Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Jew & A

Filed under : Jew & A,Judaism
On May 16, 2006
At 9:30 pm
Comments : 27

You know, planning that I wouldn’t post until Tuesday was a fantastic idea. This bloggy thing is time consuming! Witness the fact that last night, when I didn’t even turn on my computer, I:

  • Recycled three weeks of newspapers
  • Cooked a gourmet dinner
  • Folded laundry
  • Baked muffins
  • Went to bed before 2am

Conclusion: When am I going to start getting paid for this blog thing?

Anyway, as promised, here are the scintillating answers to your Jewish questions. My two observant Jewish readers can read quietly at their desks while the rest of the class catches up.

Disclaimer: I am not a Rabbi, nor do I play one on the Internet.

Fabulous Hostess in San Diego writes:

Okay, Becca, here’s my question. I really have wondered about this. When you come stay at my house, how can I cook for you? I mean, I’ve got the no pork or shellfish thing down. I’m talking about implements.

Shall I buy two coolers, one for the kosher meats I’ll be preparing and one for the dairy products? Also, I’m planning on buying new pots and pans. Would it be best to await your visit and use brand new pots/pans/utensils? I mean, would it be wrong to serve you your latkes on a plate that held my cheeseburger the night before?

OK, the very first thing you need to do, before anything else, is send me a first class ticket to San Diego. Done? Brilliant.The next thing you need to do is clean out your entire kitchen and throw everything away. Then, scrub everything: the oven, the sink, the counters, the fridge, etc. Then take a blowtorch and….still there? Fabulous Hostess? Fabulous Hostess?

Hot Blogger in Rockland, IL writes:

Is it true that on the Sabbath, the elevators in some buildings in New York stop on every floor?

Does work ever interfere with your Sabbath? Like traveling and such?

Do you wonder what non-Kosher food tastes like? Do you “miss” it? Or is there just no temptation or wonder at all?

1. It is true. First, let me explain why one would need this. On the Sabbath, one is not permitted to use electricity. Why? Because we like you. No, you’re too young to get that joke, Hot Blogger. But really, all the Torah (that’s our Bible and part of some of yours) says is, not to “work.” Since there was no back then, the Rabbis looked around the Torah and found the word “work” someplace else as well. It was used to describe the 39 kinds of work that the builders of the Temple did to construct it. Hey, that’s all-encompassing, right? So that’s the definition we use. Two of these are lighting or extinguishing a fire. When you flip a light switch you are completing an electric circuit that is seen to be lighting a fire. This is not to say that you can’t enjoy a light while it’s on. You just can’t turn it on. Or off. Or on/off, on/off, on/off. This last rule is designed for small children.Same with an elevator. You can get in, you just can’t push a button. So an elevator stopping at every floor will solve this problem. Of course, by the time you’ve reached your floor you’ve converted to another religion.The other thing you can do (although you have to be a Loophole Lucy) is to get in an elevator behind someone else and just go to whatever floor they are going to so you push no buttons. Then you walk from there. There was once a story about a famous, learned Rabbi who did this. He got in behind a woman who asked him, “What floor?” He answered, “Whatever floor you’re going to.” So she slapped him. Oh ahahahahaha. Yes indeedy.But you’d only see these elevators in buildings with mostly religious tenants, like in Borough Park. I mean, who would put up with it? So this is why most Orthodox Jews live on a low floor of a building. I live on the second floor, you know, with Luka.

2. The better question is, does the Sabbath ever interfere with my work or travel? It’s work that has to bend, not the Sabbath. I always tell this to my future employer right during the first interview.

“Hey, this sounds like a fun job, but you know I’ll be leaving work early every Winter Friday and there are eight or 10 days during the year I’ll be taking off and I won’t be able to work on a Saturday, ever. Thanks, I’ll show myself out.”

But seriously, none of my employers have ever had a problem with this. At least they don’t tell me while my lawyers are around (I like to keep a lawyer in my pocket at all times). I don’t travel for my job and if I did, well, my work would end on Friday at sunset and that’d be it.

3. Well, frankly, some non-Kosher food just seems gross to me, as fried insects (a delicacy in some parts of the world, a part of cleaning out the light fixture in others) do to those of us in the Western world. For instance, sausage just looks nasty to me, sorry. Any “breakfast meat,” really. But hey, more for you! And everyone says lobster tastes great but I’ve never really been tempted because it doesn’t look as good as you guys say it tastes and, well, a bib is involved.

Thanks for the multitude of good questions, Hot Blogger!

Underdressed Mom-to-be in Boston asks:

I have a Jewish question not relating to the Sabbath — why must every single freaking Jewish wedding be black tie? Do you not realize that we goyim don’t, as a rule, own tuxedos, and so we must go rent one for every wedding, thus raising the cost of wedding-going by $100? Is it a conspiracy? Do you all laugh at our menfolk in their rented tuxes at your weddings?

Yes. Thanks for writing in!

My allusion to the second floor is of course from:

Suzanne Vega – Luka

And speaking of the Bible:

U2 – 40


27 Comments for this post

  1. Fabulous Hostess says:

    So we’ll go out for Chinese and call it a day. Shalom.

  2. Becca says:

    Excellent! So I’ll await my limo at the airport. I did mention that, right?

  3. Jane says:

    Hot Blogger sounds . . . hot. I wonder if Rockland is anywhere near me?

    Thank you for the (as always) highly informative post!

  4. Becca says:

    It could be! She’d be even hotter but she works around a lot of large A/C units.

  5. steph says:

    I just realized that I have never been to a Jewish wedding. Maybe it’s because my Jewish friends know Dave doesn’t own a tux and we never have a spare hundred laying around. hmmm, something to ponder.

    But now I’m intrigued about the elevator thing. Can someone else push the button for you? Was there an elevator in the Temple? Can you button your shirt on the Sabbath?

    I think you need a sequel.

  6. Becca says:

    It’s OK, Steph. You can come to mine. Of course, should I ever get married it’s going to be in the park with 30 people. I’m sure former RotM’s will make the cut, though.

    Some people feel OK with a non-Jew doing it for them, some do not. Some feel it’s OK if you’re not actually asking the person to do it, so like, if your neighbor sees you and knows your floor and just presses it without asking.

    I’m fine with doing that, as Dr. Toad, who shared a hotel room with me in Balto. knows. But again, I try not to ask directly. “Hey, Dr. Toad, it’s awfully dim in here – you know what would be amaaaazing? Some light!” She catches on fast, that Dr. Toad.

    Silly, the Temple was like Wal-Mart, spread way out on one floor. You didn’t think it was in Manhattan, did you?

    I find it hard to button my shirt any day of the week, personally.

    As for sequel, sure, maybe we’ll do it again next month. Write down your questions, people, and not on the backs of envelopes you’re preparing to throw out, either.

  7. sarpon says:

    I have never been to a black tie wedding, and every one of my Jewish cousins on my mother’s side did get married at some point (and all but one got divorced in order to eventually marry goyim). Y’all must move in more monified circles than I do.

    On my father’s side, I have only two cousins. The younger one’s wedding was held at a TriBeCa restaurant called La Biblioteque on a Saturday afternoon — decidedly not black tie, and she married a shaygetz right off, no pussyfooting around for her. Her sister has never married.

  8. cranky says:

    I have a question that can’t wait until next month.

    When I was at Passover this year, our host was being very cautious about a duck that was nesting under a bush in his front yard. He wanted to feed it.

    I kept yelling “GIVE IT SOME BREAD!”

    Do you think that the Jewish Community is secretly shunning me?

  9. Becca says:

    Stupid Blogger comments.


    Well, of course, Sarp, treif restaurants, weddings on Shabbos, goyishe men…maybe the Jewish community is hiding their black-tie events from you.

    Oh, sure Cranky, I gave ample time to get questions in but you had to wait till now.

    Le sigh

    I’m not sure I understand the question. There was a duck and someone was careful and you wanted to give it money?

    And hey, weren’t you the one who was an honorary Jew? What happened that you lost your standing so fast?

  10. cranky says:

    Here’s the thing. There was this duck that looked scared and lonely living under a bush in my Seder host’s front yard. He wanted to feed it. I suggested bread, which apparently, you folks can’t eat during Passover.

    I fear that suggesting strongly and repeatedly that they feed a duck bread (at a time when there was probably no bread to be had in their house) perhaps damaged my Jewish street cred, J-Ball. You dig?

  11. Becca says:

    Oh, I see. That is a sad and tragic story, Cranky. But I doubt that ruined your cred. You see, if these had been truly pious people they would have invited a sad and lonely duck in to partake of the seder. What was their problem? Please be sure to inform them of their moral terpitude the next time you see them.

    PS, I have it on good authority that ducks LOVE matzah.

    PPS, J-Ball! OMG, that RULES.

  12. Steph says:

    I would just like to tell you that I was able to explain to my father, Cliff Clavin, how the rules were decided today. This made me very happy as the man knows everything from how to make a killer pate to how to launch a Space Shuttle to Jupiter.

    Thank you, J-ball, for making me the smarter one today.

    And, Cliff, if you’re reading this, you know I love you more than Matzah. 🙂

  13. Becca says:

    Excellent! I’m glad I was able to clarify all this and help you one-up Cliff.

    But even more so, I’m glad I could foster communication in the Steph clan. You guys should really call each other, though.

    I foresee the following:
    Steph: “Are you coming for dinner tomorrow night, Dad?”
    Cliff: “I don’t know. I’ll comment on J-Ball and let you know.”
    Steph: “Great, I’ll wear my Preakness hat.”

  14. cranky says:

    Hello. My name is J-Ball.

    I live on the 2nd floor.

  15. steph says:

    Ha! We were actually food shopping together for the Preakness party so it was an actual F2F conversation.

    But considering my parental units e-mail each other when they are in the same house, I can see J-Ball communication becoming a new tool.

  16. Becca says:

    OK, but tell them to keep it clean.

  17. cranky says:

    Let’s make J-Ball the new GDT. (Now with less crazy!) And moderation by a hall monitor with a real motha-fuckin’ badge.

    But you’ve got to turn this word verification off. I’m tired of having to type in “hrtellk” everytime I want to comment.

  18. Becca says:

    Well, but you see, other people read this too.

    (Hi, friends & family, did you wonder where all these people come from? I also belong to an “online community” and these freaks, er, friends followed me here. I’ve met quite a few of them and they seem almost normal!)

    I could try that but I’m not giving up approving the comments or this is going to turn into the “Yankee Bashers Comments Section” while I’m off Sabbathing.

  19. sarpon says:

    I understand the need to approve comments before publishing them because you and your blog are so popular and attend all those black tie wedding that I’m not being invited to and all, but you are totally discriminating against potential visually impaired commentors or people who see the far-out acid colored wavy letters and succumb to a Peter Max flashback.

  20. Becca says:

    Sarp, I am only invited to those things because I’m single and thus they only have to buy one dinner. And yet they still get the same gift! See, I’m on to them.

    The little wheelchair dealie on the right there is for the visually impaired. So there!

    But I do want to give the people what they want so I think I may eliminate word verification, despite the fact that my last one was my initials and “jugs” and I laughed because I’m 12.

  21. Celia says:

    I like the word verification. In fact, I am moved to post at this moment only because it is offering me the chance to type “ozbfeak.”

    None of my relatives has had a black tie wedding, either. Nor my Jewish friends.

  22. Becca says:

    Oh dear, a split vote. But could you use it in a sentence?

    Mine have been a mix, really, as have been the weddings of my non-Jewish friends/relatives. But I edit for humor more than real truth so that’s why that answer appears. It was more a reflection on the question than an informational answer.

  23. Paige says:

    Becca, I hope this doesn’t come out sounding horribly stupid or insulting but, what exactly do you “do” during the Sabbath? Can you light a candle? Do you sit in the dark? I’m totally intrigued here.
    Lover of the Jewball,
    Louisville, KY

  24. Becca says:

    Excellent question, Paige. I’m going to append my post to answer it rather than use the teeny-tiny comment section. Don’t go away! Or, go away, but come back.

  25. Paige says:

    Thank you for clearing that up! I’ll keep that cabin idea in mind.
    Have you ever had a Sabbath where you’re just itching to listen to Joy Division and it’s gonna drive you crazy unless you pop in “Unknown Pleasures”? I imagine that would be a hefty test.

  26. Becca says:

    Well, I’ll admit, when I was a kid, many a Saturday afternoon was spent thinking, “four hours until I can listen to Ghost in the Machine” or “five and a half hours till I hear Music For the Masses.”

    But I do the same thing now as I did then. I sing every song, start to finish, as I was dishes. I must warn you, this does clear people out of the kitchen pretty fast.

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