Joshua Cypess Profile picture
He/his. PhD social scientist & Orthodox Rabbi. We're all in this together. #BlackLivesMatter #Steelers #Mets #Resist
Joshua Cypess Profile picture Puneet Kollipara Profile picture Aaron Cypess Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
19 Sep
62.01/ Week sixty-two, Sept. 18-25, 2021, thread begins there.

Week 61 below
62.02/ A custom on #YomKippur is to wear a kittel, an all white garment that has ambivalent symbolism: men wear one under their wedding canopy and they are also buried in it. I mentioned to a physician friend that it can also be seen as "Jewish scrubs."
62.03/ "But life is ironic" is just boss-level shade. I mean, I have my theological differences with the pontiff, but I can imagine we see eye-to-eye about anti-vaxxers.(h.t. @dick_nixon)

Read 41 tweets
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):
parshasheets.com/newsletter/bko…
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.
cbssports.com/nfl/news/raven…
Read 11 tweets
12 Sep
61.01/ Week sixty-one, Sept. 11-17, 2021, thread begins here.

Week 60 below
61.02/ I am a fan of the professional sport of American Football and, as a child of Pittsburgh, a particular avid supporter of the #Steelers. I apologize ahead of time for some intemperate comments that may be made during the season which could be non-sequitur for non-NFLers.
61.03/ From last night at the #Mets-Yankees game, a scandal that Fox's cameras lingered on that hateful flag. Ironically it symbolizes the way 9-11 was perverted by corrupt bad-actors from day one.

Read 38 tweets
10 Sep
1/ One of these days I'll learn how to read alt-text in my standard browsing experience on Twitter. One reason why: when I alt an image on my feed I will try to describe the picture but add extra commentary (1000 char>280).

For example, on the gif below:
2/ This is part 1:
Absolutely no idea what the original source of this gif is. I was searching for variations of "smackdown" or "beatdown." This is of a toddler wearing a yellow jumpsuit - satirizing Uma Thurman's suit in "Kill Bill" I assume - fighting a stuffed animal monster.
3/ Part 2 (but all within the original tweet pic):

The toddler displays kung-fu moves and poses and ends the fight by ripping open the stuffing of the violent antagonist and ripping out what I assume is to represent its heart (a pile of fluff)
Read 5 tweets
5 Sep
1/ #ReshetKeshet
Before #RoshHashanah there's a common practice to utter a blanket request for forgiveness. E.g. "To everyone I know or encountered please forgive me. OK bye!"

You're correct in thinking that this depersonalized superficial "apology" is hollow & thus ineffective.
2/ How can I forgive someone if they don't know what they did to me? Doesn't admit real guilt, express regret, detail how they will work towards restitution, or describe how they will fix their mentality/behavior to avoid hurting me in the future.
3/ However, #RoshHashanah is a dangerous time of year. Tradition understands the stakes are the highest possible. It's an annual review before the King of Kings, arbiter of justice, and we treat it like the final exam worth 100% of our grade.
Read 16 tweets
5 Sep
60.01/ Week sixty, Sept. 5-11, 2021, thread begins here.

Week 59 (Aug 28-Sept. 4th, oops, 2021) below
60.02/ From last night, mourning the passing of a #Steelers legend and - from what I hear - an all-around good guy, baal-chesed, #TunchIlkin
60.03/ It's absolutely crucial to hear what these conservatives think of women: as "host bodies" of a fetus. Women are objects to them. Dehumanization is the first step to the worst atrocities.
Read 41 tweets
1 Sep
1/ Jude's warning about the "one good man" (in this case, about the NBer trainwreck, see inside) is something I worry about as well: when a cause's fate can rise or fall with the virtue or sins of one single person.
2/ This can be an inevitable consequence of ethical heroics. Jewish law (IMO) emphasizes the severity of Chillul Hashem for this reason: Jews are commanded to act as representatives for God on Earth. Our individual behavior can destroy the entire mission.
3/ Yet an iconoclastic mission will often require salient, brave individuals. How to avoid the problem of Chillul Hashem and the pitfalls of Jude's "One Good Man"?

Same answer: Don't be alone. Don't be "one."
Read 10 tweets
29 Aug
59.01/ Week fifty-nine, Aug. 28-Sept. 3, 2021, thread begins here.

Week 58 thread below.
59.02/ Scoring a run on a balk is such sweet victorious humiliation. Like in NFL when a QB gives up a safety by running out the back of the endzone. Thanks Nationals. #LGM
59.03a/ One year without fans in the stands and they forgot how to act right.

The fans can't be abusive, throw objects, hurl slurs. This we know. But we cheer and boo. That's our job. And if players enjoy the cheering they need to fear the booing as well.
Read 46 tweets
26 Aug
1/ These are two very solid threads by @Mandalorthodox about what is evidently a hot topic on JTwitter: a familiar (to me) inter-denominational fracas about authenticity and validity.

&
2/ I usually stay out of these discussions because of my heavy footprint: both as an Orthodox rabbi and a Ph.D. in Jewish studies & sociology. My dissertation deals directly with these topics. See especially ch. 1 & ch. 5 (Conclusion).

academia.edu/15401772/Jewis…
3/ Yet I'll add two points from my expert perspective:
1) Many non-Orthodox claims are as polemical & doctrinaire as the O are presumed to be. Ironically, each denomination has orthodoxies. Saying "Jews believe X" (like "no afterlife") is actually just one side in a debate.
Read 12 tweets
22 Aug
1/ We went on a family trip last week. It was the first vacation we could carve out in a while (see also, Tishrei holidays on Tues/Wed this year) plus the need to relieve the cabin-fever of COVID. Foresight also suggested we should grab time now before the next wave.
2/ In the past we've been able to travel far, but staying close to home seemed prudent this year pandemic-wise. So we went to the Hudson River Valley. Just 2 hours away but it felt like a different world. Which was perfect. Important history there plus great natural beauty. One of us on the Walkway Over the Hudson which was described
3/ The above pic is from the Walkway Over the Hudson, the 2nd longest pedestrian bridge in the world. And I believe it, because while traversing it in the climate-changed heat, I was firing spoons off like an overheated Gatling gun.
walkway.org
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkway_o…
Read 32 tweets
22 Aug
58.01/ Week fifty-eight, Aug. 21-27, 2021, thread begins here.

Week 57 thread below.
58.02/ This article, sporting footnote numbers in superscript without any accompanying - um, ya know, actual - notes, has big "lazily plagiarized from Wikipedia" vibes to it.
jewishpress.com/judaism/halach…
58.03/ OTOH, this is an absolutely crucial piece in the Jewish Press by Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman, explaining and expanding on the ruling of Harav Hershel Schachter, that getting the COVID vaccine is halakhically required. Demanded.
jewishpress.com/judaism/halach…
Read 36 tweets
15 Aug
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!
torahweb.org/torah/2021/par…
torahweb.org/torah/special/…
(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.
Read 36 tweets
11 Aug
1/ I try to teach my kids leadership lessons from my observed, taught, & lived experience. E.g. (1) 90% of leadership praxis is communication (yet too often unpracticed, with disastrous results) (2) vision is as necessary as operations but without one you're either blind or lame.
2/ (3) Vision is strategy, operations are tactics, but both are neutralized without logistics, (4) ultimately, a leader needs to put the welfare of the group above themselves; it should be the reason they consent to the imagine oneself capable of making decisions for others.
3/ #4 is about self-sacrifice and without that, leadership becomes exploitative. (5) In order to determine all elements - strategy, tactics, vision, and consent of the governed - you need a system of error checking.

Read 29 tweets
8 Aug
56.01/ Week fifty-six, Aug. 7-13, 2021, thread begins here.

#ChodeshTov everyone! Happy #Elul, the "deep breath before the plunge" (as Gandalf says).

Week 55 thread is below.
56.02/ Excellent shibboleth action here from Rabbi Ruttenberg, in a benevolent, non-murdery, way, of course.

56.03/ Honored with #haftara yesterday but it had been so long since I last did one that my eyesight has gotten bad enough that I was juggling a mask, fogged glasses, & the too small print of even a full-size Artscroll. And why did Yeshayahu have to make up so many weird words?!
Read 45 tweets
4 Aug
1/ A few days ago @AnaMardoll, credibly anticipating that his household would suffer a breakthrough infection, asked for help for what to have on hand to endure COVID19. The resultant advice seems really valuable IMO, so I'm trying to list it here.
2/ I'd assume the advice is good for many with chronic conditions as well. And there's likely even more wisdom in the any additional replies; what follows is a representative sample.

Read 8 tweets
1 Aug
55.01/ Week fifty-five, July 31-Aug 6 2021, thread begins here.

Week 54 below
55.02/ I have no idea (yet?) how to handle this case brought up by @AnaMardoll and I think I need to because I can envision needing a solution IRL.

(Note, it also illustrates why conservatives were so afraid of D&D: it allows kids to broaden their worlds)
55.03/ As I've gotten older I've come to view this mishnah from Avot as more & more central to both practical & ideal wisdom. Especially for the internet.

It's an early indictment of #DunningKruger blowhards: stop talking! Listen. Less talk, more rock.

chabad.org/library/articl…
Read 47 tweets