Two Pockets, Two Notes


Rabbi Simcha Bunam Bonhart of Przysucha (1765–1827) used to say,Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: “For my sake was the world created.” But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: “I am but dust and ashes.” – from Tales of the Hasidim, by Martin Buber.

I’m not sure which pocket I should reach into or which note I should read. For the last week, this blog has seen its readership increase nine-fold from about 200 “hits” per day to 1800. I’m not sure how this happened but it’s certainly very gratifying. Thank you for reading my work.

The ridiculous part is that it is also rather alarming. When I thought only a few people were reading, it was easy to write. Now that I have what I hoped for, the words don’t flow so easily. I click “delete” more often than I click “publish.”  Tonight I decided that maybe the best way to get over it was to simply admit what was going on, have a laugh at my self-importance or shyness or whatever it is, and get back to writing.

So, done.  Now I’ll click “publish.”

Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by danielmoyle

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

9 thoughts on “Two Pockets, Two Notes”

  1. The best part about all of this is that you write as if you’re talking with each one of us individually. The numbers don’t matter; each of us takes away a lesson that enhances our life in some way. <3

  2. Wow, mazel tov! And you deserve it—your blog posts are thoughtful, provocative and original. I really enjoy them. Now tell me how you did it? I think my highest day for visitors was something like 50… 🙂

    1. Amy, I have not the slightest idea how this happened. Someone read a post and forwarded it to someone else. I think the main thing is to keep writing.

  3. keep it up,we all take away your genuine and sincere insight into life. It uplifts and gives all of us all a measure of courage.

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