How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 


It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 


I think there is a lot to this topic…


Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it’s decision time.  


Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 


Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.


Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good–more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial “wine, women, and song” or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  


It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 


Are we being selfish or selfless?


Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us–even too much giving and selflessness–we need to care for ourselves too–we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 


But you can’t be a glutton or a slave to your impulses–you can’t take and not give, your can’t indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.


Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.


Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 


If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Do We Fear More?

halloween

So it’s Halloween tomorrow.


It’s a holiday to remember those that have passed. 


In modern times, it has become a holiday of ghosts and ghouls, spooky and scary.


People dress up often in ghastly costumes, party hearty, and go door to door, trick or treat.


With fright night, I ask myself, are we more afraid of what we don’t understand from the spirit world or perhaps of what do understand from people in this life?


Certainly, the supernatural and the spirits–elements of what’s awaiting for us on the other side are things we don’t really have tangible experience with or understand…we are afraid of the unknown.


But in this world, we are familiar and encounter bad people and deeds, and unfortunately have to deal with them, but it never becomes easier or less scary to confront these.


Sure, we understand that not everyone is good, and not everyone has the best impulse control–people do rotten, horrible things for selfishness and greed or simply because they can’t stop themselves.


How scary is it to run into and have to deal with people that can and will do almost anything–maybe without a conscious thought or remorse for doing wrong…perhaps, they might even enjoy hurting others, taking what doesn’t belong to them, forcing their will or themselves on others, and doing unthinkable acts of crazed violence and evil. 


We are definitely afraid of people like this…they are out of control, and don’t add up for those of us who think in terms of a soul, conscience, an everyday moral compass, and a seeing and hearing L-rd above


So life is scary, but death awaits us all as well. 


And as my dad used to say, no one has ever come back to tell us what happens over there. 


He had the most faith of anyone I know, and I understand we are supposed to have faith that we are going to a better place, but like coming out of the mother’s womb into this world, when we die, we are coming out into a whole new place altogether. 


New things are scary and going from the physical world to the spiritual one, I assume can also be a little earth shattering–where exactly are we going and how will we be judged when we get there? 


Of course, I hope that I will be with my family and with G-d and bask in his eternal light. 


Thus for me, I find myself less scared of ghosts and metaphysical things, but the evil that people can bring, behind ghoulish smiles and with hidden agendas, telling lies and fooling us of their evil intent, that is scarier than any ghost or goblin, any time of year on Earth or beyond. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)