Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Musings of a Libertarian Jew

So, here I am, and it's been two months since I wrote my bitter prose regarding hilchos niddah, IUD's, and Rabbi Hillel David, and I look back at it and can't say I really am sorry for anything I wrote. I should be, perhaps, but I'm not.

Chainik Hocker is getting married a week from this Sunday, October 22nd. Were it not my grandmother's 80th birthday, with my mother traveling up from Beloved Hometown to surprise her (don't worry, my grandmother's heart is strong), I think I would put forth an effort to travel down from the Tri-State area to Baltimore to see that poor bastard put his foot down for the last time.

I moved to New Jersey at the beginning of last month. It's an amazing town in which I now dwell. In five or six weeks, no one, Jew or gentile, has done anything remotely hurtful or even unintentionally hurtful to me. In Brooklyn, eye contact is a threat. In my new town, not making eye contact is an insult.

Wishing all the best to the Chainik Hocker, and I hope I'll be inspired to write on this blog soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Love and Marriage

Well, the Chainik Hocker is getting married. Poor bastard doesn't know what he's getting himself into! Just kidding. Marriage is a wonderful institution, to which I've been committed for more than four years.

His engagement inspires me to write about my gripes about being religious and married, and most specifically, hilchos niddah. This post is not for children.

My chosson teacher came highly recommended. In fact, he teaches boys from one of the most well-respected yeshivos in Brooklyn. However, when it came to the subject of sex, the man is obviously either an ignoramus or a nutjob.

"When you're about to have your orgasm, think of a pasuk (Biblical verse)."

Sure. And if I do that at just the right moment, I might get distracted from holding myself up and collapse onto my tiny wife. Yid's a big guy. Mrs. Yid isn't. Thinking of a pasuk would yield tragic results.

The second thing I recall that led me to question his sanity was when he said to me:

"Women don't even really enjoy sex. It just makes them messy."

Well, this one statement certainly did explain the utter lack of joy in his wife's eyes as she walked by the door. Some home life he must have. Ladies, is this true? You never enjoy sex? Just make you a wee bit messy, eh? Feh! If that's true, why is conjugal relations one of the three Biblical obligations a man has to his wife? Because women enjoy being messy?

Ah, but I digress.

or do I?

Yes, I suppose I do.

When my wife and I had been married around 15-18 months, Rabbi Hillel David (my level of pissed-off-ness leads me to an "I don't really care" attitude about the loshon hora here) was speaking to my wife on the phone about a niddah shailoh. My wife was curious about the reasoning to his p'sak, and David responded that he never explains niddah p'sak to women. That's fine by me. My wife was afraid she'd offended him, though, and apologized if she had. Rabbi David then told my wife to find another rav to talk to and promptly hung up on her.

Yes. Chew on that for a moment.

One of the most prominent rabbis in Flatbush actually was rude enough to hang up on my wife. She was so shaken by this she nearly cried.

So, now we take all of our niddah shailos to Rabbi Yosef Veiner, a man who always gives my wife the time she needs, and never hangs up on her.

Interesting way of classifying the quality of a rav, no? "He doesn't hang up on my wife! How about that!"

When my first child was born, before Hillel David revealed himself for the monster that he is (although I already had issues with him for the way he would scold and embarrass people in public) my wife and I consulted with him for choices in birth control. The pill is not an option for us due to health considerations. My wife's health is a complicated issue. The rav gave the option of using the IUD. He said nothing about what life would be like with it, however.

Life with an IUD is living hell.

Any rav who gives a heter for an IUD without warning of the ramifications deserves to be shot. IUD's make women bleed. A lot. From the point that a woman starts her period to when she goes to the mikveh is a minimum of twelve days. The IUD turned that 12 into.... let's just say longer than 12 days, and we were given no advance warning. We would have taken it anyway, but to endure that hardship when any rav would either have to know this in advance or be brain dead is absolutely appalling.

And what do you do when your wife is due to go to the mikveh, there's a niddah shailoh, and you can't get hold of a rav? You go to bed thinking of what might have been, angry at the Jewish world, like I am most of the time now, anyhow.

This was my rant. I hope it made sense.

To the Chainik Hocker, I wish you all the happiness in the world. Perhaps you'll be spared some of the insanity I've had to go through during my marriage, but don't think for a moment that I'd rather be single.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The quizzes keep on coming

You are Debian Linux. People have difficulty getting to know you.  Once you finally open your shell they're apt to love you.
Which OS are You?

This is amusing. I use Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. Chainik Hocker was Win2K SP3, which is funny because SP3 is not the most current service pack for Windows 2000.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Be seeing you, Harry

I was deeply saddened last night to learn of the passing of Harry Browne.

Mr. Browne truly changed the way I think about a lot of things, all due to his persistent wit, humor, and humility.

Back in 2002, Browne was on the Sean Hannity show in what can only be described as a shouting match with the host. On Browne's own show a day or two later, Browne publically lamented how he had lost his temper and was angry with himself for letting Hannity get the best of him. This quality of acknowledging one's own error is a rare one, and I admired him tremendously for it.

While I didn't email him many times, he responded to each and every one with great respect and politeness. When I made mention of my forthcoming parenthood in one of my emails, he warmly congratulated me on my fortune, and blessed me in my endeavors. Most wouldn't have taken the time.

I knew he'd been ill for some time, but he never (as far as I know) let the public know it was Lou Gehrig's disease, which his friend and associate Jim Babka disclosed to the press. I used to visit his website every day, hoping he'd written a new article. His last article was in December of 2005. His mailing list went out every Saturday to tell about his radio show, and that's how I found out he'd died.

Mr. Browne, we'll miss you. You created a wonderful legacy that I hope can live up to your example.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ben Shapiro is out of his mind

Well, it's been a while since I've posted here, and I know barely anyone will read this, but I feel compelled to fisk, which is a rare occurrance in my ever-increasingly busy life.

The only news and political scene I can handle right now is headlines and RSS feeds from Mises.org and Lew Rockwell. Tonight, I read a LRC blog post calling attention to this obscenity by Ben Shapiro.

What infects Shapiro is something that once infected me as well, so I feel qualified to identify this boy as a mentally unbalanced individual better than most.

In one single column, Shapiro summed up the totalitarian mentality that infects the Republican party going all the way back to Lincoln.

At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say "enough." At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition.

Wow. Way to protect freedom, Ben. Why don't we just bomb every country that doesn't like us, too? I don't agree with the administration and am willing to say things against it. Shall I go to prison, now?

In case you never read the first amendment, Ben (I grant the benefit of the doubt when I know I shouldn't) it reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." When it says "Congress shall make no law," Ben, I think, kinda sorta, that perhaps, maybe, it might mean that CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW restricting the freedom of speech. But what do I know? I'm an ignoramus compared to your wisdom, and you are obviously able to divine meanings from the text that are not immediately apparent to the plebian such as myself.

"Freedom of speech!" the American Civil Liberties Union will protest. Before we buy into the slogan, we must remember our history. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and allowed governmental officials to arrest Rep. Clement Vallandigham after Vallandigham called the Civil War "cruel" and "wicked," shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers, and had members of the Maryland legislature placed in prison to prevent Maryland's secession. The Union won the Civil War.

Yes, and Lincoln was a villain for doing those things. Lincoln's actions towards his opponents in the North should prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his fight was not for freedom. If the law compels you to behave a certain way, ie. not protesting against the government, is that not a form of slavery? Wasn't the Civil War about ending slavery? What Lincoln did was categorically illegal, regardless of the outcome, and had he not been assassinated, he should have been impeached and thrown in prison for his actions.

Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes rightly wrote, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right." The Allies won World War I.

Regardless of the outcome, the Espionage Act of 1917 was an abomination, and Holmes disregarded the constitution in as much a cavalier manner as today's motley crew, who decide that any law can be ignored if there is a "compelling state interest."

During the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the free speech rights of war opponents, whether those opponents distributed leaflets depicting the rape of the Statue of Liberty or wore jackets emblazoned with the slogan "F--- the Draft." America lost the Vietnam War.

So, we lost a war in which we never should have involved ourselves due to lack of popular support, and because of that, the protesters, in retrospect, should have been arrested for opposing Johnson and Nixon? How about arresting Republicans for opposing Clinton' military excapades?

This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional -- and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign to undermine it.

No, Ben, you statist, totalitarian, fascist. No restriction by the government on speech is just, right, and especially not Constitutional.

In other words, you respect free speech, as long as the speaker says what you like. If that's free speech, what was the point of the Founders writing the first amendment? Were they seeking to protect something that didn't require protection?

Friday, October 21, 2005

I love these quizzes

You are a

Social Liberal
(61% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(98% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

This is a whole lot better than being told I'm un-American.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Recycle or we will kill you!

I just got off the phone with one of the idiots who mans the phones for the city's 311 service. As usual, I was left completely unimpressed by her professionalism and courtesy, for if she had either, not to mention intelligence, she'd work in the private sector with the rest of civilization.

Around the corner from my apartment are numerous bodega type corner stores. All of them currently seem to be out of clear plastic recycling bags. Being the ever cautious person I am, and not wanting to piss off my landlord, I called ahead to make sure I don't fall from grace in the eyes of the Garbage Nazis. After all, if you throw out your garbage in a fashion which doesn't meet their approval, the city will steal money from you in the form of progressive fines.

Apparently, the offense of packing my recycling in blue plastic is a fine-worthy offense here in the People's Republic of New York.

I should look on the bright side. Anthony Weiner dropped out of the mayoral primary. Now there's hope we won't be the Weiner city.