You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.


It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it’s not all roses. 


In short, it went something like this:

There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 


I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 


No not about Philadelphia, but about life–that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn’t as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 


Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize (“first place”) is really not something to get excited about, because it’s in Philadelphia!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

Thou Shalt Not

10 Commandments.jpeg

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 


What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 


And how some people hear what they want to hear. 


All of the 2nd five start with “Thou shalt not,”  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 


So for example: Thou shalt not kill…steal…commit adultery…lie…desire.


But not everyone listens to the “Thou shalt not” and instead they just hear–selectively:


– Kill

– Steal

– Commit adultery

– Lie

– Desire


If you take out the “Thou shalt nots,” you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.


How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life–get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it–no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.


Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don’t do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!


Who you going to listen to? 


Not everyone seems to care–they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 


Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 


And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Satisfied and Bless G-d

Fancy Car.jpeg

I loved Chabad Rabbi Schneur Kaplan’s speech today in synagogue.


It was about how we can learn to be happy with what we have in life.


The biggest marketing gimmick is to say to the guy, “Look at what your neighbor has next door!”


Jealousy, desire, greed, having more and better than the next guy/girl…


That’s what many people live for and how they think.


Some can have as much as the founders of Apple, Google, and Facebook combined and still it’s not enough.


If just one person has something more…it can drive that person crazy.


Like Haman on Purim, who had wealth, power, large family and everyone bowed down to him…


Except one person named Mordecai who wouldn’t bow.


And despite having everything, but missing that one thing drove Haman so crazy–it was his downfall!


When we eat, we can be satisfied with one slice of pizza and say grace or we can have four slices and still not be satisfied.


How do we look at things?


We can be grateful for whatever we have and say that G-d gave us just what we needed at this time and place.


Or we can look at what we don’t have, and forever be bitter and unsatisfied.


What joy we can experience in life when we realize the graciousness for what G-d has bestowed on us and we are thankful for what we have. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

One Mean Election

trump

Three cheers for one of the worst elections ever.


American politics sinking to new lows.


This poster yesterday plastered all over Washington D.C. 


“Bully Culprit”


Denigrating, bashing, hurting, and humiliating other people whether we like them or not is wrong. 


– What happened to agreeing to disagree?


– What happened to being civil and mannered?


– What happened to “when they go low, we go high”?  


Power is such a motivator. 


Greed, according to the Buddhists is one of the “three poisons,” along with ignorance and hate. 


These lead to evil and suffering and prevent the attainment of enlightenment. 


Desire and wanting something so much that you will do anything for it, thinking you deserve it, and being overconfident that you will get are a weakness of character and leadership. 


Yesterday, Putin said about our election hysteria, “Is America some kind of banana republic?” 


Is this really the type of darkness (and not light) to the world we want to show ourselves as.


We are continuing to go in the wrong direction and away from enlightenment and good–especially when there is so much work for us to still be done. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Globs of Fat

 

fat-jpeg-2

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 Fat

This 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)

Can You Have Too Much Money?

Money Root Of All Evil

I took this photo inside a 16 Handles that sells frozen yogurt and toppings. 


The cashier had put out this cup for tips.


On the cup is a sign that says:


“Money is the root of all evil.  Cleanse yourself here.  Thanks.”


Sort of a smart way to get people to give. 


Afterwards, I was mulling over whether it’s true–is money “the bad guy” in life or what makes us do bad things?


Sure, people want money–and they usually like lots of it–they want to live “the good life” –with big houses, fancy cars, nice clothes, good food, exotic vacations, and financial security–how sweet it is!


And so often when people can’t get it legitimately, they will resort to lying, cheating, and stealing to get it.


But fortune is just a facet of something larger that gnaws at people souls –and that is greed. 


People don’t just want money, they are also greedy for power, fame, brains, brawn, sexual satisfaction, and a long (or immortal) life to enjoy it all. 


So probably greed is the real root of all evil and money is just one of the larger branches.


Perhaps that is why religion and piety is often associated with asceticism–avoiding indulgence–and instead devoting oneself more to spiritual pursuits in life and to servitude of G-d. 


Also of course, devotion to family, friends, and community–doing good deeds–giving and not taking–are held in high esteem for people looking for something more meaningful and devout in life.


Also, having recently seem some people with “too much of a good thing”–I realized that when people actually get all the material things they want and in such complete abundance–they can literally drown themselves in it.  


It’s sickening after a while–literally–the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and the things that are so coveted just become overwhelming and poisonous to the person. 


I saw this in a movie once too where the person who stole from the king is punished by having swathes and swathes of molten gold poured down the person’s throat–“You want it that bad, well here it is!”


There comes a point, a maturity, a depth, a realization, when a person just wishes for enough in life, for the people they love, and for happiness with them–they find genuine contentment–and that is something worth being greedy for. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)