You don’t have to be Jewish: Don’t miss

September 10, 2021 at 9:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

the ultimate Yom Kippur story.

There’s an old Hasidic story, attributed to the great master Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk.

It’s the day before Yom Kippur, and the hassidim come to Rabbi Elimelech and ask him how he prepares for the most holy of days. “Tell you the truth,” says the old rabbi, “I don’t know how to do it. But Moishele? The shoemaker? He knows how to do it. Go ask him.”

So the hassidim walk over to Moishele’s house, and they peek in through the window, and they see this simple man sitting around his simple wooden table eating dinner. And when he’s done, he calls out to his children, “The great moment is here! Bring out the books.” And the children return with two books, one very small and the other very large and bound in expensive leather.

Moishele, looking up, begins to speak. “Dear God, master of the world,” he says. “It’s me, Moishele, the shoemaker. God, I want to read you something.” And Moishele takes the small book and opens it up. “God,” he continues, “I want to read you a list of my sins.” And he reads on from the book: “I’ve yelled at my wife. I’ve been impatient with my children. I’ve charged a bit too much for shoes sometimes. I kept a scrap of material for myself instead of giving it to the customer who paid for it.

“I think you’ll agree, God, these are all pretty petty sins.” Moishele closes the small book and picks up the large one. “And now, God,” he says, “now, let me read to you a list of your sins:

“A mother of nine dies and leaves all of her small children orphans? A famine forces entire families to forage for their food like animals? A war takes thousands of innocent lives? These are major crimes, God, very major crimes.” And with that, Moishele looks solemnly to the heavens.

“But I’ll tell you what, God,” he says. “This year, if you forgive me my sins, I’ll forgive you yours.”

The hassidim are elated! They run back to Rabbi Elimelech and tell him all about Moishele’s wisdom. But hearing the story, Elimelech starts to cry.

“What’s the matter?” the hassidim ask.

The rebbe looks at them with his eyes all swollen. “Don’t you get it?” he says. “Moishele had God in the palm of his hand! He should’ve said, ‘No, God, I won’t forgive you! I won’t forgive you until you redeem the entire world.’”  

From “The Scroll,” Tablet Magazine’s newsletter:

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Reading Comprehension FAIL

July 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm (Icepick) (, , )

This morning I saw a story that caught my eye on Yahoo! News. The headline read:

Insight: Florida man sees “cruel” face of U.S. justice

So I clicked on the story to read it later. I just finished reading the story and doing a little research on it.

The story is about some low-life named Quartavious Davis from South Florida. Mr. Davis is upset because he was sentenced to almost 162 years in prison for his first offence. However, his outrage and shock is a bit misplaced, as his first conviction actually covers seven armed robberies, during two of which he allegedly fired his weapon. This string of armed robberies was committed with several accomplices (making him a gang-banger, and a lousy one at that) shortly after he turned 18. I guess the $674 a month he was getting from Social Security Disability Insurance wasn’t enough. (Yes, this guy is a poster-child for the anti-welfare crowd.)

Mr. Davis got this massive sentence because (a) all his co-defendants took plea deals and rolled on him and (b) the federal government has a policy known as “stacking” in which the sentences get stacked on top of each other.

So obviously, this is a problem with Florida’s horrible, archaic justice system, right?

Well, no. I’m willing to bet that this crowd (do we count as a crowd?) noticed that I mentioned the federal government. Yes, Mr. Davis somehow managed to get his dumb-assed self prosecuted in a federal court, by a federal prosecutor (funny how that works), before a federal judge, and has been sentenced to rot to death in a federal prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

However, the article in question (from Reuters) makes this into a state issue about Florida. The commenters there and elsewhere barely noticed.

So this is all about the backwards state of Florida and how racist and evil conservatives are for a great many people in the echo-chamber.

Whatever. The people making the complaints about the awfulness of Florida are incapable of reading. Not to mention that the goon reporter from Reuters is intentionally misleading them. (You can read the story yourselves and figure out how.)

But here’s a nice little factoid from the Reuters article:

Since 2003, the Justice Department has had guidelines in place that discourage prosecutors from stacking in cases where it can lead to excessive sentences.

Yet prosecutors have broad discretion within their jurisdictions to follow their own lights, according to criminal-law experts.

So the Bush Justice Department actually discouraged the practice, though (in typical fashion) they didn’t actually do anything to end the practice of governmental over-reach.

So who is behind this sentence? Besides the Congress and Justice Department, the man most responsible appears to be Wifredo A. “Willy” Ferrer, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Who just happens to be an Obama appointee.

So, clearly a Hispanic-American federal prosecutor reporting to a black US AG and appointed by a black President working under federal guidelines is a sign of racist Florida being a backwater of justice.

ADDED: I should add that Quartavious Davis’s parents should probably spend time in prison for their choice of name for their son. This isn’t a new position for me.

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