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Thursday, October 06, 2005

So far this year....

Today is a fast day. Tsom Gedalia- the fast of Gedalia. It commemorates the day when Gedalia, the then leader of the Jewish people was murdered by another Jew. I could go into a whole long rant about the virtues of this fast day and about civil war, Jews fighting with Jews, etc. But I'm too tired to write something like that and I'm not so much in the mood to get so political.

Anyway, the fast day means two things. A) I'm frickin starving and a bit dehydrated and B) I only had a half day in the army today. This was a bit of a waste because I was home from Monday till this morning and then went in for 5 hours. But now I'm home so I'm happy...and hungry.

Rosh Hashana was nice and I actually didn't get to annoyed about the things I referred to in the previous post. At lunch I got into a small disagreement about evolution. I am a very strong believer in evolution and this didn't sit well with some of the people who I was eating with. To many religious Jews the idea of evolution is preposterous but I look at this as a mere lack of education. Not because evidence corroborated evolutionary theory but because most Jews don't realize that there is nothing wrong in believing in evolution and God. I have had many disagreements with people who ask me how can I be a religious Jew and believe in evolution. "God made us! You really think we came from monkey!?" YES! I agree with both. I often hesitate to use the word God when talking about this subject from a scientific point of view, but evidence points toward "intelligent design" in conjunction with evolution. That is, we developed from apes but this couldn't have happened by itself, by random chance reactions; there had to have been an outside governing force (perhaps God). Many religious people don't know about this all and choose the path of blindly believing in God as opposed to blindly believing in science, which they think contradicts this. Gerald Schroeder explains this all very well in his books as well as in several articles on the Internet and I very much recommend reading his work for anyone interested in the subject. Well that was more of a rant then I had planned and I'm sure I missed a few points I had meant to make but my writings are more like verbal diarrhea than essays. They would loose some of their charm if I were to actually read them over and make them make sense, that is to organize it a bit and arrange the ideas into a properly formed essay.

We also got onto the subject of the Jewish Calendar. The Jewish Calendar is Solar-Lunar calendar. Part of this system requires leap years, much like in the standard Gregorian calendar system. Only in the Jewish calendar we don't just add a day, we add a whole month. For more information check out the link above. I was born in a leap month in a leap year. The calendar works on a 19 year cycle. That means that I'm only 7- every 19 years contains 7 leap years. Someone brought up this fact and I showed that every 19 years your Hebrew birthday falls out on your Gregorian birthday. Someone said that a friend of theirs worked it out and her birthdays actually came out one day apart. I said this couldn't be and so we all checked it in a calendar book. It was in fact like this and so was someone else at the table's birthday. So we knew this phenomenon happened the questions was how. My dad figured it out. If you were born in a regular Gregorian year but the 19th years is a Gregorian leap year than the Gregorian year will have an extra day and therefore birthdays after February will be one day off. The same can apply if you are born in a Gregorian leap year and the 19th therefore isn't a leap year. I actually found another possible reason this can happen. It turns out that two months in the Jewish calendar can have either one extra day or one less day to make sure certain holidays don't fall on certain days of the week (see above link). This could also account for a one day difference.

Well I think I've talked enough now. Time to get on with my day and do something productive, like watching TV.


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