Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life.
To Light A Spark

Cups

November 29, 2009

Red cup.

Blue cup.

One cup.

Two cup.

My cup.

Your cup.

My cup right now is a computer. When you read this, so is yours.

The laundry room I'm sitting in is a cup.

The bus and train I travel to work in are cups.

One cup.

Two cup.

Computer cup.

Bus cup.

What's a cup? A cup is a container. A vessel. An empty space meant to be filled.

Is your cup filled with vitamins and nutrients, all the things essential for life?

Or is your cup filled with soda, just empty calories and gassy bubbles?

Red cup.

Blue cup.

Healthy cup.

Soda cup.

Your work is a cup. Your free time is a cup.

What are you doing with your cup?

Are you filling your cup with more cups? Or are you trying to get some nutrition in there?

Is your free time really free or is it the empty calories of reality shows?

My cup. Your cup.

Weekday cup. Shabbat cup.

Are you getting that great miracle elixir on Shabbat, the kind of drink that's flowing freely from Heaven, the kind that you only need to stretch out your hand to receive?

Your heart is a cup. Your brain is a cup. Your muscles are cups. Every physical part of your life is a cup. Cups are everywhere.

What are in your cups?

Elad Nehorai is an alumnus of Arizona State University and Mayanot yeshiva. You can find Elad wandering around America, gallivanting around Israel, or getting lost in the clouds. His favorite things to do include reading, writing and conversing with G-d.

Trees Are Made of Paper

November 8, 2009

Until recently, I was pretty sure the only people you could rely on for deep info about the world were old dudes with white beards and big black sombreros. The sort of guys that read big Aramaic books, look stern as they wag their fingers, and talk about cosmic concepts and miraculous mysteries.

Well, I have some news for them, and I hope they can handle it. I've just discovered a new source of deep, super-cool information. The kind that will blow your mind. Who could these people be, to compete with our geniuses, our shiny pedestals of wisdom?

It may surprise you that the people I am talking about do not stand ten feet tall or wear black hats that fill the room. No, these people are, in fact, quite tiny. Little guys and gals with itty bitty voices.

I am speaking, of course, of children. The same ones who run around screaming when you're trying to take a nap, or who start talking about kitty litter when you're trying to teach them the ABC's. That's right. Them.

My realization came after having a conversation with a first grader today. He was telling me that cactuses have water in them (useful information in the right situation). I asked him what else had water. Apparently, trees in the Amazon retain water as well.

And then he said that trees also have paper in them.

I'll be honest. At first I was a bit puzzled by this statement. I mean, I know that trees can be turned into paper. But they don't have paper in them, last time I checked. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I almost corrected him. Can you believe that?

But then I began thinking. Maybe I was the one that needed correcting. After all, he seemed pretty sure of himself. And really excited by the idea. I don't know the last time paper excited me, unless it was green and I could buy stuff with it.

So, I thought some more. Was it really possible I had been wrong all along? When you cut down a tree, does paper fly out from inside the bark? I was pretty sure that wasn't the case.

Maybe the kid meant something else. Was it possible I had misheard him? No, he definitely meant that trees had paper in them, just like cactuses have water in them. Like it was the same thing. At this point, my head really hurt.

But as I thought about it, something became clear to me. Why were we talking about this stuff at all? Because most people wouldn't know that a cactus has water in it. Who would think a cactus, out in the desert, would have water inside it? Not me.

So maybe it was possible that trees really do have paper inside – but on a deeper level? Like, it's there, but we just need to know how to get it out? I asked him his thoughts on the matter, but he started talking about kitty litter.

As I thought about it, it made more and more sense. I mean, we say our computers have tons of information inside them, but we have to turn them on and allow the hardware to go through a bunch of processes to access the information. So, maybe on one level, our computers don't have the information. But you and me and every little kid knows that a computer does posses information. We just need to know how to extract it. Just like wood contains fire, coals contain diamonds, and water contains life.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this stuff could apply to you and me. I mean, don't we say everyone has thoughts? But if you ask some guy in a white coat if that's true, he'll tell you that we don't have thoughts, but nerves inside gray stuff in our skulls that shoot electricity around. This is part of the reason I've stopped listening to guys in white coats.

And there are plenty of people, dressed in all kinds of clothes, who would like you to believe that your essence is just a big bag of bones. They think that you – magnificent, wonderful, amazing you – are just a bunch of atoms and chemical reactions.

Sure, maybe they're right, from a certain perspective. But in a deeper, truer way of thinking, the kind of thinking only a first grader could come up with, our bodies, just like computers and fossils and wood, are really tools to reach something much truer, to unveil their ultimate purpose.

So, that bag of bones has something much more hidden within it. It has you. And you are that something waiting to come out, waiting to be revealed. No matter whether you wear a black hat or a baseball cap, or if you're big or tiny. Just like the rough bark of a tree hides paper inside, your 248 limbs and 365 sinews are really just waiting to expose the true you beneath.

All you have to do is find the power button, rub two sticks together, and press that coal until a diamond comes out.

Elad Nehorai is an alumnus of Arizona State University and Mayanot yeshiva. You can find Elad wandering around America, gallivanting around Israel, or getting lost in the clouds. His favorite things to do include reading, writing and conversing with G-d.
People travel around the world searching for it. They starve themselves for it. They scream, they cry and they beg for it.

“It” is that little thing called meaning. Truth.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just bang two rocks together and find It? What if we could save money on airplane tickets and seminars and find that meaning in our own lives?

Join me on my journey through the infinite without even resorting to a midlife crisis.
Elad Nehorai is an alumnus of Arizona State University and Mayanot yeshiva. You can find Elad wandering around America, gallivanting around Israel, or getting lost in the clouds. His favorite things to do include reading, writing and conversing with G-d.