Nourishment For The Soul

Aron Kodesh.jpeg

So the Rabbi , a Kabbalist of mystical Torah interpretation, told my wife to concentrate on 3 commandments.

1) Shabbat

2) Kosher

3) Going to Synagogue

Today, we had a little delay and almost didn’t make it to synagogue, but my wife said, “Remember what the Kabbalist said about going every week,” so we went even though we were a little late. 

We went to a conservative synagogue today called, B’nai Israel, in Rockville – it was our second time there. 

The services there are so orchestrated down to the tiniest of details…you could tell that a lot of thought, planning, and effort goes into every service. 

I was really impressed at how meticulous they were for example: 

– Explaining everything and even handing out the sources to their Shabbat speech

– Having everyone ready for their part of the service whether leading the prayers, reading the Torah, or making the blessings over the wine and bread (which was already on a cart on the bimah–alter)

– Including a women who read the weekly Torah portion, children who led some of the prayers, an elderly lady who spoke about upcoming events for the Seniors group, and they even sang Hanukah songs in everything from Ladino to Yiddish.  

At the end of the service, we spoke briefly to the Rabbi and thanked him for such a “perfect service,” and my wife commented how he had such a cool radio voice when he leads the congregation (and he really does..like JM (jewish music) in the AM).

After service, I told my wife how happy I was that we made it to synagogue, that is was like nourishment to my spirit and soul for the week.

We have to feed ourselves physically as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course spiritually.  

Like the fingers on our hand…we need them all to hold unto life itself. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Can You Have Too Much Money?

Money Root Of All Evil

I took this photo inside a 16 Handles that sells frozen yogurt and toppings. 


The cashier had put out this cup for tips.


On the cup is a sign that says:


“Money is the root of all evil.  Cleanse yourself here.  Thanks.”


Sort of a smart way to get people to give. 


Afterwards, I was mulling over whether it’s true–is money “the bad guy” in life or what makes us do bad things?


Sure, people want money–and they usually like lots of it–they want to live “the good life” –with big houses, fancy cars, nice clothes, good food, exotic vacations, and financial security–how sweet it is!


And so often when people can’t get it legitimately, they will resort to lying, cheating, and stealing to get it.


But fortune is just a facet of something larger that gnaws at people souls –and that is greed. 


People don’t just want money, they are also greedy for power, fame, brains, brawn, sexual satisfaction, and a long (or immortal) life to enjoy it all. 


So probably greed is the real root of all evil and money is just one of the larger branches.


Perhaps that is why religion and piety is often associated with asceticism–avoiding indulgence–and instead devoting oneself more to spiritual pursuits in life and to servitude of G-d. 


Also of course, devotion to family, friends, and community–doing good deeds–giving and not taking–are held in high esteem for people looking for something more meaningful and devout in life.


Also, having recently seem some people with “too much of a good thing”–I realized that when people actually get all the material things they want and in such complete abundance–they can literally drown themselves in it.  


It’s sickening after a while–literally–the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and the things that are so coveted just become overwhelming and poisonous to the person. 


I saw this in a movie once too where the person who stole from the king is punished by having swathes and swathes of molten gold poured down the person’s throat–“You want it that bad, well here it is!”


There comes a point, a maturity, a depth, a realization, when a person just wishes for enough in life, for the people they love, and for happiness with them–they find genuine contentment–and that is something worth being greedy for. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Your Message Out With Impact

Car Lease

There is an old Jewish parable about the body parts arguing which is most important. 


Each makes it’s case that without that part, we just couldn’t function. (No jokes here now!)


But in the end, the tongue that harnesses the power of speech demonstrates that it is most important, because it is through our words that we may live or die. 


– Say the right thing–something smart and influence the masses–and you can change or even save the world.


– Say the wrong thing–something stupid, inflammatory, and damaging–and it can literally mean your or someone else’s life.


From an early age, we come to recognize that communication is so important to our success. 


Hey, I need a bottle or diaper changed…please!


Or answer the (interview) questions well, and you can land yourself in the best schools and jobs and even with the best ladies. 🙂


Those that succeed with communication, can we make themselves and their positions heard, understood, and accepted.


What are some common communication strategies people employ?


Well as we’ve all learned, it’s not always the one who is the boldest, screams the loudest, or repeats themselves the most that wins the argument–although at times, that too can work when force of debate, undeterred passion, and a little crazy can hammer the points home. 


Having the best laid out and most rationale argument–some people will rightfully be influenced by logic and common sense. 


Sincerity, integrity, honesty, and appealing to people’s gut and emotions–this certainly goes a long way as many people are driven by their feelings as well as their instincts and genuine character assessment of others. 


Making people confront what scares the hell out of them–fear is a big motivator for action and everyone is afraid of something and usually many things. 


Oh, of course, the religious argument that “It’s what G-d wants” and there will be fire and brimstone if you don’t do it that way–well reward and punishment, heaven and hell, divine justice–that certainly will move masses. 


“The pen is mightier than the sword.”


For those who can effectively harness the power of their speech and intellect, the sky is the limit. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disease Of The Ordinary

Disease Of The Ordinary

Wow, I love these glasses–red, big, and with wings!

I asked the store owner about them, and he said he gets these mostly for (window) display purposes.

But one lady actually bought a pair similar to this for a big event she was going to.

I think these would certainly make a statement (however crazy) when someone walks into the room wearing these.

Maybe that’s the point for many people–to stand out!

People want to be noticed, special, and be thought of as something or as somebodies.

Being 1 of 7 billion people is not very satisfying–so how do we differentiate ourselves?

  • The fancy house and cars we have
  • The clothing and accessories we wear and carry
  • The trophy wife or husband that hangs on us
  • Our own physical good looks, fitness, and skills
  • The prestigious university we went to and the degrees we possess
  • Climbing the career ladder and our titles and offices
  • Our pedigree from kings, clergy, hollywood, rich, or otherwise famous or successful people
  • The children (and grandchildren) that we rear to be smart, successful, well-integrated, etc.?
  • How religious we are, how much charity we give, the kindness we show others?

This is something that we all struggle with as human beings–what is a life of purpose, meaning and how do we know that we’ve achieved it?

I think the problem for many is that we measure ourselves by what we have and not who we are. Perhaps, this is a clear mistaken case of quantity over quality.

Down in Florida, I see so many “haves” and “have nots”–but it’s not enough for the haves to have, but if they aren’t showing it off, getting stares, having people talk about them, then they seem to feel uncomfortably ordinary.

What is this disease of the ordinary that people must ever run to escape from–and even with the reddest, wildest, wing glasses or whatever–will they ever feel truly happy and satisfied inside?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Beyonce Moves Us

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This video is funny and enjoyable to watch; only 20 million views on line…am I late to this one?

Leadership lesson: some things are just primal (like music, song, dance…) and we can reach people on many levels through intellect, emotion, spiritual, and so forth.

People are not just one sided, but complex and you never know when even a baby will just get down and move to Beyonce.

Thanks to a colleague for sending this to me.