Religion, Toleration

Three Stories


When the guru sat down to worship each evening, the ashram cat would get in the way and distract the worshipers. So he ordered that the cat be tied during evening worship.

After the guru died the cat continued to be tied during evening worship. And when the cat died, another cat was brought to the ashram so that it could be duly tied during evening worship.

Centuries later learned treatises were written by the guru’s disciples on the religious and liturgical significance of tying up a cat while worship is performed.

–Anthony De Mello


One day a mother was preparing to make a brisket as her teenage daughter sat nearby and watched.  Just before she put the brisket into the pan, she cut about 1 inch of meat from each end of the meat.  The daughter, eager to learn how to cook herself, asked, “Mom, why do you cut the ends off of the brisket?”

The mother replied, “I don’t really know, my mother always did it, so I do it too.”

This answer wasn’t good enough for the daughter, so she gave Grandma a call.  ”Grandma, when you cook a brisket, why do you cut the ends off before putting it in the pan?”

“I don’t know,” said Grandma.  ”My mother always did it, so I do it too.”

Luckily for all, Great Grandma was still around and smart as ever.

”Great-Grandma, I hear that when grandma was growing up, you always cut the ends off before putting a brisket in the pan.  Why?”

”Because,” she said, “My pan was too small.”


A congregation was arguing over whether one should stand or sit during the prayer called the Shema. Half of the congregation said one should sit; the other half insisted one should stand. Finally, the rabbi decided to ask the oldest member of the synagogue.

“Now, tell us,” said the rabbi, “what is our tradition?Should we stand during the Shema?”

“No,” said the old man. “That is not our tradition.”

“Well, then,” said the rabbi, “ should we sit during the Shema?”

“No,” the old man, “that is not our tradition.”

“But we need to know what to do,” said the rabbi, “because our congregation members can’t stop fighting about it!”

“That,” said the oldest member of the congregation, “that is our tradition.”

Happy Holidays from all of us at BHL, no matter what your traditions are.

  • Adigun Ajibola

    These are awesome pieces!

  • martinbrock

    I’ll add, “Merry Christmas to all,” because my traditions need not be yours. Politics vaguely avoids diversity. Freedom celebrates it.

  • Hardy har! Merry Christmas!

  • adrianratnapala

    Well there! I just enjoyed those three pieces and scanned right past the “Happy Holidays” without getting upset by it! Perhaps I am growing old and slow. Or perhaps the Spirit of Christmas has got to me. Bugger.

  • Robert Jesionowski

    Interesting, not being able to stop fighting about everything and anything is a traight of the tribes AND libertarians, funny the tribe as a group, always vote for statists.

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