GOOD MORNING!  English is often a very strange, even perplexing language only surpassed in confusion by its spelling! Are you ready for a mental workout? See if you can figure out the pieces below (which were sent to me):

Based on the usage in English words, one can combine the sounds from various words to spell a very common word as follows: ghoughpteightteeau. If you can't immediately pronounce it, let me help with clues:

gh as in hiccough
ough as in dough
pt as in ptomaine
eigh as in neighbor
tte as in gazette
eau as in plateau

Now, if you figured that one out (or if you didn't) try your hand (actually, try your mind) at "translating" these obfuscated common sayings:

  1. Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minific.
  2. Members of an avian species of identical plumage congregate.
  3. Surveillance should precede saltation.
  4. Pulchritude possess solely cutaneous profundity.
  5. It is fruitless to become lachrymose over precipitately departed lacteal fluid.
  6. Freedom from incrustations of grime is contiguous to religiosity.
  7. The stylus is more potent than the claymore.
  8. It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers.
  9. Eschew the implement of correction and vitiate the scion.
  10. The temperature of the aqueous content of an unremittingly ogled metal cooking vessel does not reach 212 degrees F.
  11. All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not necessarily auriferous.
  12. Where there are visible vapors having their provenience in ignited carbonaceous material, there is conflagration.
  13. A plethora of individuals with expertise in culinary techniques vitiate the potable concoction produced by steeping certain comestibles.
  14. Eleemosynary deeds have their incipience in one's own domicile.
  15. Male cadavers are incapable of yielding any testimony.

For answers: See below.

If you were able to decipher the above obscuration, it was likely due to your good vocabulary as opposed to neophyte serendipity.

So, what's the point? What can we learn from the above? First, it might be worthwhile to upgrade your vocabulary! Secondly, we may know the English language, yet there are many words that we don't understand -- and even if we could fathom them, we can still have trouble comprehending them in context. How much, all the more so, with the words in our siddurim (prayer books), machzorim (special prayer books for the High Holidays) and the Torah? Does it make sense to spend some time to make sure you understand what you are saying and reading? Especially, with Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur coming, would it be worthwhile to not only know the words, but the ideas in the prayers we will be saying?

Torah Portion of the Week

Topics covered in this week's portion include: Judges and Justice, Sacred Trees and Pillars, Blemished Sacrifice, Penalties for Idolatry, The Supreme Court, The King, Levitical Priests, Priestly Portions, Special Service, Divination and Prophecy, Cities of Refuge, Murder, Preserving Boundaries, Conspiring Witnesses, Preparing for War, Taking Captives, Conducting a Siege and the Case of the Unsolved Murder.

This week we have the famous admonition:

"Righteousness, Righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the Land that the Almighty your God, gives you."


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states,

"You shall trust wholeheartedly in the Lord, Your God" (Deuteronomy 18:13).

Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim, used to say, "The Torah obliges us to trust wholeheartedly in God ... but not in man. A person must always be on the alert not to be cheated."

The Chofetz Chaim devoted his life to spreading the principle of brotherly love, the prohibition against speaking against others, and the commandment to judge people favorably. Though he was not the least bit cynical, he was also not naive. He understood the world and human weaknesses.

In Mesichta Derech Eretz Rabba (chapter 5) it states that we should honor every person we meet as we would (the great sage) Rabbi Gamliel, but we should nevertheless be suspicious that he might be dishonest.


ghoughpteightteeau = potato

  1. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star."
  2. "Birds of a feather flock together."
  3. "Look before you leap."
  4. "Beauty is only skin deep."
  5. "It doesn't pay crying over spilt milk."
  6. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
  7. "The pen is mightier than the sword."
  8. "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
  9. "Spare the rod, and spoil the child."
  10. "A watched pot doesn't boil."
  11. "All that glitters is not gold."
  12. "Where there is smoke there is fire."
  13. "Too many cooks spoil the broth."
  14. "Charity begins at home."
  15. "Dead men tell no tales."

(or go to

Jerusalem  6:38
Guatemala 6:01  Hong Kong 6:30  Honolulu 6:36
J'Burg 5:33  London 7:48  Los Angeles 7:11
Melbourne 5:33  Miami 7:30  Moscow 7:28
New York 7:23  Singapore  6:54


Experience is not
what happens to a man.
It is what a man does
with what happens to him.
-- Aldous Huxley

Happy 15th Birthday!
to our son,
Joseph Singer
with love,
Marc & Helena