Showing posts with label Purpose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purpose. Show all posts

February 26, 2021

It’s Never About Luck

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "It’s Never About Luck."

Today is Purim, when we celebrate the Jewish victory over the evil Haman and his conspiracy to annihilate the Jews in the Persian Empire. Haman drew a lottery to determine what he thought was a fortuitous day, the 13th of Adar, to murder the Jewish people and pursued this plot through a decree by King Achashverosh. But as we know, G-d made miracles through Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai, and Haman and his ten sons ended hanging by the noose that he built for Mordechai. 

This has been my personal experience as well, as I can see both now and in 20/20 hindsight that there is a definite Divine method and not just a world of random chance and madness.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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February 5, 2021

Success, Israeli Cuisine Style


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, Success, "Israeli Cuisine Style."
This notion of success and failure in life makes you think about not only the imperative to be successful in our lives, but also to question what does that success even mean and look like? Is success really the goal or is the journey with its growing pains and lesson learned the real goal towards purifying our souls?

When we read the Ten Commandments, we are reminded of what the foundational elements of success in life actually are all about: How did we treat others (were we compassionate and giving)? Did we behave as Mensch’s in our lives? Did we try our best to do the “right thing” by our fellow man and by G-d? If you can answer in the positive to these latter questions then maybe you have achieved real success, regardless of what any culinary chef or life maven would tell you!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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January 22, 2021

Let Go of the Ego and Follow G-d


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Let Go of the Ego and Follow G-d."

As we know, Pharaoh refused to let the Jews go from Egypt, whether because G-d hardened his heart for some of the plagues or he just couldn’t bear to see his Jewish slaves free through the final knock-out rounds. Through ten plagues that destroyed Egypt and much of their people, including their first born males in the tenth plague, Pharaoh is intransigent and suffers the terrible consequences....Aside from Pharaoh, perhaps the second most stubborn individual in the Torah is Bilam, who was asked by Balak, the king of Moav, to curse the Jews....even though each and every time, G-d instead blessed them.

In both cases, it is clear that no individual, whether a king or a prophet, can go against that which G-d has decreed!

The lesson is clear: it is best to try to see what direction G-d is leading us forward in and to follow Him all the way, not only because that is the path of least resistance, but because that is what we are meant to do and where we are meant to go in our lives.

(Credit Photo: Minna Meles)


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December 19, 2020

I Know He Exists

                             

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Know He Exists."

G-d, who is infinitely compassionate, did the most compassionate thing, which was to create us and give us the ability to be compassionate on others. The way we bring Hashem to reside with us is to transform the world (tikkun olam) “to make it a place that G-d can call home.” We do this by performing acts of loving kindness, making the mundane holy, and manifesting G-d’s divine providence. In essence, it’s not enough for us to know G-d exists, but we need to be a light unto the nations to reveal G-d’s unity, sanctity, and ongoing relationship with his creations to everyone in the world.

Like the story of the priest from the Holocaust, we don’t believe G-d exists, but rather, we know He exists. And when we perform our mission in this world by doing good deeds and manifesting G-d’s oneness and divine providence then we make this a place where G-d wants to reside with us in this world as well as in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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October 24, 2020

The Elections: Perfecting Our Imperfections

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Elections: Perfecting Our Imperfections."

Clearly, from the President on down to each and every one of us, we can be certain that none of us is perfect. However, G-d put us here, precisely, to have the opportunity to repair our imperfections. In this earthly world, our soul is tested, and we thereby have the opportunity to come out stronger and better because of it. The challenges in this world provide the "purification by fire" that our souls need to elevate themselves from past mistakes or imperfections. In essence, G-d in his ultimate benevolence — of love, kindness, and giving — bestows on us, His children, the chance to learn and grow and to realize our potential!

In short, while our elections leave us a lot to be desired in terms of the candidates for the highest office of this great land, we can see from the presidential candidates on down to the citizens of this country and to those around the world that there is both shortcomings and the potential for becoming the people that G-d knows we can really be.

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2020

Two Terms In Office

Funny sign in store. 

Limit Politicians to 2 Terms:  

One in Office.  

One in Prison. 

Now this doesn't speak very well of our leadership.

What about the one's that have decades in office, and the time is used for their own selfish purposes and not for the people?

Where power and money is the purpose rather than advancing social well-being.

Where personal and party agendas are the playbill rather than doing what is right, plain and simple.

Where scoring points against your adversary or completely taking them down is the strategy rather than reaching out and working hand-in-hand to achieve our nation's greatness. 

We have fallen a long way from what I would imagine the founding fathers had in mind for this great democracy. 

Perhaps, the biggest problem is that we have stopped even trying. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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September 4, 2020

Shabbat Shalom From DC Duck!

Shabbat Shalom from this DC Duck!

Shabbat is something to look forward to ALL week long. 

Time to stop everything. 

Look heavenward. 

And inward! 

Remember why we're here. 

Rest and rejuvenate for the next week.

Wash, rinse, repeat.  

Need to balance and get our lives right. 

It's what we do! ;-)

(Credit Graphic:  Andy Blumenthal)
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September 3, 2020

Earning Respect!

Great Under Armour Shirt!

From the saying of Dwight Johnson, "The Rock":
Blood, sweat, and respect.  First two you give.  Last one you earn.

Yes, we respect all people in a humanistic way, but real respect is earned based on what a person does!

Blood and sweat means you're putting out, and trying your best to achieve something.

Make sure your efforts are going to something worthwhile.  

Helping people!

Doing your responsibilities!

Being a good influence!

Honoring the Master of the Universe!  

That's how you earn R-e-s-p-e-c-t. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 7, 2020

The Purge

Thought this was an interesting sign someone had in their office. 
PURGE the things that no longer bring PURPOSE!

Yikes! I wonder who or what got purged from this person's life recently. 

Yet, perhaps it is a good lesson against hoarding and just accumulating junk (things and certain people) along the way of life. 

When things have a deeply negative impact on your life (or they're just dead weight), perhaps it is time to consider letting go.

I'm not talking about relationships of commitment (e.g. family), which have a stronger and timeless bond in my mind, but of those that earn their right into your life by virtue of being ongoing positive, productive forces. 

There is no blessing in gluttony or hoarding--stay trim and fit, travel light and with what is truly meaningful and necessary. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 8, 2020

Corona Matzah Man

So this is what happens when Coronavirus pandemic coincides with Passover. 

We get a Corona Matzah Man wearing his face mask so he doesn't get sick, G-d forbid. 

Even as we get ready to celebrate the seder tonight and recall G-d's mercifully delivering us from Egyptian servitude, we also can be certain that He will deliver us from this dreaded Coronavirus. 

G-d is all powerful and has a purpose for everything. 

Perhaps, we just needed a reminder of who was in charge not only on Passover, but all the year round. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 31, 2020

Children Are Our Future

There are already 32 states under lockdown orders and more surely to come.

It is good to see the children playing outside (even in smallish groups). 

It's trying times with schools closed, many parents trying to telework, and the need to take care of the children (especially the younger ones) at the same time. 

We can't lose sight that the children are our future. 

They are everything in this world. 

Even with the Coronavirus pounding away at our older and more vulnerable populations, we can still thank G-d that not many children have been infected

Even in challenging times, G-d shows His mercy to us. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 30, 2020

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.

And they said something that really hit a chord:
You never know what your expiration date is!

What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.

They used the phrase "expiration date" like we so commonly see on food and medicine products. 

You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 

So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.

We have a date stamped on us (maybe it's on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can't see it. 

Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 

Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.

So you better live every day good and meaningfully before your expiration date comes due. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 15, 2019

The Best Jobs 2020 and Beyond

So I saw a smart video about which are the best jobs.

They are not the ones that just pay the most!

Here are the three criteria to look for in your next dream job (aside from the money):

1) Autonomy - Work that is self-directed provides satisfaction that jobs that are closely or micro-managed do not. 

2) Mastery - Jobs that allow you get better at them over time  (technical proficiency) provide a sense of mastery and self-respect. 

3) Purpose - When you have a deep sense of purpose and meaning from your work there is simply no greater motivator and satisfier than this. 

I'd also add that the best places to work are the ones with:
  •  The best bosses and the nicest people
  •  A solid balance for work and life

Overall, if we can reconnect the profit motive with the purpose motive then we have truly have the best jobs out there. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy 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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November 16, 2019

Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch."
The Rabbi asked why did Hashem who is omnipotent even need to create us? And he answered because in G-d being the ultimate good, He “had to create us”—this in essence being the ultimate expression of good by sharing that goodness with us to learn and be good as well. In short, what could be a greater good than extending that opportunity to be be good to others.

Like our forefather, my Hebrew name is Avraham, and for me personally, this has been a critical life lesson: learning to see challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and consistently be a person that tries to do what is right even when it is hard or the lines seem to be grey. In the end, I believe that G-d put us in this world in order for us to choose good over evil and demonstrate kindness to others. With the Torah as our blueprint, and Avraham, our forefather, as our role model, we must apply the great teachings of the Torah and always strive to act as a proper mensch!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 8, 2019

Where Are We Going

Just thought this was an awesome provoking painting. 

To me, it begs the question of where are we going in our lives. 

The terrestrial landscape combined with the light at the end of the tunnel effect as the sky is provocative and at the same time almost hypnotic. 

It also makes me feel the enormity of the universe versus the smallness of just a man.

I see myself standing on the red hilltop looking into that big sky and wondering about so many things. 

In the end, believing that we don't have all the answers, but that we are in G-d's good hands. ;-)

(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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August 4, 2019

Open Your Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Open Your Eyes to Hashem."


G-d has a plan and a reason for everything–not only for them, but for all of us. We are all on a journey, and even if we don’t always readily see G-d, it’s part of our core faith that He is always there, He is guiding us, and that everything is for the best. Yet despite our best efforts to have faith, at times, we may feel that we don’t know what we’re doing here–why we’re at this place, at this time, or even how we got here–we may actually feel a little lost. Maybe we just can rattle off a list of “Well I did this and then that and then this other thing happened.” But exactly how we got to where we are, regardless of our best laid plans, is often a mystery to us as human beings. As I often tell students and colleagues in the planning discipline of enterprise architecture, “Man plans, and G-d laughs.”

While we may think we are going about fulfilling our plans and accomplishing our life dreams, the truth is that everything ultimately comes from G-d. He gives you the strength, the health, the family and friends as support, the talent, the opportunity, and the right thoughts in your head and the right words in your mouth to do what you do. Of course, we must do our part and the hard work to find and fulfill our mission in life and to overcome the challenges we face, but we are flesh and blood and in the bigger realm of things, messengers of G-d in fulfilling his bigger plan for all of us. If we open our eyes, we realize that wherever we end up and whatever happens to us is by His merciful decree.


(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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July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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