Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The four cups

After I broke all my glasses one-by-one, I went to the Fishs Eddy store around the corner to get some new ones. I was pretty disappointed that they had every kind of glass you can imagine except the one I wanted (which I bought from them 6 months ago).

But what I did find was the latest in Judeo-kitch - Rabbi Glasses. So naturally I bought the set. But I was wondering why they picked the four rabbis they picked: (1) Azriel Hildenseimer, author of a fascinating bunch of responsa I once read, and forerunner of Modern Orthodox Judaism (more here), whose name incidentally, they misspelled. (2) Yitzchak Spector (whose name they also sort-of misspelled) a pioneer, and one of the more important early members of the Hovevei Zion movement and an indefatigable advocate for Jewish causes (a man they tell many stories about, more here). (3) S.Y. Rabinovitch, whom I heard of, but for the life of me, can't remember where or why, and finally (4) Elizer Goldberg (whose name I am pretty sure they misspelled too) who I never even heard of except in that generic sense that every Jew must know an Eliezer Goldberg.

If anyone has a theory on why they picked those four, out of all the rabbis they could have picked and still looked just as kitch-y let me know, I'm really curious.

I hope I don’t break these glasses.

9 comments:

ocawatch said...

what? no shabbtai tzvi?

Shosh said...

fun! no idea why they picked 'em, though.

bec said...

beautiful.
here's my idea.
a pesach seder wedding.
each glass of wine in a different rabbi glass.
after we drink each glass of wine, we smash it.
i don't know the point of the rabbis though, maybe they could officiate, as much as rabbis on glasses can, i suppose.
nevermind, it doesn't even have to be a wedding. we can just smash the glasses for the fun of it.

Karl said...

Perhaps we can have a picture of the officiating rabbi depicted on the glasses we smash under the chupah. I think there would be some sort of irony there.

Karl said...

Follow up

I sent fishs Eddy the following letter:

Dear Fishs Eddy people,

I recently purchased a set of your "torah glasses". On them, as you
know, they depict four different Rabbis, I was wondering if you could
tell me why those four rabbis were chosen over the many others who could
have been used. Not that there is anything wrong with these four, but
to be honest, I know a bit about rabbis, and one I them I never even
heard of, and a second I heard of but have no idea why. Also, most of
their names are misspelled. I was hoping you can shed light on this for
me. Thank you very much.

A satisfied, but curious customer.

--Karl Czemer

PS, I would be very happy to review future Jewish (or any other)
products of yours to veryify the spellings.

http://philosophicalkarl.blogspot.com/2005/11/four-cups.html

This is what they sent back (fairly promptly, I might add):

Dear Karl,

Thank you for your inquiry!

Our Heroes of the Torah are based on real rabbis but are not necessarily
factual, this glassware pattern is just a humorous tribute to many
rabbis.

Thank you for shopping with us!

Sincerely,
Fishs Eddy

Shosh said...

seriously?? Ha! how cute! Karl, you're such a smart ass.

Larry said...

I found your blog post by googling S.Y. Rabinovitch... I've got the same glasses.

I had thought that the "Heroes of the Torah" name for the series of glasses came from a card-collecting game that was invented for religious kids -- so they wouldn't envy kids playing Pokemon ...

ike said...

I don't know you, but I googled S.Y. Rabinovitch because I received the glasses as a birthday gift, and you were the first hit ... so thanks for some answers and the realization that others are just as in the dark as I am.
-meir yitzach

Eddie said...

R. Elizer Goldberg wrote extensively on the role of Heaven in settling disputes between extremely mismatched groups. His writings are ultra-dense but address minority rights. Elizer holds the record in receiving bat kol or praise from other Rabbis during the 20th Century. (It's the same as a batting average.)