How We Learn

Lernen Zich

First we find our face. Face has an inner sensibility in Hebrew, we find our inside. I prefer Emerson on this: inwardliness. My face I happened to find that particular Shabbes with a Wahl electric razor that was not working.

What would Fred the fixer do?

I inspected the vibrating blades, released them, oiled them, tightened them up again with a little give. The razor worked just fine but by that time I had shaved off all the hair testing it and I found my face. It was, by the way, my grandfather’s face. Art Stone looked back at me out of the mirror and smiled, “Jimmy boy,” he said, “you have become me.”

We then discoursed on the Wahl razor, founded in the second decade of the twentieth century by Leo J. Wahl of Sterling, Illinois, who invented an electromagnetic vibrating motor while still in high school. The company has a manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario, across the bridge/tunnel from Detroit [the narrows] where the Shekhinah once dwelled.

We then discoursed on the Wahl-Eversharp company, the relation to the razor company remains at this writing unclear. The Wahl company made adding machines at the turn of the twentieth century. In 1914, they introduced a mechanical pencil. They later made fine pens. I carry one of their mechanical pencils in my pocket as a kind of talisman to fine writing fine tools. It is beautiful in every sense. Ask me to see it.

Dannon yogurt came to mind [somehow]. The Dannon company was founded by Isaac Carasso who brought the cultures from Bulgaria and began making yoghurt as a health food in Barcelona in 1919. Yoghurt was a long time popular food in the Balkans and Middle East. Isaac Carasso named his company after his son Daniel. The company was called Danone until Daniel brought the company to the United States in 1942, changing the name to Dannon. The Carassos were Sephardim.

We then discussed a most significant word in Torah: im, if, im if and I read my piece on the portion Bechukotai that discusses if—im—if. It ends with:

We know the world is cracked

But we don’t know


We then paid homage to Bar Yochai, two days after his holiday. We read my piece on Bar Yochai and discussed what it means to be described as one eye smiling, one eye crying, and how that is so painfully beautiful I can hardly breathe.

We may have concluded with the lost melody of ibn Lavi, I have been instructed not to say too much:

But the one lost melody

The one that restores the soul

Aligns the body

Has been lost —

Until now.