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A hot dog vendor and a construction worker chat about a frozen man.

Ice

Ice

Stick Figure Vignette: Parshat Eikev

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Ice: Stick Figure Vignette: Parshat Eikev

A hot dog vendor and a construction worker chat about a frozen man.
Apathy, Passion; Zeal, Eikev

When I was a kid, I was in awe of the slide behind Poale Zedeck Synagogue. And not those plastic twisty ones or low slopey things we have nowadays, attached to foam and rubber playground sets in soothing earth-tone colors. This thing was a wrought-iron-and-chrome standalone sculpture, a right isosceles triangle of hot, high pain in the middle of the dirt playground behind the yeshivah. But every day I got up to the top and slid down all recess, until my legs burned and my ankles suffered mild-to-moderate stress fractures. And if you were a first grader, new to the yard, I’d have told you it was amazing, and scooted by you as you stared up the ladder all recess.

But then, I was that first grader too. I stood there half the year staring at it, enthralled by its allure but frozen in terror. It was hot, it was painful, it was too fast. Why were all the second graders claiming it was amazing? Curiosity and dread and desire built like a flame in me, until it melted my inaction and I discovered on my own.

The kids who never discovered were over by the seesaw.

Objects of fear, desire, want, loathing, passion: they all start a kind of fire that burns in your own belly. That fire will consume something of you, and you will feel it. Some things will just burn a little and go away, other things will consume more and more. Eventually, enough objects will consume you, and you’ll be nothing. This is life. The Torah recognizes that. You will have a fire in you, it says, a desire for excitement, for love, for this or that object, and—at some point in your life, in some way—for G‑d. But G‑d, your G‑d, is a consuming fire too. And He desires to join you, as flame joins flame.

There is a certain kind of subsumption there. Not to nothingness, but certainly a loss of something to the greater whole. But then there is something of the promise of eternity, of infinity, that joining to G‑d has to offer.

And if you want to avoid it, have fun on the seesaw.

DovBer

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Anonymous US December 3, 2013

i think an explanation can be that we are all so close to Hashem, and have the ability to acquire the greatest treasures in the world (the greatest hot dogs), but yet we have frozen ourselves in ice, in false desires etc, and if we go through life like this, we have missed out on the greatest things in the world, while all we had to do was melt the ice (as the vendor says that the man in the ice was by the stand for 20 years, but yet never had a hotdog) Reply

Anonymous ohio March 6, 2013

aww please make more Reply

Dovid Taub pittsburgh, PA August 9, 2012

Re: That's impossible!!! I thought about that. Here's one possible explanation:
As he froze he continued to blink, preventing the water from freezing around his eyes.

Frankly, I'm uncertain as to how he got frozen like that in the first place. Was he submerged in a tank of water which was later removed once he was frozen? And how did the ice stay frozen even before the sun came through? Are there fans off-screen which are cooling the block of ice? His ability to blink is the least of my concerns. Reply

Anonymous Solon August 9, 2012

That's impossible!!! how can he blink if he's frozen? Reply

Dovid Taub pittsburgh, PA August 8, 2012

Re: Correction? what nose? Reply

mendel pittsburgh August 8, 2012

correction? Beautiful vid!
Just a random correction maybe... The construction worker: Is his nose moving instead of his mouth?? Reply

Jeff K annapolis, MD August 7, 2012

Kindle the Fire within!! Thank you for your vignettes, I love them. This one reminds me of the man who is suffering from starvation when the most delicious and abundant feast is on the table for his enjoyment right in front of him. I feel we need to partake of the spiritual feast that is there for all of us by feeding, nurturing, and sharing from the spiritual fire that is kindling inside us all. Please keep the vignettes flowing!!! Reply

Your #1 Fan Pittsburgh August 6, 2012

Awesome Backdrop I've walked down this Brooklyn street. I know that fire hydrant, those faded, peeling, store awnings... Does that Discount Appliance Store sell vending machines? The blog is an art-form in itself. Great descriptive writing - yes my school playground had one of those molten, projectile slides with very narrow edges. I can feel it as I read! The many layers of creative thought and expression in these vignettes are simply wonderful. Reply

Issac August 4, 2012

Explanation I think this video needs a bit more explanation... Reply

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