Racing to the other side
of the net in order to return
your own serve, helps you to provide
yourself the best way you can learn
the value of your questions, and
if you continue to respond
this way you do not understand
that foolishly, you are too fond
of all the answers you have given.
Doing this ad infinitum,
questions, answers, are forgiven,
you the judge of every item,
evaluating your own thinking
like umpires in a tennis match,
never for a moment blinking,
seeing if there is a catch,
stopping only when you hit
objections, which are like a net,
or hitting out of bounds your wit,
to lose the game, if not the set.
Talmud scholarship does this,
When questions’ answers are provided
by the server who may miss
the point he wins although misguided,
without an umpire to decide
if what was asked was on the mark,
and whether he should be denied
applause for any bright remark,
or that in fact his point was out
of bounds that he had failed to score,
but left the game without a doubt,
raising in the process more
of those same questions which the game
of Talmud is dependent on,
no one sequitur the same
as others, many of them non.
While Talmud learning is as high
service as is prayer, over-
hand service was invented by
a Jew, a Rothschild tennis lover,
Rózsika, Weizmann’s introducer
to Balfour, whose great declaration
helped win a love game as producer
of premier state for all her nation.
Reviewing “Hitch-22” by Christopher Hitchens, Jennifer Senior (“Do I Contradict Myself?” NYT Book Review, 6/21/10) writes:
Christopher Hitchens may long to be a cogent man of reason, and he can certainly be a pitiless adversary. But he knows there are two sides to any decent match, and it’s touching, in “Hitch-22,” to see how often he’ll race to the other side of the court to return his own serve. Which may explain why, though he tries to be difficult, he’s so hard to dislike.
In a review by Moira Hodgson, in the WSJ, 10/18/22 of “The Women of Rothschild: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Famous Dynasty,” by Natalie Livingstone, she writes:
The Rothschild family had generally been opposed to all forms of Zionism, encouraging the anglicization of immigrant Jews and their integration into civic and cultural life. In the early 20th century, however, two women played a pivotal role in the establishment of Israel. Rózsika Rothschild (1870-1940) was a Hungarian intellectual with a passion for Proust who displayed “a reckless joie de vivre” in sports, “vaulting over barrels on ice rinks” and sending shockwaves through society when she introduced the overhand serve to the game of tennis. She also critically negotiated the bank’s generous loans to Hungary. When her friend Dolly Rothschild (1895-1988) was approached by Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s future first president, about establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, Rózsika joined her in persuading British politicians to support the idea, resulting in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.