Apples and Honey and Homework and Death

The beginning of this week brought the beginning of a new year: Rosh HaShanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year, began on Monday. I had in mind a few thoughts I wanted to share, and every intention of doing so on Tuesday.

Then on a Monday a student at NC State completed suicide, and on Tuesday I had homework, and on Tuesday night I fought to finish my homework due Wednesday.

So in the midst of all these things, I never even realized I hadn’t welcomed the new year on my blog, and being on campus, in classes, the most I had been able to do to celebrate this occasion was share some apples and honey with others in the community. On Monday, a fellow math student had shared challah in the graduate lounge. That had made my day.

The truth is, death is a great occasion to think about life, and a new year is a great occasion to think about what we’re doing with our lives. So, naturally, I did.

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Satisfaction/Distraction

ZoloftBlack clouds. Rain clouds. Grey clouds. Large black dogs with floppy ears and wobbly feet. Shadowy hands holding you back. Globs of dark fur, drenched in the rain, peering at you through an alleyway as deep as dreadful. All these things, and I’m sure many more, have been ways that people have tried to visualize depression.

For me, I’ve always considered it a bit more comically, more commercially even. Do you remember that little guy from the Zoloft commercials? It’s so cute, but so sad, so small yet so poignant, altogether insignificant.

It’s a frown, a sigh, an expression of anguish or uncertainty as the weather darkens, but you look outside and it’s still sunny and warm.

Perhaps it helps to visualize depression. Perhaps it helps to make it human. Or perhaps putting a face to these feelings isn’t at all what we need.

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This Is a Post

This is a paragraph. It should be talking about interesting things–such as how health care systems sometimes overlook obvious actions to prevent the spread of disease, how the media influence rape culture by ignoring the men in society, even how concepts such as fear, love, and God are intricately related–instead it is none of these things.

Instead this is a paragraph that expresses discontent. Instead of writing about issues that matter–such as hunger and homelessness, the significance of voting even in the most minute elections, the implications of advocacy and community building on campus–it simply mentions that none of these things have been mentioned.

The irony is that, for each of these things, if I don’t already have a post written, I have the ideas ready to share–but I have been too busy, I admit, to remember they’re there.

So this is my plan, and I’ll need your help.

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August August

I was talking with my roommate the other about the number of days in the month, and he told me August has 31 days because Augustus had to have at least as many days in his month as Julius had in his, so he stole one from February, and now August has 31 days. Makes it a pretty noble–or shall we say, august–month, doesn’t it?

And now it’s over.

But that’s alright, because now we can savor the sweetness of its fruit once again.

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The Many Lives of Me

In another universe I am not the one writing this. In another universe I am still who I am, but wholly different–the personification of another facet of myself. In another universe I am the same man but different, a secondary, tertiary–an nth degree version of myself wholly unknown yet wholly undifferentiated.

That’s a good way of saying it.

Where all these universes meet–a place in time or space, removed from either or both–there is an integral self that exists beyond all possibilities.

The act of reality forming from thought differentiates these forms, causing universal constants to slip behind subliminal ideals, each variable taking upon itself a new manifestation based upon those factors that surround it.

Today I feel undifferentiated. It’s an integral part of my identity.

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Transcending Debt

For the last three year’s it’s been tradition to read a chapter of the Pirkei Avot–the Jewish Ethics of the Fathers–every summer. Except last summer I never finished the third book. And this summer I haven’t touched any of them.

Unfinished business delights no one, and I’m fond of tradition, so with these last four weeks of summer, I’m returning to the Pirkei Avot and bringing it to completion.

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Life in a Petri Dish

If you were fortunate enough to catch my trilogy on identity last week, you’re already aware that I’m in a state of questioning the role of religion in my life but also feel most Jewish in a state of study and discourse. However, my independent study has a crucial flaw compared to a true student of Talmud: I lack a chaver, a friend, a study partner. Rarely do students study alone–they work in pairs, bouncing ideas from one mind to the other until true learning has been achieved.

I lack a study partner, but thankfully, I have you–and I always welcome comments and discussions, always welcome additional voices filling the blank places of the internet upon which these words encroach.

No matter, the summer has returned in full force. Less than a month ago I graduated with my associate degree and in two months I’ll begin classes at a new college working towards my bachelor’s degree. In the time since I walked across the stage and turned my tassel, I’ve gone to the beach, been a guest at another graduation, spent more time playing video games than I have in the last eight months, and studied over Shavuot and spent some serious time in the study of introspection. All of this has only been preparation for my annual dive into the Pirkei Avot. This year I’m starting chapter three and I hope you’ll follow me on this enlightening journey.

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701 Words to Remember

“More Than a Moment”

It’s not that I don’t want to get married
it’s simply the fact that I can’t
but what would it matter even if I did
when I know how they all end anyways
Well I guess they don’t all end
but you know what I mean when I say
that most of them do go anyways.

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