Sunday, April 25, 2010


Welcome to Edition Number 264 of Haveil Havalim, AKA Vanity of Vanities, the Jewish Blog-Carnival. Here’s the quick ’n’ dirty Explanation and Mission Statement:

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs - a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights, tidbits, and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack B. Nimble. The term “Haveil Havalim,” which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Megillat Kohelet (the Book of Ecclesiastes), written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other excesses and realized that it was all nothing but havel - vanity.

Before we get underway, let me extend a hearty barukhim habaim - welcome! And in case you’re new to Blog d’Elisson, feel free to wander off and peruse the archives here once you’re through checking out this week’s Carnival posts. I write a “kitchen sink” blog (as in “everything but the...”), but there are numerous posts on Jewish topics amongst all the other narrischkeit.

And now, let the linkage begin...


If the notoriously-offensive-to-pretty-much-everyone South Park were to show Moshe Rabbeinu dressed in a bear suit (Moshe Doveinu?), would we Jews get all bent out of shape about it? At SimplyJews, SnoopyTheGoon writes about the response from another Abrahamic religion when faced with a similar situation.

Dan Illouz wants you to know that when you visit his site, you can do more than simply read the posts - you can engage in an online chat on topics relating to Judaism and Israel. So, nu - what are you waiting for? Chat, already!

If you could simply take a pill and instantly have your head filled with, say, a college education, would you do it? Mordechai Torczyner, AKA The Rebbetzin’s Husband discusses the difference between learning and knowledge in this thought-provoking post. The money quote: “The Torah’s mitzvah is to learn, not to know. The search really is what matters.” Amein v’ amein.

Dovid ben Letterman never did a “Top Ten Oldest Books Known to Man,” but now he doesn’t need to. According to Isabella Smith at Online Degree, “the literature currently considered the oldest in the world may shift in line with newer, more exciting technologies. These ancient texts will always remain amongst the oldest known to humanity.”

As an October/Tishrei kid, I would have been devastated to find out that, had I been in gan in my Snot-Nose Days, my birthday party would have been postponed. At least, that’s what I learned from Mrs. S. (Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress) in her post about Postponed Parties.


Chaviva (who encourages us to “Just Call Me Chaviva”) recounts the story of her recent visit to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. [I’ve visited the Museum several times myself – I can keep my emotions in check only until I see the piles of victims’ shoes, and, inevitably, I lose it completely.]

Daled Amos, writing at Israeli Settlements, points out a fact that is all too often overlooked by the folks who moan about the plight of the “Palestinians”: that before Jewish economic development attracted large numbers of Arabs to Palestine, it was a virtually empty land. Important reading!


Ever wonder what Elisson is thinking as he davens Tachanun? Now you know.

In these enlightened days, although women daven at the Kotel and are ordained as rabbis, we draw the line at the Kiddush Club. The inimitable Heshy Fried discusses the weighty issue of women who wish to take on the responsibility of additional mitzvos at Frum Satire.

Benji Lovitt (What War Zone???) guest-blogs at and gives us this year’s list of 62 more things I love about Israel, a perfect way to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut.

SnoopyTheGoon throws us a zoological treatise on the rare Gazan yeti. [Gotta love the Snoopster - after all, he also refers to his Better Half as SWMBO!]


We lead off this category with a Posty-Trifecta from Israelity: a look at shop windows as the country prepares for Yom Ha-atzmaut; reflections on Yom Ha-zikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day; and one that really defies categorization, asking whether hookworms are (as Martha Stewart might say) a good thing. [Hey, don’t be so horrified - a hundred years ago, they used to sell tapeworms as an aid to losing weight. Really.]

Risa, AKA the Isramom, enjoys a family Yom Ha-atzmaut at Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev in this lovely post entitled Making Deserts Bloom and Other Miracles. In another post, she shares some reflections on Yom Ha-zikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. I like her comparison of the sound of the sirens to the sound of the shofar.

Jacob Richman gives us more Good News from Israel with his post about the latest series of Israeli educational stamps. A must-read for philatelists... and anyone else who wants to see Israeli technology celebrated on little bitty sticky pieces of paper.

This week’s summary of issues relating to Religion and State in Israel can be found here in two manageable chunks: Part 1 and Part 2, thanks to Joel Katz.

At Esser Agaroth (Two Cents), Ben-Yehudah gives us his ten agaroth two cents’ worth, inviting us to Dr. Rabbi Sholom Gold’s lecture on the relationship between Israel and evangelical Christians. If you’re planning to be in Jerusalem on Monday, 26 April, you may want to check this out.

Yosef Silver offers us a photo taken during a recent trip to Israel: a view of the beach at Atlit. Says Yosef, “There’s nothing like spending a little quality time Up North with my family and my camera.”

Mordechai, our favorite Rebbetzin’s Husband, elucidates an anthropomorphic vision of Israel as both Motherland and Mother. Food for thought.

Galit, the Minnesota Mamaleh, wishes Israel a happy sixty-second!


Can a new festive holiday - Yom Ha-atzmaut - be celebrated after the destruction of the Second Temple? Yisroel, writing at Artzeinu discusses some of the halachic implications of observing Yom Ha-atzmaut.

Jewish traditions of mourning and bereavement are a powerful tool for dealing with the Holocaust, says David Fryman in this post at The Bennett Commentary.

At Tzedek-Tzedek, David Morris turns the blogging reins over to a guest writer, a victim of sex abuse who tells a story of her visit to the RBS mikvah and the difficulties it presented to a person who, understandably, feels especially vulnerable. In a second mikvah-related post, he discusses the mikvah in Ramat Bet Shemesh, control of which is currently being contested between the Rabbinical Council (Moetza Hadatit) and the independent Chareidi Rabbonim. If Rodney King were Jewish, he might be inspired to say, “Can’t we all just get along... without alla this sinat chinam?”

From The Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters News we have a memorial tribute to the late Rabbi Moshe Eliyahu Gerlitzky.

Writing at The Torah Revolution, Ariel Ben Yochanan states that “Some say Judaism is a culture, not a religion. I say it’s a mission.” Collective and individual tshuva is a necessity in order for Israel to have peace at the end of the day, says Ariel.

Rav Yehoishophot Oliver, posting at A Chassidishe farbrengen, tells us how to live up to our human potential.


Batya, over at me-ander, reminds us to send those kosher recipes and food-related post links in to the Kosher Cooking Carnival. Well, what are you waiting for? The Moshiach?

Leora Wenger (Here in HP), who will be hosting the next Kosher Cooking Carnival on May 16, also pitches the KCC... and lobs us a gorgeous apple pie recipe in the same post. I’m gonna plotz from all that deliciousness...

It never would have occurred to me that you could find a restaurant called “Traif” in Williamsburg, of all places... but there you are. Mottel weighs in on Jason Marcus’s new dining spot at Letters of Thought... and then he gets to deal with the trolls the above post brings out.


Elie writes a touching Yahrzeit post in remembrance of his son Aaron.

At me-ander, Batya shares a story of loss: And Then There Was One. Ha-Makom yenakhem etkhem b’toch sha’ar aveilei tzion viy’rushalayim... In a separate (and happier) post, she tells us about preparations for summer. Get a load of those baby grapes!

Rabbi Leigh Ann Kopans, The Frugal Ima herownself, tells us the story of how she became a Frugal Ima. Her blog is a great place to pick up advice on how to live frugally and simply within a Jewish context - be sure to check it out.

Neil Fleischmann is not just NY’s Funniest Rabbi - he’s also a teacher... and a poet.

Is genealogy a stupid waste of time? Not according to Friar Yid, who says roots have value.


Robert J. Avrech, keeper of the Seraphic Secret, presents a doomsday scenario that he sees as a possible result of the Obama administration’s incredibly naive [my adjective] foreign policy. I wish I could say it was completely far-fetched... but I cannot. Scary.

More on Iran from Eric at The Israel Situation, who asks, “Could Israel Attack Iran Alone?” It is, alas, not a rhetorical question. And, pssst - ya wanna book? Eric’s giving them away to lucky RSS feed subscribers. Learn how to get yours here.

Dan Illouz writes at the eponymous - Zionism, Judaism and Leadership. Here, he provides Three Reasons Why I Became a Member of the Likud. In another post, he reminds us that the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States benefits both parties - it’s most definitely not a one-way street, despite what some U.S. administration officials are trying to propound.

Batya, this time at Shiloh Musings, reminds us not to underestimate the Arabs.


Giving credit where credit is due is more than just good manners: It’s The Right Thing To Do. Thus sayeth SoMeHoW Frum!

At Geshmack Torah, NonymousG provides an analysis of some of the finer points of the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents.

Good deeds or faith - which is more effective at bringing us closer to an understanding of the Divine? It’s not just a point of discussion and/or disagreement between Jews and Christians - it’s the topic of this thought-provoking post at David Fryman’s The Bennett Commentary.

That concludes this edition of Haveil Havalim. If I’ve somehow managed to omit a submission, please send me an e-mail at elisson1 (at) aol (dot) com and I’ll be happy to plug it in. And don’t forget to submit your carefully-selected blog articles to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using our handy-dandy Blog Carnival submission form!

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