Monday, July 19, 2010

Quick Pre-Tisha B'av Thoughts

1. The husband of a dear co-worker of mine suffered a stroke this week, and needs our prayers. Please pray for the Refuah Sheleimah of Shmuel Zvi ben Pnina. Not that this matters, but he's a really good guy, also great giving directions to new Israelis.
This would also be a good time to remind all of my faithful readers to get your blood pressure checked. And exercise regularly. Really.

2. I've been reducing my caffeine intake over the past few days in preparation for the fast. Last week it was half-and-half (half real beans, half decaf), and on Sunday I made the full switchover. Which leads me to my next comment: decaf tastes terrible. Is there something about caffeine that makes it taste good? (As an aside, this could also be why people like Pepsi Max, which has twice the caffeine of regular Diet Pepsi.)

3. There's a prohibition against doing laundry during the Nine Days that dates back to the times of the Mishnah. It seems clear that this was legislated to prevent people from enjoying the benefits of freshly laundered clothing. Of course, this prohibition was far more meaningful when it meant that we actually wore dirty clothes, as opposed to today when we just take another outfit out of the closet. Moreover, the prohibition against doing laundry seems counter intuitive: who likes doing laundry? What emerges is a kind of laundry amnesty period for (mainly) women, where they by religious prohibition are forbidden from doing normal housework. This is supposed to make them sad?
The only suggestion I can make is that while they do enjoy the break, the growing pile of laundry haunts them, as the Nine Days progress and it grows bigger....

and bigger....

and bigger....
...until the 10th of Av, the day when most of the Beit Hamikdash burned, and women must symbolically destroy their own "Temple" of dirty clothes that has self-generated itself to about the size of Neptune.
Or larger.
Have an easy fast.