Friday, August 24, 2007

This Just In Talk

Dedicated to the speedy and complete recovery of Rabbi Tzvi Shur, who has a scheduled heart surgery this coming Tuesday - he had had a routine test for a minor treatment two weeks ago and the doctors discovered a major problem in his heart. We are grateful for the gift of modern medicine. (Tzvi Gershon ben Shaindel Shaina Raizel)

Question for your table: What’s the most significant news of the summer?

Summer’s almost over, time for a roundup.

First, do you remember the family who had the terrible accident last October? I wrote about it here: ....

Most of the children have recovered 99%. The youngest victim, seven-year-old Rafoel Dovid ben Brocha, has been making the slowest progress. He had severe brain trauma, but slowly, slowly is getting better. Here is a summary of what his father wrote three weeks ago:

Dovid was discharged from the hospital on February 16 and on the 19th he began his day care therapies at Ranken Jordon Children’s Rehab Hospital. After a month ,he returned to school for an hour in the morning to daven with his class and then proceeded to his therapies. Since school has ended, he has been attending a day camp along with a personal shadow/tutor and is going for out patient therapies 3 times a week.
It’s hard to describe his mental status. He is not what or who he was and his brain is still in need of much healing. His abilities are compromised due to the severity of the brain trauma and injury. Nevertheless, he has made and continues to make tremendous strides. His long term memory is better than his short term memory. His short term memory which was of the greatest concern seems to be getting stronger. He is remembering things that happened yesterday or in the recent past more than the doctors would believe possible. It’s not always on target or lucid, but we see continued improvements and are grateful for this and daven that he’ll come back all the way.
Every doctor and therapist who sees him, especially those who don’t see him regularly, has been wowed by his remarkable progress, albeit he has a very long way to go. Dovid’s left side of his body has made significant improvements. He still doesn’t move his left hand or fingers voluntarily, but we are hopeful and optimistic that it’s a matter of time when this function will return. His vision is basically good. He sees near and far and recognizes everything.
Dovid’s swallowing has been like a roller coaster. During Pesach his eating was great. After Pesach he had some setbacks, and it was a painstaking 20-40 minutes between each bite.
Dovid has been walking slowly with someone holding on to him. It’s a slow process like teaching a child how to walk. Yesterday and today I’ve been encouraging him to stand by himself. This morning we got up to 15 seconds, he then takes one step before falling over. He traditionally says after someone catches him, “nice catch”.
Since May I have been taking Dovid swimming as much as possible.
Dovid is in great spirits. He often asks me, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I ask him, “Dovid, what are you thinking?” He responds, “About me getting much better”.
This Wednesday, my wife and I are taking Dovid to New York where he was accepted into Camp Simcha. On August 14th we are taking Dovid to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he will be evaluated and enrolled in an intensive rehab program for approximately 5 hours each day for a minimum of 2 weeks.

If that heart-wrenching saga of faith and hishtadlus isn’t enough to wow you, try this awesome animated video from Harvard, based on current knowledge of cellular biology:

Second Question for your Table: What’s more awesome, the human being or the universe?

On the BBC this morning, after rattling off the usual humdrum news, the announcer concluded with this:

“...and Scientists in the United States have found a giant hole in the universe, far bigger than any that has previously been found.”

That’s all she said – no elaboration. Try reading that with a British accent and see how odd it sounds.

What does it mean? Who knows?

Shabbat Shalom.

Einstein quote of the week:
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."
-Albert Einstein

Israel fact of the week:
ISRAEL LEADS THE GLOBE IN R&D INVESTMENTS, 4.4% of GDP (77% by the business sector), ahead of Sweden - 3.7%, Finland - 3.5%, Japan - 3.3%, US - 2.2% and Canada - 1.7% (The Marker, Aug. 2, 2007).

New Amazement website about to launch – sneak preview: – please send your feedback!

Speaking schedule:
Monday, August 27 – Baltimore: “In the Beginning”
Tuesday, August 28 – Baltimore: “Let There be Light”
September 12-14 - Rosh Hashana - Baltimore (“The Un-Shul” for people who want to connect but don’t connect to shul)
September 21-22 – Yom Kippur - Los Angeles (“The Happiest Yom Kippur of Your Life”)

(For details, send an email)

Yiddish of the week:
hishtadlus — effort, due diligence; as in, “Do your hishtadlus and let Hashem worry about it.”

Yiddish review - how many do you know?
anee — poor person
koptsen — panhandler
ballaboss — homeowner; layman
nu — various meanings (see archives)
mishpocha — family
mameh — mother
tateh — father
mazal – (MAH-z’l) luck or fortune, as in, “It was good mazal that....”
beshert – (b’shairt) - meant to be, as in “It was beshert that...”
mine eltern – my parents
mine lair-er – my teacher
hamantashen – Haman-pockets
zeigezunt – all the best (said upon parting)
kesher - connection
Ikh volt veln a kave, zayt azoy gut. - I'd like a coffee, please.
...kave mit shmant. – ...a coffee with cream.
...kave mit milkh. – ...a coffee with milk.
...kave mit tsuker. - ...a coffee with sugar.
Di Fir Kashes - The Four Questions
Oy vey! - Good grief!
mensch — a decent person
rachmanos — mercy
neshoma (neh-SHOH-ma) — soul
minig — custom, as in, "Why do you do that?" "It's my minig!"
Gavaltig — wonderful
Oy gavalt — how wonderful (sarcastic)
Azoy gait es! — That’s how it goes!
Shabbos — Cessation; stopping; day of stopping; weekly sabbatical experience
"Gut Shabbos" — "Enjoy your weekly sabbatical experience"
Neshoma — Soul
meshugass — insanity
meshuganeh — insane
kyna hara — no evil eye
shvitz — sweat
shanda — shame
Lechayim! — Cheers!
Pinteleh Yid — the Jewish feeling in the heart of every Jew
Zreezus — zeal
Mkohm — place (pl. mkohmas)
mamalashen — mother tongue
bentch — make a bracha
bashert – meant to be, pre-destined, as in, “He’s my bashert” or “It was bashert that...”
kvetch — complain
kvell — burst with pride

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