Monday, March 29, 2021

All the days of your life includes the nights also

 Twelve years ago, Ziggy and I sat at the first seder night at my Cousins L&T. I don't remember much about the seder. All the usual suspects were there...except for the Senior Son who was sedering with cousins in Milwaukee. But Ziggy and I had a secret we were not about to share with anyone there...except Cousins L&T....and that was mostly because T was more than just a relative, he was our doctor. Twelve years later, I still get the pit in my stomach on the first night of Passover. Jews all over the globe may be remembering the exodus from Egypt, but I mostly remember the exodus from the Land of the Living. 

The next morning we went to see an asshole of an oncologist who, without ever meeting our eyes or telling us there were paths to explore, told Ziggy to go home and get his stuff in order because he was going to die. Soon. 

Twelve years later, we are in our second pandemic Pesach. We are lucky because this year our pod of 5 can be together and Senior Son can zoom in again. Little Miss is 6, Young Sir is 3, and both like stories. So while the Haggadah is open before us, we spend much time telling stories. Stories of seders that were, Passovers that were family milestones, and stories about the special Pesach pieces that were on the table. 

empty space for iPad
I told the story of how Saba asked the Four Questions at the first family seder he came to, and how Grandma cried and hugged him. We talked about the matzah cover that same Grandma embroidered for my trousseau, why the silver kiddush cup has a blue enamel interior (to match Bubbe's turquoise ceiling in the kitchen....don't ask.) And the kiddos loved knowing Bumple Senior Son had made the afikomen holder when he was in kindergarten. And how the china was from Bubbe's house, special for Pesach only. 

The seder had most of the usual parts, although somewhat abbreviated for the target audience. I was amazed how my boys not just knew the haggadah really well, but could recite favorite parts at will. I never knew the Junior Son really likes the part about My father was a wandering Aramean...... Or that the senior son (who was sans haggadah) had big chunks memorized. As they reminded their feeble, old mother, they'd been doing this for almost 40 years now, and gee, wouldn't I think they would have a decent command of the seder? I could just hear Ziggy chiding me for the same thing. 

And he would have gone completely gaga for Little Miss who, like her dad, is not a public singing person, as she belted out the Four Questions when we all did it together. She has learned so much this past year! Dayenu was robust and full of gratitude. Of course, Young Sir's rendition of Eliahu Ha'Navi when Elijah the Prophet comes to call at the end of the seder is da bomb. Sitting back and grinning, I could hear the boys and their cousins all singing the same songs at seders long past, and from the depths of my memory came the sounds of brother and cousins singing all the end-of-seder songs with Grandpa Moishe. Oh, how I miss those sounds. The afikomen was hidden and found both nights, prizes distributed, but Young Sir did not quite grasp the art of negotiation. His sister drives a much harder bargain. He'll figure it out. 

But then the morning comes and I remember how much I hate Pesach and the weeks that follow. 

In the Haggadah, there is a section about how to tell the story, and one paragraph hits me between the eyes every time:
Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah said: "I am like a man of seventy years old, yet I did not succeed in proving that the exodus from Egypt must be mentioned at night-until Ben Zoma explained it: "It is said, `That you may remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life;' now `the days of your life' refers to the days, `all' indicates the inclusion of the nights!"

I always liked that Ben Zoma guy and his explanation about how ALL meant the whole thing, the nights, too. Ziggy and I used to talk about that passage just about every year as we did dishes. We always talked about what it means to remember. Is it active? Is it passive? Is it just a conversation? But it wasn't until he left me alone doing dishes that I fully understood what it meant...and what counting days meant. 

The first day begins the Sefirat ha'Omer, the counting of the Omer. That lasts for seven weeks until Shavuot. 49 days. I was always aware of the omer days; it was on my calendar. Since my consciousness-clock is set to the Hebrew lunar calendar, I automatically counted those days. While I was counting that year, I did not realize what I was counting. I didn't know I wasn't just leaving Egypt that night; I was leaving life as I knew it for over 30 years.

In 2009, Shavuot began on Thursday evening, May 28th. My parents flew in, the Senior Son came home, and shabbat dinner wasn't just shabbat dinner, it was Ziggy's 56th birthday. That Sunday, we had t'nai'im for the Junior Son and the future Mrs. Junior Son because we knew Ziggy was not going to make it to the wedding and this would put his signature on one of their wedding documents. We celebrated as much as we could with a tear in our eyes and a hitch in our breathing. Ziggy held court; close friends and relatives came. And we held our breath, hoping and praying for a miracle that never came. 

7 days later, on the following Sunday, Ziggy left the building. 

Ben Zoma was right. all the days include the nights also.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you are a Pesach observer, do yourself a favor:
now that the big cooking is done, put away what you don't use.
It makes the end run that much easier. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Then Again...

Can't say I was totally surprised by the response to last week's episode. I figured the title alone would garner hits. Which it did. But, the email response blew me away. Most were from women thanking me for writing about the differences between sex, sensuality, and intimacy. Passion and frustration were the most common themes in the emails. Someone commented on Facebook:

One of your best blog posts. You created a beautiful balance of vulnerability and humor, sighs and laughter, sarcasm and (above all) truth.

A number of emails reflected similar sentiments. Intimacy, so it would seem, turns out to be one of those things we just don't talk enough about. I didn't think it was just me, but the response got me to thinking maybe this was something much bigger.

And then, some whacko in Georgia goes on a shooting spree in massage parlors and murders 6 Asian women plus 2 others claiming that he was a sex addict. According to the New York Times:

The suspect told the police that he had a “sexual addiction” and had carried out the shootings at the massage parlors to eliminate his “temptation,” the authorities said on Wednesday. He also said that he had frequented massage parlors in the past and launched the attacks as a form of vengeance. All but one of the victims were women, the police said.

The Washington Post provided some insight into Robert Aaron Long's life before the shootings:

But over the past four years, Long’s life turned toward the tumultuous. He started college classes and left after one year. He believed he was straying from his faith, telling friends that he was fixated on sex to the extent that he thought he was addicted. His relationship with a girlfriend collapsed after she found out that he frequented massage businesses, according to his roommate. His bond with his parents frayed; on the night before the shootings, they threw him out of their house, according to police.

He frequents massage parlors to attend to his sexual needs because he does not have relationships with women? Sure; that sounds logical enough. But it also begs the question, why doesn't he have relationships with women? The same Washington Post article gives us a glimpse into the world in which he grew up:

The evangelical congregation’s minister, the Rev. Jerry Dockery, is an energetic preacher who advocated for a socially conservative brand of Christianity that, as the church bylaws put it, views “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, polygamy, pedophilia, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex” as “sinful and offensive to God.”

That's pretty much the sexual thou shalt not list for all three Abrahamic religions. It's worked for several thousand years....why doesn't it work now to foster healthy relationships? Maybe it's because it centers around the idea that natural inclinations are shameful and dirty? Those yearnings are not to be acted upon, much less discussed. How does a kid with a penis reconcile nocturnal emissions and involuntary erection? What the hell do they think is gonna happen?

To be sure there are people who will say the moral fabric of society is torn where "deviant" sexual behavior thrives in the open. Can someone define or quantify deviant for me? I'm not sure what it means any more. Honestly, I believe there are people who absolutely need sex reassignment. I grew up with someone like that. It was clear to everyone she was a he. I believe some significant percentage of the population prefers partners of the same gender.  And I absolutely believe there are some people who are gender fluid. Why should I doubt anyone's natural inclination and existence? Frankly, it's none of my business whom they love. I just want everyone to be in their own happy, healthy, intimate relationship. Loving someone and being loved by someone is far too important to quibble about appearances. 

But there is a segment of the population being denied that chance at happiness because of some archaic, anachronistic, and ultimately hate-filled philosophy. That's the part that morphs and manifests itself into a psychotic break that takes it out on 8 people going about their business, doing their job, unaware that someone wanted to hurt them for just that.

In last week's episode, I talked about intimacy between partners, but intimacy does not stop there. Intimacy is the foundation upon which all relationships are built. That close communication happens between couples starting out, spouses, partners at the end of their roads, but also between siblings, cousins, fact, anyone with whom we share a common experience. Intimacy isn't only about sexual contact. Human connection is basic and fundamental. Without it, we are ultimately less human. 

I may miss the kind of intimacy I had with Ziggy (I do) but sitting on the couch with Young Sir on Friday, listening closely as he whispered to me about Cookie Monster being afraid of the bathroom upstairs so we had to help him get over that, reminded me that my just 3-year old grandson understood the power of intimacy and sharing. He spoke in very hushed tones about things he thought were important...including but not limited to loud sirens, ambulances, and why the pool is covered for winter. These were not monumental items in my life, but his sharing concerns at this age is part of how he will learn to share his concerns as he gets long as we encourage him to do just that. I see it occasionally when one of my boys just calls up to check in (I confess I am always a tad suspicious about those calls) and we chat about little stuff for a few moments. That's a kind of filial intimacy and that's a good thing. 

One might hope being trapped at home with family members may have enabled some families to connect on levels different from business-as-usual. Yeah, I'm being optimistic, but I do hope for the best. 

Then again, while I am writing this, I heard about the gunman in the Boulder, Colorado supermarket. Not too much is known about what exactly happened and who did it. But it happened again. There has to be rage there. Rage so terrible it cannot be mitigated. And more people are gunned down. 

What's left to say?

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

A wise friend once told me:

"If you believe that G-d is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, by extension you must believe G-d's creations are perfect. Who are you to tell G-d that my love for another guy is abhorrent to the G-d that created us both, then let us find each other? 

It's kinda like elevators on shabbos. Why would G-d allow us to invent elevators 
and then tell us we have to walk up 18 floors to the flat?"

Monday, March 15, 2021

Sex, Sensuality, and Intimacy

One of my widow friends called this morning to vent. Normally, when she vents, it's pretty funny stuff and I have a hard time not laughing a whole lot. Today was a little bit different.

Upon picking up my phone she yelled, "What's wrong with me? No period, no possible pregnancy....and now I get lousy sex. It just isn't fair! Everything we do is so perfunctory. Nothing I do seems to spur him on to greater action. The fornicating I'm getting isn't worth the fornicating I'm getting!"

When she starts quoting PIPPIN at me, I know one of us is in trouble. As best I could make out, the guy she's been seeing since before COVID is not doin' the job. It's not like this guy is seriously old; he's healthy, kinda buff for 60+,  but he's not breathtakingly exciting between the sheets. 

Finally. she stopped, waited a beat, then yelled, "What's wrong with you? You aren't laughing and you haven't said a thing! You have no filter. What are you thinking?"

I thought about that for a moment. "I haven't had a hug 11 years, ten months, and 6 days, give or take. What would you like me to say?" 

Well, that was a conversation stopper. "Shit," she eventually sighed, "I hadn't thought of that." 

And then we got down to the nitty-gritty of what she was really complaining about. It wasn't about sex at all; it was about sensuality and intimacy.

I don't remember what I was thinking in the early days of widowhood,  but it certainly wasn't that the last time Ziggy could manage to go up the stairs to the bedroom would be the last time I would share a night beside a significant other. We'd had an "active" marriage; did I stop thinking of myself as a sensual human being once he left the building? Was this some kind of auto-response? An out-of-loving message? I never gave it much thought.

Until recently. And then I did. For all the strangest reasons.

One of the unexpected joys (and I use that term loosely) of cataract surgery is that your eyesight changes. Mine sure did.  My old trifocals are basically useless, and I am playing musical glasses with them, my midrange "computer" glasses, and a pair of cheaters that are close to the new prescription until the eyes settled down enough to get a new prescription and my new glasses are ready. For the last 3 weeks, writing anything, including the blog, has been a total slog. No one has gotten an email longer than two sentences and I've been dictating my texts. 

I can, however, read on a tablet with the cheaters. And when a friend asked me to read a book written by one of her friends, I discovered trash romance. OMG! I did not know people actually wrote, much less read, this stuff. They do! I thought the sex scenes I wrote were graphic....HA! There are no words to describe some of the stuff I've been reading these last few weeks....except maybe to call it lady-porn. 

Never mind the incredibly graphic sex (I blush just thinking about it) I have read some of the funniest internal and external dialogues I could possibly imagine. Snappy, witty, screamingly exactly what I would think in those situations, and I laugh myself right outta the chair. The stories are all basically the same: the men are all excessively well-endowed, hot, hunky, buff, all with Andre Androfsky rippling thighs (see Mila 18 chapter 1 by Leon Uris) and the women are all shapes and sizes (yeah, really,) strong, independent, and highly intelligent. Not a nitwit amongst the protagonists. And that's what makes it all work.

The women are sexy in a variety of ways, always described as hot, but the brain takes down the brawn every time. That alone makes those stories attractive because even in those I-can't-believe-I-just-did-that moments, they all come out swinging; they are not rescued, they are fixers and survivors; they learn from their missteps. Not mistakes, missteps. The women take charge of themselves and their environments in ways one might never anticipate. They almost all become saviors. And there's lots of hot, graphic sex just to make reading more fun.

There is nothing wrong with a woman who expresses a sexual and sensual need in her life. It's natural, it's healthy, and probably a whole lotta fun. But for the most part, living, breathing women over a certain age are denied that class of pleasure. Expressing a physical-need is hushed up, too embarrassing to talk about. Our breasts become pillows on which our grandchildren's heads rest, not nipple-puckering pleasure conduits. Our lady-parts are far from dried up; they are simply waiting for the secret password. 

Men of the same age want younger, more youthful models. Older men are, all too often, looking for a potential care-giver. Women over the age of 60 are doomed in the dating market unless they are willing to change themselves up to look like a younger model. Plastic surgery, body sculpting, hair dying...we all know what I mean. Whose idea of what a woman should be are we emulating? Certainly not our own.

And wanting a hug...or daring to admit to wanting to get laid? Ha! Scandalous!

Wanting. There's a fun term. I don't even know what that means anymore. Admitting to wanting someone's arms around me? Desiring to feel desirable? Verboten topics. Why do we need code words to discuss this? Granted, not everyone can be Sophia Loren who looks terrific at 86 and still works. Aging happens, even to men. Why does a 75-year old think he's going to attract a 30 or 40 year old woman? Like their parts don't droop? Age and experience in women doesn't have to mean old, shriveled, and out to pasture, yet that notion continues to thrive into the 21st century.

I will be the first to admit I would like to be wanted....for something other than being the nanny every other Friday which I love. I get lots of hugs and snuggles from a certain Young Sir but that doesn't mean I wouldn't appreciate a few from someone closer to my age. I would love to sit not-so-socially-distanced while bantering with a witty, urbane, savvy, intellectual kinda guy. You know....someone who knows what dialing a phone means, but embraces technology. Taking a walk while talking about age appropriate stuff...NOT medical? Sure. Laughing about love beads, anti-war demonstrations, and bra burning? Absolutely. Sharing popcorn while watching a movie? I may have forgotten how, but I think I could re-learn that skill. 

This is all about intimacy.

The desire for intimacy does not suddenly stop with the loss of one's partner. If anything, give it a couple of years and that yearning comes back with a roar. The loss of arms about us, the feel of a warm body beside us, the sigh in our ears, the brush of lips against one's temple, and the desire for dancing in the kitchen never really go away. Intimacy is missed, replaced with longing not necessarily for the lost partner, but for a need to be touched. To feel touch. To feel alive and human. 

Sure, lots of us peek at those golden-age dating sites...seriously depressing because the ones our age want the 40-year olds, and the ones who want us....well, let's just say they can't drive at night.  A guy friend who is divorced explained it to me in these terms: "There are just so many unattached women out there who are looking. You get a choice. Why not go for an ambitious, independent, newer model?" I asked him if he was describing a date or a car; I wasn't completely sure which. He laughed. He knew exactly what I meant, and was not embarrassed to admit that's exactly what it sounded like: a shiny, new machine. 

Some of those smart, witty, hunky men probably exist and behave accordingly. Near as I can tell, those cover-guys from my kids' generation are the ones who benefited from having mothers who came of-age during and after the sexual revolution. Good for them. Maybe the next generation of widows will have a better shot at a second or third act. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am comfortable in my own skin. I love that my hair is really long and really grey. That I still blush when that hunky National Guard guy flirted with me last week. I yearn for the snappy, witty, screamingly funny dialogues like the ones I read in those books. I am fully capable of holding my own...and maybe someone else's too. 

In other words, I am not dead yet. And the new glasses will be ready next week. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you want to read some trashy-sexy novels, go for Claire Kingsley or Lucy Score books.
TL Swan doesn't do her homework and clearly has never been to Manhattan.
Just sayin'.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Collateral Damage

Today was my mom's fifth yahrzeit. The Senior Son, the Junior Son, and my Big Brother put in appearances at zoom minyan this morning. Everyone got to say something about Mom/Bubbe. She was a towering presence in all our lives. The Senior Son stated what we all knew to be true....never get on her bad side. As some who spent waaaay too much time on her shit list, I can say with absolute certainty it was never much fun. But I learned lots of lessons in the proverbial dog house.... many of them actually useful. Of course, I've never mastered the art of getting FIVE knuckles in my mouth at once during periods of duress. She was a world champion knuckle biter. 
As much she drove me crazy, which she did on a regular basis, (admittedly a short trip,) I miss my mom a lot. I miss the secret signals, the eye rolls, and "the look." All moms have one, y'know, the look that can stop a clock mid-tick. I miss the sympathetic sighs, the conspiratorial chuckles, and her favorite question: what is this really about?

I was thinking about how she would've handled this pandemic thing while I was queueing up for my Johnson&Johnson single dose vaccine. See, I got the email that my number came up in the county Sunday morning at 10:15. With a single click and a few answers to confirm, I had an appointment at 5:00 at the Viking Hell (aka Vikings Training Facility) right by the old house. The hardest part was waiting to be let into the parking lot. After that, it was pleasantly and remarkably easy. Everyone was lovely and cheerful. I didn't wait 2 minutes before I was shown to a chair and a lovely nurse with what I suspected was a lilting Jamaican accent was swabbing my arm. I was led to another chair, where I could read my book for the 15 minutes until I could go home. Piece o'cake. Door-to-door, it was about 45 minutes worth of pleasantness. 

Driving home, I got to thinking about how Mom would've been driving her doctors crazy about getting Dad vaccinated. She would've been driving me crazy about me getting vaccinated. She would've taken on Bucks County on behalf of my Big Brother and Sister-in-Law to straighten out the mess there, and get them vaccinated. She had a low tolerance for ineptitude, and a lower tolerance for stupidity. I think she would've been okay with my vaccination experience....but only if there had been a Ben's hot dog and half-sour pickles after the event. If nothing else she was practical.

Over 500,000 people have died in the US alone from COVID and its complications. That's a lot of grieving families. That's a whole lotta kids, grandkids, and probably great grandkids who have lost adults who are significant in their lives. I know the grief I experienced with the loss of Ziggy. I had but a few years before I lost FIL, followed by my folks. There are times I think my heart is total Swiss cheese from the number of holes punched through its walls.  Every time I light a yahrzeit candle, I grieve for the life it represents. I try to remember the whole person, not just the good parts. It's important to me that I remember who that was in my life. Some are easier than others. 

Unlike September 11th, there is no date-of-disaster for a pandemic. It stretches out, it lingers, it seems unable to abate. We are all tired of a battle that seems to have no end in sight. Governors lifting mask requirements only play into the foolish-is-as-foolish-does division of government. Have they yet to understand how this disease spreads? In appeasing the anti-mask mob, are they willing to risk more deaths? Apparently so. I totally understand that their state economies are suffering and they want "normal." I get it. But they should, at the same time, post a warning label in that: "Removing your mask increases your risk of infection and death," like the warning on cigarette packs. 

Ziggy would've said this is evolution in action, and I would have to agree with him. It's like the flood and the rowboat joke: 
Sam: G-d, I trusted you! How could you let me drown? 
G-d: Let you drown???? Sam! I sent you a rowboat, then a speed boat,  then a helicopter.... 
You get the idea.

In the years to come, there will be more and more memorials, yahrzeit candles, and moments of silence to remember the sheer number of people who died. Those monuments will not quite stretch to embrace those collateral damage deaths...the ones who could not carry on with a broken heart, the ones left destitute by the pandemic economy and died of poverty, the ones who go unrecorded as pandemic deaths due to this monumental tragedy. There are so many other ways to die when your world is collapsing around you. We will grieve as a nation for a long time when this tide is finally turned. 

And we will blame. Americans are really good at that. We, the People, will find one scapegoat or another at which to point a finger saying, they are to blame for this misfortune. Accepting our own role in how this happened will be rare indeed. 

We will grieve as individuals. There is just no way around that. And I'm sure there will be some Monday in March called Pandemic Memorial Day because, after all, we have National Donut Day and National Bacon Day and National Spam Day.......

What we don't have and seriously need is National Responsibility Day.

Good luck with that. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
Walking into Viking Hell for my shot, 
a young Minnesota National Guardsman said "Hey! How's it going for you today?"
I grinned as I said, "Happy to be here getting my shot!"
And he said, "I bet you have a great smile!"
I replied, "How can you tell? I'm wearing double masks!"
And he made my day when he said, 
"I see it in your eyes."

Folks, remember to smile even when you're wearing a mask...
someone will see it in your eyes. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

The Latest Golden Calf

When I was a kid, my favorite story in the Torah was the one about the golden calf. Long before  I saw Edward G. Robinson, (a personally observant kinda Jew,) doing his thing in The Ten Commandments, the story challenged my little brain and I thought a lot about what I would've done had I been there. Granted, I had a BIG imagination (something Young Sir seems to have inherited) and I gave the exodus from Egypt a lot of thought for many years, and still do (ask about Joe and Moe some time) but the calf story has always fascinated and bothered me on many levels.

Thirty days outta Egypt, forty days after G-d  summoned Moses up the mountain after giving the  Children of Israel the Decalogue, the kids got restless. 

From the Jewish Publication Society translation of The Torah: Exodus 32:1-6 
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him: ‘Up, make us a god who shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.’ 2And Aaron said unto them: ‘Break off the golden rings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.’ 3And all the people broke off the golden rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4And he received it at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf; and they said: ‘This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’ 5And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said: ‘To-morrow shall be a feast to the LORD.’ 6And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to make merry.      
There is so much written about this string  of bad choices that one can spend a lifetime trying to sort it out, and still not be done. There were two questions that I have always wondered about. The first is why a calf ? The second is Aaron, what were you thinking?
My favorite explanation about why a calf comes out of left field and has to do with the retrieval of Joseph's casket as Moses prepared to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt:
Micah, a member of the erev rav whose life had been saved by Moses, created the calf. When the Jewish people were leaving Egypt, Moses went to collect Joseph’s coffin to fulfill his request that his remains be redeemed together with the Jews. However, in an attempt to stop the Jews from leaving, the Egyptians had sunk Joseph’s coffin in the Nile. Moses took a plaque, wrote on it the words “alei shor” (“rise ox”), and threw it in the river, causing the coffin of Joseph (who is compared to an ox) to rise to the surface. Micah had stolen this plaque and now used it to create the calf by throwing it into the blaze.

Ah, magic. There's always gotta be some inexplicable event in there, just for good measure. Regardless, Aaron is supervising the event, so why are the rabbis reluctant to assign blame to him? Is it because he's Moses' brother? Is it because he's the head-priest designate? Why not just give it to him in full? Or maybe blame Micah because he's part of the erev rav, one of the Egyptian idolators who decided to split the scene with the Jews? IF that's the reason, then doesn't Moses own this problem since he was the one who brought the erev rav out with the Children of Israel?

Just as there are two versions of the Creation in the book of Genesis, there are two versions of how the calf came to be in Exodus: the version in the narrative and the version in Aaron's explanation to Moses; there are differences between the two. 

In the second version, Aaron's retelling of the story to his little brother: 
From the Jewish Publication Society translation of The Torah: Exodus 32:22-24
 22And Aaron said: ‘Let not the anger of my lord wax hot; thou knowest the people, that they are set on evil. 23So they said unto me: Make us a god, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him. 24And I said unto them: Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off; so they gave it to me; and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.’ 

I know these guys are supposed to be old guys, but I hear a little kid in this one. Sure, Aaron is older, but clearly Moses has this G-d thing over him. The adjustment is pretty obvious to everyone who reads the text. So what was Aaron thinking when he did this? Maybe, as according to some sages, he was trying to protect the people from themselves by buying time until Moses could return? Regardless of the reasoning, it was not a great idea from the inception forward. 

The story of the golden calf is not without merit. Like everything else in Torah, it's got a point or two hidden in there. And over the three+ millennia we've been reading Torah, the story has become a metaphor in many ways: worshipping idols, inappropriate avenues of prayer, the art and craft of blame, all sorts of stuff like that. If you get nothing else out of this story, you can bank on the idea that calves, golden or otherwise, are without power. Worshipping idols is not an approved activity in all three Abrahamic religions. In fact, it is to be reviled. 

It's rare, however, to see a real golden calf in our lifetime. Not that golden calves don't abound. They do. But a real golden must be considered a bit of an oddity, even when one is not designated as an object of worship. But boy, did we get an eyeful of one this past weekend. Someone thought Feckless Loser in gold wearing American flag shorts, flip-flops, wielding a scepter was an okay image for the CPAC convention. Really? How did anyone miss the obvious gag (not reflux gag but joke gag) comparison? This totally mystifies me!

Seriously, when the right wing purveyors of selective truth claimed liberal Democrats believed evangelicals were praying to the statue, I damn near fell over. Now, I don't know how stupid FOX thinks America is, but clearly they never heard of cut'n'paste or photoshop. Regardless, of the two images, I think the original photo on top is scarier. Just look at his face. 

Whether or not anyone was praying to Feckless Loser, a lot of the GOP is praying for him. Which might have almost been okay, had they not then put the statue up for sale at $100,000. Seriously, they did. One might surmise that all these faith folk have read their Bibles, but clearly, that's not been the case. How did they miss 1) how totally weird that statue is, and 2) how totally golden calf that statue is? 

It's a cult of personality. Long ago it stopped being about the good of the nation when it came to his supporters. Now, it's coronation, if not as close as we ever wanna come to deification. These people are looking to another kind of messiah to lead them into their lily white promised land. 

Which brings me to my closing argument about how dangerous this stuff is getting to be. The New York Times published an article this weekend, American Evangelicals, Israeli Settlers and a Skeptical Filmmaker, about the film ’Til Kingdom Come. Finally someone is writing about the real motivation for evangelical support for the existence of Israel. To those of us who have been "witnessed," have read the literature, or have listened to testimony, this is not news. In fact, this is very old. There is no doubt in any of our minds that we are to be the sacrificial lamb on their messianic altar. When I see them posing for pictures beside the Golden Trump, I have to wonder what bible they are reading, and if they remember what their guy originally taught. 

If they can stand there and cheer the insurrection as their Feckless Loser repeats the same lies over and over, what god are they serving? Are they really the inheritors of their testament, or are they all Micahs, having come along for the ride only to bring their alien ways into the congregation of all faithful? They certainly cannot claim to be the philosophical descendants of Aaron, hoping to buy time until the wrongs can be fixed by a new Moses. 

There is no new Moses to fix this. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Do not believe Johnson&Johnson is a second class vaccine because its one dose.
If one dose means they can get it out to underserved populations faster, great. 
Any of the vaccines will do the job, so stop making this a ridiculous issue.