Diary: misc notes about today - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Diary: misc notes about today
Saturday, 28 May 2005 at 06:46 pm
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I've had a bit of a weird day. Mainly because I'm an idiot and managed to stay up until 2 am playing CivII last night. D'oh.

Read the cut only if you're really interested in trivial details of my life. I'll try to get more interesting soon. I woke up with a headache and did the preparation for the service (that I should have been doing yesterday evening) in a very slapdash fashion. As usual, lots of people had said they might come if nothing more interesting came up they weren't too busy when today came round. Old story, I'm not going to go into that again. In the event, HK showed up, and we chatted for half an hour or so before JS arrived with his boys.

The service was kind of ok; I was feeling a bit miz because it's very likely the last service I'll be taking in Dundee, and there was nothing wrong with it but it wasn't as special as I'd hoped. And poor attendance doesn't normally bother me but I had hoped to say goodbye to more people. And all these trivial things seem like a big deal when I'm sleep-deprived and know full well it's my own stupid fault.

Afterwards H and J gave me a mezuzah to thank me for all I've done for the community. I was really touched; apparently the whole community have been conspiring over it for months! Prof S chose it; it's not one I would have picked myself, it's rather chunky and almost childish in design, but very attractive, mainly blue glass with lots of bright coloured bits. hatam_soferet, you don't write mezuzot, am I right?

The boys were acting up a bit, nothing terrible, they're basically good kids, but tired and out of sorts and not wanting to sit still or speak politely to adults. The older boy, B, is four and a half, just starting to be old enough to have a perceptible (to me) personality but also old enough to be deliberately naughty.

I feel really bad for J&J; Mr J looked absolutely drained, and we had to beg him not to leave when his kids were being disruptive. Plus, I basically haven't seen J&J for months; they have been completely swallowed up by the children, and keep cancelling social arrangements because the boys are ill or tired or they're just too exhausted to come out or can't get babysitters. To be fair I've been a bit swallowed up by my thesis for some of that time, but the difference is that my thesis had a definite finishing point and now I have done it and I have my life back and a nice shiny title. J&J seem to be really isolated, Mrs J especially (she didn't come today because she was entertaining her mother and grandmother); she's essentially given up her PhD and from what I can gather has almost no social contact with adults apart from her husband.

For all I'm extremely glad not to be a parent, I am fond of B. He's fundamentally nice even when he's not on his best behaviour. I think he likes me too, but it takes him a while to warm up with most people (especially when I haven't seen him for half a year or something ridiculous). I walked into town with the three of them after the service. It was drizzly and horrible, and I was getting to the point of really pining for a cup of tea and a siesta, but it's hard to be miserable around B when he's being charming.

He was terribly excited to show me the Real Big Bear in the Contemporary Arts centre... Really real, I asked him? and he grinned in that way kids have when they're first learning how to lie. But it's a very impressive model, life-size and lit with a slightly flickering light so you're momentarily fooled into thinking it's breathing. And we had a silly discussion about accessible architecture: he asked me what a ramp was for, so I said it's to make it easier for wheelchairs and buggies to get up steps, and he said, what if an aeroplane wanted to get in?

Came home, grabbed a cup of tea and sat down for 20 minutes before leaving again to get out of the way so that people could look round the flat. It was properly raining by this point so I headed to the library and read for an hour or so. And I've spent most of the last 3 hours more or less staring into space.

Moral of the story: don't get so absorbed in computer games that you forget to sleep, nitwit.

Today is the 34th day, making 4 complete weeks and 6 days of the Omer.


Moooood: tiredtired
Tuuuuune: The Mission: Love me to death
Discussion: 7 contributions | Contribute something
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rho: default
From:rho
Date:May 28th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 08:58 pm (rho's time)
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This is almost entirly tangential to what you've actually written here, but I'd never heard of a mezuzah before, so I had to go and look up what they were, and look at pictures, and look up the relevant passages from Deuteronomy, and so forth. I find the existance of such things to be quite fascinating, though very slightly disturbingly literal (though if you're going for literal interpretation of scripture, I guess that's a fairly nice bit to take literally). This reminds me just how shockingly little I actually know of Judaism. (And also finally motivated me to actually go and look up what the Omer is as well. I can't believe that's been sitting at the foot of your entries for over a month now, and I've only just now got around to looking it up.)
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livredor: words
From:livredor
Date:May 29th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC)
17 hours after journal entry, 12:20 pm (livredor's time)
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I'd never heard of a mezuzah before, so I had to go and look up what they were, and look at pictures, and look up the relevant passages from Deuteronomy, and so forth
That was very dedicated of you, I'm impressed. But yay internet, I do love how easy it is to go and find out obscure stuff like this. I usually try not to use too many obscure Hebrew terms in my posts, but there really isn't an English translation for mezuzah: that weird thingie that Jewish people put on their doors doesn't really cut it.

I find the existance of such things to be quite fascinating, though very slightly disturbingly literal
Literal, yes, and also entirely self-referential; only Jews could think of writing the words You shall write these words in the appropriate places. I also do the literal thing of binding the words to my hands and eyes, on occasion. I think the metaphorical sense is probably more important, making your home a place where Jewish values are honoured, looking at the world in the light of Jewish values, and being mindful of Torah in your actions, but in some ways I like the physicality of the custom.

though if you're going for literal interpretation of scripture, I guess that's a fairly nice bit to take literally
Most Jewish tradition of relating to scripture is really not literal at all, there are just odd bits like that where the literalness gets extreme.

And also finally motivated me to actually go and look up what the Omer is as well
You're probably the sort of person who prefers to find things out for yourself, but you know you can always ask if I'm being obscure. Weird though it probably seems, I actually enjoy explaining this stuff.
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darcydodo: tea
From:darcydodo
Date:May 29th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC)
8 hours after journal entry, May 28th, 2005 09:42 pm (darcydodo's time)
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Regarding Civ II: You silly chicken.

Regarding other things: I'm amazed at how old B is; also, last time I recall you mentioning him, he couldn't even talk properly. Time doesn't work right.
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livredor: teeeeeeeeea
From:livredor
Date:May 29th, 2005 11:35 am (UTC)
17 hours after journal entry, 12:35 pm (livredor's time)
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Regarding Civ II: You silly chicken.
Yeah, I know. *sqirm*

I'm amazed at how old B is
So'm I, really; I hadn't seen him since the middle of last year or something and he's really different. The little one too; he's walking and I think of him as a baby. (He's a bit disconcerting cos he's really tiny; I'm all like, what's that little bitty baby doing walking and running, but actually he's 2 so it's quite reasonable.)

last time I recall you mentioning him, he couldn't even talk properly
He still can't, really, not what I'd call properly. He still sounds really babyish, mispronounces a lot of words, calls things by the wrong names and his grammar is kind of idiosyncratic. And when he gets shy and nervous his speech degenerates completely into babble. It's quite strange, cos his hearing and his intelligence are both fine, and his parents are obviously highly articulate. I'm sure he'll get there eventually though.

Time doesn't work right.
You are so right. It really doesn't!
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hatam_soferet: default
From:hatam_soferet
Date:May 29th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC)
22 hours after journal entry
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So this is my problem: the rule book I'm playing by at the moment says that if I write a mezuzah, it's pasul. I don't particularly like that, but I have to play along if I want to maintain credibility in the Orthodox world. In this country, at any rate, I'm playing in the murky edges of Orthodoxy, so I am concerned for its morals. I think that left-wing Orthodoxy has a long way to go in empowering women, and I can be a role-model in that process.

On the other hand, if I want people to take my belief system seriously, I owe it to other people to take their belief systems seriously. In your belief system, if I write a mezuzah there's nothing wrong with it.

So, as long as you're completely clear that non-egalitarian halacha says that a mezuzah written by me is pasul and absolutely no good, and will absolutely not fulfil your obligation in mezuzah, and that if you make a bracha over it you're taking God's name in vain - that's in the interests of me not deceiving you - if you're cool with all that, I'll write you a mezuzah.

Do you think that's a reasonable position to hold?
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livredor: words
From:livredor
Date:May 31st, 2005 11:33 am (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 12:33 pm (livredor's time)
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I really like the way you're approaching this. (And I've been reading your essay about women doing sofrut and that's also very cool!) It makes me wish you were Reform though, you have just the right mindset, but then I suppose anyone would want someone as stylish as you. Lucky left-wing Orthodox people.

I would really, really like to comission you to write my mezuzah, cos I think that would just be the coolest thing ever. As for the obligation side, well, you're right that I'm not fussed about the non-egal stuff, and also I have another mezuzah, a kosher one, which I'll likely carry on using for my front door. The new one is too big and clunky and attention-seeking to use for outside, so I'm planning to use it for my bedroom. So everyone should be happy.
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hatam_soferet: default
From:hatam_soferet
Date:May 31st, 2005 11:55 am (UTC)
2 days after journal entry
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It makes me wish you were Reform though, you have just the right mindset, but then I suppose anyone would want someone as stylish as you. Lucky left-wing Orthodox people.
I think I'm Reconstructionist really :) but that's the same thing as Reform for Brits really, isn't it? We had a Recon friend over on shabbat, along with a MO friend, and we were having a gorgeous discssion about brit milah and how you can get out of it if you think it's horrible. The MO chap was absolutely appalled!

I can't write you a mezuzah yet, because I don't yet know all the rules about writing God's name. They're on my agenda to learn, and I'll pick up some mezuzah klaf next time I'm at Beis ha'Stam (my lovely suppliers, haha, who think I'm Will's agent). Tell me a maximum height?

And I need to work out a way of labelling it that doesn't make it pasul (you're not supposed to write random stuff all over it) but that'll be a safeguard for if it passed from your possession in whatever way and came to someone who wouldn't think it was kosher - I label all my stuff so ppl can tell it was written by a soferet, it seems to be a responsible approach. I think Aviel (the other soferet) has some rabbis working on that just now. Not that I think you're going to sell it, but it could happen that you send it to get checked and it gets mixed up, or something such. Or that you come to acquire more mezuzot than you need, forget which one I wrote, and happen to give it away to someone who needs one more than you do. Or whatever. 'S not just you, I label everything.
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