What’s Your Relationship?

This week I learned about the Three Levels of Relationships.


Level 3: Family/Friends

The highest form of a relationship where you are being authentic (i.e. yourself), you share deeply about yourself (thoughts, feelings, desires, mistakes, etc,) and you are vulnerable. 


Level 2: Professionals

The middle level of relationships in which you are seeking to build trust and respect, you share some information (i.e. appropriate), and you expose yourself a little to the other person. 


Level 1: Acquaintances

The most elementary of relationships that is superficial in nature, there is little personal sharing of information (i.e. mostly when you are asked a question and you feel comfortable answering it), and you remain guarded. 


This is a good way to assess your relationships–is it a level 1, 2, or 3 and are you behaving appropriately within that, so that you trust, communicate, and collaborate effectively.  😉


(Graphic Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

Trying To Be A Plumber

It’s wonderful when we try to help others.

Isn’t that one of the reasons we’re here? 

But sometimes we are trying to help and it’s really something beyond our capabilities. 

My mother-in-law said something funny about this:

Sometimes you’re an electrician, but you’re trying to be a plumber. 

Isn’t that true, we are really one thing, but we are often trying to be something else that we’re really not. 

We can’t help someone that needs a plumber, if we’re an electrician. 

We have to know who we are and what we can do–as well as what we can’t. 

No one can do everything, no matter how smart, strong, or able they think they are.  

Each person has strengths and weaknesses.  

We need an electrician and a plumber. 

And you can’t be what you’re not. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

I Drive The Tractor

Thank you so much to Rabbi Schneur Kaplan for his wonderful speech today in Downtown Jewish Center Chabad synagogue, Fort Lauderdale.


He told the story about the boy who grew up in Israel as a chasid, but later left chasidism to work the land–he drove a tractor!


Years later, the young man rediscovers his religion and goes back to yeshiva to study, and he is excellent and surpasses many of his peers.


Eventually, he ends up in a one-on-one with the Rebbe–and he waits with baited breath for what the great Rebbe will tell him that will guide his life–will he become a great scholar, Rabbi, shaliach, or head of a Yeshiva.


Then the Rebbe speaks, and says:

“You will be a tractor driver”


The young man is shocked and goes back to studying Torah with even more determination and harder than ever.


Once again, he comes before the Rebbe, and he is anticipating what he will say.


Again, the Rebbe looks deep into his soul and says:

“You will drive a tractor!”


Sure enough, the man now understanding that he has to meet his particular fate head on, goes back to working the Holy Land and driving the tractor.


But in so doing he is able to do outreach to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to be brought close to Hashem through Chasidism.


The message was that we are not all destined to be clones, robots, or do the same thing in life.


The Torah is our guide to serve Hashem and do what is right.


But each of us has our own mission in serving Him and we can achieve greatness and Holiness even when we drive a tractor or do whatever we do.


I am not a Rabbi, but in my own way, I try to raise my family–be a good husband, father, and prior a good son–and also to serve with integrity and a good example in my professional and educational endeavors.


It’s okay that I’m not a Chabad Rabbi doing outreach–that’s not me–although I did meet someone today from my elementary school, Manhattan Day School, that did become just that and we had a nice kiddish lunch with him and caught up together after services.


I am me–and I am okay with me.


I don’t have to be someone else–anyone else.


I can do good being me–and that is what I will try to do with each and every breath of every day.


Whether I drive a tractor (or this cool VW van with a big smiley face), we all serve our Maker.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ok To Be Ourselves!

Star of David Dress.jpeg

Someone shared this beautiful Jewish wedding gown on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you, because it represents life, love, and faith. 


While perhaps normally I wouldn’t just post this to my blog…


I thought that in light of the report that came out of 917 hate groups operating right now in the United States, that I would take this as an opportunity to be me.


To hell with all the haters out there!


– The more they hate us, the more I will love my Jewishness. 


– The more they try to stamp out our religious freedom, the more I will relish in it. 


– The more they try to kill us, the more I will live as a Jew.


No more Holocausts…no more bigotry…no more hate–it is enough! 😉

Why Can’t The English Be More English

Brexit

The people of the United Kingdom voted in referendum yesterday for Brexit (British exit) or independence from the European Union (EU). 


Unity is a wonderful thing when values and vision is widely shared and the burden and benefits are more or less evenly distributed. 


But in the case of the UK in the EU, the vote for independence was anchored in the unsettling issues of mass immigration from the Arab Spring, the debt crisis of many of the poorer Southern EU states (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.), the decision of the UK to maintain their own currency (not accepting the Euro), and culturally (and language-wise), even though they all interact with each other, the UK has more in common with the US and Australia, then they ever had with Germany, France, and the rest of Europe. 


It is really very understandable that the UK doesn’t want to lose their identity and sovereignty and just be another EU state–rather than be a unique, independent, and dominant entity of it’s own, charting their own course and driving their own fate. 


While it’s great to a part of something bigger, sometimes being yourself is more important, and you can still interact with the rest. 

No people should be forced to become a shadow of themselves, and if the call is for independence, then that is noble call even if it is inconvenient for those who would rather call themselves the EU. 


Unity may best be by alliance rather than strict integration…one for all and all for each and every one. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s What You Can’t Say

Taboo
So I saw this game called Taboo when doing the grocery shopping today. 



(This one is the Jewish edition.)



Having never played this before, I looked it up and learned that it’s a word game, where you have to give clues to the other team for them to guess a word, but you can’t use the “taboo” words on the card. 



So for example, if the word is baseball, then some of the taboo words may be sport, pitcher, hitter, etc. 



So this is not an easy game per se. 



Thinking about the premise of the game though, I started to reflect that this isn’t just a game, but in real life isn’t so much of our interactions with others not about what we can say, but also the “taboo” things that we can’t.



How many times do you want to tell someone off and explain what a jerk they have been acting lately or say your real feelings on a topic that you may feel passionately about, but it’s somehow taboo to get into those things–you don’t want to offend, be “politically incorrect”, or perhaps you just think others may not agree with you or understand your point. 



What do we do? 



We “beat around the bush”–we express our dissatisfaction or disapproval or the opposite, with facial expressions, non-verbal cues, or perhaps we take a deep breath, hold back, or mince our words, so as not to somehow cross a social boundary of some sort. 



We want others to know us, accept us, respect us, and truly like us, but we can’t always really be ourselves fully, because our words or feelings may be seen as taboo. 



In the end, sometimes we’re discreet and “hold our tongue” and occasionally we blurt out what we really think and maybe are proud we did or are sorry for it afterwards–but wouldn’t it be great if we could just be ourselves–without fear or retribution.



It shouldn’t be taboo! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)