ANTIGONOS' BRAIN

Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Watch This Space

I really will write about the current situation, although you could probably go back to the earliest posts of this blog from 2006 and note that the more things change the more they stay the same, but I've been very busy with my new, and colicky, grandson.  Feeding him tends to take at least 2 of the three hours before we have to begin all over again, and my daughter is just a tad tired these days.

I promise I will soon bring the blog up to date!

A Page of "Talmud" -- Hilchot Xmas

This has been sitting in my files ever since 2002. I post it, completely at the wrong time of year, because a good laugh never hurt anyone.  [Explaining all the allusions would take forever, so I expect non-Jewish readers to be somewhat baffled in places.  However, the Jews reading this ought to have no problem.  If you do, you need to enroll in a Jewish studies program --Antigonos]

Have you ever wondered what Xmas would be like if it were a Jewish Holiday?.... Please note: We hope that our readers understand that as a religious holiday, Christmas is totally incompatible with Judaism, and the very thought of it being a Jewish holiday is ludicrous. Therefore, we have avoided all references to the religious aspects of the holiday, and tried to focus only on those aspects which have pervaded American culture. Our intention has been to provide a good-natured, humorous parody, to use those cultural aspects of Christmas to illustrate some of the methodology and details of Jewish law. It is a very fine line we are treading, but we hope that we have insulted neither the Torah, nor our Christian friends.
 ã1998 Akiva and Ilene Miller. Permission is granted to copy and recirculate, but only for free, and only if we get the credit (or blame!)

 LAWS OF XMAS (version 2.1)
 Letter of Approbation from the Kringler Rav {I omit a long letter in Hebrew -- Antigonos]

 1. PREPARING FOR XMAS
 1. PREPARATIONS FOR XMAS MUST NOT BEGIN1 BEFORE2 THANKSGIVING.3 THIS APPLIES TO PREPARATIONS WHICH AFFECT THE HOLIDAY MOOD, 4 BUT NOT THOSE WHICH ARE DONE IN PRIVATE. 5
   1 This contrasts sharply with Shabbos, for the mitzva of honoring Shabbos applies all week long. For example, if one finds a particularly good food during the week, one should save it for Shabbos even though it is now only Sunday and Shabbos is a week away. However, Xmas preparations may not begin too far in advance, in order to fulfill the dictum, "It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas."
   2This is because of the principle that two festive occasions should not be mixed into each other. Note the decree of the great R.H. Macy, who established that Santa Claus may not appear in the Thanksgiving Day parade until after all the other floats have passed.
   3 There are some who begin preparing for Xmas as early as Halloween. This is wrong, and they will be called upon to account for their evil ways.
   4 Such as setting up the Xmas tree (some say even buying one,) or playing holiday music on the Muzak.
    5 Such as buying gifts or buying the Xmas dinner turkey. Cooking the turkey may not be done before Thanksgiving because it will appear to be a Thanksgiving turkey.
2. SOME HOLD THAT THE TREE SHOULD BE DECORATED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THANKSGIVING,6 BUT OTHERS PREFER TO DECORATE IT AS CLOSE TO XMAS AS POSSIBLE.7
   6 For the mitzva of "adding to the yom tov" by beginning the Xmas season early.
    7 As it is said, "Do not put off for tomorrow, that which can be put off for the day after tomorrow."

 2. THE TREE 1. ANY SPECIES OF TREE IS KOSHER FOR USE AS A XMAS TREE, PROVIDED THAT IT HAS NEEDLES AND NOT LEAVES. IN OUR LANDS IT IS CUSTOMARY TO USE A FIR TREE.8 IT SHOULD BE REASONABLY FRESH, BUT NOT TOO FRESH, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLE "A XMAS TREE WITH NO FALLEN NEEDLES IS LIKE A SUKKAH WITH NO BUZZING BEES." 8 If the lady of the house already has a fur, then any evergreen may be used. 2. THE TREE SHOULD BE CHOPPED DOWN SPECIFICALLY FOR USE AS A XMAS TREE; IF IT HAD BEEN CUT FOR LUMBER IT IS INVALID. IF THE TREE WAS CUT FOR GENERAL DECORATIVE PURPOSES, BUT NOT SPECIFICALLY AS A XMAS TREE, SOME AUTHORITIES ALLOW IT WHILE OTHERS ARE STRICT. A STOLEN TREE IS NOT VALID FOR THE MITZVAH.9 FORTUNATE IS ONE WHO IS ABLE TO CHOP HIS OWN TREE HIMSELF.10 9 One who cuts his own tree must make sure that he has permission from the landowner to do so. Ideally, cut only from one's own backyard. A tree taken from a reshus harabim, such as the county park (which is actually a carmelis, not a reshus harabim,) is considered as stolen and invalid. 10 One who is unable to cut his own tree should make sure to purchase it from a reputable dealer, or one who is certified by a national kashrus organization.

 3. DURING THE SHMITTA YEAR, A JEW MAY NOT CUT THE TREE DOWN, BUT IT SHOULD BE DONE BY A GENTILE. HOWEVER, SINCE THE TREE IS INEDIBLE, THE PROBLEMS OF "KEDUSHAS SHVIIS" WHICH APPLY TO THE ESROG DO NOT APPLY TO THE XMAS TREE. 4. THE TREE MUST BE BRIGHT GREEN. BRIGHT RED, or a mixture of green and red, IS ALSO ACCEPTABLE FOR A XMAS TREE,11 BUT BROWN IS NOT. THERE MAY BE ONE BROWN SPOT NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THE TREE,12 BUT IN THE TOP HALF OF THE TREE, EVEN ONE BROWN SPOT WILL INVALIDATE THE TREE. A TRULY PIOUS PERSON WILL MAKE SURE TO BRING ALONG A XMAS TREE EXPERT WHEN HE GOES TO LOOK FOR HIS TREE.13 11 Because such trees do not grow red naturally, many Sefaradim adorn the tree with red poinsettia flowers. Ashkenazim prefer poinsettas. 12 Or even two, provided they are on opposite sides so they cannot be both seen at the same time. 13 But it is more macho to pretend to be an expert and pick the tree out himself. 5. THE REQUIRED HEIGHT OF THE TREE IS SUBJECT TO MANY RULES. AN INDOOR TREE MUST BE TALL ENOUGH SO THAT IT REACHES WITHIN 3 HANDBREADTHS OF THE CEILING.14 AN OUTDOOR TREE MUST BE AT LEAST 20 CUBITS TALL. 14 Where local fire codes prohibit the use of such large trees, a smaller tree - even a bonsai - may be used, provided it has toy people around it who will make it appear tall.

6. THE LAW IS "ETZ ISH U'BEITO" - "ONE TREE FOR A MAN AND HIS HOME". THIS TEACHES THAT INDIVIDUALS MUST HAVE A XMAS TREE AT THEIR HOME, AND THAT THE MAIN FUNCTION OF THE TREE IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FAMILY, but public places are exempt. IF ONE WISHES TO PLACE HIS PERSONAL TREE IN A PUBLIC LOCATION HE MAY DO SO, BUT HE WILL NOT HAVE FULFILLED HIS OBLIGATION UNLESS IT IS TRULY SEEN BY THE PUBLIC. IN THIS CASE, "SEEN BY THE PUBLIC" MEANS THAT THE TREE IS LARGE ENOUGH THAT IT IS SHOWN ON THE LOCAL TV NEWS REPORTS.15
   15 This is the origin of the custom of the great tree in Rockefeller Center, where a shaliach from Lubavitch lights the tree just before sunset on Erev Xmas, and is then returned to Crown Heights by an NYPD helicopter in time for the dinner meal.

 7. IN RECENT YEARS, THERE HAS BEEN A GREAT CONTROVERSY OVER THE USE OF MANUFACTURED TREES. IN THEORY, SOME HOLD THEY ARE INVALID,16 WHILE OTHER AUTHORITIES HOLD THEY ARE VALID.17 IN PRACTICE, HOWEVER, EVEN THE LENIENT OPINIONS HOLD THAT ARTIFICIAL TREES ARE TOO TACKY, AND THUS VIOLATE THE PRINCIPLE OF "HADAR". But if one has already met his obligation by displaying at least one kosher Xmas tree, he may have additional trees of any kind, natural or not.18 16 Based on the verse "Etz chayim hee" ("A tree is alive"), teaching that even if it looks like a tree, it still cannot be a tree unless it was alive at some point. 17 Based on the verse "Etz chayim hee" ("It is a tree of life"), teaching that some trees have life, and others do not necessarily have life. 18 Similarly, manufactured trees are acceptable in malls, offices, and other exempt public places.

8. ORIGINALLY, THE LAW WAS THAT THE TREE MUST BE DISPLAYED SO THAT IT WOULD BE VISIBLE TO PASSERS-BY OUTSIDE THE HOME. OVER THE CENTURIES, AS PERSECUTIONS INCREASED, THE PEOPLE INSIDE THE HOME BECAME THE MAIN AUDIENCE. EVEN SO, IT SHOULD BE DISPLAYED IN A PROMINENT AREA OF THE HOUSE, TO SHOW RESPECT FOR THIS MITZVAH. WHEN POSSIBLE, IT SHOULD PREFERABLY BE BY A WINDOW WHERE IT COULD BE VIEWED FROM THE STREET, TO CONTINUE THE ORIGINAL PRACTICE. 3. DECORATING THE TREE 1. AS WITH ALL MITZVOS, THE TREE SHOULD BE TASTEFULLY19 DECORATED. POPCORN TASTES EXCELLENT, AND SOME STRING POPCORN TOGETHER (WITH NEEDLE AND THREAD)20 TO MAKE LONG CHAINS WHICH ARE WRAPPED AROUND THE TREE. 19 In order to keep children actively interested and participating in all the goings-on, "tasteful" is defined by the youngest person in the household. This generally results in displaying all sorts of holiday projects in school, no matter how tacky or amateurishly done, giving great prominence to "artwork" which is normally allowed nowhere but the refrigerator door. 20 To remind us of the verse, "We're all connected." (Nynex)

 2. THE MAIN DECORATION FOR THE TREE IS STRINGS21 OF COLORED22 LIGHTS. The circuitry of the lights is arranged with parallel23 wires, not in serial. A certified24 electrician should inspect each set of lights. 21 The numerical value of the word "orot" (lights) is 613, similar to the value of the word "tzitzit". 22 The lights may be of 5 colors (corresponding to the knots in each tzitzit) or of 8 colors (corresponding to the 8 strings in each tzitzit). Where these combinations are unavailable, all the lights must be white. (Some use all white lights, with each eighth light being blue.) 23 Just as the eight strings of the tzitzis are tied in two parallel groups of four strings to help keep them kosher in the event a string breaks, similarly, arranging the lights in parallel will keep the other lights lit even if one light goes out. 24 By mutual consent, certification of Xmas lights is handled not by the OU but by the UL.

 3. ADDITIONAL LIGHTS ARE SET UP AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOME,25 EACH ACCORDING TO HIS OWN ABILITY. THE MORE LIGHTS and other decorations26 ONE SETS UP, THE MORE PRAISEWORTHY HE IS. 25 The minimum which one should strive for is the outline of one window which faces the street, and this is sufficient for apartment dwellers. 26 Those who have a front yard or lawn put all sorts of decorations up, whether lit by lights or not. Some say that if a snowman was built before Xmas, and by New Year's it still has not melted, it is a sign of blessing for the home for the coming year.

4. THE LIGHTS MUST STAY LIT27 UNTIL28 MOST PEOPLE CAN BE PRESUMED TO BE IN BED29 OR ASLEEP. 27 One may use a timer to turn the lights off each night automatically, but not on Shabbos. Because of the public nature of the lights, they must stay lit lest anyone think that they were turned off manually, which would be a violation of the holy Shabbos. 28 11:35 pm Eastern, 10:35 Central/Mountain time. 29 Watching Leno or Letterman.

 5. TREE DECORATIONS ARE CONSIDERED "MUKTZA L'MITZVASA", "SET ASIDE FOR ITS MITZVAH", AND MAY NOT BE USED FOR ANY PERSONAL USE UNTIL AFTER XMAS IS OVER.30 FOR EXAMPLE, EDIBLE DECORATIONS MAY NOT BE EATEN UNTIL AFTER XMAS. SIMILARLY, SINCE THEY MAY NOT BE USED FOR PERSONAL USE, ANY DECORATIONS WHICH FALL FROM THE TREE ON SHABBOS OR ON YOM TOV MAY NOT BE REPLACED31 UNTIL AFTER SHABBOS OR YOM TOV. 30 See Siman 9 below for opinons regarding when Xmas actually ends. 31 Or even handled.

6. IF THE LIGHTS WERE NOT32 PUT AWAY AFTER XMAS, THEN IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR EACH33 BULB MUST BE REMOVED34 FROM THE WIRING AND REATTACHED. 32 But if they were put away properly, then the act of restringing them the following year suffices for the mitzva. It is only where they stayed up all year that the lights must be renewed by removing and reattaching them. 33 If is enough if this is done for the majority of bulbs. 34 The bulb does not need to be totally removed, but it is adequate if the bulb is so loose that the electricity will not flow to it to light it.

 4. GIFTS 1. ONE IS OBLIGATED TO BUY PRESENTS, REGARDLESS OF HIS INCOME LEVEL, FOR EVERY PERSON THAT HE HAS EVER SPOKEN TO IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE and their immediate family members. ONE MAY GO INTO SERIOUS DEBT IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THIS MITZVAH. PRESENTS MAY BE EXCHANGED AT ANY CONVENIENT TIME DURING DECEMBER UP UNTIL THE 25TH. 2. REGARDING A CHILD WHOSE BIRTHDAY OCCURS ON OR AROUND XMAS, SOME SAY TO GIVE HIM A DOUBLE PORTION OF GIFTS,35 AND OTHERS SAY TO GIVE HIM A SINGLE PORTION.36 SOME RESOLVE THIS BY GETTING HIM A NORMAL NUMBER OF GIFTS, BUT THEY WOULD BE DOUBLE IN SIZE OR VALUE.37 35 Which may cause others to feel cheated. 36 Which will surely cause him to feel cheated. 37 Another idea has been to celebrate "Xmas in August". See Rabbi Edward's opinion below, in section 9:2.

 5. THE OFFICE PARTY 1. "WHEN DECEMBER ARRIVES, OFFICE PRODUCTIVITY DECREASES."38 BEGINNING AT 9:00 AM ON THE MONDAY PRIOR TO XMAS, ALL REAL OFFICE WORK STOPS.39 IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE ILLUSION OF DOING REAL WORK, EMPLOYEES BUSY THEMSELVES WITH TASKS SUCH AS THE COMPANY NEWSLETTER, OR PLANNING THE OFFICE "HOLIDAY PARTY". 38 As it is said, "It's a slow time of year." 39 When that Monday is Erev Xmas itself, this work stoppage is moved up to the preceding Monday.

2. IT IS A REQUIREMENT THAT ALL COMPANIES CONDUCT AN ANNUAL "HOLIDAY PARTY" EACH YEAR. THIS HAD BEEN CALLED A "XMAS PARTY" UNTIL 1972, WHEN THE SUPREME COURT RULED IT TO BE A DISCRIMINATORY NAME. THE TERM "HOLIDAY PARTY" WAS ENACTED SO THAT NATIVE AMERICANS, ASIANS, AND MUSLIMS40 WILL ALL FEEL EQUALLY UN-AMERICAN. 40 When Ramadan is not in December. 3. THE "HOLIDAY PARTY", IN ORDER TO BE DONE PROPERLY, REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF RITUAL DRINKING AND DEBAUCHERY. "AD'LOYADA" - ONE MUST DRINK AND CONTINUE DRINKING UP TO41 THE POINT HE CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIS FAT DUMPY WIFE AND HIS GORGEOUS 22 YEAR-OLD BLOND SECRETARY.42 41 In this case, "up to" means "ad v'lo ad b'clal" - "up to but NOT including" the point when he cannot tell the difference. Once one has reached this point he is excused from further drinking. See next note for more details. 42 The example above presumes that he is a male, and his secretary is a female. However, if his secretary is male, and he has reached the point where he cannot tell the difference between his fat dumpy wife and his handsome 22 year-old blond male secretary, then he is forbidden to drink any more alcohol until Purim.

4. ALL BANKS AND OFFICES MUST CLOSE AT NOON43 ON THE 24TH OF DECEMBER SO THAT EVERYONE MAY BE ABLE TO GET HOME IN TIME TO TAKE CARE OF THE LAST MINUTE PREPARATIONS. 43 Retail establishments remain open until 4 PM on Erev Xmas, and restaurants a bit later. There is a popular saying that "Denny's never closes," leading many people to ask, "So why are there locks on the doors?" The answer is that until recently, Denny's restaurants had been non Xmas-observant, and in fact did not have locks on the doors. Locks were installed only a few years ago when Denny's became Xmas-observant and began closing for the holiday.

 6. THE FESTIVE MEAL 1. IN THE EVENING, AFTER THREE STARS APPEAR IN THE SKY, THE FAMILY GATHERS TOGETHER FOR THE EREV XMAS MEAL. THERE ARE VARIOUS OPINIONS AS TO WHAT IS TO BE EATEN AT THIS MEAL. ONLY FISH IS TO BE EATEN AT THE EREV XMAS MEAL.44 In our lands, the custom is to eat 12 fishes45 at this meal corresponding to the 12 days of Xmas. 44 When Erev Xmas is on Friday, and the dinner coincides with the first Shabbos meal, only gefilte fish may be used. 45 Even on Shabbos, one can easily reach 12 different kinds of gefilte fish: How can we show that four different fishes can make twelve different dishes? Because we ate four different fishes in Egypt, (whitefish, pike, carp, and whitefish-pike,) but we are now able to buy them three different ways. We can buy them ready-to-eat in jars, frozen in loaves, or ground raw at the fish store. Now, it follows that if there were four different species made three different ways, then there are 12 different gefilte fishes. How can we show that each of the twelve fishes is actually eight dishes? Because they can be made with or without salt, with or without sugar, and with or without matzo meal, and there are eight combinations of those three options. Thus, if there are twelve fishes that can be prepared eight ways, then there are a total of 96 dishes! How can we show that each of the twelve fishes is actually sixteen dishes? Because each of the eight recipes can be made either cooked or baked. Thus, if there are twelve fishes that can be prepared sixteen ways, then there are a total of 192 dishes!

 2. ONCE THE MEAL IS COMPLETE, THE FAMILY GATHERS IN THE ROOM WITH THE TREE WHERE THEY SING ZEMIROS AND DRINK EGGNOG.46 AT MIDNIGHT THE FAMILY HEADS TO SHUL FOR TIKKUN CHATZOS. Some say that Tikkun Chatzos can be said as early as 8:00 PM,47 but it is good to be stringent on oneself. 46 Eggnog being a milchig drink, some hold that this is the real reason for eating fish instead of meat. 47 So that the children will be awake.

 7. SANTA CLAUS 1. FOR MANY YEARS, THE EXISTENCE OF SANTA CLAUS WAS A SUBJECT OF INTENSE DISPUTE IN THE ADULT COMMUNITY. IN 1897, A TEAM OF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS WAS COMMISSIONED BY ONE VIRGINIA O'HANLON TO RESOLVE THE QUESTION. THEIR FINDINGS CONCLUDED "YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS."48 THIS WAS REAFFIRMED SEVERAL DECADES LATER IN A COURT CASE BROUGHT IN NEW YORK COUNTY SUPREME COURT.49 48 New York Sun, September 21, 1897. (not in December as one might think) 49 Testimony from the United States Post Office proved to be crucial in deciding this case, as documented in Miracle on 34th Street, 1947.

 2. IT IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN TO LIGHT ANY KIND OF FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE ON THIS EVENING.50 THOSE WHO WANT TO ROAST CHESTNUTS ON AN OPEN FIRE SHOULD USE A BARBECUE. 50 DUH! (But see also below, note 39) 3. TO DEMONSTRATE OUR FAITH51 IN SANTA, EACH YEAR WE LEAVE HIM A PLATE OF DONUTS OR COOKIES ON A TABLE NEAR THE TREE, WITH A GLASS OF MILK TO DRINK. SOON AFTER THIS PRACTICE BEGAN, CHILDREN BEGAN TO QUESTION WHY THE MILK WAS STILL ON THE TABLE THE FOLLOWING MORNING, SO THEIR PARENTS ADOPTED THE CUSTOM OF DRINKING THE MILK AFTER THE CHILDREN WENT TO BED. HOWEVER, JUST THREE YEARS AGO,52 WHILE DELIVERING HIS GIFTS, SANTA ACCIDENTALLY REVEALED TO A YOUNG GIRL THAT HE SUFFERED FROM LACTOSE INTOLERANCE, AND THAT THIS IS WHY THE MILK HAD BEEN LEFT UNDRUNK ALL THOSE YEARS. THE FOLLOWING YEAR, SHE LEFT HIM A GLASS OF PAREVE SOYBEAN "MILK", AND THIS PRACTICE HAS SPREAD FAR AND WIDE SINCE THEN. (IN COMMUNITIES WHICH ACCEPT THE USE OF GOVERNMENT SUPERVISED MILK IN LIEU OF RABBINIC CHOLOV YISROEL, LACTAID™ MILK IS USED INSTEAD.) 51 "I believe with complete faith that he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake." Ani Maamin #11, daily siddur. 52 The Santa Clause, by Tim Allen, produced by Walter Disney, 1994. This film also showed Santa's new fire-resistant suit which was developed just that year. Nevertheless, the principle is that a protective measure is not abandoned even if the reason no longer exists, and so the ban on lighting fireplace fires remains in full force.

 8. OTHER CUSTOMS 
 1. ONE IS TO RISE EARLY ON THE MORNING OF THE 25TH IN ORDER TO OPEN THE PRESENTS. THERE IS A RITUAL MEAL WHICH MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE SUNSET. 2. MEAT AND WINE MUST BE SERVED AT THIS MEAL. LOTS ARE DRAWN TO CHOOSE A DESIGNATED DRIVER WHO MAY NOT HAVE ANY WINE. 3. THE MEAT MAY ONLY BE ROASTED. ONE MAY NOT EAT ANY BOILED OR BROILED MEAT AT THIS MEAL. 4. AFTER THE MEAL, MANY HAVE THE CUSTOM TO RETIRE TO THE FAMILY ROOM TO WATCH SPORTS ON T.V. 5. KIDDUSH IS NOT RECITED ON XMAS, BUT HOLLY IS REQUIRED. 9. HAVDALA 1. THERE ARE MANY OPINIONS REGARDING WHEN THE XMAS SEASON IS OVER.53 SOME HOLD THAT XMAS IS OVER WHEN THE LAST ITEM IN THE AFTER-XMAS SALE HAS BEEN SOLD. OTHERS ARE STRICT AND HOLD THAT XMAS IS OVER IMMEDIATELY AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE FOOTBALL GAME. The last opinion is the main one. 53

 Many are confused by the term "twelve days of Xmas", implying that the Xmas continues until and including January 5. Today, this view is accepted only by the Eastern Orthodox, who hold that December 26 through January 5 constitute Chol Hamoed Xmas. This view is opposed by both the Modern Orthodox and the Ultra Orthodox (and even the Non Orthodox) who hold that Xmas is only one day long, and any context which seems otherwise actually refers to the Xmas season.

 2. WALLED CITES CONTINUE XMAS UNTIL THE END OF THE WINNING TEAM'S TICKER-TAPE PARADE. A RECENT AUTHORITY, RABBI EDWARD, CELEBRATED XMAS IN AUGUST. For this he became known as "Crazy Eddie".

 HAGADA FOR XMAS
 This is the fruitcake of our affliction, which our ancestors baked 400 years ago. All who are in need, come and celebrate Xmas with us. All who are hungry, come and partake of this 400-year-old fruitcake, as it is written, "Let them eat cake!" This year we watch football in the living room, next year may the Super Bowl come to our city! Some have the custom to place the gift-wrapped presents under the tree so that they will pique the curiosity of the children so that they will ask the Four essential questions: How come I have presents and Santa Claus didn't come yet? Why do we drive on the parkway and park in the driveway? How much is that gorilla in the window? Why did the chicken cross the road? We were slaves to our employers, working seven days a week with no benefits, and then the Unions were organized, and decreed a five-day workweek and many holidays in the end of the year. Now if the Unions had not gotten their act together, then we, and our sons, and even our grandsons, would still have to work on Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Years. But our daughters and granddaughters still await their salvation.

 There are four types of children who ask questions on Xmas: the wise one, the bad one, the simple one, and the one who does not know to ask. - What does the wise one ask? I don't know; I couldn't understand him either. Him you must send to a school for gifted children. - What does the bad one ask? He says, "What is this holiday to you?" Because he excludes himself from the community, you must exclude him from your table, and he will go back to his employer and get paid double-time and a half for working on Xmas day. - What does the simple one ask? He simply asks, "What is this?" You will say to him, "This is dinner." - As for the one who does not know to ask, you must go to his room, wake him up and say, "Next year, come to dinner on time!"

 If we would have a beautiful tree, but not have stockings hanging from the fireplace, it would have been enough. If we would have stockings hanging from the fireplace, but not get today off from work, it would have been enough. If we would get today off from work, and not get off on Erev Xmas as well, it would have been enough. If we would get off on Erev Xmas as well, but not get presents, it would have been enough. If we would get presents, but not a delicious dinner, it would have been enough. If we would have a delicious dinner and no dessert, it would have been enough. If we would have dessert, but not watch the football game, it would have been enough. If we would watch the football game, but not see our team win, it would have been enough. If we would see our team win, and have a hangover the next morning, it would have been enough. (Pick up the eggnog and say:) But we do have a beautiful tree, and we have stockings hanging from the fireplace, and we got today off from work, and we got off on Erev Xmas as well, and we got presents, a delicious dinner, and dessert, and we watched the football game, and saw our team win, and so we will now toast our team, and pray that we do not get a hangover tomorrow morning: "Yay team!" Next year is Purim!

ZEMIROS Who knows one? I know one! One is a partridge in a pear tree. Who knows two? I know two! Two are the turtledoves, and One is a partridge in a pear tree. Who knows three? I know three! Three are the French hens! Two are the turtledoves, and One is a partridge in a pear tree. ... ... Who knows four? I know four! Four are the calling birds! ... Who knows five? I know five! Five are the gold rings! ... Who knows six? I know six! Six are the geese a-laying! ... Who knows seven? I know seven! Seven are the swans a-swimming! ... Who knows eight? I know eight! Eight are the maids a-milking! ... Who knows nine? I know nine! Nine are the drummers drumming! ... Who knows ten? I know ten! Ten are the pipers piping! ... Who knows eleven! I know eleven! Eleven are the ladies dancing! ... Who knows twelve? I know twelve! Twelve are the lords a-leaping! Eleven are the ladies dancing Ten are the pipers piping Nine are the drummers drumming Eight are the maids a-milking Seven are the swans a-swimming Six are the geese a-laying Five are the gold rings Four are the calling birds Three are the French hens Two are the turtle doves and One is a partridge in a pear tree. -------------------

 One little reindeer, one little reindeer, My father bought for two zuzim. One little reindeer, one little reindeer. Then came a cat and ate the reindeer My father bought for two zuzim. One little reindeer, one little reindeer. Then came a dog and bit the cat, That ate the reindeer, My father bought for two zuzim. One little reindeer, one little reindeer. Then came a stick and beat the dog, That bit the cat that ate the reindeer My father bought for two zuzim. One little reindeer, one little reindeer. Then came a fire and burned the stick, ... Then came the water and quenched the fire, ... Then came an ox and drank the water, ... Then came a shochet and slaughtered the ox, ... Then came the angel of death and killed the shochet, ... Then He came and slew the angel of death, That killed the shochet that slaughtered the ox That drank the water that quenched the fire That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the reindeer My father bought for two zuzim. One little reindeer, one little reindeer.

APPENDIX The authors are proud to have been students of Yeshivat Ohr Somayach (Akiva in 1976-80) and Neve Yerushalayim (Ilene in 1979-80) in Jerusalem, Israel. Akiva has written and published some serious Torah on the Internet over the past few years, but it has not gotten the wide and speedy distribution enjoyed by "The Laws of Xmas." (The reason for this is simple: The Guinness Book of World Records used to list "lashon hara" under the heading "fastest known form of communication", but this changed in 1996 when "funny e-mails" moved into first place.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Proud to be a "Hog"!

A.F.Branco
Freelance/Self-syndicated
Jun 19, 2014
Don't mess with my team! [There aren't any Amerinds in the DC vicinity anyway; the name comes from the Boston Redskins, which they were originally.] Frankly, using a bunch of caricatured dancing leprechauns for the "Fighting Irish" of Notre Dame is more offensive to "Little People", IMHO.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Happy 66th Independence Day, Israel!

Gary Varvel
Indianapolis Star
May 5, 2014
Maybe we'll be able to end the war of independence in 50 years or so...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Midterm Election Strategy Explained

Bob Gorrell
Creators Syndicate Inc.
Apr 16, 2014
In other words, basically the same strategy as 2008, 2010, and 2012.