57.01/ Week fifty-seven, Aug. 14-20, 2021, thread begins here.

Week 56 thread below.
57.02/ 2 comments about Rav Willig's shiur for Shoftim 5781:
(1) He explicitly endorses Rav Twersky's position for combatting the virus and that's awesome!
(2) Him citing Rav Bleich to defend Zechariah ben Avkulous is [chef's kiss]
57.03/ From May 2020, one of my references to ZbA (as I should refer to him) and how I use him as an archetype.
57.03b/ Some of my other references to ZbA, the quintessential cowardly leader who protects his own position & believes he's preserving a system yet whose inaction leads to its collapse:

57.04/ We just returned from a 4 day family vacation - post-COVID waves 1-3, pre-Delta madness - in the Hudson River Valley. What did I miss in the meantime? [Hand to earpiece] OK, there's some crazy noodle fracas and I'm supposed to attack Biden to appear bipartisan. Gotcha.
57.05/ I'm not a pulpit rabbi right now nor a posek but I'm an expert in medical ethics & halakha and there is no halakhic exemption for refusing vaccines outside of valid medical advice. Halakha DEMANDS every life-protecting procedure & esp. for actions that save others' health.
57.05b/ OTOH here's a posek (who also appears to have stepped out of central casting for "Charedi Rosh Yeshiva") and he determines that anti-maskers (and I'd assume kal v'chomer anti-vax) are violating the "biblical commandment against committing murder."
57.06/ I knew it! Average body temperature is more like 97.5 not 98.6 (which came about it an era when more people had chronic conditions and/or before vaccines zapped away major pandemics)
h.t. @acypess
57.07/ Very cool: the Atkinson Hyperlegible Font "named after Braille Institute founder, J. Robert Atkinson.... focuses on letterform distinction to increase character recognition, ultimately improving readability.... free for anyone to use!"
57.08/ My kids have learned to ask me very precisely worded questions because any ambiguity will inadvertently trigger a 5 to 30 minute lecture for what should be a 30 second answer #LifeSkillsParentingWin
57.09a/ I read so many people on here warning everyone with frantic doom scenarios. Some advice from personal experience: you get nearly zero credit when you're right and when you're wrong you get labeled a Chicken Little and that ruins any chance of being taken seriously.
57.09b/ You may need to manage all the doom images in your mind, but there's a real cost to your reputation. To avoid this fate: if you really feel you can see the future, then you'll be ready with prepped plans for when people finally realize you're right etzion.org.il/en/philosophy/…
57.10/ The eternal conundrum for self-employed white-collar worker. The sneaking up meme: Henry...
57.11/ It's #Elul so I actually appreciate stories of evil, selfish people getting measure-for-measure punishment for spreading their deadly words like this guy Walsh. Parker's right: teshuva can start by changing your ways even before any confession.
57.12/ Comparison btw. the 2021 #Mets & 2020 #Steelers is getting eerie. Both teams were riding first place until a sudden & seemingly inescapable collapse. Injuries hollowing out a single position. I just hope DeGrom doesn't go out like Pouncey/DeCastro.
57.13/ How I reconcile the "who's worse GWB or DJT dilemma": DJT was an anti-president who never intended to perpetuate the office nor Democracy itself (as seen by leading an armed insurrection against the Constitutional order). GWB intended to be POTUS.
57.14/ [Going through my single posts during my vacation]

It's always the people you most expect:

with this follow-up
57.15/ This is excellent content.

(Context: It's rare to have the #Tishrei holidays be Tuesday-Wednesday. Last time was 2008! It's probably the worst schedule for those with jobs in the secular world. Anyway, it's a great picture for memeing)

57.17/ Genius move.

(And very helpful for the Tues-Wed. holiday problem mentioned above)

57.18/ Biden has often been giving the right messages.

When people criticize "The Demz!" for bad communication, they should check to see if it's a problem of "Nancy & Joe" or the MSM which refuses to broadcast helpful info in favor of click-bait outrages.
57.19/ The #Shmita year is almost upon us. Here's a link for Rabbi David Marcus's “Shmittah 5782: A Practical Guide”: bit.ly/shmita5782.

57.20/ The "botched AFG" narrative foisted via the MSM's both-sides ideology must be seen in context of GOP seditious sabotage of the USPS & anti-mask/vax policies to maim kids & destroy public schools. GOP actively undermines the US so Biden gets blamed.
57.21/ Great quote by my daughter here (extemporaneous too, she's so smart/good):

“Doing chesed is really important because it’s necessary for society to help people in need. If no one helped anyone then we wouldn’t have a society left.”
57.22/ It's gratifying to see a corrupt abuser get punished for one of the most laughably egregious scams to give himself a job since Dick Cheney (who should be next). Consolation prize for Richards: 'question' for next season's Jeopardy (Category: Karma)
57.23/ For men who're looking for ways to improve in #Elul to get into the Book of Life, this is a good mitzvah to take on.

I do try to be the guy who calls out misogyny, but know - like any good mitzvah - it's 'good trouble.' No pain no gain.
57.24/ The phrase "Men's Rights" should be considered as hateful, violent, and evil as "White P*wer." It's one of the prongs of the 14 w*rds: turning women into objects. That the GOP gladly gave these vile people such power is typical and contemptable.
57.25/ This thread about why the Press is harder on the Democrats - b/c it's a given to the MSM that Ds care & have ethics - is a dynamic found in many asymmetrical conflicts between a lawful & unlawful group. I could call it the Amalek Accusation Fallacy.
57.26/ As I said about the purposeful GOP sabotage in 57.20 - why they are banning life-saving measures for kids/schools & launching what @AstroKatie described as a "DDoS attack on the entire US hospital system" - is also what they did in AFG. See thread:
57.27/ I'm going to toivel this - easy enough to change "pastor" to "rabbi" - and dub this as a very good pulpit-ready joke.
57.28/ The famed "last Jew in AFG" prefers to endure the bloodthirsty Taliban b/c he is a get-refuser who, if he went to Israel, would be forced to free his wife. This spiteful monster should be the picture in our mind of how loathsome get-refusers are.
57.29/ There are many ugly laws in #KiTetze and while I prefer to think that in practice most/all would/will be nerfed the way "Ben Sorer u-Moreh" was (San. 71b), see also my rebbe Rav Lichtenstein zl's superlative article here:

57.30/ There actually is a silent majority - a Biden coalition, as it were - that is slow to anger and stir to action but the murderous madness of the GOP is recklessly overt & an eruption of popular anger like we saw in June 2020 feels inevitable.
57.31/ This is key: wearing a mask is how you protect others even when you're vaccinated. That's why I'm wearing it again in shul: because there are so many kids under 12! So if I'm asked "are you scared of COVID?" My answer: yes, scared of killing you.
57.32/ Yes! With full FDA approval, I'm led to believe, the vaccine can be easily mandated in work places and schools. Let's go! Jab, shoot, inject, whatever verb you want. We need this!

57.33/ OK, Shabbas is starting - yet again - 10 minutes earlier than last week. Be careful everyone, stay safe and have a #ShabbatShalom

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More from @JoshuaCypess

17 Sep
1/ Nearly every Shabbat & Yom Tov since I left the pulpit I've prepared a drasha & shiur that I know I won't be able to deliver. I've described that for many artists the need to produce the art overwhelms an actual audience. The art compels them.
2/ I define art broadly to encompass every creative faculty that arises from the multiple intelligences, talents & perceptions in human capability. We know singers or painters are artists, but so is a teacher or philosopher. IMO society doesn't define an art, humanity does.
3/ Not everyone who has artistic talent or drive or vocation needs to have a feeling of compulsion. My chiddush (intellectual innovation) is to say everyone with that need to create has the soul of an artist whether they are recognized or not.
Read 26 tweets
17 Sep
1/ Since the beginning of the #TrumpCrisis, I've had ever increasingly difficult #YomKippur davening because of the burden I feel to act as a 'sanegor' (defender) for my community and for the Jewish world at large.

(This is in addition to the vast ways I need to improve myself)
2/ I'm not a gadol, a posek, or anything close to a tzadik. But after seeing so many rebbeim & gedolim openly support Trump (ym'sh), erase women from Jewish life, and encourage anti-vax shtuyot, I considered the tenuous possibility that I would need to act as a communal sanegor.
3/ With the established leadership descending into avoda-zara (DJT), shefichat-damim (COVID denial) & arayot (dehumanizing women), I needed to step up - out of safek-nefashot - and use all of my halakhic, rhetorical & philosophical ability to devise kappara for the Am Kadosh.
Read 17 tweets
15 Sep
1/ One more #NFL thing before the Day of Atonement. Last night's #MNF was very satisfying as a #Steelers fan. The ending of the game was nuts and I want to reproduce the nutty live-texts I sent to my sleeping son, not expecting it to become a saga of silliness.
2/ [11:31 PM] 55 yard FG to send it into overtime!

{Little did I know that this would be the least surprising thing of overtime. I should also add that many people expected BAL to go to the Superbowl and the Raiders to get a top 5 pick in the 2022 draft} Screencap from the ESPN app, score 27-27.
3/ [11:40 PM]: RAIDERS WIN
[11:41 PM]: wait hold up
[11:42 PM]: CORRECTION. will be at the half yard-line

{It was so exciting to think LV would get the ball and then just drive down the field and score. Of course, it couldn't be that simple. TD taken back.} ESPN screencap. 7:22 in OT, score still 27-27, LV in red zon
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
1/ MacDonald died? Oh man.

First of all, I wish there was a website to find out if I'm allowed to publicly like a dead guy. Like a list of crimes so I know how to calibrate the right mix of sad, or happy, that he's dead.

[Please do that in Norm's voice]
2/ Certain people who're called "an [artist]'s artist" usually are extremists in that craft, and often unrecognized by all but a niche audience. In comedy, one of my areas of expertise, that doesn't always yield someone I personally enjoy.
3/ E.g. I detest Andy Kaufman's comedy because, for me, the barely disguised intend was cruelty. Other comedians work for "their time" like Lenny Bruce who I wish I found funnier than I do.

MacDonald was in that category.

(and this comment is great)
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
1/ My son, new freshman at his high school, got the cover article in the weekly Torah journal, which was an awesome piece of nachas over #RoshHashanah

A few comments I feel I should make (and download available at this BE"H static link):
2/ I did not help him directly in any way. Despite my eager offer to discuss and/or proofread, he successfully shielded himself from my relentless, avid desire to help him with a D'var Torah.

I say this because (1) it's a really good piece & (2) all the language is his.
3/ However, as a gift to me, he did say that he learned "tautological" from our many conversations (yes!) and from my meta-perspective, I see he followed the advice I give to all my homiletics students based on my decades of speeches, articles, classes & other media.
Read 9 tweets
13 Sep
1/ A thread to catalog my stray comments about the NFL yesterday (as part of my academic 'obsessive archiving' heritage).

Overall, the #Steelers had an amazing road win over Buffalo mainly because of a stifling defense, which is fun in retrospect but during the game is stressful
2/ The comment below is actually from my sports-watching partner, my sportsman son, who is wise & savvy beyond his years.

Melvin "Boy Named Sue?" Ingram draws a holding penalty instead of getting a de jure sack but de facto it is one.
3/ BAL & NE are experts in bad-faith rulebook exploitation. Examples abound (see CBS link). 2 most common: the "Flacco Ball" (badly thrown deep pass designed purely to draw DPI) & having the OL hold on every play to DDOS the refs.
Read 11 tweets

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