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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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    Am I (a) Madman?
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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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    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. 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!

  2. Welp, I'm still a demon. Only from a different religion. It's been a while. Fear me, etc.
  3. 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?
  4. 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


      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


      I just assumed it was after Constantine.

      Maybe it's just me that does that though.

  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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.

  9. I'll be honest here, it's all nice and well to say that, but just today my thoughts drifted to two occasions where Christians attempted to force Jews to abandon their faith. As a matter of fact, both were public arguments regarding matters of faith, and in at least one of them it's widely believed that the Jew won - and then had to flee the country for fear of prosecution. Un-christlike, perhaps. But Christians did show a tendency of working this way. And now I may have antagonised you along with 80% of the Shard. So, well, maybe I should accept that this isn't supposed to be inherent in Christianity any more than it is in Judaism. No one here tried to force me to convert, after all. So, sorry for the harsh reply, but I'm not sure I was overly surprised to learn of the Lavater incident. I guess Christians at the time were simply convinced that if someone is smart they have to agree with them.
  10. Well, you see, the idea that the Messiah will one day come predates Christianity. It's true that Messianic Jews is the term used for Jews who practice Christianity as well, but believing in the Messiah does not necessarily include believing that it's Jesus. The Messianic Ideal, in this case, is the idea that one day a savior will come, bring us to the Holy Land, save us from our foes and build the 3rd Temple. Said savior is supposed to be descended from David's line of kings, and is called the Messiah.
  11. The weird part for me is, I know all of the people you've mentioned. One of them is not like the others. Frustration defied the Law of Degrading Activity for too long. It's about time that he paid his dues, but it's also his duty to frustrate everyone, so... shrug.
  12. I have no idea how many you missed, you didn't reply since the first one... So it's two at max. Somewhat similarly to our PM (if slightly worse in this case), I'm slow to write those and procrastinate a lot. There should be only one more in this specific series, then it's moving on to Eastern Europe. One day I might attempt to talk more about Mizrahi Jews, too.
  13. So. This thread has been dead for a while. I also technically had nothing to do with it, but it's interesting and I find it hard to believe any of the original founders will come back to it. So, I'm necroing it. Hopefully not going to be punished for that or something. Anyway, there are multiple ways this can go: continuing to plan a super awesome Sharder Lair, actually trying to pull resources to really make one/ask Brandon to use his basement as a Sharder congregation centre (I won't be able to help here, I don't live in the US), or being foolhardy and trying to make this another RP (which will require asking a mod to transfer itto the RP section). Or a fourth option I didn't consider. The choice, as they say, is yours. Also, this is a nice example of a thread from the period three years ago - around the middle of the COVID period, I think. It shows some of the active Sharders of the time, some are still active to a degree and some actually were here even earlier and just revived during that period. Anyway, enjoy. I don't know if I have anything interesting to add to the Sharder Lair - maybe an Aether room or something? Or is it too much of a corner of the Cosmere? (Also, there were other tries at imagine-designing of Sharder-themed places, including a theme park. Of you know one you may link it here or something.)
  14. Well, you can meme that. I, personally, am having trouble with finding the proper template. Also, to be honest, it's a constant of the forum: due to the Law of Degrading Activity, most of the time the most active users you'll see are also the newest members. I still remember how when I joined there was a specific group of people who were (to my eyes) the "famous" Sharders, and half of them joined just a couple of months before I did. There are exceptions, like mods and TwyLightSanSparkle or veteran users returning to activity, but in general it seems to work this way. This has just been your latest episode of "Wisdom of the Elders: I can say that because I have three years of seniority"! Thank you for reading. (Note: I'm far from an actual veteran.)
  15. Just reported to. 'tisn't much, but I hope it helps the war effort.
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