Well, manifesting an interest I had expressed verbally, I went over to Rutgers' "Battle of the Bands" to hear my friend Dustin. It was very nice, though I obviously didn't know many people there (though I did meet his parents; I asked if they approved, which was out of place partially because they're baby-boomers who grew up on Rock themselves). I didn't have the patience to stay till the end, but it seems pretty evident to me that he was the winner, since he was the last singer, garnered the most crowd interest, and, quite frankly, had better music than the others (though I personally thought the band a few performers before him were so-so)...
Well then, getting along with business, I take interest in speaking here about פסח, since, well, it's next week, and I don't think I've ever written my thoughts about it at all here..or anywhere..or ever, as a matter of fact.. Though I'm not sure I want to get into that just yet.
First off though, I wanted to mention an interesting passage I was reading in "The Year of Living Biblically" (I had read it when it came out last year, but only sporadically..now it's "בעיון". A very interesting idea for a book in my opinion, not to mention it's unusually humorous for a book about religion. ...though it seems a little pointless for such a secular individual to even sympathise with the religious outlook). He talks (Beg. Month 10) about his attempt to refrain from the course language he was accustomed to using, at least for the duration of his year. He mentions the obvious fact that there doesn't seem to be any explicit "no using the F word" mitzva in the Torah, which would make it unclear as to the opinion of the Tanach on the subject, especially considering his reference to a comment by Natalie Angier that "the Bible itself uses adult language", and that there are some references to base things in the Tanach. He also mentions that the New Testament seems to be much clearer about it when Paul admonishes people not to engage in "obscene, foolish or coarse joking" (Eph. 5).
I don't like what this "Natalie" lady seems to be inferring; i.e. the Torah has no problem with people making clear verbal references to the coarsest of things. "The Ramban" is famous for discussing this issue in his discussion about the supremity of the Hebrew language (Ex. 30:13). My own idea about it is quite simple though, especially when comparing the Torah to the Ephesian Epistle; the Hebrews at that time (and perhaps Semites in general) didn't attach anything childish or coarse to speech concerning (albiet base) things in a serious context. The whole idea of finding "bathroom talk" or "sex talk" funny or obscene is an invention of European Man, as are most innane things.
It kind of reminds me of a conversation I once had with my Moroccan friend 'Aziz in Orlando. We were once chatting about his romantic existence while he was working in Wisconsin (in a job he, strangely enough, found out about from a newspaper in Morocco), and he asked me straightforwardly if I had ever had ever had physical interactions with a prostitute (perhaps he thought I looked older than I was!). He went on to confide to me that "In Morocco, most mens go with the Q'hba..". I found it a little humorous since I had never heard the word Q'hba (قحبة) used outside the context of a curse, but the obvious truth is that to him ...well..to him it wasn't a "silly" concept I guess.. ..I don't even know where I'm going with this anymore!...
(Come to think of it, this actually does have what to do with פסח: To those who don't already know what I mean, the first Mishna of Pesachim informs us that there is an obligation to search ones premises for leavened products by saying "אור לארבעה עשר בודקין את החמץ". The Talmud subsequently spends two pages in an attempt to decipher the meaning of the word "אור" in this context. It turns out it actually means night. The Gemara asks why then don't we just say "night". It answers that "אור" is a much more refined way of saying it, and spends another two pages telling us why and how to use the most refined of word usages. ...so there!..)
The book then moves on to discuss the myriad of words created in the English language to substitute for G-d, Jesus and hell (not to equate the three in any way!). The English created words like "Lor" and "heck" to avoid using the real words, till they themselves were banned! I had actually recently done a bit of research on sayings like "Goodness Gracious!" and "Great Scott!". In my opinion that whole mode of Puritan thinking is way off; it obviously makes no sense to ban words than were created as substitutes for other words (Which creates questions with words like the one we use to substitute for the four letter name of G-d in prayer; i.e. if it's a substitute, then it should be ok? ..long story there actually, perhaps another time, ..but it is something I ponder from time to time).
Hm, quite lengthy this time, not my style...