Random Thoughts for Wednesday Evening

Who is rich?—one who is satisfied with his lot. As it is written [in Psalms]: “If you eat of the toil of your hands, fortunate are you, how good it is for you!”

Ethics of the Fathers, 4:1

I love that line. It is a reminder to me that ultimate happiness comes from within. You cannot buy it as it is not for sale. If you want to really be happy you have to look inwards.

There are four types of people: One who says, “What is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine,” is a boor. One who says, “What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours”-this is a median characteristic; others say that this is the character of a Sodomite. One who says, “What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours,” is a chassid (pious one). And one who says, “What is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine,” is wicked.

Ethics of the Fathers, 5:10

Another favorite and a reminder to me that we are part of a community of souls and what we do impacts others. By no means am I a perfect man. I have my share of faults but I have a conscience and when I think of some others I know that it could be worse.

I know a petulant and punitive man who is so uncomfortable living in his own skin that he lashes out at everything and everyone. If he doesn’t change his ways he is going to die bitter and alone. That is not a threat it is a promise. You cannot spend your life screwing others because you think that it is better to screw them first because they might screw you.

The world is sustained by three things:
By justice, by truth, and by peace.
—Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel

The commentary about this (found here) caught my eye because it says this:

“Truth and Peace. Sometimes the truth can offend and set people against each other. The Talmud identifies particularly two areas in which truth can be compromised. One of these is the shading of the truth for the sake of good manners. The question is asked, “How does one dance [and sing] before the bride?

The school of Shammai says: the bride as she is. The school of Hillel says: ‘Beautiful and graceful bride.’”

The school of Hillel maintained against the arguments of the school of Shammai that this is proper even if the bride is lame or blind, and inspite of the Torah passage that says “Keep far from false words” (Ex. 23:7).

Thus the sages concluded “One should always try to get along well with people.”(Ket. 17a). A second area is for the sake of peace in the Home. When God tells Sarah that she will bear a child with Abraham, she laughs, saying “And my lord is old.” But God then reports Sarah’s words to Abraham as “Now that I am old”(Gen. 18:12-13), which will not offend Abraham. Thus the sages conclude that the truth can also be shaded for the sake of family peace.”

Shalom Bayit, there is something to it.

Word of the Day brought to you by Jack and Google.

prestidigitation \pres-tuh-dij-uh-TAY-shuhn\, noun:
Skill in or performance of tricks; sleight of hand.

A good vocabulary will always serve you well. At one point in my childhood I was learning Spanish, Yiddish, Hebrew and English. Ask me how many of these languages I speak well now and I’ll be forced to answer none, ok, maybe English.

One day I intend to resume my studies in all of them. My great-grandparents each spoke a minimum of three languages but one of my great-grandmother spoke 11 fluently. I can’t do that but I can swear in 15.

Lawyer Says Pa. Double-Slay Suspect Scared– He should be. The kid just threw his life away and wrecked several others. I can understand arguing with the parents of a girlfriend, not likely to be a smart move, but ok. But murder is murder. What was he taught and how was he raised. I wonder.

I don’t agree with everything that the Jewish Atheist says, but I do enjoy his blog.

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  1. Jack's Shack November 18, 2005 at 6:20 am


    I seem to recall hearing something like that, but I obviously did not include it in this post. Thank you for adding it.

  2. Daled Amos November 18, 2005 at 4:25 am

    On the topic of prestidigitation, some say that the phrase “abra cadabra” could be aramaic and actually means:
    “I created as I spoke.”

  3. Jack's Shack November 18, 2005 at 1:25 am


    Not to sound silly, but one would think that the interpretations would be relatively different.

  4. Stephen (aka Q) November 17, 2005 at 4:38 pm

    That’s an interesting interpretation of Genesis 18. Rabbinic interpretions follow very different paths than a Christian theologian would utilize – it’s a different approach to interpretation.

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