Friday, August 11, 2006

Biggest News of the Week

This Table Talk is in honor of the two Israeli soldier’s whom my family has “adopted”: Tovia Baruch ben Rachel Frayda and David Shlomo ben Rachel Frayda. To adopt a soldier, send an email to For more info, send me an email.

Biggest News of the Week

While I was out of town this week, my wife called to report that our two-year-old had decided to potty-train himself, and simultaneously learned how to climb out of his crib.

Out goes the crib, in comes the bed.

While she was setting up the bed, he watched with terrific appreciation: “Bed for me, Mommy? Thank you, thank you!” he said over and over. He was so pleased.

When do people stop appreciating and start each other for granted?

So many people do things for us. One could argue that the woman at the Safeway check-out is just doing her job. But one could say that about your mother too. In both situations, here is another human being who is doing something for me that she doesn’t have to do. Even if she doesn’t need to hear thank you, I need to feel it, and to say it.

One family I know has an uplifting custom every Friday night: each person mentions something that someone did for them this week that they appreciate. We call this “giving hakarat ha-tov” (some say “hakaras ha-tov”) which means recognizing the good. Even better, ask each person to give hakarat ha-tov to two people, one in the family and one from outside the family.

The word “Jew” comes from “Judah” or “Yehuda” which means thankful.

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Up in occupied Lebanon (now who’s the occupier and who’s the occupied?), there are as you read this thousands of Israelis who have left their families in order to try to help the rest of the world by checking, if not destroying, a terrible scourge. We owe them and their families a tremendous hakarat ha-tov for their personal and national sacrifices.

If you have any lingering doubts about Israel’s current mission, please see the following links:

Photo Fraud

Lebanon Myths
New York Times Magazine (this NY Times link expires Sunday; if you miss it, email me as I’ve saved a copy)

Other ways to help:

1. Rambam Hospital in Haifa: http://WWW.RAMBAM.ORG.IL
2. For displaced children:
3. To help displaced families:
4. Tell the White House what you think: 202-456-1111 or

Shabbat Shalom.

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