Monday, April 13, 2009

How Much Affliction?

Matzo is the "bread of affliction" (Devarim 16:3), also referred to as the "poor bread," and bread of poverty or oppression. But just how much affliction is enough?

The observance of Pesach (Passover) provides for us a different sort of bondage. Those of you who observe Pesach know what I'm talking about. Shouldn't every box of matzo come with a free jar of Metamucil? Or a Fleet enema?

For some of us, it's annoying and potentially embarrassing. For others, such as those coping with IBS, it can cross the line into a health issue. One physician claims it's life-threatening.

So how much affliction is too much? At what point does it cross that line?

There are things one can do to try to offset the symptoms:
  • eat high-fiber Pesach-friendly fruits and vegetables such as raspberries (8g fiber/cup), pears (5.1g fiber/med pear), artichokes (10.3g fiber/med artichoke), and broccoli (5.1g fiber/cup) - although brocoli has its own digestive issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, from which these numbers come, "Recommended fiber amounts for women is 21 to 25 grams a day and for men is 30 to 38 grams a day."
  • drink lots of water
  • exercise
  • try prune or mulberry juice
  • when the symptoms are too severe to treat with food, water, or exercise, try a warm bath or heating pad
Additional fiber content information is available on this fiber chart.

We were meant to understand what it's like to go without luxury foods (like bread) for eight days. We were meant to see ourselves as if we're also leaving Egypt. We were not meant to understand through matzo what it feels like to be disemboweled (IMHO).

Only three more days to go. Meanwhile, those raspberries are looking really good.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazon in the News Again

I'm not sure if keeps making these controversial decisions due to some inherent flaw (sort of like the classic input-output error), or if it's intentional to keep them in the news, even if it means protests and losing customers.

From itself, through Mark Probst's blog: "In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature."

There are lengthier explanations and open letters making thier way around Twitter including:
BookSquare: Open Letter to Amazon Regarding Recent Policy Changes and
Publishing Talk: An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Makes you wonder what's next. If sex is taboo, maybe religion and politics are next.

UPDATE 4/13/09: claims it was all an error.