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)

Hopefully, All’s Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):

When the end is good, all is good. 


Or as we commonly say:

All’s well that end’s well. 


Lot of truth to this. 


And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.


When things end well, it’s as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it’s as if everything was bad. 


The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 


Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 


Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 


In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.


– Was all the hard work worth it?


– Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?


– Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 


– What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?


We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Makes Happy

So the same things don’t seem to drive happiness for everyone. 


Some like big jobs and lots of power. 


Others are happier with more work-life balance. 


Some like to pursue lots of degrees and certifications.


Others like to learn on their own and through life experience. 


Some like to travel the world.


Others like a day in nature or at the museum. 


Some like big families and lots of people around them. 


Others like smaller families, close friends, intimacy, or even being more on their own. 


Some like lots of money. 


Other are happy with having what they need.


Some like to be tremendous athletes. 


Other like to just stay fit or maybe are more comfy as “couch potatoes.”


Some like to be very religious and follow all the laws.


Others prefer mindfulness, a sense of spirituality and being a “good person.”  


Some like lots of activities and to always do different things. 


Others are more comfortable with routine and incremental change. 


We all have basic needs, but we also have different values, priorities and comfort zones. 


Happiness isn’t a yes or no answer, but what makes us feel on track and doing good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Brothers Survival From The Holocaust

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “It wasn’t a Final Solution.”

My Uncle Freddie reached high up to the tippy-top of a tall bookcase in his small, but cozy room, and pulled down an old book. It had accumulated years of dust, and we had to wipe it off. The book, published by the Germans themselves, was one that I was familiar with having seen my own mother with a similar one documenting what happened to her family in the Holocaust. It had lists and lists of Jews that had been deported by the Nazis from my uncle’s city as well as where they sent them for liquidation. 

Hope you appreciate this true story of survival amidst the horrors and death of the Holocaust. 


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal) 

Taking The Bullet

So I learned many valuable lessons when I worked at the U.S. Secret Service–I loved it there!


But one of the lessons that sticks out it that sometimes you have to take a bullet for the President!


This lesson stayed with me and I believe it applies to a lot of other situations in life as well.


Sometimes you take one for the 


– Team


– Cause


– Relationship  


It’s easy to say you are going to preserve you self by “dodging a bullet,” but often it’s really just the opposite that is needed. 


If you take the bullet, you are putting yourself subordinate to a larger cause and what is really important. 


Taking one to safeguard the President of the United States is definitely a larger cause. 


But also your team, the success of an important cause or project, precious relationships that have been built over time–these can all mean more than taking even a significant hit. 


This doesn’t mean to be stupid, become anyone’s punching bag or just take people’s sh*t for nothing. 


Rather what it does mean is that you can suck it up sometimes–when the ends justify the means–and jump in front of that bullet to preserve something bigger and more important than just yourself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Free And What’s Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”


Yes, this is the home of the free. 


And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.


However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 


So dream big–imagine the very best.


Reach for the stars…


And then work your butt off to make it happen.


Choose carefully. 


No one can have it all.


You have to prioritize.


Also, you need to balance. 


In the end:

Dreams+Hard Work+Blessing From G-d


That’s success by whatever standards you measure. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Make People And Time Count

make-time-count-jpeg

So there was an article in Slate about how kids think these days.


And it’s a reflection of the adults, of course. 


When 10,000 middle and high school students from 33 schools across the country were asked, what’s more important–80% chose high achievement or happiness as their top priority vs just 20% who picked caring for others.


The kids who chose their happiness and achievement over helping others tended to score low on empathy and were at greater risk of being “cruel, disrespectful, and dishonest.”

Bottom line is that these are our values that we impart when we recognize and reward our children for things like good grades and extra-curriculars, but not for helping or caring about others. 


Pretty much, I think parents worry that their kids should be able to support and care for themselves, because that’s what’s considered our primary responsibility as parents–to make sure the next generation survives and can go on physically and materially once we are gone. 


In a way, it’s Darwinism and survival of the species and of the fittest. 


The problem is survival of our physical manifestation is not equivalent to the thriving of the spiritual being inside all of us. 


It’s not enough to live, but we have to live a good and descent life.


Our bodies wither and die, but our souls learn, grow, and go on to the afterlife. 


Yesterday, I had this freakish accident, going through the turnstiles on the Metro in Washington, DC.


The person before me went right through the gates as they opened, but when I put my pass down and went through, the gates had a glitz and closed suddenly right on my legs (and my artificial hips) and I went tumbling forward hard to the floor. 


Amazingly, two wonderful bystanders (not the Metro employees who didn’t even flinch or care) came rushing over to me, and literally lifted me up by the arms and handed me my wallet and glasses which had fallen to the side. 


One of the people that helped was especially nice to me, and he asked me how I was and really seemed to care that I was alright–imagine that a complete stranger in the Metro! 


The two people who stopped to help could’ve literally hopped right over me to rush for the train at the end of the day like everyone else, but they didn’t.


To them, caring was more important than their own time. 


Maybe I got the 20% yesterday, but it made me realize AGAIN how terrific some people are and they truly make time count–by making people count–like unfortunately many others may never ever bother to. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)