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Acknowledgement for Fruit of the Vine

 

I dedicate this book to my family who has taught me about joy and the spirit of life. To my beloved, my high school sweetheart, bashert and wife Susan. We celebrate our lives together. We share wine, sailing, skin diving, travel, learning, growing, goals, dreams, in each other and all things (except perhaps golf). She has provided unconditional love and support. She has been my life partner in wine and in everything else for more than half my life. Our relationship is at the core of my happiness.

We revel together in our son and daughter in law Aron and Aliza. I recall at their wedding a good friend observed my extreme state of joy and said: “no one should be that happy”. They will never make drugs that create such a deep transcendent joy. But then we did not know about grandchildren. Our Akiva Tali and Gavi are like pure oxygen providing what would seem to be endless energy and intoxication. We live in a culture that tends to squander superlative and hyperbole for routine emphasis but this is where it truly belongs. We love being with them and count the hours until the next visit when we are not. For an instant transition to joyful state we need to but quote them or recall ever increasing special moments of memory.

My dad zl' (of blessed memory) was a hard working, hard playing man of uncommon strength and character and to my mother zl' who shared so many of my interests. She was a bibliophile who generously shared her thirst for knowledge. We enjoyed many books together including those by James Michener, to whom the following quotation is attributed:

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.”

My first book was something of an exploration to see how such an effort might be received. It has created many opportunities to teach and learn. It has been most gratifying to see how much pleasure it brought to others in helping them appreciate wine, enhance their enjoyment and promote a greater interest to learn more.

With this book I have expanded on those opportunities.

I believe there five axiomatic dimensions to happiness:

1. It is a skill that can be learned. I am an enthusiastic student.
2. It is a moral imperative as it is contagious. It effects and infects all around us.
3. It comes from within, when we act happy. Don't wait for someone to make you happy.
4. It occurs naturally when we exceed our expectations. High goals and low expectations is a great formula.
5. Gratitude cultivates it and envy destroys it.

I am grateful to the Almighty for gratitude, for his many blessings, and for the challenges He places before me from which to grow.