The Golden Telephone

While on vacation in Rome, I noticed a marble column in St. Peter’s with a golden telephone on it.  As a young priest passed by, I asked what the telephone was for.  The priest told me it was a direct line to heaven; and if I’d like to call, it would be a thousand dollars.  I was amazed but declined the offer.

Throughout Italy, I kept seeing the same golden telephones on marble columns.  At each, I asked about it; and the answer was always the same:

It was a direct line to heaven; and I could call for a thousand dollars.

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Visiting Pastor

A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners.  At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door.  Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote:  ‘Revelation 3:20’ on the back of it and stuck it in the door.

When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned.  Added to it was this cryptic message:  ‘Genesis 3:10’.  Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.

Revelation 3:20 begins: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.’  Genesis 3:10 reads: ‘I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.’

With much affection,

Rabbi Sally


A face is a powerful medium.  We want to put names with faces so that a whole complete person emerges into our awareness.  And yet how often we measure and evaluate people in sections.

We read palms, measure feet and ankles and thighs, compare and contrast waists to hips and chests, even evaluate necks and shoulders.  But virtually everyone wants to see the face that accompanies the rest of that package.

No part of our physical self gets more attention, scrutiny, more critical evaluation and more effort than our faces!  No part of our human anatomy has more sub-groupings than our faces.

Faces have eyes, with their lids, lashes, brows and color.  Faces have mouths, with their lips, teeth and smile.  Faces have noses, with their bridges, nostrils, lengths and breadths.

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Too Short To Be Little

A favorite quotation of mine is the thought expressed by Disraeli, “Life is too short to be little”.

It can help through many a painful experience.  Often, we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should “let go of” and forget.  Perhaps some man we helped has proved ungrateful, some woman we believed to be a friend has spoken ill of us, or some reward we thought we deserved has been denied us.  We feel such disappointments so strongly that we have trouble working or sleeping.  But isn’t that absurd?  Here we are on this earth with only a few more decades to live; and we lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievance that in a short time will be forgotten by us and by everybody.

Let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings, to great thoughts, real affections, and enduring undertakings.  For life is too short to be little.

With much affection,

Rabbi Sally

A Greek Sculptor

There was once a Greek sculptor named Metros who was commissioned to make a statue to be set against the wall in one of the rooms of a Temple in Athens.  Metros used only the best and most expen-sive tools for the task; and he gave care and devotion to every inch of the statue.

A friend asked him:  “I can understand why you work so hard on the front side of the statue for that will be seen; but why must you work so hard on the back?  It will be up against a wall; and no one will see it anyway.”  The artist’s answer was:  “The gods see everywhere.”

It was a wise answer for it expresses the truth that a real artist does not create in order to impress, but to express himself.  If his aim were only to impress others, then it would have been enough for this artist to work on the visible part of the statue; but if the goal was to express his innermost self, then the work of art had to be right, both inside and out.

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Two Seriously Ill Men

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.  One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon.  His bed was next to the room’s only window.  The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. 

The men would talk to each other for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, where they had been on vacation; and every after-noon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. 

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where he would be enchanted by all the activity and color of the world outside.

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To Be Perfect Is No Fun

There is a story in medieval Hebrew literature; and there is a Charlie Brown cartoon that expresses the same spiritual truth – that to be perfect is no fun!

In medieval Hebrew literature, there is a legend about a king who was trying to impress a woman.  He says to her:  “Do you know how rich I am?”

She was not impressed.

He tries again.  He says to her:  “Do you know how many servants I have?”

She was not impressed.

He then says:  “Do you know how many riches I have, and how many people in the world envy me?”

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Secrets to Success

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Twinkies from God

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God.  He knew it was a long trip to where God lived; so he packed a suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.  When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman.  She was sitting in the park, staring at the pigeons.  The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase.  He was about to take a sip of his root beer when he noticed that the woman looked hungry; so he offered her a Twinkie.  She gratefully accepted it.  Her smile was so pretty that the little boy wanted to see it again; so he offered her some root beer.  Once again, she smiled that beautiful smile.  The boy was delighted.  They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling; yet neither of them said a word.  As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was; and he got up to leave.  Before he had gone no more than a few steps, he turned around and ran back to the woman and gave her a hug.  She, in return, gave him the biggest and most beautiful smile ever.

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Rabbi Sally - The People's Rabbi