Searching For Gold

This guy had some getup on in Fort Lauderdale on the toasty beach. 

He’s in the ocean dressed in a full wetsuit with a mask over his face, a hat on his head, and the headphones over his ears. 

He had a metal detector and wand looking for lost gold in the water right off the beach. 

But didn’t see him find a dime the whole time we were there. 

I can’t believe these guys can actually find enough jewelry on the beach to make this worth while. 

Back and forth with the wand…searching, searching.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah.”

In a sense, we all live at least two lives–represented by the two faces we wear: The first is the happy face, where we portray ourselves as if everything is going so well, almost near-perfect in our lives (our vacations, accomplishments, celebrations, and so on), and this is the face that we routinely show to the world. Then, there is the second face, which is essentially where everything is not (always) quite so rosy, where life’s challenges, troubles, and hardships take their tangible toll, and this is the face that we learn to keep private and regularly hide from the world. Usually, it comes down to a rationale that goes something like this: just imagine what would people think of us if they really knew us for who we are and what we were actually going through? Yet the funny thing is that everyone is going through something–that’s life!

In a couple of weeks, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we come knowing that there is no mask to be worn in front of our Maker, and truly, we are naked before Him in all our thoughts and deeds. We can’t pretend anymore that our lives or ourselves are perfect, but rather this is the time for true and earnest reflection, repentance, as well as judgment for the New Year based on what each of us is really all about. May each of us have the courage and conviction to face our real selves, to learn, grow, improve, and ultimately to self-actualize, and may we receive G-d’s mercy and blessings for a happy and healthy New Year!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Good Face, Ugly Mask

So many faces, so much phoniness. 


Why can’t we just deal with genuine people?


Not like the dummies in this picture. 


Everyone seems to put on a face. 


One person comes in the room, puts on a big smile and then drops it like you do your pants in the bathroom (excuse the comparison).


But it’s just so wax!


Another person is talking it up, but you can see just under the thin veneer, they are a boiling powder keg ready to go off. 


Faces are for expression–to feel and to share. 


However, they are used to deceive and fool the world around them.  


Is it a face or a mask.


What’s behind it–good or evil?


If you don’t look past the superficial then you are the real dummy.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two-Faced Monsters

2 Face.jpeg

One of the scariest things with people are when they are two-faced. 


And no, we’re not talking about people making funny faces or googly eyes.


My father use to joke:


“If that person was two-faced, they would never use that face {the one they are wearing now}!”


But many people really do have two-faces (and sometimes more).


– The seeming friend, but backstabber if they get the chance.


– The “goodie two-shoes,” but what a real mischievous side to them.


– The “nice boy/girl,” but what an unbelievable mean streak.


– The calm, quiet person, but what an explosive temper they really have. 


– The person who it seems “would never hurt a fly,” but what an abuser and bully they are.

This is not about multiple personality disorder, but rather people who either are truly this AND that, or who “fake it to make it.”


Many people do have multiple “normal” sides to their personality (like hardworking, but playful).


However, others more malevolently, use a cover up (and it’s not mascara) to hide their inner bad natures/behaviors and demons.


These are the people that are really scary dudes (and dudettes). 


You see one thing on the surface (superficially), but beneath it is a type of molten lava ready to explode and do very bad things. 


Sure, everyone alternates between good and bad days, happy and sad, more loving or less, etc. 


But when people are fundamentally insincere phonies who are deceiving others until they can but strike and do bad things to them, then they are not just two-faced, but seriously f*cked up! 


This is all part of the fight in this world of good over evil–it goes on everyday with the monsters out there that are allowed to roam free and prey on others–perhaps some of afraid or even others are covering for them. 


How long can they keep up their heinous act?


Often way too long, until those good people of faith and conscience ask when will they be unmasked and held accountable–when will justice prevail. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Yom Kippur, When The Masks Come Off

Mask

This mask does not mean that Jews have horns–that is a crappy and evil stereotype, so cut it out. 


Masks are dress-up and pretend, like the way most people behave day-in and day-out. 


People imagine and feign to be what they would like to be or what they want others to believe they are. 


Like when someone is gearing up for a fight, they extend their arms, raise their voices, bob up and down to make themselves appear bigger and more formidable than they really are. 


It’s a fake out–but perception is (often) reality. 


Similarly, people may wear clothes, drive cars, or live in big fancy homes that make them look well-to-do, but really it’s a great act and all bought on extensive credit (ever hear of 0% down!). 


Others may dream of being seen as smart and the go-to guy for answers, the subject matter expert, or the generally wise person for advice and guidance, but are they really smarter than everyone else or do the degrees plastering the wall like wallpaper or titles like doctor, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, professor, and Rabbi simply often invoke credentials and an air rather than the smarts that should accompany them.


Even parents may pose for loving pictures with their children, seem to dote on them, and act the helicopter parents, but still when it comes to their own busy schedules, they have no real time or attention left for the little ones–because the parents put themselves first. 


It happens all the time, every which way, the authority figure who really abuses their authority rather than lives up to it. 


People are human, weak, fallible–and the show is often a lot better than the characters behind it. 


But that doesn’t mean we stop trying to be inside what we know we really should be–more loving, caring, giving, and good people. 


This is the essence of Yom Kippur to me, the Day of Atonement–the day when we shed all our phony masks–and instead we bear out our sins, bend our heads with shame, are sorry for what we have done wrong, and commit to doing better in the future.


Yom Kippur is the day when all the masks are off–we cannot hide from G-d Almighty, the all seeing and all knowing.  


On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement we are inscribed, and on Yom Kippur the book is sealed. 


In Judgement, we may enter the court of heaven with heads still held up high, with the same act that we try to show every day, but on Yom Kippur we leave the court with our heads down and our hands humbly clasped, the sentence meted out for who we really are–based not on pretense, but on our underlying behavior.


A mask covers what is, when the mask is off we are left with who we are–naked before our maker, where all is revealed, and we must account for our actions–good, bad, or even just plain indifferent. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)