Thursday, October 30, 2014

Man Plans, And God Laughs

Sunday October 12th was the first day of receiving visitors at The Biblical Museum of Natural History. (I can't really call it opening day, because we have not officially launched yet - we are still working on many things - but that's when we began receiving visitors.) What with it being such a significant day, not to mention chol hamoed, I made sure to approach it accordingly. In the morning, after showering, I dressed very respectably, as befitting such a day.

Man plans, and God laughs.

I walked into the museum in the morning and saw, to my horror, that the door to the cage housing the monitor lizard was open, and the monitor had escaped!

Of all the animals to escape, this was the worst. First, he is extremely valuable. Second, he is three feet long and quite vicious - not the sort of thing you want unexpectedly encountering a visitor!

After twenty minutes of frantic searching, I found him wedged behind another cage, and after another half hour of scrabbling on the floor with a stick, I managed to extract him. As I hauled him back to the cage, he demonstrated his indignation in typical reptilian style - by evacuating on my pants.

Sweaty, disheveled, dusty, and dirty, I started the day of tours. Baruch Hashem, it was very successful; we hosted nearly a hundred visitors in four groups. If people noticed the state of my clothing, they were kind enough not to comment. During one tour, I managed another mishap; one of the "tame" animals bit me quite hard during a presentation. I didn't have time to stop, so I carried on speaking, while some of the tour participants worked to stem the flow of blood from my finger and patch me up.

So much for my attempts at a fresh, clean, respectable appearance! Man plans, and God laughs.

11 comments:

  1. Yasher Koach, Rabbi Slifkin! I am so glad you had a successful first day of tours. I always learn something from your posts -- today I learned about "typically reptilian style". I hope your clothes got absolutely clean, and I hope that bite you received heals promptly and completely.

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  2. I've heard it said that according to the Rambam, there is no divine providence over animals. (someone more erudite can confirm or deny with a source). If so, how does this apply to incontinent monitor lizards? Do we say that G-d's hand is involved in the lizard's poop due to his obvious hashgacha over Rabbi Slifkin?

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    1. Guide 3:17-18.

      Lawrence Kaplan

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    2. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp153.htm#page_286

      In the lower or sublunary portion of the Universe Divine Providence does not extend to the individual members of species except in the case of mankind. It is only in this species that the incidents in the existence of the individual beings, their good and evil fortunes, are the result of justice, in accordance with the words, "For all His ways are judgment." But I agree with Aristotle as regards all other living beings, and à fortiori as regards plants and all the rest of earthly creatures. For I do not believe that it is through the interference of Divine Providence that a certain leaf drops [from a tree], nor do I hold that when a certain spider catches a certain fly, that this is the direct result of a special decree and will of God in that moment; it is not by a particular Divine decree that the spittle of a certain person moved, fell on a certain gnat in a certain place, and killed it; nor is it by the direct will of God that a certain fish catches and swallows a certain worm on the surface of the water. In all these cases the action is, according to my opinion, entirely due to chance, as taught by Aristotle. Divine Providence is connected with Divine intellectual influence, and the same beings which are benefited by the latter so as to become intellectual, and to comprehend things comprehensible to rational beings, are also under the control of Divine Providence, which examines all their deeds in order to reward or punish them. It may be by mere chance that a ship goes down with all her contents, as in the above-mentioned instance, or the roof of a house falls upon those within; but it is not due to chance, according to our view, that in the one instance the men went into the ship, or remained in the house in the other instance: it is due to the will of God, and is in accordance with the justice of His judgments, the method of which our mind is incapable of understanding. I have been induced to accept this theory by the circumstance that I have not met in any of the prophetical books with a description of God's Providence otherwise than in relation to human beings.

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  3. LOL! Alright Rabbi, which of the beasts dared to bite your rabbinical finger and to shed your blood? Say the word and Temujin will slay the rodef with a single arrow from his composite bow. Or would telling be loshen hara? And the critter that tinkled on you should have aimed at your, um, respectable tie and the stain would have been lost amongst all the colours of the visible spectrum thereon....

    Congratulations on your first (unofficial) showing! May your venture be successful and may the critters treat you with the respect and kindness due to a rabbi who fills their food bowls!

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  4. You make god sound a little sadistic.

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  5. Are you quite sure this museum of yours is safe?

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  6. Was the monitor lizard the "baby" that Rabbi Slifkin acquired a while back, which caused some confusion [Rabbi Slifkin wanted a baby monitor, whereas someone else put up an ad for a baby monitor]?

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  7. Entertaining for Slifkin groupies, but otherwise quite audacious.

    With a title like this, it seems as though it was meant as more than just an inside look into things. Will R' Slifkin be posting next about how he got to the bus station just in time to miss the bus, or about how he planned out a breakfast feast for himself, only to get to the kitchen and see that *gasp* he is out of eggs?

    I don't appreciate this subliminal mystical zealotry .

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  8. Will R' Slifkin be posting next about how he got to the bus station just in time to miss the bus, or about how he planned out a breakfast feast for himself, only to get to the kitchen and see that *gasp* he is out of eggs?

    Since he's never posted such stories, it appears that your thesis is faulty.

    Was the monitor lizard the "baby" that Rabbi Slifkin acquired a while back, which caused some confusion [Rabbi Slifkin wanted a baby monitor, whereas someone else put up an ad for a baby monitor]?

    I had the good fortune to be able to attend one of the tours and find out that this is, in fact, the same monitor, the story having been incorporated into the tour...

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  9. While this is your blog, and you may obviously post whatever you wish, I would suggest that if your plan is to convert it into an infomercial for your commercial enterprise, you change the heading and sub-heading of the blog to better reflect that. In the past month+, only one post would fit the current title.

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