Monday, October 19, 2009

The world works on kindness and interesting world facts

The Torah tells us that "God created man in His own image" (Genesis 1:27). The Chofetz Chaim (a great sage of the early 1900's) comments that "image of God" means that man has the ability to emulate God, who bestows kindness on people. Performing acts of kindness reflects God's attributes. Thinking "Why should I help others?" alienates a person from Godliness.

The very survival of humanity depends on kindness. Every person, without exception, needs the help of his fellow human being. The prophet Michah (6:8) tells us, "... what does God require of you, but to act justly, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God." Kindness is something we must do. It helps our fellow human being, helps bring the world one step closer to perfection while raising our level of spirituality. That must be our focus, not the response or recognition we hope to receive from those whom we help.

This last week was the reading of the opening portion of the old testament in the synagogue

Each year we read through the same biblical story, but our duties as adults are to constantly keep working on our faith and belief system. When one is given a brain by G-d, we have the duty to use it. 

Fortunately, in our lives today, we have brilliant minds that spend their time studying and learning spiritually as opposed to just making money. Now I am not criticizing making money, but as we learn from above our purpose on this earth is to emulate G-d. The great minds that give their time to help me learn new insights each year, make my Sabbaths special.

Some writings are imiginative, others are controversal, but they are all interesting to learn and discuss. The Talmud teaches that many concepts are not mutually exculusive, but can all be true. Among the things I learned this weekend, were 1) Cain, the first child of Adam and Eve, may have been the Snake's son and not Adam's.
2) Now that I have your attention, another writer (Rabbi Bick), proposes based on the text that Cain was guilty of  manslaughter and not murder. He also proposes that Cain was the important one of the two brothers and Hevel (in Hebrew meaning air or nothingness) was a copycat and not very bright.

Love Yehuda 




More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska




The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen supply.  The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean.  The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States




Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.  Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica.  This ice also represents seventy % of all the fresh water in the world.  As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert.  The average yearly total precipitation is about two inches.  Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, that is), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.




Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.




Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.  Canada is an Indian word meaning 'Big Village.' 




Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.




Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan carries the designation M-1, so named because it was the first paved road any where. 


Damascus, Syria 


Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence. 


Istanbul , Turkey


Istanbul (aka Constantinople), Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents.


Los Angeles


Los Angeles' full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula -- and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A. 


New York City


The term 'The Big Apple' was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930's who used the slang expression 'apple' for any town or city.  Therefore, to play New York City is to play the big time - The Big Apple. 


There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians in New York City than in Rome, Italy; and more Jews in New York City than in Tel Aviv, Israel.. 




There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio, every one is man made.


Pitcairn Island


The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia , at just 1.75 sq. miles.




The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy in 133 B.C.  There is a city called Rome on every continent.




Siberia contains more than 25% of the world's forests. 




The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.).  It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has a population of 80, 20 less people than the Vatican.  It is a sovereign entity under international law, just as the Vatican is. 


Sahara Desert


In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt, which did not receive a drop of rain for ten years.  Technically though, the driest place on Earth is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island. There has been no rainfall there for two million years




SPAIN literally means 'the land of rabbits.' 


St. Paul, Minnesota 


St. Paul, Minnesota, was originally called Pig's Eye after a man named Pierre 'Pig's Eye' Parrant who set up the first business there. 




Chances that a road is unpaved in the U.S.A: 1%, in Canada: 75%.




The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas.  It is as deep as 20 empire state buildings but only 3 inches wide. 


United States


The Interstate System requires that one-mile in every five must be straight.  These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies. 




The water of Angel Falls (the World's highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet.  It is 15 times higher than Niagara Falls


It has been said that one should learn something new every day.  Unfortunately, many of us are at that age where what we learn today, we forget tomorrow.  But, give it a shot anyway!