Outnumbered Yes

I liked this saying that I heard:

“Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outsmarted.”

I think there is a lot of truth to this. 

Might does not make right. 

Right makes right. 

There is a G-d above who watches over us. 

Those with the big guns may just end up shooting themselves in the foot. 

G-d reigns supreme and he gives wisdom and courage to his faithful. 

(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)

Living Your Values

So I had this great conversation today with someone about values.

Thinking about what I really value and whether I am living consistently with these…

For me, I was able to clarify for myself these critical values:

1) Being a good person and influence in the world (having a positive impact on people and ideas)

2) Being a good family man (a loving husband, father, and previously son)

3) Being spiritual and serving G-d (living selflessly for my Maker and not selfishly for myself)

4) Being a hard worker (living productively and not as a laggard or sloth)

5) Being a balanced person (living along the “golden path” or “middle of the road”–not an extremist)

6) Being a generally healthy person (living a lifestyle that includes activity, exercise, good nutrition, and no smoking, drugs, or excessive drinking)

What I realized is that when I need to let my values guide me every moment of every day. 

This ultimately means my success and happiness! 

Being what I think that I am supposed to be or what others would want me to be, just doesn’t work–it’s a strategy for failure. 

My father used to tell me:

“Let your conscience be your guide”  (that and the Torah, of course)

This is the answer to a lot of questions that I have in my life–about what to do with my life and what decisions to make.

Values–driven by conscience and integrity–that’s where I want to go next and next. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mikva = Tikva

I thought this was a really special Jewish clock I saw in the store yesterday. 

It promotes holiness and sanctity in the family.

Mikva (Jewish ritual bath) = Tikva (hope) 

Rebirth and renewal (from the immersion in the holy water).

Build your family in sanctity!

Purity leads to sanctity.

The Jewish laws of refraining from sexual relations during Nidda (a women’s menstruation) and of immersing in the mikvah at the end of the cycle and before the husband and wife coming back together physically are cornerstones of acting with self-control and a couple dedicating themselves to Hashem first.

The family is the core of raising and educating our children and of the makeup of the community and ultimately of serving G-d in everything we do. 

Self-control (with sexual purity, kosher food, Sabbath time, etc.) is what separates us from animals and how we emulate being more like the angels. 

It is also a way for a husband and wife to elevate their love and show respect for each other as human beings and not just physical beings.  

I never saw a clock that reminds us of these holy concepts and laws like this. 

Also at the top it says another well-known Jewish quote about managing our time wisely:

“The day is short and the task is great.”

Another good reminder to maximize the use of our time every day here on Earth and to make the most out of every moment. 

If we dedicate ourselves to serving G-d, raising our families, being productive professionally and personally, and acting with integrity and sanctity always–this is a good life! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Fear You, You’re Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:

“Leadership is action, not position.”

And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.

When everyone hates a leader is that a “leader?”

– Fear is not leadership.

– Bullying is not leadership. 

– Corruption is not leadership. 

Leadership is:

– Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 

– Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 

– Helping others to achieve their potential. 

– When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 

How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 

G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That Smug Face, Evil Haman

That Smug Face, Evil Haman.

Reclining back with legs crossed.

Know-it-all, interrupting others rudely.

Abusive, hurtful words.

Violent, loud, aggressive actions.

Narcissist, my way or the highway.

For their power and desires only.

They believe that might makes right.

In every generation, they rise to perpetuate suffering on others.

But G-d stands supreme.

He will evoke his judgment and rain His fiery wrath on the oppressive, evil, and haughty.

And He will restore good over evil in the world.

His faithful will praise His holy name forever.

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)