Ken (Chanoch) Bloom's Blog

21st January 2008

What did Yitro hear?

וישמע יתרו כהן מדין את כל־אשר עשה אלקים למשה ולישראל עמו כי־הוציא ה׳ את־ישראל ממצרים.

Yitro, the priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moshe, heard everything that God did to Moshe and to Yisrael, his people -- that Hashem had taken Yisrael out of Egypt.

On the words וישמע יתרו, Rashi brings two things that Yitro heard: the splitting of the sea, and the war with Amalek. Later in the same verse, on the words את כל־אשר עשה, Rashi brings a different list: the well, the manna, and the war with Amalek. What can we learn from these two different lists?

The Maskil L'David comments on Rashi, explaining that the manna and the well were kindnesses that Hashem gave us despite our sins -- our improper complaints against Hashem -- in each of these instances. But we know that the nature of each of these was to teach us something.

Water (from Rashi's second list) is symbolic of Torah, as is the tree that Moshe threw into the water to make it drinkable. And lest we doubt this explanation as just symbolism, Moshe also gave the Jews a couple of Torah laws there too. And the manna (also from Rashi's second list) was a daily lesson for us in trust of Hashem.

Compare that to the Egyptians who were drowned in the sea (Rashi's first list), and we can pretty clearly see the difference between the Jews and the non-Jews. When we misbehave, Hashem gives us a way to improve. No wonder Yitro wanted to join the Jewish people.

Permalink | torah.
31st January 2008

Battery monitor with sysfs

Debian's packages of Linux kernel 2.6.24 have disabled CONFIG_ACPI_PROCFS_POWER, so the /proc interface for reading your battery power is no longer present. This breaks most of the battery monitors in Debian. Not to worry. I wrote my own.

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
require 'dockapp'


def readint file
  open(file)do |f|
def readstr file
  open(file)do |f|

def update
  charge_full=readint "#{PREFIX}/BAT1/charge_full"
  charge_now=readint "#{PREFIX}/BAT1/charge_now"
  @bat_pct.set_text "#{(100*charge_now/charge_full)}%"
  @bat_status.set_text readstr("#{PREFIX}/BAT1/status")
  @time.set_text "" #TODO: change me

  acad_online=readint "#{PREFIX}/ACAD/online"
  case acad_online
  when 0: @cord.set_text "unplugged"
  when 1: @cord.set_text "plugged"
end "Power Status""",9,1,0)"",9,1,0)"",9,1,0)"",9,1,0)

dockapp.add(2,45,@time) do



Have a look at for the dockapp library.

Permalink | linux.
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