Monday, April 30, 2007

Helping Giant Pandas Conceive

I saw this on CNN.com.

They are showing videos of panda pornography to pandas to increase their sex drive so that they conceive. From one article:

Giant pandas, especially those in captivity, have such low sexual desires it is threatening their future, prompting workers to turn to artificial insemination to keep the endangered species going.

...

The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Sichuan Province is also in on the act, showing sex education films once in the morning and again in the evening.

"Through this kind of sex education, we expect to arouse the sexual instincts of giant pandas, enhance their natural mating ability and raise their reproductive capacity," said Zhang Hemin, director of the China Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center.

A video report at at CNN.

Yaakov Avinu did something similar. In Bereishit 20:

לז וַיִּקַּח-לוֹ יַעֲקֹב, מַקַּל לִבְנֶה לַח--וְלוּז וְעַרְמוֹן; וַיְפַצֵּל בָּהֵן, פְּצָלוֹת לְבָנוֹת--מַחְשֹׂף הַלָּבָן, אֲשֶׁר עַל-הַמַּקְלוֹת. 37 And Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond and of the plane-tree; and peeled white streaks in them, making the white appear which was in the rods.
לח וַיַּצֵּג, אֶת-הַמַּקְלוֹת אֲשֶׁר פִּצֵּל, בָּרְהָטִים, בְּשִׁקְתוֹת הַמָּיִם--אֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאןָ הַצֹּאן לִשְׁתּוֹת לְנֹכַח הַצֹּאן, וַיֵּחַמְנָה בְּבֹאָן לִשְׁתּוֹת. 38 And he set the rods which he had peeled over against the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink; and they conceived when they came to drink.
לט וַיֶּחֱמוּ הַצֹּאן, אֶל-הַמַּקְלוֹת; וַתֵּלַדְןָ הַצֹּאן, עֲקֻדִּים נְקֻדִּים וּטְלֻאִים. 39 And the flocks conceived at the sight of the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.
I would think that one could translate וַיֵּחַמְנָה and וַיֶּחֱמוּ as "went into heat."

I've been working on my academic presence on the web

very much a work in progress.
But check it out, if you wish. Some of what I've been working on is up there, and more will be added later.

A few weeks ago, I participated in a poster session at CUNY. Because of closeness to the deadline, I made my poster as a series of PowerPoint slided.

My poster is about creating a bitext transliteration corpus for Babylonian Talmud. You can follow find it on that webpage, or see it here.

It only looks good in Internet Explorer, not Firefox, though.

Is Rudy Giuliani an Adulterer?

No.

I try to shy away from politics on parshablog, but am willing to digress to comment when it touches on Torah and parsha related issues.

Via town crier,

who links favorably to this blog, which claims the Guliani is a notorious adulterer.
Rudy Giuliani, one of the most pro-gay politicians in America, is now pulling a Mitt Romney and trying to pretend that he's really not THAT pro-gay.
...
Sorry, Rudy. You're an adulterer. You cheated on your wife - which wife was that? - blatantly, flagrantly, publicly. And now you want us to believe that you're the great defender of marriage. You don't get the right to defend other people's marriages when you can't defend your own. How serious a moral crime is adultery, Rudy? Well, since you're doing this flip-flop in order to curry favor with America's Taliban, let's check the Bible, the King James version, to be precise (it's the version my people use), and see what God has to say about adultery:
Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Hmmm... surely put to death - now, no one is suggesting that you and your lover need to be put to death, Rudy, but the Bible makes it pretty clear that adultery is a big no-no. The kind of no-no that disqualifies you from suddenly, a few years after that adultery, becoming the great moral defender of marriage.

Let me quote that Biblical passage again, Rudy, just to get it straight:
the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death
Yeah, no ambiguity there, Rudy.
...
No ambiguity there, either.

You committed a moral crime that the Bible says is worthy of death. And now you want to turn around and sell yourself as the great purveyor of moral virtue in the very area, marriage, where you committed such a grievous offense.
I do not think that Jewish bloggers should parrot this, though.

Let us consider point by point what this fellow says.

Firstly,
You cheated on your wife - which wife was that?
That snide comment reflects a particular view that no-fault divorce is illegitimate. This is a Catholic view, following the views of Jesus, who followed the views of Bet Shammai. But we rule like Bet Hillel, that allows divorce and remarriage. Rudy Giuliani may be Catholic (he attended a Catholic school), but I consider it here from a Torah perspective.

Second, the author here says that he cheated on his wife, and this is adultery. And he quotes a verse from Vayikra, Leviticus, which states
And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Yet he ignores the words of the verse which state with another man's wife. Specifically, the verse defines adultery as sleeping with another man's wife.

There is a reason for this. The Torah allows polygamy, but not polyandry. A woman may not have two husbands simultaneously, but a man may have two wives simultaneously.

Indeed, in parshat Ki Teitzei {Devarim 21:15}, we read:
טו כִּי-תִהְיֶיןָ לְאִישׁ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים, הָאַחַת אֲהוּבָה וְהָאַחַת שְׂנוּאָה, וְיָלְדוּ-לוֹ בָנִים, הָאֲהוּבָה וְהַשְּׂנוּאָה; וְהָיָה הַבֵּן הַבְּכֹר, לַשְּׂנִיאָה. 15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated;

Judith Nathan had been married previously, but at the time she began dating Guliani, she was already divorced.

If you point out that Guliani did not marry Judith Nathan immediately, and so perhaps they engaged in relations out of wedlock, the fact that Guliani was married bears no relevance. The situation is simply that of a man having relations with an unmarried woman, which is spelled out elsewhere. The next chapter of Deuteronomy gives the case for rape:
כח כִּי-יִמְצָא אִישׁ, נַעֲרָ בְתוּלָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא-אֹרָשָׂה, וּתְפָשָׂהּ, וְשָׁכַב עִמָּהּ; וְנִמְצָאוּ. 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
כט וְנָתַן הָאִישׁ הַשֹּׁכֵב עִמָּהּ, לַאֲבִי הַנַּעֲרָ--חֲמִשִּׁים כָּסֶף; וְלוֹ-תִהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה, תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר עִנָּהּ--לֹא-יוּכַל שַׁלְּחָהּ, כָּל-יָמָיו. {ס} 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.
and some pesukim in Shemot 22 give the law for seduction:
טו וְכִי-יְפַתֶּה אִישׁ, בְּתוּלָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא-אֹרָשָׂה--וְשָׁכַב עִמָּהּ: מָהֹר יִמְהָרֶנָּה לּוֹ, לְאִשָּׁה. 15 And if a man entice a virgin that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
טז אִם-מָאֵן יְמָאֵן אָבִיהָ, לְתִתָּהּ לוֹ--כֶּסֶף יִשְׁקֹל, כְּמֹהַר הַבְּתוּלֹת. {ס} 16 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins. {S}
Of course, this is for a virgin, which she was not, but she was unmarried also, and so it is not considered adultery, but at the most, seduction.

Guliani's wife charged adultery as a reason for divorce based on definitions within American law. But that is not the same as Jewish law. And she charged that in response to a hurtful reason that Guliani listed as the reason for the divorce.
The filing by Donna Hanover, 52, came more than a year and a half after Giuliani filed to divorce her, citing cruel and inhuman treatment.

Hanover's lawyer, Helene Brezinsky, said her client rejected the grounds on which Giuliani's divorce was based.

"If there's going to be a divorce, let's have the truth about why — Rudy's open and notorious adultery," she said.
Meanwhile, the couple had been separated for quite a while, and it was major news when they were seen together.

Within Jewish law, this might well be sufficient for Giuliani to not be considered married. Not to judge him as a Jew, for he is not, but to judge him as a Ben Noach, a gentile who follows the 7 Noachide rules, which contains an injunction against adultery.

That is, it is quite possible that we do not require formal divorce with papers, but being separated from each other, in a way that everyone knows they are separated, might well be sufficient, to declare him, and his then-wife, Donna Hanover, unmarried, such that any actions on their part would not be considered adultery.

Rav Nachman As Mashiach?

Hat tip: Eliyahu.

An article in HaAretz, a review of "Megilat starim: hazono hamishikhi hasodi shel reb nachman mibratslav" ("Scroll of Secrets: The Hidden Messianic Vision of R. Nachman of Bratslav") by Zvi Mark, Bar-Ilan University, 253 pages:
Mark's first important conclusion is that the Messiah referred to in the scroll is a tzaddik (pious scholar) in Rabbi Nachman's own image. The messianic times portrayed here are "a perfect fulfillment of the Bratslav code of values." Indeed, Rabbi Nachman's personal messianic pretensions emerge loud and clear from various remarks attributed to him in his lifetime, particularly the statement that "everything the Messiah does for the benefit of the Jewish people, I can do, too. The difference is that the Messiah can carry out his mission ... whereas I do not yet have that capability."

Rabbi Nachman regarded himself as having all the necessary qualifications to be the Messiah. What kept him from fulfilling his messianic potential was a lack of recognition.

...

As we have said, Mark claims that the messianic figure described in "Scroll of Secrets" is a kind of reflection of Nachman himself. To be more exact, not only does Rabbi Nachman have a messianic mission, but the Messiah is an embodiment of all his qualities and abilities. It comes as no surprise, then, that the niggun, or Hasidic melody, that figures so highly in Rabbi Nachman's world, is slated to play a pivotal role in the messianic era.

...

Another special talent of Rabbi Nachman's, which he also ascribes to the future Messiah, is healing. According to his student Rabbi Nathan, Nachman had a book with cures for every illness in the world, but he chose not to use it. In the end, he had it burned. Rabbi Nachman's messiah, on the other hand, will plant a garden of plants and herbs for medicinal purposes, and supply each and every sick person with medicines providing a cure.
There is more. Check it out.

A Woman Drinking From A Man's Cup

Recently, I encountered what is either a new chumra, or a strange new twist on a segula. It was at a separate-seating sheva-brachot, and the chassan's wine and kallah's wine was being distributed.

The cup came to a single girl and she asked someone, concernedly, whether a man had drank from it, for if so, she did not wish to drink from it. She was assured by the other party that only women had drunk from it.

What exactly was the concern here?

There are three possibilities I can think of.

#1: There is a harchaka that a woman should not drink directly from her husband's cup when she is a niddah. Since this girl was unmarried, she never went to the mikveh, and thus had the halachic status of niddah. Therefore, she did not wish to drink from the same cup as a man.

This is silly, of course, because it is specifically a harchaka for a woman and her husband, so they they do not forget and progress to other things. It is most assuredly not for women in general. And especially where here, she did not even know whether a man had imbibed from this cup -- who would she become overly familiar with?

#2: Perhaps there is some injunction in general that some have adopted, not to have mixed drinking (just as there is separate seating), to prevent mingling of the sexes, which would be defined as drinking from the same cup. I've never heard of this before, but it is possible.

#3: There were two cups in play, and this is a segulah for finding a mate. Perhaps her fear was that if she drank from the cup for the men, she would be matched with a woman rather than with a man.

:)

In any case, I am of the opinion that this is an entirely unnecessary, silly practice.

5/5 Annual Lag Ba'Omer Bonfire - Rabbi Friedman's Shul

In Local Announcements:
Rabbi Friedmans shule(Corner 141 st & 72 rd) will be having their
annual lag b'omer hatlaka, bonfire & music event, this motzei shabbos may 5
starting at 10:15 pm. the entire community is invited. Please bring along your
children, to help make it a great night.
thank you
eli glaser

Friday, April 27, 2007

More on Schlissel Challah


Check out In Moyl Arayn about Schlissel Challah, for a good bibliography and discussion.

She writes, among other things:
Marvin Herzog’s discussion of the geography of hallah decoration includes mention of traditional hallah ornaments including “birds, ladders, hands, keys, and other objects that might facilitate the ascent of prayers into heaven.” Herzog also cites Uriel Wienreich’s 1962 article “Cultural Geography at a Distance: Some Problems in the Study of East European Jewry,” which demonstrates that the distribution of these designs was regional (32). These articles only mention dough shaped like keys, not baking actual keys in the dough.

This would argue in favor of it being a segulah from the get-go, in contrast to my prior suggestion...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Posts so far for parshat Acharei Mot

At the moment, I am just barely treading water, so nothing new, just a recap of last years' posts.

Year 1
Year 2
to be continued

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've been busy the past few weeks...

and not just because of my brother's wedding this week. And will continue to be so until Sunday, and perhaps until next Friday. So blogging has been, and will be, light. As will be responding to comments.

Here's hoping that it is to some avail. If so, I'll blog about it. :)

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vayeshev: Why Mention That Yosef Got Lost?

Yes, it is parshat Tazria-Metzorah, but I was thinking about this, and felt like writing it down.

Bereishit 37:
יד וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, לֶךְ-נָא רְאֵה אֶת-שְׁלוֹם אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת-שְׁלוֹם הַצֹּאן, וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי, דָּבָר; וַיִּשְׁלָחֵהוּ מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן, וַיָּבֹא שְׁכֶמָה. 14 And he said to him: 'Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me back word.' So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
טו וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ, וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה; וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר, מַה-תְּבַקֵּשׁ. 15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying: 'What seekest thou?'
טז וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶת-אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ; הַגִּידָה-נָּא לִי, אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים. 16 And he said: 'I seek my brethren. Tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock.'
יז וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ, נָסְעוּ מִזֶּה--כִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֹמְרִים, נֵלְכָה דֹּתָיְנָה; וַיֵּלֶךְ יוֹסֵף אַחַר אֶחָיו, וַיִּמְצָאֵם בְּדֹתָן. 17 And the man said: 'They are departed hence; for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.' And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
Why bother mentioning all this? Why not just say that he found his brothers?

One might say, that the Torah records it because it happened, and it is thus rightly part of the narrative. But unimportant details are often glossed over. Why bother mentioning this portion of the incident.

Obviously, there is the midrash on this, that he met the angel Gavriel, and he was hinting/warning that they had moved to judgment.

Two thoughts occurred to me about this.

1. It increases the dramatic tension. Not so much the first time around, of course, because we don't know what will happen. But the second time around, when we have a sense that Yosef is headed towards his doom, or at least years of servitude, if he is earnestly seeking his brothers, and cannot find them, then perhaps he will return to his father and avoid this fate. Yet he diligently wanders the area, and the fields in Shechem, where they usually graze their sheep. And a man finds him, and directs him elsewhere. And then, rather than giving up, he seeks them where they are, troubling himself to travel to another location. Similarly, perhaps it increases the sense of injustice (even on a first read), as he was innocently seeking them.

2. Another possibility is that Dotan was a more remote place than Shechem, and this accounts for why there were no witnesses to the proceeding. (Though it could have said "and he found them in Dotan).

Or to make the cover story more plausible that in seeking his brothers, he wandered here and there and was attacked by a wild animal on the way, before he was able to reach them.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים -- My Schlissel Challah



This past Friday, I participated in a poster session at the CUNY Grad Center, describing some of my recent research, and as such, got back a bit later in the day than I usually would. When I got to G&I (or I think it is now Mendy's) Bakery on Main Street, they were all out of medium challas and challah rolls, so I bought a large challah roll and a large challah.

That night, before washing, I noticed something about my challah. There was a key embedded in it.

My first thoughts were that one of the workers had somehow dropped his or her key into the dough, that I should cut around it, and return the key to the bakery after Shabbat.

But then I decided to show my brother-in-law and sister-in-law the challah, before cutting into it, and so went down the hall of my apartment building to summon them. The reaction: "Cool! You bought schlissel challah?"

Apparently, schlissel challah (from Yiddish -- the German word for key is Schlüssel) is a custom, or segulah, to bake a key into the challah (or else shape the challah in the form of a key) the week after Pesach. It is a segulah for parnassah. But it is usually done by people with the custom baking the challah in their homes. This was an innovation, for a bakery to sell schlissel challah. (And my b-i-l and s-i-l also bought challah from there, but bought a medium challah earlier in the day.) I don't know if this was a marketing gimmick or if I somehow accidentally got someone else's specially requested schlissel challah.

I looked into a bit, and found two blogposts on the subject, one very recent on the FRUM Toronto blog:
The minhag of women (or men) baking the house key into the challah on the Shabbat following Pesach (also known as a shliss [=key'> challah) is explained with the following reasons:

1. Based on "Pitchi Li Achoti, Ra'ayati..." ("Open up, my darling..."-- Shir HaShirim 5:2), on which the Medrash states "Pitchu li petach ke-chudo shel machat...," (cf. Shi HaShirim Rabbah 5, s.v. "Kol Dodi Dofek") = something like "Open your hearts (in teshuvah) like the eye of the needle, and I (God) will open the rest like [a very large opening'>.

2. According to Kabbalah on Pesach the gates to heaven were open, and following Pesach the lower gates are shut, and it's up to us to open them again, therefor on the 1st Shabbat we put the key on the challah to show that through the mitzvah of Shabbat we are opening the locks.

3. In the desert the Jewish people ate from the manna until after Pesach upon entering the land at which point they ate from the produce of the land, and became dependant on their livelihood for the first time (now they had no manna). The key in the challah after Pesach is a request the God should open the Sha'arei Parnasah (gates of livelihood). Alternatively, the manna began to fall in the month of Iyyar, and this Shabbat is always Shabbat Mevarchim Iyyar.
Orthomom posted the same info last year, and linked to the source, a post on mail-jewish, by Jeffrey Saks. He concludes with:
See: Sefer Ta'amei HaMinhagim, pp. 249-50. 
See: Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, pp. 1419-20 for a photo of a shluss
challah (and other "special" challot). It seems (from both of the above
sources) that the minhag was to bake the key on top of the challah not
inside (a la the old jail break trick).

My wife prepares a shliss-challah each year--however I had to go out and
buy an antiquated looking skeleton key, both to make it look more
authentic, and because the top of keys in Israel ("pladelet" keys) are
generally made of plastic, and there's a fear it will melt in the
baking! We have also begun the custom of using a shliss-challah for the
meal on the night of Yom aAtzmaut--for the reasons see the story related
at the beginning of "O! Jerusalem," pp. 9-10--ve-ha-mavin yavin.
In the post immediately above, Jeannette Friedman gives a different reason:
this had to do with a blood libel, where a chassidishe rebbe found blood
in his wine bottles (after his shul key fell off the wall a few times on
the Friday night before Pesach). See, after the key fell off the wall,
the rebbe went back to the shul and found that the wine bottles were
filled with blood, so he threw them all out. The next day the powers
that be came to the shul to prove a blood libel, but there was no blood
in the wine bottles, so the town was saved.

So now, people either put the key into the challah or make an impression
of the key in challah, and its called "Shlissel Challah" and its a
segulah for parnassa, and they do it the shabbos after pesach.
Perhaps, to all these explanations. It is always hard to tell where an explanation is an ex-post-facto rationalization, especially for segulot.

Someone at the table at the aufruf this week said it was because Hashem has three keys, and this one is the key of parnassah.

I could suggest other rationales for this. For example, it is a siman -- it is the key to obtaining dough (or the key to obtaining bread). Or perhaps because we just encountered Pesach, it behooves us to obtain the mafteach (key) -- this pun works best with an Ashkenazic accent, but the name of the custom is Yiddish, which would allow this.

Alternatively, I have a rationalist suggestion for the development of the custom, with no mystical connotations (which would then have been added later).

Baking (even private baking) in Europe was often done in communal ovens, and right after Pesach, there was presumably a lot of demand for the oven in perhaps limited time, since Pesach might have finished later in the week. How, then, do you identify which challah is yours?

The first Mishna in the second perek of Bava Metzia (perek Elu Metziot) lists items which bear no distinguishing mark and therefore may be kept if found. Two examples are: round cakes of pressed figs, and loaves of bread from a baker. The Mishna continues:
רבי יהודה אומר כל דבר שיש בו שינוי חייב להכריז כיצד מצא עיגול ובתוכו חרס ככר ובתוכו מעות ר' שמעון בן אלעזר אומר כל כלי אנפוריא אינו חייב להכריז
"Rabbi Yehuda says: Anything which is distinguished one is obligated to announce. How so? If he found a round cake of pressed figs and inside it a shard of clay, or a loaf of bread and inside is money."

Baking money into bread is thus a way of distinguishing it... Unless, of course, everyone is putting money into theirs. However, baking a key into the top of the bread can help, because the key is identifiable as yours, either by sight or by the ability to open your front door.

Once people saw this custom of doing a strange thing after Pesach, various segulah reasons were associated with it.

Of course, I should stress, I have absolutely no basis, historical or otherwise, for positing this theory. I'm just floating it as a practical possibility. Any thoughts?

The particular key in my challah would have been no help, by the way. It was kikar shel nachtom, a baker's loaf! And the key opened no particular door, for it was a blank! I think they bought a bunch of blank keys from Towne Variety or from the hardware store for this purpose.

Heh.

The picture at the top of the post, by the way, is a scan of the key I extracted. There is still some challah attached to it. And surrounding it are various challah crumbs.

Avraham Gets A Vista PC

I came across this relatively unknown midrash this week. Interestingly, it makes reference to relatively recent innovations, which just goes to show that it was written with ruach haKodesh...

Avraham is telling Yitzchak about the new Dell PC he ordered. "It has all the best features. A 21 inch monitor, a DVD-writer, a 200 Gigabyte hard drive, a 3 Gigahertz processor ... and it comes preloaded with the new Windows Vista operating system."

"But father," Yitzchak interjects, "I've heard that unless you have at least a Gig of memory, Windows Vista slows to a crawl, as it keeps swapping memory to disk. Aren't you worried about that?"

Avraham replies: "Don't worry, my son. God will provide the RAM."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Latest Popular Chumrah

Flour ground after Pesach. Such that they didn't rely on sale to a non-Jew. Over at Life in Israel. Check it out.

Update: I would suggest the following precaution to make sure not to end up using flour owned by a gentile on Pesach. Only use flour from wheat that took root after the 16th of Nissan (the second day of Pesach).

;)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Why Bedika With A Candle?

Some things are obvious, but only in retrospect. Some things are obvious when pointed out, but still merit being said.

Why bedika with a candle, such that it can even be better that searching for chametz in broad daylight?

I believe the answer is what it forces you to do, and thus empowers you to do.

With all the lights on, or with broad daylight, you see everything at once. As such, you might not have patience to look at each place carefully. You see it all, your eye sweeps over it, and does not see any chametz. And as such, you can miss something.

With a candle, only certain areas are lit at once. In order to see if there is chametz, you need to focus that light on a specific area, and focus your attention on that area, to the exclusion of all else -- which is easier, since you cannot really see anything else anyway. To get a sense that you have covered every area, you focus on one area and thus move on to the next small area, meticulously covering every spot. Searching effectively with a candle requires such process, and thus empowers it.

And of course, the homily is free to flow from here, casting this as careful introspection.

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