Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shabbos with Steven Hill (Reb Shlomo Hill) z"l

The news spread quickly. The famous Reb Shlomo (Steven) Hill was niftar the other day. Interesting posts appeared about his life and character on various websites.

I did not know him personally, nor from television or movie gazing.

But for me, Reb Shlomo Hill was still special.

I have fond memories of him, from a great recording released over twenty years ago, "A Taste of Shabbos", with Dov Levine, which he narrated beautifully, faithfully transmitting the taste of that special day.

If you have never heard it, you might want to take a listen now. Or listen once again, to savor the experience. I don't know if Reb Hill composed the lyrics, or just delivered them. Either way, he shone with a great performance. Seemingly simple words, but depth is there too.

A while back, Charie Bernhaut featured the album on his music broadcast. You can hear extensive clips there (scroll down to show #284, in the first hour) via the archived version, and get a taste of the magnificence of Reb Shlomo Hill.

תנצב"ה

(previously entitled The Jewish Majesty of Reb Shlomo (Steven) Hill z"l, and Hill Shines For Shabbos - "A Taste of Shabbos" with Reb Shlomo (Steven) Hill z"l )

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gematria Abuse

Gematria is an ancient art, which features in Jewish tradition at times (Wikipedia has quite an interesting, elaborate entry on it). That does not mean, however, that any and all such calculations conjured up are particularly significant. Not all gematriyaos are equal. Some can be laughable or repulsive. Others can be part of Torah.

Recently, with excitement, someone stated to me, that Donald Trump is be-gematria משיח בן דוד, while his opponent was equivalent to a Biblical villain in calculation. I guess a partisan somewhere put it together to pitch their favored candidate.

I responded that I can't go along with it, and that if we went according to (such) gematriaos, 770 (Eastern Parkway) is בית משיח.  :)

Note: this is not an endorsement or non endorsement of any candidate.

(Of course, the thing is laughable. How can someone from non-Davidic stock be Moshiach ben David, after all? And someone not of a nationality the Torah condemns is not that either.)

Sometimes these gematria abuses seem like cases of people painting a target around an arrow, after it was shot. In other cases it just seems like play and humor. Perhaps this case is a combination of the above.

May all our calculations be accurate and on target.