I have two matters I would like to share with you.
Jennifer and I spent the week up at Camp Ramah. Normally, we go up there to teach. However, the summer is winding down. We organized the library, went through the ever-growing pile of old tallitot and tefillin, and buried some old materials that had served their purpose. In the piles of stuff, we found 3.5 sets of remarkably high-quality tefillin, as well as another three sets of medium-quality tefillin. The three sets of high-quality are each worth no less than $500, and probably a fair amount more. The medium-quality sets would probably go for about $375.
1. Parents, when you send your kids to camp with tefillin, buy an inexpensive set. It is nowhere near as much a financial loss.
2. Parents, take one of those clothing labels that we all buy for camp and stitch it to the inside of the tefillin bag.
3. If Jesse were to leave tefillin of that quality at camp, I promise that he would be on the bus back up there to find them.
On the half set, there was one that only had the hand tefillin. I do not know what happened to the head. Camp was ever so kind as to give that to me. It is quite helpful. We have a set of kosher parshiyot for the head. We will need ot get the sofer to make a bayit for it, but that should not cost too much.
In another matter, researchers at Tel Aviv have made the scurrilous attempts at boycott even more difficult to sustain. They have developed a series of four chemical formulations that can detect whether a drink has been spiked by any of the four date rape drugs. They are working now on the means of being able to communicate that information via SMS to a cell phone. At this point, the drinks will change colour if the drugs are detected. As a father of a young lady and of two young men, I am thankful for such an invention.
Those darned Israelis...it really makes one wonder what people might be able to produce if they were more caught up in solving the world's problems instead of causing bloodshed.
It is an important piece of Halakhah for me that Jewish tradition defines handedness by writing and not by how we wield a weapon.
Have a wonderful day.