30 July 2007


Since I'm back in Gahanna, one thing about which I wanted to post was the development going on over at Creekside. Today, among other things (such as adding to one of our wedding registries (oh, and we now have another addition), figuring out the order of our wedding and picking up stuff left over from my sister's wedding yesterday), my fiance and I went down to Creekside with my parents, my brother's mother and sister and her husband. While there, it was definitely great weather to enjoy walking around Creekside.
However, a visitor to Creekside can't help but notice the construction going on at the already-awarded project in progress. While the new project will certainly be quite nice aesthetically as well as a nice new hangout in Gahanna, it should also provide a nice addition economically to Gahanna, as well.
The one problem that I have with this new addition to Creekside is that along Mill Street, the buildings abut so closely to the street. Perhaps I have gotten so used to growing up with Mill Street being left plenty of space between it and the nearest buildings (especially the old post office (which moved to Lincoln Circle)) is that it seems to be so tight to the street. Yes, the developer may have had in mind to make it more urban-looking, but it still seems so overpowering right up on Mill Street. Anyways, I know I can't change it by any means of pushing it back even just five feet as the construction is well under way (as can be seen in these pictures), but I'm just contributing my "two cents".

25 July 2007

Back in Gahanna

Yay! I'm back in Gahanna.
I'm here in advance of my sister's wedding coming up on Sunday, to help with preparations and celebrations.
It is so nice to get out of New York for a week and be back home in the midwest - so, so refreshing!
That's all for now - it's late.

Out-of-Towning It For Shabbasos

The last two shabbasos have been out of town for me as will this upcoming one.
Two shabbasos ago, I headed up to Boston to visit Rabbi Klapper, of whom I was a student in his Summer Beit Midrash program. Specifically, I was in the Cambridge-Somerville area (my second time for shabbas there (my previous one being last summer during the SBM)) and it was a nice time.
Last shabbas, I went up for my sister's fiance's aufruf in Ithaca, NY, my second there (my first), which was also a nice time and somewhat low-key.
I now set out today to go back home for a week to Gahanna, and will be spending shabbas in Columbus. (The last time I spent shabbas in Columbus, the eruv was down but, fortunately, it is now fixed.)

18 July 2007

Updating My Wedding Website

Aside from spending a good amount of time cleaning up my bedroom and kitchen today (though there is still much to do...), I have updated my wedding website, which is good, so people interested in attending either the wedding and/or sheva berakhos can have the proper information (and also so people can send us gifts :)).
Anyways, back to cleaning....

17 July 2007

My First Time Shooting Rifles

On Sunday 3 June, while my fiance was at her bridal shower, her brother and I went to a shooting range (of which he is a member) and I shot rifles for the first time in my life - video below.

Yemei Iyun

I know it was weeks ago (three, to be precise), but I figured I would post about attending YCT's Yemei Iyun, nevertheless. It was their fifth annual such event, this now being my third consecutively-attended (including having attended it last year).
For me, the best sessions were those presented by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper (with whom I just spent this past shabbas up in Boston). He presented four sessions: "Writing Modern Midrash," "What is the Purpose of Animal Sacrifice?", "So Long, But Thanks For the Fish: A New Reading of the Jonah Story," and "Maimonides and Messianism." Yes, there were others I attended and from which I benefited, such as Rivka Kahan's "Understanding the Enigmatic 'Hatan Damim' Episode of Ch. 4 of Exodus" which has always been a puzzling text to me (and many others, I'm sure).
Whenever the lectures get uploaded [here], they are definitely worth a listen.

13 July 2007

What is "Her Beauty"?

After posting on Eshes Hayyil, I saw that not only did Mrs. Rivy Poupko-Kletenik (whom I've heard speak before) have a blog, but also that she posted on Eshes Hayyil. What caught my eye was this line:
Finally, in the penultimate verse of the entire book we find a strong declaration condemning the physical, Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
While I still haven't quite figured out as to why grace is deceitful, her translation of the next part "beauty is vain" follows the commonly-followed translation. However, last summer, I had posted previously on the identification of "vain" really being "fleeting" (utilizing Ethan Dor-Shav's article (who, btw, is now blogging on his own (as can be found in a comment on my Eshes Hayyil posting)). Thus, we get the translation that beauty is not vain, but fleeting. This is entirely sensical - there still is an appreciation to the woman's beauty, but a recognition that it will not last forever (maybe several decades, for instance). It follows therefrom that this poem is not condemning beauty, but, rather, recognizing its temporal boundaries.
Shabbat shalom.

05 July 2007

BBYO Papers in PDF Format

Thanks to PDF Online, I've now been able to put my papers on BBYO online in PDF format, which has the added benefit of being more easily accessible (previously, they were online in Word format). The first I wrote four summers ago, AZA Begins: Before B'nai B'rith, discussing how AZA was before being absorbed into B'nai B'rith, mainly to refute previously held notions about the beginnings of AZA. The second, Housing BBYO Leadership, was composed later that summer and subsequently added to the following summer (three years ago). Enjoy. (Especially the PDF online converter thing.)

אשת חיל: How To Translate Eshes Hayyil?

A commonly sung poem by Jews, particularly customarily on Friday nights at the shabbas table is that entitled אשת חיל (Eshes Hayyil), which spans verses 10-31 of the last chapter of משלי (the book of Proverbs), chapter 31, in effect, the last section of the book. It is a nice piece devoted to the woman and praising her work.
Since a lot of people are either familiar with this piece already or otherwise don't care, one may inquire, "Drew, Why are you bringing this up?"
The answer is that Suzanne McCarthy has been blogging recently about this piece over at Better Bibles Blog in a multi-part series entitled "Songs of a Valiant Woman" (parts one, two, three, and four). A central question regarding this piece is how to translate אשת חיל into English. A common translation I often hear/read is the Woman of Valor (or, alternatively, the Valorous Woman). The נפקא מינה (significance) to this is how to translate this second word, חיל, (i.e. woman of חיל), which is reflective of how one sees this section of 22 verses.
In a post pre-dating her four-part series, McCarthy composed a posting entitled "A Virtuous Woman", she has the following:
This word is defined in the Koehler-Baumgartner as
* capacity, power, strength
* property, wealth
* qualified, fit for military service
* of good family, valiant, brave
Thus, we see that there are several options in front of us from which to choose, beyond the oft-mentioned valour option (in the above list, it's the fourth option).
Normally, I wouldn't say anything, but a few months ago, I came across Christine Roy Yoder's article "The Woman of Substance (אשת חיל): A Socioeconomic Reading of Proverbs 31:10-31" (in JBL 122:3 (Fall 2003): pp. 427-447), which, as you can tell, is not inclined towards the reading of valor. Her description in the first footnote is noteworthy:
The translation of חיל as “substance” is an effort to capture its range of meaning, many elements of which are evident in Prov 31:10–31. Independently or as part of a phrase, the term חיל refers variously to strength (e.g., 1 Sam 2:4; Qoh 10:10), an army (e.g., Exod 14:4; Deut 11:4; Jer 32:2), wealth, property, or profits from trade (e.g., Prov 3:22; Isa 30:6; Jer 15:13; Job 20:18), ability (e.g., Gen 47:6; Exod 18:21; 1 Chr 26:30, 32), and bravery (e.g., Judg 11:1; 1 Chr 5:24). Men with חיל are typically affluent, landowners, persons of good repute, who serve (often militarily) with loyalty and bravery (e.g., Exod 18:25; 2 Sam 23:20; 2 Kgs 15:20; 24:14; Ruth 2:1). They are, that is, persons of “substance”—strength and capacity, wealth and skill—much like the woman described in Prov 31:10–31. For the same translation of חיל in Ruth 2:1, see E. F. Campbell, Ruth: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (AB 7; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975), 90.
I, personally, find it more sensical to the text to describe this text to be describing this woman of substance, of being economically able/skilled.

02 July 2007

Wedding (okay, not mine)

Yesterday, I was at a fellow YCT student's wedding in Connecticut and it was very interesting for me to pay attention and see what was going on. I have been to several weddings of various people who live in Washington Heights in the last few years, but this was the first wedding I had attended since getting engaged. It is also the only one aside from my sister's wedding that I will be attending before mine. The significance was mainly (per mine) was not only to see how things went as well as the timing of things, but also to get an idea of how to compose an informational booklet for the wedding. All of the weddings I have attended have a program booklet explaining the proceedings. I am in charge of the booklet for my wedding.
Anyways, this wedding was orchestrated by Rabbi Avi Weiss, who really did an absolutely splendidly wonderful job - I really don't know who can perform weddings better than he can - it's simply a work of art to see what he does. Seeing what he does sets an impressive standard and it's a fine model from which to glean.
One of the interesting things for me to see was during the birkat hatanim (a/k/a the sheva berakhos) at the end of the meal that the first three blessings went to women. In and of itself, it wasn't anything strange, but I just had never seen it before.
Joe Scheiner, one of Max Davis' roommates (Max was the groom), upon me saying hello, inquired about my blog, apparently having coming across my blog at some point (there's your shout-out, Joe).