Friday, February 25, 2011

__A (Fill in the Blank)

Here's a story you don't hear too often.

You've probably heard of OA - Overeaters Anonymous

Maybe you even know someone who's a member.

According to statistics, you surely know someone who could be a member.

Regardless, you have a stereotype of what an OA member looks like: overweight, right?

I mean, if you're not overweight, how could you think of yourself as an overeater (barring disorders like anorexia)?

So imagine my astonishment last weekend when speaking to an acquaintance who lives around the corner. Let's call him Yaakov.

Yaakov is about as slender as a man could be, and not be invisible. There
does not appear to be one gram of excess fat on him.

He has always been slender.

Here we are just shmuzing and he mentions, "You know, I've been member of OA for the past 2 years."

My jaw dropped: "You? What in the world for? You do not fit one's stereotype of a candidate for OA!"

"I just felt that I had an unhealthy relationship to food, so I tried it out, and it's been really great for me. Changed my life, in fact."

It seems to me a lot of people talk about changing their lives, whether that means losing weight, learning to paint, conquering anger, developing their spiritual side, but don't actually do it. The OA message I got from my friend is that it's a system. A systematic way of

1. Defining the change you want to make
2. Identifying what's holding you back
3. Making a plan
4. Making it a habit.

So here's the question for your table: Why don't more of us do this?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - if you're looking for a little inspiration to take a shot at it, try this great video that someone sent me this morning:

Friday, February 18, 2011


When Moses descended from Mount Sinai after 80 days of learning the Torah directly from God, his face was karan-ohr - radiating light. Since Torah scrolls are written without vowels, a Christian translator (St Jerome) made an understandable error: he misread the word karan as keren - horn!

Consequently, Michelangelo's monumental sculpture of Moses, seen to this day in Rome, includes a pair of horns jutting from his head.

(Excerpted from the Amazing Jewish-Fact-a-Day Calendar)

Here's a pic in case you don't believe me! (You may want to print this to share at the dinner table...)

Wait a sec - when the chuckling dies down at your table, try asking these 2 questions:

Question 1 - How is a man's face shining with rays of light (so brightly that he had to wear a veil) less plausible than him growing horns?

Question 2 - Would you say the translator was WRONG or is it truthfully a matter of interpretation?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - If you think about it, everything is subject to this kind of debate around interpretation. Think about the US Constitution, think about the word "freedom".... For something meaningful and memorable to do with the family on President's Day, check out Freedom's Feast.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Talmudic Airplane?

Happy Birthday Lily - may you continue to fly higher and higher!

Astonishingly, the Talmud, completed ca. 500 CE, asks questions about flying towers and flying boxes.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 106b) asks: “What is the meaning of the verse, ‘…He who counted the towers’ (Isaiah 33:18)?”

Answer: The verse refers to the many questions concerning "a tower flying in the air."

For example: Does passing over a cemetery in a flying tower cause a person to contract ritual impurity like walking though it would?

Another: Is a Cohen/priest (whose holy status means he may not enter a cemetery) permitted to fly over a cemetery in a flying box?

(Excerpted from the Amazing Jewish Fact-a-Day Calendar,

First question for your table - What do you think? Did these ancient rabbis foresee the future development of airplanes, or did they just have wild imaginations?

Second question - What's your answer? Should a Cohen be allowed to fly over a cemetery?

Shabbat Shalom