January 15th, 2012

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The NEW New Rules For Jewish Stuff

Am inspired by reading Bill Maher's "The New New Rules" and some stuff that I encountered over Shabbos. Because, as I tell my fellow congregants: "I can take stupidity when I'm prepared for it, I work in public policy. It's when it sneaks up on me unawares that I get all freaked out." So I am now going to start publishing, for my own enjoyment, Random things under the heading "the NEW new rules for Jewish Stuff."

Name The Midrash

If you are writing something you expect me to take seriously, you are not permitted to say "The Midrash says." You actually have to say what midrash and where. Would it kill you to say "The Midrash Rabbah pasuk whatever" Or "Yalkut Shimoni daf whatever?" For one thing, some of us might want to check to see if you got it right. Also, it reassures me you are not just quoting the "Little Midrash Says."

BTW, it should be assur to ever refer to "The Little Midrash Says," or even the supposed grown up version "The Midrash Says," as a "sefer." the Chumash is a "sefer." The Shulchan Orech is a "sefer." The Little Midrash Says is a bad paraphrasing of sacred midrashim thrown together in a blender and poured down our children's throats by a day school culture with no quality control. It is a "sefer" in the same way that my Hebrew translation of Harry Potter is a "sefer" -- except that reading Harry Potter will not convince you, years later, that you can find the place in the Bible where Jacob's neck turns into marble.