Noah (Genesis 6:9-11:32), Shabbat Rosh Chodesh (Num. 28:9-15)

Today and tomorrow we observe Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of a new month, for Cheshvan, aka Marcheshvan.  The rabbis say the “mar” comes from the Hebrew for “bitter,” since poor Cheshvan has no holidays in it (for which I am ever so grateful).  That’s just wordplay.  It appears to come from the Akkadian for “eighth month.”  Anyhow, this means we read Numbers 28:9-15, about new moon sacrifices from a second scroll, and a special haftarah, Isaiah 66:1-24.

This week, we read about Noah, the Tower of Babel, and the genealogical line from Noah to Abram (later called Abraham).  Noah’s story: Humanity has become wicked since Creation, so the Lord decides to start over, wiping out all humans and animals with a great flood.  Only one family, Noah’s, will be spared, along with pairs of animals for breeding and additional animals for sacrifices.   Noah builds a rudderless vessel, an ark, as commanded by the Lord.  After 40 days of rain and close to a year while the water recedes, they disembark and offer sacrifices.  In a renewal of Creation, the Lord then makes a covenant with Noah. It parallels the charge given to Adam in Gen. 1:27-30 (be fruitful and multiply, etc.), but now Noah and descendants will clearly dominate the animals, eat meat, and set up a system of laws.  The Lord promises never to wipe out life on earth again, at least not with a flood.

Noah’s story is similar to several Mesopotamian flood stories, especially the story of Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh. In Chapter II of his book Understanding Genesis (1966), Nahum M. Sarna lays out pertinent similarities and differences between the two stories.  In both, the flood is a divider between historical epochs; it is initiated by the Deity/deities; the ship is built to exacting specifications; both animals and the hero’s family are saved; upon disembarking, they offer sacrifices having a “sweet savor” to the Deity/deities; and both heroes are blessed afterward.  On the other hand, Utnapishtim’s selection appears arbitrary, while Noah is “righteous in his generation” (grading on a curve?) in the midst of everyone else’s wickedness; the Mesopotamian gods’ power is limited, versus God’s omnipotence; and the sacrifices seem to be actual food to be eaten by the gods, but not for God.  Only Utnapishtim and his wife are blessed, with immortality and isolation from humanity.  Noah and his descendants are all blessed with an ongoing covenant symbolized by a rainbow, and a promise that God will not drown them again.  The cosmic nature of the Noah story is also seen in the very word used for Flood-with-a-capital-F, mabbul, which “is now recognized as having denoted originally the heavenly, or upper, part of the cosmic ocean…the primeval sea.” (Sarna, p. 55).

Unfortunately, Noah, back on dry land, now plants a vineyard, discovers wine, and gets so drunk as to be humiliated and/or assaulted by his son Ham.  This story is possibly a way to set up a claim to moral superiority for the descendants of the other sons, Shem (Abram’s ancestor) and Japheth.

The Tower (better, Ziggurat) of Babel story is a bridge from Noah to Abram (see Sarna, Chapter III).  It’s a story of the origin of languages; note, however, that the fact that different nations have different languages was already introduced in Gen. 10:9, 20, and 31. It can also be read as an example of Biblical satire, centered on the 300-foot ziggurat in Babylon, built to glorify the god Marduk.  Apparently, while Noah’s descendants are contentedly being fruitful and multiplying, they are reluctant to go out and fill the earth.  Instead, they are concentrated in one place, with one language, consolidated as one people.  But sometimes, lockstep unity can lead to a bad outcome.  They decide to build a humongous tower to serve as a physical link between earth and heaven. This is halted by the divine imposition of myriad languages and consequent dispersal of the people, filling the earth. 

The portion ends 10 generations after Noah with the introduction of Abram, who is blessed by God at 75 and sent on a journey to Canaan.  We’ll read about that next time.

Shabbat shalom and Chodesh tov (a good month),


THE BLOG 04/02/2014 02:19 pm ET Updated Jun 02, 2014

Noah Tells the Real Story (abridged)

By John Blumenthal

First of all, I wasn’t 500 years old. They totally made that up. I was maybe 75, max, which — don’t get me wrong — was pretty old back then. Decrepit actually. When God chose me for this genius shipbuilding project, I should have said, “Thank you very much for the honor, Your Holiness. I’m flattered, but please, do me a favor: Find somebody else like maybe… I don’t know… a carpenter? Do I look like a guy who can schlep 3000 tons of lumber back and forth, all day and night?

The first thing I asked was the obvious question: “Why, oh Lord, do you want me to build a boat? I live in the desert.” And then he lays this story on me: He made humans, but he’s not thrilled about the direction that went in so he’s going to make a big flood and drown everybody.

O……… K.

This did not amuse Him. Basically, he wanted a do-over. He decided to save me because He thought I was a righteous man (evidently, He hadn’t heard about that shoplifting incident).

Of course, I thought he wanted me to build a small boat just for my wife and my sons and their wives and me. But then He gave me these measurements — 500 cubits this, 2000 cubits that. Basically, He wanted me to build an aircraft carrier. I wanted to say, “God, you made the earth and the seas and the mountains and the trees, you can’t just make a lousy boat yourself and save me the aggravation?” But I didn’t. I could see that He was a little moody.

Then there was the animal business. OMG. Somehow, I was supposed to round up all the animals on earth and get them all on the ship. I have a dog, and I can’t even get him to sit. All I could think of was who’s supposed to clean up two months of animal sh**.

So I built the ark and somehow I got the animals on. Then, it rained. Boy, did it ever rain. Try drying your clothes in humidity like that. Of course, I had to wonder why I was the only guy on the entire planet who had a boat.

The raven and the Mt. Ararat stuff — never happened. The boat sank. Surprise! When He saw what was happening, he threw us 450,000 life preservers.

But it all worked out for the best. It’s so comforting to know that Mankind isn’t evil anymore.


tph ark


Wine Humor

I have joy in my heart and a glass of wine in my hand. Coincidence??

When you get a hangover from wine it’s called the grape depression.

I enjoy a glass of wine each night for its health benefits.  The other glasses are for my witty comebacks and my flawless dance moves.

The secret of enjoying a good bottle of wine:

  1. Open the bottle to allow it to breathe.
  2. If it doesn’t look like it’s breathing, give it mouth-to-mouth.

I can’t wait for the day when I can drink wine with my kids instead of because of them. (It arrived! IGP)


Jokes about language, translation, and interpreting

Two translators on a ship are talking.
“Can you swim?” asks one.
“No” says the other, “but I can shout for help in nine languages.”

A former secretary of commerce liked to tell how a high ranking official once responded to a subordinate’s request for a raise by saying, “Because of the fluctuational predisposition of your position’s productive capacity as juxtaposed to governmental statistics, it would be momentarily injudicious to advocate an incremental increase.”
The staff person said, “I don’t get it.”
The official said, “That’s right.”

A cat is sitting on the throne, and two dogs, an envoy and his interpreter, are standing before him. The interpreter dog is whispering to the envoy dog, “You’ll have to rephrase that. Their language doesn’t have a word for ‘fetch’”.


tph atm

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Bereishit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

After enough time has passed, I often forget details of what I’ve written.  Thus, I find the comments below fresh even though they are 8 years old.  Jokes are newly found, though.

There is simply too much to ponder in this week’s portion for it to be allotted only one week. 1456 years (if I added correctly) in the first five chapters.  Not only do we have a plethora of stories and characters, but each of those stories contains something significant to think about.   The two different Creation stories, the tree of knowledge and expulsion from paradise, fratricide, murder more generally, multicentenarians, lead us to contemplate all sorts of things, such as (or, in patentese, “examples include without limitation”): 

        What existed before Creation? 
        What was the light that was present before the sun and stars?   
        Why was man created?  Note that it is not until man has been created that we read that God saw that what was created was “very good,” not merely “good.”  Was man created to rule over the earth (first creation story) or to till and tend to the Garden of Eden (2nd story)?  My choral group is (was, in 2009) practicing a piece called “God’s Trombones” in which God looks at all creation and feels…lonely.  That seems as good a reason as any for the creation of man and ties in nicely with the pronouncement that “it is not good for man to be alone.”   
        In one Creation story, man and woman are created at one time; in the other, Eve is created from Adam’s rib and is indirectly responsible for the banishment from Eden.  Why did the latter story subsequently overwhelm the former?  And why a talking serpent? 
        The first murder is fratricide – why?  What are the (depressing) implications? 
        Why did the early humans we are told about live so long? 
        There are other little mysteries, like, what happened to Enoch, who did not die but was “taken by God” at a mere 355 years of age?  And what’s all that stuff in Chapter 6 about divine beings (?) cavorting with the daughters of men, who give birth to the Nephilim (giants?)?   

You see why I want more than one week for this portion! 

Rabbi Robert Harris, in his d’var Torah “The Torah and Its Clearly Ambiguous Message. (Or: ‘In the Beginning, There Were . . . Commentaries!’)”   asks us to consider just the first two words, B’reishit bara.  This is commonly translated, “In the beginning, (God) created” But that’s not accurate. “Barishonah” means “in the beginning.” “B’reishit” means “in the beginning of(something)”, and that’s how it’s used elsewhere in the Bible.  Rabbi Harris then relates how the great commentator Rashi deals with this problem on two levels. Rashi presents not only a literal text meaning (“in the beginning of the creating of…”) but riffs on “reishit” using references the equate “reishit” to Torah and to Israel.  And, while “b‘ ” usually means “with” or “in,” it can also mean “for the sake of.” Thus, Rashi’s midrashic version becomes, “for the sake of Torah/Israel, (God created the heavens and the earth).”   Rabbi Harris notes the new JPS translation: When God began to create heaven and earth—the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  That’s pretty much in line with Rashi’s literal meaning.  All that from considering just the first two words of the Torah. 

Shabbat shalom, 


tph methuselah's sweater


Eve’s Online Dating Profile

Sex: Female

Age: About 15 minutes since I was invented, but I don’t look a minute over ten minutes old
Location: Over by some ferns
Height: A tall vine
Weight: A bunch of sticks
Body Type: Only female type there is
Favorite music: Birds
Favorite movies: Birds
Favorite food: Birds
Hobbies: Being tempted, birds
Profession: Woman
Personality: VERY easily tempted
Turn-ons: Adam, birds
Income level: A handful of beautiful sticks
Looking for: The only other person in existence

From Science … For Her by Megan Amram (Scribner), copyright © 2014 by Megan Amram


The Garden of Eden

One day in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God, “Lord, I have a problem!”

“What’s the problem, Eve?”

“Lord, I know you’ve created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, and that hilarious comedy snake, but I’m just not happy.”

“Why is that, Eve?” came the reply from above.

“Lord, I am lonely. And I’m sick to death of apples.”

“Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you.”

“What’s a ‘man’, Lord?”

“This man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego and an inability to empathize or listen to you properly. All in all, he’ll give you a hard time. But, he’ll be bigger and faster and more muscular than you. He’ll be really good at fighting and kicking a ball about and hunting fleet-footed ruminants, and not altogether bad in the sack.”

“Sounds great,” says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow.

“Yeah, well. He’s better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick. But, you can have him on one condition.”

“What’s that, Lord?”

“You’ll have to let him believe that I made him first.”


Parshat Bereshis – On 1 Foot  ADMIN — MAY 23, 2006

The world is created, and then Man sins

God: Do-over.



Adam and Eve (2014)

Adam was returning home late one night at paradise after drinking with the dodo and the unicorn. Eve got angry and yelled at him, “YOU ARE SEEING ANOTHER WOMAN.”
Adam responded, “Don’t be silly, you are the only woman on earth,” and went to sleep.
Later that night Adam woke up. feeling a tickle in his chest and saw it was Eve.
“What the heck are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m counting your ribs,” she responded.

What did God say after creating Eve?
“Practice makes perfect.”

Adam to Eve: “I’ll wear the plants in this family!


The story of creation as told by a dog 

On the first day of creation, God created the dog.

On the second day, God created man to serve the dog.

On the third day, God created all the animals of the earth (especially the horse) to serve as potential food for the dog.

On the fourth day, God created honest toil so that man could labour for the good of the dog.

On the fifth day, God created the tennis ball so that the dog might or might not retrieve it.

On the sixth day, God created veterinary science to keep the dog healthy and the man broke.

On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but He had to walk the dog.

———————-  (sent out in 2013)

Creationism or Evolution?

One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orangutan was reading two books– the Bible and Darwin’s Origin of Species.
In surprise, he asked the ape, “Why are you reading both those books”?
“Well,” said the orangutan, “I just wanted to know if I was my brother’s keeper, or my keeper’s brother.”

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V’zot HaBracha (Deut. 33:1-34:12), Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah

The holiday season is actually drawing to a close, but there are still a couple of special days to get through.

The seventh and last day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah (“Great Hoshana/Supplication”). It’s your last opportunity to affect the fate that was more-or-less sealed for you on Yom Kippur. what you have been sealed for this year (a sort of last chance “do over” after Yom Kippur).  It’s also the last day for processing with the lulav and etrog.  There are seven processions, each with its own set of chanted verses, so it takes a while (I’ve done this twice).  Then willow branches are beaten against the floor (see also five times.  My synagogue has the odd custom of then throwing the branches up on top of the ark; no one seems to know where this custom came from. 

The next day is Shemini Atzeret (8th (day of) Assembly), a distinct, Biblically ordained holiday. In the Midrash, it is written that Shemini Atzeret represents the intimacy between God and Israel, while Sukkot represents the relationship between God and humanity. Geshem, the prayer for rain (in Israel) is chanted.  Note that we are praying for rain at the start of Israel’s rainy season; that is, we want normal rain at the normal time.  The Torah readings are Deut. 14:22 – 16:17 and Numbers 29:35 – 30:1 concerning holiday observances and sacrifices. Shemini Atzeret gives us a last moment to appreciate the holidays before they end.       

Immediately following Shemini Atzeret (or coincident with it in Israel and in Reform synagogues), we celebrate Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah), on which we finish the annual Torah reading cycle and start all over again, with singing, parading with Torah scrolls and flags, dancing in the street, schnapps, and the like Unlike our other holidays, Simchat Torah is not a celebration of a harvest, nor of some historical or spiritual happening.  It merely marked the end of the Torah reading cycle.  It is post-Biblical, and customs evolved over centuries.  Dancing dates to the 1st century C.E. Beginning to read Genesis immediately was done in the 14th century, and the processions with all the Torahs at night, followed by a reading, was common by the 16th century. In the morning, we read from three scrolls.

The first scroll reading, V’zot HaBracha (Deut. 33:1-34:12), contains Moses’ final words to the Children of Israel, tribe by tribe, except for Shimon, which seems to have vanished.  Moses is kinder than Jacob was to his sons on his death bed.  The aliyot, except for the one at the very end of Deuteronomy, are typically read over and over and over until everyone has had an aliyah.  The person honored with the last aliyah of the Torah was thus was originally called the Chatam Torah, the Sealer of the Torah.  This was later transmuted into Chatan Torah (bridegroom of the Torah) with a corresponding Chatan Bereishit for the second scroll aliyah, Genesis 1:1 – 2:3. Synagogues in which woman are called up maybe instead refer to Kallat (bride of) Torah or Bereishit. Finally, the person who will chant the haftarah is called for the maftir aliyah (same section from Numbers as on Shemini Atzeret), read from a third scroll.  The haftarah is Joshua 1:1-18 (1-9 for Sephardim). Thus, while our readings are full of endings (the death of Moses, the end of the Israelites’ journey, the completion of the Torah cycle), we end with fresh beginnings: Creation, and the anticipated entry of the people into the Promised Land, and a new year,

Chag sameach, 


As I promised, here’s a partial view of our decorated sukkah:

tph 5778 sukkah


Top Ten Long Lasting Effects of Simchat Torah
JULY 23, 2006

10. You go to Grand Central to be in a crowd of people.
9. You bring a flask to the office.
8. You start dancing with the members of your firm.
7. For the girls – you don’t actually work you just watch the men.
6. For lunch you have kugel and chicken.
5. The niggun (wordless tune) you were singing at 3:00 AM at Carlebach keeps popping into your head.
4. While drinking water you wish others a L’Chaim.
3. or the girls – you change outfits during work.
2. You want to take a nap at 5PM.
1. You start counting down until next Simchat Torah.



27 Jokes About God Creating Animals That’ll Make You Wonder Wxx He Was Thinking (selections)

3. [God creating alligator]
G: See that log?
Angel: yeah?
G: Fill it with teeth
A: Say again?
G: FILL IT! By Comedi(Al)an

7. [God creating the kangaroo]
“Okay how about like an alive backpack that jumps around” By Licensed Esthetician

11. [God creating praying mantis]
Make an insect that does karate
Angel: k
Now make it bite her husband’s head off 
Angel: dude we need to talk By Bownuggets

13. [God creating kittens]
G-make them really fluffy & adorable like little furry hugs
Angel-that’s so swee..
G-& put razor blades on their feet By AKA Dave

24. [God creating octopus]
GOD: Give it 8 super strong arms & hands
ANGEL: uh, we’re out of bones..
GOD: 8 weird floppy arms w/ suction cup things By HAUNTigula


Answers Given in a Bible Knowledge Test

  • The first book of the Bible is Guinness’s.  In the book of Guinness Adam and Eve were created from an apple.
  • Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah’s wife was Joan of the Ark. Noah built the ark and the animals came on in pears.
  • The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
  • The greatest miracle in the bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he actually obeyed him.
  • Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol.


21 Literary Quotes On Beginnings, Middles, And Endings (selected)

To celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another, I’ve put together a selection of literary quotes on beginnings, middles, and endings. I hope you enjoy them. 

  • Human beings love stories because they safely show us beginnings, middles and ends. ~ S. Byatt
  • I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. ~Gilda Radner
  • Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~Seneca
  • There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story. ~Frank Herbert
  • Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop. ~Lewis Carrol 


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Sukkot: First two days and Shabbat Chol Hamoed

Yet another installment in the Plotzker Sukkah Saga!  As you may recall, last year, about halfway through the holiday our tinker-toy-type sukkah was slammed into our house during a bad storm.   Some of the steel tubing poles were bent, one at about a 30-degree angle, a couple others visibly bowed.  This year, I bought new steel tubing, standard ¾” galvanized steel EMT conduit (doesn’t that sound as if I knew what I was doing?).  It comes in 10 ft lengths, and what I needed was 93”.  So, I bought a tubing scorer and learned how to score and snap tubing, making a nice, clean edge.  Rich and I put the sukkah up on Sunday.  I thought I’d be done with the incidentals way before Wednesday evening.  Unfortunately, the canvas wrap was filthy, so I tried various time-consuming and only slightly effective ways to scrub it.  I finally gave up today and decided to cover up the worst wall.  So, I’ll finish the decorations tomorrow. Wednesday.  If it turns out OK, I’ll include a picture in next week’s TPH.

The most familiar embodiments of the holiday are the sukkah (booth), the lulav, and the etrog (citron).  The laws of the sukkah have been nicely summarized in Dr. Seuss fashion, with footnotes.  The whole home sukkah phenomenon has really blossomed in the last couple of decades.  When I was a child, the only sukkah I knew of was this wonderfully decorated one at our synagogue.  When we settled in Wilmington (1980), I particularly liked going to services at night during the holiday, so I could look up through the synagogue sukkah’s s’chach (the greenery on top) to see the stars.  We built our first home sukkah in the 1990’s.

None of the congregants I knew years ago had their own lulav and etrog (citron).  We just used the ones belonging to the rabbi and cantor.  We’ve only been buying a set for about 10 years I think.   The identity of the prescribed p’ri ets hadar (“the fruit of a splendid tree” or “the splendid fruit of a tree”) is not stated in Leviticus 23:40. It was identified later, in the Mishnah, as a citron, purportedly chosen because of its lovely fragrance.  Similarly, while the palm branch is agreed upon as a lulav component, there was ambiguity concerning the other two species; we’ve settled on willow and myrtle branches.

The Torah readings for the first two days of Sukkot are identical: Leviticus 22:26-23:44, mainly about how to observe the Sabbath, Rosh Chodesh, and holidays, including Sukkot of course; and Numbers 29:12 – 16, about the sacrifices for the first day. [ I don’t know why the readings are identical.  If you know, please tell me.] The haftarah on Day 1 is Zechariah 14:1 – 21, a vision of the coming “day of the Lord”. The second day haftarah is I Kings 8:2 – 21, about the dedication of the First Temple.  The next day is Shabbat Chol Hamoed, with Torah readings Exodus 33:12 –  34:26 (Moses sees God’s back and carves the second set of tablets) and Numbers 29:17 – 22 (2nd and 3rd day sacrifices – the specific verses vary with what day of Chol Hamoed Shabbat is).  The haftarah is Ezekiel 38:18 – 39:16, an apocalyptic vision of the coming war of Gog and Magog. It is also traditional to read the book of Ecclesiastes (“Kohelet”). This was supposedly written by Solomon in his old age, but it’s really too long to be chanted at services. I was at one where we tried, eventually giving up to “read” some chapters silently. 

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,



Kid-built mini sukkahs (LEGO, Lincoln Logs, MagNext and K’Nex)

Posted on 10/07/2014

Psssst: a kid-crafted mini sukkah made with construction toys is way, way easier on you, the adult, than say, with edibles or up-cycled boxes.  LEGO and Lincoln Logs and suchlike do not require you to run for the scissors and glue, to monitor frosting consumption, to vacuum pulverized Trix cereal from the rug.

Any model sukkah is educational.  A kid-built sukkah helps prepare for and celebrate the holiday.  It can teach the rules of sukkah-building (walls, roof, schach, etc.).  It can teach about hospitality and the Ushpizin.  It can inspire a kid-created mini lulav and etrog for maximum mitzvot.  Win, win, win.  But a sukkah made from construction toys is real mechaya for an exhausted parent: the materials are already underfoot and afterward, every component goes back in the box.

My kid made these.  I admit, the K’Nex version does not have walls that the Talmud would call walls, but our Pokemon celebrants do not seem to care.
Happy building, and Chag Sameach!

tph lincoln-log-sukkah-1tph lego-sukkah-1

mini Lincoln Log sukkah                      LEGO sukkah, LEGO schach
with steps for Bubbe

tph knex-sukkahtph magnext-sukkah1
K’Nex.  We are new at K’Nex but             MagNext sukkah.  Very tricky.
we are intrigued.                                        And keep the magnets away from the iPhone.



Sukkot 1957 – Elvis Presley had been on a visit to Israel.  He was fascinated by all the booths he saw and by the religious men waving their lulavim and etrogim.  When he got back to the U.S.A. he told Tom Parker, his manager, how wonderful his trip had been. Inspired by it all he sat down and wrote the top hit – “I’m all shook up”.


The Cohen family were very conscientious and were all about re-cycling.  They had special bins for paper, glass and organic waste.  One day after Sukkot the Cohen children got all excited as their parents gave them a gift.  They fought to tear off the wrapping and couldn’t wait to open the box.  Soon their new toy was revealed – Mr. Etrog Head.



Ushpizin (2004)  

This film is classified as a drama, but there are comedy and sweetness, too.  Don’t be put off by the phrase “dark night of the soul” in the description below. In Hebrew and Yiddish with English subtitles.  IGP

In Jerusalem’s orthodox neighborhoods, it’s Succoth, seven days celebrating life’s essentials in a sukkah, a temporary shack of both deprivation and hospitality. A devout couple, Moshe and Mali, married nearly five years and childless, are broke and praying for a miracle. Suddenly, miracles abound: a friend finds Moshe a sukkah he says is abandoned, Moshe is the beneficiary of local charitable fundraising, and two escaped convicts arrive on Moshe and Mali’s doorstep in time to be their ushpizin – their guests (see also  IGP). The miracles then become trials. Rabbinical advice, absolution, an effort to avoid anger, and a 1000-shekel (about $280) citron figure in Moshe’s dark night of the soul. 

By Cara Stern  September 21, 2012 (abridged)

tph sukkah-in-the-sky-640x342

TORONTO — A Toronto rabbi will be marking 25 years celebrating Sukkot 12 storeys above the ground.

Rabbi Catriel Blum will once again enjoy the holiday in his sukkah, located on the balcony of his top-floor apartment “I tell people it’s like eating on the CN Tower, except the food is kosher,” he jokes.

He says he can see for almost 50 kilometres – as far as Pickering and Richmond Hill – and with binoculars, he can glimpse the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls.

He has built the sukkah, which he says can comfortably fit four, every year for the past 25 years.  It takes Rabbi Blum roughly 30 hours to put together the plywood and bolts that hold the structure together, so he begins the process about a month before Rosh Hashanah.  He says he has used the same wood for all 25 years.

Although the construction has remained the same, some things have changed. His sukkah now boasts venetian blinds, a stereo system and a Wi-Fi connection.

He has mastered the art of building a tough sukkah, and says he has never had one fall.  The only problem is the wind, which he describes as almost hurricane-like.  “The wind downstairs is not the wind upstairs,” he says. “The sukkah has to be built stronger than any house on the ground.”

It needs to be strong, Rabbi Blum says, “because if anything falls off, it falls onto Bathurst Street.”

An excerpt from A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor (GK), 4/18/98
Last sent out in 2013. Oldie but goodie.

The Oldest Living Comedy Team

GK: Today is our annual joke show and it’s an honor to introduce my next guests —- we have the oldest living comedy team in the world with us, today.

WB: That’s right.

TR: Twelve thousand years old.

WB: We’re so old we’re in Noah’s yearbook.

TR: That’s old……

TR: [Solomon] was the first one to write down his routines.

GK: He wrote down his jokes?

TR: Ecclesiastes. You ever read that?

GK: Ecclesiastes from the Bible? You mean that Solomon?

WB: Ecclesiastes. That was his whole act. He was very popular up in Beirut. That was like Miami Beach then. “Nothin’ ever changes,” that was his whole schtick. “The rivers run into the sea and yet the sea is not full.” That’s a joke. “Everything is vanity.”

TR: “Look at this garbage,” he’d say, “Nothin’ ever changes. You do good, you do bad, you live a little then you die.” He was a funny guy.

WB: He said, “Whoever increases knowledge increases sorrow.” That was a scream back then. People used to roll under the tables. Funny guy.   People’d laugh—- you’d see pomegranates come out their noses, that’s how funny he was.

TR: “The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor riches to men of understanding, but time and chance happeneth to them all.” People used to sit and howl when he told that.

WB: That’s the whole meaning of comedy right there. You’re fast, you fall down, you’re strong and you poke yourself with your sword, you’re smart and you go broke.

TR: He was a great comedian, Solomon. “Cast your bread upon the waters and you shall find it after many days.” I loved that one.

GK: I didn’t know that was comedy.

WB: A lot of people back then didn’t know it was comedy. You get audiences like that now and then. The Samaritans. Terrible audience. Nice people, but no sense of humor. …

GK: Right. Why do we need to tell jokes?

TR: Because. Life is terrible, its miserable, you wouldn’t wish it on a dog.

GK: So jokes come from misery?

WB: Jokes are misery. You tell a joke, it’s like saying, “Hey, we got a lousy deal,” and everyone who’s listening laughs, because they’re thinking, “That’s what I thought too, but I thought I was the only one.”

GK: So you don’t think there are new jokes?

WB: It’s like Solly said: “The thing that has been is the thing that shall be; and the thing that is done is that which shall be done: there is nothing new under the sun.”

GK: And we’re out of time. What’s your favorite joke?

WB: My favorite joke is: If you could have a conversation with someone, living or dead, who would it be? —- I’d choose the one who’s living. That joke was very very big among the Abyssinians. It’s very funny in Urdu.


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Yom Kippur 5778

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year, the day on which our fates for the coming year, which had been written in a book on Rosh Hashanah, are sealed. [Even medieval rabbis interpreted this metaphorically.  And there’s a grace period through the 7th day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah.] Chabad has posted a summary of the holiday, Yom Kippur in a Minute, with links to more details for interested readers with more than a minute to spare.

Unlike Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur is actually described in some detail in the Torah, relating to the High Priest’s service, followed by these verses:

           “And this shall be to you a law for all time: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall practice self-denial; and you shall do no manner of work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you.
           “For on this day atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you of all your sins; you shall be clean before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of complete rest for you, and you shall practice self-denial; it is a law for all time.” (Lev. 16:29-31)

 Note that “self-denial” is not defined in the Torah.  Traditionally, Jews abstain from eating and drinking, wearing leather shoes, bathing or washing, applying lotions or creams (allowed if medically required), and sex. The most widely observed of these practices is fasting.  This is a total fast for about 25 hours.  [If there is a medical reason this would be dangerous, you are forbidden to fast.]

Nowadays, I usually don’t have much trouble fasting.  It’s like there’s an automatic internal setting that it’s Yom Kippur, so eating and drinking are not appropriate.  However, some fasts have been worse than others.  There was my junior year in college, when I burned the side of a finger during glass blowing in physical chemistry lab, rushed home in tears, had my doctor father deal with my blistering finger, rushed dinner, and felt a particularly affinity for a hymn concerning “going through fire and water” and one comparing the Lord to a glassblower.  Then there was my first year of grad school, which was the year of the Yom Kippur War.  I think that was also the year I was almost hallucinating about which of the 31 flavors of ice cream I’d eat first at the nearby Baskin Robbins.  And there were all those fasts marred by caffeine withdrawal before I knew about caffeine withdrawal.  There are still occasional times I’ve taken medicine which was not kind to an empty stomach.

Yom Kippur requires stamina.  While observing a total fast, we are expected to attend services in the evening and all the next day, until evening.  At my synagogue, minus a mid-afternoon break, it comes to (very roughly) 12 hours, depending on how long the speeches are and how many medieval hymns (piyyutim) are cut.

During services, we pray for forgiveness in collective confessional, over and over, silently and aloud in unison.  There are five services: Ma’ariv (evening), Shacharit (morning), Musaf (additional), Minchah (afternoon), and Ne’ilah (closing), which ends with a shofar blast.  The Musaf service includes a section on the High Priest’s rites and a section about the martyrdom of 10 sages in Roman times; sometimes the latter is replaced by texts on more recent calamities. 

Kol Nidre, a legal formula (not a prayer) is chanted three times right before the Ma’ariv service.  Origins of the evocative melody are obscure. Kol Nidre is a communal nullification of vows between people and God (not between people).  It first shows up in legal texts in in 8th c, Babylonia. Its history  is not without controversy.  It was used by non-Jews for centuries to show Jews’ words could not be trusted. My father was very aware of this and refused to go to services to hear it.

Here are the Torah and haftarah readings:

Morning:  Leviticus 16:1-34, the Yom Kippur rites of the High Priest, which I cited above; and Numbers 29:7-11, the holiday sacrifices.  The morning haftarah is Isaiah 57:14 – 58:14, which condemns mechanical ritual that does not lead to good deeds and ethical behavior.

Afternoon: Leviticus 18:1-30, about forbidden sexual relationships (mainly incest). This seems to be an odd choice.  However, in ancient times, people rejoiced on Yom Kippur afternoon and looked for potential spouses (as on Tu B’Av, according to Mishnah Taanit 4:8), so it may be that this text was meant to remind them of what they shouldn’t do.  The haftarah is the Book of Jonah plus Micah 7:18-20 about casting away sins.  Jonah has its comical, even slapstick, aspects (see Humor in the Bible by Steven C. Walker), but it’s read on Yom Kippur afternoon because  it is a parable on taking responsibility and the efficacy of atonement.  It emphasizes the compassion and universality of the Lord.  The whale story is just a hook to reel you in (Sorry…).

G’mar chatimah tovah* and an easy fast,

tph G'mar greeting in Hebrew   Literally: A good final sealing (in the Book of Life).  


Here are some tips to having an easier fast:
Here are mine: Gradually wean yourself off caffeine, starting at least a few days ahead, depending on how much you normally ingest and how sensitive you are to it.  Drink lots of water before the fast. For the pre-fast meal, avoid foods that are difficult to digest, greasy, fried, or highly spiced. Go easy and don’t stuff yourself. 

Here are examples of how Jews break the fast around the world (thanks for posting, Heleen):
My advice: don’t pig out.  My synagogue has a lovely break-the-fast that is tasty, enjoyable, and light.


Quotes about Fasting

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holy of holies of Jewish time. It is that rarest of phenomena, a Jewish festival without food. Instead it is a day of fasting and prayer, introspection and self-judgment when, collectively and repeatedly, we confess our sins and pray to be written into God’s Book of Life. Jonathan Sacks

We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. Joseph B. Wirthlin

Instead of looking outside of ourselves and counting potential enemies, fasting summons us to turn our glance inward, and to take the measure of our greatest challenge: the self, the ego, in our own eyes and as others see us. Tariq Ramadan
He that lives upon hope will die fasting. Benjamin Franklin



Recently sent by the omniscient and most ingenious Maestro of my choral group to his loyal singing subjects:

ATTENTION!!! To all of my loyal singing subjects!
In lieu of the traditional “Chorister’s Prayer” we will now be using this brilliant and inspirational prayer, “A CHORISTER’S CONFESSION” just sent to me by one of our most accomplished, yet humble singers (no, not IGP). With this new prayer in our hearts, I believe it opens the potential for new levels of excellence and musical accomplish, thwarting the old naive notions of empowerment and esteem-building among our ranks. Please memorize the words carefully so we can all say them together in unison at the beginning of our next rehearsal! (I’m still waiting.)

From your omniscient and most ingenious Maestro!


Almighty and most merciful Conductor
We have erred and strayed from thy beat like lost sheep
We have followed too much the intonations and tempi of our own hearts
We have offended against thy dynamic markings
We have left unsung those notes that we ought to have sung
We have sung those notes which we ought not to have sung
and there is no support in us

But thou, O Conductor, have mercy upon us miserable singers
Succor the chorally challenged
Restore thou them that need extra note-bashing
Spare them that are without pencil
Pardon our mistakes and have faith that hereafter
we will follow thy direction and sing together in perfect harmony.

Posted on FB 2/24/14


Morris goes to the rabbi and says, “I committed a sin and I want to know what I can do to repent.”
“What was the sin?”
“It happened just once,” Morris assures him. “I didn’t wash my hands and recite the blessing before eating bread.”
“Nu, if it really only happened once,” the rabbi said, “that’s not so terrible. But tell me, why did you neglect to wash your hands and recite the blessing?”
“I felt awkward, Rabbi. You see, I was in a non-kosher restaurant.’
The rabbi’s eyebrows arch. “And why were you eating in a non-kosher restaurant?”
“I had no choice,” Morris said. “All the kosher restaurants were closed.”
“And why were all the kosher restaurants closed?” the rabbi asked.
“It was Yom Kippur.


Top Ten Unexpected Events in Synagogue on Yom Kippur

ADMIN — JULY 22, 2006
10. After a successful prayer rabbi announces he has good news for his congregation: “He just saved a lot of money by switching to Geiko”
9. Instead of Atonement, G-d offers consolation prize: free month Jdate membership
8. Cantor warns congregation of the possibility of him including some “Explicit Lyrics” in this year’s Kol Nidre
7. Birkat Kohanim (priestly blessing) replaced with Bikram Yoga
6. Pledge cards actually just old bangitout TuBav dating cards
5. Concluding powerful shofar sound played on 1985 Casio keyboard
4. Ladies auxiliary seen scalping half price tickets outside synagogue
3. Somber Yizkor (memorial) service concludes with a moment of silence for (gangsta rapper) Biggie Smalls
2. Rabbi’s speech actually different from last year’s
1. Your mother goes entire day without praying for you to get married already


tph jonah-ahab

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Rosh Hashanah, Ha’azinu (Deut. 32:1-32:52), Shabbat Shuvah

Wednesday night is the start of Rosh Hashanah, signaling the beginning of the year 5778 (and Year Nineteen of Torah Portion Humor!  WOOHOO!!!) and of the Ten Days of Penitence that culminate with Yom Kippur.  You’re supposed to ask forgiveness for specific misdeeds, not offer a blanket apology.  However, while I’m sure I must have ticked off some of you this past year, whether by this weekly (via my own comments, what I’ve chosen to include, errors, and/or rerunning too much from other years’ missives) or otherwise, you’ve been too polite to tell me. So, I am forced to use a blanket statement.  I ask each of you for your forgiveness for anything I have said, done, or written that hurt or offended you, whether unwittingly or (hope not) deliberately.
Here are the readings for the next few days:

  • First day Rosh Hashanah (Thursday) Torah readings: Genesis 21:1-34 and Numbers 29:1-6 (the obligatory verses about the obligatory sacrifices).  Haftarah: I Samuel 1:1-2:10.
  • Second day Rosh Hashanah (Friday) Torah readings: Genesis 22:1-24 and Numbers 29:1-6 (same sacrifices).  Haftarah: Jeremiah 31:2-20.
  • Shabbat Shuvah (Saturday) Torah reading: Ha’azinu, Deut. 32:1-52.  Haftarah: Hosea 14:2-10, Joel 2:11-27, Micah 7:18-20 (your shul may differ).

Rosh Hashanah is solemn, not a boisterous New Year, like January 1.  There’s very little about it in the Torah, just some holiday on the 1st of the 7th month (as Tishrei was at the time) on which sacrifices are offered and the shofar is blown.  Rosh Hashanah later became known as the day the world was created.  It is also called Yom HaDin (Day of Judgement), Yom HaZikaron (Day of Remembrance), and Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing the Shofar).  The shofar is blown many times throughout services, except on Shabbat.  Prayers and piyyutim (liturgical poems) are added that focus on these themes, especially asking for divine mercy and forgiveness.  The Musaf service in particular includes these themes in three sets of 10 biblical verses, dealing with the Lord’s kingship (Malchuyot), remembrance (of us – Zichronot), and the shofar (Shofarot). 

You’d expect the Torah readings for Rosh Hashanah to be similarly solemn and oriented toward repentance.  Or maybe Creation.  And the obligatory sacrifices.  And you’d be partly correct.  The sacrifices are there. If you consider birth analogous to Creation, that’s there too.  Nothing grand or awesome, but the ordinary, intimate miracles of family and motherhood.  The main Torah reading for the two days is one continuous selection, Genesis 21:1-22:24, dealing with the announcement that Sarah will give birth at 90 (at which she naturally laughs incredulously), through Isaac’s birth and circumcision, the banishment of Hagar and her son Ishmael, and finally, Isaac’s near-sacrifice on Mount Moriah. The haftarah for the first day tells of another long-delayed birth, that of Samuel to Hannah.  The most-remembered image in the second day’s haftarah is that of Rachel weeping for her children as they trudge into exile. 

This is a Jewish holiday, so there’s lots of food.  There’s also food in the Tashlich ceremony on Rosh Hashanah afternoon (not Shabbat), in which bread crumbs are tossed into flowing water as a symbolic casting away of sins.  Traditional foods are round and sweet, like round challah (I like mine with raisins) and apple dipped in honey.  Pomegranates have come back into vogue.  They’re round, but tart.  But they are symbols of fruitfulness, and there’s a Rosh Hashanah saying, “May we be full of merits like the pomegranate (is full of seeds).” My husband is making the holiday dinners.  I will contribute what has become a tradition, rice kugel with nuts and raisins. I still miss my grandmother’s kreplach, even though I suppose it weren’t supposed to be chewy.

The Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah (return), after the first word of the multiprophet haftarah, and also a play on Teshuvah, repentance, its primary theme.  In olden times, it was one of only two Sabbaths on which the rabbi was expected to give a sermon.  This year, the Torah portion read on Shabbat Shuvah happens to be Ha’azinu.  It includes the song/poem Moses was commanded to write at the end of last week’s portion.   This is 43 verses long (but they’re short). It describes the often-stormy relationship between God and the Israelites, who are called perverse, vile, unwise, fat and kicking, lacking discernment, contemptuous, venomous, and several additional, similar adjectives. The consequent divine retribution will be harsh (fire, demons, famine, war, dispersion, and so on) but “God will forgive us our sins and repay our enemies for His name’s sake” (Nachmanides, as cited by Nehama Leibowitz, Studies in Devarim, p. 327).  The Israelites just need to learn, teach, and live by the Torah. Now it is time for Moses to see the Promised Land from Mount Nebo before he dies.

I wish all of you and your families a good and sweet 5778.
L’shanah tovah um’tukah and an early Shabbat shalom,

How A Mother Would Handle “BBC Dad’s” Tricky Situation
6 months ago byRūta Grašytė

Remember when Robert Kelly was interrupted by his children during a BBC interview? People still can’t get over how hilarious that was, and now New Zealand’s Jono and Ben comedy show has created a parody of the interview, imagining how a mom would’ve handled the situation.
Starring Kate Wordsworth, the video shows her answering question about South Korea, just like Robert Kelly, when suddenly her child walks in. Not only does Wordsworth put her daughter on her lap, but she also feeds her milk, hands her other child a toy while he walks in, cleans a toilet, removes chicken from the oven, and defuses a bomb – all while answering questions about South Korea! Now that’s what we call multitasking. (See the 1 min 9 sec video at the above website)
——————- (sent out in 2006 and 2013)

Top 10 ways you know your shul got a LAME Shofar Blower 

(Note: The three patterns of shofar blasts are called tekiah, sh’varim, and teruah, the big final blast being tekiah gedolah. IGP)

10. Instead of Tekiah, he keeps ordering Tequila.
9. His shofar is attached to a Casio keyboard and can make over 150 bird calling sounds.
8. You overhear him say, “Shofar – Sure, anyone else need a ride to the airport?”  [That’s the closest I’ll get to the old chauffeur/job benefits joke. IGP.]
7. After each blow someone says Gezuntheit.
6. His former job was being “the guy who couldn’t blow out the match” in the asthma commercials.
5. Won’t stop with the Austin Powers “Do I make You HORNy?” line
4. Brings in live ram and asks if anyone has a pocket knife
3. Gets pissed when his Karaoke machine accidentally starts playing “Love Shack” instead of Tekiah Gedolah
2. At Kiddush uses Shofar as Beer Funnel
1. He’s playing a Kazoo [I remember making a pseudo-double reed instrument out of a drinking straw as a child and blowing tekiah, etc. on that. Not enough volume. IGP].


tph shofar rabbi-bubbles

In the Service

After services on Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Cohen was, as usual, standing near the synagogue exit shaking hands with congregants as they left. But then he noticed a member who rarely attended services leaving, so Rabbi Cohen grabbed his hand, pulled him aside and said, “David, I think you need to join the Army of God!”
“But I’m already in God’s army, Rabbi,” protested David.
“So how come I don’t see you in shul except on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?”
David leaned in and whispered, “I’m in the secret service.”

tph sarah water broke

tph ram's lawyer


(Two of) Five Poems with Fantastic Wordplay

  1. How many prepositions is it possible to fit into a single line of a poem? These verses by Morris Bishop suggest that the answer is at least seven:

I lately lost a preposition.
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
And angrily I cried, “Perdition!”
Up from out of in under there.

Correctness is my vade mecum,
And dangling phrases I abhor,
But yet I wondered, “What should he come
Up from out of in under there for?”

  1. Generally, when a word has a prefix, like the in– in independent, you
    can remove the prefix and still have a perfectly normal word left over, like 
    dependent. But that’s not always the case, as this poem by David McCord

I know a little man both ept and ert.
An intro-? extro-? No, he’s just a vert.
Sheveled and couth and kempt, pecunious, ane,
His image trudes upon the ceptive brain.

When life turns sipid and the mind is traught,
The spirit soars as I would sist it ought.
Chalantly then, like any gainly goof,
My digent self is sertive, choate, loof.



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Nitzavim-Vayeilekh (Deut. 29:9-31:30)

This is a time of transition on many fronts.  School has started.  The leaves are starting to fall.  At Selichot services tomorrow night, special penitential prayers and poems (selichot) will be chanted in High Holy Day mode as we the end of 5777.  The haftarah, the last before Rosh Hashanah is Isaiah 61:10-63:9, is the seventh and final Haftarah of Consolation. Rabbi David Abudarham (14th c.) described the set as a dialogue (see Nehama Leibowitz, Studies in Devarim, pp. 154-5): (1) the Lord commands the prophets to comfort the people.  (2) Zion wails that the Lord has forsaken her.  (3) The Lord recognizes that Zion can’t be consoled.  The final three demonstrate increasing levels of comforting: (5) “I am He that comforts you!” (6) “Sing, O barren one!” And the seventh haftarah is full of triumph and ecstasy as Israel rejoices in her reunion with the Lord:

10 I greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My whole being exults in my God.
For He has clothed me with garments of triumph,
Wrapped me in a robe of victory,
Like a bridegroom adorned with a turban,
Like a bride bedecked with her finery.

And, as we near the end of the annual Torah reading, Moses approaches the end of his life and the Israelites prepare for their big transition from wilderness to Promised Land.

Nitzavim-Vayeilekh is a double portion, but at only 70 verses, roughly half the length of a typical weekly single portion.  In Nitzavim (29: -30:20), Moses tersely sets out what is expected of the people, a summary of the past month’s exhortations.   First, all of Israel is being bound by the covenant: men, women, children, converts, present or not, including future generations.  That means that everyone must study the Law, in order to know how to obey it mindfully and wholeheartedly.  And the Law is accessible to all.  Moses assures the people that they not only must, but can, study and learn the Law. 

At this critical juncture, they are presented with a choice (30:19-20):

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life — if you and your offspring would live — 20 by loving the Lord your God, heeding His commands, and holding fast to Him. For thereby you shall have life and shall long endure upon the soil that the Lord swore to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.” 

Vayeilekh (31:1-30) finishes up the narrative. Moses formally presents Joshua to the people as their next leader.  Moses writes down the Law and gives it into the care of the Levites, and it is to be read in its entirety in public every seven years.  Then the Lord takes Moses that he dies, despite his efforts, the people will stray and the Lord will then smite them, etc., continuing the old pattern established in the wilderness.  But, as his last assignment, Moses must write a song, a poetic summary to be an additional witness to what they have promised.  Maybe they’ll be able to pay attention to that.   

Shabbat shalom,

Parshas Vayeilech – On 1 Foot
ADMIN — JULY 9, 2006

Moshe: I am about to die
Jews: You are?
Moshe: yes.

The End.
Moshe Out of Office Reply: I will be out of the office, permanently. For immediate assistance on Judaism please contact Josh or God


12 Horribly Amazing Puns to get you through Finals Week (selected)
Puns for the Sleep Deprived and Coffee Dependent, by Alison Kaye

Finals Week: when coffee becomes the dominant food group, sleeping in a chair is socially acceptable, and the only emotions you’re capable of expressing are laughing and crying.

  • First, some encourage(mint) for those of you with that stack of 400+ notecards– may it take you less time to study them than it took to make them.
  • How many tickles does it take to make a squid laugh? Ten-tickles
  • What kind of fish is made out of only two sodium atoms? 2 Na
  • It’s not even summer and I already have a tan: sine/cosine.
  • And how about a politically relevant slice of Berned toast?
    tph berned toast


Flowchart for Choosing Healthy Food at the Supermarket
Created by Darya Pino, neuroscience PhD, columnist, and foodie.  Her blog: Summer Tomato.

tph real food

Quotes about Transitions

Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want. Kristin Armstrong

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it. Nikki Giovanni

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism. John C. Calhoun

Life is one big transition. Willie Stargell
A Five-Year Old’s View of Weddings

Hilary, a grandmother, overhears her 5-year-old granddaughter, Mo, playing “weddings.”

As the little girl, Mo, marches the bride down the aisle, the marriage vows went something like this: ‘You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be held against you, you have the right to have an attorney present. You may now kiss the bride.’


tph bride no groom


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