Friday, August 28, 2009

You, Alone

Rosh Hashana is 3 weeks away and counting. Getting ready? Didn't think so. Read on.

Interesting pair of sailing stories in the news today. Over in England, 17-year-old Mike Perham is back in Portsmouth, England tomorrow after sailing for nine months and 30,000 miles around the world.


He told the BBC last night that despite the massive storms, equipment failures and the purely grueling physical challenge, the hardest part was….being alone.

The other sailing story is from over in Holland. 13-year-old Laura Dekker wants to challenge Mike's record, with the full support of her parents, but Child Protective Services achieved a court order to remove her from her parent's custody. The judge agreed that an 11-year-old is not up for such a challenge.

My first reaction was relief that Laura is being saved from herself. What could her parents be thinking?

Well, it turns out she was literally born and raised on boats and has been sailing solo for two years already. Maybe she could handle it?

Here’s the simple question for your table:

If there were no physical or material problems, could you mentally handle 9 months in a small yacht alone? Do you know anyone who could? Do you know anyone who couldn’t? Next to food, water and shelter, is there anything so vital as companionship?

(Bonus Q - If you had to make the trip - what book(s) would you take?)

There is a Yiddish saying that seems to fit here:

A werm geit a rein in chrein maint er a das iz ziss - A worm enjoying horseradish thinks this is sweet.

In other words, you can probably get used to almost anything, but then you don't know what you're missing.

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For Rosh Hashana last year, if you were reading this blog, you may recall the series of “Joo-Toob” videos I made to help people start thinking beyond the apples and honey.

The first one turned out to be controversial – the part where I suggested you might be better off staying at home on Rosh Hashana:

This year, a new technology will allow me to offer a live web-based interactive class that only requires you to have a browser. The class will be called:

“How to Use the Holidays to Figure Out What’s Broken, and then Fix It”

When: Monday September 7 (Labor Day), 9am Pacific / 12pm Eastern

We’re limiting participation to 25. Sign up by sending an email.

Shabbat Shalom

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The goal of Table Talk is to give you a conversation-starter for the Friday night dinner table. Please print and share.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Question for your table: Do you believe in reincarnation? Do you want to believe in it?

This story is either proof of reincarnation or a very elaborate hoax:

Either way, every reader should know that it is not inconsistent with Jewish tradition.

Question #2 – if it’s for real, what’s the point?

Shabbat Shalom

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The goal of Table Talk is to give you a conversation-starter for the Friday night dinner table. Please print and share.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Kosher Talk

Dedicated to Yaakov ben Ora Belka, may he have a speedy recovery.

This guy brings a small bottle of milk to the yeshiva to enjoy with his coffee. He puts a note on it: “Enjoy this milk, but please do not use last quarter-inch.”

When he goes for his 11 am coffee, to his dismay he finds the bottle empty.

The next day, he makes a larger note, so it will be crystal-clear.

Same thing happens – someone finishes the milk.

The third day, he tries a different note: “You may enjoy this milk but not the last quarter-inch – doing so constitutes geneiva (theft).”

Guess what happens? At 11 am the bottle is empty!

The fourth day, he tries an entirely different tactic. He puts a note on the bottle: “CHALAV STAM” (unsupervised milk).

Guess what happens?

At 11 am, he finds the bottle full.

Some of us are more careful about what we put into our mouths than what comes out of our mouths, or how we treat others.

If you keep kosher and dress and act religious but knowingly gossip or cheat or steal, you are a fraud.

On the other hand, if you don’t keep kosher but never asked what that means, then you are not living up to your potential.

Shabbat Shalom

PS -

Here is a short video about the Land of Milk and Honey:

Here is Ambassador Yoram Ettinger speaking plainly about reality in the Land of Israel:

The goal of Table Talk is to give you a conversation-starter for the Friday night dinner table. Please print and share.

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