Do you learn from your mistakes? A husband and wife were
enjoying an evening at home. An action-packed adventure movie was
playing, and the bad guy was being chased by a police officer down a spiral
mountain highway. As the speeds increased to an uncontrollable level,
the wife said, "I bet you dinner at a fancy restaurant the criminal goes
over the cliff." "It's a bet," said the husband.
Just then the bad guy lost control on a curve and drove over the cliff.
Realizing he had just lost the bet, the husband asked, "Where do you
want me to make dinner reservations?" His wife looked over at him
and said, ""I feel guilty collecting on our bet. I've seen
this movie before."
"So have I," the husband sheepishly responded, "but I didn't
think he'd be stupid enough to drive off the same cliff twice."
A wise Jewish woman (my mother, she should live and be well) would often
share with her children the following piece of wisdom; "Fool me once,
shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Making mistakes
is part of life. But if we don't learn from those mistakes and
repeat them, they are particularly dangerous.
Genesis 6:9 -- 11:32
As a result of Mankind's evil, G-d brings a flood to destroy every living
creature. Only Noah, his family, and at least one pair of every animal
species were spared. Trivia question: Do you know the name of Noah's
wife? (hint -- it is NOT 'Joan of Ark') When the flood waters
begin to recede after a lengthy deluge, Noah sends forth from the ark a raven
and dove to determine whether the land has dried sufficiently so that they
can leave the ark to once again resettle the earth. G-d promises that
He will never again destroy all of Mankind by means of a flood, and He
designates the rainbow as a sign for that eternal covenant.
Noah plants a vineyard, drinks from its produce and becomes drunk. In
his intoxicated state, he shamefully uncovers himself. While his son
Ham dealt with his father inappropriately, Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japeth, cover their father in a respectful manner.
Generations pass and the world is repopulated. The people attempt to
wage war against G-d by building the Tower of Babel.
G-d responds by mixing up their languages into a 'babble',
and dispersing them across the planet.
Last year, a high school student named
Corey Swearingen put a letter in a bottle and dropped it in the Atlantic
Ocean, off the Florida
coast. It was an experiment for school. In the letter, he
appealed to whomever came across the bottle to
contact him and let him know where in the world it showed up.
Amazingly, someone did.
About 16 months after the bottle was dropped, Swearingen's marine science
teacher heard from someone in Ireland.
The letter had made its way across the Atlantic Ocean and washed up on the
shores of the Emerald Isle, found by a 17-year-old and his Dad while out for
a stroll. The wine bottle, which is being put on display in an Irish
pub, is not the first message in a bottle to survive a perilous journey.
In 1979, Dorothy and John Henry Peckham
dropped a message in a bottle in the Pacific Ocean
while on a cruise. Amazingly, the bottle found its way to Southeast Asia where it was picked up by 31-year-old Hoa Van Nguyen. Nguyen wrote back and began a
correspondence that eventually led to the Peckhams
helping to sponsor Nguyen and his family's immigration to the United States.
These bottled messages bring to mind a favorite verse in Tenach(the Jewish Bible): "Cast
your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will again find it"
(Ecclesiastes 11:1) A literal understanding of the passage may
refer to sending ships selling grain to many different ports, for some are
bound to gain success. It may also refer to casting seed on the shallow
areas of a river, with the hope that some will take root. Whatever the
literal meaning, the spiritual lesson suggests that a daring, altruistic act
of kindness will yield guaranteed returns inthe
future. Jewish consciousness teaches that no good deed goes without
creating a cosmic ripple effect, and that no mitzvahgoes
unrewarded and unnoticed by G-d.
Quote of the Week
book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us -- Franz Kafka
Joke of the Week
Yankel the butcher had a bad habit; he cheated
people by putting his thumb on the scale. Late one afternoon Mrs.
Goldstein came into the butcher shop and wanted a chicken. Yankel had only one left in the meat counter. He
then put it on the scale and announced the price. Mrs. Goldstein
hesitated, and said, "I think I'd like a little larger bird."
The butcher said, "That's no problem." He then reached into
the meat counter, put the same chicken back in, shuffled it around a bit and
brought out the same chicken, put it on the scale this time with his thumb on
the scale and announced a heavier weight and higher price. However,
Mrs. Goldstein was no dumb cluck. She smiled and said, "Fine, I'll
take it! In fact, I think I'll take BOTH OF THEM."
Rabbi-Ride-Around at Forest Park, St. Louis
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Rabbi Ze'ev Smason
(author of Beyond Twelve Gates)
will attempt to repeat last year's feat of riding his bicycle 50 miles around
By sponsoring the ride, per mile, you have an opportunity to express
appreciation for the weekly Beyond
Twelve Gates that you receive, contribute to Nusach Hari Bnai Zion's educational AND give encouragement and
support to Rabbi Smason as he circles (and circles, and circles..) Forest Park.
Please consider a sponsorship of at least $1.00 per mile.
The ride will begin at 10:00 am, with a
picnic for all at 12:30 pm. Email your pledges to: Pepshort613@gmail.com
After the event, checks can be mailed to: NHBZ, 8630 Olive St., St. Louis,
We are a community at Nusach Hari B'nai Zion, dedicated to
outreach and to the inclusion of all Jews. As such we strongly encourage you
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who join us as a part of our social media conversation, the more people we
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