In this video, there are three stories from my recent Caribbean vacation, which include a conversation with a waiter about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, feeling unwelcome in a synagogue, and connecting with a stranger from India.
Whether it’s stocks, mansions, lottery tickets, bitcoins, or other worldly objects that we put our hopes and dreams into, at the end of the day, the reality is that they are all nothing compared to what is really important and meaningful:
The precious time we have with our loved ones
Selflessly caring for and giving to others
Living faithful, holy lives in the eyes of the Almighty
These are the things that money can never buy, and they give true inner happiness that outer material trappings can never even aspire to.
If we can remove the arrogance from our homes and hearts, then we can be better people: humble, selfless, giving, and standing side by side rather than sitting high and mighty, which only G-d Almighty deserves.
While we ourselves can do positive things to learn and grow as individuals, it’s a bigger and greater mitzvah when it’s shared with others! Just like Joseph, who rose above being a slave and prisoner to save the world, we can all rise above ourselves and our life predicaments to do good that spreads far and wide, perhaps even beyond our wildest imagination.
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Chutzpah Dating.”It used to be that young men and women went on dates and generally treated each other respectfully and civilly as they explored whether there was a spark between them and potentially a match to be made. But somewhere along the lines, too many Prince Charmings have turned into real ugly toads.
I was literally sitting in the synagogue and crying, watching the speaker sign and listening to the voice from the interpreter. I really believe that all our synagogues, schools, work places, and organizations need to better incorporate diversity and disability into the environment, and not just by paying meaningless lip-service to it, but by enabling everyone to come, feel welcome, participate, and be together as all children of G-d naturally should be.
Finally, it was beautiful to have the synagogue let someone who was deaf have the pulpit and the ability to speak to us. It would be so awesome for everyone’s voice to be heard. We take our abilities (such as speaking, hearing, and being mobile) for granted. So let’s design the community with all the people in mind and give everyone a true voice. In the end, it’s not just what they say, but some things are communicated more than words.