Is the Wicked Child From The Four Children Really That Bad?

Character types are the backbone of storytelling. Whether or not a writer(s) chooses to go beyond these stereotypes tells us everything that we need to know about the creators of the narrative.

The Jewish holiday of Passover starts on Friday night. One of the components of the story of the exodus from Egypt is the Four Sons. Each son (whom I refer to as a child instead, because of well, feminism.) is a stereotype. The eldest knows everything that there is to learn about and is still eager to know more. The second-born would rather be someplace else, doing anything else. The third child knows the basics and needs a simple answer. The youngest does not even know how to ask the question.

My problem is with the image of the second eldest child. In traditional terms, this person is dealt with harshly. They are basically told that had they been in Egypt, they would have been left in bondage. Looking at the text with a modern lens, rebellion or questioning the status quo is not a bad thing. It forces us, as a culture to look our demons in the eye and make a decision: do we deal with our problems or stick our heads in the sand?

In a religious context, the second child speaks to those of us who are discontent with the all-or-nothing aspect of faith. According to a Gallup poll from last year, less than half of all Americans attend regular religious services. This is compared to 80 years ago when almost three-quarters were in a house of worship at least once a week. I think this comes down to flexibility and understanding that many younger people are turned away from the old-school way of looking at religion. If the wish is for the pews to be full, a little creativity may be needed to bring back those who have drifted away.

To everyone celebrating, have a Happy Passover.

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Billy Joel Concert Review

There are some artists that are so iconic that even if one is not a fan, they know the music.

On Friday night, Billy Joel returned to Madison Square Garden and his residency/monthly concert. Stepping onto the stage after a near two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a feeling of giddiness that permeated the sold-out arena.

Playing both well-known hits and songs that only the dedicated fanbase would know, Joel delved into his musical past while honoring the places he came from. The audience, which was made up of both longtime fans and casual listeners who have known his music for most, if not all of their lives, responded with an energy that can only be described as electric. For his part, Joel played and sang with the energy of a performer many years his junior. Spending most of the concert at the keys, he stood for the last few songs, performing beloved hits such as “Uptown Girl” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire“.

The highlight of the evening was “New York State of Mind” and “Piano Man“. Revealing that the fireman’s helmet sitting on the piano belonged to Neil Skow, a firefighter who was on the ground during 9/11, a cheer rose from the crowd. It was as if it represented, both physically and literally, the strength that has gotten many of us through the past 20 months. Taking out the harmonica to play his best-known song, the first few notes elicited a reaction from fans that was pure joy.

It was a night to remember for all involved and from my perspective, one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

Billy Joel Wear Stars 0f David And Makes a Statement

The rally in Charlottesville nearly two weeks ago rattled all of us. If nothing else, it was a sad and scary reminder that hate and prejudice are still alive and well in America.

In the face of the all the hatred and prejudice that come to the light, it’s easy so say nothing and give into the fear. What is right and harder to do is to stand up to the hate.

Musician Billy Joel stood up to the hate. He wore a yellow star at his concert last night. Jews were forced to wear yellow stars during World War II, marking them for persecution and ultimately death.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”-Albert Einstein

I think the one lesson that I personally take away from Charlottesville is that we have stand up and fight. We have to be vocal, we have to be loud and we have to drown out the voices of hate. If we don’t speak up and speak up loudly, hate has won once more and we not learned the lessons of the past.

RIP Phillip Seymour Hoffman

A long time ago, Billy Joel wrote “Only The Good Die Young”.

He should have said only the great die young.

James Dean, Natalie Wood, River Pheonix, Heath Ledger, James Gandolfini.

Sometimes the greatest talents aren’t destined to die of old age. They die well before that, when they are still at the peak of their greatness.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman‘s name can now be added to this list.

He died this morning of an apparent drug overdose.

I saw him in the most recent revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play, Death Of A Salesman. ¬†While he was a few decades younger than the character and Brian Dennehy, who had played the character in the previous revival, it felt like I was seeing this play and introduced to this character for the first time.

His Willy Loman was a man of big dreams, caught between the past and the present, between dreams and reality. It was an incredibly powerful performance. I wish I had seen it more than once.

My heart and my prayers go out to his friends and family.

While he is gone from this world, his work and his legacy will remain.

RIP

 

 

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