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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, February 27, 2004

Feminism from a Non-Feminist

If you ever want to get upset about the treatment of women, read some classical philosophy. So many of the philosophers tend to discard women as not being capable of rational thought, intellect or virtue. I have been reading Aristotle's Politics. Aristotle sees women on a level slightly above that of a natural slave but far below that of a free man. What actually constitutes a natural slave and a free man is up to a lot of discussion, but let's suffice it to say that women are not seen as especially worthy in Aristotle's eyes. Aristotle is not the only one who makes comments about women being incapable of the same complexities as men. Plato, in the Symposium, makes broad statements about women being incapable of deep love, and Michel De Montaigne, in Of Friendship, states that women are unable to participate in a true friendship. What kind of relationships must these men have had with their wives? They all had wives, but didn't seem to think a whole lot of them. I have to wonder if they ever discussed what they were writing with their wives, or whether their marriages were merely for the purpose of procreation, that their wives were only seen in the bedroom, and not spoken to very much at that time. I have to believe that women were just as intelligent and capable as they are now, and I wonder that they were kept down so much as to not be able to convey their worth to the men whose homes they shared. I was discussing this last night with someone, and he made a comment to me about how maybe I should be looking closer to home about the way women are viewed, implying of course, the way that women are viewed in the Orthodox Jewish world. I told him that it is misunderstood, and we kind of left it at that. The truth is, as much justification as can be given to a lot of the issues the outside world sees with how women are viewed in Judaism, there is a lot that goes beyond what is acceptable to me. I don't consider myself a feminist, I don't have trouble not being counted in a minyan or sitting on the other side of a mechitza. I am not asking to read from the Torah, nor am I even complaining about having to wear skirts in the winter and long sleeves in the summer. What I do have a problem with is those who say that a woman's place is strictly in the home, that a man's education (Jewish and otherwise) is necessarily more important than a woman's, that a man should not be asked to do "women's work" such as laundry or dishes. I have heard all of these things justified within a supposedly halachic framework. It seems that the father right one goes, the more disparity there is between women's and men's roles in life. While I don't think that men and women are the same, should be treated identically, or even want the same things out of life, I think that a woman should be given the opportunity to find what fulfills her, be it the pursuit of a job or the choice to stay home with her children. I just don't think she should be bound to one path as the only acceptable way of life. I think women have so much to offer the world, and luckily, I think the world in general does recognize that today. I hope that in that way, the world has changed from the time when Aristotle was writing. I hope that whatever I decide to do with my life, whether I decide to stay at home with my children or go on to get my PhD, I can be supported in that endeavor by men and women, Jewish and non-Jewish. And I hope that other women out there feel able to do the same.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


I have been thinking a lot lately about the "older" singles that I know, in particular the girls (mainly because I don't know that many guys). I can't even begin to explain where the cut off for when you become "older," so I am just going to assume it begins around 24 or 25. A lot of people would probably argue that it is younger, but I think it is absolutely ridiculous to say that a 23-year-old who is not married is old, so you are just going to have to deal with my personal bias on that one. What I see when I look at the older single girls is a mix of two things. The first group of older single girls are professional, bright, independent, attractive and personable. They have gone out into the world, have made a life for themselves, are improving themselves and those around them daily. They look forward to getting married, but they don't allow the fact that they are not married steop them from making a life for themselves. The second group doesn't necessarily lack the above qualities, but they seem to embody one extra attribute - that is aura of "waiting." These girls are "waiting" for marriage. They are waiting to move out of their parents' houses, waiting to begin the next stage of their life, waiting to have a baby, always waiting. A lot of those in the second group talk about their high school days as the halcyon years, their friendships haven't moved much beyond that time, even though they are now ten years or more older. The only thing I can figure out is, they expected to be married shortly after high school, and then they would start their "real" lives as a part of a family. So the fact that they have not yet gotten married has caused them to stop in mid-air and run in place. I did the waiting thing for a few years. Then I realized that I couldn't wait forever to fulfill my dreams. I couldn't wait for things to fall into place (until I got married) to go back to school, to make a life for myself. I realized that maybe the vision of my future isn't what is going to happen. I had to move on and start carving out a different future. I am no longer waiting to get married before I do things in my life. This doesn't mean I want to get married less than those other girls, it simply means that I realize that I don't want to put my entire life on hold while I wait for one aspect of it to come. I don't look down on those girls who are waiting. Unfortunately, I think that the world they grew up in makes it extremely difficult to see life as whole during that period after high school and before marriage. I hope that they can find in themselves that they are whole with or without a husband.

Aristotle and Slavery

I started reading Aristotle's Politics last night. I haven't gotten very far, but what I read was a bit disturbing. Aristotle says that some people are born to be slaves and some people are born to be masters. And of course, he seems to think the class he belongs to is the class of masters. Ok, I have problems with that. I e-mailed my professor, who sent me the piece I was reading, and told him about my trouble. He told me to "think beyond the obvious." He suggested that I look closer at what Aristotle means by slavery, and "natural slaves." Aristotle says, "He who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature." But I am not so sure how you "have" rational principle. So that didn't help so much. He also speaks about the soul and the body, how the soul rules the body, and the body is the slave of the soul, at least it should be by nature. When I try to think "beyond the obvious" idea of slaves, I have to say that most people are a slave to a large number of things, such as our bodies. We have to eat to sustain ourselves; we need money to be able to eat; we have to work to earn the money to be able to eat; we have to get up at a certain time to be able to work to earn the money to be able to eat. In this manner, I think we are all slaves to a certain extent, and it seems that we are slaves to our bodies. When I think beyond our physical needs, most of us also become slaves to the people in our lives, to the other mental and physical demands on us, to our religious beliefs. And all this is not necessarily a bad thing at all - it is, as Aristotle says, natural. I guess the question I have left is, is there any way for a person to NOT be a slave, in any realm at all?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Man and Superman

I have been reading the play Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw. I have only read the first act so far, so I have no clue how it will turn out, but for a play written at the turn of the century, I feel like the themes that are brought up are very contemporary. One of the main characters, Jack Tanner, is the author of "The Revolutionist's Handbook" and he describes himself as a member of the "Idle Rich Class." His forward-thinking is not always appreciated so much by the other characters in the play. He describes the process of growing and maturing: "I had become a new person; and those who knew the old person laughed at me. The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor: he took my measure anew every time he saw me, whilst all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me." I think this is true for most of your casual acquaintances; they have trouble seeing you in anything but the role that they initially place you in. When things change, when the balance of power gets tipped, when one person suddenly has taken a major step in their life, I think relationships do tend to have trouble. I see this many times with friends who get married or have children, the relationship between two friends can change or even terminate when such a big event occurs in one's life and not the other. But I think that there is a level of friendship to which this does not apply. I think that for two people who really have that unique bond that, unfortunately is found so rarely, a level of maturity gained or change in status doesn't have the effect of also changing the friendship or relationship. I have a friend who has known me through my silly college days, through becoming religious, through becoming independent and figuring out who I am. I have known her through her college days, through grad school, through now having a job, and having found the guy she is going to marry. Yes, our relationship has changed, because we both have changed and matured so much through the years. But the closeness that we shared initially has not changed through all of our growing. Because we respect each other so much as people, and we know each other's strengths and weaknesses and love each other anyway, I feel like that bond will not be broken by our changing lives. I hope not. I think that if we realize how much we each change and want people to respect that in us, then we will have a much easier time respecting other people's changes, and admiring them for having the courage to grow.

I have comments now!

Yay! Thanks to an e-mail from Am Ha-Aretz, I now have comments on my blog! Who knew it could be so easy? As someone who is not especially literate when it comes to computer stuff (at least on the programming end of things), I have to say that I really appreciate that there are programs out there that make these features relatively simple to install. So leave me comments!

Monday, February 23, 2004

Friends Are Good

It was one of those weekends where I began wondering how I was going to find things to fill the time, and when it ended I couldn't believe where all the time went. I have to say that this weekend made me appreciate my friends once again. Just the fact that I have such a nice, varied group of people that I can call upon and who call upon me is such a great thing, and I know how lucky I am to have such a chevra. Saturday night a friend who I hadn't seen in a long time called me out of the blue saying that she was in town. She came over, we caught up and then we went to a shiur by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, of Congregation Shomrei Emunah (my shul). He gave a talk to "older" single women in the community about dating. I was concerned that the talk would be the typical chizuk, "every date is one closer to your bashert" talk. But it wasn't, at all. I was so impressed. He told us that we need to look closer before saying no to a date, and we need to realize that a lot of the things that we feel are so important to look for in a guy are not as big of issues as we think they are. He also said that we need to look for new ways to meet potential dates, because being set up by a stranger just doesn't make that much sense. Thank you, Rabbi Gottlieb. I think I need to start going to shul more often. I really like the direction he is giving to the congregation. I just ordered the new book club book, "One People, Two Worlds" and plan on making that the next book on my list. A friend of mine came to talk to me yesterday about some issues she was having with another of our friends. She talked and talked and I just listened for a long time. It was what she needed. But it was so interesting listening to her. I realized that small things really make a big impact, even if you don't know it. Going to someone for help can be as big a thing as being there for them. And you have to be incredibly careful about everything you do, because you never know how what you do will end up being an example for someone else, and sometimes not in the way that you ever imagined it would be. Finally, I have to throw a humungous "THANK YOU!" out to my friend Jennifer, who gave me the information for a large piece of the project that is due today, that I started working on yesterday, with no idea that I wouldn't be able to find some of the information that I needed. And she brought me back incredibly cool beads from Mardi Gras. Old friends, new friends, sometimes friends. They all make up your life, and contribute to your happiness so much. I am so lucky. Thank you guys!

Friday, February 20, 2004

Cynicism and Politics

I was told last night that I am cynical. That surprised me. And upset me, to be honest. This statement was based on comments I made about the politicians in America and how I don't like the values that most of our political leaders seem to embody. We left the conversation with me stating that I think that, unfortunately, power corrupts. But the question left hanging was, if power makes a leader corrupt, can you be a leader without power? And is there any way for power to not corrupt a leader? My feelings about leadership are that a true leader doesn't need power, they just naturally lead. But then the question is, who are you leading if you don't have any power? And there is gets murky, because you are stuck in the same circle, going around in circles about the influences of leadership and power on one another. I believe the key is in humility. Moshe was possibly the greatest leader ever. The quality that most characterized him was humility. Humility, the act of knowing and being able to use the assets that you have, but always keeping in mind that those assets are a gift. Unfortunately, I don't think that most of the public leaders today, especially in the political arena, have much humility. I feel like the incredible majority of politicians today go into politics not because they want the best for their constituents, but because they want power. Unfortunately, I feel like those people who go into public service for the purpose of serving the public don't end up faring well, probably because they are eaten up by the power hungry people who tend to lead our political realm today. Whew! For someone not interested in politics, that was a lot said! As for my cynicism, there might be some truth in that I am cynical towards the motivation behind the leaders in the public eye today. And unfortunately, I think I have started having some doubts about the motivations behind a lot of the people I meet these days. But I hope that I, and I think I do, still hold on to the belief that people are innately good and care about others and do the right thing out of love rather than fear. I know that I am still surprised when I find out about the horrible things that one person will do to another. I know I am still stunned by the stories I hear. I know I am still shocked when someone hurts another and doesn't seem to feel remorse. And in that way, I feel like I am clinging to my idealism. I hope I don't ever get to the point where I am not surprised or hurt to find out that one person would hurt another.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

An Honest Reflection, I hope

Ok, I know I have been on the existential side of things lately, but I guess I have had a lot to reflect on this past week or so. I got news about someone from my past last week. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I don't want to use details. It brought up a lot of feelings in me that I really needed to think about. The news was of the sort that, when it first presented itself, it was quite a blow. But then, the more I thought about it, I realized that it was a thing of the past. Because I am a different person than I used to be, it didn't affect me the way it would have six months ago. Because I am more self-assured, more confident, because I know who I am better than I used to, the news wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. Or so I told myself. Then last night I was talking to someone. After hanging up, I realized that I let myself fall into all the same traps that I have always put myself through. I make myself into an airhead when I talk to guys. I have always done it. And then I worry that I am not smart enough for them. And then I realize that I shouldn't have worried about it at all, and sometimes they aren't smart enough for me. (I am not trying to sound conceited here, I am trying to be honest.) This is crazy and self-defeating. And I know that it is. But I do it all the time. I can't figure out why I let myself do it. When a guy is super smart, it takes me a while, but I will usually let myself act smart around him. But I will always feel inferior and doubt myself. When a guy isn't as smart, I will act dumb and then wonder why we didn't talk about good enough topics. Duh, there are two people in the conversation here. Why can't I just be myself? Why do I have this fear of letting my intellect show? Why do I doubt whether I am good enough for everything? Why do I worry so darn much?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

All The World Is A Stage

Do we ever really know who we are? Or who anyone else is? I sometimes wonder how different people would describe me if asked and how their accounts would vary from one to the next. I feel like my mother, or my friend, or my classmate, or my boss would give incredibly different descriptions of me. And the truth is, I AM a different person depending on who I am relating to at the moment. There are some people who I can talk to about certain things, and there are other people I can talk to about other things. I don't know if there is one person who can relate to me on all my levels. I am not sure I can recognize all my levels. Different people bring out different things in me. Something I have never considered before, when presented to me in a new light, can quickly become a whole new world to me, that I am going to choose to make a part of me. And I am so enriched by having this new dimension in my life, but it also makes things just a small bit more difficult, in that it makes me just that much more complex, and harder to relate to. If this is the case for me, then how much more do I not know anyone else? I am constantly surprised by things I find out about different people. Things that just don't seem to fit with my perception of those people. But it is a part of them. I guess part of the problem is that we judge other people based on our own experience. How else can we? But our own experience is so different from the next person's. It's like we are always looking through tinted glasses. We can never really see the whole of anyone else, because we are not going to be with any other person all the time. I think Shakespeare was very aware of this. His plays are full of misreading and misunderstanding other people. He said, incredibly accurately, "All the world is a stage, and we are all merely actors." I can't imagine any truer words. We act all the time. We act the roles that we think others want us to be. And if we say that we don't, then we are acting to ourselves. The problem is, do we have a real self, a true self? Is there one true persona inside that is who we really are, and are we capable of ever being who we really are? Does it even exist?

Monday, February 16, 2004

Job and Socrates

I read Job (or Iyov in Hebrew) this weekend. What a story! I had real issues with a lot of it. I don't understand why Hashem allowed the Satan to do all those horrible things to Job. Maybe it was a test for Job, maybe Hashem wanted to prove to the Satan that whatever happens, a person could have faith. But why? Why did Hashem have to prove anything to the Satan? Why did the Satan have any power over Job to begin with? At the end, when Hashem gave Job everything back, did that really make things okay again? Job lost all his original children, are having replacement children the same as never having lost the original ones? I can't imagine that it is. I can't imagine that Job could just forget everything that he had gone through. I think I need to learn Job with some commentary. I think a trip to the bookstore might be in the works for this week. If anyone has any good suggestions, let me know. I also finished reading Plato's Phaedo this past weekend (I have been doing way too much non-homework reading lately). It is so interesting, when you consider when Socrates and Plato lived and the culture around them. The Phaedo is the description of Socrates' last day, the day when he drinks the poison. As is true to his character, he goes out philosophizing. Socrates goes on about the soul and the body, and how you cannot reach true wisdom until you are separated from your body. He then talks about what happens after death, and about the whole universe. He speaks of a "God", not many gods when talking about what happens after life. He says, "All men will agree that God, and the essential form of life, and the immortal in general, will never perish." Now I don't know Greek, but I was told that the original word is Deos, which means one God. Maybe as much as the Greeks wanted to believe that there were many gods, therefore giving each of them less power, they really knew that there could only be one Being in charge of everything. Interesting to think about, anyway.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Parshas Yisro

This week we read the parsha where Hashem gives the Jewish people the Ten Commandments. It is said that all Jewish souls were present at Mount Sinai at this time. That is, all the Jewish souls that then existed and will ever exist in the future. In other words, I was there at Mount Sinai. Wow. Obviously, I don't remember being there, but I think a tiny spark must come through. Why else would so many people still be Jewish, when it is not exactly easy or desirable to stand separately from everyone? I think it is so amazing that Hashem and the Jews made a deal, shook hands, and have stuck by it for so long. It says a lot about the two participants of the deal. I was told last night that I was going to get myself in trouble for asking so many questions. Not in trouble with anyone in particular, but that I was going to start doubting myself and what I believe in. But I think that the opposite is true. I think the act of questioning and seeking answers causes me to reaffirm my beliefs. Maybe I don't love all the answers I find, but searching for them makes me learn more. I have to believe that Hashem would not have put a framework into place that couldn't hold up to my questions. Hmmm, lots of thinking to do.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

More on the Odyssey

Was Odysseus a good leader? I have to wonder if he was really a leader at all. Don't leaders have to lead someone? By the time Odysseus gets back to Ithaka, he is all by himself, because his "followers" managed to get themselves all killed off. I would have to say that if Odysseus saw himself as a leader to those men, he was a miserable failure. I have to wonder about how Homer wanted to portray Odysseus in the first place. Is Odysseus supposed to be seen as a hero? He is always crying, and lying and begging and taking. Those don't sound much like heroic qualities to me. I had the same problem with Achilleus in the Iliad, I didn't find his values particularly inspiring. He goes crying to his mother in the very first book, and later he lets his best friend go get killed because he is too busy pouting about his loss of honor. In the vein that nothing ever changes, I think these "heroes" are really celebrities - they have great stories, and can enthrall people they see with their charisma and charm, they are constantly give the royal treatment, and lots of gift and "honor." But when you look at who they really are, the shell falls away and they really are people who care very much about their glory and not much else. Why did it take Odysseus so long to get home? I think he liked the attention of so many people trying to hold him. It made him feel important. He was horrible, and the people who he had a lot of contact with, while they were blinded to it, suffered from it. His son grew up without a father, his wife was bothered by those stupid suitors for years, his mother was driven into an early grave, and he wasn't even up front with his father. How many celebrities today treat their families in similar ways? So, I feel like Homer might have been giving us the inside scoop on a movie star, while they have a certain "glory," they don't really have it all inside. Maybe that is why they need the glory.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Alchemist

I finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho last night. Incredibly inspiring story about finding and pursuing your "Personal Legend." Unfortunately, I have a huge project at work today so I can't spend much time blogging, but I definitely suggest reading it if you get a chance.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Nothing Ever Changes

I started reading Plato's Phaedo last night. Once again, I am amazed by the fact that nothing ever changes. This past week, I had been thinking a lot about society and how it has become incredibly materialistic. I figured that the materialism of society had come about in the last 100 years or so and that before that, people did care more about being good people, about values, about striving for truth and knowledge and all those noble gestures. I had been thinking about why I don't want our outcome to be determined by society, I would rather things be determined by genetics or biology, or that we be given a purpose from Hashem before we are born. To me, that way, even if you are not born into the most promising of circumstances, then maybe there is still hope that you have been given a spark, something to hope for, some potential within that you can actualize. But if everything is nurture, and you are unfortunate enough to be born into a bad situation, then there is no hope. The truth is, I think we are a mixture of nature and nurture, and I think that gives the most hope. But I totally am digressing here. My point is, I had been thinking in the past week that we have come to the point of being incredibly materialistic and how it is such a sad state. And then I picked up my Plato book (I love that book!) and there is Socrates, on his last day of life, talking about the materialism and how the only way to escape it is through death. He says that the only way to true knowledge is through death, because then the soul no longer has the body getting in the way, demanding attention. And I realized, nothing ever changes, no matter how evolved and advanced we think we are, if we look back, we are the same as we have always been.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Bible Discussions

The Great Books Foundation has a section on Judaism. I am in the middle of a back and forth e-mail discussion about the following question: Why does G-d cause the tree of knowledge of good and evil to grow in Eden, but tell Adam and Eve not to eat of it? The challenge is that I have to use ONLY the text presented (though I can use my own translation) and no outside information or sources. The story of Adam and Eve I know has a lot of embellishments, and it is so hard to not bring them in. The person with whom I am discussing this with has never heard the embellishments (he is not Jewish), he calls me on them extremely quickly. As with all my reading, trying to answer one question just leads to about 8,000 more questions. At this point, I am not sure we are even talking about the initial question at all. But maybe it all relates. My shul, Shomrei Emunah has started a book club and the next book that they are reading is One People, Two Worlds: A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues That Divide Them. I find this interesting, because I know that a lot of rabbis urged people not to read the book, arguing that it legitimized Reform Judaism. I have to applaud the efforts of Shomrei to keep an open mind and discuss these issues in an open forum. I feel that you can learn so much by learning about other views. I told a friend that I was going to have this Torah discussion with someone who wasn't Jewish and her response was, "Don't do it." Why not? I think you can sometimes learn more from someone who doesn't agree with you than from someone who does. And I definitely think it gives you cause to dig into your beliefs, and find a foundation for them, rather than accepting them because you are supposed to. I think at the end of a discussion like this, you come out with a much stronger basis that you went in with. I don't think that we should be afraid to be questioned. I acknowledge that I don't know everything, but at least this will give me the impetus to learn more.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Who Am I?

So, I have been having issues these days. I was trying to write a bit about myself yesterday and I found that I couldn't. Trying to put a few words on a page to summarize who I am was suddenly the most difficult project I could think about attempting. I mean, I am a student, an employee, a daughter, a sister, a friend, but what does that mean? None of that captures what makes me an individual. I have had this problem in the past, when trying to describe myself, having a problem with feeling like I am just one of the crowd, indistinguishable from anyone else. But this time it is different, it wasn't that I couldn't figure out what makes me unique, I felt that I didn't even know who I am these days. My priorities have shifted so much in the past few months. School has opened up a new avenue for me, an avenue that I want to follow. But getting a formal education is supposed to lead on a path to somewhere and at the moment, while I am loving the hike down the path, I don't know where this avenue ends up. I know it is not necessarily a bad thing, that sometimes the process is more important than the outcome, and you learn so much just by going through the process, by taking the hike down the path. I guess I just feel like this hike is becoming a bit rocky and steep at times. Though I am not one to avoid a challenge. Maybe I just want to know what my destination is so I have something to aim for. I have found in the past that having a goal is always helpful so you know what you are striving to accomplish, and the fact that at the moment, I am unsure of my goal makes the hard work less rewarding in the sense that I don't know if it is advancing me in the right or wrong direction. But I guess hard work is never wasted. Oy.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

I finally finished reading The Pearl by Steinbeck. It is a short 90 pages long but with everything else going on, it managed to take me almost two weeks to read it. It is such an interesting story. Kino, the father, finds the "Pearl of the World," which he hopes will bring in the money to save his baby son from a scorpion sting. The "pearl of the world" eventually leads to the death of Kino's son. Steinbeck has a beautiful way with words, he must be one of the most eloquent writers I have read in a long time. His language is simple, but striking. The characters in the story are so complex and Steinbeck manages to use a few words to portray their inner characters. The story is so tragic and such an interesting commentary about what is important to people in life. Kino gets so caught up in selling the pearl that he ends up sacrificing what he was initially try to save. The powerful people in the book are portrayed so shallowly, interested primarily in money and willing to compromise their values so easily. The contrast between the rich and poor citizens in the book is one of things vs. values, though these are easily blurred when positions change in the slightest. Power is such an elusive prize and doesn't seem to be worth the sacrifices being made. Such a short book, but it says so much.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Parent-Child Relationship in The Odyssey

The Odyssey is full of portrayals of the relationship between a parent and child. A character is hardly mentioned without the additional identification of their father's name. I wonder at the appropriateness of the reality of the relationships portrayed between the parents and their children in The Odyssey. Odysseus leaves his son, Telemachos, when Telemachos is only a baby. He is gone for twenty years. When Odysseus finally comes back to Ithaka, Telemachos welcomes him with open arms, and immediately begins to follow whatever Odysseus tells him to do. This is contrasted in his relationship with his mother, Penelope, whom he questions and seems to distrust, even though she has been with him his entire life. I have to wonder at Telemachos' trust of Odysseus. Odysseus left the family 20 years ago, he doesn't know Telemachos at all. I feel like Telemachos would have at least asked for more proof that Odysseus is who he says he is (as Penelope later does). I also feel like the level of trust would not be present that is depicted in the book. Another interesting parent-child relationship is the relationship of Odysseus to his parents. Odysseus meets his mother in Hades. She died out of her despair about his life. The scene is so sad, it made me want to cry. While Odysseus shows a bit of remorse about the fact that his mother dies from her sorrow over him, I don't feel like he cares so much about it. And when he finally goes to his father after being gone for twenty years, does he apologize for the heartache he has given him, for the fact that his wife died from grief over him? No, he taunts his father and lies to him before finally revealing himself. I feel that Odysseus really abuses his relationships in The Odyssey. I want to feel sorry that he had to go through so much to get home, but the way he treats the members of his family, and the fact that he deceives them so much really puzzles me. Does he value his family? Or does he see his image as more important than what everyone else is going through emotionally? I hope I give more in my relationships with my family members than Odysseus does.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Random Thoughts

I finished reading The Odyssey this weekend, but I think I still need more time to process it. I feel like it was the first soap-opera, and it ended a bit abruptly but all in all, it was a great story. I spent Shabbos with my rabbi and rebbetzin and their family, whom I hadn't seen in a really long time. It was really nice. The best feeling came a little while after I got there and their son went to his mom and told her, "I love it when Shoshana comes for Shabbos." He and his sisters in turn then came and told me they loved me and loved me coming to visit. What a feeling. I am making a list of the simple things in life that make me really happy. On the list so far are: Colored pens Cuddling with my cat Those Post-It sticky arrows I am in love with A book than makes me sigh at the end Getting together with my friends and having hours fly by without realizing it I went to a Super Bowl/Birthday party for one of my oldest friends last night. We were reminiscing a bit about how long we had been friends. It is such a nice feeling to know that there is someone who has known you through so many changes and still loves you.