the wind and the rain


For the last couple of weeks, I have been renewing my tools, which on the whole, is more work than fun. Not only did I purchase the Kindle, but I have also bought a new laptop, after five years. If I could, I would use the same tools for at least twenty years. Once I was able to get away with that. But in this computer age, even if some of the better tools manage to keep on working, there are so many technical changes over time, that it really doesn’t make much sense to keep on with the old devices. Unfortunately, the move from one computer to the next, means transferring a lot of files, and installing programs that I had on the old machine, and the frustrations accompanying the learning about the new computer and the new operating system. I had to learn and test the techniques that have emerged in recent years. I have a tendency to become a little obsessive when engaged in that sort of a move. Fortunately this time, I didn’t wait until the old laptop failed me completely. That made the move easier.

for Steve

But I did buy two more external hard disks, and did find that some of the old programs I am used to, do not sit well on my new computer. So I had to find new solutions. All kinds of thoughts run through your head when you’re involved in work like that. In fact, it is very much like moving from one house to another. You find certain old objects that bring back memories. You think about the impermanence of life… Sometimes you have an opportunity to do soul searching.

a portrait of Nechama

One night, after a particularly intense day, I had a dream. It was in fact, a memory; something I had filed away in a bottom drawer of my mind, and now, reappearing in my dream. My father was telling me about how his father, my grandfather, had lost all his money, and much of his possessions in the great inflation after the first world war. While going through some old tools and documents, I had been thinking of my own losses as a result of the move from analogical to digital photography. And I suppose one thing had lead to another. While thinking about the dream, it occurred to me to write a blog post about money. Then, weighing that, and how to explain my attitude to the subject, I thought it best to first tell you a little about Tao.

might this be an object of worship?

My thoughts kept pulling me along, and I started wondering whether it could all fit in one blog post. As it is, I sometimes worry that I’m too wordy. I don’t know how much patience a blog reader has. That’s one of the reasons I sometimes just post pictures. If anyone wants to comment on that, I’d be very pleased to hear some ideas on the subject. How long should a post be?


So to begin, lets start out by examining two major categories in our understanding of the world. We might call them the physical and the spiritual. Having met a great variety of thinkers on the internet, I know that some people are put off by the mention of spiritual, and won’t accept anything that can’t be measured by scientific tools and gauges. If that’s the way you feel, I beg you to indulge me. I promise not to ask for any faith that you don’t feel on your own, within yourself. And since the very word ‘spirituality’, brings to mind spirits and ghosts, I would remind you of the term, ‘the spirit of adventure’ or the ‘sporting spirit’.


Our language, Hebrew, is a conceptual language. Its vocabulary is built on roots. The root words of materialism and spirituality are rain and wind. If we think about rain, we realize that condensation of the humidity in the air changes that humidity, which is unseen, to something physical that can be weighed and measured, water. And so, rain is a prime example of materialism. Wind, on the other hand, is the movement of something we don’t see. Were I to sit in my house, and look at people outside through a closed window, I might think that it was just as hot outside as I was feeling inside my home. But if there was a nice breeze blowing out there, those people might feel more comfortable than I was feeling in the static air. One has to feel wind blowing in order to be aware of it. And the wind itself is not material. It acts on material things, blowing one way and then another. It is a force, but it is not material. A strong wind can move you from your path. Even a mild wind can propel a vessel at sea. All the words for ghosts and spirits, and spirituality are built on the root ‘wind’ in our language. just as materialism is built on the root ‘rain’.

the neighborhood as seen from the approach

Well, I’ll leave you to think about that till next week, when we’ll continue our discussion. Eventually, we should get to the money. To be continued.


82 responses to “the wind and the rain

  1. A post needs to be as long as required to get the words out.

    Although, from a readers point of view, it is sometimes best to break an overly long post into two or more posts. As you know, reading on the computer is different than reading in a book. Or on the Kindle.

    Yes, keeping up with the technology is quite a pain, at times. Frustration can be a kind word when moving to a new platform.

    With the advent of digital images, I wonder how my grandchildren are going to see their lives. I have original prints and copies from my grandparents era. Will my grandchildren carry around USB sticks? What about their grandchildren? All very interesting questions, as we continue to capture life-defining moments on very ephemeral media.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Bill, on the length of the post. I don’t mind long posts if the subject interests me. Probably the question is one of individual taste. And yes, I agree with you, much of the media we take for granted, including the digital media will not be around for very long. There will probably be some exceptional works of art and memorabilia that will survive, and much will be lost.

  2. I don’t know what to say dear Shimon, I don’t like to be in rules, or forms, or anything about post… it comes… that’s all, like a poetry… sometimes I don’t feel to post anything… sometimes like a rain… can’t stop… anyway I told you I don’t know about this. You know I am a crazy one… 🙂 Good luck with your new technologies, how I love your photography, this flower, your amazing cat and cats and view from the hill… Beautiful so beautiful, have a nice weekend, Thank you. Love, nia

    • I agree with you for the most part, Nia. The nature of the post is a reflection of the person writing it, and it’s hard to make rules about something like that. I don’t think you’re crazy at all. I admire greatly the way you relate to a lot of things. Thank you very much for your comment, my dear friend.

  3. A good post, Shimon. I always enjoy what you have to say, as I enjoy your pictures. I love my little laptop, but I know I will soon need a new one, too.
    I think most bloggers prefer short posts, but everyone is different, as each blog and blogger is different. I try to keep mine short, but that is me. I try to be succinct and concise in all of my writing.
    I love Nechama; she is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • I suppose I got the impression that ‘short is good’ by watching other blogs. I’ve written professionally in journals and papers, and then you usually get instructions from the editor, according to what they want. But I suppose it’s an individual choice. Thank you very much for your kind words, Ann, and I’m glad that you like Nechama.

  4. I always enjoy your posts, Shimon – you follow a line of thought so methodically, and I can’t see how you could cut it down without losing something. How very interesting about rain and wind – we’re used to understanding the biblical word for ‘spirit’ as connected with ‘ruach’. Your ponderings also remind me of what Jesus said: ‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’ when he was talking to the Pharisee Nicodemus.

    • You’re exactly right, Gill. ‘Ruach’ is wind, and ‘ruach hakodesh’ is translated as the holy ghost. I’ve done quite a bit of translating in my life, so I know how often they give rise to misunderstandings, partially because of conceptual differences between cultures and languages. Thank you very much for your kind words about my writing.

  5. It seems to me that many people today prefer short items to longer articles (which they will usually only scan)… recently I read about a study which showed that by the time people had to scroll down on a web page, about 65% had left the site…
    I think unless one is writing simply to entertain, one should write as long a post (article, story, etc) as one needs or is led to… it is OK for the reader to work a little to understand the thought, knowledge, vision, etc.
    Quite interesting about the rain & wind… thank you.

    • That was my impression, but this study just strengthens it. On the other hand, I suppose that every blog attracts a slightly different audience, and I agree with you that the writer, if he has something particular to say, has to decide how long to make it. I hadn’t thought of it earlier, but reading your comment I was reminded of a series of articles that Norman Mailer wrote in the Village Voice in the 50s, in which he wrote purposely for ‘slow reading’. I suppose our writing style appeals to a certain readership. Thanks for your comment, Matt.

  6. I enjoyed both your words and your photos, Shimon. If you’re a little concerned about length you could set a target of 750-1,000 words. But breaking the text up with pix always helps. If you want to write a long piece though, WordPress suggest that for anything over 100O words you add the tag ‘WPLongform’ so that readers who like to read longer posts can find it.

    • I did get that post from WP about the longform, and tried to read some of the posts that were tagged that way, but felt that they were often too long to make for comfortable computer reading. Though if I’m following a writer who interests me, I would never be dissuaded from reading just because it happened to be long. I’ve thought about it on a number of occasions, and I do appreciate the feedback. Thanks for your feedback, Tish. And special thanks for alerting me about the spam trap. I do hope they’ll fix that problem.

  7. Intriguing post Shimon. I will need a note of a word that uses the 2 root words to understand what you mean. Yes, I think all who own computers experience sooner or later all the technology of moving and growing. One just can’t imagine how rapidly the world has been brought closer together because of computers and their method of communication. And the photos are a blessing to behold.

    • What happens in our language, Bob is that the words, letter, writing, dictation, and correspondence are all written with the same three letters which are the root of the word to write. Likewise all the conjugations of the verbs use the same root letters. In many cases, the way the language is designed imparts certain values regarding the acts, the subjects, or the objects described by the language. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Although I recognize that many folks rush through reading one blog to another, I believe any blog post should be however long it takes to let the author develop their story from beginning to end, including whatever bits they deem appropriate for the middle of the story. Photos always seem to add a second layer of perspective, and often evoke strong feelings that are tied to the subject at hand, so I always appreciate accompanying photos. My preference is usually that some selection of words accompany a photo, if only to gain insight into how the photographer feels about the subject. Of course, there are times that a photo says everything, and no words are needed. I suppose it is about finding the balance that works for the artist.

    To expand on that, in some ways I believe a blog post is similar to, let’s say, for instance, an interpretive dance. If you are in the audience to observe an interpretive dance, you generally would not want someone to come out and announce to you “this is what you are about to watch, and this is what it means, and this is how you should feel about the material as you are viewing the dance”. Instead, you would want to simply watch the piece, and draw your own conclusions, deciding what parts of the dance speak to you in a personal way.

    I believe writing and photography are similar in that respect. You put the words on the page, or you share the photographic image, and you are not necessarily compelled to instruct the viewer on how to interpret the information. Your own blog pieces are superior in this respect, in that they very often offer enough information that the viewer might draw their own conclusions, rather than making the choice to hammer them over the head with your own interpretation of the information. You take special care to leave room for original thought, and that is a very delicate balance; one that not all bloggers or writers or photographers achieve.

    Wind and rain, and root words that describe various ways of speaking about materialism, or spirituality … well, that bit of information itself could probably fill several long blog posts, but you’ve managed to convey the gist of it in just one short post … well done, Shimon, as always. I’m very interested to see the continuation, and how that will bring us to a conversation about money. As someone who has recently spent more time than usual contemplating money, and how it affects the quality of my life, I am eager to hear your thoughts on the concept of money. My own thoughts about money are quite conflicted, and I will look forward to getting the chance to read how you approach the subject.

    • Not only do I agree with you, N, on what you say about the length of a post, but I think it may have been a mistake to even raise the subject. But it was in my head at the time, and I thought I’d share it. I agree with your analogy too. Of course, not everyone is an artist… but a truly beautiful blog post can be very much like a dance. And what you say about not leading the audience by the hand, is something I feel very strongly about in art. And again, you quickly realized my problem. Thinking about the conceptual nature of the Hebrew language, and the many things that influence my thinking on such a thing as money… I had a moments hesitation, wondering how much to tell, and whether it would turn from an interesting conversation, to a wearisome lecture. That’s why I started thinking about the length of the piece. But I do appreciate what you’ve said, and realize after receiving some of the comments, that ultimately, this is a decision I have to make, and take responsibility for. As always, I do appreciate your comment, and thank you.

      • I’m so glad that you are willing to tackle the subject of money, especially because you bring the (authentic) added layer of “the conceptual nature of the Hebrew language, and the many things that influence your way of thinking on such a thing as money”. It is precisely that blend of authenticity and history, combined with your formed opinion, that makes reading your posts different from any other blog out there. Even when you are talking about as simple as your beloved Nechema capturing a ray of sunlight, you do so from a place where your history intersects with your intellect, and this makes your words carry a special weight that offers your reader a chance to catch a glimpse of something they might not otherwise have recognized.

        If it happens to take you six or seven blog posts to describe how the heat of the sun reflecting off the surface of the earth brings out Nechema’s joy at feeling the warmth of the sun beneath her feet, then I’m all ears. Because I know in the process of telling the tale, you will find a quiet way to remind us of all the many who have never felt the sun on their face, or of the wonders associated with how something as fierce as the sun can offer such comfort, or perhaps you’ll speak about the wild nature that lives deeply embedded in Nechema’s heart; an instinctual hunting mode that only shows itself when she is touched by the heat of the sun. Whatever it is that your thoughts might reveal, will be something rich, and complete.

        As to the idea of finding the balance between “an interesting conversation, versus a wearisome lecture”, I can only say this … both have information, and it is my opinion that information is meant to be shared. The difference between the two has more to do with the ability of the listener, rather than the words the writer has chosen to share with the reader (in my opinion). From my perspective, everything I read or witness is an opportunity to learn, and that makes me an eager student of life. Conversation versus lecture is just a matter of perspective, and it is my choice which descriptor to attach to the lesson at hand.

        Put another way, if I wasn’t in the mood for a sermon, then I wouldn’t take myself to church. When I show up at your blog door, I’m eager to have a conversation, whether it be a simple chat over a cup of coffee, or an in-depth discussion that winds around in many directions, and may keep us at the table for hours on end. It may even require a spot of bourbon, in order that we allow ourselves to settle in for the business of debate. Some subjects are complex, and require patience, and diligence.

        After following your blog for a while now, I trust your instincts. Completely. My advice is to follow what feels necessary, and comfortable, for you … if you do that, I trust you will have found the perfect balance.

        • I like your attitude towards learning very much. And I agree with what you’ve said here. I once had a teacher, after I was already an adult, and had succeeded professionally, but I found that I had a lot to learn from this man. He would give lectures, and I would attend. He once told me that he thought I already knew the things he was lecturing on, so I didn’t have to attend the lectures. I could meet with him privately when I wished. But I decided to test this. I figured if I learned one new thing in an hour, that was enough reason to attend. Every time I heard something from him that I hadn’t already known, I would make a note in my notebook, that was always by my side. After the first test, I realized that I had learned more than one thing per hour. And so I kept going to his lectures. Thank you for your words, and I believe you will enjoy the post on money.

  9. Shimon,
    I look forward to reading more and learning of your take on spirituality and money. Etymology is fascinating and I appreciate your willingness to share some of the etymology of Hebrew. Years ago, I studied energy healing with a very eclectic Rabbi in Miami and learned a little about Hebrew from him, mostly that it is one of the sacred languages and in his view, carried energy in the letters and words. He felt that Sanskit was another holy language.

    The fact that the root word for materialism (or maybe manifestation?) in Hebrew is rain and the root word for spirituality (or the unmanifest or premanifest?) is wind makes total sense to me.


    • Unfortunately, Cathy, though I did learn a number of languages, I didn’t learn Sanskrit, though I have read poetry and wisdom translated from that language. Hebrew is certainly a holy language in my eyes, and unlike any of the languages of Europe. Since you asked, manifestation is connected to the word ‘presence’. I can imagine that you had a rich experience learning from this Rabbi in Miami. We are very blessed with philosophical writings and thoughts going back to ancient times. Thank you very much for your comment.

  10. What wonderful pics especially of Nechama, the one with your shadow really gave me goosebumps….I couldn’t stop looking at it!

    I wouldn’t think twice about how long or short your posts are….each word has a valid place as far as I’m concerned and you have plenty of readers who obviously enjoy your posts as they come!

    Now….I was just settling in and enjoying hearing about the rain and wind when the post ended!!! You really should have been more wordy here and carried on!!!! Lol….now I have to wait….darn it!!!xxxx

    • Thank you so much, Dina, for trying to get around the WP spam trap. For some reason, it was giving me a lot of trouble in the last couple of days, and I didn’t even realize it till last night, when I got your message and one from Tish. Such problems are strange, and they always remind me how dependent we always are on others. But I am very grateful to WP for all the service I get. I’ve had greater problems on other platforms. And I do appreciate what you’ve said about the length. After thinking about it some, and getting a few reactions, I do think that each of us has to find what’s right for him or her. I’m sure money is one of the big subjects, like sex and rock ‘n roll, but a lot of people seem to have mixed feelings about it. Well, it’ll be a fun discussion.

  11. I love these photographs, Shimon, and am fascinated by learning these root words; they work for me as symbols, poetry, and metaphors…thank you so much for sharing this information. How interesting! I also appreciated hearing about your journey between older and newer technology and all the feelings, shifts, and memories that surface in your adjustment, as I experience these as well.

    When I discover bloggers I enjoy, I trust their wisdom to choose and edit their words so that what is in their heart can be best communicated. I never stop to question the length of the post…it’s immaterial to meeting the writer in his/her words, which is, really, an honor. (What is the Hebrew root for “immaterial?”)

    Peace to your Sabbath…

    • I relate just as you do, to the bloggers I follow, and so I think I’ve already gotten my answer, in that regard. Thank you, Kitty. It was also very interesting getting your question about the word “immaterial”. At first I was just going to tell you that we don’t have a word like that, and explain how I would translate it to Hebrew. But then, to make sure, I looked it up in the dictionary. And I was surprised to find, that after giving the explanations I was going to give you, they also added the possibility of ‘wind’. So that brings me full circle. But the way a person would say what you said, in Hebrew, would be to use the word ‘touch’. That is, if one thing isn’t relevant to the other, we say it doesn’t touch. Thank you for your comment. And thanks for your Sabbath greeting. Wishing you a beautiful Sunday, and a very good week.

      • Both of these fascinate and delight me, Shimon; the idea of an etymological full circle and the understanding that ideas which don’t associate/connect “don’t touch.” Thank you so much for sharing this…I wish I could delve into Hebrew and am glad again I have found you and your blog to help me discover its wisdom.

  12. Posts should be as long as you have something to say that people want to read about. Sometimes I find that I really can’t stop a post at say 500 words but don’t really want to write two posts about that road trip. You do just fine!

    As for the computer, I am in the same boat here with a computer that is ten years old. My son keeps telling me that I need to get a new one before this one crashes…and he is probably right. But it is a lot of trouble.

    • Thank you very much, Gypsy Bev, I think that’s the answer, and after thinking about it for a while, and getting some comments, I do think that length too is part of the style of each blogger, and we just have to hope that our readers will continue to be interested in what we have to say. My sympathies regarding the change of computers, though I must say that this time was one of the easiest for me, because though I didn’t like the way windows 8 looked at first, it seems to be a quite comfortable operating system. You’re right. It’s a lot of trouble making the change, but don’t wait too long. It feels so good to be past it all. Thanks for the comment.

  13. I do not think I am ever tired of your words. It seems you choose them well and with great thought, making every one weigh on the mind and thoughts just right. You add in photographs that sometimes, at first, I do not see an immediate connection to but it is alright and I accept and it suddenly flows quite nicely.

    I am with you on updating the old for the modern new tools. Computers are not my thing. I am lucky to have a husband who is an IT wizard and can fix most any problem I have when it comes to technology. Glad the latest transition went smoothly for you.

    • That’s so sweet of you, shoes, to say that about my writing. Thank you very much. I was quite scared of computers when they took over the scene, and incurred great losses in my business during the change over from the old system to the new. But meantime, I’ve actually learned to appreciate and like the many advantages of the digital age… up until I have to move on to a new computer. Then it gets hard for a week or two. But I still like them. Thanks.

  14. A beautiful post, dear Shimon. I’m glad I surfaced from a few weeks of intense work to catch up with my favorite blogs. And this one of yours is so timely, since I bought a new computer two weeks ago and it still sits beside me enscounced in the big box it is packed it. I’m afraid to open it for exactly the same reasons as you mention. That dreadfully lost feeling as I move from familiar territory into the dark environs of a new computer … pre-loaded with things I do NOT want … Facebook and shopping and horrible music choices. I spent the afternoon loading my old computer’s technical brushes onto a little jump drive so I don’t lose them. I’m tempted to tuck it next to my heart, so i can feel more secure.

    And your beautiful comparison of the rain and the wind also finds an echo with a concept which I’ve been wrestling with … the fact that the heart of an atom, its nucelus … and the protons and electrons which surround it are less than 1% of the atom’s dimensions … which leaves over .999999% as the void or space. The same void as the Cosmos. And that void or space is shared by all that is.. I got so spaced out on this one morning, I couldn’t get out of bed, I lay there careening around the Cosmos, until my stomach demanded some physicality … in the form of breakfast,

    So am glad to be here … to read and appreciate another of your posts. And to assure you that the only way to know when an article is too long, is when it’s done. Articles know when they’re done.

    Thank you , Shimon ……. Nikki

    • So glad that I have this opportunity to welcome you back to blogland. My suggestion is that you pull that computer out of the package as soon as you can, and start the process, even if we don’t hear from you for another two weeks. I felt very relieved when I finally was dealing with the new situation. What you write about your discovery, Nikki, regarding space is certainly an eye opener, and it makes us all realize that basically, the solid world around us is nothing more than a convention, and the result of purposeful ‘limited thinking’. Arthur Koestler wrote a wonderful book about that about half a century ago. What I loved about it was that he put the accent on the philosophical implications of that knowledge. But since then there have been countless books and theories regarding our own awareness relative to a world that is mostly empty. I would suggest that it is not quite as empty as it seems when we count the solid particles. For not only do we not see everything, but there are also forces that we find hard to take into account. But even so, it’s a great subject for meditation… and I thank you for bringing it back to mind.

  15. congrats for the new laptop, this article – and for your great capability to create interesting dialogues: for you:
    Shalom Shimon!

  16. Pingback: cats, music and theology | Flickr Comments

  17. Each time I receive your posts, I read them to their conclusions. I don’t believe I’ve ever thought, “Good grief! Will this ever end?” Instead, I’m usually fascinated by your concisely written thoughts and am often challenged by them. I look forward to your discourse on money. Worry not about being overly long. The photographs you include are a lovely bonus. The flower you posted today made me smile. Thank you. As to technology, keeping up with the ‘new’ pushes us from our comfort zones, bringing both frowns and a bit of elation in conquering all that’s involved – or attempting to. I once read that we now lose a great deal of history because, as we discard our computers, a certain amount of information isn’t transferred to the replacement hard drives. I find that thought disquieting. I recently broke over and purchased my first smart phone and tablet. Not being a ten-year-old, many frustrations continue to follow as I daily encounter yet another ‘What now?!’ Still, to do otherwise seems unthinkable. Except for e-readers. I remain a bibliophile. Cheers!

    • Well, I’m very glad I don’t lead you to distraction (smile). But I’ll tell you why I would even raise the subject. I have experience writing in the old format… in journals and newspapers, and there is something very intoxicating about the feeling that this format is open to feedbacks, and more conversational in nature. Inspired by the visions of SF writers I read in the fifties, I try to relate to the often invisible readers who come by to check out what I have to say… and don’t wish to be tedious in their anonymous eyes… want to taste the transcendence of the new age before I go to my maker … and yes, what you write about the loss of information as we go forward is true too, there is a constant process of weeding and choices… and even so, as we grow older, our tail grows longer. Best wishes, Myra. I love hearing from you.

  18. Your introductory thoughts sounded all too familiar – I too have just upgraded to a new computer to replace one (stiil working) that was also five years old. Always great fun transferring everything and having to contend with various compatibility woes! 😉

    “How long should a post be?” As long as it needs to be, I guess. That said, though, I have to confess that due to other pressures on my time, I am often unable to devote the time that various longer posts and articles merit.

    By the way, I was fascinated to read about the conceptual aspects of your language.

    • I wish you good fortune with you new computer, Graham. I don’t know what system you worked with, but I can tell you, that after five years with Vista, it was a relief to come to terms with windows 8. As for the length of blog posts… I have to agree with you, though as I mentioned to Myra, there’s a bit of fantasy in my head… the results of reading science fiction in the 50s and now finding myself in the future, I suppose. Thanks for your comment. Always good to hear from you.

      • Yet another coincidence, Shimon. My old PC was a Vista machine too and my new one has Windows 8. The computer I had before the last one had XP and I bought that one ten years ago. So it seems that for me, the counteracting forces of exasperation with the progressive slowing down in performance versus the reluctance to set up a new machine from scratch and transfer everything across to it must come into equilibrium and then tip over in favour of taking the plunge after a period of five years has elapsed. A little known meaning of the word ‘lustre’ in English is a period of five years. So, after a lustre, Vista was very lacklustre indeed.

        Anyway, best of luck to you too with your new computer!

        • Yes, it seems that we have had very much the same experience. I too worked on the XP before Vista and liked it very much. Now I find that some of the programs I am used to working with, do not do well in a 64 bit environment. But I will try to learn to accept the changes. Thanks for your good wishes, and mine to you.

  19. SO much to think about here…length of posts – I prefer not too long – no longer than this, then do another post. Just my preference. Wind and rain – how interesting – certainly wind relates to breath, and one often sees breath associated with spirituality. I think in many traditions there’s that association. Do you think the association of rain with the material world relates to the language originating in a dry environment? Is that the case?
    I enjoyed the way you brought us along on your train of thought(s) here. The mind is like that – one thing leads to anther – and I like seeing another person’s internal process, very much. (At least yours!)
    Good for you for making all those technological changes without losing your patience (or is there something you’re not telling us?)
    And finally, the photo of the cat in your shadow – wonderful!!!

    • Thank you, bluebrightly, for your feedback. What you say about the connection with breath is very real for all cultures, I think. In our language, breath is a separate root, but it is also the root form for one of two words which mean soul. And yes, we do have a heightened awareness of our dependence on rain, and there is a treasure load of literature on the subject, but from a linguistic point of view, the materialism that is evoked by the root form for rain is more an abstract understanding of palpable material. As for my patience, when dealing with technological problems, as I said, I tend to get obsessive and sometimes descend into a foul mood and get pessimistic as well… but this time it passed without any undue disasters. Glad you liked the cat pictures. They are always with me to remind me of perspective.

  20. Of course the cat is subject to error, if it believes the ragged doll’s head might have something to do with the God that people worship. Of course, God is more like the wind. A cool breeze makes us feel better, and a stronger wind was encouraging the sailing ships that explored the world. God as the wind: the most beautiful metaphor that I found in my theological studies …

    • Well, let us not be too critical, Frizz. In my own study of theology, I came to realize that pagan worshipers were in fact worshipping aspects of god, as we understand the concept in monotheistic religions. For the cat, the image of the humanoid head might very well be an object of reverence… perhaps even sanctity. But I have noticed that Nechama prefers those mouse dolls I got for her, rather than the dolls head she found on her own. Having studied Hebrew you were certainly aware of all that is entailed by גשמיות ורוחניות. Always good to hear from you.

  21. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Love this 🙂 Love Nechama – and especially looking at the doll’s head! So strange to her!! 🙂

    Gorgeous photos & commentary.

    • Yes, I thought that that would be a fine picture for a little play on the concept of spirituality. As you probably know, Noeleen, I have a great love of cats. Thanks for the comment. Always good to hear from you.

  22. Bottom line for me on this post is simple … I love your wind and rain metaphor, thus look forward to the next post!

    PS: I always enjoy pictures of Nechama!

    • Looking at your comment visually, Frank, the bottom line is that you always enjoy pictures of Nechama… and I can relate to that, because she is a friend and a teacher both. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the next post. I myself can hardly wait. Thanks for your comment.

  23. You are never too wordy for me Shimon. It’s always such a pleasure to read your posts. I’m very much looking forward to part two. I’m fascinated by your description of Hebrew as a conceptual language with its vocabulary based on roots. I’d love to learn more.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, Chillbrook. I think I’ve gotten the message that the length of a post has to be my decision. Hebrew is a wonderful language, and it carries with it a very rich culture. But unfortunately, it is rather difficult for westerners to learn. And with so many wonderful things available in this world, I don’t know whether I would recommend studying it after the age of 35. But I met an exception once. He was a Jewish immigrant who came from Russia, and he learned the language quite well at the age of 80. There are always exceptions (smile).

      • I thoroughly enjoyed learning Japanese. I became fluent in just 6 months but admittedly I was studying 6 hours every day and I was only 28. Your comments hints at the fact that language acquisition gets harder the older we are. Japanese is another language that is very different to English in structure, grammar, syntax etc. but I found it very rewarding. Having listened to Hebrew, the phonetics, as with Japanese, are very alien to the western tongue. 🙂

        • When I was younger I had a great interest in Japan, because I read some of their literature in translation. Unfortunately, I never got there. And yes, I think the older we get, the harder it is to really learn a language.

  24. I enjoy reading your posts, and know they can be wordy. With posts such as yours, I save them for a time when I can come back and read at my leisure. Long posts are neither good or bad, they simply say whatever the author has to say, and we, the audience, can read it or not. Now…let’s get to the money.

    • I had a feeling that money would arouse some interest. And that you very much, Angeline, for saving my longer posts till you have time for them. I appreciate that, and do it myself in some cases.

  25. You express your thoughts with a simplicity that I admire very much. I’m never overly concerned with length; it’s the clarity and use of language I’m after. You are strong in both of those areas as well as in that other language of pictures.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on money.

    • Thank you very much, yearstricken. As you know, I enjoy your writing very much. So your opinion means a lot to me. The money post is coming soon.

  26. Interesting to learn that the words materialism and spirituality have the same root as rain and wind in Hebrew…
    …that really is an interesting connection which has a lot of potential of being thought about further.

    And as a photographer, I have to mention that I really love the picture of the thistles.


    • I have a great collection of shots of wildflowers and thistles, but haven’t posted much because they belong to another period for me. Their interest for me is tied to nature, and not so much to photography. But since Steve Schwartzman asked me about the thistles here, I posted this one for him, though I have a feeling that he doesn’t visit often. Thanks for your comment, Rabirius.

  27. Really interesting post, Shimon. I like how much you write – your posts are enjoyable to read partly because you post what and how you want – personally, I love the pace of them. And I love your photography, of course.

    • Thank you very much, Richard. Your comment is very generous. When people meet face to face, there’s a lot of communication that doesn’t depend on words. We usually know when we’re well received. In the blog world, I sometimes feel that people are impatient… that the social media has promoted short messages, instagrams and so on. But from the feedback I’ve gotten, I think now that it’s simply a personal choice of each blogger. I know that each of us attracts like minds in any case.

  28. I really like your posts Shimon. If a post is long but the writing is good and it grabs my attention then I read. I don’t mind the length and this is the case with your writing. Wonderful images as well.

    • Thank you Edith. I’m glad that you find interest in my posts. As you well know, I come from a different culture, and a different generation… so sometimes I wonder about this world of the internet. But I think I’ve gotten the answer to my question. Thanks for your comment.

  29. I enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas. The success and the length of your post depends on if the viewer is a visual or literary person. With your blog you have accomplished capturing both viewers with great writing and wonderful photos.

    • Thank you very John, both for coming by, and for your comment. It was a great pleasure finding your blog, and your very beautiful large format photography. Very glad you liked my work as well.

  30. Dear Shimon,
    This is really an interesting post. You leave us much to think about. The photographs are wonderful. I love the one of Nechama in your shadow, and the neighborhood from a distance is very dramatic.
    As for blog length, I think that depends upon what you want to say, and how well written the piece is. I never have trouble focusing on your posts, because they are always intelligent and thought-provoking. Your blog was one of the first ones I followed. You use beautiful photographs to illustrate your stories, and always pose thoughtful questions. I have never even noticed the length of your posts, because your content holds my attention.
    I make an effort to keep mine short and visually appealing, as I know many bloggers are skimming and might be discouraged by big blocks of words. I have always told my stories verbally to an audience or using just the printed word in my books. Blogging has allowed me to experiment with a new form of storytelling. I love using both photographs and words to tell a story, and have challenged myself to learn to tell my stories as succinctly as possible. One of the wonderful things about blogging is that there is room for every style.

    • I agree with you, Naomi, that blogging has really opened a new venue in story telling, and sharing one’s personal experience. As I writer before the invention of the internet, I really appreciate the possibility of immediate expression, and also the interchange between the writer and his or her readers. I’ve enjoyed following your blog as well, and enjoy your stories very much. Thanks for the comment.

  31. I read this when you first posted. I love the picture of Nechama. I think she has definite opinions. Yes, I agree with you here. And, that’s a bit unusual. 🙂 Well done, Shimon.

  32. While I ideally love to read posts from my favorite bloggers, my greatest blogging joy is to find new voices through interesting images. A picture can be worth at least one thousand words. Love your images.

    • Thank you very much Elena for your kind comment. Truly, a picture can be worth many words… but sometimes just a few words cut to the essence, and then there’s no need to go on. I have great faith in good communication of any sort.

  33. First of all, thanks for including that photograph for me. Some would say I have a prickly nature and that the plant is appropriate.

    Your photograph that includes a doll’s head reminds me that when I lived in a small town in Honduras in 1968, I was walking around one day and found a doll’s head on the ground. I had a local teacher hold it in his hand while I took a photograph of him. I believe I still have the slide (transparency), though I haven’t thought about it in a long time.

    As for the length of a post, I’d say that you should go on writing an essay for as long as you feel comfortable with it. If I can judge by what I see around me in the United States, the world is getting less literate, and fewer people are capable of sustained thought on a topic. With that in mind, Shimon, I welcome your thoughtful essays.

    • I certainly didn’t intend to hint at your personality by dedicating that thorn flower to you, Steve. It was simply because you asked me about thistles in Israel. It seems to me that one could do much work on the subject of dolls, because they present themselves as an analogy of human existence. Much has been said about ‘man in the image of god’, and I have some thoughts on that… but will refrain in my reply here to your comment.

      • I know you weren’t hinting at anything with that picture of a thistle, but I couldn’t resist adding the observation about my prickly nature.

        I look forward to an essay from you one of these days about dolls as an analogy of human existence.

        • Dear Shimon and Steve,

          Thistle is the national emblem of Scotland.
          When I read Winnie the Pooh with my child so many years ago, my favourite character is Eeyore?, the pessimistic, gloomy character who is always a bit sad (just like me). And What is Eeyore’s favourite food? Thistles!

  34. 钱 (Traditional character 錢) — money, carries a radical for gold,金 (main part on the left), referring to agricultural tools. And on the right, it contains two 戈,戈 — weapons in ancient times.

    Money can be such a dangerous thing. It triggers war. Human fights over money with weapons.

    Some people consider the Chinese language as a conceptual language too. I’ll need to read more about this.

    Thank you Shimon for always enlightening us, and sharing your joy with Nechama with us.

  35. Aahh, the wind and the rain, some of my favourite parts of Nature. I see the wind when leaves on trees move and the grasses sway, or waves are whipped up on the sea, all tangible signs of that power called the wind. Rain I love to be in and to feel it on my face. I don’t mind getting wet! Sitting on a high rock, on a windy day, induces me to just cuddle up closer to myself and enjoy the wind’s efforts to get inside my jacket, all to no avail, and to just enjoy the view.

    ‘Spirit’, something a lot of people can’t handle; something I feel is vital to show we are alive and well, that allows us to break free from those who wish to hold us back and crush us.

    Excellent post, shimon. Shalom.

    • Thank you very much, Janina, for your beautiful response to the title of my post. Your words remind me that one must always keep the substance in mind, even when using some aspect of nature as a parable. And I hear the song in your words… you’ve definitely added to the post itself and I appreciate it.

  36. lo leggeró con calma:-)

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