Ooh That Is Good

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Hey, congratulations to Roger Federer on winning his 19th tennis championship. 


It’s an absolutely awesome level of athletic achievement and it’s definitely something to celebrate. 


But when I saw this photo of him and his trophy in the paper this morning, it seemed over the top!


Whenever someone sets their mind to something, works really hard, and is thank G-d able to achieve it–that is something to be happy about and enormously grateful for. 


Hey, listen, I understand there are some real superstars out there and I respect them! 


However, seeing this guy clutching his trophy in both hands, smelling it, kissing it, and more…it looks to me more like idolatry than the pure, sweet smell of success. 


I get it–he worked super hard, achieved impossible things, and deserves to savor the incredible moment–no one is taking that away from him. 


Instead of that gold trophy, wouldn’t you rather see him kissing his wife and children, thanking G-d (and his coach maybe), and saying things like how he will continue to use his success and earning to help others or maybe train the next generation of aspiring athletes. 


I applaud Federer more for his known philanthropy in helping disadvantaged children and doing charitable events for disaster victims than for winning his 19th championship (hey, 18 would’ve been fine too).  


In the end, self- (and trophy-) love and admiration is not the something to celebrate, but should instead point us back to character and using our strength and achievements to help others.


For what is really important in life, there is no earthly trophy for–and certainly not one worth any ultimate embrace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Wall Street Journal)

Big Mouths Alert

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So I took this photo in the Museum of Natural History. 


As you can see, this hippopotamus has quite a big mouth. 


He is also not alive and is behind a glass-enclosed case for viewing. 


To me this screams that those with big mouths often don’t end up well. 


I remember a relative of mine used to bluntly call it, “being full of sh*t.”


Whether these people are in politics, your neighborhood, bullies at work and school, or even those in the fake news media…they have become all to somewhat frequent.


Sure there are other animals with small mouths in the same situation, but the hippo truly is a decreasing and vulnerable species.


And like it’s neighbor in the museum, the dinosaur–another one who has a big mouth–that ended up extinct, the prospects for talking big, but accomplishing little is sort of part of the character. 


The hippopotamus is mostly a herbivore–it has a big mouth and some big sharp teeth, but it mainly eats humble plants and doesn’t pursue the hunt of the big game and eat lots of red meat. 


Listen, big mouths can still be highly dangerous–words are powerful and can do a lot of damage. 


But overall “talk is cheap,” especially when people focus on words and not good deeds and who don’t have the right intentions. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Is A Process

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This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


His shirt says:


“With age comes oldness.”


Ah, yeah!


When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:

“With age, comes baldness.”


That too!


Getting old is not easy.


Being young is not easy either. 


But it’s really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 


You’ve got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin…life bring old age and oldness…what’s the alternative. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Courage To Do The Right Thing

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So it takes courage to do the right thing. 


It’s the easy way out to shut your eyes and overlook when things are wrong. 


Taking a stand and standing up for what’s right often means fighting the good fight. 


But who wants to fight?


Everyone wants to live in peace and quiet. 


In fact, every day we pray repeatedly in the Amidah for peace


In the 19th prayer…

May it please you to bless your people Israel at all times and in every hour with your peace. Blessed are you, O Lord, who blesses his people Israel with peace.


Then again after the prayer for thanks…

Bestow peace, goodness and blessing, life, graciousness, kindness and mercy, upon us and upon all Your people Israel…May it be favorable in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel, at all times and at every moment, with Your peace.

And yet a third time at the end…

He who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

What can be more desired than peace and wellness in our lives?


Yet, when we see corruption, wrongdoing, and evil, people are called on the confront it, and stand up for good. 


Because when evil prevails, there is no real peace in the world. 


Hence, the courageous and righteous are called on to stand up based on integrity, merit, and values, and to work to return a state of justice and peace. 


G-d watches to see to it that good ultimately prevails over evil. 


May He who makes peace, make peace for us and all Israel, and let us say Amen. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tznius Police

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So there is an important concept in Judaism as well as other religions of modesty for the sexes. 


This means appropriately covering up in dress and acting modestly. 


In Hebrew, we call it Tznius!


As kids, I remember the kids used to sing, “Tznius, don’t show you knee-ius.”


It seems like these days, “everything goes,” where extreme sexuality in public and showing off is the rage. 


But as I remember the older generation saying, “Maybe some things are better left to the imagination.”


That doesn’t mean we need to be a bunch of prudes–inhibit or prohibit people from being who they are. 


Freedom means everyone is allowed and has a fundamental right to self-expression. 


But also, people that want to show more restraint and modesty can do that too. 


Perhaps, sometimes things in our society can get a little too superficial, where like and love is only skin deep. 


We forget the inner person and the soul in lieu of momentary pleasures of the flesh. 


I don’t think we need the tznius police to come out and tell us what to do, but rather that we need to be consider people inside and out for what and who they really are. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Communicate And Do Good In This World

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This is a really good quote by Jay Danzie:

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.”


I heard someone else say it another way:

“The only way to read your audience is with eye contact and smiles.”


Basically, it comes down to leaving people with a positive feeling through your interactions, and influencing others for the good. 


We have one chance to make a first impression–so yes, wow people with your smile, personality, integrity, and inspire them to do and speak good. 


If we all just say or do just one more good thing everyday, imagine that multiplied by 7.5 billion people. 


Now, multiply that by 365 days a years and you have 2.7 trillion more good things said and done in just a single year.


Imagine our Heavenly Father looking down at us with so much good in our souls’ bank.


We can all be an influence for good–just think about it and go out and do it! 😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Attitudinal Fix

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So attitude goes a long way in shaping how we do in life. 


For some people, the glass is half full, and for others it’s half empty–it’s of course, just how you look at it. 


One colleague told me this week: 

Life is 10% what happens 

and 

90% how you react to it.”

I suppose we see that with so many people who have unbelievable daunting challenges in life, yet somehow they manage to put on a smile or give a thumbs up regardless, and just do what they need to do–they are troopers, survivors, and generally people of incredible character and caliber. 


These are the heroes that we can look up to. 


“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”–and the going refers to doing what needs to get done, and not running away from your duty scared or not knowing what to do. 

Need to be courageous, resourceful, loyal, and giving to others.  


Stop the whining, the crying, the self pity, the questioning “why me”–what will any of that help?


Fight, fight, fight–that’s what we’re here for. 


Until our last breath, we can still make a difference. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)