As Rabbi continues, the Torah rarely tells us the reward mitzvah
performance earns us. We have no means of determining -- and certainly no right
to arbitrate -- the relative importance of each mitzvah. We may well be
surprised one day to discover that the "insignificant" deeds which no one takes
much note of this world are far more consequential in the World to Come, whereas
the high-profile ones down here will hardly be noticed up above. As the Talmud
remarks, upstairs is an upside-down world (Pesachim 50a). It could very well be
that the few dollars and minutes we spent affixing that small mezuzah on our
doorpost was far more precious to G-d than the many thousands we spent on that
lavish Bar Mitzvah affair for our child. (And by the way, a mezuzah is supposed
to be reexamined by certified scribe twice every seven years.) We really have
little way of truly knowing, and even more absurdly, we often borrow the same
criteria we use to measure importance in the secular world -- prestige, public
recognition -- to the spiritual realm. For better or worse, chances are we'll be
in for some mighty big surprises after 120.
In Olam HaBa [World to Come],
the good in everything will be obvious and there will be no need for the
Blessing of "Dayyan Ha'Emet [Judge of Truth]": Pesachim 50a
The rich and
important will be taken lightly, while those who are downtrodden in this World
will be on top: Pesachim 50a
Light will be plentiful in the World to Come:
One should even learn Torah without pure intent, for that will
bring him to do it with proper intent: Pesachim 50b
Praised is one who
arrives in The World to
Come with his learning at hand: Pesachim 50a
Martyrs killed by the King,
specifically the Harugei Lud [2 brothers who claimed to have committed a murder
in order to prevent the Jews as a whole from punishment], get the highest place
in The "World to Come":
Charity overturns a Divine judgment for
death: Rosh HaShanah 16b
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Fighting riddles and quests are perennial themes and prominent in children's literature.I had the honor of being introduced to children's author Brian Jacques on Mouse Medicine blog. Some of the Reviews of the Redwall series are below . I want to get Loamhedge as part of my repertoire of books.
Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.
Erik Erikson (b. 15 june 1902 - 1992) developmental psychologist & psychoanalyst
The other bright light in the world of children's books whose birthday it
is today is brian jacques (b. 1939).
jacques created perhaps one of my favorite children's book series, the redwall
series. the series started in 1986, today there are dozens of redwall books and
redwall spin-offs (including, of all things, a redwall cookbook, a
television series, and an opera). by the way, you don't have to be a child to
enjoy the redwall books, but of course, mouse lover that I am would say
Lord Asheye of Salamandastron has a prophecy: a new Badger Lord will soon reign over the legendary badger fortress, one who ‘shuns armour and sword’. But who is this youngbeast and how is he to be found?
A haremaid from the Long Patrol regiment is dispatched on a dangerous mission to find him, but the unsuspecting future Badger Lord has been captured by a murderous gang of Sea Raiders who are intent on conquering Redwall Abbey.
While the fate of many creatures, both good and evil, are caught up in the saga, somehow the young ruler must escape and find a way to defend Redwall, for only then will he be able to fulfill his destiny as leader of Salamandastron.
Current Reviews: 4
Young Tiria Wildlough is an ottermaid touched by the paw of destiny. Her epic adventure takes her on a journey from Redwall Abbey across the Great Western Sea, to the mysterious Green Isle. There she must fulfill an ancient prophecy and gain her inheritance.
Green Isle is home to the otterclans, but they are beset by dangers from Wildcat chieftain Riggu Fellis and his catguard slave masters. Aided by two birds and a platoon of Long Patrol hares, Tiria joins forces with the outlaw leader of the otterclans in a battle that will test all their courage and skill.
In the true tradition of Redwall comes a new saga full of feasts and fighting, riddles and quests, and a heroine you’re not likely to forget as she strives to become the chosen one—the High Rhulain!
Loamhedge, the deserted Abbey, forgotten for countless seasons. What secrets do its ruins hold?
Martha Braebuck, a young haremaid, wheelchair-bound since infancy, wonders about a mysterious old poem relating to the ancient Abbey. Could it really be the key to her cure? But how could she get to this Loamhedge? As fate has it, two old warriors, travellers returning to Redwall Abbey, are inspired by the spirit of Martin the Warrior to quest for the ancient place - and three young rebels are determined to go with them.
In another part of Mossflower Country, the giant badger Lonna Bowstripe thirsts for vengeance as he relentlessly hunts down the Searat Raga Bol and his murderous crew. He pursues them unto the very gates of Redwall - and finds valiant Abbeybeasts defending their home against the conniving band of marauding vermin!
Riddles, feasting, songs and battle intertwine with the forces of good and evil in this epic saga. Join the heroes in their far-flung misson. Stand on the ramparts with the Abbot and his friends. Face the Foebeast at the Abbey of Redwall. Take the high road to adventure in the search for the hidden secret of Loamhedge! Eulaliiiiiaaaaaaa!
The Magic of Dr Korczak,not his medicine, made the "children well".The true anecdotes of the children" and about them are inexpressible and beyond words. A case in point is the experience with the mug and Zofia. He would stay 7 years at the hospital yearning for a solution surpassing aspirin to cure the poverty of the children now going back to the streets whence they came.What was the prescription he could offer to cure the world of the dirty and hungry children? "Keep your mouth shut if you are not helping".
Still, inveterate actor that he was, Korczak did not easily admit the harsh
reality of hospital life. When the daughter of a colleague exclaimed: "How
terrible it must be to wake up in a strange hospital with no mommy or daddy," he
replied: "Oh, we know how to cope with that. Every child has a pillow made of
chocolate and whipped cream. If she wakes up and feels unhappy, she breaks off a
piece, and feels much better."
The truth of the matter was that the
frightened child would wake and see the twinkling eyes of the doctor trying to
put her at ease. It was apparent to everyone at the hospital, from the director
to the lowliest orderly, that it was not so much the medicine as the magic of
Dr. Goldszmit´s way with children that made them well. When a girl named Zofia,
who was becoming weak from not eating, refused her mug of broth, he told her how
sad the mug was at being rejected. If she did not drink the broth, it would roll
right out of the hospital into the street and be run over by a tramcar. Zofia
clasped the mug, then drank the broth right down.
Henryk Goldszmit, the
doctor, would stay at the Children´ s Hospital for seven years, but Janusz
Korczak, the writer and future educator, was restless. The doctor saw a feverish
child through the dramatic crises of his illness, but the educator was aware
that when the child was released, he disappeared back into a dark, sunless world
that the doctor could neither enter nor alter. "When the devil will we stop
prescribing aspirin for poverty, exploitation, lawlessness, and crime?" he would
complain to his colleagues. But what could he prescribe to change his patients´
lives? it was the same frustration the five-year-old reformer had felt-how could
he remake the world so that there would be no more hungry or dirty children?
Complaining about injustice wasn´t enough. As a schoolboy he had once been
rebuked by a tram conductor whom he had criticized for cracking a whip on the
horses to make them pull the tramcars more quickly: "If you are so full of pity,
get down yourself and pull, young man. it will be nicer for the horses." He had
taken the message to heart: "Keep your mouth shut if you´re not helping. Don´t
criticize if you don´t know a better way. "
Thinking back to that tramcar
incident, he had to admit to himself that for all of his dissatisfaction about
social inequities, he had not yet found the means to offer a better way of life
to deprived children.
This story is a debunking and parody of the popular novel Zillah. The quotes are right from Lucan and Horace Smith.There are historical inaccuracies in the story which I cannot but recant as an aside:
QUOTE "Let us not question the motives of the Philistine," interrupted Abel-Phittim, "for to-day we profit for the first time by his avarice or by his generosity, but rather let us hurry to the ramparts, lest offerings should be wanting for that altar whose fire the rains of heaven cannot extinguish, and whose pillars of smoke no tempest can turn aside"
Poetic license I suppose .
The setting is the second temple period and allusions to the 10 miracles of which are comprised the unquenchable fire of the altar and the pillars of smoke are attributable to the 10 continuous miracles of the first Solomonic temple which after its destruction by the Babylonians lost some of the miracles and a hiding of or depriving of the divine presence (HESTER PONIM) correct me if I am wrong.
. The tale is a parody of a popular novel from 1828, Zillah, a Tale of Jerusalem, by Horace Smith (1777-1849). Poe incorporated whole phrases and sentences from Smith's story: "Poe's story is more than a parody; it is literally a collage of snatches of the Smith novel, cut out and pasted together in a new order. Read immediately after Zillah, it is very funny. Read without Zillah it is merely a puzzling and even offensive anecdote" (Levine 352). See Levine's edition for notes on specific instances of Poe's use of the earlier work. 2. A more literal translation would be, "He suffered his grey beard to ascend his severe face." The lines are from Lucan's Pharsalia. The passage refers to Marcus Porcius Cato. "Porcius" means, literally, "pertaining to pigs" -- thus leading to the bristle/beard and boar/bore puns which have meaning for both Smith's Zillah and Poe's story.
That part of the city to which our worthy Gizbarin now hastened, and which
bore the name of its architect, King David, was esteemed the most strongly
fortified district of Jerusalem; being situated upon the steep and lofty hill of
Zion. Here, a broad, deep, circumvallatory trench, hewn from the solid rock, was
defended by a wall of great strength erected upon its inner edge. This wall was
adorned, at regular interspaces, by square towers of white marble; the lowest
sixty, and the highest one hundred and twenty cubits in height. But, in the
vicinity of the gate of Benjamin, the wall arose by no means from the margin of
the fosse. On the contrary, between the level of the ditch and the basement of
the rampart, sprang up a perpendicular cliff of two hundred and fifty cubits,
forming part of the precipitous Mount Moriah. So that when Simeon and his
associates arrived on the summit of the tower called Adoni-Bezek–the loftiest of
all the turrets around about Jerusalem, and the usual place of conference with
the besieging army–they looked down upon the camp of the enemy from an eminence
excelling by many feet that of the Pyramid of Cheops, and, by several, that of
the temple of Belus.
"Verily," sighed the Pharisee, as he peered dizzly over
the precipice, "the uncircumcised are as the sands by the seashore–as the
locusts in the wilderness! The valley of The King hath become the valley of
"Lower away the basket with the shekels of silver!" here shouted a Roman
soldier in a hoarse, rough voice, which appeared to issue from the regions of
Pluto–"lower away the basket with the accursed coin which it has broken the jaw
of a noble Roman to pronounce! Is it thus you evince your gratitude to our
master Pompeius, who, in his condescension, has thought fit to listen to your
idolatrous importunities? The god Phoebus, who is a true god, has been charioted
for an hour–and were you not to be on the ramparts by sunrise? Aedepol! do you
think that we, the conquerors of the world, have nothing better to do than stand
waiting by the walls of every kennel, to traffic with the dogs of the earth?
Lower away! I say–and see that your trumpery be bright in color and just in
Intensos rigidam in frontem ascendere canosPassus eratLucan
--a bristly bore.Translation
"LET us hurry to the walls," said Abel-Phittim to Buzi-Ben-Levi and Simeon the Pharisee, on the tenth day of the month Thammuz, in the year of the world three thousand nine hundred and forty-one–"let us hasten to the ramparts adjoining the gate of Benjamin, which is in the city of David, and overlooking the camp of the uncircumcised; for it is the last hour of the fourth watch, being sunrise; and the idolaters, in fulfilment of the promise of Pompey, should be awaiting us with the lambs for the sacrifices."
Simeon, Abel-Phittim, and Buzi-Ben-Levi, were the Gizbarim, or sub-collectors of the offering, in the holy city of Jerusalem.
"Verily," replied the Pharisee, "let us hasten: for this generosity in the heathen is unwonted; and fickle-mindedness has ever been an attribute of the worshippers of Baal."
"That they are fickle-minded and treacherous is as true as the Pentateuch," said Buzi-Ben-Levi, "but that is only towards the people of Adonai. When was it ever known that the Ammonites proved wanting to their own interests? Methinks it is no great stretch of generosity to allow us lambs for the altar of the Lord, receiving in lieu thereof thirty silver shekels per head!"
"Thou forgettest, however, Ben-Levi," replied Abel-Phittim, "that the Roman Pompey, who is now impiously besieging the city of the Most High, has no assurity that we apply not the lambs thus purchased for the altar, to the sustenance of the body, rather than of the spirit."
"Now, by the five corners of my beard!" shouted the Pharisee, who belonged to the sect called The Dashers (that little knot of saints whose manner of dashing and lacerating the feet against the pavement was long a thorn and a reproach to less zealous devotees–a stumbling-block to less gifted perambulators)–"by the five corners of that beard which, as a priest, I am forbidden to shave!–have we lived to see the day when a blaspheming and idolatrous upstart of Rome shall accuse us of appropriating to the appetites of the flesh the most holy and consecrated elements? Have we lived to see the day when-"
"Let us not question the motives of the Philistine," interrupted Abel-Phittim, "for to-day we profit for the first time by his avarice or by his generosity, but rather let us hurry to the ramparts, lest offerings should be wanting for that altar whose fire the rains of heaven cannot extinguish, and whose pillars of smoke no tempest can turn aside."
That part of the city to which our worthy Gizbarin now hastened, and which bore the name of its architect, King David, was esteemed the most strongly fortified district of Jerusalem; being situated upon the steep and lofty hill of Zion. Here, a broad, deep, circumvallatory trench, hewn from the solid rock, was defended by a wall of great strength erected upon its inner edge. This wall was adorned, at regular interspaces, by square towers of white marble; the lowest sixty, and the highest one hundred and twenty cubits in height. But, in the vicinity of the gate of Benjamin, the wall arose by no means from the margin of the fosse. On the contrary, between the level of the ditch and the basement of the rampart, sprang up a perpendicular cliff of two hundred and fifty cubits, forming part of the precipitous Mount Moriah. So that when Simeon and his associates arrived on the summit of the tower called Adoni-Bezek–the loftiest of all the turrets around about Jerusalem, and the usual place of conference with the besieging army–they looked down upon the camp of the enemy from an eminence excelling by many feet that of the Pyramid of Cheops, and, by several, that of the temple of Belus.
"Verily," sighed the Pharisee, as he peered dizzly over the precipice, "the uncircumcised are as the sands by the seashore–as the locusts in the wilderness! The valley of The King hath become the valley of Adommin."
"And yet," added Ben-Levi, "thou canst not point me out a Philistine–no, not one–from Aleph to Tau–from the wilderness to the battlements–who seemeth any bigger than the letter Jod!"
"Lower away the basket with the shekels of silver!" here shouted a Roman soldier in a hoarse, rough voice, which appeared to issue from the regions of Pluto–"lower away the basket with the accursed coin which it has broken the jaw of a noble Roman to pronounce! Is it thus you evince your gratitude to our master Pompeius, who, in his condescension, has thought fit to listen to your idolatrous importunities? The god Phoebus, who is a true god, has been charioted for an hour–and were you not to be on the ramparts by sunrise? Aedepol! do you think that we, the conquerors of the world, have nothing better to do than stand waiting by the walls of every kennel, to traffic with the dogs of the earth? Lower away! I say–and see that your trumpery be bright in color and just in weight!"
"El Elohim!" ejaculated the Pharisee, as the discordant tones of the centurion rattled up the crags of the precipice, and fainted away against the temple–"El Elohim!–who is the God Phoebus?–whom doth the blasphemer invoke? Thou, Buzi-Ben-Levi! who art read in the laws of the Gentiles, and hast sojourned among them who dabble with the Teraphim!–is it Nergal of whom the idolater speaketh?–or Ashimah?–or–Nibhaz?–or Tartak?–or Adramalech?–or Anamalech?–or Succoth-Benith?–or Dragon?–or Belial?–or Baal-Perith?–or Baal-Peor?–or Baal-Zebub?"
"Verily it is neither–but beware how thou lettest the rope slip too rapidly through thy fingers; for should the wicker-work chance to hang on the projection of yonder crag, there will be a woful outpouring of the holy things of the sanctuary."
By the assistance of some rudely constructed machinery, the heavily laden basket was now carefully lowered down among the multitude; and, from the giddy pinnacle, the Romans were seen gathering confusedly round it; but owing to the vast height and the prevalence of a fog, no distinct view of their operations could be obtained.
Half an hour had already elapsed.
"We shall be too late!" sighed the Pharisee, as at the expiration of this period, he looked over into the abyss–"we shall be too late! we shall be turned out of office by the Katholim."
"No more," responded Abel-Phittim,–"no more shall we feast upon the fat of the land–no longer shall our beards be odorous with frankincense–our loins girded up with fine linen from the Temple."
"Raca!" swore Ben-Levi, "Raca! do they mean to defraud us of the purchase money? or, Holy Moses! are they weighing the shekels of the tabernacle?
"They have given the signal at last!" cried the Pharisee–"they have given the signal at last!–pull away, Abel-Phittim!–and thou, Buzi-Ben-Levi, pull away!–for verily the Philistines have either still hold upon the basket, or the Lord hath softened their hearts to place therein a beast of good weight!" And the Gizbarim pulled away, while their burthen swung heavily upwards through the still increasing mist.
"Booshoh he!"–as, at the conclusion of an hour, some object at the extremity of the rope became indistinctly visible–"Booshoh he!" was the exclamation which burst from the lips of Ben-Levi.
"Booshoh he!–for shame!–it is a ram from the thickets of Engedi, and as rugged as the valley of Jehosaphat!"
"It is a firstling of the flock," said Abel-Phittim, "I know him by the bleating of his lips, and the innocent folding of his limbs. His eyes are more beautiful than the jewels of the Pectoral, and his flesh is like the honey of Hebron."
"It is a fatted calf from the pastures of Bashan," said the Pharisee, "the heathen have dealt wonderfully with us!–let us raise up our voices in a psalm!–let us give thanks on the shawm and on the psaltery–on the harp and on the huggab–on the cythern and on the sackbutt"
It was not until the basket had arrived within a few feet of the Gizbarium, that a low grunt betrayed to their perception a hog of no common size.
"Now El Emanu!" slowly, and with upturned eyes ejaculated the trio, as, letting go their hold, the emancipated porker tumbled headlong among the Philistines, "El Emanu!–God be with us–it is the unutterable flesh!"