Going From Hearing To Listening

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I thought this was pretty good. 


How do we go from hearing to listening?


We have to be silent (and contemplative)!


– Check out the letters in the word silent.


– They are exactly the same as the letters in the word listen.


Keep the mouth shut and really listen to the what the other person has to say, and you might actually learn something. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Meaning of Silence

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Is silence a good thing or a bad thing–what does it really mean?


On the plus or neutral side:


Silence can mean modesty and humility–you withhold speaking out of turn or having a big mouth; you recognize that you don’t know everything and what you do know is not intended to put down or shame others. 


Silence can means secrets and privacy–you don’t say everything; you treat information properly based on need to know and propriety of sharing. 


Silence can mean good situational judgement–that you know prudently when to let others have their say, or when your opinion isn’t really welcome, or when it’s best to just stay below the radar. 


Silence can mean you simply don’t know–and it’s something you need to listen and learn more about rather than speak; it’s why we’re told that we have two ears and one mouth.


Silence can mean that maybe you don’t care about something–why get fired up or “waste your breath” on it when it’s just not your thing.


When can it be a negative:


There was a sign in the local school window that silence means (wrongful) acceptance; that is also something I learned in in the Talmud in yeshiva; if you see something wrong and don’t say or do something, you are (partially) responsible.


Silence can mean fear–perhaps you don’t accept something, but you’re afraid to speak truth or morality to power; you sit silently cowering, when you should stand up tall and speak out. 


Silence may also mean shame–you’ve done something wrong or don’t want others to know something that could make you look bad or put you in jeopardy. 


Silence can mean you are hiding something–it can be that you don’t trust or aren’t trustful; silence at a time when you need to answer or respond can result in suspicion about why you are “holding back,” instead of being forthcoming and truthful.


When to talk and when to remain silent? 


Certainly, “you have the right to remain silent.”


We need to use words with care and intent–to always seek to help and not to hurt. 


Words are so potent–the mouth is perhaps the strongest part of the human body, just like the pen is mightier than the sword. 


That’s why I pray that G-d put the “right words” in my mouth–to be constructive, positive, effective and impactful–to do good as much as possible with words and with silence. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Exceptions To Every Rule

stock-and-pillory

Fair or not, some of us have to live by the rules and others do not. 


As in all history, we have a class society–there are:


– The kings and the commoners. 


– The lords and the vassals and serfs. 


– The elites and the commoners. 


– The majority and the minorities. 


– The rich and the poor. 


– The haves and the have nots.


Or any other number of variations of this.


Recently, with Hillary Clinton and her multitude of scandals, there was some shock that even in modern-day America, she was able to get off scot-free.


And in this great democracy of ours, it was understood to shut up, or else, for not toeing the line. 


The message to everyone was clear: while “the little guy” is made to pay the price for mediocrity, there are some people that will always be above the law!


It was funny-sad, because we don’t want to believe that anyone can really escape from justice–that it can be beaten–although at times, we just have to acknowledge that justice may have to wait and come in the next world from the true Master of All. 


Today, coming out of my building, a dog from a neighbor started jumping (playfully) on my leg and barking–it was sort of hard to get out of there. 


The problem with this scenario was that my building doesn’t allow dogs.  


So out of curiosity, I stopped someone in the building and asked innocently, “I thought dogs are prohibited in this building?”


“Oh yes.” they answer, but seeing this lady with the active dog, they continue, “That lady has an exception from the board!”


We sort of all looked at each other, because this was not a service dog or anything like that, and it obviously seemed unfair that for her there was one set of rules, and for everyone else, another. 


Yes, there is an exception to every rule…some people can basically do what they want by virtue of their power and money or by who or what they know (i.e. can anyone say lots of skeletons in the closets).  


So while the little guy gets locked in stocks and pillories and the key thrown away for maybe the littlest of misdeeds, others are the exception to the rule–and may even become the Commander In Chief.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Silence Or Violence

Communication.JPeG

So when it comes to “Crucial Conversations,” they unfortunately frequently end in silence or violence.


When the “stakes are moderate to high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong” that’s when communication really seems to break down, rather than achieve their goals of working things out. 


Like when our lives are in danger and we have the adrenalin rush reactions to fight or flight, similarly with potentially “dangerous” communications, people become aggressive and abusive or shutdown and withdraw. 


When your afraid of a negative outcome, either you start hammering others with your ideas and opinions or you exit the conversation and seek safety. 


Either way, at this point, there’s no real common ground, negotiation, compromise, or win-win to be easily had…in this pressure cooker poor excuse of a dialogue, it can basically become a tragic win-lose situation.


Perhaps, that’s why there are mediators and neutral third parties that are often brought in to make people feel (relatively) safe again, help them be understood and to understand, and to find a negotiated peace or settlement. 


And what happens when even this doesn’t work and communication and diplomacy fails?


Well that’s when people and countries bring out the big guns and they essentially go to war to win what they hoped to achieve with dialogue. 


Now words are no longer the only choice, but all options are on the table, and that’s when benign words can quickly turn into more drastic or deadly deeds (aka the children reframe of “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me.”


And there is always the thermonuclear option–people supported it with Japan in WWII and they say they would support it with a Tehran that violates the very generous nuclear deal they received.


Words are a prelude to a possible peace or an unwanted war. 


They can be the last chance to work things out the way we hope for.


And if words alone can’t resolve the issue, then blood and treasure is spent and spilt to resolve the otherwise unresolvable. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Silence In The Face Of Ongoing Terror And Murder

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In the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, in less than 3 months (Oct 1- Nov 23), there have been:


– 21 Murdered 


– 184 Wounded (20 critically)


Through:


– 74 Stabbings


– 10 Shootings


– 11 Car Rammings


The murdered include Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year old American citizen from Massachusetts. 


Despite the terrorism and the death of an American citizen along with so many other innocent Jews, the superpower country of the world is silent–not calling it reprehensible or deplorable or condemning it or demanding the terrorism stop immediately. 


– Silence, despite about the murder of Jews and even its own U.S. citizen in Israel on November 19.


– Silence, yet signing nuke deals with “Axis Of Evil” Iran–the #1 state sponsor of terrorism (undiminished in 2015) and top abuser of human rights.


– Silence in the face of terror attacks against Jews elsewhere abroad, like the Jewish teacher stabbed and killed in Paris last week by three assailants shouting anti-Semitic insults? 


– Silence through a “no-show” at the Solidarity Rally in Paris with 40 other heads of state in January to denounce the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo and on the Jewish grocery store that killed 17 innocent people. 

Could this perhaps be payback time to one of it’s closest friends and allies for: 


– Continuing settlements for an expanding Israeli population who are surrounded by hostile neighbors that want to throw them into the Mediterranean Sea. 


– For a peace deal with the Palestinians that didn’t materialize without a peace parter that would recognize the Jews States’ right to even exist.


– For Netanyahu’s objection to the Iranian nuke deal that put’s Israel in the crosshairs of a sprouting nuclear regime that threatens annihilation against it. 


Regardless of why, it is abundantly clear that the killing of Jews in Israel and abroad is tacitly being given the green light to continue–and so it’s an open field day for terror and murder of Jews!


Even the generally harsh critic of Israel, Amnesty International, has come out calling the terror against Israel “reprehensible and unjustified” and “a clear contempt for human life.”

The appalling indifference to the murder of Jews by top administration officials, just 70-years after the Holocaust, is being heard loud and clear around the world.   


– It is a sanctioning of terrorism and murder, period. 


– It is reprehensible, period. 


– It is cementing a legacy of blind hatred and blatant discrimination and anti-Semitism that will go down in history, period. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The United Nations — As Silent As It Is Anti-Semitic

Another truly lovely (not) rally of hatred and violence by our “peace partners” in the Middle East. 


Check out the size of this guys’ butcher knives for killing Jews with. 


Where is the United Nations? 


According to the UN Charter, the #1 purpose for its existence is: “To maintain international peace and security.” 


But of the 193 member countries in the United Nations–more than a quarter of them–50 are majority-Muslim nations, comprising 1.6 billion people! 


But there is only 1 Jewish Country, Israel, the size of New Jersey


Knowing the historical anti-Semitism of the UN, it’s probably about time for another anti-Israel resolution


Incredibly, there were 20 of these just last year alone (versus 3 on the rest of the world)!


Yet, the United Nations is consistently deadly silent in the daily face of:


– Knifings, 

– Shootings, 

– Bombings, 

– Abductions, 

– Terrorizing, 

Destruction of Jewish holy sites and places of worship, and 

– Threats of annihilation to Jews. 


Only 70 years since the Holocaust wiped 6 million Jews–a sick and evil genocide of a full third of the world’s Jewish population–blind hatred, discrimination, and violence against Jews is okay by UN standards. 


What a wholesome failure and disgrace on the United Nations–a body that is supposed to represent peace, security, and justice.


Where is the peace, security, and justice from the UN for the small, minority Jewish people, numbering just 14 million men, women, and children?


The United Nations–as silent as it is Anti-Semitic. 😉

The Fisherman

The Fisherman
I took this photo yesterday of this man standing on the bank and fishing. 



I was out in the water in a kayak enjoying the beautiful surroundings. 



I paddled over near to the fisherman, but not so close as to scare away his catch. 



It was hot and very sunny out on the water–there was only a little shade near the bank of the pond–and I frequently had to wipe my forehead beading with sweat under the open sun.



But it was nice to just be out there–on the water, surrounded by the greenery, the sun overhead, some birds and frogs about, and a even a little breeze shimmering over the the water. 



Even better than paddling itself, is just stopping, sort of sitting back, and just listening to the silence, breathing in the nature, and letting everything else just go for a little while. 



One with nature, one with G-d, and feeling integrated myself. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)