Everything Is 4 The Best

So it’s easy to get down on life when bad things happen. 


But it’s funny how when we just take a little perspective or in retrospect…


We realize that everything G-d does is really for our best!


It may not look and feel that way at the moment. 


But there comes an inner awakening about things when we see the bigger picture. 


And then we sort of nod our heads knowingly:

“Ah, that’s why that happened!”


There are many reasons, G-d may be directing something: 


– Opening new and better opportunities for us. 


– Teaching us important life lessons.


– Putting us someplace we need to be to help someone else. 


– Even saving us from some worse catastrophe. 


For G-d, there is no time or space–He supersedes all of these. 


He puts us where we need to be when we need to be for His bigger plan for our good. 


Also, when you think you have a problem, remember to look at what others may be going through.


Because there are problems and then there are problems!


As my dad used to say:

“The guy complained he had no shoes, until he saw the guy without any feet!”


Is your problem really so bad–maybe yes, maybe no.


Try for a second to think of others you know and what they are going through. 


Imagine for a moment–what does really bad look like, feels like. 


G-d works in what seems like mysterious ways.


But we can uncover the mystery and discover the holiness and grand plan of it all–if we just look beyond ourselves and towards the heavens.


Oh G-d, thank you for all that you do for us–your wisdom is glorious; your lessons are to teach me to be a better me; and your mercy endures forever. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Synagogue, To Laugh And To Cry

So I am learning that synagogue is more than a place to worship G-d.


It is a place of and for the people to express their full range of emotions. 


Frankly, I think it is a place for people to laugh and to cry. 


Rarely, a week goes by when not one or both of these emotions/actions happen. 


Yes, we cry out to G-d in supplication and also are joyous in his holy majesty and presence. 


But more than that, as a community, we come together to share of our week and ourselves with each other. 


One one hand, we laugh with each other at the funny and ridiculous things that happen to us and at the joy we feel for the blessings that G-d bestows on us daily. 


On the other, we cry on each other’s shoulders at the pain and loss that we (G-d forbid) at times must face and endure in the face of illness, evil, and tragedy.


Just today, both things happened in the synagogue and my heart was at one time uplifted with gladness and then at another greatly saddened with the hurt shared–occurrences of each in just a short span of time. 


Yes, we laugh and we cry together–alone, it is at once empty and at the other unbearable. 


We need to support each other; there is no other way that is not extreme madness. 


Put your arms around another to embrace them in great happiness and to let them cry mightily on your shoulder. 


Sharing with each other at our houses of worship–that is how we show G-d that we are bound to Him and to each others’ souls–all children of G-d trying to make it together to the next service. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Growing With The Challenge

Thought this was a good saying, and wanted to share it.

“A man grows with the greatness of his task.”


In Hebrew, there is a similar saying:

“Lefum Tzaara Agra.” (Which translates roughly too: “As the suffering, so to is the reward.”)

Adversity, hardships, challenges, pain, suffering–these all test our mettle.


Obviously, these are not fun, but in the end, we are forced to grow from these experiences. 


– What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 


Sometimes though, they really can kill us. 


So, push yourself as far and as fast as you can, but also you better know your true limits. 


And we all have them, even when we think we’re invincible. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s For Us

I love this saying from one of my colleagues:

“G-d doesn’t do it to us. 
He does it for us!”

Instead of asking with anger and resentment “why me?” — perhaps we can try to see the larger picture and be grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that G-d does give us. 

While certainly there is pain and suffering in this world, there is also the chance to learn, grow, and become stronger and better people. 

We are here to hopefully leave the world a better place than before we got here. 

The perspective that the challenges and obstacles are not meant to really harm us, but to help us is not an easy pill to swallow.

But maybe it really is the enlightened view of faith that we all need to fight on and overcome. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Among All The Apples

This was an interesting photo moment at Whole Foods–this Valentine’s Day huggy bear sitting among all the apples. 


Sort of how I felt after synagogue today and at other times. 


I’ve learned the importance as my father had so often tried to teach me of going to synagogue.


Yes, the prayer and service to Hashem.


But also the community. 


We all need people. 


None of us is an island. 


At synagogue, aside from the opportunity to speak and be close with G-d, I appreciate the hearty calls of “Shabbat Shalom,” the embracing handshakes, hugs and occasional kisses, the chance to see and kiss the holy Torah, and being among friends.


Like the apples, we’re all sort of the same, yet unique, and we stand together. 


As apples, we all have our glowing and shiny outsides, a sweet inner core, and also plenty of juicy meat. 


People too put on their best clothes, shoes, and do themselves to look their best going to synagogue, and inside they are there to express their goodness with G-d and the community.


Also though, you hear plenty of the heartbreaking stories about what is happening to them as families and individuals. 


Sure, there are the lovely smachot (happy occasions) in their and our lives to celebrate, but there is also plenty of adversity and challenges faced daily. 


One member passed away this week, another is getting cancer treatments, and someone got hit by a car crossing the street and is in the hospital with literally 79 screws holding their ribs together!


Then there are those out looking for work, others suffering from bad marriages or getting divorced, someone with a sick child that needs lifelong care, and someone who even got robbed this week.


Yes, shiny on the outside and with the sweetness of souls and hearts, and yet everyone has their baskets of challenges to deal with. 


For someone like me, I literally feel it inside for people–it’s like I can almost imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. 


Obviously, I can’t–no one really can–but I imagine myself and ask myself OMG what in the world would I do–and of course, I have no real idea. 


Synagogue is I guess the most perfect place to experience all this–since we are before G-d, asking for his blessings and mercy, and with others, we bond to who are all in the same boat paddling and trying to survive and live a full and meaningful life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Adversity Is Not What You Think

This TEDx video is truly WOW!


Definitely worth watching in full.  


So many takeaways from this that I want to remember.


– Three things can happen in life:


1. What you hope will happen


2. What you fear will happen


3. What actually happens


– There is not always a tomorrow!


Think if you were paralyzed from the neck down, what would you wish you had done differently, and go do it.


– See adversity as a gift:


1. It is harsh and ruthless.


2. It shows up unannounced.


3. It doesn’t care what you want.


4. It doesn’t give a darn how you feel.


5. It doesn’t take no for an answer.


6. It hates your weakness.


7. It is your best teacher.


8. It is the most honest person you will ever encounter.


9. It forces you to up your game.


10. It knows your true potential even if you don’t.


11. It offers you no other choice, so the choice is simple.


12. At the end of the day, we are only as strong as the adversity we overcome!


13. It will recede, but the lessons will always remain.


14. It will strengthen you to endure your next battle, stronger and wiser than before.


15. How we overcome adversity is by facing it head on. (If you try to avoid it, it can crush you; and if you try to go around it, you will never avoid it’s grasp.)


My absolute congratulations and gratitude to Marcus Aurelius Anderson on this magnificent and brilliant talk and lessons for all of us!


And thank you Minna Blumenthal for sharing this wisdom with me!