Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've moved!

Please check for future posts at , at least until further notice. Save it to your favorites or blogroll today! The Torah Thoughts/Daughter of the king archives will remain here for the time being. Check out the new and improving BasMelech experience!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Message from the PR Dept.

Dear Readers,

I put up a poll on my other blog, Half Baked, in the hope of discovering how to better please my readers and possibly attract more. For some reason, I was unable to put one up here (I deleted all my cookies and lost 5lb... in my dreams... but my layout page is still being crabby)

So, while waiting for my next "real" post to come up, please mosey over there and give your $0.02. Who knows, you may even find yourself enjoying my other blog, which I think I myself prefer. The poll is on the upper right in the sidebar.


A Guten Moed,

Friday, September 21, 2007

This year...

Every year
comes Yom Hakipurim
no matter what the year has been like,

of sin
of time
of worldliness
peel away
slowly at first
then uninhibited
I'm returning
I can see so clearly now.

As the light of dusk fades
the world is different.

Hear O Israel
Voices rise in a thunderous roar
G-d is One
Nothing else exists.

The truth fills the world
pushing out all else
I have vanished
to be but part of Him
The heavens are shattered
This must be the redemption
and I'm no longer scared.

The silence is absolute
it's almost over
my breath stops
this is it

As the blower raises the Shofar
I wait to hear the sound
I am certain is coming
The "Shofar Gadol"
will mingle with his
nothing else is possible
when the world is filled
with Truth.

The call sounds
it somehow adds to the silence

... and last year
once again
it ended.
And I left the synagogue
to find people
walking on the streets
as if nothing was wrong.

But this year
I know
just the same
that moment of revelation will come
and the Great Shofar will sound
and God will gather us in
because we're coming home at last
and the sound will be
like it was at Sinai:
Strong and growing
and not ending
too soon.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

9/11/01: Where were you?

There are some moments in life that divide time irreversibly into "before" and "after." For anyone in our generation, 9/11/01 is one of them.

I'm leaving out the details. Although the whole scene is a mosaic of memory fragments, I'd rather avoid the risk of boring you and sacrificing yet another bit of my anonymity. So I am posting only one shard of the mosaic, a particularly sharp one. You can add pieces by posting your own story in the comments.

I was away from home at the time of the attacks. "Home" at the time was not far at all from Ground Zero, so I wasn't able to return until the next day. I was relatively young at the time and felt quite far away from my family, despite having been reassured that everyone got out OK. It was the kind of time when you want your father and mother close by.

I returned home on September 12, 2001 to a whole different world. The air was thick and gray, and I couldn't identify the smell except that it made me think of crematoriums and gas chambers (though of course I had no frame of reference for that either.) Every time I absently touched the subway handrails, my hands came away white with ash.

Finally, I arrived at my home, an island of familiarity in a changed city. As I approached, I noticed something on the door that seemed strangely out of place. It was colorful and loving.

"Happy Birthday, BasMelech!"

I had completely forgotten.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thanks for the invitation.
I would love to come for a visit now. I'm dying to see you.
I know you're waiting, and you've set aside this time for us.
But... I am just so embarrassed.
Last time, I enjoyed being with you so much that I thought I'd never be able to peel away. But since our appointment was ending, we at least made up certain arrangements to keep in touch.
Besides for that, I thought up a whole bunch of things I could do in between to make you happy.
That way, at least we'd have something to talk about next time we could really get together.
But now, as I'm already running late in getting ready for our upcoming meeting, I have no idea how I am going to face you.
Because, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't do a very good job on those things.
I mean, I did think of you... pretty often.
I just didn't act on it very much.
And sometimes, even when I did do something, it... got messed up.
So I'd feel kind of silly giving you that... y'know?
And I'm sorry I wasn't home when you called. I kind of, well, things got busy and... I'm sorry. I guess I should have called back. I mean, I know, but... whatever.

But G-d, do you know what I am going to do?
Since I really, honestly, do want to be close to You,
I am going to make a pretty hard sacrifice.
I am swallowing my pride
and dealing with the embarrassment;
accepting the searing pain of shame
and coming before You
and empty-handed.
Here I am.
Please let me in despite the past.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Disclaimer: Some of you may be what-iffing, but-maybeing, and who-sayzing when reading this post. Please note that this and the below post were written following an actual conversation with a specific person and they are based on my knowledge of her character.
"I'm not what you would call frum," she said.
I didn't answer.

What would I call "frum?" Am I frum?
Am I frum because I dress similarly to many people in Boro Park?
Would I still be frum if I were in Meah Shearim?

If you'd believe me, I'd tell you that as I see it, we're very similar.
But you'd think I'm insincere.
You are absolutely, positively certain that I am judging you.
Yes, so judgemental, her type.

The reality is simply that we both have our strengths and weaknesses.
I was raised with some mitzvot that are now automatic, and there are some I have yet to learn.
Some midot come naturally to me, while others remain a constant battle.
I aim to do good, yet there are constant failures.
I make mistakes.
I'm still growing.
I believe you can say the same.
So who can call one of us "frummer" than the other?

How do you define "frum?" Please comment here. Muse continued below.


Continued from next (above) post.
Some of your strengths are my weaknesses.
Are you calling me frum because I have something you lack?
Well, you have several essentials that I lack. [trust me -ed.]
(and probably more that I don't know about)

That's part of the beauty of being part of Am Yisrael:
If we can truly be as one, we can help make each other whole.

(I need to check my source for the following -- I have it written down at home)
Suppose there is a Jew who wants very much to do the mitzva of hosting guests, but he lacks the means, while another Jew is wealthy enough to host many guests, but he does it grudgingly. Who should get more credit? Neither mitzva is complete.

The Jewish nation is called Adam, a word meaning "man" that has no plural form in the Hebrew language. The connotation is that we are one -- one person with one soul.

Just as a person has both a body and soul, each mitzva has two corresponding components. If one Jew fulfills the "soul" of the mitzva, that is, the pure intentions and desire, and another provides the "body," they combine to form a complete, wholehearted mitzva. (Think of eye-hand coordination -- you may do things with different parts of your body, but it is the same person doing it)

Yes, you really are my soul-sister, and I am not complete without you.
Perhaps it is true that I perform more mitzvot than you, but how many of those are rote, or insincere! Perhaps you quest for Truth, your striving to become closer to HaShem, is the shining flame of our common soul.

Now, do you really think I could possibly write you off as "not frum enough"?!