Jewish Mud Runs?

Chai Lifeline has probably done more for the health of the Jewish community than any (non-existent?) health awareness drives. Granted, we still eat too much chulent Thursday night. (Any chulent Thursday night is too much, imho.) But many people are choosing to pair their charitable efforts with a push at fitness, raising money and racing at the same time.

Right now would-be contributors have a choice between running a marathon and a Lake Tahoe bicycle century.  This is not, I think, enough options. I mean, it’s all lower body! It’s great for a Jew to be able to leave an area fast, but honestly. Maybe we’re a stiff-necked people because we don’t exercise our shoulders enough?

Which is why mud runs are such a great idea. Yes, you’re running. But only between obstacles. Mud runs require a well-rounded fitness level, so you can crawl through tunnels, climb ropes, nets, and walls, scramble over hills of straw or tires, swing across monkey bars, and swim under buoys.  Sounds like fun, right?

Alas, few of them are on Sunday.

Which got me thinking: wouldn’t this make the most amazing chol Hamoed event?

You know, a thematic mud run: Escape from Egypt!

Participants would start out scrambling over a field of straw. They have to haul an oversized brick up a mountain, slide down into a pit of cement, and scramble out via cargo net over bullrushes. (Yes, I’m mixing things. Don’t quibble.)

From here maybe you’ll have to climb a pyramid, dodge Egyptians trying to hit you with (padded) sticks (the children of runners can take this part), and swing hand-over-hand across a row of staffs. (That one needs work.)

Maybe from here you’ll have to duck into a dark tent and scrabble in the sand for some gold. (Find a token and you’re eligible for four cups of win at the finish! Okay, maybe that’s not such a great idea. You come up with a better one.)

You should probably have to catch a goat at some point, but to keep PETA away, we may have to go with a lasso/ring toss type of thing.  Then: can you get through Egypt’s border defenses without breaking your matzah? Think tunnels, cliffs, barbed wire, moats… If you have issues with gebrokts, maybe you’ll want to wrap your matzah in a garbage bag.

Demonstrate your emunah by wading into the Red Sea — and if it splits for you, consider that an automatic win.  For the rest, consider swimming.

Think you’re done? Uh uh. You have to do a little dance with tambourines first while singing Az Yashir. Then off you go, dashing across the hot desert to a water station… which is salty. (Hey, complain to God, not me. …wait, I sounded like Moshe there, didn’t I?)

Dash up a flaming mountain to retrieve your stone tablets, and please don’t comment that it looks like the brick you hauled up there earlier in the race. This is all metaphor, and we don’t have any other slaves to haul things up and down hills for us.

But whoever is playing God up there isn’t giving you your tablets unless you first recite what’s supposed to be written on it. (Go on: can you? Can you? Okay, just sing the Mah Nishtana and get out of here you shameful Jew.)

Anyway, if you make it back to your encampment, you can get your crowns. All finishers receive complementary sticks of marror.

It needs a little work, but I think there’s something there.

Anyone want to produce it, please, please?

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Pesach Special

Credit for this Pesach special goes to O and her sources. The puns are mine if unattributed.

The Pesach seder is a wonderful thing. The emphasis on text is strong, and the text doesn’t afford many opportunities to dwell on your marital status to the tune that, say, Ma Yedidus does, with its infamous  “Uleshadech Habanos” line. So you might have thought you’d be freed from having to hear about it.

Well, tis not so. Even Pesach has its segulos for getting married. The Washington Post reports:

Syrian Jews, however, see that wine very differently. The seder leader reciting the plagues empties the wine from a ceremonial cup into a vessel held by the oldest single woman at the seder table, in hopes of bringing her good luck in finding a husband, Sarina Roffe explained. …

She remembers the last time she was that young woman. “I was 18,” said Roffe, of Brooklyn, N.Y. By the time Passover rolled around the next year, she was engaged.

See? It works!

But just in case, here’s an afikomen present  you may want to request, courtesy of Macys:

Singles CoutureAnd, to quote O: “It brings new meaning to wearing your heart on your sleeve.”

One heart, lightly used, please claim.

I’m an Issue

Good4, bless her little heart, is a few months shy of entering the big wide world of dating. The parents, bless them, say that I’ve demonstrated why to marry children off young. Which is a little silly, since Good4 isn’t the slightest bit like me, but nobody is objecting, because Good4 (unlike me) actually wants to be married before she’s six months out of seminary.

Anyway, Good4’s intro to Being A Single came on chol hamoed. She pelted down the stairs shouting my name. “Do you know what Abba has in his email account about you?” she asked, breathless.

“Um, no,” I answered, wondering what it could possibly be already. My tax records? Incriminating emails from scandalized people who have seen me walking into hotels with men? RSS email feed? Cherished letters from my seminary days?

“A folder called ‘Bad4 Issues,’” Good4 declared. “And I have one called ‘Good4 Issues.’ But Best4’s is called ‘Best4 Family.’ Can you believe it?”

Well, yes. “It’s because he’s married,” I explained. I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that our folders couldn’t be called “[whoever] family” because we didn’t have a family. Of our own, I mean. Also, Best4’s folder was probably full of photos and videos of the kinfauna, whereas ours were probably full of tax documents, scandalized-witness emails, and poorly spelled letters from seminary, hastily tapped out on a palm-top computer while eating falafel in Ben Yehuda.

But Good4 was puzzled by her first apparent run-in with marriage discrimination. “Because we’re single we’re issues? Does Also4 have an ‘Issues’ file too?” she wondered aloud.

“Yes he does,” confirmed Mr. Shidduchim, who had followed her down the stairs at a more sedate pace, befitting the dignity of his age and position in the household. “You are all issues until you’re married. Then you’re still issues—but you’re somebody else’s.”

Ding! She got it. She laughed. Can you tell she’s new to the game?

Good Advice

I was reading An Ideal Husband, by Oscar Wilde, last week, and came across this line of unmatched wisdom: “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”

If good advice were meant to be passed on, I imagine isru chag would contain a flurry of advice-exchanging from “older” singles who have had the secret of their singleness revealed to them by wise relatives over the holiday.

One of the nice things about strangers is that they don’t give you advice. They just adapt to your “quirks” and get on with business. This is why some very flawed people have become very successful. Friends will sometimes share their insights, but only after agonizing over whether it’s really a fatal flaw, and then rehearsing their lecture in the shower. Relatives, I am sorry to say, rarely take showers before starting in on you.

Now, my relatives behaved this Pesach so I have little advice to pass along. I am only scarred by a few backhanded compliments (my favorite: “You sound so reasonable online”). However, on an annual basis I get an earful. I have become quite good at taking it. I can now listen to advice for a full five minutes before my eyes cross, my ears turn red, and steam starts dribbling out my nose. At this annual rate of tolerance growth, I will be more than ready to handle the censoriousness of my teenagers when I have them.

It’s not like it’s usually such great advice, I must note. People grasp at the simplest solutions. If you tell them “Former Date didn’t like my boots,” automatic reaction is “You should wear nicer boots on a date.” Yep, that should do it. One shopping trip and they’ll all be falling at my feet – and proposing to my footgear. I mean, seriously. If he’s going to be a shoe critic he can find himself dates by standing outside the outlet store of his choice.

I take it because I tell myself that the advice itself is a compliment. They really care. They think I’m not completely hopeless. No… what I mean is like this:

If you think Someone is absolutely wonderful, you naturally assume that everyone else will see this Someone as wonderful too. When it becomes obvious that scores of dates do not realize how absolutely wonderful Someone is, you begin puzzling over why. Could it be that so very many dates are blind? Or is Someone somehow obscuring his/her wonderfulness? You can’t help the amount of unperceptive people that Someone goes out with, but you can help Someone make his/her wonderfulness more obvious to these not-quite-perfect date.

So, by advising me on my boots, these well-meaning folks are just affirming that, in fact, they think I’m wonderful. Except for my boots. Those could use help. But everything else about me is just wonderful.

After all, there’s no point in advising a hopeless case, is there? Which means—can you imagine—they think there’s hope!

But… Wait… why didn’t anyone give me advice so far this Pesach?

Have they given up?