Archive for October, 2009

I like this quote

Once you define me, you negate me.

– Søren Kierkegaard

I haven’t been able to find any documentation of where or when Kierkegaard may have actually said this, but it’s quoted on page 8 of Kabbalah: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism by Byron L. Sherwin. I’ve seen the quote translated elsewhere as “Once you label me, you negate me.”

At long last I’m ending my time on leave from the MSJS program at the Spertus Institute, and I’m beginning a new course, on Jewish Mysticism, and it will be the fourth one I’ve taken with lecture videos by Dr. Byron Sherwin. It’s interesting to note that Dr. Sherwin published the above book when I was already his student. I doubt I had any discernable effect on its writing. Anyway, he makes an interesting point in the book, also on page 8, which I remember from a previous course, in which he challenges

the apparent obsession – drawn originally from the Greek philosophical tradition – with defining everything and with believing that once something is defined it is therefore understood.

In the “Jewish Theology” course Dr. Sherwin suggested that definition itself is a category foreign to the Hebrew Bible, and I’ve tended to think in terms of description rather than definition ever since.

Anyway, it feels great to be resuming my studies once again.

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Well, sky conditions were ideal, and so I was out there with my rugged, trusty homebuilt reflector telescope with an 8″ objective mirror, using a 12mm eyepiece with a 2x Barlow lens, yielding a magnification of about 271x. But I saw nothing except the Moon serenely gliding by as steadily as usual, with no visual evidence of the LCROSS impacts. But I don’t feel too bad, because these folks at the Lick Observatory did no better with the famous 36″ refractor:

It was great fun anyway, and a good morning to pull out the telescopes. In the East Venus, Mercury, and Saturn were all visible in close formation, and Mars was high overhead, approaching the meridian. Saturn’s rings were just visible as a spikelike line across the planet, as they very recently were edge-on to Earth. Mars is brightening as it heads towards its biennial close approach to Earth. And I always love the waning Moon, with or without a rocket impact. “When I consider the heavens …” Psalm 8

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The new arrival

This past Thursday, October 1, my new great nephew Cael Evan K. was born, an unusually cute little guy weighing in at 8 pounds 4 ounces. We’re happy that child and mother (and father and siblings) are doing well. He joins older siblings Lindsey, Caitlin, and Ayden. Welcome to the family, Cael, and may the LORD richly bless you!

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