Showing posts with label Good Deeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Good Deeds. Show all posts

October 3, 2020

The Power of Life and Death

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Power of Life and Death."
It’s so important to develop mastery over the whole life sequence: think nice thoughts, speak kind words, do good deeds, and develop positive habits. This is one of the secrets to life itself.

Life is often in the hands of our tongue–one stupid word and it can mean your head, and one smart thing and it can be, with G-d’s help, your ride to the stars!

Indeed, controlling your words, like controlling your desires, temper, and so on is a constant challenge we all face throughout life. Yes, it’s easy to just let oneself go, but the consequences can be severe for shooting off your mouth, acting stupid, or getting angry. We can get better with patience, time, and practice. We can become better, stronger people. We can learn to guard not only our tongue, but our temperament and deeds, and live a better, and perhaps even a longer life for it. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Dossy Blumenthal)


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November 23, 2019

The Life and Legacy of Sarah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "The Life and Legacy of Sarah."


The Rebbetzin explained beautifully that when we live a good life, not only does our soul live on in the afterlife, but our good deeds continue to have an influence in this world even after we, ourselves, have passed.

We should never underestimate our influence in this world, and that what we say and do reverberates like concentric circles that spread out from the source farther and farther. Moreover, while you might not think that what you do matters all that much or is a big deal, you never really know the outsize impact that it can have. Therefore, even while Sarah had passed and Abraham mourned her, the truth is that her legacy of the great Jewish nation was only just beginning!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2019

The Good Things In Life Are Challenging

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Good Things In Life Are Challenging."


"Everything truly pleasurable in life starts with considerable pain." More colloquially in working out, we usually say: “No pain, no gain!” And there really is a lot of truth to this. If you think about it, this concept really applies to everything meaningful and ultimately valuable in life.

As we reflect this time of year, before Rosh Hashanah, it is good to ask ourselves, what are we chasing and working so hard for in our lives? Are we chasing vanity–more riches, power, and honor or are we striving to do good and make a difference? The latter is a life worth living and where our efforts and pain can bring true reward in this world and ultimately in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 6, 2019

What If Israel Lost?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "What If Israel Lost?"
What if, G-d forbid, Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors and lost? It’s an almost unthinkable thought, yet it is actually a complete miracle that Israel, surrounded and vastly outnumbered by its enemies, actually wins and survives in a very tough neighborhood.

Despite these miracles that we have been blessed to witness, we can’t let down our guard militarily or spiritually. We must do good deeds, act with kindness and charity to our fellow man, and worship Hashem to continue to merit the success over our enemies and our settlement of the land of Israel.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 20, 2019

Shopping Vs Psychiatrist

This sign had a pretty good point:
"Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist."

Plus it's more fun and you get to take the junk home that you buy.

For many, shopping truly is a form of mental/stress relief--almost like medicine. 

Unfortunately, if you think about it, things don't really make a person happy...rather people do and doing good does. 

But industry wants you to think a lot more superficially and materialistically than that. 

Hence the notion that if you take your daily dose of shopping, maybe you can skip the shrink! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 27, 2019

What's It Worth To You?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "What's It Worth To You."
Certainly, passion for being your best, determination to succeed, and even some healthy competition are important factors in driving our own success as well as societal progress, but when keeping up with that scorecard against others becomes the essence of your own self-worth then things have gone too far and way off course.

We each have our mission, strengths, challenges, and so forth. It’s okay in life, if someone else has more of something (money, friends, honor, whatever). Everyone has their own “basket in life” as my father taught me, “and you wouldn’t want to change baskets with anyone else.”

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2019

We Can't Look Away



(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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May 22, 2019

Take Responsibility

I thought it was an interesting sign in the office.

Responsibility: At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start to be successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren't where you want to be, you will always be a failure.  - Erin Cummins


While I agree that we have to take responsibility for our lives and do the work hard to achieve success, at the same time, we obviously aren't in control of everything. 

We have to play the hand we're dealt in life and make the very best of it.  Whatever challenges that we have, they are there for us to learn from, grow from, and become better human beings from. 

Also, success means different things to different people--for some it's money, power and honer; for others it's physical fitness and dashing good looks; still some care more about travel, experiences, partying, and having a good time; and yet for others it's about G-d, family, country, and good deeds.

Whatever we want to achieve requires dedication and hard work from our end, but also a generous dose of prayer and good fortune for "the stars to align."  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2019

Black Hole--What's Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 

It measures about 25 billion miles across--about the size of 29,000 suns. 

If this doesn't make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 

We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 

Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 

Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.

Realize what's really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)
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January 15, 2019

Transcending Suffering and Impermanence

There is a buddhist philosophy that life is all about loss and suffering. 

The Budha says:
Life is suffering.

Why? Because life is impermanence--whatever we gain, eventually, we must lose. 

- Riches, power, people, health, even our memories perhaps. 

In a sense, this is like the saying from "War of the Roses":
There is no winning, only degrees of losing. 

However, there is one exception to the impermanence and loss in life:

The only thing that is permanent is our good deeds, and with this we can achieve an everlasting good name for ourselves.

In Judaism, we teach:
A good name is better than fine oil.

Hence, this is the permanence that we strive for in life and in death.  

If we can attain a good name through purity of soul then in a sense, we can transcend life's suffering and impermanence.  

By becoming non-attached to all of life's temporary things, and instead focusing on perfecting ourselves, we can free ourselves from suffering and from this world, and then we can go on in everlasting-peace to the afterlife. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2019

In The Blink Of An Eye

Please see my new article in The Times Of Israel called, "In The Blink Of An Eye." 
It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Those moments when your life or those of a loved one hang in the balance. It can go either way--you can end up on the road to success or potentially in the morgue. 
In those pivotal split seconds--your life can go this way or that. Do you recognize who is pushing on the scales of justice and are you ready on where to go from there? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2018

Reaping What You Sow: Adam and Adamah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, Sukkot: A Time of Man and Earth
"In celebrating Sukkot, we compare Adam and Adamah. Just like a man is dependent on seeding his teachings and good deeds which then leads to reaping his personal life harvest, so too the earth is dependent on seeding and watering which leads to harvesting its produce."
Hope you enjoy and Chag Sameach.  ;-)

(Inspired by a movie of a farmer in Bishvil-Haivrit)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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September 15, 2018

Reflections B4 Yom Kippur


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Reflections Before Yom Kippur."

"I get up in the middle of the night, and I’m still 3/4 asleep. My mouth feels dry, and I walk over to the mouthwash to refresh. I reach for the bottle, but I grab the image in the mirror..."

Hope you enjoy this true story and the parable for living our spiritual lives and not just reach for the ego image in the mirror.

May you be sealed for another year in the book of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 9, 2018

Lessons In Teshuvah - Near-Death Experience


Great Video on the incredible Near Death Experience (NDE) of Rabbi Alon Anava. 

What he experiences, sees, and is told can change lives forever. 

What a perfect learning right before Rosh Hashanah. 

Teshuvah, Tefillah, U'Tzedekah.

Shannah Tova! ;-)
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August 2, 2018

Feeding Frenzy

A colleague told me something really great. 

Once a month she helps others in the office that are less fortunate. 

She told me that the cleaning people have various disabilities, and they are underappreciated for the difficult work they do. 

So once a month she treats them for breakfast!

As I got on the elevator with her, some of the cleaning people were calling to her in a frenzy asking when they were doing the next one. 

She told them the date, and they seemed so happy and valued. 

I thought to myself, WOW!--what an amazing gesture of compassion, kindness, and charity for others.  

It's not necessarily the money itself, but rather making a habit out of doing something good for others. 

I imagined G-d looking down from Heaven at this lady and that she would never be hungry because she makes sure to feed breakfast and gratitude to others. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 15, 2018

Making A Real Difference

I saw this sign posted at an organization's office. 

I thought it was a nice way to motivate people working there. 
"What people are saying:
You are making a difference."

Later in the sign, it says:
"The work you do is important."
Isn't this really what is critical to people--that what they do is important. 

Yes, we need to earn a living and pay our bills. 

And sure, we'd like something left over to save for a rainy day. 

But our lives are more than materialism. 

We are spiritual beings inside. 

At the pinnacle, we need to know that our lives mean something!

- That we are touching people's lives. 

- That we will be remembered for the good we did. 

- That our good deeds and words will live on. 

- That our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) will carry the lessons and message forward. 

- That we've contributed in some meaningful way to the fight of good over evil in this world and the next. 

- That we've shown proper respect and worship to our L-rd/Maker/Sustainer. 

When we make a difference, it's about so much more than what money can buy. 

It's about our soul, our contribution, and even destiny.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2018

The 3 P's Do NOT Matter

So I heard Joel Osteen give a great speech. 

He said that it's not any of these things that make a person worthwhile:

1. Possessions
2. Performance
3. Popularity

But rather, it is a person's inner self and soul that determine their value. 

Each person is a son or daughter of G-d.

I agree that our personal worth is a matter of how we act as human beings in choosing right over wrong and good over evil; and it is not based on how much we have, how successful we have become, or how much we are liked. 

In the end, a person must return to their maker alone to answer for their actions.  

You can't take anything with you.

Materialism and vanity all fade away and only your spiritual inner self will pass over and live on.  

So how will you spend your time and attention--chasing vanity of vanities or doing good in all your words and deeds? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2018

Yearning For Redemption


Just an impression from my recent trip to Israel. 

There is such a yearning for people to do good and to merit the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) towards the ultimate redemption for mankind. 

It's on every street corner and light post.  

Whether it's eyes gazed on the righteousness of Rabbi Nachman or The Rebbe--as we used to sing as kids in NCSY:
"We want Mashiach now!"

Whether Mashiach is an actual person or a spiritual revelation in the world leading to redemption--it represents an unprecedented enlightenment, holiness and a spiritual healing, and love and peace for mankind. 

While we strive to earn our daily bread, it's nice to have a part of us that also seeks a greater good and achieving betterment for the world. 

Any small or big things we can do in our lives to contribute to Tikkun Olam ("fixing the world"), it's purposeful, hopeful, and uplifting to try. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 2, 2017

Our Forefathers Were Planners And So Are We

Thank you to Rabbi Haim Ovadia for his speech today at Magen David Synagogue on the topic of how our forefathers in the Bible were planners and so are we today. (Note: some of the thoughts below are directly from Rabbi Ovadia and others are added by me.)

In the Biblical story of Jacob, there are numerous examples teaching us the importance of planning.

1) Shepherds vs Hunters:  Jacob was a shepherd versus his brother Esau who was a hunter.  Shepherds have a long-term outlook with their animals, tending to them and caring for them over the long-term, while hunters go out for the kills to eat for that day. 

2) Working for Rachel and Leah vs. Selling the Pottage:  Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachel and another 7 for Leah--this was the long-term view and commitment to work for Lavan in order to marry his daughters. In comparison, Esau came in hungry from the field and sold his birthright for the immediate gratification of a bowl of pottage.

3) The Plan to Take Esau's Blessing: Rebekah worked with Jacob to prepare meat for Isaac and put hair and clothes on Jacob that made him look and seem like Esau, so Jacob could get the blessing from Isaac, while Esau was still out hunting in the field. 

4) Dividing his Camp in Two: Jacob sent messengers (i.e. reconnaissance) to see and plan for what Esau was doing in coming to meet him. When the messengers returned with word that Esau was coming with 400 men, Jacob planned for the worst, dividing his camp in two, so should one peril the other could survive. Additionally, Jacob prayed and sent rounds of gifts to Esau and also presented himself to Esau before his beloved wife Rachel and son Joseph in the safety of the rear. 

Long-term planning has been fundamental to the Jewish people throughout history and to modern times:

1) "People of the Book" - The Jewish people are known as "the people off the book" for the devotion to Torah study, learning, and continually investing in education, which is a view for long-term investment and success.   

2) Good Deeds to Inherit The World To Come - Fundamental to Jewish belief is that this earthly world is just a "corridor" to the World to Come.  We do charity and good deeds, not only because it's the right thing to do (certainly!), but also because we believe that these merits will help us long-term when we pass, and go to the spiritual next world, Heaven. 

3) Believing and Praying for the Return to The Promised Land - For 2,000, the Jewish people never gave up hoping and praying on the deliverance of G-d's promise to return them from exile to the Promised Land.  This was a long-term view that helped sustain the Jewish people throughout their far-flung exile and through millennium of persecution and genocide.
Ezekiel 11:17: "Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel."
4) Waiting 6,000 years for the Messiah: For 6,000 years, the Jews have maintain faith and plan for the coming of the Messiah, the rebuilding of the Temple and the ultimate redemption of the world.  
"(Ani Ma'amin) I believe in complete faith in the coming of the Messiah...Even tough he may tarry, none-the-less, I will wait for him."
Like our forefathers, it is critical to maintain faith in the Almighty and practice long-term planning as keys to success in life. 

If we take the long-view, we can overcome so many short-term challenges, obstacles and even suffering--believing, praying planning, and doing for a better, brighter future. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 21, 2017

The Origin of Government In The Bible


Thought this was a really interesting speech by the Rabbi Haim Ovadia in synagogue today.

The origin of government and the function/dysfunction of society and rule of law is rooted in the in beginnings of mankind as told in the Bible/Torah. 

Starting with Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden -- This was pretty much anarchy with only one law at the time not to eat the apple from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. 

Then in Noah's Generation - There was oligarchy with roaming gangs that took the women and committed wickedness. 

Followed by the Tower of Babel -- This was communism with everyone united to build and have a common property, a great city and tower reaching to the heavens.

Subsequently Sodom & Gomorrah - This was capitalism with people looking after their own selves and cities, getting spoiled of their material goods, and committing all manner of vices. 

And only then in the time of Abraham - There arose democracy with G-d electing Abraham and the Israelites based on lovingkindness and charity. 

As we know from the Bible and can see in the chart above, only democracy resulted in blessings for all of mankind.  

Yes, the election in the bible was made by G-d, but the notion is one based on "elected" representatives that do good and are a light for the whole world--so no, dictators need not apply!

The Bible is truly a blueprint for us as to how we can live our lives as well as how we can govern the world effectively . ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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