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A Star is Born

Nov. 27, 2022

Dr. David Fialk, Editor / Publisher

Recently, I found an author hawking is humorous books on the Civil List. I privately emailed him there suggesting we could publish excerpts from his books as articles in my magazine. He responded immediately and positively. After a little rapid back and forth, he agreed to my suggested format:

"as if you were doing a reading, with a little aside/intro/blah-blah, and then the presentation of a rather short excerpt, followed by more schtick and another excerpt, repeated until you feel it suffices."

Within an hour, voila, he sent along an article. There followed a flurry of emails, involving images and other related matters, the last of which series was my request for links to his books, his bio, and a head-shot photo of him.

Here again, with wonderful promptness, he sent along the links and his bio, but not the head-shot photo. Given that humor's main theme is things going wrong, I wrote back:

"I remind myself of the Jewish mother whose toddler is suddenly swept out to sea by a rogue wave. Immediately she prays to God. Just as suddenly another wave deposits the child safely on the sand. The mother looks up to heaven and says, 'He had a hat.'

You've given so much and I have the chutzpah to write back, 'What about your head-shot photo?'"

He loved the joke and sent the photo. I wrote back:

"I'm glad you loved the joke. It goes back, as a surprising number of things do, to the Jewish Talmud, the rabbinical exegesis of the Torah. I was going to explain that derivation to you here, but I think I'll write an article about it. Stay tuned."

Here is the article:

Honi's tomb, Galilee

The Talmudic story that serves as the model for the joke involves Honi the Circle-drawer.

During a drought, Honi, a saintly fellow, drew a circle around himself, scratching it into the earth with his staff. Then, he announced to God, and anyone else who was listening, "I will not leave this circle until it starts to rain." Well, what could God do? Like a mother whose beloved child is making a demand, He gave in, and it began to drizzle. But Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain. When it then began to pour, Honi explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the percipitation slowed to a normal rain.

Doctrine aside, the biggest difference between gentile and Jew is that, like Honi the Circle-drawer, we Jews can dispute with God. Yes, one has to have a good point, be respectful, and, like a prince disputing with his father the king, it's best done in private, but it can be done.

The most famous incidence of such insubordination is also recorded in the Talmud. The Jewish supreme court, the Sanhedrin, had just ruled "no" on a case. Immediately a voice came down from heaven indicating that the ruling should have been "yes." The chief justice, quoting a line from the psalms, "The heavens are God's heavens, but the Earth He gave to the children of man," announced that the verdict would remain "no."

This is why the Jews: Jesus, Marx, Freud, Einstein... have been revolutionaries. The point being that if you can argue with God, then with whom can't you argue? Everything, including kings, secular authority, scientific dogma, is open to question: "Who said so?" "Why do we have to do it like this? Maybe we should try something else?"

In the Israeli army, soldiers are allowed to question the commands of their superiors. Ultimately, of course, they have to obey, but meanwhile they can suggest alternatives.

This revolutionary impulse is wedded to another very Jewish idea, namely, that things should get better. Before the Jews, people thought in terms of circles. Everything was being endlessly repeated. Your newborn son was the reincarnation of your deceased grandfather, or someone else who recently left. There were great civilizations in China and India, but they were considered perfect. They were static, not going anywhere. The concept of progress, that society is evolving, that history is moving forward, is a gift of the Jews.

Here you might justifiably inquire, "Where are we going?" In the Jewish concept, the messianic age is history's denouement. We are promised that then, at the end of history, there will be a different way of thinking, a new dispensation, principally characterized by clarity and truth. People will become rational.

We will learn to think, and that will bring about a new age. I think of this as people engaging in sustainable action, doing what is right. Lord knows, we could use more sustainability and right action right now.

I just heard of a billionaire, who, anticipating Armageddon, bought a Hawaiian island and got it ready for him to bunkered down on it. He's got his solar power, his gardens, his chickens, his goats... He also has his ex-Navy Seals to protect the island from any hungry post-apocalyptic intruders. But, as his recently leaked discussion reveals, there exactly is the problem. When everything turns to hell, and money is worthless, who will protect the billionaire from his own Navy Seals? The smart money now reasons that what is needed after the apocalypse, is not a bunker, but a community, I suppose, a well-armed community.

Be that as it may, still in a pre-apocalyptic frame of mind, I insist that our best chance of preventing Armageddon, requires the same solution; not the guns, but the community. What we need is an antidote to all this hyper-individualism, to realize that we are all in this together. If you like the feel-good hormones that your brain releases after personal achievement, then you'll love those it drops when you feel like you belong.

Here's the plan: We create a local community network. It's online, because that's where everyone's attention is, but it functions as an interface to get people involved in the real, "bricks and mortar" community. Find out what is going on, and then go do it. It's like Buy Local, but online; like a farmers' market, but digital; like the Yellow Pages, but robustly interactive.

Speaking of billionaires, Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and Facebook's first investor, says that, contrary to its initial promise, the internet, as it is currently constituted, is leaving a lot of us behind, particularly individuals and small businesses. Like microfinance brings banking to the little guy, Lokkal makes technology work for the rest of us.

The good news is that this online community network, years in the making, is already up and running. I built it.

I draw my messianic expectations regarding Lokkal from basic cosmology. In some places, out there in the great vastness of space, gases aggregate, growing denser. The increased gravity of those denser gases draws in more gases. At some point this cloud of gas becomes impossibly dense. That's when it goes plasma. A continuous, nuclear chain reaction is produced, and a star is born.

I figure the same will happen with community. As community grows, it gains gravity and pulls more of the world into community. Then, at some wonderful moment, it goes stellar. A new way of thinking, truer and more holistic, a new way of experiencing is born.

Please, do your part. Join and start posting on Lokkal. It's fun. First, we take San Miguel and then we take the world.


Dr. David presents Lokkal, the social network, the prettiest, most-efficient way to see San Miguel online. Our Wall shows it all. Join and add your point of view.


Discover Lokkal:
Watch the two-minute video below.
Then, just below that, scroll down SMA's Community Wall.
Intro / Mission


Visit SMA's Social Network

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