It seems that Rabbi Nosson Meretsky, director of Chabad at Penn State, is poised to set a world record.
According to the Collegian, the nine-foot-long challah displayed at a Sept. 8 Jewish Life Festival was the subject of an online application to Guinness. "Tony and I both did research," Meretzky said. Tony Sapia is the owner of the bakery and the ten-foot oven in which the challah was actually baked. "They have the largest hamburger bun and the largest pita. So we're hoping they can add this as the largest challah."
This reminds me of a radio show I heard a few weeks ago. They were talking about a world record that was then in the making. Maybe it was a record for the most men named Tom congregating in one room at one time. Possibly the participants were also whistling or singing or drumming or weaving friendship bracelets. I don't remember, but I remember the gist of the discussion: Anyone can win a world record. You don't have to be the most athletic or the tallest or anything like that. You just have to submit a record that hasn't been submitted before.
This is an ambition that I can relate to.
Once, when I was about twelve, I had a plan about which I was very enthused: I would walk every single street in my hometown, including alleys. I had a particular affinity for alleys. I found weeds growing around garbage cans to be very poetic.
I have since moved on to other things. I am well on my way to having consumed the most bowlfuls of chocolate chips and frozen blueberries while sitting in front of a computer, despite the fact that I am willing to share. If it turns out that someone else already has this record, I can submit a new record citing the fact that my chocolate chips are organic. Maybe I'll add some soy vanilla ice cream.
Mostly it seems that setting a world record takes doggedness. Probably someone could win the record for the most times hitting snooze (and probably that someone could be my brother). And a little bit of creativity. A sense of adventure.
I am full of ideas:
Most days in a row begun on the right foot by giving a few coins to charity.
Most friendliness to the people around me.
Most equanimity in the face of discovering that the store I drove an hour to get to closed less than five minutes ago.
It's a good time of year for ambitions like this. The air is starting to turn crisp. The garbage cans are at their most poignant. The leaves are at the peak of their greenness. Soon they will start to fall and remind us that our time is limited. A new school year is beginning, and soon it will be Rosh Hashanah.