Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Friggin Water Bottle!!

I was at a graduation where the Rabbi spoke of dignity and the lack of general respect displayed in the secular world. He expressed shock and dismay to witness that senators at a conference were given water bottles with no cup. (I spaced out as to HOW he witnessed this, certainly not through the "idiot box" as they call it) To him, this was a symbol of our society's decline.

Clinton's affair with Lewinsky? No. The depth of degredation people go through to be on TV? Reality shows? Not that either. The current molestation trials with Rabbeim in local Yeshivos? Why, heavens no. The women in the community being less Tzniusdik than the CEOs in Slacks and a V-neck? Nah. The increasing numbers of Yeshiva Bucherim going after porn? Negative. His very own students treating teachers like garbage? Of course not. People cheating the government out of millions of dollars? Apparently not.

No, siree, Bob. It is that our senators drink directly from water bottles. Shame on them. Can you believe how low our society has sunk? Oh, but get this, just to show how we listen to mussar oh, so very well in this day and age. A mere 1/2 hour later, I witnessed men drinking directly out of cans of diet Coke (we won't mention the sign that read, "no food or drinks allowed.")

He also mentioned an interviewer referring to President Bush and the PM of Canada as "you guys" which is extremely disrespectful and a more plausible thing to expand on. There, he could discuss the general disresepect among bochurim (obviously not about the graduates who are being told- like every other class- that they are special and blah blah blah)

Obviously, he couldn't discuss some of the things I mentioned above, because they're inappropriate. "Hey, you know your president had an affair with an intern 8 years ago?" "You know that show The Bachelor?" Obviously, that's not plausible.

Now, maybe by using the water bottle example, he was trying to show how significant and telling the small things are. Maybe some readers will tell me that I am exactly who he is talking to. Someone SO influenced by this horrific water-swigging culture, that I am not disturbed by one drinking directly from a water bottle.

It depends how far one takes it. In my seminary class, there was a girl who sometimes used a squirt bottle (The 24-oz Sport Pack type), and would lean her head back, squirt into her mouth, and practically gulp. In the middle of class. And you hear the crackling plastic as she squeezed it. Ok, THAT's rude and disrespectful. And my teacher told her to please stop. But an "aidel" sip or mouthful of water should do no harm.

One might also make the argument that it's better to start off with the small things, so we can work our way to the big things. I think the sensitivity needs to be there first. Or you might argue, "M'Toch SheLoh Lishma Bah Lishma" and if you start doing it, the sensitivity will follow.

I'm sorry, but if he thought this issue so pressing, as to open up graduation with it, he needs a reality check. Many of these schools do. Stop turning a blind eye to the real issues, and tackle them, rather than telling people not to drink out of a water bottle.

51 Comments:

At 6/20/2006 10:41 AM, Blogger XVI (R) - NY said...

Far be it from me to ever actually agree with a rabbinical opinion :) but there may be something to be said about this senatorial "water"gate.

Politician corruptness is clearly nothing new to America or the world, present and past. There has always been cheating, stealing, bribery, immorality etc... and no one is shocked by it. It may be a sign of the times in its prevalence or its magnitude, but the fact that it exists is not the shocker.

That said though, there is still a facade to be kept to maintain a certain public respect. Not for the senators themselves but for the senatorial branch of our government which, ideally, does not have these matters. For this reason, british judges of Her Majesty's Court wear robes and powdered wigs to this very day. This is very similar to the concept in Jewish monarchy of Kavod Malchus. A melech cannot be mochel on his kavod as it is disrespectful to the KINGSHIP as a metaphorical concept and not just to himself.

In that sense then, a senator who drinks in, what may or may not be considered, a crass manner is disrespecting the Senatorial body of the democratic process of the United States. Would you expect the President to attend a press conference in shorts and a tee shirt? Theres inherently nothing wrong with that dress, but when the president adresses a nation it is understood that such things arent done.

The fact then that such a casualness is allowed during formal senatorial business is an indication of how casual we have become with our most sacred of duties. This is then symbolic of the slippery slope society has been on and the levels to which it has sunk.

Perhaps thats what the Rabbi meant.

 
At 6/20/2006 12:01 PM, Blogger JBL the first said...

He meant if the values in Capitol Hill are so down. How low must NY street values be.

I just saw "xvi (r)-ny" explaines it quite well.

 
At 6/20/2006 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think possible reason why he neglected to discuss the issues you mentioned is because those issues affect in a sence that he is a rebbe so all the problems in chinuch circles are also his. but if he desides to discuss a silly topic which won't reflect negitivly on him he won't have to worry because ignoring all those sorts of probems keeps his image more respectful.

I am not sure I explained my self too well so pls. let me know

 
At 6/20/2006 1:39 PM, Blogger Scraps said...

V'imru amein. There are far worse things than senators drinking out of water bottles in this day and age.

 
At 6/20/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

anon--good point

scraps-thank you

 
At 6/20/2006 2:51 PM, Anonymous Chani said...

Obviously all those issues you mentioned are major problems in society, but do you really think that a graduation is the place to mention them? I don't think there's much sense in raising the water bottle issue either, but I guess that's his business.
xvi(r)-ny has a good point, but I still don't see the point in discussing that at a graduation.
On the other hand, I still remember being extremely hurt when someone told me off for drinking straight out of a soda can at the Shabbos table in camp about 9 years ago. I felt that if she had completely ignored me for the whole summer, she could continue to do so & leave me & my soda can alone. So maybe I have a little negius in the matter & shouldn't really talk.

 
At 6/20/2006 3:35 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

What's next? Congressmen that were caught laying their elbows on the dinner table?

Now that would be a real scandal.

 
At 6/20/2006 5:18 PM, Anonymous big bro said...

To be clear - the speaker was quoting someone else who was present at this meeting and noticed the water bottle issue (and apparently left the meeting thirsty).

That said, I go to meetings all the time with lawyers and business people and in my experience it has become acceptable to drink water from a Poland Spring bottle. I thought that the whole story was kind of silly.

If schools are teaching little things like this - we risk losing more of the students.

 
At 6/20/2006 6:12 PM, Anonymous chaim said...

I think this post should be removed because it can lead to lashon hora.

 
At 6/20/2006 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this post should be removed because it might lead to baal tashchis...all the money wasted on cups can feed the Africa

 
At 6/20/2006 9:08 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

weird.. dont know what else to say..... unless someone wants to explain to me the horror of drinking from a water bottle (they were drinking from an individual bottle, not the 5 gallon one, right?)

 
At 6/20/2006 9:31 PM, Blogger Lost said...

The master of Cer. had obviously canceled last minute and the Rabbi had to come up with something.

Seriously though, I think Rabbi was trying to make a Kal Vachomer of how low our society has fallen, and Monica Lewinsky is old news. Our VP nearly killed a hunting buddy. I think he could've used that as a Sinas Chinam peice. Dunno. Maybe he shd get a speech writer.

 
At 6/21/2006 6:07 AM, Blogger Y.Y. said...

very valid point as it shows that americans most respected people have no morals anymore your post just proved his point as you cant see any problem with a senator drinking from a bottle in session imagine if there was a picture of george washington drinking from a bottle during writing up the decleration of independence

 
At 6/21/2006 7:05 AM, Anonymous Wicorice said...

Considering that soda cans and individual water bottles are a relatively recent phenonomon, is there any Jewish tradition (or mesora) that it's proper to drink from a cup instead?

Jewish traditions change. Nobody wore a black fedora till about 100 years ago. Suddenly, it's become a minhag for many people. Weird.

 
At 6/21/2006 7:57 AM, Blogger renaissanceman said...

I think you missed the entire point. But what the heck, it's a rant!

 
At 6/21/2006 7:58 AM, Blogger Cellar Door said...

I think he made a very good point.

Im sure you heard of the "Broken Windows theory". This theory was what Gulliani used to fix NYC. Basically if you fix the little problems, such as people who break windos, or in NY's case clean up the graffiti all over the subway cars, eventually the quality of life goes up.

This Rabbi was correct in assuming that because these little things, like drinking from a bottle or the like shows that our manners have degraded. I have heard the example drawn from the fact that all men, all of them, wore hats in public. After President Kennedy stopped wearing his hat out in public the rest of America did as well. As you know after that there was a very loose hippy style movement that followed the conservative 1950's. Obviously that wasnt the reason why the movement came about, but these little things, especially by visible public figures all add to it.

 
At 6/21/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

omg what am i missing?! can someone explain to me the issue of drinking from a water bottle? isnt that what they were created for??

maybe my confusion does prove the point of those who claim drinking from water bottles demonstrates the degradation of society , but im willing to learn, SOMEONE explain it to me...

 
At 6/21/2006 8:55 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

My teacher in seminary was very against us drinking from a water bottle. She was showing the sensitivy which I later understood but I still do drink from a water bottle. Best to start with little things not to overwhelm ourselves. chose something maybe more worthwhile than not drinking from a water bottle.

 
At 6/21/2006 9:04 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Every frum Jew knows that drinking water straight from the bottle can lead to MIXED DANCING.

Trouble is, I have this water bottle sitting next to my laptop where Im typing and I keep drinking from it...and I haven't danced today...even once.

 
At 6/21/2006 9:45 AM, Blogger Charlie Hall said...

What is ussur about a water bottle?

 
At 6/21/2006 10:05 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

ok nevermind, someone explained it to me. its a matter of etiquette, and respectable people should follow proper etiquette..

i guess i just dont get it..

and im sure those sentarors wouldnt either..

maybe this shows how far down society has stooped, or maybe it just shows that etiquette is subjective, time and space related, and reflects nothing but the norms of a certain time and place and society - which this rabbi and the senators apparently dont share..

 
At 6/21/2006 1:03 PM, Anonymous Chaim said...

"After President Kennedy stopped wearing his hat out in public the rest of America did as well. As you know after that there was a very loose hippy style movement that followed the conservative 1950's."

That's an urban legend, popular in yeshivish circles.

Moreover, the "loose hippy style" (snicker) movement was well rooted in the decades before it. The conservatism of the 50's was largely a facade.

See:

http://www.snopes.com/history/american/jfkhat.htm

Picture of Kennedy wearing his hat as his inauguration:

http://67.19.222.106/history/graphics/jfk8.jpg

In any case, who said there would be any connection at all? Why on earth do you assume a hat-wearing society is more morally upright? After all, most other people in the Western world have traditionally TAKEN OFF their hats a sign of respect. For them, it is simply a functional piece of outerwear which it would be disrespectful to wear indoors!

Do you think that a society would become more corrupt if they decided to stop wearing raincoats? Sheesh.

 
At 6/21/2006 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonym00kie writes "isnt that what they were created for??"

I think that's the exact misunderstanding here. As wikorice wrote earlier:

"Considering that soda cans and individual water bottles are a relatively recent phenonomon, is there any Jewish tradition (or mesora) that it's proper to drink from a cup instead?"

So the people who say how awful it is to drink from a bottle are just on the other side of a generation gap. They associate drinking from a bottle with drinking from something which is not made for that. For example, the classic "guy" thing of opening the fridge and drinking straight from the milk or orange juice carton. I think almost everyone would agree that that is pretty uncouth and ill-mannered. So some Rabbonim simply haven't assimilated the concept that something can be BOTH a storage container AND a drinking utensil.

Maybe we should put it in lomdish terms. There are tzvei dinim here.

 
At 6/21/2006 1:10 PM, Anonymous Chaim said...

anonym00kie writes "isnt that what they were created for??"

I think that's the exact misunderstanding here. As wikorice wrote earlier:

"Considering that soda cans and individual water bottles are a relatively recent phenonomon, is there any Jewish tradition (or mesora) that it's proper to drink from a cup instead?"

So the people who say how awful it is to drink from a bottle are just on the other side of a generation gap. They associate drinking from a bottle with drinking from something which is not made for that. For example, the classic "guy" thing of opening the fridge and drinking straight from the milk or orange juice carton. I think almost everyone would agree that that is pretty uncouth and ill-mannered. So some Rabbonim simply haven't assimilated the concept that something can be BOTH a storage container AND a drinking utensil.

Maybe we should put it in yeshivish terms. There are tzvei dinim here.

 
At 6/21/2006 1:24 PM, Blogger XVI (R) - NY said...

Youre all right, its a rediculous thing to be concerned for, but as I think i expounded on before, its something that meybe our leaders shouldnt do in public. Thats all. You wouldnt expect to see a Rosh yeshiva scratch his ass in public, even if it itches.

No one is asking the senators not to drink straight from the milk carton except for their wives because thats a home issue, and their own. However, in a public, televised, senatorial meeting, we dont want senators burping on the mic and we dont want them drinking from a bottle in a casual manner.

Thats all.

 
At 6/21/2006 2:20 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

There's something to be said also for the SIZE of the bottle. I've seen construction workers drink out of gallon bottles. I don't know how they do it anyway, I would choke C"V.

For example, Poland Spring makes 16.9 oz, 20 oz, 24 oz, and a 'Thrist Quencher' 1.5 Q i think, and a larger one. Drinking from a Thirst Quencher size might be bordering on inappropriate, and anything larger, certainly. But a 24 oz, assuming one is not squirting, why not?

Certainly I see the concern of it not being on a "high madrayga" to drink from a water bottle, but I think, like most things, if it's done properly, it shouldn't be a problem.

Interesting point re Kennedy, but that's how things are. Society is certainly declining, but there's not much we can do about it. Not to say, "go with the flow," but look at how women are dressed! (yes, I mention that again, since I am frequently stunned at what women think they can wear and still be considered "tzniusdik")

 
At 6/21/2006 2:48 PM, Blogger DTC said...

You've missed the whole point. It's Pas Nisht to drink out of any container that doesn't need to be toveled first. The senators should have been drinking from proper glasses that have shem "Kli" which require tevila with a bracha. Since we don't have to tovel plastic, it's not proper to use it for drinking.

(anyone else want to jump on the "don't use plastic" bandwagon? :-) )

 
At 6/21/2006 8:55 PM, Blogger jew-unit said...

as much as a problem as drinking out of a bottle is there is a point that MICHELLE is trying to make that almost everyone here missed.
even if its not good to drink out of bottles there are many other thinks far far more negative that this principal failed to mention for what ever the reason.
this also bothers me tremendously.only the first anon. and the person who mentioned the former mayor touched this point.

 
At 6/22/2006 6:38 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

It probbaly wasn't your intention but I had to laugh so hard reading this.
I agree that this was completely ridiculous, seriously there is some worse stuff around.

 
At 6/22/2006 7:12 AM, Blogger Carmen O. said...

I had a rosh yeshiva once who ranted that "bnei melachim" - "princes" - should not eat pizza at sidewalk cafes or eat ice cream in public, because it's beneath our dignity. "Is the way of a prince to stick his tongue out and lick ice cream in the street?" he thundered?

I was thinking, "If only you knew what else your boys were doing with their tongues..."

 
At 6/22/2006 9:07 AM, Blogger Cellar Door said...

Chaim:


"It is true that Kennedy almost never wore a hat after becoming president, but his hatlessness was much more likely the continuation of a trend that had long since begun, not its origin. Either way, the common claim that the shunning of hats by American men began because Kennedy declined to wear one to his inauguration is flat-out wrong."

That is from the snopes website, and i will concede the point on Kennedy, although he didnt wear his hat very often, and I was not reffering to one particular moment in time. I would also like to add that it is not the "yesheivish" idea, but snopes brought references from a few books proving that point.

However the fact that the overwhelming trend, whether starting in the times of Truman or Kennedy still proves the point that Moral decline was in full swing, and at the same time the Hippie movement began. And yes there was a movement in the fifties, but it was not out in full force until the sixties and it came to a head and exploded after sixty nine.

 
At 6/22/2006 9:17 AM, Blogger FRUM_RAID said...

How many Rabbeim/Rosh Yeshiva smoke?
I would think that is a lot worse.

 
At 6/22/2006 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the first time, Michelle, I agreed with your point and thought your writing was superb, really excellent, and you didn't stray from your argument.
Excellent post, keep it up!

 
At 6/22/2006 1:18 PM, Anonymous cornboy said...

great post, i had a rebbi of mine who use to stress the importance of eating and drinking like a 'mentch', only drinking from a cup, not eating or drinking standing up, (i've missed out on many a smorgasbord. over this chumrah) The navi in shoftim tells us that before Gideon went to war he brought his potential soldiers to the water to drink and anyone who drank ‘like a dog’ ie. put his mouth to the water was not able to fight for him.
Rav nachmun from bresslev said that while some people eat, others more spiritually inclined eat so they can learn, then there are the rare few who learn so they will know how to eat!! I think drinking directly from the bottle is a big deal. it certainly doesn’t minimize all the valid problems you mentioned, this rabbi was presumably talking to group of people who are above lying a cheating.

 
At 6/22/2006 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Rabbi was only upset that a U.S. Senator on official business would do such a thing. What Harry and Sam do in the pizza store is their own business.

 
At 6/22/2006 3:30 PM, Anonymous Chaim said...

cellar, you failed to address my second point. Here it is:

"
In any case, who said there would be any connection at all? Why on earth do you assume a hat-wearing society is more morally upright? After all, most other people in the Western world have traditionally TAKEN OFF their hats a sign of respect. For them, it is simply a functional piece of outerwear which it would be disrespectful to wear indoors!

Do you think that a society would become more corrupt if they decided to stop wearing raincoats?"

 
At 6/22/2006 3:51 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

frum-raid: Thank you!!! why didn't I think of that??

Anon-Thanks, but don't count on it. I have a HORRIBLE habit of straying as you have noticed.

However, I must admit I love the line, "horrific water-swigging culure." :-)

What have you disagreed with? And why don't you ID yourself as SOMETHING?! ANYTHING!

Cornboy--Can't argue Nach, can I? Thanks. I just don't know what to say.

 
At 6/22/2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Cellar Door said...

Chaim.

First of all wearing hats does not make a morally upright society. Kennedy as well as other presidents were accused of many "unkosher" activities even while they wore their hats. The point I was making was that the Rav has a point. When the hats came off, other morally corrupt aspects of our society were done out in the open.

In addition, hats were not worn as a functional piece like a raincoat. It was of course worn fashionably, but was a respectful way of walking the streets. A man wouldnt leave the house without his hat once upon a time! Now maybe thats ridiculous, but it followed the Mores of society at the time. I didnt assume anything.

 
At 6/23/2006 9:18 AM, Anonymous SOMETHING?! ANYTHING! said...

It's very easy to answer cornboy. In nach he was checking to see who would bow down on his hands and knees to drink from the river/well. That revealed the people who worshipped avodah zorah and bowed to idols. It may also have revealed the people who were 'like dogs' as cornboy interprets it.

Regardless, it is distinguishable from our situation where the person is drinking from a personalized water bottle. The person is not bowing down on his hands and knees. The person is not 'slugging' from a gallon-jug. The person is merely using the 12-20oz. water bottle in the manner in which it was designed to be used.

One final point. Today it is usual for people to use these water bottles as a cup, so someone who uses one is not acting 'like a dog.'

 
At 6/23/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous cornboy said...

something/anything said...
(great id) the bowing down u refer to is a nice drash on the story (there is nothing in the p'shat to suggest that they were doing avoda zarah)
my point is that while there r obviously very serious problems in society, i think that 'menchlichkietness' (i think thats an adjective) is an valid issue to discuss as well.

 
At 6/23/2006 4:52 PM, Anonymous Chaim said...

menchlichkiet is mostly based on how you treat other people. For example, denigrating people who do something innocuous like drink from a water bottle would be a lack of menchlichkiet.

 
At 6/25/2006 9:23 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

"SOMETHING?! ANYTHING!"--very cute ID :-)
And I agree with what you said.

Chaim-most certainly. Thanks for your wise words.

With all due respect to Rebbeim and Morot, sometimes they way they treat their students, or how they make their students feel, is a lot worse than the thing they are giving mussar about.

For example: A teacher once told my class, "if there is a girl in this room who watches TV or listens to Goyishe music, I don't want to see your face." Can't you see that doing worse for a girl than a little Gilmore Girls??

 
At 6/25/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

I guess I was always told that drinking from water bottles and cans was not so tzniusdik. I don't do it because I just prefer straws, but I never really thought about it as an issue as a whole.

 
At 6/25/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

"For example: A teacher once told my class, "if there is a girl in this room who watches TV or listens to Goyishe music, I don't want to see your face." Can't you see that doing worse for a girl than a little Gilmore Girls?? "

Unbelievable, I would of said, if there is a teacher in here destroying a girls self-esteem I NEVER want to see her face..

 
At 6/25/2006 9:05 PM, Blogger SephardiLady said...

Yet another terrible way to prove that we are better.

 
At 6/25/2006 10:26 PM, Anonymous I forgot my name said...

Michelle, very nice blog, and great topics.

About the whole water bottle thingy, its rather crazy. Yes someone with a very high job should have some respect.. If you were working in the oval office, would you drink from a water bottle in front of the president?? I don't think so... I wouldnt.. I still would drink from a water bottle not in front of him.

I'm not such a big talker or maybe I am, because I'm almost always found with a 24 ounce Poland sprint sports bottle, drinking as much as I can down, but I won't stuff it in my face in front of a respectable person.

And yea, I'm waiting now for all the guys and girl, when they go to an amusement park and buy a bottle of water or soda, to ask for a cup with it!!! (or will a straw do??)..

 
At 6/25/2006 10:26 PM, Anonymous I forgot my name said...

Michelle, very nice blog, and great topics.

About the whole water bottle thingy, its rather crazy. Yes someone with a very high job should have some respect.. If you were working in the oval office, would you drink from a water bottle in front of the president?? I don't think so... I wouldnt.. I still would drink from a water bottle not in front of him.

I'm not such a big talker or maybe I am, because I'm almost always found with a 24 ounce Poland sprint sports bottle, drinking as much as I can down, but I won't stuff it in my face in front of a respectable person.

And yea, I'm waiting now for all the guys and girl, when they go to an amusement park and buy a bottle of water or soda, to ask for a cup with it!!! (or will a straw do??)..

 
At 6/26/2006 6:45 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Semgirl-yeah, actually I was gonna save that quote for another post of mine about my school :-)

 
At 7/24/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger JBL the first said...

When I saw the story on ..... I just thought about one thing "I have the perfect example for you".

There you are probably more than 90% of Americans use the word in their daily vocabulary. But when Bush uses it (when million percent correct) it gets the worlds coverage till named "the .... heard around the world".

It just shows much more is expected from elected leaders and when they stoop even on things that are normal things for all of us, it means something went really wrong.

 
At 10/05/2006 5:58 PM, Anonymous justcallusbloppy said...

wtvr, it was just an example dont read so into it. and it is pretty low class, not saying i wouldnt do it....

 
At 12/31/2014 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder what that rabbi would say all these years later.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home