Fire Alarm, Now What?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called “Shabbat Menucha.” 

Friday night–the start of the Shabbat–oh, thank G-d we made it (and TGIF). Usually such a wonderful time to catch up on some extra sleep from the whole week of work. But last night it’s different…the fire alarm suddenly comes alive and the voice over the loud speaker tells everyone to exit the building immediately. It is 1:00 AM in the morning.

Carrying a head cold, medicated, and sleepless, this is what happened to me.  😉


(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)

Ooh That Is Good

Loving Yourself.jpeg

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)

Better A Mensch Than Money

Love.jpeg

Here is a lesson that I learned when it comes to love…

Better a mensch than all the money in the world.

Some people think that money is their Golden Calf.

They literally and practically worship it.

They are so greedy for it, hoard it, protect it, and believe in the power of it.

But what I say is you can choke on all the money!

Those who put the emphasis on money are sick and empty with materialism that means nothing in the end.

Better the love of a good, decent human being and best friend than all the money in China.

For money you can buy lots of meaningless things, but with a mensch you can have a potential for a life of real togetherness and even a chance at some soulful bliss.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Need More Rabbit

Rabbit
This was a funny scene down at Foggy Bottom today.



The Nesquik rabbit was giving out chocolate milk bottle samples.



On a warm August day today, this was nice. 



But also, it was refreshing to see a little light-heartedness downtown. 



We all–adults and kids–need more of this–to enjoy life.



It was interesting how we are so going in the opposite direction these days.



Not only with all the bad news around the world…



But even with how hard we have to work just to keep up (24/7) and with a world where our kids are having to work and miss out on what is supposed to be some more or less carefree exploratory years to find themselves. 



Now it’s SAT prep, AP classes, internships, volunteer opportunities, and extracurricular activities–all the time. 



In this regard, in the Wall Street Journal today, there was a review of a book called Excellent Sheep.



The book’s author explains how “For many students, rising to the absolute top means being consumed by the system…[where they] sacrifice health, relationships, exploration, [and] activities…[those things] essential for developing souls and hearts.”



The kids are often working so hard that they are anxious, depressed, and often miserable. 



When getting ahead and becoming wealthy (a priority for 80%!) becomes the prime reason for our young adults’ existence, maybe we have missed the boat in terms of finding true meaning and joy in life. 



Hard work and striving for success is a good thing, but worshipping the proverbial “golden calf” is not productive. 



Like the rabbit, I would give a thumbs up to those for whom a more well-balanced life rules the day–where success, meaning, and joy all play an important part, and we can drink some chocolate milk and not take everything so darn serious. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)