Though it is not the first Wednesday of August when It’s Wednesday makes its customary grand return, I am more or less back at work and thought that something simple to execute – but of course meaningful – might provide a little food for thought on this last day of July which is also the last day of my vacation. It’s been a good vacation for me, shorter than usual and closer to home than usual, but still good.
The last piece of our travels was five days in faraway Charlottesville. Gail and I spent some time at Monticello and came away as greater Jefferson groupies than we thought possible. What an amazing man! Besides being President and drafting the Declaration of Independence and founding a great University, Monticello reveals that he possessed a breadth of knowledge and skills that is pretty unique – architect, student of Greek and Roman culture, meteorologist, botanist and gardener, and more. He was also a keeper of more lists than even I. Whenever someone looks out at a crowd of very wise and learned people, as I do often from the Beth El bimah, s/he could well quote the adage that before him/her is the greatest collection of intellects since Jefferson had breakfast by himself. I think the adage is not far from the truth.
Jefferson said wise things too – his sayings fill many books. One grouping of twelve will be my bonus edition It’s Wednesday (and it’s almost Elul) food for thought for you. It has been called “canons of conduct in life” and is taken from a letter he sent in 1811 to his granddaughter Cornelia Jefferson Randolph. Numbers 5 and 11 are missing from the grouping of ten that he shared in a different letter. My favorites? Numbers 6, 9, 11 and 12.
Join me in hoping that the peace talks will go somewhere, and have a good day. Bill Rudolph