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+ 466 In the course of my main argument, Judge Douglas interrupted me to say, that the principle the Nebraska bill was very old; that it originated when God made man and placed good and evil before him, allowing him to choose for himself, being responsible for the choice he should make. At the time I thought this was merely playful; and I answered it accordingly. But in his reply to me he renewed it, as a serious argument. In seriousness then, the facts of this proposition are not true as stated. God did not place good and evil before man, telling him to make his choice. On the contrary, he did tell him there was one tree, of the fruit of which, he should not eat, upon pain of certain death. Abraham Lincoln

+ 314 Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. ~ Upton Sinclair

+ 838 When I arrived in England I thought I knew English. After I'd been here an hour I realized that I did not understand one word. In the first week I picked up a tolerable working knowledge of the language and the next seven years convinced me gradually but thoroughly that I would never know it really well, let alone perfectly. This is sad. My only consolation being that nobody speaks English perfectly.

Remember that those five hundred words an average Englishman uses are far from being the whole vocabulary of the language. You may learn another five hundred and another five thousand and yet another fifty thousand and still you may come across a further fifty thousand you have never heard of before, and nobody else either. If you live here long enough you will find out to your greatest amazement that the adjective nice is not the only adjective the language possesses, in spite of the fact that in the first three years you do not need to learn or use any other adjectives. You can say that the weather is nice, a restaurant is nice, Mr Soandso is nice, Mrs Soandso's clothes are nice, you had a nice time, and all this will be very nice. Then you have to decide on your accent. You will have your foreign accent all right, but many people like to mix it with something else. I knew a Polish Jew who had a strong Yiddish-Irish accent. People found it fascinating though slightly exaggerated. The easiest way to give the impression of having a good accent or no foreign accent at all is to hold an unlit pipe in your mouth, to mutter between your teeth and finish all your sentences with the question: 'isn't it?' People will not understand much, but they are accustomed to that and they will get a most excellent impression.

I have known quite a number of foreigners who tried hard to acquire an Oxford accent. The advantage of this is that you give the idea of being permanently in the company of Oxford dons and lecturers on medieval numismatics; the disadvantage is that the permanent singing is rather a strain on your throat and that it is a type of affection that even many English people find it hard to keep up incessantly. You may fall out of it, speak naturally, and then where are you? The Mayfair accent can be highly recommended, too. The advantages of Mayfair English are that it unites the affected air of the Oxford accent with the uncultured flavour of a half-educated professional hotel-dancer.

The most successful attempts, however, to put on a highly cultured air have been made on the polysyllabic lines. Many foreigners who have learnt Latin and Greek in school discover with amazement and satisfaction that the English language has absorbed a huge amount of ancient Latin and Greek expressions, and they realize that
a) it is much easier to learn these expressions than the much simpler English words;
b) that these words as a rule are interminably long and make a simply superb impression when talking to the greengrocer, the porter and the insurance agent. Imagine, for instance, that the porter of the block of flats where you live remarks sharply that you must not put your dustbin out in front of your door before 7.30 a.m. Should you answer 'Please don't bully me,' a loud and tiresome argument may follow, and certainly the porter will be proved right, because you are sure to find a dause in your contract (small print, of last page) that the porter is always right and you owe absolute allegiance and unconditional obedience to him. Should you answer, however, with these words: 1 repudiate your petulant expostulations,' the argument will be closed at once, the porter will be proud of having such a highly cultured man in the block, and from that day onwards you may, if you please, get up at four o'clock in the morning and hang your dustbin out of the window. But even in Curzon Street society, if you say, for instance, that you are a tough guy they will consider you a vulgar, irritating and objectionable person. Should you declare, however, that you are an inquisitorial and peremptory homo sapiens, they will have no idea what you mean, but they will feel in their bones that you must be something wonderful. When you know all the long words it is advisable to start learning some of the short ones, too. You should be careful when using these endless words. An acquaintance of mine once was fortunate enough to discover the most impressive word notalgia for back-ache. Mistakenly, however, he declared in a large company: 'I have such a nostalgia.' 'Oh, you want to go home to Nizhne-Novgorod?' asked his most sympathetic hostess. 'Not at all,' he answered. 'I just cannot sit down.' . Finally, there are two important points to remember:
1. Do not forget that it is much easier to write in English than to speak English, because you can write without a foreign accent.
2. In a bus and in other public places it is more advisable to speak softly in good German than to shout in abominable English.
Anyway, this whole language business is not at all easy. After spending eight years in this country, the other day I was told by a very kind lady: 'But why do you complain? You really speak a most excellent accent without the slightest English.'
The Language by George Mikes

+ 211 Never act until you have clearly answered the question: "What happens if I do nothing?" Robert Brault

+ 333 R. Joshua b. Levi met Elijah standing by the entrance of R. Simeon b. Yohai's tomb. He asked him: "Have I a portion in the world to come?" He replied, "if this Master desires it." R. Joshua b. Levi said, "I saw two, but heard the voice of a third." He then asked him, "When will the Messiah come?" — "Go and ask him himself," was his reply. "Where is he sitting?" — "At the entrance." "And by what sign may I recognise him?" — "He is sitting among the poor lepers: all of them untie [them] all at once, and rebandage them together, whereas he unties and rebandages each separately, [before treating the next], thinking, should I be wanted, [it being time for my appearance as the Messiah] I must not be delayed [through having to bandage a number of sores]." So he went to him and greeted him, saying, "Peace upon thee, Master and Teacher." "Peace upon thee, O son of Levi," he replied. "When wilt thou come, Master?" asked he. "Today," was his answer. On his returning to Elijah, the latter enquired, "What did he say to thee?" — "peace Upon thee, O son of Levi," he answered. Thereupon he [Elijah] observed, "He thereby assured thee and thy father of [a portion in] the world to come." "He spoke falsely to me," he rejoined, "stating that he would come today, but has not." He [Elijah] answered him, "This is what he said to thee, To-day, if ye will listen to his voice."

+ 251 Whoever ignores the poor when they cry for help will also cry for help and not be answered. Mishlei 21:13

+ 371 So we find that the three possible solutions of the great problem of increasing human energy are answered by the three words: food, peace, work. Many a year I have thought and pondered, lost myself in speculations and theories, considering man as a mass moved by a force, viewing his inexplicable movement in the light of a mechanical one, and applying the simple principles of mechanics to the analysis of the same until I arrived at these solutions, only to realize that they were taught to me in my early childhood. These three words sound the key-notes of the Christian religion. Their scientific meaning and purpose now clear to me: food to increase the mass, peace to diminish the retarding force, and work to increase the force accelerating human movement. These are the only three solutions which are possible of that great problem, and all of them have one object, one end, namely, to increase human energy. When we recognize this, we cannot help wondering how profoundly wise and scientific and how immensely practical the Christian religion is, and in what a marked contrast it stands in this respect to other religions. It is unmistakably the result of practical experiment and scientific observation which have extended through the ages, while other religions seem to be the outcome of merely abstract reasoning. Work, untiring effort, useful and accumulative, with periods of rest and recuperation aiming at higher efficiency, is its chief and ever-recurring command. Thus we are inspired both by Christianity and Science to do our utmost toward increasing the performance of mankind. This most important of human problems I shall now specifically consider. Nikola Tesla

+ 174 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now I have commenced to speak to the Lord, although I am dust and ashes. Bereshit 18:27

+ 164 And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, Bereshit 23:5

+ 197 Now Ephron was sitting in the midst of the sons of Heth, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth, of all those who had come into the gate of his city, saying, Bereshit 23:10

+ 176 And Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The matter has emanated from the Lord. We cannot speak to you either bad or good. Bereshit 24:50

+ 205 And Isaac answered and said to Esau, Behold, I made him a master over you, and I gave him all his brothers as servants, and I have sustained him with corn and wine; so for you then, what shall I do, my son? Bereshit 27:37

+ 195 And his father Isaac answered and said to him, Behold, your dwelling place shall be the fat places of the earth and of the dew of the heaven from above. Bereshit 27:39

+ 204 And Laban answered and said to Jacob, The daughters are my daughters, and the sons are my sons, and the animals are my animals, and all that you see is mine. Now, what would I do to these daughters of mine today, or to their children, whom they have borne? Bereshit 31:43

+ 252 Thereupon, Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with cunning, and they spoke, because after all he had defiled their sister Dinah. Bereshit 34:13

+ 160 And we will arise and go up to Beth el, and I will make an altar to the God Who answered me on the day of my distress, and was with me on the way that I went." Bereshit 35:3

+ 143 And Reuben answered them, saying, Did not I tell you, saying, Do not sin against the lad, but you did not listen? Behold, his blood, too, is being demanded! Bereshit 42:22

+ 167 Moses answered and said, Behold they will not believe me, and they will not heed my voice, but they will say, The Lord has not appeared to you. Shemot 4:1

+ 154 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances, and all the people answered in unison and said, "All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do." Shemot 24:3

+ 102 Joshua the son of Nun, Moses servant from his youth, answered and said, Moses, my master, imprison them! Bamidbar 11:28

+ 98 Balaam answered and said to Balak's servants, Even if Balak gives me a house full of silver and gold, I cannot do anything small or great that would transgress the word of the Lord, my God. Bamidbar 22:18

+ 96 He answered, saying, What the Lord puts into my mouth that I must take care to say. Bamidbar 23:12

+ 93 Balaam answered and said to Balak, "Have I not spoken to you, saying, 'Everything the Lord speaks that I shall do." Bamidbar 23:26

+ 67 The descendants of Gad and the descendants of Reuben answered, saying, "We shall do as the Lord has spoken to your servants. Bamidbar 32:31

+ 98 And you answered me and said, The thing you have spoken is good for us to do. Devarim 1:14

+ 110 Then you answered and said to me, We have sinned against the Lord; we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord, our God, has commanded us. So every one of you girded his weapons, and you prepared yourselves to go up to the mountain. Devarim 1:41

+ 132 The Prayerbook and the Villager

by Shai Agnon

Shai Agnon (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature) told:

One time, a number of us—myself, Chaim Nachman Bialik, Eliezer Meir Lifshitz, Rabbi Simchah Asaf, Binyamin and others—entered the presence of the great Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook and discussed the problems of the generation and how to rectify it.

One of the group made a speech in praise of the Torah, which ended by criticizing the many additional laws enacted by the rabbis in every generation. Rabbi Nachman rose in pain, and appeared angry. But he immediately overcame his anger, as was his holy way, and answered quietly: Hearing this has brought to mind a story.

There was once a great rabbi who happened to pass through a village. Night fell, and he had to stay there overnight. He asked the villager at whose house he was staying for a volume of the Talmud, but the villager didn’t have one. He asked for a mishnah—the villager didn’t have. He asked for an Ein Yaakov—the villager didn’t have that either.

Finally, he asked the villager, “Do you have a prayerbook?” The villager brought him an old prayerbook, which contained a commentary that the rabbi read the entire night, and which he enjoyed greatly.

The next day, the rabbi offered to pay a good price for the prayerbook, but the villager refused. The rabbi persisted: “I’ll trade it for a new prayerbook with a fine binding.” But the villager still refused.

“Why?” asked the rabbi.

The villager replied, “Rabbi, every morning when I get up I like to drink something hot, and I warm up the kettle. To make the fire catch quickly, I light a piece of paper and put it under the tinder. Since I don’t have much paper in the house, I rip a page out of the prayerbook and light that. And also, every time I want to smoke my pipe, I rip a page out of the prayerbook to light it.

“I am already an old man, but because there is so much commentary, I still haven’t come to the prayers. All the pages I’ve ripped out really aren’t the prayerbook.”

Malachim Kivnei Adam, pp. 363-65

+ 94 A Reform Rabbi was so compulsive a golfer that once, on Yom Kippur, he left the house early and went out for a quick nine holes by himself. An angel who happened to be looking on immediately notified his superiors that a grievous sin was being committed on earth. On the sixth hole, G-d caused a mighty wind to take the ball directly from the tee to the cup for a miraculous and dramatic hole in one. The angel was horrified. "Lord," he said, "you call this a punishment?!" "Sure," answered G-d with a smile. "Who can he tell?"

+ 96 A Jewish woman from Chelm went to the market one day to buy herring and a loaf of bread. "How much is it?" she asked the storekeeper. "14 cents," answered the storekeeper to the lady. "14! For what?" asked the Jewish lady. "I think it's 11." The storekeeper explained: The herring costs 7 cents, and the loaf of bread costs 7 cents also. So together it comes to 14 cents." "I know different. To the best of my recollection, 7 and 7 is 11." "What are your saying?" "As far as I know, 7 and 7 is 11...I had already had 4 children when my first husband died. When I married a second time, my second husband also had 4 children from his first wife. After getting married, we had 3 children together. So each of us had 7 children, and together we had 11! Obviously, 7 and 7 is 11."

+ 110 So the Synagogue got really fed up with its Rabbi. The Executive Committee met and ne-too-reluctantly, concluded that they'd have to let him go. Trouble was - who'd want to take him - especially if it got out that he'd been fired? So the Executive Committee decided to give him a glowing letter of recommendation. It compared the Rabbi to Shakespeare, Moses and even G-d Himself. The recommendation was so warm that within six weeks the Rabbi succeeded in securing himself a pulpit in a major upwardly-mobile Synagogue 500 miles away, at twice his original salary and with three junior Rabbis working under him. Needless to say, in a couple of months the Rabbi's new employers began to observe some of his imperfections. The President of the Rabbi's new pulpit angrily called the President of the old Synagogue charging "We employed this man mostly on the basis of your recommendation. How could you possibly compare him to Shakespeare, Moses and even G-d Himself, when he can't string together a correct sentence in English, when his knowledge of Hebrew is worse than mine and that on top of everything else, he's a liar, a cheat and an all-round low-life?" "Simple," answered his colleague. "Like Shakespeare he has no Hebrew or Jewish knowledge. Like Moses, he can't speak English, and like G-d Himself - 'Er is nisht kan mentch (He's not a human being!).