State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union…


But this morning, I still can’t help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 


The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.


This didn’t happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 


And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 


What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?


One lady said to a group of us last evening:

I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it’s NO ONE currently in political office!


To which another gentleman replied:

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.


Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. 😉

That’s The Power Of Love

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, “Shabbat Nachamu: That’s The Power of Love.”

We don’t have to fight, but even when we fight, we can overcome through compassion, love, and constructive reconciliation.  


Love and friendship can win over anger and fighting, and help to usher in the ultimate redemption. 


Hope you enjoy the article. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 


Hence, the term anger management!


The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person’s real character: 


– Koso, Kiso, and Ka’aso.


From Aramaic to English it translates as:


– Cup, Purse, and Anger. 


In other words…


Cup–When a person “drinks,” this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, “When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!” Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 


Purse–This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  


Anger–When a person is angry, this is often when their “true colors” show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent–do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when “under the gun.”  


Focusing on the anger piece…


It’s easy to get angry, and it’s also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you’re really angry. 


Maybe people can’t always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don’t even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.


In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 


Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 


Thoughts on this…


Take a breath, slow down. 


Evaluate what’s really going on


Think about whether it’s truly the end of the world or not. 


Assess the options for coping with it. 


Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 


If necessary, seek help from others.


Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 


And where not, cope, cope, cope–and survive another day!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Breaking The Cycle Of Trauma

Thought these are some beautiful sentiments about breaking the cycle of trauma in our lives: 

“Hurt people hurt people.

That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation.

Break the chain today.

Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. 

Greet grimaces with smiles.

Forgive and forget about finding fault.

Love is the weapon of the future.”

– Yehuda Berg, The Kabbalah Center

This is powerful–it should only be that we can have a complete healing, betterment, and a renewal of peace for all. 


One other thing that I heard that was so plain and simple, yet so smart was that:

Our job in this world is to do the most good that we can do!

Thank you to Minna Blumenthal for sharing all this.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Ultimate Rejection (Not)

Rejection.jpeg

Ok, folks.


This picture is not the message you want to get before Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year and time of judgement). 


We want to see the long hand of G-d come down with love, caring, forgiveness, and blessings!


A flick of the Almighty index finger, definitely not what we want to see or get.  


Worse would be getting the middle finger, of course. 


But I definitely don’t think G-d does that! 


Talking about rejection with a big R. 


To all my family and friends, a most happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

The Excuses We Make

Poverty.jpeg

So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 


“There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here,” I say.


“Yeah,” she says, “When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout.”


She continues, “I usually have a few dollars here” pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 


“But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!”


Excuse #1 not to give poor people–they’ll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 


The driver says, “But so what…if I were in their shoes, I’d buy a beer too.”


I’m thinking, hey this is nice…she’s fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give–this is great!


Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.


This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.


The driver says, “Yeah, if I gave him, he’d probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!”


Wow, when excuse #1 doesn’t hold…


Excuse #2–the poor people are just faking it…really they aren’t poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.


It’s like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us “don’t give,”  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and “give, give, give.”


In this case, the evil inclination won out. 


I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary–dirty and maybe sick–I was afraid of this person. 


I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn’t my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Taking It Back

Taking It Back.jpeg

So I was watching Baahubali, the highest grossing movie in India, ever. 


Enjoyed the Bollywood action and pageantry and am looking forward to the sequel coming out this week.


There was one line in the movie, spoken between swordsmen that stood out to me:


“Spoken words and spilled blood can never be taken back.”


Mean and harsh word can cut like a knife and hurting someone with words or deeds, can never really be taken back. 


Sure, we can ask for forgiveness and try to make amends.


But it’s like once you let the genie out the bottle, you can never really put her and keep her back in. 


A veteran recently fought to have a VA hospital in Florida put the picture of the President up instead of the blank frame on the wall they had (some nonsensical notion of resistance indicating “not my president”)–the veteran said about trying to right this wrong:

“It’s like trying to put 5 pounds of baloney back in a bag that only holds 2 pounds.”


People are doing bad things and saying bad these things these days that can’t be just taken back. 


Family, friends, and colleagues–are fighting it out and splitting up.


Each side tells themselves and the other that their cause is right and noble.  


But how much of it is really just brainwashing, hyperbole, and politicking?


While our values as individuals and as a nation should never be put at stake, maybe we could get more done and better by working together than spilling blood–friend and friend, neighbor and neighbor. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)