Category Archives: Quotations or Citations

America’s current belief system has eroded her foundation


”Just as water rapidly eroded the banks of the mighty Colorado River
and created a vast Grand Canyon,
America’s current belief system (relativism) has eroded her foundation and created a moral void.
~ Shane Idleman in America Needs to Turn Back to God.”

 

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Find also to read:

  1. How many innocent people have still to be killed before Americans are going to restrict the purchase of weapons through rules
  2. Let’s Think About Bullets: Bipartisan Legislation to Stop Gun Violence in America
  3. Rightwing MAGA Brooks gives us the real reason they’re so obsessed with guns
  4. Does America need to turn back to God
  5. Dan Foster on what he finds the Stupidest solution to school shootings presented by a Christian Pastor
  6. An answer to gun violence according two American pastors

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Courage, Fear, and our vulnerability

My Diary Pages

Photo by Man Dy on Pexels.com

Without courage, we can not practice any virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.

Maya Angelou

Life is a strange, yet beautiful composition of laughter and tears, joy and sorrows, love and loss, struggle and stumble, success and failure, expectations and disappointments and a lot more.. It is completely perfect with all its ingredients and flavours, nothing is out of context.

We are living in a time of “disconnection” — more importantly, a disconnection with our authentic selves and emotions. We don’t embrace any emotion as is, and identify it as either “good” or “bad”. Therefore, we know none at its core level. We usually mask our genuine emotion just to fit-in the society we live in. For example, it can be embarrassing for us to talk about our fears, while being “fearless” is the ideal term to be…

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Feminism not about making women stronger


Feminism isn’t about making women stronger.
Women are already strong.
It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.’
– G.D. Anderson

 

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A boundless world with endless tasks & a path of life that feels crushed by an unending to-do list

Spiritually, Judaism has been accused over and over again as a path of life that feels crushed by an unending to-do list.The mitzvot, or God’s commandments, have been construed time and again
as an unending set of demands placed upon the world by God.In Jewish culture, the conversation around obligation created the spiritual attitude to fulfill God’s checklist for us.

The Talmud often refers to one who has performed a religious act as being yotze, or “freeing” themselves from the daily requirements of life in the covenant. The problem with this attitude is that it can boil spiritual life down to a task list.
Instead of focusing on how a mitzvah brings meaning and vitality to my life, I can become obsessed with doing it at the right time and precisely the right way.
In other words, Judaism can focus too much on time management instead of soul management.
~ Emor: Soul Management, Rabbi Noah Farkas

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The World standing on three things – according to Simeon the Just

The Jewish High Priest during the Second Temple period, Simeon the Just also termed “the Righteous” because of the piety of his life and his benevolence toward his compatriots, was deeply interested in the spiritual and material development of the nation.

As a high priest of the Great Synagogue he used to say:

“The world exists through three things: the Law, Service (Temple sacrifice, and today prayer), and acts of loving kindness.”

We live in this world and do have to live with it. To guide us through life in this world, the divine Creator has given us His Word and His Law, or Torah.

Torah signifies divine revelation; either the fact of communion between God and man, or the wisdom so imparted. Though to Israel alone the Torah was given, yet Israel in this was representative of humanity. Intercourse between God and man is fundamental, and without it human life above the merely animal stage would be impossible.

The service; this is the service in the temple, regarded as the worship of God in the manner appointed by him. If one special element in the service be intended, that may be the sacrifices, as a symbol of obedience to the divine commands, or the priesthood as the appointed agency for performing the service.

Maimonides interprets the word in the former sense, and this lends itself better to generalisation. ‘Deeds of kindness’, denote unselfish beneficence in the fullest measure, to cover any good that one person can do to another.

The ‘three things’ which are declared to be fundamental in human life are thus found to be Revelation, obedience to God, and brotherly love. It is possible however that the second term ‘the service’ was intended to symbolise worship as a fundamental in human life, including in its meaning both obedience to divine precepts, and the functions of consecrated ministers. The saying is only true when thus generalised; but it would be hard to say how much of that more general meaning was present to the mind of Simeon when he uttered it.

~ Pirke Aboth, Sayings of the Fathers, 1:2 (Herford)

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Afire — דלק

Tzedek Chicago Torah discussion tossed around a number of ideas regarding God and this burning structure:

  • Our world on metaphorical fire;
  • Climate change and a world quite literally burning up;
  • God communicating via fire (e.g., “The Torah was written in black fire on white fire” — Devarim Rabbah 3:13); and
  • God using fire to get the attention of someone(s) — including a reference to the Burning Bush story (Exodus 3), which is often compared to this one.

Tzedek Chicago Torah discussion also wondered if the fire was set — by God? by humans? — or an unintentional side effect of another action or process.

And who has the power to end it: Is God choosing to leave it in human hands? Somehow unable to put it out without human help? Or maybe just waiting until someone, like Abraham, notices? Somewhere in the discussion arose the idea of God as arsonist attempting to get humanity’s attention.

אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק מָשָׁל לְאֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה עוֹבֵר מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם, וְרָאָה בִּירָה אַחַת דּוֹלֶקֶת

The root dalet-lamed-kaf — “doleket” in the story above — can carry the meaning of “to burn” or “to kindle” in a physical sense:

  • Ezekiel’s vision in Chapter 24 is pretty wild, but the words expressing it are straightforward: “…heaping on the wood, kindling [hadleik] the fire… (Ezek 24:10).
  • A common blessing says, “…l’hadlik ner shel [to kindle the lights of] Shabbat” (or Yom Tov, Hanukah).
  • In Deut 28:22, people will be punished “with fever [vadaleket].”
  • In Aramaic, as in modern Hebrew, “delek” is fuel.

In some Bible verses, dalet-lamed-kaf also carries a more emotional or psychological meaning:

  • Isaiah says woe to someone “inflamed [yidlikim] by wine.”
  • We find “ardent [dolkim] lips” in Prov 26:23.
  • Jacob was incensed [d’lakta] with Laban in Gen 31:26.
  • A meaning of “pursue eagerly” is found in Lam 4:19, 1 Sam 17:53, Ps. 10:2, and in Ps. 7:14 (King James Version) where we have “arrows against persecutors [l’dolkim].” For the latter, JPS has “sharp” arrows with one of those “Hebrew uncertain” notes, while the New Int’l Version has “flaming” and other Christian translations use “with fiery shafts.”
  • Finally, there are images in Obadiah 18 and Daniel 7:9 which seem to carry a physical meaning of flames plus a sense of burning in anger.

Jastrow’s Dictionary also includes the “light” or “illumination” aspect of fire in defining dalet-lamed-kaf. The entry, in fact, begins with a citation to the above story: “Gen R. s 39 saw a castle דּוֹלֶקֶת [doleket] lighted.” This suggests that perhaps the point — or at least one point — of Rabbi Yitzchak’z story is about illumination of the structure perceived as the individual is crossing. This reading jives with the use of Psalm 45:11-12 to explain why Abraham was told to go: It’s through the individual crossing from place to place, leaving behind what they were taught — and so perceiving this illuminated/flaming structure — that God comes to desire the beauty of their actions (following Rashi on Ps.45).

From Across and Afire

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One-Liner Wednesday — On Bad Terms

This, That, and the Other

“No one has ever doubted that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other.”

Hannah Arendt, political philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.

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Nicola Sturgeon on the problems of sexism and misogyny in politics

 

– Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon tells ITV’s Good Morning Britain she believes the problems of sexism and misogyny in politics are getting worse, arguing that social media is partly responsible.

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From the old box: The case for Black English

How many times did not change the impact of a word used. One time you had to use a word because a previous word was considered not right. But later than new word or other words became also considered wrong. As such in our lifetime we had to change already four times the word to talk about coloured people with a brown skin.

The case for Black English

Vinson Cunningham, New Yorker, 15 May 2017

The most energetic but also the most frustrating section of ‘Talking Back’ is a short treatise on the word ‘nigga.’ McWhorter takes the customary care in distinguishing the word from its uglier, older cousin, ‘nigger,’ but he pushes the distinction further than most: for McWhorter, these are not simply two separate English words, let alone two pronunciations of the same word; they are, rather, words that belong to two different dialects. ‘Nigger is Standard English and nigga is Black English,’ he writes, matter-of-factly. ‘Nigga means ‘You’re one of us.’ Nigger doesn’t.’

This interpretation helps to explain the odd power that ‘nigga’ wields over blacks and whites alike when said aloud. Richard Pryor’s use of it in his standup act in the seventies was radical not simply because street lingo had made its way onto the stage: Pryor had swung open the door between alternate cultural dimensions. Blacks suddenly felt at home – ’up in the comedy club,’ somebody might have said – and whites relished the brief peek into a room they rarely saw. Something similar happened, and keeps on happening, with hip-hop, many of whose practitioners use the N-word as a kind of challenge to white enthusiasts. It’s become a familiar joke: when the music’s loud, and emotions are high, who dares recite, in full, the lyric that eventually alights on ‘nigga’?

That ‘nigga’ is not only one of our most controversial words but also one of our funniest is revealing, and worth puzzling over. McWhorter doesn’t allow himself the pleasure. The word’s power – and therefore its coherence, its licitness as language – is impossible to understand without a glance at the history of race-rooted subjugation in America. The emergence of Black English is owed in part to straightforwardly linguistic factors: McWhorter convincingly cites the phenomenon of recently enslaved adults straining to learn a new language, plus a syncretistic importation of vocal gestures picked up along the trail of forced migration. But it also developed as a covert, often defiant response to the surveillance state of slavery. Grammatical nuance, new vocabulary, subtleties of tone – these were verbal expressions of racism’s mind-splitting crucible, what WEB Du Bois called ‘double consciousness.’ As Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has written, black vernacular is a literary development as well as a linguistic one. ‘The black tradition’ – from ring shouts to Ralph Ellison – ‘is double-voiced,’ Gates writes, in the introduction to his seminal study, ‘The Signifying Monkey,’ echoing Du Bois. The humor associated with black language play – with jokers like Pryor and Bernie Mac – directly descends from this multivocal tradition, and from the trouble that made it necessary.

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From the old box: Free Speech, but Not for All?

Free Speech, but Not for All?

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