BN.com Gift Guide

Yiddishe Kop: Creative Problem Solving in Jewish Learning, Lore, and Humor [NOOK Book]

Overview

The
Jews are known for their intuitive genius in getting out of a pickle. With their long history of persecution, they've developed a knack for escaping seemingly hopeless predicaments: when your back is against the wall, you learn to ...

See more details below
Yiddishe Kop: Creative Problem Solving in Jewish Learning, Lore, and Humor

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$12.95 List Price

Overview

The
Jews are known for their intuitive genius in getting out of a pickle. With their long history of persecution, they've developed a knack for escaping seemingly hopeless predicaments: when your back is against the wall, you learn to think fast. Centuries of reasoning and interpreting the Holy Scriptures have also contributed to the Jews' skill in solving the most puzzling problems. This astute way of thinking is known in Yiddish as
yiddishe kop
,
literally "Jewish head."

Through
Jewish humor, folklore, and tales of the great rabbis, Rabbi Nilton Bonder presents the basic principles of this creative approach to thinking, which sees beyond appearances to the hidden truth of any problem. Once these are mastered,
they may in turn be applied to many "impossible" situations that arise in business and in life.

The book focuses on four levels of solving a problem:

  1. On the level of
    Information,
    we approach problems literally, in response to the obvious and the concrete.
  2. On the level of
    Understanding,
    we obtain concealed information through techniques such as questioning,
    reframing, and emptying the mind.
  3. On the level of
    Wisdom,
    we access the world of intuition, where a "fool" can achieve the impossible by relying on feelings, premonitions, dreams, and coincidences.
  4. On the level of
    Reverence,
    we discover the hidden Reality behind appearances. This is the realm of those who dare to take risks, make commitments, and learn from mistakes, who act out of their living experience without relying solely on reason and conceptual thinking.



Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834829329
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 112
  • File size: 612 KB

Meet the Author

Rabbi Nilton Bonder was born in Brazil and ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He leads workshops on spirituality in management for such corporations as IBM, the Brazilian Oil Company, and the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo. He is known in Brazil as the Green Rabbi for his activism in environmental causes. He also serves as president of the Institute for Religious Studies, the largest forum for civil rights activities in Latin America.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

This book is about problem solving. It draws on an ancient tradition whose history has been plagued by endless problems and hardships. Necessity is the mother of invention—and of solutions. In this case, circumstances permitted the evolution of an astute, shrewd way of looking at life—an approach that Jews call
yiddishe kop,

literally, "Jewish head."
Yiddishe
kop
is neither a method nor a system of knowledge, but the accumulation of a minimal
"critical mass" of problems needed to trigger a conscious,
existential process of questioning the notion of impossible.
Yiddishe kop
represents the turning point at which, after having given up hope, you recover the twinkle in your eye and dare to jump back into the game. It is that unique capacity to turn the tables and checkmate your opponent when you're up against the wall, to reject conventional thinking that keeps you stuck in a losing position and reframe yourself as a master of options that you simply hadn't thought of before.

The solutions produced by
yiddishe kop
remind me of the old Flash Gordon serials, where episodes often ended with our hero in extreme danger, seemingly beyond the point of rescue. We were convinced:
"Now he's had it—there's no way out." By the time the next episode was aired, we had gone over all the possible means of escape and found none. Of course we felt we had been tricked when the story began with a replay of the final moments of the previous episode, only now a totally new element was introduced—a rope, a weapon, a hidden ally. We were sure that this element that enabled our hero to escape had not appeared in the original scene. It is precisely this kind of blindness that prevents people from recognizing the factors that make for novel solutions—and that perhaps explains the audacity of certain producers and directors.

The hidden option is the one that we don't see when we first find ourselves up against a problem. When we manage to break the bonds of standard solutions, we are surprised to discover these hidden windows.

Take the solution of a classic problem in geometry: a given point on a two-dimensional plane cannot meet another point on this plane without passing through intermediate points on the plane. What seems impossible when viewed in two dimensions becomes possible when reframed in a three-dimensional context,
where that same point can now reach the other point on the same plane by traveling through the third dimension.

Or take Steven Spielberg's film
Raiders of the Lost Ark:
at an especially suspenseful moment, with the damsel in dire distress, the hero is challenged by a brawny wrestler deftly wielding a saber. Entranced by that mighty obstacle, the audience is surprised when the hero puts an end to the problem by simply whipping out his gun.

To an outside observer, the simplicity of a solution unlimited by our addiction to habit patterns and conventions—that is, a solution not biased by the deceptive
"aesthetics" of what first comes to mind—may seem even comical. A
yiddishe kop
is attained not so much through knowledge as through transcending a certain ignorance. There once was a television quiz show in which a contestant enclosed in a booth would have to choose a prize without knowing exactly what was being offered. "Will you trade a brand-new car for an old boot?" the host would ask, and the person in the booth would confidently answer
"Yes," much to the audience's delight. Being inside the booth—representing deafness, blindness, or ignorance—led participants to make absurd choices. Those outside our own "booths," or conditionings,
might observe much the same thing if they were to follow us around for a day.

Yiddishe kop
could be translated as the moment when the fog of this ignorance dissipates. Its strength derives from the prospect of survival. Just as a dog defends itself by biting and a cat by scratching, Jews have learned to defend themselves by reframing situations to unveil amazing options. As survivors, they reaffirm and celebrate their successes.

"Impossibility"
is always a transitory condition—and whoever knows this won't give up. No other attitude fuels as much creativity or intuition as the decision not to give up. The simple fact that you choose to stay in the game affords possibilities that quite obviously will not exist for someone who has thrown in the towel.

This story comes from the Middle Ages:

A
child was found dead in a village. A Jew was immediately accused of committing the crime and of using the victim in some macabre ritual. Thrown in prison, the man knew he was a scapegoat and stood no chance at the forthcoming trial. He asked to see a rabbi and was granted his request.

When the rabbi arrived, he found the man in despair over the death sentence that he was sure awaited him. The rabbi comforted him: "Don't ever believe there is no way out. The Evil One himself, God forbid, will tempt you with that thought."

"But what shall I do?" asked the anguished man.

"Just don't give up, and you will be shown a way out."

When the day of the trial arrived, the judge wanted to pretend that the accused would he allowed a fair trial and a chance to prove his innocence, so he said to the prisoner:

"Since you Jews have faith, I will let the Lord decide this matter. On one piece of paper I will write the word 'innocent' and on another one, 'guilty.' You will pick one, and the Lord will decide your destiny."

As the Jew had guessed, the judge prepared two pieces of paper with the word
"guilty" on both of them. Normally we would say that the chances of the accused had dropped from fifty to zero percent—there was no way he could select the piece of paper saying "innocent," since there was no such paper.

Recalling the rabbi's words, the prisoner meditated for a moment. Suddenly his eyes lit up with a new spark. He grabbed one of the pieces of paper and swallowed it in a gulp. The witnesses were upset: "Why did you do that? How will we know your destiny now?"

"Easy,"
answered the Jew. "Just read what it says on the other paper, and you will know that I chose the opposite."

We discover that this man's chances were only zero percent if viewed within certain confines. Through a cunning born of necessity, he created a new context in which his chances of overcoming adversity jumped from zero to one hundred percent. In other words, reframing the situation made it possible to turn reality upside down.

The purpose of this book is to study Judaism's intimate relationship with the process of reframing—the secrets of which, in fact, lie at the very core of
Judaism's proclivity for observing reality with caution. Since ancient times,
the kabbalistic tradition has maintained that reality is layered, like an onion. By peeling off layers one by one, we can dissect reality much more effectively than if we perceive only one facet of it.

The four parts of this book are based on the idea that reality can be divided into four worlds, or four dimensions. What I offer is not so much a method for discovering solutions as a way of breaking out of structures of ignorance that fail to take into account the various aspects of reality.

These four worlds are represented by the four dimensions described by the Alter Rebbe:

1. The
Apparent Realm of What Is Apparent

2. The
Hidden Realm of What Is Apparent

3. The
Apparent Realm of What Is Hidden

4. The
Hidden Realm of What Is Hidden



Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction
1

Information:
The Apparent Realm of What Is Apparent
6
Text and Context 9

The
Question of Vessels 11

What
Is an Answer? 14

Pockets of Mental Resistance 17

Aesthetic
Mental Blocks 19

Valuing
Ignorance 21

Pathologies of Obviousness 23

Understanding:
The Hidden Realm of What Is Apparent
27
Refraining
30

Can't or Don't Want To? 34

Transparency
37

Paradoxical
Interventions 41

Irony
44

Predictions
48

Wisdom:
The Apparent Realm of What Is Hidden
51
Aiming at the Real Target 57

Different
Brands of Logic 59

Intervening in the Intuitive World 63

How
Absurdity Helps to Reveal the Hidden 68

The
Efficiency of the Fool 72

Achieving the Impossible 76

Reverence:
The Hidden Realm of What Is Hidden
80
Mistakes:
The First Step toward Success 83

The
Hazards of Not Making Mistakes 85

Educational
Metamodels 87

Unknown
Knowledge 90

Epilogue 94



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Ashley's Guide #2

    ((I'm going to teach you how to get on google, using your nook.)) <p> 1. Click the 'n' symbol at the bottom of your screen. <br> 2. Click on the 'settings' box. <br> 3. Click on the 'Social' box. <br> 4. Click on 'Link to Facebook, Twitter, and Google' box. <br> 5. On the last box it should say: Google. In that box click 'Link Your Account'. <br> 6. At the bottom left corner it should have 'Privacy and Terms' click that. <br> 7. When you click that at the top left corner it should have the 'Google' symbol. Click that. 8. Ta-Da there is google! <p> ((Next result there is another guide! Thanks.))

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)