Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jennifer and I Are Home and the Kids Are in Virginia...

That gives us time to read!

I have read over the last two weeks "The Newlywed Guide to Physical Intimacy," "The Aleppo Codex," and am now in the middle of "Road to Valour."

The first book talks about newlyweds getting used to the idea of physical intimacy.  The novelty is that this book is geared towards the Orthodox community.  It is a necessary book in that community.  With the absolute gender separation prevalent in so many situations, it is impossible for men and women to develop a common language.  As such, he may not realize that a first time might hurt her.  She may not realize that the whole endeavour might last more than 20 seconds once they figure out what they are doing.  To have a book explain this in a way that is not remotely pornographic is wonderful.  To have a book say that it takes time to learn this part of marriage permits the couple to realize that there might be something enjoyable down the road despite initial frustrations.

"The Aleppo Codex" is about what the Rambam termed the most accurate manuscript of the Tanakh.  For centuries, it found its home in Aleppo, zealously guarded by the Syrian Jewish community.  After the UN vote for partition in 1947, the synagogue was burned.  Tradition is that about 40% of the codex burned in that fire.  Apparently, the Syrian Jewish community intelligently let that tradition exist, eliminating any Syrian governmental interest in it.  (Insert lots of international intrigue here.)  At least 60% of the codex was smuggled out and brought to Israel.  It is now becoming more and more evident that the other 40% still exists.  Many people are not saying anything beyond that.  The book contains the history of the codex, and reads like a detective novel.

By the way, my ritual director, Jesse, and I had a question about the proper reading of a word in the text.  We were able to check it against the Aleppo codex.  We really enjoyed doing that.

I am thoroughly enjoying "Road to Valour."  It is the true story of Gino Bartoli, an Italian cyclist.  He won the Tour de France twice.  He was also a devout Catholic and despised Mussolini.  His Cardinal asked him to run forged documents in order to help save Jews.  He smuggled fake identification papers in the frame of his bicycle.  He also hid a Jewish family in one of his homes.  I am displeased these days with the world of professional sports.  So many athletes get in so much serious trouble.  They forget the responsibility that goes with being famous.  Bartoli used his fame to save lives.  He risked his life to defy those who would commit murder.

My next book will be "The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea."  It is sitting on the night table.  Jesse thought it was amazing.  I let him read it first.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Oh...and just so you know, Jennifer and I are not just reading.  We are also going to sleep early.  This is the most rested we have been in months.

Good night everyone.


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