Unpacking my brain


I was dreaming about knives. It was 2005, summer was winter, and I was 21 or so, living in Pretoria, South Africa, studying to become a Rabbi. There was this book I borrowed (indeterminately, none of the other students knew of its existence) from the school titled Minchas Yitzchak (or Minchas something-or-another). For almost a week, all day, in school and out, I was trying to understand (never really did) why exactly a knife had different kosher laws than any other utensil, and how each possible reason fit into how the differences manifest themselves in actual law. Before falling asleep I’d get comfy, open up the Minchas Yitzchak and try to wrap my mind around the knife issue.

Well, since that year, my mind hasn’t been doing too much wrapping. Yeah, I think here and there, maybe post a snarky status on Facebook about my purported thinking, but thinking ain’t no wrapping.

Recently, in addition to all the regular Dr. Seuss’s (and now a whole bunch of bird books), Estee took out a biography on Albert Einstein. The fact that most of the physics and math are beyond me doesn’t bother me as much as the realization that I haven’t really grappled with any concept in years. I learn here and there, but most of the time, when coming across some obtuse concept, I don’t really chase after it and actually figure it out. Or try my heart out.

Chassidus explains that every concept is like a river, with depth, breadth, and length. The breadth is understanding the concept with all it’s facets, particulars, details. Its length is being able to bring down that topic with examples, parables, and analogies, until you could explain it to a child. It’s also the ability to apply the concept in day to day life. The depth is the essence of the concept, from which all the details flow out. It’s understanding the principles behind the concept.

The conceptual river is one I haven’t sailed, swam, or drowned in recently. And Landsickness is quietly taking its toll.

It’s time to reach up, bring down the box, and unpack my brain.


I’ve been a bit obsessed recently with instant film. It seems to me the truest medium for capturing memories. It not only captures the moment but it even captures the fleetingness of it. All you’re left with is one print and one funky negative, an imprint, a memory of the print, and the memory is never the same as the actual moment.

There are some major ideas brewing in my prefrontal cortex involving polaroids, aerial lenses, and some ancient cameras. Prepare to be amazed. You’ve got time.

In the meantime, here are some recent Polaroids, some prints some negatives, (okay disclaimer, Polaroid is pretty much defunct, these are actually Fuji instant peel away prints (same tech as Polaroid) but if I called them by their real name (Fuji FP3000b) no one would have a clue as to what I was referring to) of my fambly.

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