Showing posts with label Self-Control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self-Control. Show all posts

September 5, 2019

Favorite Chocolate Pastries

So these are my favorite chocolate pastries. 

They are liked over-sized or really supersized Rugelach. 

When these come out of the oven, the soft, hot pastry dough interspersed with overflowing, dripping layers of chocolate are unbelievable!

This mound of chocolate pastries is from Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. 

OMG, I can't wait to visit again and have one (or more) of these--totally lose all self control! LOL  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 26, 2019

Duck Donuts Don't

A colleague brought these unbelievable fresh, hot, Duck Donuts into the office yesterday. 

Each one weighs like a brick and is so full of carbohydrate good(bad)ness. 

I had to use all my self-control and willpower not to eat any (or all) of these. 

It comes down to mind over matter--If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2019

Four Types of Desire

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Want What I Want."

There are four types of greed/jealousy:
  • I want what I’m missing
  • I want what I had
  • I want what you have
  • I want you to not have what you have

We can be slaves to our egos, emotions, and desires, or we can seek to control them and be better than mere animals. We have a soul, a conscience, and the Torah, so the choice should be clear even if not always easy.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 26, 2019

Out of Control Ice Cream


I'm not sure how you control yourself around this Alpaca Ice Cream.

But somehow I managed not to get any...this time.  

I promise!  

LOL

These are made with fresh hot waffles wrapped around your choice of ice cream and toppings. 

As you can see these are pretty big and scrumptious!

Anyway, they have a store in Rockville and I absolutely must stay away from it. 

Oh, maybe I just go in once for a taste.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 9, 2019

Choosing Good Over Vice

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Choosing Good Over Vice."
But yet, if everyone would just act out on each other based on their unbridled wants and desires, oy vey what a truly terrible world that would be...From uncontrolled desires for food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, honor, money, power, sex, and more–it seems like everyone has their little secret fetish. Whether it's coming from their head, their heart, or down below...the key questions is how much can they control themselves.

However, inside us, our soul, like the Ten Commandments in the Holy Ark, guide us so that we aren't just animals chasing game or tail, but are human beings trying to become angels.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 3, 2018

We All Have Our Moods

Thought this was a funny comic strip in the office. 
Today I'm feeling {choose your poison}...

While I'm sure that we'd like to be happy all the time, it's not realistic to think that will actually be probable or even possible.

Sure, everyone puts on the big smile.

But behind the smile is often many other feelings 

As one colleague said to me:

"People are complex!"

Isn't that true?

Anyway, don't beat yourself for feeling what you feel--it's okay to be relaxing, excited, angry, sad, stressed or whatever.

Of course, that doesn't excuse letting it get the best of you and bad behavior.

We're adults, not children with temper tantrums.

Certainly, though, we are all human, and all feelings are fine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 20, 2018

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 

Hence, the term anger management!

The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person's real character: 

- Koso, Kiso, and Ka'aso.

From Aramaic to English it translates as:

- Cup, Purse, and Anger. 

In other words...

Cup--When a person "drinks," this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, "When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!" Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 

Purse--This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  

Anger--When a person is angry, this is often when their "true colors" show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent--do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when "under the gun."  

Focusing on the anger piece...

It's easy to get angry, and it's also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you're really angry. 

Maybe people can't always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don't even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.

In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 

Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 

Thoughts on this...

Take a breath, slow down. 

Evaluate what's really going on

Think about whether it's truly the end of the world or not. 

Assess the options for coping with it. 

Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 

If necessary, seek help from others.

Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 

And where not, cope, cope, cope--and survive another day!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 2, 2018

How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 

It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 

I think there is a lot to this topic...

Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it's decision time.  

Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 

Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.

Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good--more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial "wine, women, and song" or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  

It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 

Are we being selfish or selfless?

Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us--even too much giving and selflessness--we need to care for ourselves too--we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 

But you can't be a glutton or a slave to your impulses--you can't take and not give, your can't indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.

Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.

Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 

If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 27, 2018

Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 

I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 

All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way--like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?

First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt--like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips...did I miss it all along. 

I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said "What an asshole!"

I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 

I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 

But I said to myself, "Hold, hold, hold!"

It wasn't easy not to respond in kind--lash back out at them--and even then some for good measure. 

No, that isn't the way. 

You can rise above this. 

I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.

Well, lo' and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.

It didn't have to come from me to them to "set them straight!"

Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 

I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 

Don't stoop to their level--you rise above it!

Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 20, 2018

Mikva = Tikva

I thought this was a really special Jewish clock I saw in the store yesterday. 

It promotes holiness and sanctity in the family.
Mikva (Jewish ritual bath) = Tikva (hope) 
Rebirth and renewal (from the immersion in the holy water).
Build your family in sanctity!
Purity leads to sanctity.

The Jewish laws of refraining from sexual relations during Nidda (a women's menstruation) and of immersing in the mikvah at the end of the cycle and before the husband and wife coming back together physically are cornerstones of acting with self-control and a couple dedicating themselves to Hashem first.

The family is the core of raising and educating our children and of the makeup of the community and ultimately of serving G-d in everything we do. 

Self-control (with sexual purity, kosher food, Sabbath time, etc.) is what separates us from animals and how we emulate being more like the angels. 

It is also a way for a husband and wife to elevate their love and show respect for each other as human beings and not just physical beings.  

I never saw a clock that reminds us of these holy concepts and laws like this. 

Also at the top it says another well-known Jewish quote about managing our time wisely:
"The day is short and the task is great."

Another good reminder to maximize the use of our time every day here on Earth and to make the most out of every moment. 

If we dedicate ourselves to serving G-d, raising our families, being productive professionally and personally, and acting with integrity and sanctity always--this is a good life! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 1, 2017

Sexual Acting Act

There is now a seemingly endless slate of sexual harassment allegations against some of the biggest shots from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. 

From the longest-serving Congressmen to the biggest star of morning television news, it seems that no one is sacrosanct.

Is it just that "absolute power corrupts absolutely"?

Or maybe it's more broadly to be stated, as the Rabbi noted on Shabbat, that: 
"G-d created man perfectly imperfect!"
Men and women are created with sexual urges to procreate, bond emotionally and physically, and enjoy each other. 

Men tend to be the stronger than women and are able to have children into old age, and perhaps, it can be said, have the bigger "urge to merge.

Sure, there are women who are normally sexually active, and also those who are perhaps hypersexual (nympomaniac, "cougars," etc.) and who commit sexual abuse too.

In fact, it was interesting that Wikipedia actually breaks rape down into 4 gender on gender categories:

- Rape of females by males
- Rape of females by females
- Rape of males by females
- Rape of males by males

Issues with physical intimacy and sexual harassment and violence span both sexes, however, it is also clear that:
"Rape affects women disproportionately, with the majority of people convicted being men."

In the U.S., the statistics show gross levels of sexual violence to women:

- 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime (vs 1 in 71 men).

- 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female.

Also, particularly disturbing is the number of girls and boys targeted:

- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18. 

What type of society have we created, where women and children are not generally safe?

It's interesting to me in Judaism that there is a recognition of sexual impulse, and that some Hasidim actually wear a "gartel" belt when praying to physically and spiritually separate the upper half of the body with the head and heart, from the lower half with the more animal instincts.

In short, the head and heart need to control the animal part of people. 

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be happening in so many cases. 

Stunned from the outpouring of sexual allegations nearly everyday now, I said to my wife: 
"What is wrong with these people? They have it all: position, power, and wealth; and yet, they throw it all away --including their integrity and reputations--for a five minute lay in the hay!"

Is the animal instinct too strong for the person to control? That just isn't going to cut it.

As a functioning society, it's got be completely unacceptable for people to act out sexually or otherwise violently hurt their neighbors. 

It's time for social reform and for the animals to be controlled by the people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 21, 2017

We're A Bunch Of Chemicals+

So it's pretty well known that we are a combination of nature and nurture. 

Nature is our genetics and our hormones--it's sort of the innate material that make up who we are. 

Nurture, of course, is all those external influencers, like parents, friends, teachers, religious figures, experiences, etc.--that shape us. 

In a way, it's hard to think of ourselves as a product of nature and nature, because that sort of removes our conscious free choice in the whole matter of who we are and what we do. 

For example, if someone is a raging lunatic, sociopath, serial killer, because they have a brain or hormonal defect and grew up in a broken and abusive home(s), then the question is, well how can you really or fully blame them for their actions--is it really their actions? 

Don't we have to ask ourselves how much control does a person have over themselves if they are physically and environmentally predisposed to be a certain way--even a very socially unacceptable and hurtful way?

This is where the courts and justice system come into play in looking at things such as whether the person is even competent to stand trial (e.g. the insanity defense) or are there mitigating circumstances to reduce the person's culpability.

I would imagine it is quite difficult to exactly judge the level of self control that a person is or should be able to exert given their individual set of nature and nurture.  

And even if the person isn't fully in control of themselves, does that help the victim or their families who are still left reeling from the harm and/or loss caused to them by the perpetrator?

Yet it is uncontested that people are driven by nature and nurture, and just in today's Wall Street Journal, there was a discussion of the influence of a person's hormone levels on their personality and behavior.

- Generally, more testosterone makes a person aggressive, while more estrogen makes them sensitive. 

- Similarly, dopamine makes people more energetic, while serotonin makes them more sociable. 

So there is nothing inherently "wrong" with you for being a certain way...that's your makeup, but you are responsible for how you manage yourself given what you've got.   

In other words, where you have lemons, you've got to make lemonade!

In a nutshell, we are truly a combination of our genetic makeup, a bunch of chemicals, some environmental molding, and the exertion of our willpower, faith, and belief in what's right and wrong. 

What happens when you mix these altogether, you get you and only you! ;-)

(Source photo: here with attribution to skeeze)
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September 29, 2017

Party With Cookies Like It's The End Of The Fiscal Year

It's funny, today the last business day of the fiscal year...

That means that this time of year is a lot of stress on a lot of people.

So what do they do?

Well, while a lot of people are reaching for the do-re-mi ($$$) to earn and to spend before the books close, others are reaching for the plain old (cookie) dough. 

This week for example, there was a big cookie party!

So much stress, so little time.

That seems to translate into cookie days, and carbohydrate weeks. 

This isn't just the end of the fiscal year, but a potentially fatty, dangerous time too. 

The timing is also weird because of the juxtaposition to Yom Kippur tomorrow which is a fasting day with NO food or water for 25 hours.

Better eat some more cookies now (or not). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2017

Naked Sitting

This was some amazing sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 

This "Big Man" is just sitting in the corner at the top of the escalator.

Sitting naked and looking deep in thought and down on his luck.

In a sense, as we sit or stand in front of our Maker, we are all naked bearing witness to our transgressions and trespasses. 

What are we to do when we give in to weakness?

We see people looking around and hoping no one is seeing them as they try to get away with doing the wrong thing.

But as my Oma (grandmother) used to say in German to me: 
"Liebe Gott sieht alles" 

Almighty G-d sees everything!

Our souls, and the souls of those that came before us, and those that will come after us, are all around us, without limitation to time or space. 

Our nakedness is revealed no matter what we use to try to cover up with. 

Hunched in the corner, we don't really know what to do, but to try to do better with each and every next time.

We have opportunities to right the wrongs, if we get up and exert self control and overcome our mortal and character weaknesses. 

Then our nakedness won't be foul in sight and smell, but will be radiant, with our spirits having risen to the occasion of what we can be as the children of G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 8, 2016

Content Filtering - Should We Restrain Ourselves?

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 

He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage--road rage, email rage, etc.--and you can't let your rage dictate your actions. 

People can certainly get under your skin--just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.

But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.

The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 

The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he's supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)

Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling--that husbands and wives should drink this "special water" that they hold in their mouth--this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can't say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 

The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 

And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 

When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that--it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 

She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, "93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media."

I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, "write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic]."

Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful--"locker room banter"--maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren't listening. 

Realistically, we can't and shouldn't have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do--there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 

But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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September 19, 2016

Globs of Fat

So I went to get my flu shot today in the office. 

Yes, it's that time of year to start getting ready for Winter and all the germs that come with it. 

Anyway, while I was at the health center, they had this model of what body fat looks like. 

It was sort of just laying right on the table in the waiting room--yeah a big ick! 

It said:
"Globs of FatThis glob represents the look and feel of 5 pounds of body fat."

And this thing was enormous, bigger than someones hand, maybe even two hands. 

There was some text about another 1 pound piece of body fat, but I didn't see that lying around anywhere (and frankly the 5 pound glob was enough to get the point without comparison). 

This fat demonstration would make practically anyone want to chuck the carbohydrates and forever.

Pizza, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes--be gone!

Having recently done this myself, I can really appreciate how important this is and also how hard it can be. 

The food industry has us addicted to this crap and really it should be illegal. 

The high carb diet in America is truly of epidemic proportions and is potentially catastrophic to our health and longevity.

The only thing that glob of fat is good for is tossing it out the window and into the garbage dump. 

A high carb diet that makes people fat is death and we want to live! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 14, 2016

Got Mic

My daughter went to a cool work seminar yesterday on emotional intelligence and she told me five important takeaways for creating EI health:

1. Self-awareness

2. Self-regulation

3. Self-motivation

4. Effective relationships

5. Empathy

Certainly, exerting self-control and working effectively with others is sort of obvious.

But it is not necessarily easy for everyone to do. 

Reflecting on this, some people seem to need no microphone or megaphone. 

They can't get off the elevating soapbox and behave instead is as if they are the whole show onto themselves. 

Enjoying to talk alone or above everyone else, maneuvering with drama and theatrics, and being cemented squarely in that center stage.

Perhaps highly intelligent about the subject matter, but often quite low on emotional intelligence. 

Seeing neither the objective nor the team, unable to recognize and respect others or to listen to alternate points of view, it may go on for quite some time before they come up for air. 

Overly extroverted, oblivious, uncaring, or perhaps needy or narcissistic.

Seeming to say, "I was created and stand in the center of the universe and all revolves around me!"

Chasing honor and dismissive as to their way or the highway--threats lurk, right or wrong. 

This is definitely a job for self-improvement and to personal advancement. 

Can EI be learned? 

Perhaps if the person can stop for a sec and just listen and be humbly part of the human race. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 10, 2016

Success Is Not A Silver Spoon

So there is a disappointing editorial in the Sunday New York Times Review Section today. 

It is by Christopher Chabris and Joshua Hart in "How Not To Explain Success."

They attempt to dispel the explanation of 2 Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld that various ethnic and religious minorities (e.g. Cubans, Jews, Indians, etc.) "had achieved disproportionate success in America" because of three things:

1) "A belief that their group was inherently superior to others"

2) "A sense of personal insecurity"

3) "A high degree of impulse control"

But Chabris and Hart claim this is falsehood and instead attribute the success to the people's innate higher intelligence and superior socioeconomic background.

In other words, Chabris and Hart would have us believe that the ethnic and religious minorities they speak of were somehow "born with a silver spoon in their mouths"-- which is complete NONSENSE.

While Chabris and Hart (of Union College) themselves claim vastly superior empirical evidence from their survey of a whopping 1,258 adults, they dismiss others' arguments such as Yale University professors, Chua and Rubenfeld, as mere "circumstantial evidence."

Well I and many of my family and friends that I grew up with must be part of that silly circumstantial evidence, called PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

You see, we are part of the generation of Holocaust Survivors and Children Of Holocaust Survivors, who came to America, as my grandmother said "without a chair to sit on" or a dime in their pockets. 

My father worked long, hard hours in a factory eventually becoming its manager and he and my mom provided for our family. Both my parents lost most of their education due to the War and the need to "go out and earn a living."

Similarly, one of my best friends grew up also the child of survivors. His father came from the Holocaust and ended up working blue collar work as an electrician, eventually owning his business.  

Neither family started with much--I ended up managing technology in some awesome agencies for the Federal government and my friend as an executive in the cruise industry.  

Virtually, the entire generation of Jews who fled to America as refugees from the Holocaust came with nothing...yet the people and their children worked hard, very hard, and they were blessed, and become successful. 

So, I have no surveys to back me up, but I do have my life and that of almost an entire generation of real life facts from people's lives--not made up of speculative survey questions and their interpretation of results.

So from my perspective, it is Chabris and Hart that are 100% WRONG!

You see they don't know from where we came and under what horrible conditions and how we arrived here as immigrants with nothing but our faith in G-d Almighty and the love of our families and community. 

And for the record, Chua and Rubenfeld are right:

Point #1, we were clearly taught a sense of superiority--but not what people mistakenly think--it is not based on intelligence, looks, or on physical strength, but rather based on that we were Biblically expected to behave differently as Jews and live more stringently. 

And that goes clearly to point #3, which is impulse control...the Jewish religion is based on 613 commandments--we are expected to eat a certain way, dress a certain way, keep Shabbat and holidays a certain way, raise a family a certain way...there is a huge amount of impulse control involved and in fact, not all of us are successful meeting all those stringent requirements--but it is a precondition upon which many of us grow up. 

Finally, in terms of point #2--personal insecurity, I am not sure how much more insecure you can be when your people just got slaughtered in the Holocaust, the world's worst genocide ever known, and you are one of the survivors who has to rebuild--Yes, that is an incredible motivator!

If Chabris and Hart believe that we made it here based on pure intellect or positive socioeconomic factors--they are either complete idiots or sickly delusional.

While people's personal success is highly subjective for them, as a whole group though, I most certainly believe that G-d blessed the Jewish people after the horrors and unbelievable suffering of the Holocaust. 

No level of intelligence or falsely perceived socioeconomics can explain what only G-d's infinite mercy can endow. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2015

Taking Back Control

Ok, I've had mobility issues for over 2 years now that started with a broken foot and ended in 3 surgeries and 2 hip replacements.

Over this time, I have had enormous pain walking and doing other activities. 

And unfortunately, I have put on some extra weight, which I am unhappy about. 

Today though this changes, please G-d.  

I am taking back my life!

I want to lose the weight and be what I know I can be. 

Time to stop the excuses.

It's Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) next week, and this is a good time to reflect, be introspective, self-critical, and aim high. 

G-d, please help me to be strong, to resist temptation, and shut my mouth from eating the wrong foods. 

I am determined, but G-d I need your help to be successful. 

We've accomplished so much together--let's do this! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 24, 2015

Appreciating G-d's Gifts


Today, I heard a fascinating speech from Rabbi Haim Ovadia of Magen David Synagogue that put a beautiful new perspective on the Ten Commandments.

He explained how the commandments are not just commandments, but actually a covenant between G-d and mankind.  

G-d gave man gifts of:

1) FREEDOM and choice (He is the L-rd who brought you out of bondage)
2) DIVINITY, a direct spiritual connection (Thou shalt have no idols)
3) PRAYER, heartfelt (Thou shalt not take G-d's name in vain)
4) SABBATH, day of rest (On the seventh day thou shalt do no work)
5) FAMILY (Honor thy father and mother).

In turn, G-d asks that we appreciate His gifts to us, and not take from others what isn't ours:

1) LIFE (Don't murder)
2) Another Man's WIFE (Don't commit adultery)
3) THINGS (Don't steal)
4) DUE PROCESS/JUSTICE (Don't bear false witness)
5) Someone else's BLESSINGS (Don't covet, and essentially bring an "evil eye" on them)

This interpretation is sort of the ah-ha in the Ten Commandments, which otherwise some would say, "what's so novel or special about G-d telling us not to do these bad things--wouldn't we already know (many of) these ourselves?"

But what is novel here is that the Ten Commandments is a whole philosophy of thinking about life, one where we appreciate G-d's many gifts to us, but where we control our animal instincts and in turn act spiritually.

Thank you G-d for the many wonderful gifts, and for giving us the opportunity to elevate ourselves and be satisfied with our lot in life. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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