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Laser Microscope

‍‍י״ד כסלו תשע״א - November 21st, 2010

When I came across Teravolt's Laser Microscope, I decided that this was something I had to try. For his setup, he used a 250mW laser. While I don't have anything near that dangerous cool, I do have a bunch of 5mW green lasers laying around. While the 5mW is incredibly bright in a dark room, when the beam is spread for 1mm to a 1 meter circle, the average brightness decreases by 1 million! I was a little concerned that it wouldn't be strong enough, but there's only one way to find out.
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Vortlach for Parshas Haazinu

‍‍ד׳ תשרי תשע״א - September 11th, 2010

יערף כמטר לקחי

ר' שמחה בונם מפשיסכה notes that תורה is compared to the rain; just like there is no visible effect from the rain when it falls, but only afterwards when plants sprout and begin to grow, so too the effects from learning תורה are often not immediately visible, but only appear after some time.

שיחת לו לא בניו מומם דור עקש ופתלתל

The שאר בת רבים notes that there are many people who are personally observant, and are comfortable with this. Nevertheless, they want their children to follow in the path of תורה and עבודת ה.

However, this is quite hypocritical. For their Father in Heaven asks them to follow the proper path, and yet they rebel. Despite this, they expect their children to listen to them!

In truth, the only thing that will happen is that their children, just like they themselves, will not be religious, but will expect their children to become religious.

וישמן ישרון ויבעט

The חידושי הרי"ם notes that the word used here is ישרון, which is generally associated with a higher spiritual level than just ישראל. Nevertheless, in the presence of גאווה, they are at risk as well.

Vortlach for Parshas Nitzavim / Vayelech

‍‍כ״ו אלול תש״ע - September 4th, 2010

הנסתרות לה' אלקינו והנגלות לנו ולבנינו עד עולם לעשות את כל דברי התורה הזאת

The כתב סופר sees these two categories as referring to the two possible times for משיח to come. The hidden one is the fixed date, which is unknown. The revealed one is the date if and when בני ישראל will be חוזר בתשובה, as the פסוק says, "היום אם בקולי תשמעו." While the first is independent of our actions, the second is only if we are follow "את כל דברי התורה הזאת"

את החיים ואת הטוב את המות ואת הרע

The משך חכמה points out that in פרשת ראה, it just said ברכה וקללה, but never mentioned .חיים ומות He explains that this is because earlier, the oppurtunity for תשובה had not yet been presented. If a person fails to repent for an עבירה, this worse than the original עבירה (cf שערי תשובה). As such, the עבירה itself is the קללה and the lack of תשובה is the מוות.

ובחרת בחיים למען תחיה

The בכורי אביב explains the repetition as a reminder that the goal is not merely to enjoy a long life, but a meaningful one.

ויקרא משה ליהושע ויאמר אליו לעיני כל ישראל חזק ואמץ

The משך חכמה writes that the words לעיני כל ישראל are connected, via the טעמי המקרא, to חזק ואמץ. Up until this point, יהושע's role had been that of משה's servant, and he was most known for his humility in front of his teacher. As the new מנהיג, he would need to, publicly, be strong and certain, in order to be able to effectively lead כלל ישראל.

Vortlach for Parshas Ki Savo

‍‍י״ט אלול תש״ע - August 28th, 2010

I've decided to start writing down some interesting comments that I've seen on the the פרשה. I don't know if this will continue or not; we'll see...
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New Hebrew Dates (2.0) released!

‍‍י״ב תמוז תש״ע - June 24th, 2010

When it rains, it pours...

I just rewrote most of HebrewDates. The new version is 2.0.0, and is available at the Hebrew Dates release page.

There's basically no reason to use yesterday's 1.0.4 release.

New features:

  • Complete rewrite of the date identification; much more reliable
  • Code actually looks slightly sane now. I'm no longer embarrassed for someone to look at it (although it's not great...)
  • New get_the_hebrew_date() and the_hebrew_date() APIs, which can be used in any theme. The interception of the other calls, while much more robust now, still is not the ideal

Please let me know if there are any bugs. Archives should work, and some weird date formats should also be better (I no longer rely on PHP's strtotime, but have my own parsing logic).

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