Showing posts with label Kindness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindness. Show all posts

May 7, 2022

Playing The Odds

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Playing The Odds."

The stranger told me: Precisely fifty years ago, the doctor told me the exact same thing about having a one in a hundred chance of paralysis if they operated. So, what did I do? I went to see the Rabbi (Avigdor Miller) and ask his advice, and the Rabbi says to me: "A Jew doesn’t take odds like that!"

I thought to myself while Jews don’t take those wild odds (1 in a 100 of paralysis), why do they play the odds with their souls by pretending to be religious on the outside, but on the inside and away from human eyes doing evil? Surely, we all know that G-d sees everything and that a faithful judgment awaits us all. And it all made sense not to play the odds not only with our physical health, but also with our spiritual wellbeing.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 31, 2021

The Power of Giving to Overcome Abuse

Please see my new article in The Time of Israel called "The Power of Giving to Overcome Abuse."

We can't outsmart G-d, and we can't take what isn't rightfully ours. In effect, the charity we must give, already belongs to G-d, and we can't keep it or invest it, because at the end of the day, G-d will have what is His. And with this realization, lying back down in bed, I sung the words from Proverbs many times to myself and smiled, thanking G-d for my children who teach their parents and for G-d enabling me to learn new lessons for my soul and how the blessings from G-d are ultimately realized.
In short, while sexual molesters (i.e. monsters) steal from the bodies of their victims and inflicts devastating harm to them physically, mentally, and emotionally, in stark contract are those who give charitably to others, giving of themselves in order to make others that are in need whole again in body, mind, and soul.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 20, 2021

When Hypocrisy Leads To Abuse

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "When Hypocrisy Leads to Abuse."

As many of you, I have been following the news about sexual abuse allegations against Rabbi Chaim Walder and have been horrified and disgusted that this renowned ultra-orthodox Children’s book author and therapist is now accused of abusing the same. Like community Rabbis (e.g. Rabbi Barry Freundel) or Jewish educators (e.g. Stanley Rosenfeld), this phenomenon of using a privileged position to take advantage of women and children is certainly, by this time, not new and remains a stain on the Jewish community, no different than that of the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts for the abuse by its priest and leaders on those that trusted them and the religious values and ideals they represent.

Truly, these horrible acts of hurting, abusing, and scarring for life women and children (including boys) are regrettably all around us, whether with domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, and human trafficking. But fortunately now they are at least “out of the closet” where rather than have the community deny the possibility that such evil exists or even circle the wagons to wholly protect the perpetrators (before fully investigating the facts), we now have greater recognition and are working towards accountability of these wrongs, and hopefully, far greater protection for people in the future.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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November 6, 2021

Jewish Unity Is Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Jewish Unity Is Strength."

It didn’t matter what race or nationality the person who had been hit by the car was, she was a human being in pain and who needed the help of others. We Jews need to remember that this is life in a nutshell. Life can change in split instance for better or G-d forbid, for worse. We need one another. No man is an island. We can’t afford to play holier than thou with anyone else. Only G-d can judge who is really “religious” and who is wanting.

It brought to my mind the irony that with the Jewish people, we are a small minority in the world, and yet we often disagree, fight, and can be intolerant and neglectful of one another despite facing anti-Semitism and other crises. This is far from the ideal of demonstrating love and acceptance, unifying ourselves together, and becoming as strong and effective as a “light unto nations” that we could and should be.

We can have our personal and communal ideals and standards, but at the same time have empathy for the journey that people are on. Therefore, we should strive to treat each other with kindness and tolerance and put aside the lofty and phony airs of personal judgement and exclusivity. Because in the end, no one knows who is laying next on the street waiting for that ambulance to come.

(Credit Painting: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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October 31, 2021

What’s Your Kindness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "What's Your Kindness."

When we are happy, we are able to graciously and generously give to others, and when we give to others, we are able to be happy! All the other pursuits in life such as wealth, ego, good looks, and so on are nothing but vanities (like King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes), and in the end lead to nothing but loss and suffering. However, giving and the happiness and positive spiritual energy it creates endures.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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October 23, 2021

Love Your Family As The Stranger

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Love Your Family As The Stranger."

When it comes to strangers, it’s almost easier to put on a face, act all proper, and do what’s right because they aren’t our family, thus Avraham could run to help the strangers. Yet, when it comes to our own families, we don’t feel it necessary to keep up pretenses. We sometimes say and do things to family that we would likely never say to or do in front of strangers, like Avraham telling Hagar and Ishmael to get out! We may even betray and hurt the ones we love, like when Avraham said Sarah was his sister putting her at jeopardy with Avimelekh. Further, we “sacrifice” our children and spouses by putting our work (sometimes 24/7), social media, and our own brand and needs first, and don’t adequately pay attention to what’s really going on with our families, their needs, aspirations, and troubles; for example, Avraham was going to sacrifice Isaac, his and Sarah’s only child and “the son of her old age.” We take for granted and even advantage of our families, because we can. And some at the further bad end of the spectrum, “go home and kick the dog!” Yes, the pictures that everyone posts on Facebook and Instagram are what people want you to see and think about them (their personal brand): that everything’s all rosy and they have the perfect lives and families, but I venture to guess that often, it’s far from the reality of what goes on “behind closed doors.”
All of us need to pay attention and do what’s right not only when we want to look good in front of others, but knowing that even in our own homes, G-d is watching what we do and how we treat each other.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 17, 2021

We Are All Disabled

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "We Are All Disabled."
And what happens to us after creation? Life happens, and people suffer from the happenstance and the often harsh “nurture” of this world. Whether from disease, accidents, or hurt inflicted on us from others — intentional or not — we all have “disabilities” and as difficult as it is to live with it, there is no shame in it!
Disabilities are an opportunity, however painful and humiliating for us to learn and grow and for others to be able to demonstrate love, compassion, and kindness to us...There is no running or hiding from disability, it is part of our mortal world. But from the scars and suffering of life, we must create healing. From disability, it is our job to turn it into ability, capability, and mobility!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 7, 2021

Remember To Always Be Kind

Nice sign on the electrical pole, reminding us to always:

Be 💗 Kind

What kind?

The kind that has compassion on others, cares and love them, and does what's right. 

That's really the only kind worth being! ;-)

(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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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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August 24, 2020

90-10 Charity Rule

There is a commandment of giving at least 10% to charity.

In Genesis 14:20:
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

In Genesis 28:22
[Jacob says] And in all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you. 

In Leviticus 27:30:
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the L-rd, it is holy to the L-rd. 

In general, G-d lets you keep 90% and he commands that you give 10% to charity.

I understand that some righteous people even give 20% of their income to charity.

I learned from Rabbi Yaron Reuven that:
For those that are miserly and not charitable and don't tithe, G-d reverses the equation, and He takes back the 90% and lets you keep the 10%.

Very ingenious and where the punishment fits "the crime" so to say.

So what do you want the 90% or the 10%--it's your choice to give or have it given for you!  ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 13, 2020

Let Them Eat Cake

Do we see and hear when people are hurting?

Do we pay attention or look away?

Do we even care?

Do we do anything about it?

As queen Marie-Antoinette said when told that her people were starving and had no bread, what did she say? 

Let them eat cake!  

Pray that we are better than that.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2020

Helping The Elderly

Thought this was an incredibly beautiful photo.

Someone playing ball with an elderly lady in a wheelchair! 

Too often, I think we forget or neglect the older, disabled, and disadvantaged population.

These were once the people who cared for us! 

As we grow older, life can get so much harder in terms of health, disability, finances, and even loneliness.

It is so important to show compassion, kindness, and care for the people who need us, and not to forget anyone along the journey of life!  ;-)
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February 6, 2020

Build Others Up

I saw this in one of the student lounges at the local JCC.

It says:
"Don't Cut Down Others"

It's far better to build people up then to tear them down. 

Jut like with trees, it's better to plant a trillion trees than deforest the Amazon Rainforest. 

Trees are life and people are life. 

Be constructive and not destructive. 

Offer a nice word or compliment; provide an attentive and empathetic ear; give direction with some advice or guidance; lend a hand to someone in need; and in general, be a good influence. 

Unfortunately, too many people default to cutting down the old cherry tree! ;-)

(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 21, 2019

Not WHO They Seem

People may all sort of look alike. 

But they are not all the same.


It's NOT a matter of race, religion, color, sexual orientation, etc. that is important.


But rather it's what is inside people's hearts. 


Some hearts are pure in intent (even if not in every deed). 


Others are sullied with hate and abuse of others just because they can. 


But why hurt others when you can help them?


People are not all the same. 


Inside they are different.


Luckily G-d looks at the inside; the outside is just the packaging. ;-)


(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 20, 2019

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 

Incredibly painful. 

Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 

Today, I was trying to walk it off a little.

One of my kids was walking with me taking good care of me. 

We ran into a neighbor. 

She was nice and asked about what happened. 

I told her in brief and said how grateful I was for my daughter taking me for a little walk while I try to heal with G-d's help. 

She smiled and said how lucky I was (which I acknowledged). 

I asked if she had any kids, thinking that she did. 

But she goes to me:

I have no one!


I was a little surprised that she didn't have anyone and how she said it. 

I sort of repeated it quizzically. 

She goes:

Well I did have a cat but she was 19 years old and I had to put her down. 


I felt really bad for her, especially since I know she had an operation this last year and is planned for another one coming up. 

I said that we're her neighbors and friends and that she can call on us whenever she needs someone. 

This whole thing just made me so upset--no one should be so alone. 

I  really pray that G-d has mercy on his children and that no one should be alone and that we should all have caring and loving people around us always. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 8, 2019

@The Phillips Collection














(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 8, 2019

Who's In Charge Here?

This was a funny photo...

Sign around the ape says:
Laugh now, but one day, we'll be in charge

I guess you never know who will be in charge. 
  • Be nice to everyone. 
  • Never burn bridges.

All of life is a circle--and everything and everybody goes around and around.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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