Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Last Day

Last day of shi'ur tomorrow, and I'm not even going to be there for all of it.

Going to Yeshivat Ohr Etziyyon tomorrow for my interview...

Leaving yeshiva on Sunday, going to my cousins, and leaving Tuesday morning, on the same flight as Tuvia.

Wow, it's been a year already...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Yom Yerushalayim

Only in Yerushalayim...

"Har haBayit b'yadeinu! Har haBayit b'yadeinu!"

Marched from Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav [Kook] in Kiryat Moshe to the Kotel at 230 in the morning. Lots of fun, a little overrated though. The main thing was earlier in the day, the Rikkudegalim, March of Flags. So at 300 about, we got to the Kotel, danced a little, chilled til Vasikin. Minyan took a while; I was davening with Yeshivat Ohr Etziyyon, and they sang and stuff. Eitan though, he said he davened in the stupid minyan, they didn't say Hallel. Why not? "Chassidim." We said Hallel with a bracha. Mamash yafeh. 39 years ago, we recaptured the Kotel, and davening there, wow, it was unbelievable. If only it wasn't just a wall we were davening at, but the Beis HaMikdash itself....
Then I took a bus to Ohr Dovid, and crashed by Ed's. I IMed him Thursday night, I said, Ed I'm crashing by you tomorrow morning. "Ok." So I got there, and I slept on a couch for around 4 hours. Then I woke up, and did the end-of-the-year-family-shopping thing, and let me tell you, by the time I got back to yeshiva at around 430, I was sooo disgusting it was ridiculous. And then I had to do my Erev Shabbos work out, so I got even more disgusting. But boy, I loooooove showers, thank You Lord for letting us come up with that.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Schimmelism Of The Week LI

Yoni: You know, it's faster to go from Miami to Madrid, than from NY to Tel Aviv.
Tonny: Uh, that's because Madrid is closer...


There, I got you again; this time in a [supposed-to-be-but probably won't be] funny post.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Old City Shabbaton

As the title implies, we had an shabbaton in the Old City this Shabbos. We stayed at Netiv Aryeh, in their dorms. It was cool going to sleep, waking up, and I was right there, right where the Beis HaMikdash was not even 2000 years ago...
Friday night we davened at the Kotel, and Avi told me he didn't want to do Kabbalas Shabbos--it was too noisy. So I did it. It was great, so fun. I did Carlebach, as was wanted by the guys, and lotsa people joined. But in order to get everyone to hear, I had to go louder, but the only way I was able to do that was go up a note (at least I think that's what I did). I was worried I wouldn't be able to reach the notes, but BH, I was able to reach, and if I do say so myself, quite nice. After Lecha Dodi, we were dancing for like, 10 minutes about. As R' Lipman mentioned at Shaloshudes, Jews from all walks joined us, from American Yeshivish, to American Mordern Orthodox, to Israeli Chiloni, Chayyal, Chassidim, Chareidim, Israeli Yeshivish. It was awesome, such achdus.
After the eating, Jaunty (he's back! Woo!) went with us to Mei'ah She'arim to go tisch hopping. We went to Slonim and Toldos Aharon. As someone who loves tischen (pl.), I must say, it was quite shvach. At Slonim, all the niggunim (tunes) just weren't. Well, they were niggunim, but they weren't musical, they were like Rosh HaShana-Yom Kippur niggunim, and weren't nice at all. Then we got to the last one which was musical, kind of fast, and it was great--but then the other guys wanted to go. Then we went to Toldos Aharon where, also, wasn't so good. The Rebbe was making Qiddush. It was around 1145 at night. He finished Qiddush at around 12, and then washed, made HaMotzi, and then had some fish, and they sang Kol Mekadeish, but also, it wasn't so musical, it was just like, kind of saying it with a tune, but not singing. Daniel and I left at 1230, after everyone else had left earlier at around 12. I guess it was just one of those Shabbosim.
We davened Shachris at Menachem Tziyyon, across from the Menorah (from the Temple Institute) in the Cardo, had a small tour around the Jewish Quarter from Jaunty, and lunch. At 430, we had our tour of the Muslim Quarter...

I must say, it was amazing, it was beautiful. Arabs all around, a few Jews here and there (70 families we're told), 5 or 6 yeshivos (no, we didn't go around the whole thing, the the part near the Kotel). It was dirty, garbage all over the place, people living on top of each other. The yeshiva Ateres Kohanim, it was soo nice--it was cramped, barely any room to move for 150 guys. Arabs all over Yerushalayim. Wonderful, I don't think it can get better. And you know what the best part was? Wow, this was amazing. while we were looking through the "Iron" Gate (a wooden green door at an entrance to Har HaBayyis (Temple Mount)) onto Har HaBayyis, just even to take a look to what it looks like, to see where the Beis HaMikdash used to be, the Kedusha that was once there, and, still is a bit, 1 man and 3 women just casually walk right in, right in front of us, on to Har HaBayyis. Just, straight through, the police not stopping them, just walking through. I thought to myself, wow, I'm so glad I'm here, I get to see Arabs walking on the holiest palce on Earth.
And the best part is: Whenever we look at Har HaBayyis, we see this gold, glaring reminder that we don't have it. It's there, just sticking out from the middle, as ugly as ever (waking up at 1615 from my Shabbos nap to the Arabs "davening Mincha" (lehavdil alfei alafos) was especially great).

For those of you who couldn't tell, there's a puddle here right next to the computer, from all sarcasm that was just dripping from that last two paragraphs.

Arabs, who hate us more than Red Sox and Yankees fans hate each other, living in our Holy City. Not to mention that somehow, the Muslim "Quater" is the biggest quater of the city (leave it to the British to screw something like that up). Baruch HaShem, there are 70 Jewish families who live there, 6 yeshivos there. The security is actually quite good--all throughout the tour, there were police here and threre, undercover police to escort those who wanted; we saw Jews walking back and forth, chassidim, yeshiva guys, women with kids. It was nice, it's quite safe, but garbage all over the place, so cramped, graffiti everywhere; it smelled like hash (not like I know what that is or anything....). It is true what the Gemara says, the closer you get to the Beis HaMikdash, the more desecrated it got. It was terrible.
How'd it get like this? We weren't keeping the Torah. That's why the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, twice (the first because of the big 3: immorality, murder, idol worhip; the second, because of hatred of fellow Jews). If we just keep the Torah like we are supposed to, and be menschen (pl. of mensch), the Arabs will not be there anymore, we will have the Beis HaMikdash, Maschiach will be here. R' Lipman mentioned that everyone is involdved somewhat in kiruv, not just people who work in it. If one is acts nicely towards everyone, says hi to people in the street, that in itself is a way of kiruv. There are many stories of great rabbanim who are remembered by these random people because they said "good morning" to them everyday, or something like that. So simple.
Yes, there are many Jews who aren't keeping the Torah. Most of them are under the category of tinnok shenishbah-a baby that was captured. In that case, the baby isn't really at fault, because, it was captured as a baby, what does the baby know? Most of the people like that we have today, are considered t"sh because that's how they grew up, with no Torah around them; it wasn't there fault. Yes, work needs to be done to bring them back, but you never know what a simple "hi" can do.
Well, I didn't expect this post to go there necessarily, but like, we just gotta keep the Torah. And yes, I'm talking to myself too, don't worry.
Please God, soon, we will be zoche to have Yerushalayim all to ourselves, with Maschiach sitting on his throne, and Har HaBayyis in our hands once again, with the Beis HaMIkdash on it.

PS - Avishai.

There, I menioned you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Schimmelism Of The Week L

Mordy: He drives the bus, of course he's the man.
Tonny: Yeah, we put our live into his hands everyday.
Mordy: No, if I hold onto the bar here, I'm good.

And from His Schimmelness himself...

Before the savages come, could you close the door [to the classrom]? Because they'll take our women & steal our cattle.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lag BaOmer

Yesterday most of the yeshiva decided to go to Meiron for Lag BaOmer. If you didn't want to, you didn't have to go, but it was an option. I, along with Roth, Max, Eitan and Noam stayed in yeshiva. Hey, someone's gotta keep an eye on the yeshiva you know? But really, some guys ended up paying around 150 shekels to for the entire trip. I didn't want to be totally tired the entire day (they got back at 4 am. And quite truthfully, I cared more about the softball game we had then going to Meiron), and there are just too many Jews. The kever so I hear is very small, about 10ft x 10 ft (maybe smaller...?) and they pack about 400 Jews in there, mostly chassidim who, for some reason, have this thing of pushing (I see it all the time) everyone out of there way so they can do their thing. You try to say your tehillim, but you're being pushed this way, that way, and before you know it, somehow you're crowd surfing. How am I supposed to get inspired have [more] kavanah [than usual] (which is really why we daven at kivrei tzaddikim in the first place) in such an environment? If I really want to go, I could go next year, or after that, and I can maybe even try to get it free.
So instead, I stayed here. We didn't have shiur, but I went over shechita (I tried to take one of the tests today, but the site wasn't working). Ma'ariv I davened at R' David's shul, and across the street on the dirt hill behind the apartment buildings, theer were about 5 or 6 different fires. R' Lipman had one, R' Lichtman was part of a big one, it was fun. R' David came to speak before some of the kids made a siyyum on some mishnayyos. I bounced--I couldn't stand anymore, my ankle was hurting a trifle.

(If you don't like/care for sports, you might as well stop reading now.)

Today though, the yeshiva played softbal. It was shana aleph guys vs rebbeim (Rabbi's Lipman (and his son Shlomo, and his friend Ikey) and Lichtman), shana bet (Avi), madrichim (Noam and Daniel), and administrator (Dan). And then since they only had 8, David went to their team. I played first base, and batted 2nd. I didn't get that much action besides a few groundballs. In the 9th Shlomo hit a low, soft liner up toward the middle of the infield and I went to catch it, but I missed it and it hit my shoe. I'm not sure what happened there. Anyway, before the game I was IMing R Lipman and before I signed off, I said to him, "I can't wait to hit 5 homers off you." Well, that didn'y happen fully, but I did hit one, Thank God. Before me Yoni got out (he made the play of the game: he was playing 3rd, and a liner was hit to his left, and he just layed out (he dove who don't know the vernacular) and caught it. It was just so beautiful), and then I was up. I we didn't have called balls and strikes, but I think I might have had 2 strikes on me, I don't even remember. R Lipman was trying to trick me, curveballs, changeups, but I wouldn't budge. Finally I got my pitch. I was batting righty (I don't know why, right field was kinda like Pesky's Pole at Fenway--very short, and then juts out, but not so far out, so it was like the short porch at right field in Yankee Stadium) and Rabbi L threw a pitch down and away, and I just went with it and smoked it to the opposite field, right center (though more towards center than right). I just followed through and BAM linedrive to the gap, and eventually I scored and had a hr (thanks Bracha!). If we want to get really technical here, it was a double with a 2-base error, but seriously, who counts errors in softball??
I ended up 2/4, a hr, 2 runs, 3 RBIs (my next at-bat I had a 2-RBI single, and my next 2 ab's I got out, 6-3 groundout and pop up to Rabbi L). And my ankle didn't hurt so much. I slipped rounding 3rd once (the field was going downhill...), and I felt something in my knee also, but that went away and it's all good.

I love baseball (and yes, softball and baseball ARE the same thing).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ambidextrousness At Its Best

This is ridiculous. I wish I can do that (although I can throw pretty well with my left hand too, although I bet not as good as this guy).

Friday, May 12, 2006

Baruch Dayan HaEmes

Reizel Leah bas Pesach Aryeh HaLevi

My step aunt, Reni Johnson, was niftar yesterday at 357 am.

Thank you all for your tefillos.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Schimmelism Of The Week IL

Max: No one appreciates people walking around without pants.
Shamouilian: Now that's just not true.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Reality, Or Lack There Of, Of It All

"When he's not busy...he can be found injuring himself, but hey, at least he did it while playing sports, he's not just clumsy."

-My yearbook paragraph, written by Gila

On Friday, Kfare called me, asking if i could play on Mevaseret's softball team, to fill in for some guys who couldn't make it. Of course, the baseball (or things of the like, such as softball) lover I am, I quickly said yes.
A few minutes before the game, I'm out practicing at 2nd base, and the sprinklers in center field go on. It wasn't so bad, they weren't in our way so much. But then they turned off and the ones in right field went on, which were in our way. Next we start playing and the one right next to 3rd base goes on, and in this process the whole field got wet. As I was turning 3rd base after my 2nd at-bat (I had singled, driving in 2 runs; finished 2/4, 4 rbi 1 run), I stepped on home plate, and because it was all wet, I slipped and twisted my left ankle on the plate. After about 2 or 3 minutes on the grround, I got up, walked around a little bit, hoping to walk it off. It didn't hurt so much. I ran also, and of course I was slower, but it wasn't so bad, I was still kinda fast I guess. In fact later that inning (we batted around the order and scored 11 runs in the inning; won 20-0 slaughter rule) I got up again, knocked in my 3rd and 4th runs, and ran the bases. And went out back to 2nd base. After the game, it started hurting more and by the time I got to yeshiva, there was a lot of swelling and hurting alot. I wrapped it this morning, went to Terem (emergency room kinda I guess), took xrays, told me it was sprained, they wrapped it, and it's actually not so bad. At Mincha, I was standing normally for Shmoneh Esrei. But still, it's sprained...

Did I mention they were watering fake grass and fake dirt?

And Israelis are complaining about water shortages...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Johnny Gomes Is Awesome

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Yom HaZikaron

Monday was our first day back at yeshiva from vacation, and the powers that be decided that our Yom HaZikaron tiyyul would take place the day before the actual day, because we just wouldn't be able to move around. It would be packed everywhere.
First we went to Har Tzofim, just to see the view, and our tour guide told us some stuff, about the Milchemet Ha'Atzmaut (Independence War), and of the 6 Day War, about Yerushalayim, etc. We then went to Giv'at HaTachmoshet (Ammunition Hill), and the first thing we did was watch a 22-minute movie about the 6 day war, and the brigade of paratroopers that took Yerushalayim. Quotes from soldiers who survived, talking about going up the hill, going house by house, watching their buddies die right in front of them, with clips of the war here and there. They talked about how they got closer and closer to the Old City, and Har HaBayyis (Temple Mount), and how they finally took it ("HaBayyit b'yadeinu! Habayyit b'yadeinu!"). It was really moving. After the movie, as we were leaving, I said to myself/everyone, "And this, folks, is why we join the army."

After that we walked around the hill, going to some monuments, with our tour guide telling us how they did it, in the trenches with the arabs, closed spaces, craziness all around.
Then we had lunch, and a little tour thing outside of the Old City, followed by Har Hertzl. Our tourguide took us to upstairs to some graves of soldiers, told us stories about quite a few. There were two soldiers on the other side, who told us the story of how 5 of their buddies died. We all just walked around; looking at the names, thanking them for giving up their life for me. It was in the back of my mind, but at one point, Rabbi Wolicki just said, "Can you believe it? Every single one of these soldiers died al kiddush HaShem (sanctification of God's Name), died protecting K'lal Yisrael." After the second time I responded, "Rabbi, you can stop scaring me now."
I saw Yosef Goodman's grave. He died on February 2nd. Yosef was in hesder, in the army, and he was also quarterback on the Tov Pizza (Efrat) football team in the american football league (his parents own TP). He was a paratrooper, and on one of the jumps, his parachute didn't open up...

Thank you to all of the chayyalim who gave their life for us, to live in a Jewish country (well, maybe not fully, but it's getting there). Thank you all.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Schimmelism Of The Week XLVIII

Tonny: I love procrastination.
Roth: I love procrastination tomorrow.