recently, i purchased a steely dan cd. with anne murray’s country songs album getting tiring on the commute, a classic rock n’ roll collection was in store. as the disc was inserted, i lectured my wife as to steely dan’s musical greatness. upon arriving home, i grabbed my cell phone which had been sitting in the car.
as we started lunch, i ever so rudely smart to fidget with the smart phone. i jumped through a variety of websites. my attention to youtube; the feed, for some reason, featured a steely dan song. was this a coincidence? as the cd purchased with cash and creating no electronic trail, one distinct possibility emerged for this coincidence was my cell phone was listening to me? after all, it already knows where i go.
before this episode, the $.25 only section of my local library’s used book section had the offering of “why faith matters” by rabbi david wolpe. as a former subordinate of him while he was a summer camp section head, i splurged on the tome with both curiosity and nostalgia. months later, i cracked it open to write a book review for the blog.
shortly into the book, one of his stories caught my attention. he both told a tale and reflected on his dear professor [eliezer] slomovic. i too have fond memories of dr. slomovic. he impressed me so much that i consider him among the three brightest individuals i have ever met in my life. knowing dr. slomovic’s relatives, i took a picture of the pages and texted it off to one of them; a close friend. the pages were shared with other family members. they were happy to see some recognition of their well respected relative. apparently, they were unaware of the reference.
after this incident and having concluded the quest for the ultimate birthday gift, i hit up another local library book shop sale. with puppy on hand, the visit was chaotic as the dog wished to explore the edifice’s trees, plants and grass. she was not going to cooperate. after she conducted her business, i picked her up and entered the shop frazzled. i rushed though the offerings quickly and found nothing. during this, the puppy took the opportunity to affectionately give the store keep’s leg a friendly embrace. upon leaving the store, my eye caught a book on a $.25 book cart. it was “overcoming life’s disappointments” by harold s. kushner. the book’s premise was to use moses as a learning source for inspiration. the thought of finding a blog topic worthy book from an author i had already written a review on at a time when i had stopped shopping was remarkable. to get a pristine copy of the book for a quarter, a metziah! was this a coincidence?
decades ago, i was on an art scroll books’ obsession. art scroll publishes high quality hebrew scripture books. some of their beautiful books are printed in interlinear fashion. thus, one is able to read the texts both in english and in hebrew simultaneously. they serve as great learning tools for those not totally proficient in hebrew.
during a move, a number of the art scroll books were boxed with other items. on friday, i decided to stick my hand into the box and grab something out to have something to read. my hand brought out the schottenstein edition of pirkei avos, ethics of the fathers. the book was enticing as i love short reads. completing the quarter inch thick text was achievable.
over the years, my approach to book reading has changed. while in the past, i jumped into the book’s text, now i enjoy reading dedications, prefaces and introductions. the avos introduction struck me. it discussed the concept that that role models should be more than someone with accomplishments; their personal lives matters as well. the rabbis aspired to have well roundedness into the concept of true greatness. personally, as someone who recently wrote about having broken their moral compass early on in life, the words were humbling.
the introduction continued offering another insight. there was the discussion of the matter of an open pit in the public domain which lead to an analogy. “just as an uncovered pit imperils the unsuspecting person who may fall and be injured, one who does not develop positive character traits is open to pitfalls of all kind, and may pull other people down with him. if someone irritates him or says something that he misinterprets, he may react angrily, even violently, hurting himself. he is a danger to himself, to society, to his family and friends.” this page, originally published in 2002, and discussing ancient text, on a personal level, can relate to society’s lacking of positive character traits. presently, with social media, we all have the opportunity to view many extreme individual public outbursts almost on a daily basis. these words are more telling today. airplane flight recently has served up its share of insanity with two grown men’s viral meltdowns; one over not getting a pre-flight drink and the other over a baby crying excessively. was this timed?
what are coincidences? some, i suspect, are manufactured in the high tech world. others, may be factually driven. we may gravitate towards matters that create coincidences. for instance, my knowledge and relationships with individuals would eventually lead to some coincident happening. then, there are the unexplainable coincidences. for these, like with high tech’s involvement, one might believe that they are manufactured by forces in the background; perhaps, a master of the universe?
one must wonder if the big bang is still moving matter. in other words, are actions are in fact the product of the initial act. with such, our free will and our actions were perhaps predetermined at the beginning. this could suggest that some coincidences are actually within a great scheme of things.
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