Bob Schwartz

Month: October, 2019

You are already minimal

Your life is filled with stuff, outside and inside yourself. Minimalism is popular. You are told and believe that reducing the amount of that stuff, outside and inside, has its benefits. It does.

But there is another face to this. However much too much is in your house or inside in your busy buzzing mind, the minimal is already there, without discarding and disposing of a single unkempt pile or thought. The ultimate is to remain surrounded and filled with stuff and to realize that you are not.


Yom Kippur: Martin Luther King, Jr. on Repentance

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) begins this evening. It is the final day of the Jewish Days of Awe.

“Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)



Constellations are useful
when we see through them
to the stars

We are occupied with connecting dots. We study and follow the pictures emerging from these dots. Like looking in the night sky and telling stories about people and things there. They are there but distract us from the stars themselves. Our systems of religion and psychology and society have power only fueled by the dots as constellations have power only fueled by the simple points of light.

A Comic Book about Presidents for Presidents Who Don’t Read

Once upon a time, children got a lot of important information about subjects like history and science from comic books. It was easier and more fun than actually reading.

Here is a comic book from 1957 called Life Stories of American Presidents. Each president up to that time (it ends with Eisenhower) gets at least a page, and some of the more significant presidents such as Lincoln get as many as eight pages.

Now you or anybody else who might need a quick education on American presidents, but who prefer pictures to words, can view this comic book online. It is found at Comic Book Plus, an amazing site that offers online viewing of vintage comic books and other related literature. Best of all, the comic books are in the public domain, so you can download this one and many others.

We don’t know whether Trump was a fan of comic books as a kid, though he is the right age. So maybe this is the way to school him on subjects such as the history of the presidency.

He might learn that Lincoln was a Republican:

He might learn that there used to be another most corrupt president:

He might learn that there used to be another worst president:

He might learn that other presidents may have accomplished more than him during their presidency:

So much to learn when you know so little. That’s why comic books might help.


Rosh Hashanah 5780: Re-Creating the World

Solomon ben Joel Dubno (1738–1813)

Every year, on Rosh ha-Shanah, everything returns to its very beginning. Creation is renewed. All that was created in the beginning comes into being again. Thus each Rosh ha-Shanah the world is re-created.
Sefer Netivot ha-Shalom, commentary by Solomon ben Joel Dubno (1793)