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30 second animated shorts using stick figures to explore Jewish philosophy. Bizarre yet intriguing. Oh, and kind of funny.

Disposable Cups

Disposable Cups


Disposable Cups

30 second animated shorts using stick figures to explore Jewish philosophy. Bizarre yet intriguing. Oh, and kind of funny.

I’m going to confess something to y’all, and I beg of you not to be too hard on me about it, because I already stopped doing it. My wife recently bought a bulk package of like a bajillion paper cups at Sam’s Club. But for some silly reason I really didn’t like them. I think maybe because they’re too waxy or something, I can’t even remember. So I noticed after a little while that I was kind of purposely going through them super fast, so as to use them up and move on to a more satisfactory paper cup. I know, it’s terrible. But once I realized, I stopped and slowed down.

The full quote from the Talmud goes like this: “He remained for the sake of some small jars he had left behind. Hence [it is learned] that to the righteous, their possessions are dearer than their body.” When I rediscovered this statement while looking for ideas for this cartoon, it was kind of counterintuitive for me. Why would a righteous person value possessions more than his/her own body? Why would they value physical possessions at all? So, in comes the Chassidic explanation that there are “sparks of holiness” invested within physical objects, and the righteous perceive this and understand that it is their responsibility to “elevate” those sparks by using the object for good.

The way that’s all coming together in my mind right now is that it is so easy to look at things in terms of what we need them for (valuing ourselves over our possessions). Which isn’t necessarily bad, but is simply insensitive to the fact that this object has its own existence, one that should at least be acknowledged, and perhaps it needs you. If I see a paper cup only as something I can drink from, then I can drink from 20 of them in a row, and they’ll all serve that purpose just fine. But if I see the cup as a part of creation that’s there for a reason and deserves acknowledgement, I might not be so quick to plow through them.

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Anonymous uk June 29, 2014

great way to show the kids what not to do Reply

Elisa White Plains, NY January 10, 2014

I love what you explained, Dovid, about everything having a reason for having been created. It fits in the what I am trying to incorporate from another source--that "I am that I am" is really "I am that; I am"--in other words, just as HaShem is in everything, since we are created in HaShem's image, so are we. So when we look at a paper cup and know that it s because of HaShem,, we know that we are the same.

Don't know if I explained it in a way that makes sense but it was a good connection for me.

Thank you. Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma August 15, 2012

waste It is amazing what we all waste even those among us with a well developed ecological conscience.

But it's getting better. Years ago people tossed litter casually into the streets seemingly unaware they defiled the environment for us all. Education is important. LIT erature lights the way when it's centred on waste and caring. Reply


How little we know, until it is pointed out to us. a true distinction between common sense and selfishness. For me, giving to others is a large benefit to me. Sharing what g-d has provided is inate. only when it is all gone and there is no more to give, somehow G-d provides. Reply

notutopia notutopia, usa via May 22, 2011

give thanks ah, the awesomeness of being bestowed with the paper cup.

There was a time when we only required our hands to dip water from the springs in order to drink.

. Reply

Jack Midland Park May 11, 2011

Disposable items Fast food enterprises use disposable items to serve food or drinks. They do not have facilities to recycle. The cost of disposal is passed on to the local community or added to the cost of the food or drinks if the enterprise is using a private contractor. Ulitimately, our society and planet is burdened with this waste. Reply

Esther Feinstein Sackheim Skokie, Ill January 18, 2011

paper cup why not use a glass cup that is reusable and save the material we need to make plastic cups. Saves cutting down trees to make cup or to make a synthetic cup, which is a known poluter?
Sholom Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma January 18, 2011

paper cups The message would be one that would be quite clear, I would hope, without this video, for anyone in this day and age. To so easily toss the cups in the garbage, the one after the other, is a complete sacrilege. Someone who does this is probably littering, not recycling, and is not sensitive to the needs of all of us, in preserving the joint environment in which we live, and no just for us, but for all beating hearts that also live on the earth and within.

It's amazing such a message actually needs to be delivered and I expect it still does, after all these years.

Paper itself comes from trees. We should be so aware of how and what we throw away, how we should recycle, and mostly think about all of this, a truly important issue, worthy of lots of press because the pressure is on to do something to conserve our wilderness. Reply

Elana Stamford, CT via January 18, 2011

Reduce, reuse and recycle! The whole idea of using disposable cups, plates and silverware is very bad. You waste them, you pollute the planet even more, and it's all only because you are lazy to use a glass for your water and wash it afterwards.
Please try to reduce the usage of those disposable cups and preserve the envirnoment! Reply

Anonymous Jerusalem, Israel June 22, 2010

disposable cups It seems to me that there is a message here about the way a person sees himself vis a vis the world. Am I the Ruler here, with the right to do with everything at my DISPOSAL whatever I wish? Or am I a grateful guest, recognizing the fact that I am indded allowed to use my surroundings with the agreement of their Master, but only on condition that I do not waste. An object which was mine and which is no longer of use to me...can I discard it? No!! If another can have enjoyment therefrom, it is my duty to make it available to him. After all, I cannot create that item nor any other, for that matter. Your vignettes are enjoyably, concisely instructive. Reply

S. Matsui Jlem, Israel June 22, 2010

vignettes utterly delectable! Reply

Michelle A Fort Myers , Florida December 4, 2009

It is how much we take for granted and don't appreciate what we have! At one time in my life I didn't have running water in my home for a long period of time, but now I know how much water it really takes to bath myself head to toe and for me it is 2 .5 gallons. Today I am greatful for water! Reply

Erick Tacoma, Wash March 4, 2009

I on the other hand hoard the cups, and other things. I put value in them and allow them to control my logical thinking. They are only a tool yet I used to allow them to have value and save. Reply

Travis February 3, 2009

Very good vignette :)

This can apply to a lot of things I think. For example, at times I've found myself "plowing through" my learning. Of course, Torah has a much more obvious value, however it's quite easy to overlook the important messages G-d is sending us every day in our daily studies if we don't meditate on the fact that what we're being shown is being shown to us for a specific reason.

I find that saying a short (or long) prayer to G-d before each time I study or do something (for example, maybe I'm about to go to the store for something) is extremely beneficial. I think that's why our sages said it would be great if a person were to pray all day long. It really opens up your mind to the fact of G-d's Presence in everything. Reply

Carmen December 12, 2008

Never ever be superficial! Maybe this also teaches us that never ever, in any moment, we should act un-reflectedly. Reply

Ruth Bell Leeds, England December 11, 2008

Cups and reasons I find it hard to get that excited about a paper/plastic cup, however I esp liked the comment from Dan King, Leeds.

Dan, I'm sure you would be very interested to know that Dovid Taub's father in law comes originally from Leeds and his daughter bought the cups. Could that be the reason for the cups? Reply

Dan King Leeds December 11, 2008

Thanks for the inspiring message

u can apply this to people, if you see them as serving you then you'll easily dispose of them when they displease you,

if however, you think about their own value, then you'll treat each one as a special entity Reply

James West Monroe, LA December 11, 2008

Disposable Cups You have taught me a valuable lesson.
Thanks! Reply

sarah December 10, 2008

Ahhhh I love this vignettes!!!!!!!! Even if I dont understand them some times....

=) Reply

Meira League City December 10, 2008

Mountains of "disposables jars" "Data released by the United States
Environmental Protection Agency
shows that somewhere between 500
billion and a trillion plastic bags are
consumed worldwide each year.
National Geographic News September 2, 2003"
Where do they go?
Open their website and see! You will be shocked! Our Great Grandpa Jacob knew that when he went back for a small jar... Hazarding his life for it, he gave us a great lesson! But.... we missed the point.
Thank you David to draw out attention back to that Reply

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