The Knot’s Tale

THERE I WAS, TYING AN intricate bit of decorative knotwork in the Golden Hinde II‘s hold, and feeling more than a little proud of myself. I was then just a beginner at that sort of thing, and the glow of self-regard was warming my busy hands.

Comes the captain, a grizzled veteran of a hundred-and-one voyages in a hundred-and-one vessels, to peer over my shoulder. I paused, waiting for him to tell me how grand was my creation.

“That’s what it’s supposed to look like,” he said gruffly, and walked on.

To say I was crestfallen would be an understatement.

Tell me what you know of Torah,” asked the greybeard rabbi.
“I only know a little,” responded the young student.
The rabbi smiled. “That’s all anyone knows of Torah.”

Why I Love: Travel

IT’S THE NOVELTY. IT”S TRYING to see new places through the eyes of their long-time residents. It’s the road-trip soundtrack, whether CDs, tapes or new-to-me radio stations. If flying, it’s seeing the landscape from a different perspective; it’s the tiny bottles; it’s the in-flight magazines and audio offerings (and it was eating the twice-wrapped kosher meal, at least when airlines still offered meals). It’s watching urban areas dissolve into countryside the further away you get from the city. It’s finding new places to eat, and eating like the locals. It’s testing the limits of my comfort zone. It’s the packing. (It’s also the unpacking.)

Words To Bring Back, Special Edition: “Wheeler”

John Wheeler, c. 2018

Fig. 1

SOMETIMES, WE ATTAIN IMMORTALITY BY becoming part of the language: e.g., “boycott,” “pasteurize,” “guillotine.” And to these noble eponyms I would like to append … “wheeler.”

– Definition: v. To unconsciously, persistently and innocently pocket other people’s stuff.

“Everybody Have a Nagila!”

IT’S THE WORLD’S SINGLE MOST recognizable Jewish song — covered by such luminaries as Harry Belafonte and Dick Dale — yet its genesis may surprise you. Another fine contribution from myjewishlearning dot com…

Cook’s Toolbox

ONE OF THE FIRST QUESTIONS a new home-cook asks is, “Besides food, what do I need in order to cook?” Fortunately, someone has supplied the answer.

Despite the odd spelling, is probably my favorite foodie website. Its authors send out a daily email filled with recipes and kitchen/household management tips, many of which I dutifully print off in anticipation of future and present use. They recently published a guide to equipping a home kitchen called “All The Kitchen Essentials You Need — For Just $310,” with the advice that you can cut that relatively low, low price for 20 items by browsing thrift shops, garage sales, etc.

365 Names of God: Not-Two

NOT-TWO One of our living-room Torah participants laid this Name on me a while ago. As a fierce non-dualist myself (meaning that I see the Universe as one whole Being rather than an assembly of parts), I instantly took to it. She explained that it differs somewhat from the idea of “attaining” Oneness in that it encourages such unification from the position of apparent duality; “not-two” starts from where the perceiver begins — the “universe of ‘the,'” or apparent separation — rather than where he or she wants to wind up (and in fact actually “is” all along). Our correspondent added that she got it from one or more Buddhist teachers, although at this remove I don’t remember who said it or what sect they were from. Use it in good health.