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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Hmm Chocolate

I try to limit my use of the car as much as possible.
Sure environmental and health concerns play a role in that decision, but mostly it’s the decreasing size of my wallet that prompted me to start walking instead of driving.

Unfortunately that’s not always an option and the other day I needed to fill up my tank.
As I went inside to pay, my eyes fell on a chocolate bag prominently displayed at the entrance.

It was a kind that years earlier someone had claimed was kosher, it was said to be on some type of list.
It turned out that it was indeed on a list, only in another country where the fabrication and ingredients might very well be different.
Just as reportedly Coca Cola is not kosher in Spain (can anyone confirm?)

For a split second I thought about buying it, after all it’s just chocolate what could not be kosher about it?
But as I did many times before, I dismissed the thought quickly.

While driving home a heavy thought crossed my mind.

Had I been born in a secular family with a secular upbringing I could’ve bought the chocolate, any chocolate in fact without a second thought.
In fact there would be many things I would be able to do, and many I wouldn’t have to.
But religious Halachah-abiding people educated me, and so refraining from buying something of which the kashrus is questionable is only a minor almost insignificant temptation for me.

But I wonder, if I had been born into a secular family, would I have had the courage and the spirit to abandon that relatively easy life and become a BT?

I’m afraid of the answer…

What about you?

Thursday, July 20, 2006



As response to comments left on various Blogs, I was complimented a couple of times for genuinely deserving my Blog title.
Ironically just a few days after the last known confirmation, I stumbled like a fool.
Would Pragmatician be my job, I’d be fired now.

It started as an innocent, albeit immature, jest.
The air-condition in the office is always blasting on full power.
Unless I wear a cotton pullover I’m always freezing in the room.

Being the first one present- I don’t know what possessed me- that day, I hid the remote, absurdly the only way .to switch it on or off.

A colleague who desperately needs a sense of humor didn’t like my game at all and started looking high and low, so far as to put his hand in my pockets.

Gently I asked him not to touch my jacket and certainly not my pants, yet he continued to search like a maniac.
So I did something I had never done, not even in high school.
I shoved him off me, and to my great shock he became violent.
He grabbed my throat and held both my hands back.
I wasn’t really scared but now I wonder why, he looked too serious for what this was about.

A colleague pulled us apart and reported what had transpired to the boss. Eventually this was ‘worked out’ and I walked away from this story with a hurt thumb and great antipathy towards my colleague. A great shame since we sit next to each other about 8 hours a day.

How I wish I’d been more pragmatic that morning and didn’t resort to such childish tactics.
On the other hand, I dare barely admit it, it was a thrilling experience… Not one that I would choose to have again, yet it added something to my otherwise repetitive days and weeks…

I was wary about sharing this incident for fear of the effect it would have on my Blog image.However I’m simply too ashamed to tell my friends about my regression to high school and so I’m just taking the risk.

Monday, July 17, 2006


a Kind Glutton and Helpful Links

It’s hardly imaginable to find a positive aspect to gluttony, yet didn’t someone (who again?) say that every bad Middah can be channeled for a good cause?
I’ll admit it, I eat way too much way too frequently.
I’m lucky that the usual punishment accompanying gluttony has not yet fallen on me, yet I know I have to work towards lowering my nosh and general food intake.

Last Friday my wife had spent the whole day cooking various delicious looking and tasting (yes I did) foods, yet the guests contented themselves with tiny portions.
While they certainly showed their appreciation with words and sounds they neglected to eat most of the food.
When so much effort is put into something one can’t be blame the hostess feeling a little disappointed when the enthusiasm is lacking.
Luckily my gluttonous nature kicked in and I finished everything to the last morsel (well not to the last, but enough…), with my genuine enthusiasm quite visible followed the disappearance of her look of disappointment.

Many great blogs are discussing what can be done as support to Israel, I’m surprised no one suggested increasing acts of Chessed.
Prayer, collective Tehillim, financial support are most helpful tools and should certainly become part of our daily routine, but I say; visit your lonely neighbor, take your children along to an old age home, go to nearby hospitals and inquire if they have any Jewish patients who could use a good Kosher meal or a comforting smile. Invite the new couple on the block for a Shabbes meal, offer to baby-sit for an overstressed mother, see if you can help your neighbor/friends/cousin find the Chavrusah he’s been looking for. Go on J-blogs and comment….
5 friends and relatives in different sates and countries, ask for names of singles and see who you can set them up with.
HELP YOUR FELLOW YIDDEN CONCRETELY, I believe that it’s a greater (or at least equal) Mitzvah than donating money.

For great lists of things we can and should do for Israel and its Jewish inhabitants I urge you all to visit the following blogs.


J Blogsophere

Cross Currents

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


1 year of Pragmatic thinking

12 months have passed since my first post.
It took me hours then to pen down a few lines, was the spelling right? Were my ideas original enough? Would anyone read and comment?

It took awhile but readers somehow found their way to The Pragmatician and many left comments that made me laugh and think.

It may sound stupid and it probably is, yet when I feel lonely somehow the thought of the many people who blog their way to my site comforts me.
Pondering subjects to write about, knowing that open minded people will not instantaneously dismiss my contra mainstream thoughts is a wonderful feeling.

I’ d like to thank all the readers who take the time to read my blog and comment, also a note of gratitude to those whose blog link to The Pragmatician.

I’d like to mention a few Bloggers who’ve been with me from the very beginning, and still continue to be there.

Shop and Karl (were you guys already dating???Did you first see each others' screen names in my comment section? check out this post from 11 months ago, I had already written Shop's name right above Karl's!)

The Real me (We need more posts)

Bec (Was always the funniest Blog around)

Semgirl (The first popular blog that linked to me)

Lvnsm (Sorry I didn't mention you right away)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Working Kollel Wives: Is It Fair?

Before writing anything on the subject I need to state that I have nothing against people who choose to spend their lives learning the Holy Torah. In fact part of me envies and respects them.

I myself was not zoche to spend a few years after my wedding in one. Yet when a collector for a Kollel knocks at my door, he will be very welcome.
In spite of all that, based on what I witnessed by Kollel families and read on blogs I have come to question the very right for a man to choose to spend his life in such a manner.

I’ve heard many opinions on the subject, both pro and contra women shouldering the responsibility of Parnassah .
Interestingly enough the Torah ‘s (the Chumash) view appears to be completely irrelevant when the question is brought up.

Bereishis perek ג passuk יט
בְּזֵעַת אַפֶּיךָ, תֹּאכַל לֶחֶם
“By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread”

Far from being an expert on Chumash and it’s major commentaries, I believe it’s universally agreed that this Passuk means that man was punished with the need to labor for food.
Previously the fields and trees would be self sustaining, until the moment of the sin. As a result of Adam and Chava’s transgression, H’Ashem cursed the earth, the snake and both humans.

Since not everyone can work in the food industry, the punishment can mean any form of work whose purpose is the ability to purchase food and nourish oneself and one’s family.

The women (who in all fairness started the whole mess in the Gan Eden a little more than 5000 years ago),

have received a punishment of their own.

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