Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yo Momma

Yo momma so bald, when she puts on a turtle neck she looks like a roll on deodorant.

Or how about this one:

Yo momma so stupid she tried to put her m&ms in alphabetical order.

Off the wall and brazenly insulting, Yo Mama jokes have definitely weaved their way into the American culture.  I even saw a Yo Momma Vocabulary Builder (where words such as lachrymose and voracious are used) that teaches vocabulary through humor…Humor has this way of making everything ‘ok’ – as long as the joke’s not on you ;) – But when you subtract the comedy part, you better watch out.  Everyone knows the unspoken rule – I can make fun of my clan, but you touch them: you die.

When all comes to seriousness, it’s understandable…we feel like we have the right to pick on those closest to us because they are a part of us.  Because wherever that insult came from, there is ten times the amount of love and affection for that person – or even just a sense of understanding.  However, for an outsider to say it, it’s pure insult.

Which makes me wonder…why is it that if a non-Jew, or an “outsider” says something anti-Semitic, it is deeply insulting, but we so often do it ourselves.  I heard that the way we Jews treat and perceive each other is the way that the rest of the world treats and perceives us – which is in my opinion very sound and legitimate.  However, in almost every environment I find myself, I find what I call an “open closed-mindedness” – where people, under the guise of being well-rounded and open-minded feel an almost profound obligation to put down those who are not quite as open-minded as them (granted, I’m sure I’m guilty of the same thing).  Why? – For every derogatory word that we say, can we back it with 10 words of kindness…because they’re our kin, or is it baseless slander based on prejudice and self-gratification?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In the Beginning

...God created heaven and earth, the stars and the moon, the cows and the chickens (ok, maybe it was the eggs)...and then came man.  Man sinned, evil came upon the world, and we are forever responsible to atone for that sin - toil, labor pains, hardships and self-perfection.  And life goes on...  Obviously this cannot be understood superficially, void of depth and meaning, but on a very rudimentary level...kid, this is it.  Your grandpa Adam did a nono - here's a flashlight, don’t get lost in the dark.  Be good and wait for the redemption.  Try to make sense of all this, but don’t over think it!  G'luck.

Ok.  Not really, but it seems like there are far too many people who live that way.

What often is not emphasized is that Adam was granted with a tremendous quality; he was the prized product of his Creator.  Analytically, he was God’s self-portrait – bestowed with a Tselem Elokim (God’s image) - no pun intended.  Growing up, I understood that because we are created b’Tselem, it is our duty to make a Kiddush Hashem (sanctify His name) and not misrepresent Him in any way.  While this is true, and I still believe and try to live up to that – It has come to mean so much more to me.

When I was 14 or so, my family went to Niagara Falls.  Yup, they were pretty much all they’re cracked up to be…incredible.  But standing there, with the stars shining above me and the waters rushing below, I could not help but be entranced by the image before me.  The Canadian skyline, with its lights winking playfully took my breath away, and I thought ‘yes, God created something so awesomely amazing as the falls, but people aren’t that bad either.’  I felt almost guilty thinking that…but it wasn’t until years later that my thought was, kind of, justified.  I learned that God created man…to create.  He gave us the power, in His image, to build, produce and bring light into this world – both literally and figuratively.  We build upon what he established.

And so still, whenever I happen to be driving at night past the New York skyline or flying over a city ablaze with lights, I am captivated by the beauty and by our power.