Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ode to the 22nd Amendment

The 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified 56 years ago today!

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

This means that after January 20, 2009, George W. Bush will never be president again!!!!! Less than 700 days until the end! Quack quack quack!

(Even if he wasn't legitimately "elected to the office of the President" in 2000, he still "acted as President for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President", so he doesn't get a free pass here.)

State of confusion

Only because Abacaxi Mamao told me to.

Clearly there's a part of the country that I'm missing out on. Road trip?

And this is simply pathetic:

(Airports don't count.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Creation revelation redemption

The creation/revelation/redemption sequence goes way way back. It is well known that this sequence of themes appears in the blessings surrounding the Shema and the central blessings of the Amidah throughout Shabbat. Here are three more places where these themes appear in the liturgy that have not, to my knowledge, been previously identified. (If any of these have been identified elsewhere, please say so in the comments.)

1) Nehemiah 9:6-11, which appears toward the end of pesukei dezimrah in the daily liturgy.

Creation: verse 6 ("you made heaven ... earth ... the seas ...")
Revelation: verses 7-8 ("you chose Abram ... made a covenant with him ...")
Redemption: verses 9-11 ("you split the sea before them, and they passed through the sea on dry land...")

2) Psalm 19, the first of the special psalms added on Shabbat and holidays.

Creation: verses 2-7 ("The heavens declare the glory of God")
Revelation: verses 8-11 ("The Torah of God is perfect")
Redemption: verses 12-15 (this time it's individual rather than collective redemption, and the narrator is asking to be saved from sin.)

3) The three communal responses in the kedushah.

Creation: קדוש קדוש קדוש ה' צבאות מלא כל הארץ כבודו - God's glory fills all of creation.
Revelation: ברוך כבוד ה' ממקומו - from Ezekiel's vision of revelation. here the emphasis is on God's "place" rather than God's creation.
Redemption: ימלך ה' לעולם א-להיך ציון לדר ודר הללויה - looking to a future redemption, when God will rule the whole world. The interpretation that identifies this verse with future redemption is supported by the paragraph preceding this line in the kedushah of Shabbat shacharit (בקרוב בימינו לעולם ועד תשכן and ועינינו תראין מלכותך and such).

Indigenous Peoples Day

Whoa. The Hilchot Pluralism series continues to get nationwide exposure. Today the SiteMeter showed an incoming link from the Little Minyan of Columbus, Ohio. (First of all, is anyone still trying to argue that independent minyanim don't/can't exist outside of coastal cities like New York and San Francisco? Bah.) Their newsletter says:

Ever wonder how a Jewish community can effectively accommodate people with different views of kashrut, liturgy, and Halakhah (Jewish law), yet retain its own identity? At our January 22nd Research/Study Group meeting, we explored this question. The discussion focused on an on-going blog on Jewish pluralism that has been occurring on http://mahrabu.blogspot.com/. The blog's author belongs to an egalitarian minyan in New York and was an organizer for last summer's National Havurah Committee Institute. This discussion of Jewish pluralism has been building on line for the last 18 months. The Mah Rabu blog also includes two interesting new postings on Reform Halakhah, which might be a topic for future Little Minyan discussions.

If anyone from the Little Minyan is reading this, how did the discussion go? Did you reach any new conclusions?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

A long-expected party

La nitneshei minach, Masechet Megillah!

Following a successful Rosh Chodesh apartment minyan, the long-expected siyyum on Masechet Megillah took place today. Thanks to everyone who came, including a number of special guests from DC, the Boston area, and Jerusalem!

[UPDATE: Great timing! It has been pointed out to me that the Daf Yomi is currently in Masechet Megillah.]

I introduced the masechet with the first mishnah. The first half of chapter 1 is about the laws and customs of Purim and the reading of the megillah, but there's a problem -- Purim doesn't appear anywhere in the Torah. But it appears in Tanach, viz. the book of Esther, so this perek transforms Esther (viz. chapter 9) into a legal work, and lets loose the full arsenal of midrash halacha methodology, so that this chapter becomes a halachic exegesis on Esther chapter 9. As a simple example, I cited the interpretations of "mishloach manot ish lerei'eihu" and "matanot la'evyonim" from 7a, but really more so that I could tell the story of Rabbah and Marei bar Mar's mishloach manot and Abaye's sarcastic comments, and then pass out food representing their 1500-year-old mishloach manot: dates, peppers, and Ginger-O's (representing the ginger and the flour). The second half of Megillah chapter 1 is the complement to the first half: it's an aggadic exegesis on Esther chapters 1-8 and 10 (the narrative part - i.e. most of it). For this part, we watched a video recorded by my erstwhile chavruta MAK (who participated remotely in the siyyum), in which he used various midrashim in this perek to draw parallels between the story of Esther and the story of the Tower of Babel. (Perhaps he can elaborate more on this.)

The rest of Masechet Megillah (chapters 2, 3, and 4) transition gradually from the reading/writing of the megillah to the reading/writing of a sefer Torah, and then public worship in general, including the physical space in which it occurs. When we get into the topic of prayer, there is overlap in topics and actual content between Megillah and Berachot. The difference is that Berachot is focused on the individual (e.g. what prayers are said and when) and Megillah is focused on the community (and Torah reading can only take place in a community), but there is overlap for things like communal prayer.

Since we had just done a Rosh Chodesh Torah service, we looked at the sugya on 21b-22a about why the Rosh Chodesh Torah reading is done in such a peculiar way (repeating at least one verse). The answer is that when you apply all the rules about how to split up aliyot, it is mathematically impossible to do this reading all the way through without repetition.

Then we skipped to the end, to the very last mishnah and baraita. On each holiday, we read a Torah portion relevant to the holiday, and study the halachot of that holiday. The Mishnah links this to Leviticus 23:44. Rashi explains: Didn't Moshe say all of the commandments to the Israel? It needed to be said for this one, because he established that they would learn about each holiday on that holiday, and "kiyemu vekibelu" (they established and accepted) the reward of all the mitzvot for themselves and their descendants. By linking the end of the masechet (about Torah reading) to Esther and Purim, Rashi concludes the masechet by tying it all together.

Amen amen amen selah va'ed!


Mishnah completed:

Tractates of Gemara completed:
Rosh Hashanah
(Time to get out of Mo'ed!)

Tractates of Gemara on the way:
Makkot (ALG and I are on 19b, only 5 dapim from the end, and we'll keep you updated)

Tractates of Gemara partially completed:
Berachot chapters 1, 2, 4, 7, 8
Sanhedrin chapter 8

At this rate I'm not going to finish in this lifetime, but maybe that's ok.


So what's next?

Every year at the NHC Summer Institute, there is a siyyum on Shabbat afternoon celebrating the completion of a letter (last year it was "Siyyum on the Letter S"). During the year, there is a group of people learning a daf a day from the Encyclopaedia Judaica, and they present the highlights (amid much hilarity and herring) at the Institute. They've been doing this for several decades now, and they're going out of order (right before S, they did G), and they're almost done! I hear that there are only two letters left! This means that the grand siyyum on the entire EJ will take place at the 2008 Institute. What's after that?

Some of us have been conspiring about next steps. After the EJ is done, it would be great to have a study project that the whole community can take part in, wherever they are. The EJ is entertaining when distilled down to the most amusing highlights, but I tried it one year and didn't last very long -- page for page, it was deadly. In the next round, we want to expand to a larger pool of participants.

One suggestion that has been made is Sefer Ha-Aggadah. It's encyclopedic in form like the EJ, but probably more interesting and useful, as a collection of the greatest hits of rabbinic literature, and it is accessible to a wide range of people, available in both Hebrew and English translation. We're (and the "we" here is no one official, just a guerrilla operation) talking about starting this in 2008 and completing it in two years, to make a siyyum at the 2010 Institute. This would involve lots of people studying on their own (and/or with in-person chavrevata and communities) and discussing it online. Just in case it is decided that this online discussion should be in blog form, I have reserved Sefer Ha-Bloggadah. If people are interested, then we'll start recruiting bloggers in the time to come.

Next step: the Mishnah. We could do a seder a year, making a siyyum at each Institute and finishing in 2016. The online discussion could be very fruitful, looking at the Mishnah creatively and applying it in the present time, using the blog format (or whatever format has supplanted it in the next decade) to produce a body of Torah surrounding it.

Who's in?

Friday, February 16, 2007

A series of tubes

Once again, Kol Zimrah and other new independent minyanim are in the JTA!

Kol Zimrah, an independent minyan in New York, has no building of its own but meets once a month at various locations. It sends out an e-mail to the 500 people on its list telling them when and where services will take place.

“All of our communication is over the Internet,” Kol Zimrah co-founder [BZ] says. “We don’t have a phone list or snail mail.”

In fact, he continues, the minyan was started five years ago by people “sending an e-mail around.”

Kol Zimrah posts the music it uses for people to download, learn and use at their own services.

“It’s a way of teaching people,” [BZ] says.

Read the full article. It also heralds the debut of ShulShopper, which is on its way any minute!

There's also a companion article about a community that bought their Torah on eBay.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Gung hai fat choi!

The upcoming new moon is not only the Chinese New Year and Presidents' Day; it's also Rosh Chodesh Adar! When Adar enters, increase in happiness! Therefore, we will be holding a rocking apartment minyan in the City, County, and State of New York, on Monday, February 19, at 9:00 AM. We'll even have a Torah!

But that's not all. Because Adar is at hand, the minyan will be followed at 10:30 AM by a long-awaited siyyum on Masechet Megillah. MAK and I studied this tractate in 2005-06, and then MAK moved out of town, so we haven't been able to get together in person for a formal siyyum, and this will be no exception, but MAK will be presenting his drash on video while I'll be there in person.

Post in the comments or email mahrabu at gmail if you'd like to be added to the evite.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Award: Best use of a physics analogy in a halakhic or metahalakhic teshuvah

The subject line speaks for itself. The 2006 award goes to Rabbi Gordon Tucker's teshuva, "Halakhic and Metahalakhic Arguments Concerning Judaism and Homosexuality". This post does not address the content of the teshuva or the politics surrounding it, but only the use of a physics analogy that most rabbis of any denomination would not have been able to come up with.

The context is a discussion of the role of legal positivism in halakha.
So for the broadest range of questions that may arise – be they queries about the kashrut of microbial enzymes, or the use of a shaliah le-kabbalah in giving a get, or the permissibility of driving on Shabbat to be a shomer for a corpse – the teshuvot are bound to be written in the positivist style. In addition to there being many good reasons to reason this way, there are, in the large majority of cases, no good grounds not to. We are all positivists in the same way that we all use Euclidean geometry and Newtonian mechanics to solve the broadest range of problems in the configuration of space and in the dynamics of motion. Euclid and Newton are not only perfectly suited to the small scale of the billiards table; their relative simplicity and linear quality serve us well in most of the tasks we face. But despite the fact that Euclid and Newton are splendid and irreplaceable tools in most ordinary matters, we need to know that their “local success” does not necessarily translate into “global success”. When Einstein measured, during a solar eclipse, the light of a distant star that passed very near the large mass of the darkened sun, he demonstrated that we either had to concede that space was not Euclidean, or that light did not travel in straight lines near large gravitational fields. We know, in other words, that there are those phenomena that lie outside the domain of normal observation, that lay bare to us the need for more sophisticated, less simple tools of analysis that can be extremely disorienting at first. But that is the only way that progress is made.

This is the sense in which we are all positivists in law. It is a splendid and irreplaceable tool for the ordinary questions that law is called upon to answer. But then there are the analogues of Einstein’s landmark experiment, the hard cases of law, hard cases like the one before us in this paper. For we are dealing with a case in which the logic of the system and its precedents do not fit well with the personal experiences and narratives of gay and lesbian Jews, and with the growing moral senses of the community.

As far as I am aware, the physics is entirely correct. Classical mechanics is an elegant and internally consistent theory. It also happens to match up well with the physical universe, for a limited range of cases. These properties don't necessarily have to coincide -- one could come up with elegant and consistent theories that have no relationship to physical reality (like a universe in which F=mj, or heck, this is what they once thought non-Euclidean geometry was), and though we assume that physical reality is consistent (or else all bets would be off when it comes to science), it's not necessarily going to obey the simplest or most elegant laws possible.

And, in fact, the correspondence between classical mechanics and physical reality falls apart when you look at very small or very large things, travel at high velocities, etc. Classical mechanics as a theory is unharmed, and continues to be useful in the same cases in which it was useful, but new theories (quantum mechanics; special and general relativity) are required to describe the physical universe in those other domains of observation.

So Tucker is making this same point about halacha. (I'm not sure I agree with him -- i.e. my own views are even less "Newtonian", i.e. the opposite reason from why the other teshuvot submitted to the CJLS would disagree with him --but my opinions are beyond the scope of this post.) He would define a "classical" theory of halachic jurisprudence that is useful in everyday cases, but recognize that this theory does not correspond to reality in all cases, and develop another theory that applies to those cases.

Where is the boundary between the "ordinary questions" and the "hard cases"? It's an old question (aka challot devash me'eimatai mitame'ot mishum mashkeh? This cryptic reference to be explained in another post upon request. Hint: Psalm 19:10-11), and different people may arrive at different conclusions.

Another point that Tucker doesn't mention but that may strengthen his analogy: The "exceptions" to classical mechanics aren't just freak occurrences, but appear all the time. For example, atoms and molecules can't be explained with classical mechanics, and require quantum mechanics. Many famous things are made of atoms and molecules! Likewise, gay and lesbian people aren't anomalous; they're everywhere.

Question for Rabbi Tucker: Certainly, it's not convenient to use relativity or quantum mechanics to describe everyday situations at human scales (between atoms and galaxies), but it's possible. The correspondence principle says that quantum mechanics reduces to classical mechanics for large enough systems. Likewise, special and general relativity reduce to classical mechanics when v << c (velocity is much less than the speed of light) and we're looking at small masses and small chunks of space. Does your "enhanced halakhic method" obey an analogous correspondence principle? That is, if only the enhanced method were applied, would it arrive (albeit via more effort) at the same results as the positivist method would (in the cases for which you think a positivist approach is valid)? And if not, then would complementarity be a better physics analogy?


Going back to the physics, in addition to the obvious reasons why classical mechanics is useful even though "more correct" theories exist (an engineer building a bridge doesn't need or want to consider relativistic effects, which would make the calculations much more difficult), there are also pedagogical reasons for this, which are foremost in my mind as a high school physics teacher.

And maybe these reasons aren't so different: similar to the (discredited) theory that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, perhaps individual science learning recapitulates scientific development. For my master's project in science education, I looked at how students' mental models undergo Kuhnian paradigm shifts. (This idea wasn't original, and the conditions for a paradigm shift appear in a 1982 article in Science Education by George J. Posner et al., but I was looking more closely at the mechanism of this paradigm shift and the "reactive intermediates".)

So just as classical mechanics had to be developed before Einstein could come up with relativity or Schrodinger could come up with wave mechanics, perhaps students need a foundation in classical mechanics before they can understand "modern physics".

Some students who come into first-year physics with lots of enthusiasm about the subject struggle because they're not able to bracket the "hard cases" while first looking at a simplified model. We make simplifications all the time, and not just the kind where we use classical mechanics instead of quantum mechanics or relativity: high school physics is filled with frictionless surfaces and massless strings and rigid bodies and point masses and point charges and elastic collisions and negligible air resistance and negligible electrical resistance and such. Some students are always asking "But wouldn't it break?" or "But what about the curvature of the earth?" or "What if you were going near the speed of light?". And those are excellent questions to ask. After you get the basic concept and are ready to consider more advanced applications. But if you don't allow for some approximations on the way there (like the famous spherical chicken), you'll be paralyzed and will never gain mastery of the basic concepts. (One of my colleagues had to say to a freshman physics class "Einstein was never born!") It's important to ask questions all the time, and it means that these students are thinking seriously about how physics applies to the real world and not just plugging-and-chugging by rote, but it's also important to learn how to use a simplified model to come up with an approximate answer, and then evaluate this result to see whether it's close enough or whether we have to consider other parameters.

Sometimes this process occurs during first-year physics itself. When we start in the fall, we assume that Earth's gravitational field is uniform (so gravitational acceleration is constant, gravitational potential energy is simply mgh, etc.), and then in December or so, we do the "gravity" unit and see what happens when you get far away from Earth's surface that you can't assume that g is always 9.8 m/s2 anymore.

That said, there's still some value in giving students a taste of more "advanced" physics even if they're not going to get all the way there from first principles, because these theories are such an essential part of our current understanding of the physical universe. Even though high school students certainly aren't going to master classical mechanics to the level that Einstein understood it just before publishing his groundbreaking papers in 1905, they should still get some appreciation of physics developments of the last century. For example, the standard Regents curriculum includes the Bohr model and a superficial look at the Standard Model. If there were more time in the school year, I would go further -- I would love to develop a way to teach quantum mechanics concepts (not the Bohr model, but the real thing) to first-year physics students, and I already do relativity with my AP students after the AP test.

So the point is that in physics education, there is a place both for using simplified models and looking beyond those models.

As I learned today from a student, we're not even consistent in the simplified models that we teach. In AP, we've been doing integrals to find the electric fields due to various charge distributions, and a student asked an excellent question: if charge is quantized, then what does "dq" (an infinitesimal amount of charge; essential for setting up an integral) mean, and how can we talk about these continuous charge distributions? She was totally right. We teach from the beginning (starting way back in chemistry) that charge is quantized, and there are these discrete little charged particles. But then we teach classical electromagnetism, which is really all about continuous charge distributions, with concepts like (finite) charge density. (Note: Maxwell's equations predate the discovery of the electron!) So the answer is that when we're talking about an infinite line of charge with linear charge density λ, we're ignoring the fact that charge is quantized and operating within a theory in which it isn't, and then we can argue that this is close enough to our universe when we're looking at macroscopic things, since the quantum of charge is really really small on that scale. (And "infinite" really just means that L >> r.)

So do these rantings about physics pedagogy have any analog in the study of halacha? Perhaps the introductory Talmud student who is always asking "Did they really have to sacrifice an animal? That's sick and inhumane!" and "Does God really care?" and "Where are all the women?" is analogous to the introductory physics student who is always asking "But isn't light also a particle?" and "What about air resistance?" and "What about the rotation of the earth?". That is, they're both asking very very important questions (you'll have a hard time designing an airplane if you never stop ignoring air resistance!), but in order to develop an understanding of Talmudic methodology / physics methodology (which will assist later on in answering those important questions), it may be helpful to put aside those questions temporarily and focus on one thing at a time.

On the other hand, it's also important to develop, from the beginning, some understanding of the more complex questions, and to begin grappling with those questions, so that the student of halacha/physics understands that halacha/physics is not just a formal system or an intellectual exercise, but is intended as a model for the real world.

(model n. 1. a systematic description of an object or phenomenon. 2. a standard or example for imitation.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

By the book

I went back to the YU seforim sale tonight.

I wasn't lying -- there really is a fully vocalized Vilna-style Talmud (including fully vocalized Rashi and Tosafot)!

I yielded to temptation and bought the Masechet Kinim book. I think the rest of this photoessay speaks for itself.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why they're wrong

(Crossposted to Jewschool)

Consider this the next post in the "lilmod mah shetashiv" series for supporters of independent Jewish communities. We've all gotten into this argument before.

Abstract: Some people argue that new independent Jewish communities are harmful to existing synagogues. They're wrong. Other people recognize the fallacies in this argument and advance a more nuanced version. They're also wrong.

The Basic Argument: "Look at that new minyan, Kehilah Atzma'it. They've certainly been successful -- they get n people every time, most of whom are young and energetic. It's great that so many young people want to be Jewishly involved! But meanwhile, my synagogue, Rodef Kesef, is aging and struggling to pay the bills, and we'd love to have so many new members. And if Kehilah Atzma'it didn't exist, all these young people would be going to Rodef Kesef. Therefore, Kehilah Atzma'it is harming Rodef Kesef."

The Unspoken Assumption: The Jewish population is a zero-sum game. There is a finite and static pool of involved Jews. Therefore, any new community that starts is poaching its members from an existing community.

Why They're Wrong: It's not a zero-sum game. Most of the people who go to Kehilah Atzma'it now weren't going to Rodef Kesef before KA started; they weren't going anywhere. And if KA had never been founded, then they would still not be going anywhere. Therefore, the primary effect of KA on the broader Jewish community is an increase in the total number of involved Jews, not an exodus from one community to another.

The More Nuanced Argument: "Ok, that's true about marginal Jews who wouldn't otherwise be going anywhere, and it reminds us that we should all be doing better outreach efforts to bring them in. But I went to Kehilah Atzma'it one time, and let me tell you, these were not marginal Jews! These are highly committed and knowledgeable Jews, who make Judaism a major priority in their lives. Surely the committed core of KA would be going somewhere for Shabbat if KA didn't exist. They've put a lot of energy into building KA, and we could really benefit from that energy here at Rodef Kesef."

The Unspoken Assumption: There are two types of Jews: marginal and committed. Either you're one or the other; people never switch back and forth between these two types. Marginal Jews are involved or not, depending on the circumstances, while committed Jews are always going to be involved. Therefore, while the Jewish population as a whole is not necessarily a zero-sum game, the committed Jewish population is -- both in their numbers and in their commitment.

Why They're Still Wrong: This version of the argument is taking a short-term view. In the long term, people switch back and forth all the time. People who used to be "marginal" Jews have gone to Kehilah Atzma'it and not only become involved at KA, but become "committed Jews", to the degree that a casual observer (such as our interlocutor from Rodef Kesef) might assume that these people have been "committed" all along and might not recognize KA's transformative role.

Of course, (since KA was not created on the sixth day along with the tongs [not] made from tongs) this can't be true of everyone at KA. The original founders of KA had to have been committed and knowledgeable from the start, given the commitment and knowledge required to start a minyan. But just as it is fallacious to assume that "marginal" Jews will always be "marginal", it is fallacious to assume that "committed" Jews will always be "committed". Whatever one's level of commitment in the short term, it can be context-dependent in the long term.

Hypothetical scenario 1: Ploni is a "committed Jew" who moves to a new city. Kehilah Atzma'it doesn't exist, and Ploni doesn't find any Jewish community that's right for him, but he's determined to make it work somehow, so he goes to Rodef Kesef and toughs it out for a while. However, over time, it becomes more and more difficult for Ploni to continue practicing Judaism in the absence of a Jewish community that shares his values and where he feels like part of the community. Ploni's priorities shift, so that Judaism becomes less central in his life. Ploni thus ceases to be the "committed Jew" that he used to be. Far-fetched? I could easily see this scenario happening to me in an alternate universe in which I moved to a different city after college, or graduated from college a few years earlier than I did.

Hypothetical scenario 2: Plonit has a similar story to Ploni in Scenario 1. But Plonit is even more determined than Ploni, and she decides that if Rodef Kesef isn't the place for her, then she's going to make it the place for her. So she becomes an active member of Rodef Kesef, and sets out to make incremental changes, so that RK can be the type of community that she's looking for. However, she runs into obstacles when she discovers that RK's longtime members like things the way they are and oppose each of these changes. Plonit's energy may be vast, but it is not limitless, and eventually she gets burned out and is no longer able to continue contributing.

Some people choose to become Jewish communal professionals, and are prepared to spend their careers devoted tirelessly to the Jewish community despite adverse circumstances. Ploni and Plonit chose other careers to devote their days to, and are also happy to put energy into the Jewish community, but can only sustain this in the long term if they are getting something out of this communal involvement.

Fortunately, these scenarios don't have to come to pass. In our universe, Plonit founded Kehilah Atzma'it, and Ploni is an active participant in KA.

(Disclaimer: This post has been floating around my head for a while, and is not intended as a response to Elf's DH's post on Studentville, which is a recommended read.)

Friday, February 02, 2007

When the moon is in the seventh house

This has been a year of cosmic confluences. Rosh Hashanah coincided with the autumnal equinox, Rosh Chodesh Tevet (during Chanukah) coincided with the winter solstice, and now Tu Bishvat (yes, that's right, BISHVAT) overlaps not only with Groundhog Day (another winter holiday that looks optimistically to spring) but (as Kol Ra'ash Gadol points out on Jewschool) with Ice Cream For Breakfast Day! Shabbat shalom and chag sameiach!