1. "The Talmud, the compilation of discussions of Jewish Law which I have quoted earlier in this book, gives examples of bad prayers, improper prayers, which one should not utter. If a woman is pregnant, neither she nor her husband should pray, May God grant that this child be a boy (nor, for that matter, may they pray that it be a girl). The sex of the child is determined at conception, and God cannot be invoked to change it. Again, if a man sees a fire engine racing toward his neighborhood, he should not pray, Please God, don’t let the fire be in my house. Not only is it mean-spirited to pray that someone else’s house burn instead of yours, but it is futile. A certain house is already on fire; the most sincere or articulate of prayers will not affect the question of which house it is."
- Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People
2. "If you could get anything at all off Santa, what would it be?’ I asked for a fire engine and sweets. Bunty exclaimed in delight, ‘Santa will get you that, but you and Scott will need to leave out a bowl of milk and some carrots for Rudolph.’ ‘Who’s Rudolph?’ I asked. Bunty told me in confidence that Rudolph was Santa’s reindeer and that he helped pull all the children’s toys in the world over the snow. I couldn’t wait. In readiness for Rudolph, Scott, Martha, Bunty and I picked out four of the biggest carrots from a bag in the kitchen, which we then washed. We found a big bowl that we used to lick the cream out of, which we filled with milk. We put the bowl along with the carrots under the Christmas tree, with all the other children’s offerings. Then Bunty and Martha came in and washed us, put us to bed and read us a story, before kissing us good night. On their way out they said, ‘When you wake up, Santa will have been'."
- Stephen Richards, Lost in Care: The True Story of a Forgotten Child