My Contribution To Love

So I saw a casual work friend the other day doting around what looked like his girlfriend. 


They looked really cute together.


And this guy is in his 60’s and lost his wife a number of years ago to cancer, so I was really happy to see him happy, and playful in love again. 


After a while, I took the opportunity to play cupid best I could. 


I told her how nice this guy was and how well he takes care of his customers. 


I ended by saying how we really love having him around and how it wouldn’t be the same without him. 


I could see him behind her smiling ear-to-ear–this lady really meant something to him.


When I saw him again today, I asked innocently, “so was that your girlfriend?” and like a young teenager in love, he smirked and nodded. 


It was obvious how much it meant to him that I spoke well of him to her. 


What can I say, I am really happy to make a little contribution to love–and I am really happy for them. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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I Drive The Tractor

Thank you so much to Rabbi Schneur Kaplan for his wonderful speech today in Downtown Jewish Center Chabad synagogue, Fort Lauderdale.


He told the story about the boy who grew up in Israel as a chasid, but later left chasidism to work the land–he drove a tractor!


Years later, the young man rediscovers his religion and goes back to yeshiva to study, and he is excellent and surpasses many of his peers.


Eventually, he ends up in a one-on-one with the Rebbe–and he waits with baited breath for what the great Rebbe will tell him that will guide his life–will he become a great scholar, Rabbi, shaliach, or head of a Yeshiva.


Then the Rebbe speaks, and says:

“You will be a tractor driver”


The young man is shocked and goes back to studying Torah with even more determination and harder than ever.


Once again, he comes before the Rebbe, and he is anticipating what he will say.


Again, the Rebbe looks deep into his soul and says:

“You will drive a tractor!”


Sure enough, the man now understanding that he has to meet his particular fate head on, goes back to working the Holy Land and driving the tractor.


But in so doing he is able to do outreach to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to be brought close to Hashem through Chasidism.


The message was that we are not all destined to be clones, robots, or do the same thing in life.


The Torah is our guide to serve Hashem and do what is right.


But each of us has our own mission in serving Him and we can achieve greatness and Holiness even when we drive a tractor or do whatever we do.


I am not a Rabbi, but in my own way, I try to raise my family–be a good husband, father, and prior a good son–and also to serve with integrity and a good example in my professional and educational endeavors.


It’s okay that I’m not a Chabad Rabbi doing outreach–that’s not me–although I did meet someone today from my elementary school, Manhattan Day School, that did become just that and we had a nice kiddish lunch with him and caught up together after services.


I am me–and I am okay with me.


I don’t have to be someone else–anyone else.


I can do good being me–and that is what I will try to do with each and every breath of every day.


Whether I drive a tractor (or this cool VW van with a big smiley face), we all serve our Maker.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s About The People

The older (not that old) that I get, the more I realize that life and success is all about the people. 


Whether it’s our families, friends, and colleagues–it’s how we treat people and the relationships we form that count–and that enable us to achieve success together!


Many people just count their money instead of counting their blessings of hearts and souls. 


But while we certainly need a certain amount of $$$ to live, we really need ❤ to thrive. 


Today, before the Thanksgiving holiday, I just took a little time to walk around and talk with people here, thank them for their good work and friendships, and wish them a good holiday. 


It was such a little thing, but honestly I felt so good doing it. 


I am thankful for so many things this year, including all the wonderful people in my life who do so much to make my life joyous and fulfilling, but I am also grateful to G-d for continuing to open my eyes to what and who(s) that really count. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

White Lie, Black Truth

No this is not another civil or human rights post, although I like writing those as well. 


Rather, this is about how we use our words to help and not hurt others. 

“White Lie, 

Black Truth”

Yes, we all know that it’s wrong to lie (it’s even in the 10 Commandments). 


Except, of course, when we need to tell a “white lie” in order to keep someone’s feelings from getting hurt.


For example, I may not like your new haircut, but when you ask me glowingly what I think, instead of telling you how it’s too short or whatever, I tell you, “Yeah, it looks great!”


Then, there is the “black truth.”


That’s when we swallow hard and tell the  truth to someone, even though it may hurt their feelings, it’s ultimately for their good. 


For example, your child may be going of course with their lives, and while you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you know you need to tell them the truth in order to help them course-correct.


Telling lies or truth can be hurtful to people, but a white lie isn’t really bad, because it’s used to protect someone’s feeling, the black truth, is also not so dark and foreboding, because there are times when you need to get past the superficial, be real with someone, and tell them the hard truth in order to help them in a very practical sense. 


That’s one of life’s most difficult lessons, that not everything is black or white. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If I Could Be Anyone(s)

So someone asked me a very deep personal question.

“If you had $20 million dollars and could do whatever you want (be whoever you want), what would that be?”


I was on the spot a little and didn’t have time to introspect the way I like to do, and I gave an answer that I really wasn’t happy with…and it’s been bothering me since. 


So sitting down now and really thinking about who I want to be–this is my real answer:


As a composite person, I want to have the:


– Lovingkindness of Mother Teresa


– Serenity of the Dalai Lama


– Spirituality of Moses


– Determination of Rocky


– Leadership of Rick Grimes


– Strength of Samson


– Agility of Bruce Lee


– Intellect of Sigmund Freud


– Understanding of Albert Einstein


– Ingenuity of Steve Jobs


– Inquisitiveness of Capt. James T. Kirk


– Bravery of those martyred in the Holocaust


– Heroism of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu


– Beauty of my wife and daughters


– The integrity of my dear father, Fred Blumenthal


What would I want to do–just simple things like:


– Cure Cancer, Parkinsons, ALS, etc.


– Eliminate poverty


– Herald in world peace


– Help/comfort those that are hurt and suffering


– Make people smile/happy


– Be a good person with integrity in all situations


I could probably go on and on, but generally this is what life means to me. 


Maybe today, I ain’t the smartest or fastest or strongest, but I have dreams, hopes, and aspirations. 


If that isn’t good enough, well at least I have a heart and a soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Pennies From Heaven

So I ran into this lady in downtown Washington, D.C.


She posed for the picture and made sure to line up the top and the bottom posters to get it just right


It says:

“Not One Penny In Tax Cuts For The Rich”


Makes intuitive sense doesn’t it: the rich already are blessed with…riches!


Any more pennies in their war chest is sort of a drop in the billionaire bucket. 


With tax reform is on the table now…we need tax relief for the middle class and to grow the economy. 


The rich really do not need to get any richer.


Especially with a national debt over $20 trillion already–and not including future entitlement obligations that exceed projected revenue for social security and medicare, which bring the debt in excess of $70 trillion!). 


The gamble with this whole tax reform plan is that the $1.5 trillion or so in proposed tax cuts over 10 years translates into a much bigger economic expansion that makes up for that revenue loss to the government and more. 


If not, well then Uncle Sam bet wrong and our annual deficit gets bigger and bigger (already $666 billion in FY 2017).


Tax cuts for the rich today and estate tax cuts to pass wealth between generations–when they impact the top 1% are ridiculously targeted to those who really don’t need it, and many of the decent ones, like Warren Buffetdon’t even want it


Let’s have a heart and help the people that really need the help–let’s narrow the growing divide between the haves and the have nots, and move to eliminate the class system that elevates one child of G-d over another. 


– While some live in McMansions, others are homeless.


– While some eat steak and drink expensive bottles of wine every night, others go hungry and thirsty.


– While some wear fancy designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and different outfits every day, others don’t have a clean shirt on their back. 


It’s nice to think that some “deserve it” more than others, but we also have to think who really needs it more. 


And if the pennies do ultimately come from Heaven (as all blessings do), then let us distribute these with compassion and lovingkindness as we know our Creator would want us to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Treating The Homeless With Dignity

I love this organization, Think Dignity.


They do hands-on advocacy and activism to help the homeless. 


From providing them storage lockers, bathrooms, showers, haircuts/shaves, clothing boutique, hygiene products (e.g. tampons etc.), drinking water, legal services, and more.

While others looks away, they jump in to actually do something real.

They actually bring mobile showers to them!

The video show on the left, one person living a regular life with a home, job, and everything they need, and on the right, another person down on their luck, homeless and needy.

Both are G-d’s creatures–one just needs a fresh start!

At the end of the video, it says:

Don’t Look Away.
Think Love.
Think Hope.
Think Strength.
Think Worth.
Think Dignity. 

I hope you are truly moved in the same way that I am by this organization and their beautiful mission and meaningful outreach activities. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)