Monthly Archives: June 2017

Vive La Difference

2017.06.12
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From Josee Wolff, The Torah: A Women’s Commentary:

“…The pessimist observes a situation, generalizes about the bad aspects, and interprets them as a permanent and constant feature. In contrast, the optimist observes the same situation and sees the bad aspects, but particularizes them and interprets them as a temporary obstacle that can be overcome.”

Lamed-Vavniks, Unite!

2017.06.08
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adtnAre you a Lamed-Vavnik?

According to Jewish tradition, there are 36 exceptionally righteous (read: supermensch-like) people in the world in each generation, and without whom the world would cease to exist. (In Hebrew counting, 36 is “lamed vav” (lamed = 30, vav = six)). The thing about Lamed-Vavniks is that they are secretly righteous; they do their deeds under the cover of anonymity.

That type of exemplary behavior is modeled for us in the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, according to the Kotzker Rebbe (1787-1859). The portion begins with G?d telling Moses to tell his brother Aaron to light the menorah inside the Tabernacle — where no one outside could see it. “This was a matter of the inmost heart,” writes the Kotzker. “All the great things have as their central idea something that is hidden and concealed in the heart — with no outward manifestation whatsoever!”

This idea is also substantiated by Pirke Avot, a collection of wise sayings of the sages and early rabbis: “Do not be as servants who serve the master in order to receive a reward, rather be as servants who are serving the master not in order to receive a reward.” That reward could include recognition via Facebook posts or “bragging rights” — both of which are incompatible with the concept of the Lamed-Vavnik.

May we all merit to serve each other in quiet humility, and with a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity.

My Letter to the Mayor of London

2017.06.06
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Here is what I said to Mayor Sadiq Khan via his website. You may want to write your own.

Dear Sir,

Please accept my humble condolences and healing prayers for those injured and killed in the recent terror attack; I hope this finds you otherwise well. I realize you are very busy, but I just wanted to take a moment to apologize for the actions of “our” president. Not all of us voted for him; not all of us share his boorish opinions or worldview. Many of my countrymen/women are otherwise fine people, and many of them are trying their hardest to mitigate the damage he is doing to our country and the world. I can only hope you don’t judge us all by the actions of one man, even if he claims to be our elected representative.

Be well, and thank you for your time,

Neal Ross Attinson

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