Why The Happiness of Purim?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Why The Happiness of Purim?

In a world that is constructed of the story of Purim, everything looks like it’s based on mere happenstance and there seems to be no G-d involved—this is a world of randomness and meaninglessness. Whatever happens, just happens by nature or luck, and what can be more meaningless and depressing than that! Thus, the Rabbis had to decree all the laws for the happiness of Purim, because happiness is not innate to a story that is seemingly happenstance and devoid of G-d. That is the big difference between Purim, where Hashem is hidden, and Passover or Hanukah, where Hashem revealed Himself and made incredible miracles—the 10 plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea or the one day of oil that lasted for eight days.


On Purim, we celebrate our deliverance from the evil Haman and the king’s decree to kill all the Jews, but also we are overflowing with Joy remembering that G-d is always with us—in good times and G-d forbid in the bad times–we are not afraid of anything (another indecisive election, the stock market downturn, our enemies, Coronavirus, etc.) knowing that He loves us and cares for us, and will deliver us in the old days and in the new. May the final deliverance soon be completed with the arrival of the Mashiach—and the hidden will become revealed like on Purim and the joy will be forever increased. Amen.

 
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.


And they said something that really hit a chord:

You never know what your expiration date is!


What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.


They used the phrase “expiration date” like we so commonly see on food and medicine products. 


You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 


So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.


We have a date stamped on us (maybe it’s on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can’t see it. 


Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 


Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.


So you better live every day good and meaningfully before your expiration date comes due. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Best Jobs 2020 and Beyond

 

So I saw a smart video about which are the best jobs.


They are not the ones that just pay the most!


Here are the three criteria to look for in your next dream job (aside from the money):


1) Autonomy – Work that is self-directed provides satisfaction that jobs that are closely or micro-managed do not. 


2) Mastery – Jobs that allow you get better at them over time  (technical proficiency) provide a sense of mastery and self-respect. 


3) Purpose – When you have a deep sense of purpose and meaning from your work there is simply no greater motivator and satisfier than this. 


I’d also add that the best places to work are the ones with:

  • The best bosses and the nicest people
  •  
  • A solid balance for work and life


Overall, if we can reconnect the profit motive with the purpose motive then we have truly have the best jobs out there. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Life and Legacy of Sarah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Life and Legacy of Sarah.”

The Rebbetzin explained beautifully that when we live a good life, not only does our soul live on in the afterlife, but our good deeds continue to have an influence in this world even after we, ourselves, have passed.


We should never underestimate our influence in this world, and that what we say and do reverberates like concentric circles that spread out from the source farther and farther. Moreover, while you might not think that what you do matters all that much or is a big deal, you never really know the outsize impact that it can have. Therefore, even while Sarah had passed and Abraham mourned her, the truth is that her legacy of the great Jewish nation was only just beginning!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, “Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch.”

The Rabbi asked why did Hashem who is omnipotent even need to create us? And he answered because in G-d being the ultimate good, He “had to create us”—this in essence being the ultimate expression of good by sharing that goodness with us to learn and be good as well. In short, what could be a greater good than extending that opportunity to be be good to others.


Like our forefather, my Hebrew name is Avraham, and for me personally, this has been a critical life lesson: learning to see challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and consistently be a person that tries to do what is right even when it is hard or the lines seem to be grey. In the end, I believe that G-d put us in this world in order for us to choose good over evil and demonstrate kindness to others. With the Torah as our blueprint, and Avraham, our forefather, as our role model, we must apply the great teachings of the Torah and always strive to act as a proper mensch!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Where Are We Going

Just thought this was an awesome provoking painting. 


To me, it begs the question of where are we going in our lives. 


The terrestrial landscape combined with the light at the end of the tunnel effect as the sky is provocative and at the same time almost hypnotic. 


It also makes me feel the enormity of the universe versus the smallness of just a man.


I see myself standing on the red hilltop looking into that big sky and wondering about so many things. 


In the end, believing that we don’t have all the answers, but that we are in G-d’s good hands. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Good Things In Life Are Challenging

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Good Things In Life Are Challenging.”

“Everything truly pleasurable in life starts with considerable pain.” More colloquially in working out, we usually say: “No pain, no gain!” And there really is a lot of truth to this. If you think about it, this concept really applies to everything meaningful and ultimately valuable in life.

 

As we reflect this time of year, before Rosh Hashanah, it is good to ask ourselves, what are we chasing and working so hard for in our lives? Are we chasing vanity–more riches, power, and honor or are we striving to do good and make a difference? The latter is a life worth living and where our efforts and pain can bring true reward in this world and ultimately in the world to come.

 
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)