Esav's Head

There's a famous Midrash  (Bereishit Rabbah 97:21) on Parshat Vayechi that when the brothers came to bury Yaakov at the Me'arat ha-Machpela, Esav barred their entry, claiming the site belonged to him. As the fleet-footed Naphtali ran back to Egypt for the deed, Dan's deaf son, Chushim, saw the fight and intuited that Esav was the bad guy, and so chopped of his great uncle's head. The Midrash continues that Esav's head rolled onto Yaakov's bier. Thus, Rivkah's prophecy that she would be bereft of both of her sons on the same day was fulfilled.

A few years ago, I visited Me'arat ha-Machpela. It was a Chol ha-Mo'ed, so the place was a mob scene. At one point, in one of the halls, I was a bunch of people gathered around a small structure. I was curious. I got in line, and when I got close enough, I saw that it was just a small opening where you could see and smell down into the cave. It was pure rubbernecking - one person must have thought it looked interesting, so a crowd developed.

As I was walking away from that spot, somebody stopped me and asked me what was over there. I told him it was the marker for where Esav's head it buried. I thought the guy would laugh, as I intended it as a joke, but no. He thought I was dead serious. Far be it from me to burst his bubble; he seemed fascinated.

So why bring this up now? Aside from being related to last week's parsha, it seems that cruel practical jokes relating to fictitious graves has hit the news. It's pretty funny, too. I would daven at 'Kever Unkelos ha-Ger' (who knew that he was a Vizhnitzer?) just to appeal to God's sense of humor.


Bithya's Arms

שמות פרק ב פסוק ה

ותרד בת פרעה לרחץ על היאר ונערתיה הלכת על יד היאר ותרא את התבה בתוך הסוף ותשלח את אמתה ותקחה

Gemara Sotah 12b:

Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Nechemiah: One said she sent her arms, and the other said she sent her maidservant.


Robert Browning:

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?


A Gma"ch (an acronym for Gemilut Chasadim) is the contemporary term for a 'free-loan society'. These types of societies exist all over the Jewish world, but have become a strong part of the social landscape in Israel, especially in religious communities. It can contain almost anything - most commonly money, wedding dresses (or other fancy women's clothing), tables, and chairs. There are a few that I've heard of that really take the cake, though:

  • When we lived in Alon Shvut at the beginning of the most recent intifadeh, the road between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem was often closed because of rock-throwing and shooting. Someone from the yishuv (actually, Rav Danny and Susan Wolf) opened a 'bulletproof vest and helmet' gmach, for instances when a family had to travel together to Jerusalem. We actually procured out own armor, which we donated to the gmach when we moved out of the Gush.
  • Back when DVDs were a novelty, it was not yet on the radar of the Chareidi powers-that-be. Although a TV - even just a monitor - and VCR were verboten, nothing had yet been said about playing DVDs on ones computer. Thus, someone opened a video store in Kiryat Sefer, but called it a 'DVD gmach'. Very creative.
  • While Ruchama was in the NICU at Hadassah-Mt. Scopus, we temporarily moved to Jerusalem to be near her. Several families in the area invited us regularly for Shabbat meals. There was one family who had a refrigerator with an automatic ice-maker. They were concerned about the fact that if one removed ice from the ice bucket, the machine would sense that the ice was running low and make more ice. To avoid issues of grama, they disabled the sensor. Problem was that the freezer began making ice non-stop. So they notified all of the neighbors, who began stopping by to pick up ice for the Shabbat meal. They called it their 'ice-gmach', which is really funny if you speak Yiddish.


An Ecumenical Reading of Kiddushin 31a?

I wanted to follow yesterday's Christological Talmudic reading with an ecumenical Talmudic reading today. The narrative in question is recorded in Kiddushin 31a, as part of a longer halakhic/aggadic treatment of the mitzvah of kibbud av va-em. The components of the sugya cannot really be divorced from their overall context; perhaps I'll get to the entirety of it some day:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת קידושין דף לא עמוד א

דרש עולא רבה אפיתחא דבי נשיאה, מאי דכתיב: +תהלים קלח+ יודוך ה' כל מלכי ארץ כי שמעו אמרי פיך? מאמר פיך לא נאמר אלא אמרי פיך, בשעה שאמר הקב"ה +שמות כ+ אנכי ולא יהיה לך, אמרו אומות העולם: לכבוד עצמו הוא דורש, כיון שאמר +שמות כ+ כבד את אביך ואת אמך, חזרו והודו למאמרות הראשונות.

The great Ullah sermonized at the door of the Patriarch's house: What is meant by 'All the kings of Earth will acknowledge You, for they have heard the statements You spoke' (Tehillim 138); it does not say 'statement', rather 'statements'? When God uttered 'I am God' and 'You shall have no others', the nations said 'He seeks his own honor'. But once he said 'Honor your father and mother', they recanted and acknowledged the first statements.

Before addressing the unique setting, let's note the content. The first four 'dibrot', at least as formulated in the first version (in Yitro, where Shabbat contains no explicit social element), all pertain to man's relationship with God. The fifth, honoring parents, begins the transition to the 'bein adam le-chaveiro' commandments. From elsewhere in this sugya it is clear that kibbud av va-em was viewed as something in between man-man and man-God.

This mitzvah, then, is the first one (in the dibrot, anyway) which begins to show that the man-God mitzvot imply a certain social order as well. This is the beginning of what we call 'ethical monotheism' - that belief in a Deity requires the absorption of His values and not a simple obedience. This was one of Judaism's great contributions to the world, and forms the basis of our covenant with God ('keil rachum ve-chanun, etc.). The formulation of this mitzvah opens the door for a theology with moral implications. The Gemara is saying just that. The 'nations' heard the first mitzvot, and they sounded just as familiar as the purported commandments of any other self-serving deity. The shift toward the ethical and moral plane changed their opinion, even causing the re-evaluation of the original dibrot.

The process which Ullah reads into this verse parallels the theological development of the Western world. At some point, paganism was replaced by systems whose cores were ethical monotheism. The Roman world, especially its upper classes, began a love affair with Judaism and, eventually, Christianity.

Ullah lived during this interesting time. Christianity had already taken a turn away from its Jewish roots, and was gaining steam amongst the Roman nobility. Relations between Jews and Christians were stable - the schism with the early Judeo-Christians had ended, but Constantine had not yet made Christianity a true power, with its effective license to persecute non-believers. The last great Roman persecution of Christians happened at the end of the reign of Diocletian.

Ullah was never the head of any of the Yeshivot in Eretz Yisrael, and this is the only time he is called 'Ullah Rabbah'. I believe that he obtained this moniker specifically for this occasion since he was, by this point (late 3rd-early 4th Century) an 'elder statesman' of the rabbis. It seems that he delivered this sermon at some sort of public event; the door of the Patriarch's house seems to be an honored venue (perhaps like the White House Lawn?). I would like to suggest that there was some sort of gathering of Roman nobility, by then heavily Christian, and Jewish nobility at the Patriarch's residence in Tiberias. It seems far-fetched to suggest that Diocletian himself was there, although we know that he visited Tiberias on his way to and from campaigns against the Sassanian Persians. In any event, Ullah addresses the crowd and speaks about the emerging world-order, where the nations of the world acknowledge God and His morality.


A Christological Reading of Niddah 24b?

Yesterday, the 9th of Tevet, is a significant date on the Jewish calendar, but for reasons that are hard to pin down. It was ordained as a fast day during the Geonic period, but for reasons that are unclear. Some versions record that this date it the yahrzeit of Ezra ha-Sofer. Another tradition lists it as 'unknown' (see SA oc 580:2), but commentators note that it may be the yahrzeit of 'Shimon', an early Christian who was planted by the Sanhedrin in the nascent movement in order to divorce it from Judaism. This issue is the topic of an article by Professor Shnayer Leiman in JQR 1983. It relies heavily on the medieval Jewish work 'Toldot Yeshu', which identifies this Shimon with St. Paul.

I've always found this particular tradition, that Pauline Christianity was actually a Jewish invention designed to transform early Christianity into a non-Jewish religion, fascinating. The life of Paul - particularly his origins as a 'Pharisee' who studied under Rabban Gamliel and his 'transformation' on the road to Damascus - invite this type of theorizing.

There's a Gemara, much earlier than anything else that discusses this tradition, which I speculate might contain the kernel of this legend:

תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדה דף כד עמוד ב

תניא, אבא שאול אומר: קובר מתים הייתי, פעם אחת נפתחה מערה תחתי, ועמדתי בגלגל עינו של מת עד חוטמי כשחזרתי לאחורי אמרו עין של אבשלום היתה

It was taught: Abba Shaul said: "I was an undertaker. It once happened that a cave opened beneath me, and I stood in the eyeball of a corpse up to my nose. When I returned, they said that it was the eye of Avshalom."

This is one of those truly bizarre Gemaras. There's another, similar story on the same page which talks about the 3-mile long femur of the King of Bashan, Og. There, the teller is either Abba Shaul or Rabbi Yochanan, and the difference might be whether the two stories are a unit. If they are, then I have yet to find a good explanation, because I just don't know what to do with Og's femur. I think I have an idea about Avshalom's eyeball, though.

Avshalom, the son who usurped the father's crown and tried to kill the father, the long-haired scion of David who is killed for his usurpation, is an easy allegory for Christianity and/or Jesus. His enormous eye represents Christianity's desire to conquer all, to recast everything in its own image; the large eye is a panopticon, symbolic of a religion that wishes to be an empire. Christianity only became such after Paul. Paul's Hebrew name, according to the Christian Bible, was Saul, the same as Abba Shaul's. Finally, the idea of Abba Shaul being an 'undertaker' (lit. 'a burier of corpses') is an apt metaphor for the job of divorcing Early Christianity from the Jewish mainstream. He wanted to kill the religion which threatened Judaism by turning it into something non-Jewish.

So do I really think that the tanna Abba Shaul is none other than St. Paul, who some Jewish traditions regard as the Sanhedrin's emmissary? No. Do I think that the Gemara thought so? Not really. This is just a bit of speculation; like I said before, though, this topic fascinates me.


Book Review: They Called him Rebbe: The Life and Good Works of Rabbi Boruch Milikowsky


Jerusalem: Urim Publications; December, 2007.

295 pages

Amazon Link

I have always admired successful immigrant rabbis, men who arrived on American shores during and after the Nazi era, poor, grieving, and with no knowledge of the English language or American culture but who managed to break through all of those barriers to touch the lives of others. The stories of those who overcame so much, emerging from hell to win the hearts and minds of a new and foreign generation, stand as triumphs of human spirit that can continue to enlighten and inspire long after they pass on.

My appreciation for this genre has only deepened in recent years, when I became an ‘immigrant rabbi’ myself, moving from the United States to Israel and facing the difficulties of adjusting to a new culture, albeit without fresh memories of a Holocaust and with inestimable material advantages. It has made me think about the challenges that my own grandfather faced upon his arrival in Baltimore in 1947 with my grandmother and their three children. I stand in awe of his struggle to establish his shteebl while working as a shochet, mohel, chazzan, and assorted other religious capacities (he was a ‘Swiss-army Jew’, as I like to call it).

Raphael Blumberg’s They Called Him Rebbe: The Life and Good Works of Rabbi Boruch Milikowsky (Urim, 2007) carried a special resonance for me. Most of the book is set in Baltimore, my hometown and my parents’ hometown, and in its Talmudical Academy (TA), my alma mater. Its ‘characters’ – students of Rabbi Milikoswky and graduates of TA from the 50s into the 80s - are familiar as longstanding members of the Baltimore community, as friends of my father (who was in Rabbi Milikosky’s shiur in 1962-3), and as figures well-known throughout the Jewish world (but who may be a bit better known to those who take interest in remembering who has Baltimore roots). Its event – both the comic and the tragic – remain part of Baltimore’s collective Jewish memory until today.

One might get the impression that this book would only interest vintage Jewish Baltimoreans, who smile at the mention of Cottage Avenue or Old Court Road as they would at the names Wes Unseld or Cal Ripken. In fact, however, the book should attract broad interest specifically because of its unique setting, and not despite it. Rabbi Milikowsky’s successful adaptation to the peculiar culture of that particular school, in that particular city, and in those particular years contain a universal message of love and devotion, and their ability to bridge between even the most disparate of cultures.

Rabbi Milikowsky, a native of White Russia, studied in some of Europe’s great prewar Yeshivos, ultimately fleeing from Lithuania to occupied Shanghai as a student of the Mir Yeshiva. Soon after his arrival in the United States after the war, he became a Rebbe at TA, where he remained until his passing in 1990. When he arrived at TA in the late 1940s, it had recently added a high school. Although it had been in existence for 30 years by then, it remained one of a small handful of Jewish day schools outside of New York. As such, its student body included a wide variety of local students and ‘out-of-towners’, immigrants and ‘Yankees’, from observant families and from traditional but non-observant families, and with a broad range of talents and abilities.

Thrown into such a situation with a strong yeshiva background but no formal training, Rabbi Milikowsky used whatever means he had at his disposal to communicate with his students. The author recounts (p. 87):

…there was a concentration of good ball players amongst the non-observant boys. During recess the boys would go outside and play softball on the T.A. asphalt lot. At some point Rabbi Milikowsky asked how to play and joined in some of the games with the eighth graders. If he could not communicate verbally with some of the weaker boys, he could at least communicate nonverbally.

Yet, on the very same page, the author includes an anecdote which many readers would view negatively, as characteristic of a worldview not shared by contemporary pupils and one that is potentially damaging to their religious development:

There was a boy, not so observant, who was creating problems for the class and for Rabbi Milikowsky. One time, in a fit of anger, he threw a chumash on the floor. Rabbi Milikowsky got very upset and castigated him about how this was a forbidden, dangerous thing to do. The next day the boy was taken to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. The students of Rabbi Milikowsky’s eighth-grade class took this as an omen about their own behavior. Rabbi Milikowsky didn’t have to say a word.

The startling juxtaposition of these two stories captures the tension of an old-world rabbi trying to forge relationships with new-world students. Other practices of Rabbi Milikowsky’s that would be frowned on today include smoking in front of students, turning a blind eye to students who smoke, and mild corporal punishment (including a story on p. 147 of a student who complained to his father that Rabbi Milikowsky hit him with a broom, whereupon the father presented the rabbi with a belt, in case his son ever deserved another beating). To his credit, the author makes very few attempts to minimize or contextualize these stories (he also does not airbrush a larger hair-covering or longer sleeves onto pictures of Mrs. Leah Milikowsky).

This book has little to offer in terms of formal pedagogy. Its subject never trained to be a classroom teacher and may have never prepared a lesson plan. Of all the praise found in this book, next to nothing of his teaching style or skill is offered. His students did not pay tribute by acknowledging that he taught them to learn Gemara or read Rashi. Rather, the book emphasizes the relationships that he built with his students, the informal classroom moments where he would allow students to discuss whatever topics were on their minds, his availability to them at all hours, his willingness to spend Shabbat and Yom Tov in the T.A. dormitory long after he had retired as the dormitory’s mashgiach, his presence in the school’s Beit Midrash and on school trips, and his mussar shmuessen (lectures on ethics).

The author pays special attention to the way that Rabbi Milikowsky treated each student individually (pp. 142-146, 182, et al), tailoring his responses to the needs of each student. In the 1960s, when desegregation began in the American South (which the author often erroneously calls ‘South America’), T.A. accepted many students from southern cities, Atlanta in particular. As dormitory students, Rabbi Milikowsky was directly responsible for them. The book recounts how he tried to understand their background and ease them into a life of observance. Other anecdotes describe his relationship with a poor student who was diagnosed with ADD later in life (pp. 176-180) and how he dealt with the issue of students who were seeing girls (pp. 142, 228). His concern for everything going on in the lives of his students coupled with a grounded, common-sense approach with how to deal with them finds expression both in the numerous stories and in witticisms like “Treat them like adults – expect them to act like babies” (p. 272).

Another element of Rabbi Milikowsky’s personality highlighted by the book is a profound openness to different types of learning and ways of thinking. The book illustrates the way he approached women’s Jewish learning (indeed, his daughter, Rabbanit Malke Bina, founded MaTaN, a major institution of higher women’s Jewish learning), academic Jewish studies (his son Chaim is a professor of Talmud at Bar Ilan University), Zionism (p. 253), Haskalah Literature (p. 252), and American patriotism (p. 208).

In general, the book does a good job of arranging numerous brief stories into a chronological whole. The reader comes away with a sense of the man and the trajectory of his life. Nevertheless, it often reads life a tribute by his favorite students. A small handful of the hundreds of students who sat in his classroom or lived in his dormitory are profiled. Perhaps more attention should have been paid to students who were not amongst ‘Rebbe’s boys’, in order to complete the picture of this fascinating personality.


Local Rabbinic Politics

By an accident of fate, the municipality of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut will be dropping one of its Chief Rabbis. There are currently 3: the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Modiin, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Modiin, and the Chief Rabbi of Maccabim-Reut, who also happens to be Sephardi. A conscientious citizen, affiliated with the anti-religious Shinui party, filed a grievance with the Supreme Court  about 4 years ago, which the court upheld. The contention was that there is no need for three rabbis once the municipality of Modiin was expanded to include Maccabim and Reut. I actually partially (33.3%, to be exact) agree with this decision, but that's an old issue.

Thus, it was decided that the city will drop one of its two Sephardic chiefs. In truth, I have sympathy one of the two. The rabbi of M-R has held that position for upwards of 20 years and is, by reputation, much more in line with the sensibilities of the city's Dati Leumi community, which makes up almost the entirety of its religious community.

Yet, I cannot - and will not - ignore the fact that of these three rabbis, one is the son-in-law of R' Ovadiah Yosef, one is a brother-in-law of former minister and Shas Party chief Aryeh Deri, and the third is the son of former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau.

[I have deleted the line which draws attention away from the main thrust of the post, and which, in hindsight, is inappropriate and gratuitous].

Thus, I could not give a rat's furry tuchus who wins this fight. Hopefully, the winner will have merely won a Pyrrhic victory.

Why'd 'e die did 'e die did 'e die...

Remember that niggun that would be mockingly sung with the words: 'why'd 'e die did 'e die did 'e die 'cuz there's a shark in the mivkah'? It's a true bungalow classic (the tune is actually called the 'Belzer Hakafah').

But it turns out that he didn't die because of any sharks, but because a towel closet was blocking the emergency exit (Link). Y'know, government building codes regarding public construction are not just about making the ehrliche Yidden spent more money or cut corners. They actually make sense, most of the time. Moreover, lack of regulation does not absolve the deployment of common sense. A men's mikvah is quite obviously a potentially hazardous place in the immediate sense (although slower developing problems, such as PTSD for victims of pederasty and athlete's foot for the rest of us, certainly should give one pause); slipping, drowning, and choking on popcorn are just a few of the dangers that lurk in the mildewed corners of the men's mikvah. Caveat dunkor.

Let's all remind ourselves that in 99.99% of all instances (with the exceptions of le-shem geirus and to ascend Har HaBayit) there is no mitzvah - chiyuvit or kiyumit- for a man to immerse in a mikvah. That favorite chapter of Messilat Yesharim, the one entitled 'Be-Mishkal Ha-Chassidut' rears its head again. Read it and read it again.

Geez, I'm starting to sound like Harry. Good thing I'm keeping this short.


Learning to Daven

I overheard by 3.5 year old son making a bracha on his French toast this morning: "Baruch ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech ha-olam borei lechem"

I thought it was great. A friend mentioned that there was some Rebbe who didn't teach his kids to daven so that they would figure it out on their own. I don't think we'll go that far, but it did make me proud.


Yoseph's Plan A

Vayigash starts with Yehuda's plea to Yoseph to take Binyamin's place as a slave. At the conclusion of his declamation, the Torah records that Yoseph 'could not hold back', and that he then revealed his true identity to his brothers. The fact that he 'held back' implies that , had he been able, he would have kept stringing them along. Why to what end? What was his original plan?

There are a number of different theories about what Yoseph was trying to accomplish with the whole charade: bring about the fruition of his dreams, make his brothers repent, etc. Part of the drama of these parshiyot, which indeed provide some of the best drama in all of TaNach, is in trying to figure out who knows what, when.

It seems to me that Yoseph never intended to reveal himself to his brothers. As far as he was concerned, they were strangers ('va-yitnaker Yosef le-echav') and he wanted nothing to do with them. He felt that their betrayal of him had severed familial ties; he could not have known what Yaakov's role in the sale was: he may have missed his father, or he may have thought that his father was somehow party to his disenfranchisement (Menashe = 'for God has made me forget my father's house').  Either way, the only family member about whom he was concerned was Binyamin, his full brother who was very young at the time of Yoseph's departure.

The entire charade was to get Binyamin down to Egypt and keep him there. He designed the frame-up job to give a pretense for keeping Binyamin there while turning the rest of them loose. He even provoked their jealousy to make them less willing to go to bat for their pampered brother. Had all gone well, he would have been free to start his own, Rachelide family together with his brother.

He did not count on the brothers going to bat for Binyamin. He did not count on the fact that Yaakov never got over Yoseph's disappearance, as Yehuda described in his speech. Thus, Yehuda's speech causes Yoseph to change his plan and leads to the dramatic resolution of the fraternal conflict.


Chanukah: A Celebration of...

Classical Zionism: "Jewish Self-determination and Military Prowess"

America - 60s version: "Light"

America - current version: "Religious Freedom"

Chareidim: "The Torah Remaining Pure and Free of Greek Influences"

Rabbis: "Torah she-Baal Peh"


Funny thing is, you can do this with just about any holiday. Welcome to post-ideological religion. Feel free to chat during davening.


The Greens who Stole Chanukah

There's a campaign to get people to light fewer Chanukah candles to combat global warming. Link

Please. A Chanukah candle less per family? If I would be convinced that it would actually make a difference, I could hear it; after all, the requirement to light more than one candle per family is only Hidur, and as the Ramchal writes in the chapter of Mesillat Yesharim entitled "Be-mishkal Ha-chasidut", things beyond the letter of the law are to be avoided if they would give the wrong impression to those around. This, however, is absurd. If these bozos think that the hole in the ozone layer is the result of kinderlach lighting the cheap wax candles, then they're really dumb.

If I was going to crusade against Jewish pyromania, I would start with Biur Chametz. I go nuts every year when these idiots show up with a few crumbs, a gallon of lighter fluid, and plastic bags that once held chametz. Start with those pyromaniacs who are hiding behind religion; they're no better than any other polluter. I wouldn't mind if Lag B'omer was scaled back as well; it's a disaster waiting to happen. Kids in this country burn anything not nailed to the ground. And again, this is pyromania hiding behind Judaism.

But that's not really the point, is it? The point is that these people who are calling for less candles are just a bunch of misguided bozos who take aim at something just because it's prominent and helps them grind their axes about religion adjusting to the paradigm of global warming, blah, blah,blah. Maybe they should go after Yad Vashem next for using so many darn yahrzeit candles.


Rabbis and Bricklayers

"In Europe there were rabbis and bricklayers. After the war, some went to Israel and some went to America. The rabbis went to Israel and became bricklayers, and the bricklayers went to America and became rabbis..."

-Rabbi Boruch Milikowsky, as recounted in "They Called Him Rebbe", pp. 99-100 [soon to be reviewed on this blog, and released by Urim]

Though times have changed somewhat, Rabbi Milikowsky's observation still holds true, to some extent. I am becoming the case in point. I'm not becoming a bricklayer, but I have begun the process of career change. I will be a freelance translator, with a lesser emphasis on writing and editing. Teaching remains my main occupation as of this writing, but this is my last year in that field. A number of factors have conspired to push me in this direction.

I enjoy writing and seem to be pretty good at it; this blog taught me that. Translation can be enjoyable and challenging as well. I have a preference for Jewish-themes material, so that I actually learn while I work, but I am not limited exclusively to that. I'll also continue teaching, but on my own terms - what I want, where I want, and how often I want. I need it to be that teaching Torah is something that I do as a contribution, and not something that I feel forced to do to feed my family. I also need to actually feed my family (me and Latrell). It's kind of ironic that Israel has forced me to be much more focused on material concerns, but I'm not the first.

In any case, November has been a pretty good month so far in this new endeavor. I've landed a handful of jobs (thanks to those, including David, who helped get me started). My first article has been published - it's a piece on Israeli poverty which appeared as the cover story here (before you begin downloading, beware that the .pdf of the magazine is 46+ MB).

Thus far, it has been hard to blog at a good pace while keeping up with my writing jobs and also my teaching schedule. Time will tell if this becomes a permanent situation or if things will settle back to a regular blogging pace.

Wish me luck.