The essence of Jewish Holidays

As some of you already know, the Passover (Pesach) holiday had just passed, and today is the ever so sweet holiday of the Mimona. Now, the Mimona holiday was brought to Israel by the Morocco Jewish community, and had become very popular among all Israeli’s in the past 20 years.

I couldn’t help but stop and think a little about the essence of Jewish holidays, and try to see what stands behind each one. So, as I was sitting down and more or less trying to think of the holidays of the year, I couldn’t help but notice an alarming fact: Most, if not all, Jewish holidays revolve around Food – and usually, quite a lot of it. Lets take the month of Tishrei, the first month of the year. We celebrate 3 different holidays within a single month. New years, followed by Yom-Kipuer (not really a celebration) followed by Sukot. Each holiday, with its traditional 4-5 course meal.

Shortly after Tishrei, we have the month of Kislev and Chanuka – the holiday solely dedicated to fried food! Imagine, a holiday celebrating the donut, with as many toppings and combinations you may of for a donut.

Then we take a small break, coming to the month of Shvat, with the ever popular Tu-Beshvat, mostly a celebration of the land, when people eat all kinds of dried fruit, nuts and berries – a festivity to the eye, and a serious sugar rush.

We then come to Hadar with the ever festive Purim holiday. Again, sweets all around, and I mean not only sweets, it’s actually a Mitzva to go about and get completely wasted from Wine and alcohol – which is usually not a common practice in Jewish holidays.

After Purim we get to Nitzan, with the ever so great Passover. Matza balls, potatoes, HUGE family festive dinners – and of course no bread, just Matza. However, the fact that we don’t eat bread in that holiday doesn’t mean that it’s low on carbs, actually, a single Matza is like eating 5 pieces of breads – Amazing isn’t it.

After Passover we have Lag Baomer, which basically means lighting up camp fires in memory of the rebellion, however, in modern Israel was translated to: Let’s BBQ dude, and eat as much meat as we can – oh, did I mention the ever festive Kartuchkalach? basically a potato that was cooked under the camp fire, wrapped in tin-foil.

After that we have Shavout, again a festivity of the land, coming back from the anciant times, where the field owners would leave some of the product of the field for the poor people to gather. In this holiday, we eat mainly dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc). In modern time, this holiday was replaced by the ever dreaded MEGA Italian Dinner, a celebration of cream based sauces, and as much pizza as you can gobble down.

Well, if go about and examine each one in detail, you would notice a similar pattern: “We suffered because someone tried to kill us. Hooray, they didn’t succeed – LETS EAST!”

Signing off with a Mufleta, Happy Holidays. 

I don’t feel right charging for 15 minutes

Ok, I’m a consultant and developer, but asking somebody to pay me for 15 minutes worth of work – I feel like a total heel. I’m a member of this Freelancers website called oDesk. Every once in a while I get a notification from oDesk, asking me to participate in an interview – which I usually accept (after all, we’re all looking for work).

I have to admit that most of the people that come to oDesk are usually seeking to outsource some work to somebody, in the hope that it will be for a cheap price. Now, I admit, my services aren’t cheap and that’s because I take high pride in what I do, and I aim to provide a service from A-to-Z. However, I never take a job without clearly looking at what I’m about to take upon myself – and most importantly, I’ll never ever charge for something that takes me up-to 15-20 minutes.

Tonight, I got an interview request from a man in Miami, asking me to look at his FreePBX installation. The man also stated that he required some development work to be done, so I replied positively to the interview request. Shortly after 10 minutes, I got an IM from the man and we started talking. I started looking at his Asterisk box and as I didn’t have any root access at the point, I commented that it may take anything from 2 hours to 4 hours to solve. In any case, we started talking about the payment, which was a little high for the guy, so we agreed on a price – pending that I take a quick look at the server at root level.

I got root access and logged on – after 2 minutes I replied to the man: “Dude, I can’t charge you for this, it will take me exactly 4 minutes to fix, and 2 more minutes to add the feature”. So, I did the change for the guy, who still wanted to pay me, which I replied: “donate the funds to your favorite charity, I can’t charge for this”. Now, everybody would say: “Are you fuck’n mad? taking 200$ for 6 minutes of work, that’s like a world record!”, well, it’s not a world record to me if I feel like a heel. Charging somebody for something has to mean something, I’ve seen people charge other people for nothing, and I believe things shouldn’t work like that. I truly believe in the existence of Karma, and that the world strives for balance. As I do on to others, others may also do on to me – so there is no use to charge somebody for 10 minutes of help, as I may need these 10 minutes of help some day from someone else.