Shana Tova

by Eszter Hargittai on September 15, 2004

I just wanted to wish people a Happy New Year. I am not going to say anything profound, just post text from an email that was forwarded to me a few days ago (below the fold). Of course, depending on your perspective, some of those lines could be considered pretty profound.

Otherwise, you can head over to the Unsealed Room to read up on the amusing circumstances of Madonna’s/Esther’s[1] visit to Israel (e.g. please, no Jewish photographers, wouldn’t want Jews to violate the High Holy Days).

fn1. I’d just like to add that I’m really glad she went with the English spelling so as not to upset my Google rankings.:)

[I got this in an email forward without information about the author. I’d be happy to post credits if anyone can point to a source. UPDATE: Thanks to commentator “ak” on my blog I now know that these tidbits come from David M. Bader’s Zen Judaism: For You, A Little Enlightenment. See the book for additional deep thoughts.]


Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as the wooded glen. And sit up straight. You’ll never meet the Buddha with posture like that.

There is no escaping karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?

Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.

To practice Zen and the art of Jewish motorcycle maintenance, do the following: get rid of the motorcycle. What were you thinking?

Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness. If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao is not Jewish.

Drink tea and nourish life. With the first sip, joy. With the second, satisfaction. With the third, danish.

The Buddha taught that one should practice loving kindness to all sentient beings. Still, would it kill you to find a nice sentient being who happens to be Jewish?

Be patient and achieve all things. Be impatient and achieve all things faster.

To find the Buddha, look within. Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.

Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?

Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis…

UPDATE: Someone just sent me this link (Flash, sound turned on recommended) and although I ordinarily would not post a link to something I do not understand (can anyone help me?) this comes from a very reliable source so I thought I’d share.



Ross 09.15.04 at 2:20 pm

May you be inscribed for a good year, Eszther. Great stuff, especially for this aspiring Jew-Bu.


J. Ellenberg 09.15.04 at 4:04 pm

Eszter, I never think Jewish-mother-schtick is funny — except that, mysteriously, this one was. Good catch.


Ross 09.15.04 at 4:35 pm

Of course, I hope you will be inscribed with your name spelled correctly.

*bangs forehead on desk*


Roger Hurwitz 09.15.04 at 5:31 pm

the flash is an innocuous song to the effect that every year begins with a question and its up to us to supply the answer.

re: madonna’s visit to Israel and Bethelehem, the committee against home demollitions published an open letter asking her not to come or at least take note of the repressive conditions on the people in Bethlehem. juan cole reprints it.


John Davies 09.15.04 at 5:53 pm

I like the way Madonna decided for Jewish photographers that they shouldn’t work on the High Holy Days.

I guess they weren’t adult enough to make that decision on their own.

Nice to know that once again entertainers are looking out for us.


Danyel Fisher 09.15.04 at 6:19 pm

My hebrew is a little rustier than I like to admit, but the first line of the flash starts with, “Every year begins with a question mark”


John Quiggin 09.15.04 at 10:16 pm

A #1 Google ranking on your first name!

Speaking as Google source #1,675,324 (of 147,000,000) for “John”, I’m impressed.


eszter 09.15.04 at 10:49 pm

Well, John, maybe had your parents named you “Dzsan” instead (that would be the Hungarian spelling of how your name is pronounced) then you’d have a better ranking.:) Of course, no one would have named you that even in Hungary as there is a standard John equivalent.;-) Oh well, I tried.

What amazes me is that my undergraduate homepage, which I created in 1995 (and stopped using in 1996) still comes up in the top 10!


eszter 09.16.04 at 3:55 am

I’ve updated the post, but wanted everyone to see the new info: Thanks to commentator “ak” on my blog I now know that these tidbits come from David M. Bader’s Zen Judaism: For You, A Little Enlightenment. See the book for additional deep thoughts.

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