Tribes of Interests
Did you hear the one about the man who married five half-sisters, one after the other, after hearing that the previous one had died? To top it off, he later learned that the first one was alive, and he had to divorce two of his wives. That’s the insider’s way of asking whether you’re keeping up with Daf Yomi – the example here is last week’s Y’vamos 96.
This is how I often start conversations with someone at shul who is likely to be keeping up with this daily Talmudic study regimen. Last week’s opinion piece, “The Cults of Daf Yomi and Fantasy Football” by my colleague Izzo Zwiren, brought up my insider example.
In the yeshivah-style minyan that we both attend, there are plenty of Daf learners who may or may not have much else in common besides their interest in learning the Daf, or l’havdil, discussing their favorite sports teams. After a year of attending this minyan, I felt connected and isolated at the same time: connected by the shared interest in learning, but isolated because there were few men in the minyan who had other interests in common with me.
When we moved to our new community, we wondered how many new friends we would make and what brought us together? Perhaps because our children are friends, that we are perplexed by the same sugya, root for the same team, or live on the same street. But we should also be mindful of individuals who do not fit into the “cults” of learning and sports.
Don’t simply wish them “Good Shabbos.” Ask their names, make conversation, ask about their interests. Likewise concerning the next generation: Teach your children to be friendly to those who just joined the class or playgroup. Nobody should feel isolated if he has no interest in fantasy football or is not involved in learning the Daf.
Take on the challenge of making conversation with a stranger at your minyan. Invite that person to your meal. You will feel as accomplished in reaching out to another person as you are in learning and building fantasy team rosters.
Welcome to the most wonderful club in this world and the Next: the club of lomdei Daf HaYomi! What can compare to a movement that brings such achdus to klal Yisrael? Wherever you go throughout the Jewish world, you can find a shiur or connect with like-minded people across the Jewish spectrum who are literally all on the same page. You are quite right that Daf Yomi requires a huge commitment and a great deal of mental effort. But where better to apply our commitment and efforts than to the mitzvah of Talmud Torah k’neged kulam? And what can compare to the euphoria we all experience at Met Life Stadium as we show kavod HaTorah and celebrate our accomplishment of Siyum HaShas with 90,000 of our brethren? That is no fantasy. Ashreinu mah tov chelkeinu! I look forward to dancing with you, b’ezras Hashem, at the next Siyum HaShas, in June 2027.
“If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” No, no, and no. This is one of the most banal comments one can make to a sick person or one who has a sick spouse. Unfortunately, I’ve been on the receiving end of this line, but I’ve also experienced the very best of people.
In 1997, when I was suffering from my first bout of cancer, I had to undergo chemo every Sunday for six months. At that time, my six-year-old son had joined a Sunday learning program. One of his friend’s parents (whose names I don’t have permission to print) picked up my son every Sunday, took him to the rebbe, and then took him out for pizza. I didn’t have to say a word, but 25 years later, I can’t forget their chesed.
What should you do for someone who is going through a rough time? Cook or buy some meals. Offer to drive the person to appointments. Have your cleaning lady clean the person’s house. Collect the mail and ask the person if you can pay the necessary bills with his/her checkbook. Trust me: Mail is one of the biggest nightmares for someone undergoing treatment. Take the person on daily walks if he/she is up to it. Call every day, even if it’s just to say “Hello.” Don’t persist in asking the person how he/she is. If they want to, they will tell you. It might not be the time to talk about religion, unless the person initiates this discussion.
I’m writing this because I’ve just gone through a difficult year, and I want to thank my children, my brother and sister-in-law, and friends who helped me get through a tough ordeal. I also want to thank Hashem for keeping me strong.
The Real Goal of the Jan. 6 Hearings
The entire purpose of the Jan. 6 hearings and subsequent legislation that Congress wants to pass as a result of those hearings is to nationalize our presidential election system. This is a very dangerous power grab and must be stopped in its tracks. The Framers of the Constitution vested the states with the power over our election system for a reason. We call this concept “federalism,” which is the division of powers between the federal and state governments. Federalism is enshrined in the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights. It’s an essential part of our constitutional structure that must be preserved and protected at all costs.
Under President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, and House Speaker Pelosi, Americans face the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Food costs more when shopping or eating out. Housing costs more, be it insurance, maintenance, mortgage, property taxes, or repairs. Transportation costs more, be it car rentals, insurance, leases, maintenance, payments, public transit, repairs, or vehicles, used or new. Utilities cost more, like gas, electricity, Internet access, phones, or water. Healthcare, long term healthcare insurance, and medications are going up. Security at our southern border has been abandoned. This year we are on the way to see two million illegal crossings accompanied by record amounts of Fentanyl. Over 100,000 fellow citizens will die in 2022 as a result of Fentanyl overdoses.
While this is going on, Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, and company continue to live the lifestyle of the One Percent while the rest of us have to pay for the consequences of their actions. Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, and friends remind me of the three Stooges: Moe, Larry, and Curley. While the Stooges made us laugh, Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, and allies make us cry. They continue to inflict daily economic pain on us. Give Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, and accomplices credit for driving the middle class into extinction. America is on the way to becoming either the very rich or very poor under their leadership.
In an interview with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Biden stated that he would like to put his political opponents in jail. Most people thought he was joking. Unfortunately, he wasn’t. Ryan Kelley (GOP), who is running for Governor of Michigan, was arrested on phony charges. This arrest was timed to coincide with the bogus January 6 hearings. The January 6 Committee is made up of seven Democrats and two RINOs who were handpicked by Pelosi. This violates House rules, which require 13 members and also require five members chosen by the minority leader. This illegitimate committee has proceeded to hold in contempt anyone who attempts to invoke executive privilege.
Attorney General Merrick Garland weaponized his position to make political arrests. He says that he wants to uphold the law, but he is very selective in which laws he chooses to follow. Case in point: Garland prosecutes any non-violent Trump supporter who went into the Capitol, but he will not prosecute violent Antifa and BLM members. Garland has refused to protect the SCOTUS members from violent protests in front of their homes. The law states that protesters are not allowed to go to the homes of the SCOTUS members. Garland has ignored the law because he wants to pressure the justices to bend to his will. Pelosi has blocked a bill that would add protection to the SCOTUS members and their families.
The January 6 hearings are a farce. They only provide one side of the story. Trump organized a peaceful protest. He told his supporters to be peaceful and follow the law. Trump also requested extra security, and Pelosi refused to provide it. The January 6 hearing leaves this information out. This is becoming a dictatorship. We must vote the Dems out.