Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So because I've been on the lean side lately, I decided to treat myself to a Sonic Jr. Burger for lunch.

The order-taker asked if I wanted cheese on my hamburger. I said no (of course).

Then it took me a second for me to decide what I wanted to drink. I thought, what the heck, I could stand to gain a bit so why not go all out and order a milkshake. And so I did.

As I was driving south down Thompson Boulevard with a hamburger in one hand and a milkshake in the other, something just seemed a little off. Then it hit me.

And I paid for it...dearly. Not mixing meat and dairy and suddenly doing it after more than three months did a number on my digestive system.

That was probably an over-share.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Can we pray for ourselves?

The rabbi asked us to expound on the above question for our class tonight:

Prayer has innumerable purposes, many of which I have yet to experience or even name. When I do pray, I do so for my family, my friends, the world and usually myself. Most of the time when I pray, I also express thanks for everything I have been given.

I only pray when I feel the express need. I'm out of daily practice and I have been for years. Therefore, my prayers are often to ask G-d or whomever it is for something in particular and not to have a conversation, which I'm sure I should aspire to.

So let's take a leap and assume I have a daily interactive time with G-d. If that was the case, what should I be praying for? Myself? On one hand, I think sure, why not? If we don't seek help for ourselves, sometimes no one else will. On the other, doesn't G-d know exactly what we need? Then why do we need to expressly ask?

On that same vein, doesn't G-d know what everybody needs? So why pray for others either? Obviously that logic is flawed, because if that was your prayer philosophy there would be no point in praying for anything.

I believe we can pray for ourselves, because sometimes just seeking solace gives us solace. If I pray for myself to grow stronger, then maybe it will be enough for me to help myself and in turn be strong enough to help others.

I guess I see the purpose of prayer as a way to bring more faithful into the fold. It would do a disservice to that goal by giving guidelines and prescribing set rules. If praying for yourself helps bring you closer to G-d, then who are we to reinforce a barrier?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A little bit of everything

I found out today that my one true fan checks my blog three times a day (!!!) so I guess I better update a little more regularly.

Because it has been a while since I last updated, I'll do a few quick hits:

If you want to lose weight, start to keep Kosher.

I honestly don't think I've been this thin since middle school. It's startling really, and not necessarily a good thing. I didn't really expect this to happen, but trying to keep kosher* has let my picky-ness run amok. And when I'm being picky, I eat less. Sure this has it's benefits (I'll be able to fit into that wedding gown for sure), but I don't really like being this thin. I don't feel especially healthy in my eating habits (which I won't go too much into but let's just say Thursday night's dinner was pretty much all desserts). I turned to tried and true Amazon and bought this book for inspiration:

I'll keep you posted.

Plant a Tree

This Tuesday is not only President Bush's last State of the Union; it's also Tu Bishvat, which celebrates the new year for trees. From Judaism 101:

Tu B'Shevat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. See Lev. 19:23-25, which states that fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for G-d, and after that, you can eat the fruit. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shevat, so if you planted a tree on Shevat 14, it begins its second year the next day, but if you plant a tree two days later, on Shevat 16, it does not reach its second year until the next Tu B'Shevat.

It is a modern tradition to have a Tu Bishvat Seder, during which you eat 10 types of fruit. Some treat it as a Jewish Arbor Day and plant trees or pay for trees to be planted in Israel.

Shabbat Shirah

Ryan and I joined a synagogue this month (finally). Ryan attended services Friday and I went by myself Saturday. I could tell Ryan really enjoyed services Friday by the way he described everything and all the people he met.

I learned (and re-affirmed) several things this morning:

1. Don't ever stress about getting to services on time. No one else does and if you're on time, you're probably early.
2. There are several Shabbats throughout the year that are considered special for a variety of reasons. This Shabbat was one of them. Shabbat Shirah's Torah portion is the parting of the Red Sea and contains the Song of the Sea, which is written in the Torah in a way that symbolizes the maze-like path Moses and the Israelites took across the sea.

The Song of the Sea is also sung by the cantor in a different melody.

From Judaism 101:

Tradition teaches that there are only ten true Songs (Shirot, the plural of Shirah) in the history of the world. These true Songs are not mere melodies; they are expressions of the harmony of creation and mark monumental transitions in history. Another of these Songs appears on the haftarah portion for the week (Judges 4:4-5:31): the Song of Deborah. The Song of Songs is, of course, one of the Ten Songs. Interestingly, the Tenth Song has not yet been sung: it is the Song of the coming of the Moshiach, which will be sung at the End of Days (see Isaiah 26:1).

3. Bar/Bat Mitzvahs are just as hard to schedule as weddings. And football games make it nearly impossible.
4. I still really don't know Hebrew -- at all. And it frustrates my know-it-all self that children a fourth of my age probably know it better than me.
5. The Torah scroll isn't as heavy as it looks. Rabbi Jack passed it around instead of parading it around today, so I have officially carried the Torah (for a few seconds) for the first time ever.

Well, I think that's it for now. More later (and hopefully sooner) I'm sure.

* our way

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Kosher Update

Ryan and I are still keeping kosher* by the way.

I really didn't know if we'd get through football, Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays, but I've been so proud for Ryan and myself.

Ryan has had the toughest time. At football events, they offer very little variety. (The athletic department provides a catered meal for the media.) Usually it'll be all hot dogs or all pizza. I kept encouraging Ryan to bring his own lunch or speak up for
himself. Well, finally after being offered either sausage pizza or pepperoni pizza, he asked if next time they could get a few cheese pizzas. And they said OK. So that's progress...

Through all of this my mom has been the most supportive of all. Without me asking, she has bought special food for me at our football tailgates and made meatballs from scratch because the frozen ones contain pork. She even put together a meat plate for Ryan last time, so he could enjoy all the dairy appetizers at our early get-together, but have the meat appetizers saved for later. I couldn't ask for a better mom.

Ryan said the other night that he can imagine maybe wanting to mix meat and dairy someday, but he definitely doesn't want to eat pork. I fine either way. I think it's a nice reminder every day of who were are.

* our way