Va’era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

Reassured by the Lord, Moses and Aaron return to Pharaoh with an impressive display, as Aaron’s rod-which-becomes-a-serpent swallows the Egyptian magicians’ rods-which-become-serpents.  However, Pharaoh still refuses to let the Hebrews have their three-day spiritual retreat in the wilderness, so it’s time for the heavy artillery:  The Ten Plagues.  In this week’s portion, we read about the first seven: blood, frogs, lice, flies, cattle plague, boils, and hail.  If you are interested in the explanations of these are physical phenomena, I suggest  Marr JS, Malloy CD. “An epidemiologic analysis of the ten plagues of Egypt,”. Caduceus (Springfield, Ill. 1996 Spring;12(1):7–24, which I cited last year, at  (based on a freshwater dinoflagellate biomass bloom and pathogenic organisms carried by flies) ; and an analysis by Professor Augusto Magini, a paleoclimatologist at Heidelberg University (based on climate change and toxic fresh water algae).

The plagues were intended to demonstrate the presence and power the Lord to both Egyptians and Hebrews in a way that a quick extrication of the slaves couldn’t.  But it all seems overly stagey and theatrical.  Maybe that’s because I know the ending and just want to get there?  No, I knew the endings of the Genesis stories as well.  I think my impatience with the plague section stems from a paucity of character development therein.

I am about to start my vacation (at home, where I can curl up, watch DVD’s, and in general, hide).  I expect to return to work January 5.

So, a very early Shabbat Shalom and Happy New Year to you all,


Stephen Colbert Uses “Ten Plagues” Finger Puppets to Reenact Passover  

Posted 3/30/10

Last night marked the first night of Passover, and Stephen Colbert couldn’t help but get excited at the new ways the holiday is embracing commercialism: everything from Jewpardy – “Answering in the form of a question. Could anything be more Jewish?” – to finger puppets fashioned after the ten plagues. The latter of course caught Colbert’s eye, as he tried on a few, telling the story of Passover in the process.  [go to the site to watch the video]

Blood Jokes

What do vampires think of blood transfusions?
New-fang-led nonsense.

What do you get if you cross a midget with Dracula?
A vampire that sucks blood from your kneecaps.

What happened when the vampire went to the blood bank?
He asked to make a withdrawal.

Barber: Oops! Sorry, I’ve just cut your chin.
Vampire: Don’t worry, it’s not my blood.

Did you hear about the two blood cells?
They loved in vein.

There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body…
No wonder I have tired blood.


Frog and Rat Act

A drunk is sitting at a bar, and says, “Bartender! Another drink.”

The bartender shakes his head and says, “No you’ve had enough.”

“Well,” the drunk says. “How about if I show you something really cool? Then will you give me a drink?”

“Sure,” the bartender says. “But it’s gotta be pretty cool.”

The drunk takes a tiny piano and a frog out of his pockets and sets them on the bar. The frog starts banging away, playing a beautiful song.
The bartender gives him a drink. The drunk downs it, and orders another.

“No way,” the bartender says. “Now you’ve really had enough.”

“If you give me a drink, I’ll show you something even cooler,” says the drunk.
The bartender agrees.
The drunk pulls out a rat, and sets it next to the piano. The frog starts banging away again, and the rat starts singing to the music.
The bartender is amazed, and gives him another drink.

A man who had been watching all this comes up to the drunk and says, “You’ve got a million dollar act there. I’ll give you $500,000 for them right now.”

“Not for sale,” the drunk croaks.

“Ok, $500,000 just for the frog.”

“Not for sale.”

“Ok, $500,000 just for the rat.”

The drunk agrees, and the man pays him and leaves.

The bartender says to the drunk, “What did you do that for? You broke up a million dollar act!”

“Not really,” the drunk says. “You see, the frog’s a ventriloquist.”


What is the favorite hobby of head lice?


(There’s animation at the site. IGP)

A farmer got pulled over by a state trooper for speeding,

and the trooper started to lecture the farmer
about his speed,
and in general began to throw his weight around
to try to make the farmer uncomfortable.

Finally, the trooper got around to writing out the ticket,
and as he was doing that he kept swatting at some flies
that were buzzing around his head.

The farmer said,
“Having some problems with circle flies there, are ya?”
The trooper stopped writing the ticket and said–
“Well yeah, if that’s what they are– I never heard of circle flies”.
So the farmer says– “Well, circle flies are common on farms.
See, they’re called circle flies because
they’re almost always found circling around
the back end of a horse.”

The trooper says, “Oh,” and goes back to writing the ticket.
Then after a minute he stops and says,
“Hey…wait a minute, are you trying to call me a horses back end?”
The farmer says, “Oh no, officer.
I have too much respect for law enforcement and police officers
to even think about calling you a horses back end.”
The trooper says,
“Well, that’s a good thing,” and goes back to writing the ticket.
After a long pause, the farmer says,
” Hard to fool them flies though. “


Do you know why the cow jumped over the moon?
The farmer had cold hands.

What’s a cow’s favorite moosical note?


View Full Version : Did Communism Spring from Festering Boils?
William Haskins
10-30-2007, 09:47 PM
LONDON (Reuters) – Karl Marx, who complained of excruciating boils, actually suffered from a chronic skin disease with known psychological effects that may well have influenced his writings, a British expert said on Tuesday.;-Were-on-the-Hit-List-again.htm?active_image=450312-IMAGE219_59190_45031_1.jpg#subject

Sam Shuster, professor of dermatology at the University of East Anglia, believes the revolutionary thinker had hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in which the apocrine sweat glands — found mainly in the armpits and groin — become blocked and inflamed.

“In addition to reducing his ability to work, which contributed to his depressing poverty, hidradenitis greatly reduced his self-esteem,” said Shuster, who published his findings in the British Journal of Dermatology.


Marx, who died in 1883, was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century and his radical writings formed the basis of modern communism.

From South Africa.  IT’S ALL HAIL!  IGP

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