Living Your Values

So I had this great conversation today with someone about values.

Thinking about what I really value and whether I am living consistently with these…

For me, I was able to clarify for myself these critical values:

1) Being a good person and influence in the world (having a positive impact on people and ideas)

2) Being a good family man (a loving husband, father, and previously son)

3) Being spiritual and serving G-d (living selflessly for my Maker and not selfishly for myself)

4) Being a hard worker (living productively and not as a laggard or sloth)

5) Being a balanced person (living along the “golden path” or “middle of the road”–not an extremist)

6) Being a generally healthy person (living a lifestyle that includes activity, exercise, good nutrition, and no smoking, drugs, or excessive drinking)

What I realized is that when I need to let my values guide me every moment of every day. 

This ultimately means my success and happiness! 

Being what I think that I am supposed to be or what others would want me to be, just doesn’t work–it’s a strategy for failure. 

My father used to tell me:

“Let your conscience be your guide”  (that and the Torah, of course)

This is the answer to a lot of questions that I have in my life–about what to do with my life and what decisions to make.

Values–driven by conscience and integrity–that’s where I want to go next and next. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Mikva = Tikva

I thought this was a really special Jewish clock I saw in the store yesterday. 

It promotes holiness and sanctity in the family.

Mikva (Jewish ritual bath) = Tikva (hope) 

Rebirth and renewal (from the immersion in the holy water).

Build your family in sanctity!

Purity leads to sanctity.

The Jewish laws of refraining from sexual relations during Nidda (a women’s menstruation) and of immersing in the mikvah at the end of the cycle and before the husband and wife coming back together physically are cornerstones of acting with self-control and a couple dedicating themselves to Hashem first.

The family is the core of raising and educating our children and of the makeup of the community and ultimately of serving G-d in everything we do. 

Self-control (with sexual purity, kosher food, Sabbath time, etc.) is what separates us from animals and how we emulate being more like the angels. 

It is also a way for a husband and wife to elevate their love and show respect for each other as human beings and not just physical beings.  

I never saw a clock that reminds us of these holy concepts and laws like this. 

Also at the top it says another well-known Jewish quote about managing our time wisely:

“The day is short and the task is great.”

Another good reminder to maximize the use of our time every day here on Earth and to make the most out of every moment. 

If we dedicate ourselves to serving G-d, raising our families, being productive professionally and personally, and acting with integrity and sanctity always–this is a good life! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fulfilling Dying Children’s Wishes

I am just so impressed with this charity…the Make A Wish Foundation

They grant the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal illness–and in the U.S. alone, they grant a wish every 34 minutes!

What nobler and giving act can there be, especially when it comes to an innocent child who never even had the chance to live their lives and try to make their dreams come true. 

Whether it’s letting the child meet a famous world wrestler and actor, John Cena (featured in the video above)–who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the foundation–to taking a child to a special travel destination or helping them be that incredible superhero for a day. 

Seeing the joy on the faces of these children–despite the pain of their illnesses and their dire situations–seems like one of the holiest and most incredible things that we can do. 

I really want to acknowledge the famous people, like Cena and others, who take the time and effort to really give back–and with a loving and caring heart to these kids. 

Again, there are truly good people out there–who don’t just live for themselves–but who think about and give generously to others. 

Life is not just about “I” but about all the people we can reach and uplift.

Cena isn’t just a champion wrestler, but he has a champion heart. 

And the Make A Wish Foundation is an incredible organization composed of thousands of incredible people doing righteous work that I believe makes G-d smile down at us from the Heavens above. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Is Wisdom?


Some thoughts today on what is wisdom:

– Knowing you know nothing–and you can prove it (ah, humility)!

– Knowing when to ask–like the infamous directions when you’re lost or how to use the latest new technology.

– Learning from all others (everyone has something they can teach us).

– Wisdom = Knowledge + Experience (you’ve gotten an inkling about some truth out there, and you’ve had a chance to test it out). 

– Seeing that people’s outer bodies are just the superficial, material cover for their inner souls. 

– Realizing that doing for others is so much more rewarding than doing for ourselves. 

– Following the great truths of morality and responsibility.

– Keen awareness that we are not alone in the universe–G-d is everywhere.

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Doctors In Houston


With the crisis of Hurricane Harvey and the rains still battering Houston…

It was so amazing to read this morning about the doctors who are going all out to help people in need there.

Doctors staying in the hospital for days to cover their patients stuck there and requiring care and treatment.

And others that are wading through the waters at there own risk to get there to treat the sick.

One doctor mentioned was Adi Diab M.D. who trekked 3 miles through a foot of water to get Anderson Cancer Center “to attend to a patient undergoing an experimental cancer treatment.”

He did this so as not to interfere with the patients scheduled treatment for the re-engineering of immune cells to fight a tumor.

I’ll tell you, there really are some truly amazing people out there–whether doctors and nurses, firefighters and emergency responders, law enforcement and military personnel.

They run into danger and disaster zones when everyone else is running out. 

Is it professionalism, dedication, duty, or an angelic calling to help people and the nation in need.

This is our nation at its best–united!!!–and helping our neighbors, saving lives, and putting others before self.

“Houston there is a problem”, and as unbelievably horrible and unfortunate as it is, perhaps it is also a critical reminder of what’s really important and a healing to our great nation.  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Father’s Day

Fathers Day.jpeg

So it’s Shabbat and that’s one of the wonderful times to look at old photos in the albums and boxes. 

Yes, this was before digital photography!

I came across this art that my daughters had given to my father and mother when they were still alive–I think it was plastered on their refrigerator for a while. 

This photo seemed to bridge the past, present, and future for me. 

My parents are gone now to Hashem–already 2 and 3 years–and I still can’t believe it. 

At the annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day–it’s just another time of year to remember how much I miss them all year long. 

For me now, it is also a chance to be grateful for my lovely children that G-d has so gracefully blessed me and Dossy with. 

Smiles, hugs and kisses, love and caring for one another–this is what life is all about.

Father’s Day to me is not about the gratefulness of my children to me, but rather of me to Hashem and them to be blessed to be a dad and have the chance to give back to such lovely children–to the next generation that greatly supersedes me and mine!

So I’m crunched in the middle in time between wonderful parents and beautiful children and as my dad would joke, it skipped a generation (hopefully, not really). 😉 

(Source Photo: My Girls)

Mine and Yours

Mine Yours.jpeg

In synagogue today, we read from Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of Our Fathers”).

And I talked with my friends at lunch about one passage from this timeless wisdom.

There are 4 types of people:

1) “Average Joe”

What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours in yours. 

Someone described this as “his and her–separate–accounts.”

2) Stupid

What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours in mine. 

Ah, this is just someone whose plain old confused.

3) Wicked

What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.  

One guy described his ex-wife this way.

4) Righteous 

What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is yours.  

We all agreed this is the meaning of life–to be kind and giving to others.

What type of person are you? And what type of person do you want to be?  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)