3D Printed Octopus: “Shabbat Shalom”

This is a 3D Printed Octopus.  


The bendable legs are cute. 


It’s sitting on a camera and tripod. 


Soon 3D Printed Objects will even talk, and when they do, this one will say: 

Shabbat Shalom!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

When we see wrong and evil in this world, we have a duty to stand up and speak out with truth and integrity, to be a good influence and guide things for the better, and even to repair the world (“Tikkun Olam”)…Words are perhaps a good start, but also, “words are cheap.” The way to really judge someone is less by their words, and far more so by their actual deeds. Moreover, sometimes words aren’t enough and we need to not just say something, but do something! As Edmund Burke stated, “The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It’s great to speak out when we see wrong, but more than that we have to be willing, when necessary, to act out–to do something.


As Jews, we need to be ready, willing, and able to stand up for what is right in the never ending war of good over evil in this world–regardless of silver or lead, G-d forbid–with our words and with our deeds.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I’m reading called “Like Dreamers.”

An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.


Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 


And while they say a lot…


There may not be a lot there. 


New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking–that’s like a desert!


In Yiddish (and it’s always funnier in Yiddish), we say:

A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.


Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:

Say a little, and do a lot. 


Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.


It’s at that time that you better be listening.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Say Anything

So I overhear this conversation…


Woman:  “Never say never and never say always.”


Man: “Well then what should I say?”


Woman: “Just keep your mouth shut!”


Yeah, that’s one for the books.


Anyway, thinking about this a little more–there is an exception to every rule. 


Never say never is itself violating this rule of thumb. 


Hence one conclusion perhaps is that many rules are so stupid to begin with! 🙂


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Power of Speech

I loved this magnet on this wonderful old Jewish ladies refrigerator who lives in our community.

“If you have nothing good to say…
Say nothing.”

I remember we used to talk about this saying in my house growing up too. 


It is a famous teaching from the holy Chofetz Chaim.


I remember as a bar-mitzvah boy, someone in our community in Riverdale, NY gave me a set of the Chofetz Chaim’s books.


And I enjoyed reading from them daily about always being careful with how you use your words:


– Not to hurt anyone.


– Not to speak bad about anyone (i.e. Lashon Hara)


– But rather to use words pointedly and always for the good. 


Kind words.


Gentle words.


Complimentary words.


Words of love and caring. 


Holy words. 


The Chofetz Chaim seemed to have an endless number of wonderful stories to demonstrate the power of speech and the importance of using it for the good. 


The old saying of “The pen is mightier than the sword,” can be used replacing the pen with the tongue and power of speech in general. 


Words can cut someone like a knife and even kill or words can create a tremendous healing when it’s full of love and caring for others. 


Actions speak louder than words, but words can speak and perform volumes in the eternal fight of good over evil. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Meaning of Silence

Silence.jpeg

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)

Communicate And Do Good In This World

Influence.jpeg

This is a really good quote by Jay Danzie:

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.”


I heard someone else say it another way:

“The only way to read your audience is with eye contact and smiles.”


Basically, it comes down to leaving people with a positive feeling through your interactions, and influencing others for the good. 


We have one chance to make a first impression–so yes, wow people with your smile, personality, integrity, and inspire them to do and speak good. 


If we all just say or do just one more good thing everyday, imagine that multiplied by 7.5 billion people. 


Now, multiply that by 365 days a years and you have 2.7 trillion more good things said and done in just a single year.


Imagine our Heavenly Father looking down at us with so much good in our souls’ bank.


We can all be an influence for good–just think about it and go out and do it! 😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)