Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tu B'Shevat

The following is from Celebrating Pleasure, a good article by David Aaron on Tu B'Shevat, the new year for trees.

An apple is not just an apple; an apple is a blessing. Maybe I could believe that apples come from trees, but a blessing could only come from G-d. If I really contemplate the mystery and miracle of the taste, fragrance, beauty and nutrition wrapped up in this apple, I see that it's more than just a fruit--it is a wondrous loving gift from G-d. When I taste an apple with that kind of consciousness, I cannot but experience the presence of G-d within the physical. When I recite a blessing before I eat and acknowledge it as a gift from G-d, I reveal the divinity within it, and the transient sensual pleasure of the food is transformed, because it is filled with eternal spiritual pleasure. The food then feeds not only my body but also my soul. However, when I eat without a blessing, it's as if I stole the food. Perhaps it will nourish and bring pleasure to my body, but it will do nothing for my soul. The soul is only nourished when it experiences its eternal connection to G-d.

There's also some unintentionally hilarious word choice in the article, but I'll leave you to find that on your own.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I'm back.

I really like Geoffrey Nunberg. I just listened to him read an essay he wrote on the non-apology.

Basically, we know everything there is to know about non-apologies by the time we're seven: you make appropriately contrite noises, and then you go on to point to extenuating circumstances, disclaim any malign intention, and minimize the offense. As in, "Okay, I apologize. But he started it. And I was only kidding. And anyway, it was washable ink."

You can listen the whole thing here.