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A little guy drinking coffee in a soul-crushingly boring little diner where the prevalent philosophy is that the lights are “just on” . . .

The Skyline Man

The Skyline Man


The Skyline Man

A little guy drinking coffee in a soul-crushingly boring little diner where the prevalent philosophy is that the lights are “just on” . . .
Divine Providence, Lech-Lecha

I think this is my favorite one so far. My brother said it was the most atmospheric. Which is funny, because an almost-empty diner with a faint clanking of dishes in the background and a little handwritten “ask about our pie” sign is quite possibly the most boring atmosphere I could come up with. But for some reason, it was really fun for me to recreate that stifling boredom. And then let that little stick man, in some small way, break out of it.

So what does that have to do with Abraham?

Abraham was fighting against the belief that things in this world have some sort of existence independent of their Creator. In other words, they just are. So while I was struggling to find in myself a story that would express the faith I’ve inherited from my patriarch, the image I came up with was a little guy drinking coffee in a soul-crushingly boring little diner where the prevalent philosophy is that the lights are “just on,” and somehow trying to become aware of the possibility that there must be somebody who’s keeping them on.

Anyway, on a different note, is there anybody who can tell me what the actual deal is with the lights being on all night?

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Reb Izzy FLL October 29, 2014

Everyone is good for something, even if it is only to serve as a horrible example. Reply

chana sudak June 29, 2014

don't really get it Reply

Anonymous Castro Valley, Ca/USA March 27, 2012

Electric Company's Up all Night? Blind because there's no light on? Call the Man, that no one knows, and get a friend in High Places. He may be in a Close Coffee Shop. Reply

Anonymous albany , NY via November 19, 2011

AWESOME absoluely, totally, and 100% amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can u please make more??!!?!? Reply

Shoshana Jerusalem, Israel November 9, 2011

answer to Sam ONE: Your question is a good one and has been answered by Chazal: The reason that G-d created poor people is so that we Jews should be loving, kind and give tzedaka.

TWO: The next obvious question is, very nice, but why do these people have to suffer? The answer is that each of us has his purpose in life, his trial and his test. Our success in life is how well we do with the tools that we have been given. The rich man could succeed or fail miserably though pride, stingyness, lack of devotion to H-shem, and also dishonesty.

The poor man could reach very high levels of closeness to H-shem through his prayers, and by being happy with his lot, and could reach levels that he never would have reached had he been rich. G-d know what's best for each of us. And it says that if the rich man does fulfil his purpose and succeed, and likewise the poor man, each receives his reward in the next world, but the poor man receives double because he had a harder test.

Hatzlacha! Reply

Sam Castro Valley, USA November 3, 2011

Lights on! Aw me the forever defender of the small and the weak who have no one except G-d to complain to. All work is honorable but some work is more honorable than other work Some work is paid at very high wage levels while other work barely covers the roof over thier heads and food on the table
The famalies of workers at the bottom rung
suffer as well as express need for a few matireal things. both of which they don't get or perhaps little of. if any.
My question to G-d is why. Why should these inequalities exsist ? I would rather pray at a Shul where everyone is well off than at a poverty stricken one.
I rationalize my ability to be the one that arrives early in the morning at my office, drinks a cup of Columbian coffee, and hang my Armani jacket in my work space.
by reminding myself I must do a mitzvah as eraly as possible. Later, I reflect on a greater good i may do to honor Hashem.
A feeling may come over me that assures me I am a descent man, one who loves Torah, learning and livin Reply

Sam New York, NY November 1, 2011

We need more!!! Please, we need more stick figure vignettes from Dovid Taub!

Thanks. Reply

Rorie Heart Houston, TX, USA November 1, 2011

Very Illuminating Wow! I absolutely loved this vignette. What a powerful way to succinctly convey the essence of what it means to be a Jew, on the collective, as well as the individual level, It is well-timed as we think about lech lecha. The wisdom tradition that embraces questions is one that realizes the ripple effect of women and men having their own "lightbulb moments" which, I believe, is the birthplace of the mitzvahs that advance the mandate of Tikkun Olam. One need not look far for evidence of the positive impact Jews have had and have in almost every arena*, despite facing venemous reactions by many who are uncomfortable with uncertainty and its child--change! Well done, if I may say so, Rabbi Taub!! *Note: This statement is not meant to exclude the many non Jewish individuals and wisdom traditions who are lifelong seekers to--and for--questions to ask and ways to respond to those questions, answered and un Reply

Anonymous palm beach, fl September 13, 2011

Okay this videos are amazing but there are just a few please make more.

Todah Rabbah Reply

Anonymous atlanta September 5, 2011

the skyline man; lights being on all night?? elul 5771 this anticipates, and illustrates, that after some, 'darkness', 'the' Light, Comes. toda raba Reply

Shoshanah Yerushalayim, Israel November 9, 2010

skyline man-answer to Sam These people doing what you call menial work are not leading meaningless lives. They are supporting their familes who certainly recognize them and they have friends and a whole life outside of their work. They are also making it possible for the daytime workers to do their jobs. They are really making the world a better and cleaner place for all of us, and we should be grateful to them. My children once had a book called "People Who Work at Night" exactly on this topic. And they are probably very thankful to have a job at all, with the high rate of unemployment.
Also, a man can spend his life peeling potatoes while reflecting on the greatness of G-d Who created them, water-proof under the ground, with such a thin skin, & come to a closeness and love of G-d that many of us may never reach. Meaning in life is not measured by how much fame and recognition we have, but by what we truly accomplish in spirituality. G-d doesn't care if you sweep floors or are a computer expert. Reply

Zoey Syracuse, NY October 11, 2010

lights on at night Maybe the one cleaning at night is thinking, sure glad no one is around to bug me. This job is a blessing - job, peaceful atmosphere without the pressure of the business world. No headaches, no gossip aroung the water cooler, no Type A's ...benefits are pretty good and hey, a lot of the suits are sitting home unable to sleep afraid they will lose their jobs, or got their pink slip and no job in sight, not even cleaning where at least here there are medical benefits. oh, its 4am, lunch time and think I'll read some Torah! Reply

b new york, ny April 28, 2010

are we having any more? this stuff is great, , rabbi taub, are there plans for more? really great stuff! Reply

Sam CVastro Valley, CA December 2, 2009

The skyline Man Thi is the type of question I would ask.
The lights are on for many reasons one of them being the floors have to be cleaned of trash and the toilets have to be disinfected as well as supplied with soap and new paper towels. .
Human beings are doing the cleaning and keeping late hours so that other human beings can come and work in a clean environment. The idea is to be thankful you are the one coming to work to a clean place and not the one doing the cleaning.
Who are these people relegated to a group whose function is to do menial work to survive? Does G-d think its a good thing?
Does G-d care? The lights may represent the transitory nature of life and the meaningles life of some who blow away unrecognized like leaves on the sidewalk. Reply

Ariella Yerushalyim November 4, 2009

lights on all night Somebody has to clean the buildings. Do you think they do it in the dark? Reply

Effie Atlanta, GA via October 25, 2009

Beautiful I have watched quite a few of your vignettes, and I would have to say I love this one the best. Beautiful. On par with any animated short I have ever seen. Reply

Mr. Robert Burdman October 14, 2009 is with the lights being on all night? Dear Mr. Taub:
I am an admirer of your wit and wisdom and your question surprises me.
I would like to give you a suggestion, why not ask the man by the window? He obviously knows!
Thank you for your wonderful work.
Shalom Reply

marjorie grady, new mexico September 27, 2009

the skyline man an excellent illustration (validated by the many comments) of how humans jump to conclusions and have an emotional response to things we have no true understanding of.
contrary to the person that does not find this venue deep and illuminating i am blessed and elevated by it thank you Reply

Anonymous Little Mountain, South Carolina August 15, 2009

Done some Livin' I am laughing so hard right now! My opinion is, I think the reason this one is so great is because you've captured the human condition within the mundane, and then somehow managed to reveal the beauty of how G-d is right there in the middle of it with us. Todah. Reply

Peselbayla Silver Spring, MD, USA February 24, 2009

Incredible Dovid has mastered the Chassidic way of thought, its spark, its life and brings it to the world!

So beautiful. Reply

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