The Meaning of Silence

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Is silence a good thing or a bad thing–what does it really mean?


On the plus or neutral side:


Silence can mean modesty and humility–you withhold speaking out of turn or having a big mouth; you recognize that you don’t know everything and what you do know is not intended to put down or shame others. 


Silence can means secrets and privacy–you don’t say everything; you treat information properly based on need to know and propriety of sharing. 


Silence can mean good situational judgement–that you know prudently when to let others have their say, or when your opinion isn’t really welcome, or when it’s best to just stay below the radar. 


Silence can mean you simply don’t know–and it’s something you need to listen and learn more about rather than speak; it’s why we’re told that we have two ears and one mouth.


Silence can mean that maybe you don’t care about something–why get fired up or “waste your breath” on it when it’s just not your thing.


When can it be a negative:


There was a sign in the local school window that silence means (wrongful) acceptance; that is also something I learned in in the Talmud in yeshiva; if you see something wrong and don’t say or do something, you are (partially) responsible.


Silence can mean fear–perhaps you don’t accept something, but you’re afraid to speak truth or morality to power; you sit silently cowering, when you should stand up tall and speak out. 


Silence may also mean shame–you’ve done something wrong or don’t want others to know something that could make you look bad or put you in jeopardy. 


Silence can mean you are hiding something–it can be that you don’t trust or aren’t trustful; silence at a time when you need to answer or respond can result in suspicion about why you are “holding back,” instead of being forthcoming and truthful.


When to talk and when to remain silent? 


Certainly, “you have the right to remain silent.”


We need to use words with care and intent–to always seek to help and not to hurt. 


Words are so potent–the mouth is perhaps the strongest part of the human body, just like the pen is mightier than the sword. 


That’s why I pray that G-d put the “right words” in my mouth–to be constructive, positive, effective and impactful–to do good as much as possible with words and with silence. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shock Value Gets The Ball Rolling

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There is definitely something to be said for shock value. 


When you do or say something that is S~H~O~C~K~I~N~G.


And it jolts the other person out of their daily stupor so that they really take notice. 


It’s hard to stand out in a global population of over 7.2 billion people and counting. 


Everyone wants to be special, unique, have an impact, and make a difference. 


It’s our answer (partially) for why we are here and why it matters.


Our life is a journey and it can be a log slog if we don’t have a purpose and meaning in it all. 


We look to the One Above for guidance, meaning, love, and protection.


But we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror…what are we doing with our lives. 


Shock value doesn’t mean real value…it’s just the initial jolt to get noticed…like that purple and green spiked hair or those sparkly shoes you adorned. 


So you have to take the initial jolt and make it into deep impact–by touching not just a cord, but the nerves that run through. 


In Florida, there was a funny sign along the highway with that shock value that said something like this:


“Your Wife Is Hot So Call {X} To Fix Your A/C!”


What did you say about my wife? 


You know you’re right, I do need to invest in better air conditioning! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Winning Attitude

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I met this lady at the shopping outlets a few weeks ago. 


One of the awesome brand stores was running a sale with 70% off!


Check, check–not a gimmick–we race over with the crowd already forming lined up outside the doors. 


This salesperson was there to guide just a few people in at a time–I guess, so the mob wouldn’t rip the joint to sale shreds!


This lady (pictured) had something awesome about her.


Working part time in retail, I’d imagine that it’s not the job’s salary and benefits that is perking her up or “getting her out of bed in the morning.” 


Yet, she had the most unbelievably great attitude. 


She stopped to talk with us and tell us about her background studying and living in Israel during the year, and that she had a twin sister working in the same store for the Summer. 


Her energy and enthusiasm was inspirational and I would imagine could even be contagious to many who let themselves revel in it rather than resist it. 


As people waited on the line, this women offered them her umbrella to stay dry and cool. 


Waiting on line is not the most fun thing, even when it’s for a 70% off sale, but this lady kept everyone smiling and sort of stress free with frequent updates and walking and talking up/down the line.


Listen, we all know people who do the same or similar jobs: one is grouchy, sullen, and is for all intensive purposes miserable all or most of the time; the other is generally smiling and happy to be there learning and contributing, and have the job.


What a difference between these 2 types of people!


And what a enormous contrast between the positive and negative impacts they have on others and on the organization. 


It’s not just what you say and do, but how you go about doing it. 


Yes, we all have various challenges and problems in our lives, but how do you deal with it.


This doesn’t mean you should be a phony baloney head–you need to be genuine and real to be credible and a high-functioning human being–and of course, everyone has bad days. 


But an overall winning attitude goes a long way in life and towards success–for yourself and how you can influence others. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Father’s Day

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So it’s Shabbat and that’s one of the wonderful times to look at old photos in the albums and boxes. 


Yes, this was before digital photography!


I came across this art that my daughters had given to my father and mother when they were still alive–I think it was plastered on their refrigerator for a while. 


This photo seemed to bridge the past, present, and future for me. 


My parents are gone now to Hashem–already 2 and 3 years–and I still can’t believe it. 


At the annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day–it’s just another time of year to remember how much I miss them all year long. 


For me now, it is also a chance to be grateful for my lovely children that G-d has so gracefully blessed me and Dossy with. 


Smiles, hugs and kisses, love and caring for one another–this is what life is all about.


Father’s Day to me is not about the gratefulness of my children to me, but rather of me to Hashem and them to be blessed to be a dad and have the chance to give back to such lovely children–to the next generation that greatly supersedes me and mine!


So I’m crunched in the middle in time between wonderful parents and beautiful children and as my dad would joke, it skipped a generation (hopefully, not really). 😉 


(Source Photo: My Girls)

The UNITED States of America

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Continuing the theme of unity…

I really liked this amazing American flag.

Instead of stars, it has the abbreviations for all 50 states.

Imagine what we can accomplish if we all learn to love each other and band together again.

And know for sure what will happen it this hate and infighting continues.

Unfortunately, there seems to be selfish forces of corruption and evil at play.

Put the country first.

By all means disagree and constructively criticize.

Influence things for the good.

Work together and solve problems.

And let’s try to be the UNITED States once again!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Trouble With Communication

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So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.


There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.


Boy, this is a real conundrum.


The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can’t see. 


And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can’t hear. 


So neither are getting any messaging across. 


This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 


Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 


They don’t really care to listen or understand the other person. 


It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 


Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. 


To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person–what’s in it for me (WIIFM).


In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.


We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Media Is Becoming The Biggest Loser

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So this is an interesting poll from Emerson College:

“49% of U.S. voters believe that the Trump administration is truthful, while only 39% feel that way about the news media.”


Growing up, I never thought or felt the media was biasing the news.


Frankly, it never would have occurred to me. 


Maybe, I was too innocent or naive. 


But I always thought the media’s job was to “tell it the way it is.”


The media’s job, I understood was to be a honest broker, investigate, report, and tell all sides of the issues to help inform and educate. 


What people then did with that information was up to them. 


They would be free in a democracy to form their own opinions and see things that were presented to them through their experiences and sense of identity and justice.

But now, the world is upside down, and bias, bigotry, and prejudice is embedded in the media news itself. 


The same story on a deportation case today can be told by CNN as one of racism and cruelty to immigrants for deporting a mother of two who was “a threat to nobody” or by FOX news as one of enforcing the laws and security against an undocumented immigrant with a felony conviction for social security fraud. 


It depends what colored glasses your looking through and how you want to influence or control what the masses think and do about it. 


No wonder, people don’t trust the media!


Not only were the projections based on garbage polling completely wrong in terms of who would win the election, but the reporting out of daily events is done through one-sided reporting, “alternative facts,” and “fake news.”


The Democrats and Republicans are duking it out, but it’s the media that it getting the biggest black eye on honesty and credibility, and losing the fight for influence over the American people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)