September 1, 2014
ויפח בעפיו נשמת החיים, והיה לאדם נפש חיה
And God breathed life into man, and gave him a living soul.
This is not a eulogy. This is an affirmation of a life lived fully and abundantly.
For Dad, this is not an end. This is a transition. Yes, we are all very sad. It’s not easy to say goodbye, especially to a man who exuded such a profound sense of love, warmth, and kindness, not only to his family and friends, but to all Human Beings, and really to all living creatures.
For Dad, yesterday marked the beginning of a transition from the physical world – a place of constraint and limitation – to the dimension of pure Spirit, an abode of uninhibited connection with the Oneness of the Source; what Dad referred to so comfortably and often quite casually as Adonai – his Eternal Friend.
These past decades have seen Dad venturing out on a courageous path to pursue Universal Truth, taking him beyond the realm of convention and established dogmas and doctrines, as he strove to achieve a constant and always-available connection with God. He achieved this so beautifully and creatively through a unique blend of Jewish mysticism with enduring truths gleaned from various and diverse sources that stood the test of time, and expressed themselves by the imperative to trust God and show kindness and care to all Humans.
This meant evolving and cultivating a way of being, feeling, and living, fueled by Divine Energy that Dad was able to experience and share in this world – at times quite powerfully, at times subtly, often intuitively, and most importantly, expressed through Chessed … pure, undiluted, loving kindness and respect for Life in all its wondrous manifestations.
It was one of Dad’s core teachings that the body is a vehicle in which the soul rides during its journey on this planet. When that ride is over, and the body – the external shell — is cast aside, the soul can then experience the limitless freedom of reconnection with its Source; where no obstacles stand in the path of fully communing with God in all the ways our Human faculties could ever attain.
יהוה נתן, יהוה לקח, יהיה שם יהוה מבורך
The Lord gives, the Lord takes, blessed is the name of the Lord.
May all of us – inspired by the beautiful soul that is Yitz – merit to achieve the tender patience, the gentle kindness, the warm generosity, the sincere menschlikeit, the big-hearted readiness to forgive, the receptivity to the deepest human needs, and the enduring courage to pursue Truth.
Bless you Yitz for being a light-holder and for being an example of one who truly lives and teaches others to live.
Bless you Dad on your continuing journey. Go with God. We know that for you, there’s no other way.
We love you.
September 11, 2013
Due to a problem in the Orange network involving lack of synchronization to the updated Daylight Savings Time (DST) in Israel, phones set to use network-provided values will display the time as one hour earlier (i.e. GMT+2 instead of GMT+3). E.g. if the actual time is 08:00, your phone will display 07:00.
This also affects calendar settings and possibly other apps that are time-dependent.
This problem will continue until Israel moves over to winter clock (“שעון חורף”), that is, Standard Time, on 27th October.
The upshot is that you have the following options for working around this issue (aside from putting up with the annoyance of your phone and calendar settings being one hour off until the end of October).
- Go to Settings > Date and Time Settings, and disable Automatic / Use Network-provided Values.
- Set the time manually using Set Time; or
- Select the time zone as Athens / Istanbul (shows up in options as GMT+2, but actually works as GMT+3, i.e. E. European Summer Time).
For details in Hebrew (with apologies for my Hebrew typing limitations in real-time), see my chat with the Orange CSR, below.
Note that the Orange CSR claimed that the issue was specific to Moto Defy, but I’m now told that it’s applicable to those with other makes and models as well, i.e. it’s a generalized issue in the Orange network.
From: Orange [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: September 08, 2013 8:55 AM
To: David Egyes (degyes)
Subject: תמליל שיחת הצ’אט שלך עם Orange
מועד תחילת הצ’אט
Sep 8, 2013 1:34:54 AM EST
מועד סיום הצ’אט
Sep 8, 2013 1:45:59 AM EST
מידע: מיד תקושר לנציג Orange, תודה על פנייתך
July 1, 2013
Some Thoughts on Mom & Dad’s 50th Anniversary.
One of the Biblical narratives that’s always been most significant for Dad is the Genesis story and its account of the creation of the universe. The Biblical “Big Bang” is an awesomely powerful story. But no sooner is the world created, and we’re treated to a detailed accounting of what really characterizes our day-to-day existence; that is, human relationships in the most complex and intimate sense.
Just a bit further on in Genesis is the story of how a man is expected to leave the home of his parents and “cleave to a wife,” as Adam joined with Eve. Today I would ask that we pause for a moment, and open ourselves just a bit to hearing that voice that speaks to the highest parts within us; that we consider the Biblical metaphor of cleaving, perhaps in an entirely traditional framework, but perhaps in less traditional contexts, or maybe in ways that weren’t imagined at the time it was first said.
The metaphor teaches us about the specialness, the holiness, and the need for coupling. What’s the ‘take home’ message here? That real cleaving means sticking with one another and staying together, truly joining, giving each other the love and support that’s needed to really build a life with one another.
We’re witnesses to this today, as we gather in celebration of Mom and Dad’s wonderful marriage. What are we learning? That success in marriage — in any committed relationship — means growing together despite most often being very different people.
It’s not only a pleasure for me, but a privilege to be in the presence of so many couples who’ve been together for so long, over the decades, through good times and bad, or should I say, through easier times and less easy times. It gives me a very warm feeling that among those present today are several couples whose weddings I even attended so long ago.
While we’re celebrating one really big anniversary, I think it’s fair to say we’re also celebrating marriage and being a great extended family and circle of friends.
When I told various people that I was traveling to attend my parents’ 50th anniversary celebration, the result was, of course, many warm congratulations, but also some puzzled looks of incredulity. While recognizing what an achievement 50 years of marriage represents, I think people also experience, on some level, a sense that such a celebration so much flies in the face of what’s common in our throw-away culture and modern society of instant gratification, of disposability, of I want it all and I want it now. Some folks just can’t believe it. Well, let’s believe it!
Rabbi Nachman taught that each of us has an indestructible part that nothing can erase or destroy. This is the part of ourselves that we rely upon in moments of distress and despair. We might not always know what to call it, but it’s what gives us a doorway out of our own darkest moments, and enables and inspires us to reach out in support of others.
I think that so much of marriage and coupling is being able to see that special element in one another, as well as in ourselves, and to remember it when it’s seemingly dormant or otherwise not so easily apparent.
Thank you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for sticking together, for loving one another, for loving us all. Thank you for making us a great family. We love you.
June 30th, 2013
June 9, 2013
Those of us who’ve been using MS Outlook for several years or more have by now likely amassed a rather sizable and deep hierarchy of private folders. Contained in a .PST file, these folders aren’t searchable by name, as Outlook doesn’t offer such a facility as part of its mechanism that lets you search for filed emails. While you can search for emails based on a variety of criteria, if any of those items returned as a result of an Advanced Find operation is in a deeply nested folder, you’re then stuck with the task of figuring out where in your folder hierarchy to dig in order to find that sub-folder.
Fortunately, this limitation can be circumvented by running a VB (Visual Basic) Office macro, available through the “VBOffice” web site. Prepared by a fellow named Michael Bauer back in 2010, this macro contains all the code Outlook needs in order to display an elegantly simple search dialog where you specify a searched-for folder name.
For those familiar with MS Office automation and development, simply copy the code into a module, assign the module a logical name, and once you’re back in the main Outlook UI, run the macro.
The procedure below is written for those interested in becoming more familiar with Office automation. Following these steps will enable you to save this macro to Outlook, and run it at will.
1. Hold down the Alt key and press F11 to open the VGA development window.
2. In the Project pane (in upper-left portion of the UI), select Module > right click > Insert > Module.
3. In the VbaProject.OTM pane (toward center-screen), copy over the code from the link above.
4. In the Properties pane (in lower-left portion of the UI), rename the module, e.g. FindPrivateFolder.
5. Toggle back to the main Outlook UI and click the Customer Quick Access Toolbar menu.
6. Choose More Commands > Customize Ribbon.
7. Under Customize the Ribbon: Main Tabs, select the Developer checkbox and click OK.
8. In the Developer tab, click Code > Macros, and run the macro you just created by selecting it.
9. In Outlook Options, select the Customize Ribbon > Choose Commands from: Macros.
10. Under Customize the Ribbon: Main Tabs, choose Folder > New Group.
11. Name the command, e.g. Folder Search.
12. Click Add to attach the macro to the newly created group, and click OK.
13. Rename the command, i.e. to make it shorter and more intuitive; and if you wish, associate it with an icon.
May 29, 2013
Before resorting to Restore Factory Settings as a solution to frequent or constant screen freeze-ups in Android devices, here’s a tip that could spare you the pain of reconfiguring your device from the ground up and reinstalling your apps from scratch. Occasionally, a data corruption can cause an Android device to freeze upon booting, or when the device is trying to display its home screen. This problem presents itself, for instance, when you press the power button to wake up the device while it’s in sleep mode, but instead of displaying its home screen, it simply freezes up. Getting the device to restart might even require pulling out and reinserting the battery. When there’s a data corruption affecting home screen activity, even taking this step doesn’t necessarily restore the device to a functioning state, a very frustrating and disconcerting situation. Often, this necessitates doing a Restore Factory Settings (aka Reset Factory Data), referred to commonly as “wiping the phone clean.” However, you may be able to avoid—or at least delay—taking that step by performing a less “radical” measure that involves simply clearing the stored data from the Home Activity application (runs on all Android devices).
See the link to Just Answer > Android Devices for details on how to perform this fairly simple troubleshooting procedure. Then, if it turns out that the data corruption is serious enough to require a restoration of factory settings, at least you’ll take that step knowing you’ve tried a less invasive procedure. To view the procedure, follow the link: http://www.justanswer.com/android-devices/783yp-application-home-in-activity-home-not-responding-force.html.
February 21, 2013
I recently started getting popup ads with ridiculous frequency, like at least a dozen per hour (and that was a minimum), non-stop, as long as my Chrome browser was open (I’m running Windows 7, Chrome version 24.0.131257m). This was despite having my browser settings defined to block all popups. To make matters even more irritating, in addition to these ads being repetitive and constant, they weren’t even interesting, focusing mainly on things like weight loss, face lifts, and how to make lots of money surfing the Internet (yeah, right).
Getting back to business, after ruling out a virus (see news and discussion about Adserv virus), I went ahead and confirmed that my browser was indeed set to block popups. This led me on a fruitless and frustrating course of checking, rechecking, and making all manner of adjustments to my Chrome popup settings, an annoying mini-project that played out over the better part of a week.
Finally, I’d more or less given up, resigned to either re-installing Chrome, or limiting its use. However, before taking that step, I decided to do a search on what seemed to be the name of one of the companies putting out these ads. To my luck, I came across a Google Group, of all places, hosting a discussion describing the (pretty simple) solution.
The online discussion I came across suggested that “Insta” extensions—such as InstaTwitter, InstaTumblr, etc—in Chrome were the actual culprits. Why this is an issue in Chrome and not in Firefox or IE isn’t clear, though indeed, it seems to be a known problem.
So in my case, the solution was to disable InstaTwitter. Though I’ll provide, in addition to the (simple) solution that worked, the procedures that didn’t work; this might be useful for conveying the overall discovery process, which included some dead-end steps.
(However, note that these procedures might work just fine as solutions to other popup- and ad-related problems in Chrome.)
Didn’t Work #1:
In the Chrome browser, doing as follows:
2. Advanced Settings
4. Content Settings
6. “Do not allow any sites to show pop-ups (recommended)”
Didn’t Work #2:
In the Chrome browser, doing as follows:
1. Performing steps #1 – #5, as above.
2. “Allow all sites to show pop-ups”
3. Manage Exceptions
4. Block the following (your popups may differ; these were the ones I was getting):
In the Chrome browser, do as follows:
2. Task Manager
3. Select InstaTwitter (or any other “Insta” processes like InstaTumblr, etc).
4. Click End Process
5. Close Task Manager
You may have to repeat the procedure for subsequent reboots or new log-ins to your PC. Or perhaps you could disable the Insta processes permanently.
September 3, 2012
The Torah portion that Hanoch read this past Shabbat—כי תצא—is filled with an impressive variety of positive commandments—מצוות תעשה—mostly concerning proper ethical conduct, including respect for human dignity, practicing דרך ארץ, דרכי שלום, consideration for the feelings of others, plus a whole lot more.
Yet no sooner do we begin reading the parsha, when we stumble upon the obscure and perhaps troubling story about the בן סורר ומורה – an insubordinate and defiant son.
Now, the question you’re probably asking yourselves is, what would בן סורר ומורה possibly have to do with Hanoch Egyes?
The answer is, of course, not much at all.
Those of you familiar with Hanoch are aware of what a warm, caring, and kind person he is.
But the question remains as to why the laws concerning בן סורר ומורה appear, of all places, in this parsha.
What could we possibly learn from this mitzvah? From this unusual story? What do we know about בן סורר ומורה?
Well, for one thing, we know that the law was almost never actually practiced.
In fact, חז”ל saw to it that so many fences would be built around the law, that it would be virtually impossible to implement.
What’s more, the Gemara states “בן סורר ומורה, לא היה, ולא עתיד להיות”.
So why are we telling this story now, of all times?
The parsha begins with the words “כי תצא למלחמה על איובך”.
In the literal sense, the Torah is referring to an actual military operation.
But I believe there’s another war going on here, perhaps on a deeper level. What kind of war would that be? Who is the enemy? And what does it have to do with בן סורר ומורה?
Beyond the mitzvoth that we can easily identify in the Torah, there is, I believe, a greater imperative—דרישה מוסרית—without which the mitzvoth can become rather meaningless.
That is the ongoing struggle against our own aloofness (אדישות), where the enemy is the easy pull toward falling in line with a bad culture, a תרבות רעה.
Some of you may even be asking, where is the תרבות טוב today, if there is any left at all. Is the lack of תרבות טוב a problem unique to our time, or is it just a question of scale?
Honestly, I’m really not sure. Though I would propose that the lesson בן סורר ומורה teaches us today is one of individual responsibility.
That means making conscious decisions to be a good person in a bad world.
Or perhaps, a good person in a good world where you just have to work a little harder to find the good.
What a wonderful message for arriving at the age of mitzvoth.
Hanoch, you’re coming of age at time and in a place when there’s really no one who can force you to perform mitzvoth.
Why is that significant?
Because it means only you can make a conscious decision to be a responsible, considerate, observant Jewish adult, and an upstanding participant in the Jewish community.
Baruch Hashem, you’re off to a great start.
But the decision to do the right thing —now and throughout life—all too often means going in contradiction—בניגוד— to what many others around you are doing.
That challenge never stops. We face it almost every day.
In his book Notes on the Weekly Torah Portion, Yeshayahu Leibovitz draws an analogy between the mitzvot of בן סורר ומורה and the mitzvah of putting up a railing—מעקה—on a roof.
The Torah says כי תבנה בית חדש, ועשית מעקה לגגך, ולא תשים דמים בביתך כי ייפול הנופל ממנו””
Now why are we commanded to ensure public safety?
If one believes in השגחה פרטית, if God decides that someone’s going to fall off a roof, then what can we do to prevent that from happening?
Since we can’t see events from God’s perspective, we’re commanded to take individual responsibility and prevent potential harm from occurring.
This theme of individual responsibility to behave ethically can be applied to so many of the mitzvoth appearing throughout your parsha.
The laws governing what kind of property can be seized in place of unpaid debts. Treatment of women captured in war.
Fugitive slaves. Ethical treatment of animals.
Paying employees their wages on time. Handling the body of an executed criminal. Laws against usury (נשך ומרבית).
And rules governing proper conduct between men and women. And so much more.
We’re living in a very special time. Not necessarily the easiest time. But one where we can see miracles before us every day.
Hanoch, as you begin your life as a Jewish adult, remember these moral lessons that your parsha teaches.
No one—except you and you yourself— can make you do the right thing.
Of course, we’re here to help you along the way. Though starting today, the responsibility is really yours.
The parsha ends with a call to blot out the memory of Amalek, as one of God’s expectations of us in order to ensure our safety in the Land.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that there’s always a direct reward or clear benefit given for performing mitzvoth and conducting yourself the right way.
The reward is the mitzvah itself; to walk with God, to struggle with the responsibility of being a mensch in this world.
To know that you’re constantly striving to become the kind of human being that the Torah had in mind when God gave us these laws.
I love you son.
June 5, 2012
This Must be the Place (2011). Strangest Holocaust film ever, if it can be categorized as such (I think it qualifies). First 1/2 hour is downright bizarre. Then film becomes quite compelling, at moments beautiful, even profound. Has got its upsetting scenes for sure. Need to take in this film with an open mind. Worth it, IMO. Great to see and hear David Byrne staying creative making music after all these years. A tip of the hat to Sean Penn on this one. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1440345/
February 22, 2012
Recently, when clearing some bookshevles, my wife came across this illustrations-only set of instructions she’d prepared back in the late-90’s for our then pre-literate daughter, who’d demonstrated a propensity for (supervised, semi-independent) baking projects.
Having a fresh look at these instructions got me thinking about the use of comics and pictures-only documentation for non-literate and pre-literate users. In this case, the images are rather high-context, meaning, they might be meaningless to someone not familiar with the kitchen for which they were drawn, the equipment being used, and the end-product, in this case, popovers.
However, I can validate (or at least visually confirm) that these instructions—with a bit of practice—did in fact work. Our daughter, a pre-schooler at the time, indeed managed to create the intended product, based on following the image sequences in the drawings.
In the years since, I’ve come across a number of instances where a hardware vendor or app provider chose to rely mainly on illustrations, sometimes accompanied by text, other times relying only on pictures, in providing instructions for end-users.
Though I’ve yet to research the topic in-depth, I find the basic notion intriguing. That is, do we tend to be over-reliant on words, in cases where simple drawings would do the trick? Could we, as documentation specialists, make our instructional products more accessible to those who either have difficulty reading in general, or who aren’t familiar with the language(s) in which we provide wirtten documentation? Instead of—or more likely, in addition to—translating documentation into written languages, could we transform our instructions into comics or other illustrations-only media?
For what it’s worth, since I’m not a big fan of pudding-like baked goods, I’ve never actually tried the end-product. Nor am I a “foodie” or sharer of recipies (I tend to overlook such posts in Facebook and instantly delete them from email). Though if you decide to try applying these instructions at home, I’d be curious to hear about your outcome, as well as learn about your experiences with comic-based documentation.