Ali, you asked about durability. All the DIY sites I visited said that this will last years. I found 1 this AM (some....snowboard? Skateboard? site) that had a guy showing a board he did a few years ago - looks BRAND new. Granted, he put on 32 coats :gulp: - but still. He uses the board a lot, from his post, and it looks fantastic. He said he puts on thin coats, sands between each, and lets it cure before use. He also claims that Polycrylic will "cure" for up to 3 months AFTER it's dry, so.....I'm not worried, is what I'm saying. :grin:
Siddur: Been reading the Weeday Siddur. The first bit is the history/background of the prayers, which is *right* up my alley. I like knowing the *why* - WHY do you say a prayer the moment you wake up? WHY do you say a prayer when you wash your hands (right after getting up, before getting out of bed. No, I'm not kidding. I.......nevermind. :grin:) Why do you say the prayers in Hebrew, even if you don't normally speak it? (Because Hebrew is Adonai's holy tongue. To quote the Siddur "Is it not fitting to approach Adonai in His holy language, thereby approaching Him with greater respect, honor, and dignity?")
Now......I have a problem with the Siddur. It says that in prayers, *intent* matters. You should have the proper frame of mind before beginning. I get that - and I agree. However..it also says that you've fulfilled the obligation of prayer, even if you just do a mechanical recitation of the words. Um....those 2 statements don't match up to me. Either you pray with intent, or you don't - you can't have it both ways (I mean....OK, sure you can. But that's not what the Siddur is saying - it makes a big deal about having to have the proper mindset, and then it throws in the line that "mindless recitation fulfills the commandment". WHA???)
Moving on....I have another problem. IF you are going to be a.....proper? (I don't know if that's the right word) Jew (or, believer - after all, Messiah WAS Jewish!), you are supposed to follow the Weekday Siddur EVERY single day, reciting EVERY single prayer. Let's take a look at this...
Prayer when wake up
Prayer before washing hands
Prayer before donning the Prayer Shawl* (more on this in a bit)
Prayer WHILE donning the Prayer Shawl (it's a long-ish one)
Prayer before donning the Tefillin
Prayer after donning, but before tightening the Tefillin
Prayer after tightening the Tefillin
Recitation of 2 Torah passages while wearing Tefillin
Recitation of the Sh'ma
****it breaks here for the Morning Synagogue prayers......there's a lot of them*****
(Oh, and in the Synagogue portion, you have to pray BEFORE reciting the Sh'ma, and again after)
Recitation of the Shemoneh Esrei (18 Blessings...although it's really 19?) - I think it's daily, but it might just be in the Synagogue)
Anyway - there's prayers for *everything*, which is good....but really? A prayer for after you...um.....go to the bathroom? Really? (Yes, I'm serious. It's.....I understand the idea, but *really*?)
There's also prayers for the afternoon and evening (which is neat - this Siddur says that the daily prayers were instituted by the Patriarchs - Morning by Abraham, Afternoon by Isaac, and Evening by Jacob (because his life was so bleak and filled with hardship, he's the one linked to the prayers said during the dark hours.))
* Prayer shawl. The Prayer shawl is worn to fulfill the commandment of wearing fringes on the corner of your garment. Since our clothes no longer have corners, the Prayer shawl was designed so that the commandment could be fulfilled. "Since the purpose of the fringes were to remind us of the 613 commandments, and since by donning a garment whose essence is for remembering, we hope to be remembered by Adonai" This is the BEST explanation of a Prayer shawl I've ever read - and I got geeked over it.
Other interesting tidbits:
There are 248 positive commandments in the Torah, which equal to the 248 organs in the human body.
Headcovering - comes from the verse "Who crowns Israel with splendor Covering the head is an honor for Jewish mean and women. Generally speaking, you cover your head with the Prayer shawl while praying, especially during the Sh'ma. Not sure I'll start covering - I haven't found ANYWHERE in Torah that says it's a commandment - but it's an interesting thought.
I've only scratched the surface, but this is interesting. And cool.
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