The Purge

Thought this was an interesting sign someone had in their office. 

PURGE the things that no longer bring PURPOSE!


Yikes! I wonder who or what got purged from this person’s life recently. 


Yet, perhaps it is a good lesson against hoarding and just accumulating junk (things and certain people) along the way of life. 


When things have a deeply negative impact on your life (or they’re just dead weight), perhaps it is time to consider letting go.


I’m not talking about relationships of commitment (e.g. family), which have a stronger and timeless bond in my mind, but of those that earn their right into your life by virtue of being ongoing positive, productive forces. 


There is no blessing in gluttony or hoarding–stay trim and fit, travel light and with what is truly meaningful and necessary. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

‘Uncut Gems’ Cuts Deep

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Uncut Gems Cuts Deep.”

Yesterday, we went to see the new Adam Sandler movie, Uncut Gems….Ratner’s life is full of shlemazel of his own making. While he has a good wife, kids, and extended family (maybe with the exception of his loan shark uncle), a fancy-schmancy home in the suburbs with a newly renovated pool, his own jewelry business that even caters to some big-league sports players, and a shiksa girlfriend on the side (who seems to love him), Ratner is never satisfied or happy and is always pushing for more!


In the movie, Howard Ratner was driven by greed and made bad life choices, and to me, it was a shame that the he was portrayed as a Jew, which can feed the vicious cycle of discrimination and hatred that has often been anchored around money. With the vicious machete attack on Chanukah at a Rabbi’s house in Monsey this week (after a slew of other anti-Semitic incidents, including an attack on a student for wearing a yalmulke on the NYC Subway to beatings and tire slashings of Jews in Brooklyn), we are reminded that there is once again a resurgence of prejudice and hate against Jews, but also that it’s the light of Chanukah that “drives out the darkness,” and that money and materialism are a mere shabby substitute to finding true security and success whether you work in the dense NYC Diamond District or live in the sprawling suburbs of America.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shopping Vs Psychiatrist

This sign had a pretty good point:

“Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.”


Plus it’s more fun and you get to take the junk home that you buy.


For many, shopping truly is a form of mental/stress relief–almost like medicine. 


Unfortunately, if you think about it, things don’t really make a person happy…rather people do and doing good does. 


But industry wants you to think a lot more superficially and materialistically than that. 


Hence the notion that if you take your daily dose of shopping, maybe you can skip the shrink! 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s It Worth To You?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “What’s It Worth To You.”

Certainly, passion for being your best, determination to succeed, and even some healthy competition are important factors in driving our own success as well as societal progress, but when keeping up with that scorecard against others becomes the essence of your own self-worth then things have gone too far and way off course.


We each have our mission, strengths, challenges, and so forth. It’s okay in life, if someone else has more of something (money, friends, honor, whatever). Everyone has their own “basket in life” as my father taught me, “and you wouldn’t want to change baskets with anyone else.”


(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

Black Hole–What’s Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 


It measures about 25 billion miles across–about the size of 29,000 suns. 


If this doesn’t make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 


We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 


Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 


Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.


Realize what’s really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  😉


(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)

Selling CRAP

I just thought this was an interesting acronym that Amazon uses for selling unprofitable knick knacks.


They call it:

CRAP


It stands for:


Can’t Realize A Profit. 


Sometimes, you see people buying stuff, lots of stuff, and it’s not important–often, it’s all a lot of junk. 


But they like to shop–bordering on shopsholics’ compulsion. 


Maybe they don’t even have a lot of money for this stuff.


However, just the act of buying it–of having some control in their lives and some freedom of the purse–makes them feel good and buy and hoard more and more things. 


Likely it ends up in Goodwill, recyclables, the attic, or the trash. 


Is it crap?


Well you can’t make realize a profit on it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Not Really Yours

You can’t live without money, but you can’t just live for money. 


Didn’t someone say, “Money is the root of all evil.”


Of course, it’s not money itself that is bad, but the greed for it, and the use and hoarding of it for selfish purposes. 


On this topic, my daughter sent me this interesting story:

One business tycoon in China passed away. 
His widow, was left with $1.9 billion in the bank, and married his chauffeur.
His chauffeur said: “All the while, I thought I was working for my boss… it is only now, that I realize that my boss was all the time, working for me!”

We can have all the money in the world, but it’s never really ours. 


It all belongs to G-d, as does our entire life. 


He decides what we have or don’t have (any longer). 


We need to realize that life is ephemeral and all material things are given to us just for the time being. 


We should be generous with whatever bounty that G-d has given to us, because in the end that is all that is truly lasting. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things…clothes…money…

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No… It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God’s hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d’s will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.

(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

Missed The Shot But Someone Else Got It

So check out this sleek garbage for bottles and cans. 


Like many of these, it has a small opening hole at the top to convey that only bottles and cans (like it says on the side) should be put in for recycling–no garbage. 


When I was walking by quickly, I took the shot, attempting to throw in my bottle.


But it bounced off the rim and landed on the floor. 


Before I could even turn around to pick it up, I saw another gentleman behind me swoop in and pick up the garbage and put it in the can for me. 


I tell you that I was really quite amazed. 


He could have easily said, I missed the can and so I should just pick up my own trash off the floor and throw it out–that’s only right!


Instead, it was in his mind nothing to do this random act of kindness and he picked up my trash. 


I know it sounds like a nothing burger, but to me, it represented just a real decency from another human being. 


Not standing on ceremony.


Not being too hoity-toity to pick up the garbage.


Rather just saw something that needed to get done and doing it. 


I tell you that as much as some people disappoint me with their arrogance and evilness, others are genuinely good people. 


This is what it’s all about–the good people showing the bad people what kindness, generosity, and humanity is all about. 


To the evil f*ckers out there–who are arrogant, materialistic takers, haters, bullies, aggressors, and abusers–to h*ll with you!


To the good people–keep doing good and let the good win over the evil every single time. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)