Friday, January 5, 2018

Compliments and Insults

And now for something lighter.

At the Biblical Museum of Natural History, as part of the "Wonders of Creation" exhibit, we have a stunningly beautiful eclectus parrot called Hertzl. His role is to present an opportunity for visitors to pronounce the bracha that the Talmud prescribes on beautiful creatures, Baruch shekacha lo b'olamo, "Blessed is the One Who has such things in His world." This is a berachah that can be pronounced on either beautiful people or beautiful creatures, and the Poskim suggest that a parrot qualifies. Hertzl also talks very well, in both English and Hebrew.

The other weekend, I brought Hertzl home for Shabbos. On Sunday morning, I came downstairs to the kitchen, where Hertzl was in his mobile cage. He looked at me intently, and said, with great deliberation, "Baruch shekacha lo b'olamo."

*  *  *

I was duly elated by Hertzl's compliment, but my ego was suitably deflated later in the day. Someone posted an insult about me online: "Slifkin is an ugly retarded apikores."

And my immediate thought was, "Ugly???"

20 comments:

  1. Eh, Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

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  2. Can the bracha be said on parakeets? We have 2 - Bluey and Greeney - and they are beautiful

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    Replies
    1. Adam from ManchesterJanuary 8, 2018 at 5:59 PM

      What colour are they?

      Delete
  3. I thought that this post was going to be about the propriety of naming an animal after Herzl.

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    Replies
    1. Herzl's parents had no qualms naming him after an animal.

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  4. The next thing that will happen is that R Slifkin Chassidim will start to spread stories about sentient parrots.

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  5. I agree with R' Natan about the parrot and would add a thought. While we, of course, must realize the unbridgeable gulf between ourselves and our transcendent Creator, it is not inappropriate to ascribe some human emotions to the Deity. The license for such liberties is given by the language of the torah. One more intellectual emotion is the feeling of joy on seeing beauty. I like to think that the impetus for the existence of such colorful birds is that the Creator 'appreciated' the existence of a variety of color in an otherwise color-limited jungle, or, at least, the joy that would be elicited when viewed by his most god-like Creation.

    Y. Aharon

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  6. Ugly is a reference to your middah/middos of seeking machlokes and continuing machlokes.

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  7. In one pocket: "The world was made for me, and me alone."
    In the other pocket: "I am but dust and ashes."

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  8. Come on. We all know that getting called "apikores" by the right people is the highest compliment ��

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  9. Be equally elated that G-d provided people that help keep our egos in balance and in check.

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  10. Really cute. Ha ha ha ☺

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  11. As far as the parrot is concerned, don't do to others what you don't want done to yourself! (I'd say similar to your abuser.) As for the abuser, I'm sorry you had to experience that. It is a disgrace that he bandies the word "retarded" around like that and misuse of the word Apikores only makes the concept meaningless. As for ugly, tell them to complain to the One who made you. After all, he/she doesn't have to live with you.

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  12. If there are talking parrots then maybe there are talking donkeys ?
    "Slifkin is an ugly retarded apikores" these are the words of the talking donkey. ACJA

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  13. Taking people's snarky remarks in the right spirit is said to benefit the soul.

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  14. Didn't know parrots could post online too.

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  15. Your equanimity in the face of such hideous "trollism" is truly commendable!

    While I have the floor, your book "The Challenge of Creation" is most excellent -- Yishar Koach for writing it.

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  16. Not Ugly. Just English looking

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