More About Friedman Trip and Rashi

Hi! So I’m waiting for a special guest entry from Gregg Friedman to tell you all about the Friedman’s visit to Israel last week. I’ll just say briefly that we had a really good time with Eric’s Mom, Gregg and Laura, and I think they got to see a LOT of interesting things they may not have seen on a bus tour.

The apartment that they found in Jerusalem didn’t work out, but Gregg managed to find a lovely little hotel in East Jerusalem called the Jerusalem Hotel. I think they were the only Americans and Jews staying in this place, which was considerably cheaper than a crappy 5 star hotel in West Jerusalem. Visiting them in their hotel was like going to another country. The hotel rooms contained a small magazine called “This Week in Palestine” as well as a brochure describing ‘alternative tours’ where you could visit the separation barrier, a West Bank refugee camp, Jericho and other places.

We took the family North to visit the artist colony Ein Hod, where we enjoyed the warm Mediterranean sun and strolled around the town peeking into artist studios. Here’s some interesting history: Ein Hod was an Arab village before 1948 and residents fled during the War of Independence. Marcel Janco, a Dada artist convinced the Israeli government not to demolish the site and he founded the Ein Hod Artists Village. It’s hard to go anywhere in this country without finding the echoes of war–even a place as peaceful as Ein Hod.

That afternoon we drove to Haifa to a restaurant recommended by Etamar which overlooked most of the city. For sleeping, we managed to find two available cabins at the zimmer in Kibbutz Dalia, which was really lucky. That place is really nice and I’m definitely going back there :). The next morning we enjoyed the Israeli breakfast at Dalia and drove to see Etamar and his family in Kiryat Tivon. I was glad that they had an opportunity to meet some of their relatives and get a more intimate look at life here. The scenery on the way there was gorgeous and it reminded me how I really need to get out of Jlem sometimes.

In the afternoon we drove to Tel Aviv to meet Gregg’s friend whom he knew from Chechnya and who now is a tranlator with the Red Cross. Gregg and Laura stayed a little bit later and were driven back to Jerusalem by their friend while Joanne, Eric and I drove back to Jerusalem earlier. Joanne went back the next day, but Gregg and Laura were leaving late that evening so  Eric got to spend additional time with them. They all went to Yad Vashem, which has been renovated fairly recently and is supposedly a very intense experience.

I’m really glad they had a good time here and took some time out of their trip to Romania to come see how we were doing. I look forward to posting Gregg’s guest entry about the trip soon!

Now back to Rashi…so I think I’ll just post a few links about him to the blog, since I’m kind of running to go to bed right now and why reinvent the wheel right? I’ll just say that few people study Talmud these days without studying Rashi who can be very helpful in filling in the gaps. The Talmud, which used to be an oral text, tends to be terse with the implication that the reader will follow what it’s talking about. Sometimes it leaves out words and sometimes it just jumps to a supposedly logical conclusion. But I usually don’t get it and I guess lots of people don’t, which is why Rashi is there.

Yes he can be helpful. However, since my Aramaic is not so great, he can sometimes be more confusing and that just gets me frustrated 🙂 And he also can be terse! But hopefully I’ll be able to understand him better with time.

I tend to get along with Rashi in Chumash study better–probably because his commentary is in Hebrew and there is punctuation. His interpretation style is kind of a hybrid of the Peshat and Midrashic forms. Well to put it more clearly, he selectively uses Midrash to explain a difficulty he has with the text.

To learn more about this super commentator here are a few links for you to enjoy:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/rashi.html

http://www.jewishmag.com/18MAG/RASHI/rashi.htm

http://www.rashiyomi.com/rule0812.htm

Definition of Peshat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshat

Definition of Midrash: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midrash

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