Posted by: Steve Coplan | April 7, 2007

Links for a chilly Friday in April

Buy the first pizza after Pesach auction

This auction raises some interesting issues, halachically speaking. The laws of Pesach dictate that a Jew cannot own or derive benefit from any products containing wheat (apart from matzah) during the eight days (or seven if resident in Israel) of the festival. Does the right to buy the first pizza out of the oven confer ownership, and hence constitute a direct violation of the law? The answer seems to be that because this is ownership of the second order — a derivative if you will — and the auction winner will only own the pizza when he pays for it, the auction is halachically acceptable.

The related question is whether this is appropriate? Pizza I can live without for eight days, but a cold beer is a different story (and a Scotch wouldn’t be terrible either), so to some extent I can understand the value attached with the first morsel of hametz to pass the lips. Still, hametz (wheat products) are forbidden for a symbolic reason that is intimately tied to the spiritual aspect of the festival. Pesach commemorates freedom from oppression, and to some extent ties into the spring theme of birth, in that it’s related to the creation of the Jewish identity. It does not celebrate spiritual or religious maturity, but the release from some constraint. In fact, it takes 40 years of wandering, punishment and revelation before the Jews reach the level of cohesion and self-awareness to act as unified political and military force in the conquest of Israel. From a personal perspective, restricting our diet is a trigger or an exercise in understanding the limitations we impose on ourselves or old habits we won’t shake (our own personal Egypts so to speak) that stand in the way of progression. Salivating about pizza seems to defeat the purpose, in my opinion, although I am not sure I’d go as far as some of the posters on this message board.

Topknot video

I eagerly await the release of Cornershop’s next album, which has been some time in coming. The video is an excerpt from PATANG, a feature length film by award winning director Prashant Bhargava. During the jubilant atmosphere of Ahmedabad’s treasured kite festival, three stories unfold capturing the joys and struggles of a city in flux, or at least some I am led to believe.

Zeb – the spy from Cairo. Bauls of NY best of the bunch in my opinion.

Beat Pharmacy’s latest. Also nice to another transplanted Joburg boy doing his thing. Great album cover too.

The enigma of the Etruscans. This is a more academic paper on the findings discussed by a typically unfocused New York Times article on the subject of the origins of the Etruscans.

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Responses

  1. Mamma mia, when I read that “Etruscan women take particular care of their bodies and exercise often. It is not a disgrace for them to be seen naked. Further, they dine not with their own husbands, but with any men who happen to be present.”, it is like I can feel the Etruscan blood roaring through my veins….

  2. Indeed. I believe this study provides an excellent foundation on another enduring mystery: why do Tuscans speak so funny?

    The web site for the condos opposite your old place is up – http://smithncourt.com/. The soundtrack in particular assures me that the development will be done in good taste.


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