussion of bonding and get us to the next set of urban legends.
Exodus 21:37:  When a man steals an ox or sheep and butchers it or sells it, he shall pay five cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
Exodus 22:3: If the stolen item is actually found in his hand, ox or ass or sheep, and it’s alive, he pays double.
These verses go with the one I already discussed about the thief in the night that the homeowner is allowed to kill, but only if the thief doesn’t drop the stuff and run. 
They prove that property theft is NOT a capital crime in Judaism.  This is one reason why Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 are interpreted to mean kidnapping for sale as a slave, not property theft. 
An ox could be worth as much as a maneh or 100 zuz or the value of 50 goats or sheep.  A zuz is a silver dinar.  Why was a dead animal so much more expensive than a live one?
Think of the economy of those times.  An ox was not a milk animal, a goat was a milk animal.  An ox was a draft animal.  It could plow, thresh, run a grain mill, or haul heavy loads.  A sheep was a clothing animal.  If you got the live animal back, the thief only made double restitution for depriving you of the work or the milk or the fleece.  If he killed the animal, the owner had to replace it to carry on his livelihood.
Fifty goats in the 21st century can produce something like 500 pounds of cheese a day, and a pound of feta goes for $9.  Likewise, 50 sheep produce enough wool for 8 three-piece men’s suits, which nowadays go for about $1200 on the Brooks Brothers site.  If goats and sheep were half as productive in the Mishnaic period, still, a mixed herd of 25 goats and 25 sheep basically provided a family’s clothing and protein for the year.  The ox helped produce the grain and pulse and vegetables and get saleable goods to market so the family had some spending money.
Why should a law-abiding family be deprived of necessary household goods or farming tools any longer than necessary?  So the thief had to pay the whole restitution at once.  I already discussed how battery can create poverty, and poverty makes paying debts difficult if not impossible.  The court that convicted a man of being a thief was allowed to bond him out.  It paid off his creditors and ensured that his family would have maintenance as long as the bond lasted.
And now, in under 30 weeks, we have come full circle in the discussion of battery.  It was wrong because it deprived a family of the injured person’s wages plus it required doctor’s bills; it might also reduce their income.  The impoverishment could lead to theft, and the thief might have to be bonded to pay restitution.  The battery might also reduce the value of the thief’s bond.  Something a skilled laborer could pay off in three years, might take the entire six years if he had been injured to the point where he could no longer practice his skills.
But battery was a worse problem because it was the opening stage of a murder case, which could deprive a family permanently of part of its income, or rather two families because if murder was proven, the murderer could be put to death.
With this discussion of property theft and bonding, we have moved out of criminal law into civil law, which consists of contracts and torts.  Next, I’ll finish off financial torts because that’s another part of Jewish law where urban legends abound.  Your assignment is to read Exodus 22:24, Leviticus 25:36-37 and Deuteronomy 23:20.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fight child exploitation

Stop using tobacco.
The AP reports that tobacco farms employ children who get sick from pesticides and from exposure to nicotine.
Some of these children are as young as seven.
This is happening right here in American where we have "good" child labor laws.
It's also happening, of course, in other countries where the laws are bad or not enforced.

This is the Old Bitch speaking: 
Anybody who can't summon up the backbone to stop smoking cannot occupy any moral or intellectual high ground. 
They can only admit that they are willing to poison children to get their high, just like all other addicts.
There is no such thing as "a wonderful person except for smoking."
There are only people who refuse to put all their efforts into stopping an addiction that leads to poisoning and death.
They whine about their personal rights, like all selfish people, while ignoring the rights of other people not to be poisoned by their addiction.
Nicotine addiction is not victimless.  Its victims are limitless, including the children who will get cancer because of exposure to pesticides, and the children of those children who will suffer diseases caused by their parents' exposure to pesticides.
There's a little Love Canal going on right there in tobacco company (google it). 
And all the selfish people who got tax money from it ignored it, the same as the nicotine addicts did.

Don't argue with me about this.  You can't say anything positive about tobacco use or nicotine addiction.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I signed for the bees

Bees are good.
Bees make our food.
All our fruit, some of our vegetables, it all uses bees to make the food we eat.
We've been killing bees with chemicals.
In the EU, they prohibit farmers from using a wide range of chemicals to protect bees.
The latest word is that fungicides are making bees sensitive to diseases that are killing them.

Some stores where people typically buy sets like tomatoes and peppers use chemicals that kill bees on the plants.
There are two things you can do, one of which is immediate and the other of which is a permanent change.
Sign the petition at this site.  It explains what it's about. 

Don't have these stores in your area? 
Find out who the big sellers of garden plants are in your area.  Get  MoveOn's help writing a petition about them.  Post it online for signature.

The permanent solution is, buy open-pollinated seeds from a reputable seedsman.  There are a number of them out there: J.L. Hudson; Renee's Garden;  They sell flowers as well as vegetables.
Google on open-pollinated seeds.
For tomatoes and peppers and eggplants you'll have to start them in your house unless you're willing to wait for them to age normally.
Buy cucumbers, melons, and mustard greens, cosmos, tickseed, and other bright orange and yellow-flowering plants, and you will also feed the bees the things they prefer.

Knowledge is power.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garden -- dumping the pool water

So yesterday I said I would have more to say on dumping the water from the bird bath.
Do NOT dump it on your veggies.
If you want to use it for veggie water, first pour it into a watering can.
The force of the water falling on the veggies will hurt them.
The watering can will control that force.
Dump the water on your lawn.
The side benefit is you may start finding clover in your lawn.
Clover used to be included in grass seed.
We've gotten too silly nowadays and the grass seed makers don't do that any more.
Clover is a plant that fixes nitrogen in the soil.
Nitrogen is good.
That's why manure is also good for a growth medium (except for tomatoes), lots of nitrogen.
So DON'T poison that clover.
It likes lots of water.
Dump your bird bath on it.
It also feeds bees and we need to be kinder to our bees.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 12, 2014

Outdoors -- it's TIME

OK, spring is over in the DC area.
Summer weather hits today.
It's time to deal with mosquitoes.
That means I have to go out every night and dump the bird bath.
It holds over 2 gallons of water and it's nice and still and flat and there's lots of nutrients in it counting whatever it is the birds wash off in there.
And they do wash a lot, the robins at least every afternoon and the catbirds and starlings more than once a day.
The timing is tricky, though.
I've heard the cardinals come calling at dusk.
Oh well, it's summer and there's no snow and ice to bother with any more, and I do have a porch light I can turn on.
More on this tomorrow in the gardening segment.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 11, 2014

DIY -- cabbage savings

I keep telling you that you'll save money if you go DIY so here's the bottom line.
I spent $1.00 on a 2 pound cabbage.
I salt-pressed 2/3 of it into sauerkraut.
I brined the other third for kimchi overnight, then added garlic, ginger, onions and cayenne.
It took me about 20 minutes to slice it all up and salt the future sauerkraut and put the future kimchi in brine.
The sauerkraut cures for a week under plastic wrap and a heavy weight.
The kimchi cures in a jar in the fridge for  a couple of nights.

I got 1.25 pounds of sauerkraut for $0.65; the store charges $1.40 for 1 pound.
I got 10 ounces of kimchi  for $0.35; the store charges $6 for 14 ounces.

The cost of the kosher salt and ginger and ground cayenne isn't worth talking about.
I used yellow onions, not scallions, because scallions are over $1 a bunch.
The kimchi can live in your fridge and you can freeze the sauerkraut.
Doing this once every couple of months only saves you $20 a year.    But you can do it more often if you have a big family and you get all the fiber in the vegetables plus a lot of flavor.

Just one tip.  I always soak my sauerkraut before cooking to get out some of the salt.  Then I always cook it a long time.
You can also use that other 1/3 cabbage in soup, or in coleslaw, but it won't make galuptsis because for that you need the dark green outside leaves of the cabbage and those you only get if the store doesn't trim the cabbage a lot.  Which they usually do because nowadays they know the customer would think those extra leaves are waste, instead of seeing them as an opportunity.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Answering claims

We were talking about Exodus 21:7-11 and I said that the Bible, the Mishnah and the Gemara combine to heap moral as well as economic disadvantages on the man who takes out a bond on a naarah, an underage girl, as designated bride of himself or his son.

The philosophical issue is this.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “an exception that proves the rule.”
That’s a misquotation.  The actual phrase and concept is that when a legal code specifically addresses a given situation, there is an opposite situation it does not address which has the opposite characteristics.  “An exception that proves that a different rule also exists.”
When American law discusses drunk driving as something that a person can be punished for, it implies that driving without being drunk is allowed.  So if you think it is stupid for states to keep changing their legal codes, first to deal with using a hand-held phone, then for smart phones, then for iPads, then for tablets, what you are seeing is this concept in operation.  If the police pulled somebody over under a cell phone law, and found out the driver was using a tablet, they might not be able to file charges if the state doesn’t have a law covering tablets.  Same for eating while driving, which is even more common and equally as dangerous as driving while texting.
But no state has a law explicitly saying that it’s OK to drive when you’re not drunk, drugged, or distracted.  That’s the opposite of the illegal exception that the legal code does discuss.
When Jewish law puts all these conditions on bonding a naarah, that’s the exception.  None of the restrictions apply to the bogeret.  We’ll see this again and I’ll point it out when we get to it.
The flip side is that while onatah can refer to a bogeret, it can’t refer to a naarah.
Now.  You’re saying “methinks she doth protest too much.”  Somebody had to think it was all right to have sex with underage girls based on verse 10.  Three standard situations are involved in this claim.
First, everybody knows it was once illegal for women to own property let a lone vote.  But times change and the law changes with them.  This can also happen in Jewish law, as shown by the Mishnaic and Talmudic restrictions on child marriage.  People who claim Jews approve of marrying off underage girls now in the 21st century are deliberately ignoring this.  The way to handle it is to challenge them for statistics on such marriages.  They won’t have any.
The second situation is citations and this will get you the most bang for your buck, no matter what subject is under discussion.  Ask the claimant for the book, chapter and verse in Jewish classics that says so.  One of three things will happen.
You’ll get an answer but you won’t be able to find it in Jewish classics.  That’s because the claimant copied from an invention possibly centuries old.  He thinks it’s true because he doesn’t have the education to check it for himself.  He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
You’ll get an answer, but it won’t say what the claimant says it says.  It might not even be on the same subject.  That’s because the claimant copied from an invention possibly centuries old.  She thinks it’s true because she never even read the material.   She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
These two situations cover 100% of the quotes that you do get.  The third situation is that the claimant won’t be able to give any quotation.
The third situation is this: polygamous marriage was prohibited to Jews in the middle ages.  The claimant needs to point to halakhah, the Jewish law currently in force on the subject.  That’s not possible.  There is no halakhah applying to modern Jews that allows them to marry underage girls.  The claimant won’t know that.
The reason the claimant stopped with the inventions and didn’t do the homework is because that wasn’t the point of the claim.  The claim was made to be titillating and defamatory.  The claimant doesn’t care that it’s defamatory.
Bonding has one more issue which I will discuss next.  Go back to Exodus 21 and look at verse 37, then look at verse 22:3.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved