The Voldie Oldie
"You're My Home" (Billy Joel, 1973)
Zeal, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.
"He never bothered them - he never tried to make any of them live in houses.... He left them alone."
On your birthday ♥
Yankee, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See Damyank.)
"A chavrusa of mine was once interning at the OU as the person who takes notes when R. Hershel Schachter paskens she'eilos. Someone came to R. Schachter with a Gemara and showed him that we require two seals to ensure kashrus and asked him why the OU allows just one on packages it certifies. He responded that one seal that takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to break and then reseal is equivalent to the Gemara's two seals. The questioner kept pestering R. Schachter and asking what his source is. Finally, after a long back-and-forth, R. Schachter said, "If you need it to be written by a dead rabbi I'll write it down and then you can shoot me.""
Worms'-meat, n. The finished product of which we are the raw material. The contents of the Taj Mahal, the Tombeau Napoleon and the Grantarium. Worms'-meat is usually outlasted by the structure that houses it, but "this too must pass away." Probably the silliest work in which a human being can engage is construction of a tomb for himself. The solemn purpose cannot dignify, but only accentuates by contrast the foreknown futility.
Woman, n. An animal usually living in the vicinity of Man, and having a rudimentary susceptibility to domestication. It is credited by many of the elder zoölogists with a certain vestigial docility acquired in a former state of seclusion, but naturalists of the postsusananthony period, having no knowledge of the seclusion, deny the virtue and declare that such as creation's dawn beheld, it roareth now. The species is the most widely distributed of all beasts of prey, infesting all habitable parts of the globe, from Greenland's spicy mountains to India's moral strand. The popular name (wolf-man) is incorrect, for the creature is of the cat kind. The woman is lithe and graceful in its movements, especially the American variety (Felis pugnans), is omnivorous and can be taught not to talk.---Balthasar Pober.
Widow, n. A pathetic figure that the Christian world has agreed to take humorously, although Christ's tenderness towards widows was one of the most marked features of his character.
When God commands Moshe to be his messenger to the Jewish people, Moshe wonders under which name of God he should address the people. God seems to offer a number of different replies to this query. First, he tells Moshe that "I shall be that which I shall be", adding that Moshe should tell the people that "I shall be" has sent him to them. Finally, God commands Moshe to tell the people that "The God of your forefathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzhak, and the God of Ya'akov has sent me to you." What does all this mean?
Wheat, n. A cereal from which a tolerably good whiskey can with some difficulty be made, and which is used also for bread. The French are said to eat more bread per capita of population than any other people, which is natural, for only they know how to make the stuff palatable.
Whangdepootenawah, n. In the Ojibwa tongue, disaster; an unexpected affliction that strikes hard.
"How many Zen Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb?"
Werewolf, n. A wolf that was once, or is sometimes, a man. All werewolves are of evil disposition, having assumed a bestial form to gratify a bestial appetite, but some, transformed by sorcery, are as humane as is consistent with an acquired taste for human flesh.
"The synagogue, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that Mr. Howard Garber will no longer be in charge of the building."
Wedding, n. A ceremony at which two persons undertake to become one, one undertakes to become nothing, and nothing undertakes to become supportable.
"'Cause Nike uses child labour, which I'm fine with, but they don't teach the kids how to make the shoes properly."
"I am waiting for our turtle, because he is too slow."
Weather, n. The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle.
"You think this is a lounge.... It's not."
War, n. A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a period of international amity. The student of history who has not been taught to expect the unexpected may justly boast himself inaccessible to the light. "In time of peace men prepare for war" has a deeper meaning than is commonly discerned; it means, not merely that all things earthly have an end - that change is the one immutable and eternal law - but that the soil of peace is thickly sown with seeds of war and singularly suited to their germination and growth. It was when Kubla Khan had decreed his "stately pleasure dome" - when, that it to say, there were peace and fat feasting at Xanadu - that he heard from far
"It doesn't work? You need a man to open it."
To Yitzchak Brand on his engagement (a while ago)
Wall Street, n. A symbol of sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven. Even the great and good Andrew Carnegie has made his profession of faith in the matter.
"Why doesn't it just say, 'McDonald's: We're doing quite well?'"
W (double U) has, of all the letters in our alphabet, the only cumbrous name, the names of the others being monosyllabic. This advantage of the Roman alphabet over the Grecian is the more valued after audibly spelling out some simple Greek word, like έπιχοριαμβικός. Still, it is now thought by the learned that other agencies than the difference of the two alphabets may have been concerned in the decline of "the glory that was Greece" and the rise of "the grandeur that was Rome." There can be no doubt, however, that by simplifying the name of W (calling it "wow," for example) our civilization could be, if not promoted, at least better endured.
Vote, n. The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.
In his comment on the blessing given by Yaakov to his son, Yehuda, Netziv explains that the phrase "umhoqeq mi-bein raglav" (49:10) refers to the fact that the tribe of Yehuda was blessed with great analytical powers in Torah study ("mehoqeq"), which were nurtured by the many students who sat at the feet of the rabbis from Yehuda ("mibein raglav"). This preeminence in Torah study was even on display in Shiloh, where the Jews encamped when they entered the Land of Israel, and it was a Judean, Osniel ben Qenaz, who "rediscovered" the laws lost during the period of mourning following Moshe's death (see Temurah 16b).
Vituperation, n. Satire, as understood by dunces and all such as suffer from an impediment in their wit.
The other day I was doing some grocery shopping at the shopping plaza near my apartment, called Lawerence Square. It was right before the holidays and there was a booth set up in front of one of the stores that was offering to gift wrap items, only their sign advertised "gift wrape". I'm not quite sure what it means to "wrape" a gift, but it doesn't sound particularly pleasant.
"If I say, 'This is going to be on the test', it's probably a good idea to make sure you know it, because it will probably be on the test."
I lost track of the picture of the fat pizza dude (after repeated censorship of some of my recent posts) and I was trying to find the now famous picture of fat pizza dude, but I just couldn't remember where we had come across it in the first place. So I turned to the trusted source known as Google. Here's what happened:
Urbanity, n. The kind of civility that urban observers ascribe to dwellers in all cities but New York. Its commonest expression is heard in the words, "I beg your pardon," and it is not inconsistent with disregard of the rights of others.
"Not that I'm saying that you guys are on the level of my six-year-old. Halevai..."
The Tosefta (Sotah 6:5) describes an argument between R' Shimon and his teacher, R' Akiva, as to the nature of the fast day observed in month of Teveth. The biblical source for the fast describes it only as 'the fast of the tenth [month]', listing it as the fourth in a series of fast days ' 'the fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth? (Zechariah 8:19) - without specifying the date or what it is supposed to commemorate.