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Trutharchivist

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About Trutharchivist

  • Birthday 11/16/2000

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    I sort of have one, but in Hebrew, so...
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    ...wocky. Yes, I know I'm not the first to do it, but it needed to be done again.

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    / I/I II I// III I/I / /I I// • I// \/ I II I\/ \ •
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  • Interests
    Reading. In addition to (obviously) Brandon Sanderson's books I've read the basic classic Fantasy books - LotR, Narnia, Harry Potter - the ones that were popular in my country a few years ago - Riordan's mythologies, Artemis Fowl and the Inheritance Cycle, some books that I won't categorize like His Dark Materials trilogy, the Inkworld trilogy, the Underland Chronicles, Seven Wonders (by Peter Lerangis), the Sunlit Lands trilogy, the Books of Beginning trilogy, the Bartimeus trilogy, Lockwood & Co., The Chronicles of Pridain, Sabriel out of the Old Kingdom series, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Spiderweek, (the two last ones I remember, but didn't like too much, really) some random Fantasy books from the local library, Ella Enchanted (apparently), the Last Unicorn (it's an amazing book, you should read it) Five Kingdoms and Beyonders by Brandon Mull, The Homeward Bounders, Archer's Goon, the Worlds of Chrestomanci series, Fire and Hemlock, the Magids duology, Black Maria, the Time of the Ghost, the Power of Three and Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones. I also write sometimes.
    Life? What is that? Never heard of such a thing, sorry. Now, if you allow me, there's this book I'm trying to read...

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  1. Holiday Supplemental 2: Lag BaOmer

    Oh, where do I start this...

    First, the counting of the Omer. I explained it a bit at the start of my Shavuot piece last year, so you may want to check it out, but basically: the Torah says that in the day after Shabbat - taken by Rabbinic Judaism to actually mean the first day of Pesach (Passover) and not Saturday - we should sacrifice the first sheaf of barley harvested, a sacrifice called the Omer sacrifice. Before this sacrifice it's forbidden to eat from the newly harvested grains. Also from this day forward we count 50 days - seven weeks - until Shavuot. This means that every evening since Pesach ended, in the synagogue, we say how many days has passed since Pesach. Today, for example, is 33 - which is why it's called Lag BaOmer, it's a gematria thing (Lag is how we read the combination of letters ל and ג, which are the equivalents of L and G in pronunciation, though ג is the equivalent of C in Alphabet placement. BaOmer means "in the Omer", so it's basically saying "the 33rd day of the Omer counting").

    Now, in addition to the regular counting, for the period since Pesach until today we also practice certain mourning traditions - such as not shave or cut one's hair, not marrying and some people also don't listen to music during this time. Why, I hear you ask? Well, I'm afraid it requires some background.

    You see, at the time after the Temple's destruction (about 70 to the Christian count), there was a certain Rabbi called Rabbi Akiva. I can't get into too much about him - suffice it to say that he was very prominent, even though he started studying the Torah at 40 as a condition for marrying his second wife. It's more complex than that, but that's the basic story. Anyway, even after starting that late, Rabbi Akiva managed to teach 12,000 pairs of students - who all died tragically in a plague during the time between Pesach and Shavuot, due to not respecting one another (as a punishment from G-d). So yes, it's them we mourn at this time period, due to a huge loss to the world of Torah studying. Rabbi Akiva,  BTW, refused to give up and went to "our Rabbis in the south" to teach five more students - those being Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Yosei, Rabbi Shim'on, Rabbi Me'ir and one other that is less certain - either Rabbi Nehemiah or Rabbi El'azar, I think. Those are... How shall I put this... If you open the Mishnah at a random place, go over a few pages and don't see even one of those names - and in this case it's important to note that it's only if there's no father name afterwards, because those names weren't unique but they're the only ones that don't need additional clarification - anyway, if that happens please tell me which tractate it is you opened, I'm fascinated to see it. Another thing is how some of the very basic books of Jewish literature - the Mishnah, the Tosefta, the Sifra and Sifri - each were written by students of one of those rabbis, and whenever in such a book no name is given for something that was said, it was it's respective rabbi who said it (Rabbi Me'ir for the Mishnah, Rabbi Nehemiah for the Tosefta, Rabbi Yehudah for the Sifra and Rabbi Shim'on for the Sifri). So basically, yeah, they're all very prominent rabbis. Maybe one day I'll elaborate on them some more.

    But now, if we return to our topic, it's easy to see that something is odd. If Rabbi Akiva's students died between Pesach and Shavuot, why do we stop the mourning practices today?

    The short answer will be that traditionally they stopped dying at that day, which later was also Rabbi Shim'on's date of death. And that's, my friends, is where stuff get weird!

    So, I didn't tell you much about Rabbi Akiva or his students yet, but each has (obviously) their own personality. And nearly none is known more than Rabbi Shim'on. This guy has a thing against the Roman Empire - rightly thinking them selfish - and wasn't afraid to say that (though not publicly, someone snitched on him). He was sure the world revolves around studying the Torah to the level of considering working for a living problematic as it takes you away from studying. Well, not exactly, but you can take what he said to that extreme. Anyway, while on the run from the Romans because apparently they can't take an insult he went to stay in a cave for 13 years and study Torah all day, more or less. He even had a miraculous Carob tree and fountain to take care of his physical needs. 

    In addition to that he had a somewhat high opinion of himself, you could say. Not to the level of disrespecting his fellow rabbis, apparently, but... There are certain things said in his name that indicate he was very certain of his righteousness, let's leave it at that.

    All that is fine and all, but he became really popular only once in the 13th century, when Rabbi Moshe Di León - a Spanish-Jewish Kabbalah student - claimed to have found a book by Rabbi Shim'on called the Zohar. So, umm...

    All right, let me get it off: I'm no expert in Kabbalah. I know a thing or two from here and there, but I don't know much about it. It is possible that Rabbi Shim'on always was a traditional important figure in studying it. I also don't want to talk too much about whether the Zohar really was written by Rabbi Shim'on. Most researchers agree that it wasn't, but many Orthodox Jews still wholeheartedly believe it was.

    To my understanding, the Zohar is the source of some legends centered around Rabbi Shim'on - not the cave one, that's from the Talmud, but stuff like "when he died a pillar of fire appeared on his deathbed". Those things later evolved into a Jewish tradition of lighting campfires at this day. In addition, during most years people pilgrimage to his supposed burial site - not this year due to security issues. Rabbi Shim'on is considered one of the first prominent teachers of Kabbalah and for some reason became very popular - only another person in the list of "people who were pretty harsh originally but became popular later", along with Eliyahu the Prophet. Yeah, I mean the guy who killed 400 priests in one day. That guy's very popular, and not because of this story.

    Anyway, I'm sure some of my fellow Jews here will be shocked at how little I talked about Rabbi Shim'on. You didn't even get the entirety of the cave story! But it's kind of long and I don't currently have the willpower to explain it.

    Another Lag BaOmer tradition is shooting with bows and arrows - more accurately, children playing with those. This one is slightly defunct nowadays, as children enjoy collecting firewood instead (for over five weeks before Lag BaOmer. It can be a menace sometimes). There are some who tie it to the Bar Kokhva revolt - a Jewish uprising at the time of Rabbi Akiva (around 130 in the Christian calendar) following some actions of the Roman Emperor of the time in Jerusalem (trying to found a pagan temple on the ruins of the Jewish Temple). The Revolt was led by Shim'on ben Koseba, who Rabbi Akiva thought was the Messiah and was due to that nicknamed bar Kokhva, "son of a star". He successfully repelled the Romans for a short while and founded an independent kingdom in Judea that lasted for three years - believed by many to be the last Jewish independence in the land until the State of Israel. But, unsurprisingly, the Romans managed to regroup and squash the rebellion, with the last city left standing being one called Beitar, in which Bar Kokhva himself stayed. This city too fell to the Romans (during the 9th of Av, traditionally), Bar Kokhva died, and that was the end of it.

    Except for, you know, the fact that for six days the Jews weren't allowed to go over there and bury their dead. Oh, and the fact that Judea was devastated by the fighting and many people had to move north to the Galilee - which is still a part of Provincia Judea, but a different region.

    Anyway, yeah! Let's just leave you with that to ponder. Also, just in case someone will be confused: this is before Constantine. Christianity was still very young and in development. The early Christians likely opposed Bar Kokhva since he considered himself a Messiah, and most of them were still Jewish.

    All this likely doesn't cover Lag BaOmer all that well. The issue is, I come from a family that's mostly skeptical of Kabbalah and is relatively rationalistic. Due to that, my experience with this day is very different from that of my peers. For example, going to Rabbi Shim'on's burial site isn't something I did very often and I don't find it too important a site - in addition to the fact it was discovered roughly at the 16th century, so it's really dubious. I should probably help differentiating Bar Kokhva from Rabbi Shim'on - rabbi Shim'on is also known as Bar Yohai, the son of Yohai, so they're two different figures even if they share a first name. Another random note - Bar Kokhva was taken by modern secular Zionists as a symbol, so they tended to glorify him. Pretty funny when you consider that his revolt's original purpose was likely to refound the Temple.

    Anyway, that's it for today. The short version is: today is Lag BaOmer, during which we light campfires and sometimes children play with bows. The reason for the former having something to do with the death day of Rabbi Shim'on bar Yohai - a prominent rabbi from the first/second century who is credited as the writer of an important Kabbalah book - which for some reason is celebrated. The latter might be related to a revolt that occured at roughly the same time. Hope this was informative! Thank you for reading, and have a good day!

  2. Emperor's Soul, people from Sel (the Planet of Elantris) who use seals colored with blood in their magic system.
  3. I find it interesting as a theoreticall concept - I thought of the idea of making one t some point - but the question is how you intend to do it. Are you using pizza dough, just baking it quickly enough so it will stay unleavened? There are quite a few problems with that (I think adding spices and other liquids besides water supposedly make it leavened quicker), and it might be odd. Also, I may be the only one thinking this might be an option, likely due to the very reason I just mentioned. If you're talking making it similarly to a matzah-brei with cheese on top... I think we made one in my house once, it was fine, I think? But I prefer regular matzah-brei. Eat Gebrochts proudly, either way.
  4. Holiday SUs Supplementals: Pesach 1.2

    The Shabbat during the Holiday and the seventh day

    So, trying to make a pattern for future usage here, but don't expect it to last. It won't. Anyway, here I am to talk about a couple of other stuff I missed in the original Pesach SU!

    Firstly, during the formation of the holiday SUs I've started talking about the portions of the Torah, Prophets and Writings (the three parts of the Hebrew Bible: the Torah is the Pentateuch, the Prophets include Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve Prophets, and the Writings include the rest of what you'd call the Old Testament, as long as you don't add any LDS or apocryphal books. And yes, Daniel, Ruth, Psalms and Chronicles aren't part of the Prophets). So, in Pesach, this includes... Umm... From the Torah, most anything that includes a commandment about Pesach. Sukkot is way easier in that regard - it only goes through the sacrifices of each day. Those are completely identical in Pesach, though, so they aren't enough to fill the quota.

    From the Prophets - we read of Joshua's Pesach in the first day, during the Shabbat - the Dry Bones Vision of Ezekiel, and during the seventh day... You know what? I'll get to that later.

    From the Writings, we read the first of the books called Scrolls in the Hebrew Bible: the Song of Songs. (By now I think I went over all others of the scrolls, which are this, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther. The sharp eyed of you might notice I already said when each of the others was read.)

    Why the Song of Songs? Well, as per usual when the actual reason is unclear, I can give two answers off the top of my hat. One is that the Song of Songs is a parable for the love between G-d and the people of Israel, and this story started with the Exodus - which we celebrate in this holiday. The other is that this is the one book in the Bible with descriptions of spring - the season during which the holiday is required to be in. The book itself is an interesting case, because it's easy to claim its contents aren't exactly fitting to be put in the Bible. It was canonized, though, and I'm really not qualified to explain why.

    Right. The seventh day, then. What's the deal with it?

    Like the first day of the holiday, it has more strict prohibitions on work - weaker than those of a Shabbat, but stronger than those of the mundane days of the holiday, in which we are now. During this day, we read the Song of the Sea (Exodus 14-15) and from the Prophets we read David's Song from Samuel. Why is that, you ask?

    In theory, I could go over it the long way, but I'm not exactly in the right state of mind for that currently so I'll just say that according to Jewish tradition that's the day when the Red Sea got torn. It basically goes like this: the Israelites get out of Egypt - supposedly for three days - accompanied by spies for Pharaoh; three days pass and when the Israelites show no sign of returning the spies go back to report; they arrive after three additional days, during which the Israelites change course and end up somewhat closer to Egypt, on what is now known as the Gulf of Suez (probably); Pharaoh doesn't take too long to reach them, and the fun begins.

    By which, of course, I mean the Israelite panic and ask Moshe (Moses) if he found Egypt lacking in graves and that's why he took them to doe in the desert. A nation of former slaves, you see, doesn't deal well with their former masters chasing them on chariots. So G-d tells Moshe to tell the Israelites to go forward - yes, into the sea, can you see any other direction? - and meanwhile to hold his staff over the sea, and it will be torn. For an entire night, the Egyptians chased the Israelites with the Pillar of Cloud protecting the latter from the former and a great wind blew to tear the sea open. The Israelites walked through it, the Egyptians followed, G-d told Moshe to hold his staff over the sea again and it will go back to how it was, and when morning broke - so it did.

    I'm sure you've heard the story once, so you knew what was coming. And in case you were wondering - yes, the verses do specifically say it all happened during the night. Just saying, people seem to forget that.

    Anyway, that's basically it. The seventh day of Pesach is this Monday. For our brethren outside of Israel it lasts another day, during which they read other stuff which I don't think I'll go over. We're still living on unleavened bread here, thank you for asking. And reading. Oh, and have a good day!

    1. Trutharchivist

      Trutharchivist

      The next expected supplemental will likely be about the Counting of the Omer, Rabbi Shim'on Bar Yochai and perhaps a glimpse of the Bar Kokhva uprising.

    2. Lego Mistborn

      Lego Mistborn

      Super interesting! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Neither do I. I'm rather insulted. Being the demon of one religion doesn't make me evil in another! I'm not some heretic stonewalker, but I have no faith in Yadeth or whatever his name was. Which begs the question, do demons of a religion practice this religion? Because in Judaism there's a term, "Shed MiShedin Yehuda'in", meaning essentially "A Jewish Demon".
  6. Report just one. Forum Games don't count for post count, but I think if it's a spambot it still counts as spam.
  7. Congradulations! You are now a holy man of Shinovar. Watch your step! It's not only your disciples who are forbidden from stepping on stone, is it now?
  8. So I said I might continue with my Jewish holidays series. Well, here is the beginning of covering things I've missed!

    It's around this time of the Hebrew year that we get back to the time I wrote my first SU on the topic - regarding Pesach, AKA Passover.

    Barely a single year has passed, and yet - it was a lifetime. I've been reading Frugal Wizard this time last year.

    But enough about me! We're here to talk about some of the things I didn't cover regarding Pesach, and I actually want to go for one of the... Slightly less remembered facets. I want to talk about the 7th fast - one of the ones that don't usually count. Also, it will serve in part to talk about something related to the holiday the war here begun at.

    So, Ta'anit Bechorot. The Fast of the Firstborn. It's a day of fasting on the day right before Pesach. Most all religious Jews know about this fast, and yet you'll be hard pressed to find even one person that fasts during it. Why is that? And why does such a fast exist in the first place?

    Let's start from the latter question. It's kind of easy, because it's in the name. Remember the 10th Plague? The Plague of the Firstborns? Well, during it G-d could've just as well killed the Israelite firstborns as well. They were supposed to die, but G-d took pity on them. For this reason, the firstborn of every family supposedly belongs to G-d and has to be ceremoniously bought back by his parents from the Cohen, the Priest. Oh, yeah, and it holds just for the male firstborns. So for some reason, it also means they should fast during the day before the Plague was to hit.

    So yeah, it's a fast only for male firstborns, or fathers of male firstborns whose children aren't of age yet. So is that the reason it's hard to find anyone fasting? Because there aren't many male firstborns?

    Wrong. For obvious reasons. Every family has a firstborn (especially nowadays, when death rates among infants are significantly lower in relation to older eras), and it's a 50/50 chance it'll be a boy. Sure, the firstborns are still a small number of the population, but not that much. So why is that?

    Well, the thing is... This fast doesn't have much to stand on regarding its origin. It's first mentioned in a relatively late source: it's not from the Torah, Prophets or even the old Sages. It's more of a tradition than a rule. And thus, it was agreed by several rabbis that if there there was an occasion during which there's a religious reason to eat - such as a wedding, for example - the firstborns can eat from it, and afterwards they don't have to fast any longer. But the usual escape isn't via weddings - it's using another mechanism, about which I want to elaborate: the Siyum feast.

    You see, Judaism is heavily structured about learning and studying. Our books, written throughout the ages, our our holiest possessions. And so, it is said in Midrash Rabah on the Song of Songs that from the feast king Shelomo (Solomon) made right after his dream we learn that one should make a feast after finishing the Torah - likely because he asked for wisdom, it's as if he just studied the entire Torah or something. Anyway, that developed in what is known today as the Siyum (meaning finishing) Feast: every time someone finishes studying a book - usually one of the 37 Babylonian Talmud tractates, though a tractate of the Jerusalem Talmud or an Order (a collection of tractates, of which there are six) of Mishnah can also count - they gather around as many people as possible, hopefully at least 10 men (a Minyan). They then read out and explain the last paragraph of the book they've studied, sometimes talk a little on thoughts they had while studying it, and then they read out a couple of prayers: telling the book that as they repeat it, it will repeat them (don't ask, it's kind of weird) and that as they remember it it will remember them, both in this world and the next. Then they ask G-d to make the Torah pleasant for us to study, so that us and all our descendants will keep studying it; then they thank G-d for putting them among those who study the Torah. Lastly, they ask that like they finished this book, they could go on to study more of them. After that they say the Resurrection Kaddish and start eating. Though some people start the eating way earlier.

    In case you were wondering, yes, it's a whole ceremony - but not a long and tedious one, really, it's mostly relatively short prayers, really. The Kaddish requires ten adult men to recount it, which is why they are needed. 

    There's technically a slightly different text for finishing a book of the Tanakh. In addition, one can say a similar text on other religious books that weren't listed. Still, traditionally it's a tractate of the Talmud.

    In a way, the holiday of Simchat Torah - the day everything went south for the State of Israel - is just a very large Siyum. You see, every year we read the Pentateuch, divided to 53 portion - with one being read every Shabbat (Saturday), every week of the year. There are some derailing with Shabbats that are during holidays and calculations of reading a specific portion at a specific date, which all lead in the end to the next to last portion being read during the last Shabbat right before Sukkot (unless Yom Kipur is in Shabbat, in which case it's the previous one). The next time we read from the Torah in the regular order is Simchat Torah, and there is much joy during it - we dance with the scrolls of the Torah in the synagogue. We also read the begining of both the entire Pentateuch (Genesis) and of the Prophets (Joshua) - which serves to show both the cycle of studying and repeating and continuing studying farther. Which leads me to another, somewhat less common tradition - of starting the next book you study during the event of the Siyum.

    So, generally there are lots of Siyum Feasts during the day before Pesach, and most every firstborn goes to those - and this is why it'd be hard finding anyone practicing the fast.

    So, that'll be it for now! I do still have more things I forgot to mention last time about Pesach, but I'm not going to say them right now. Be sure to check out the original SU if you didn't see it yet, for more information I likely won't repeat. Happy and Kosher Pesach to those who celebrate! To those who don't, have a good day!

    1. Lego Mistborn

      Lego Mistborn

      Very interesting

  9. Welp, I'm still a demon. Only from a different religion. It's been a while. Fear me, etc.
  10. Well, it's that time of year again! Pesach cleaning is going fine here, it's mostly just me going over cupboards with bleach. How are things for you?
  11. So, I'm slightly depressed lately (only slightly), and I wanted to share two stories I thought of. Not stories I wrote, but stories I've gathered or read. 

    I'm not going to give context, because there isn't much to it. If you somehow succeed in finding a logical context know that you're likely wrong, but I would love to hear what you thought of. Anyway, here they are (trigger warning - book burning, some references to suicide and general injustice):

    The first is from around the first century to the Christian accounting. During the Roman rule over Judea, there were times they forbade on Jews to study the Torah. Rabbi Haninah ben Teradion (Haninah the son of Teradion) didn't care much for that and taught the Torah in public. The Romans decided to execute him in a somewhat creative way: they wrapped him with vines with a scroll of the Torah in his arms and set him on fire. To prolong his suffering, though, they took water-soaked wool and put it on his heart so that he won't die quickly. They say his students told him to open his mouth so that the flames would enter and kill him quickly; he replied that he who gave him his soul will take it. (Yeah, you have to open your mouth to talk, I know. Please activate your suspension of disbelief.) His students then asked him what he sees, and he replied: "scrolls burning, and letters floating in the air."

    At some point later, his executioner asked him if he will get to heaven if he'll make him die quicker. Rabbi Haninah said it will, and swore on it, so the executioner took of the water-soaked wool and when Rabbi Haninah died he also jumped to the fire. A voice from the heaven then welcomed both Rabbi Haninah and his executioner.

    Take what you will of this story. It comes from the Talmud, and I've actually read it all in one place - though it wasn't the Talmud, there are books that collect stories from the Talmud.

    The second story is quite a bit later - at the middle of the 13th century, in Paris. I didn't read it from one source, I mostly heard of it from here and there.

    Once upon a time there was a Jew who converted to Christianity called Nicolas Donin. He had a mission: to convince all Christians everywhere of the inherent wickedness of the Talmud and that it should be forbidden to study. It led, eventually, to a public trial and debate - between Jewish rabbis like Rabbi Yehiel of Paris and Rabbi Moshe of Coucy and Christian judges. In a Christian country in the middle ages.

    Can you guess who won?

    Anyway, after the debate has ended, there were brought twenty four wagons filled with copies of the Talmud - all hand copied, because the printing press didn't reach Europe yet - and all were burned in the middle of Paris, in Place de Grève (now known as Place de l'Hôtel de Ville). This marked the end of an era to Jews in France - if I ever get around to write about eras other than the Ahe of Enlightenment I might tell you about the Tosafot at some point. Rabbi Yehiel is said to have fled France to the holly land following this debate.

    At the time, there lived a Jew in Germany, in the city of Rothenburg, called Rabenu Me'ir - often referred to as Maharam of Rothenburg. He was apparently a student of Rabbi Yehiel. When he learned of the event, he wrote a piyut - a religious poem, in this case a lamantation - over the burning of the Talmud. We say it every year at the ninth of Av to this day - it's called "Ask, o Burned One". 

    Maharam of Rothenburg was later imprisoned by local authorities for unrelated reason and forbade the local Jews to pay too much ransom over him. He ended up dying in jail and a rich Jew had to ransom his body to get to bury him.

    That would be it for today, thank you for reading and have a good day.

    1. Lego Mistborn

      Lego Mistborn

      You can tell who God would be more pleased with and it's not this christians. (Except the executioner, since he showed mercy)

      Man people like that tick me off.

    2. Trutharchivist

      Trutharchivist

      Well, just a clarification: if you check the history books, the Romans at this era were just as eager to burn Christians as they were Jews. It was before Constantine. They were your good ol' pagans.

      Honestly, I had no idea this is how it'll come off, I'm too used to not thinking of the Roman Empire as Christian...

    3. Lego Mistborn

      Lego Mistborn

      Lol.

      I just assumed it was after Constantine.

      Maybe it's just me that does that though.

  12. TLT is the Longest Thread - a thread with the main purpose of being the longest on the Shard, which somehow became sort of a chaotic RP in the process. It has eternal enmity oath against TLPW - the Last Post Wins - which is competing it for being the actual longest thread. I'm saying this from side observations as a third party that got involved in neither. I'm pretty sure both threads predate my presence here - which is only impressive due to the Law of Declining Activity, meaning I'm one of the most veteran Shards you'll encounter even though I'm only drawing close to my fourth Shardversary.
  13. Well, it seems I've awakened something, which is nice. I don't use emoticons, so I had to check, but it appears the original emoticons are all the way down. I guess the spren ones weren't actually added and some people had schticks to use them?
  14. Try to spin it, likely. Also question why it's there, Hannukah was a while ago. WWYDIYF a book about Aristotelian physics, astronomy and chemistry IYP?
  15. Happy birthday!

    Why, yes, I do remember it's not your birthday. I don't remember when it actually is, so I chose to wish you today.

    I actually did the same thing with Facebook when no older than how you were when you joined here.

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