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Showing posts from March, 2013

It all began with a $9 cup of beer ...

It's appropriate that it came to a head at Yankee Stadium last April. My right inner thigh muscle had been bothering me off and on for several years. It would seize up and then let go, and if I weren't really careful, I'd go down with it. This time it was different: I was carrying an obscenely expensive cup of beer back up to my seat when my right inner thigh muscle did its thing, only this time I did fall.

I saved the $9 cup of beer. Time to see the doctor.

PT on it and an unrelated IT band issue didn't make it better. An MRI and X-ray revealed osteoarthritis that had damaged the hip cartilage (from the inner to the outer, not the usual thing), and it was only going to get worse. After several futile regimens of ever-stronger anti-inflammatories, the local orthopedist recommended I consider thinking about considering hip replacement.

I flipped out. Freaked out. Went hysterical. Five stages of acceptance? I slid through denial and anger, went straight from bargaining …

Eliyahu ha-huh?

I thought about "The Polar Express" when I talked to the religious school kids this morning at our model seders. Some of them looked interested; too many of them gave me the patiently condescending look usually reserved for elderly grandparents who repeat themselves too often and the mildly lunatic.

Mind you, some of these kids have no trouble believing that a big fat guy with a beard and a red get-up squeezes down chimneys (their friends and sometimes their own) and leaves presents under decorated trees. But a Jewish guy with a white beard who shows up at every seder, sips some wine and brings hope of a perfect world? Not so much.

Maybe it's because moms and dads insist on syphoning off some of the wine in Elijah's Cup while the kids are standing at the open door. Grownups, please stop. Let your kids use their imaginations. Heck, let the grownups use their imaginations. But maybe it's precisely because of the Jewish connection, where maybe it's not so cool …

Cleaning up (our souls) for Passover

Yesterday marked the official beginning of Passover preparation. We read the special Torah portion, Parah (Num. 19:1-22), that spells out the impossibly mysterious mobius of becoming ritually and spiritually clean by washing with the ashes of a perfect/no-blemish/no-gray-hairs-anywhere red cow.

For some Jews, this means an onslaught of serious housecleaning, getting rid of the chametz (unleavened aka not-kosher-for-Passover) stuff or a rampage of cooking - or a combination of both.

But kicking off the season with a reading of the Red Heifer suggests there's more to Pesach Prep than the physical. Pesach Prep involves more than hauling garbage bags, scrubbing the stoves and refrigerators and cooking up a storm. It involves getting ourselves ready to experience God's miracles.

Our souls and minds need to be as ready for Pesach as our homes and kitchens. Are we ready to let go of slavery? Are we ready to be taken out of slavery?

The point of our Passover observance - no chametz, a…