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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

17 Tammuz - The Three Weeks Begins with a BANG (or is that a Fast commemorating a Bang?)

It's here again, The Three Weeks - that inauspicious time between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av which is Chock-Full-O-Trouble for the Jewish People.

Seems like everything that can go wrong did go wrong during these 3 weeks, and as we know history isn't a linear time-line, it's an ascending spiral - things are the way they are, only more so. Genesis (the rock group, not the 1st book of the Torah) says in their song "Carpet Crawlers" - ""It's the bottom of a staircase that spirals out of sight."

In our case, out of sight isn't exactly out of mind. Jews are often called "People of the Book" but they just as well might be called "People of the Datebook / Calendar" because what comes around goes around, over and over again. Oh, when will Time itself be rectified? Our Sages tell us that when Moshiach (Messiah) comes, fast days will turn to feasts, the crooked will be made straight & the rough places smooth, the wicked will be punished and the good rewarded, and it's very likely we won't be constantly remembering, reenacting, commemorating and reliving the past over and over just like the movie "Groundhogs Day" but - until then - we're on a SYSTEM, and according to the Rules and Regulations of that system - we're going through it, again.

We do things a little differently during the Three Weeks. You may notice less boisterous music from now until 1 Av - and from between 1 Av - 9 Av, very different kind of programming - stay tuned for more on that in a few days - but meanwhile, here's what's up for today on Radio Free Nachlaot:

Today's Torah Schedule:
  • 1pm, 5pm, 4:40am - Rabbi Chaim Richman's Parsha Shavua "Pinchas." 
  • 2pm - Rebbetzin Rena Richman's "Bat Melech" Series - "Tammuz: Reflecting Backwards"
  • 3pm - Rabbi Chaim Richman, "Holiness in the World"
  • 4pm - Rabbi Moshe New "17th of Tammuz"

Today's Music Schedule:
  • 9am - 1pm: Lorelai's "Morning Dew for the Morning Jew" Show features music of loss and longing as we begin to reflect musically the more subdued spirit of the Three Weeks.
  • 1pm - 6pm: Music from David Grisman, Andy Statman and the Baal haSulaam
  • 6pm: The Blues Project: Projections (1966)
  • 7pm: Bob Dylan: Before the Flood (1974)
  • 8:30pm: Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, Live in Squaw Valley (8-25-91)
  • 10:30: Bruce Springsteen "Darkness on the Edge of Town" (1978)
  • 11:15pm: Joe Sample "Rainbow Seeker"
Since today begins the 3 Weeks we're reprinting (by special request) a poem Lorelai wrote in 2000 which was originally published in 2009 and re-printed this year. Take it as you find it - we invite feedback as always via email: - and stay tuned for more Tammuz / 3 Weeks / Av programming coming up especially created - hand-crafted, in fact! - just for YOU, our beloved listeners.


Was it my window, open to the night
Inviting dark honey-suckled air, giving breath to my dreams
That made him think he could simply
And bend his golden head
To kiss my sleeping eyes awake?

I only saw him for a moment (if I really saw him at all):
Golden green shimmering silver goodbye...
But I heard him sigh
And with his kiss my eyes were open to the night
And I took flight

And I saw
Myself, flying, east, into the sun
Hovering wingless over city streets
And I saw lovers
Kissing on sidewalks
Pressed up against rain-slicked doorways
Inhaling each others souls.
And, passing by an open window,
I saw myself
Weeping for Tammuz.

And I turned myself,
And I saw
A blind man, feeling for fruit in the open air marketplace.
Piece by piece, slow open fingers
Lingering to read the mango's sunrise color
By the smoothness of her skin,
Feather-light touches, alive with sympathy
To every demure orange-peel pucker, every jaunty ribbed rind.
Empty palms restless, seeking the weight of ripeness
Cupping each perfect pear, just-so,
So easily bruised, yielding its flesh to the barest pressure of an insistent thumb:
And in the blank reflection of his empty-eyed glasses
I saw myself
Weeping for Tammuz.

And I turned myself
And I wanted to go home, back to my blanket sleep,
Return to the carefully crafted contrite comfort
Of a cool and quiet bed for one:
Uninterrupted by the abruptness of love,
Where the sounds of my own heart
Are safely kept muffled behind locked doors,
By vigilante guards with shoot-to-kill orders:
Locked and loaded, patiently patrolling the hallways of my soul, watching for
Any wrong motives
Any wrong moves
Any twitch of desire
Any signs of life...

O, you who woke me, put me back to sleep!
Help me forget kisses, the smell of fruit,
Hands that see better than eyes!
I tried to fly, back to my own sleeping self-
But the weight of my tears kept me earth-bound:
I cried out, voiceless, to the numbing deafness of the night:
Wailing, in the dust upon the ground
Weeping for Tammuz.

(C) 2000 Lorelai Kude All Rights Reserved