Rabbi's Weekly Article

One Man's Thoughts

The failure of leadership: Watching a society collapse

This may be written by a single person who has just one voice, but I am willing to bet that much of what is penned here is the silent voice of the majority.

Ever since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th I have watched with trepidation, disgust and sadness a complete breakdown of society. There seems to be a complete dearth of leaders and moral leadership. Barring a few sane voices the world has gone morally insane. 

Where have all the leaders gone? Why are there so few willing to stand up against the insanity that has plagued our universities?  How can leaders of countries side with terrorists murderers who kill, rape and burn infants?

If you ask as to whom I mean when I say leaders, I literally mean every leader possible with a few paltry exceptions.

Some examples of failed leadership. 

1. How have the University Presidents allowed these obscene students completely disobey the law, deface university property and disrupt classes? How do they not see that there have been no demonstrations or violence on the grounds of Columbia, Yale, UCLA or any other campus here or abroad protesting the Chinese persecution of the Uyghurs? These are Muslims literally being confined in labor camps by the ruling party in China and the trust fund college students have no clue or if they are aware, they choose willful blindness. Why are the professors who are so vocal against Israel silent on this?

2. Where is the outrage and panic of our leaders when it comes to the fact that United States citizens are being held as hostages? There are still Americans being held hostage by murderous thugs who are hell bent ok killing, raping and torturing innocent civilians because they are Jewish. I can only imaging what the response would be from the Government and the populace if Iraq was holding 20 Americans who were visiting. Would they send them money as they are doing to Hamas?

3. What actions have the international leadership such as the failed and deplorable United Nations taken with regards to the horrific stories of rapes and sexual torture perpetrated on these poor innocent women on October 7?  Does anyone care? Not one sign on campuses or on the streets!!! Dare I say selective outrage?

4. What about the hundreds of thousands of Gazan civilians who are being led by murderous thugs who have no regard for anything other than their thirst for blood.

5. Why is the international community not asking where has the billions of dollars of aid that was sent to Hamas & Palestinian Authority gone to? Murderous thugs have built underground tunnels, rocket launchers, rockets and hoarded weapons at the VERY expense of the people of Gaza infrastructure. No leader seems to care.

Be vigilant and never be silent.

Our colleges are failing our kids

I write this with a heavy heart. My own kids are currently enrolled in college seeking higher education. Thankfully, they are in colleges that are marked safe for a Jewish student to attend, which unfortunately is not true of so many of our country’s institutes of higher learning. In fact, it seems the more prestigious they are, the more of a risk it is to send our kids there. The Ivy League schools have turned poisonous and toxic.

The recent testimony of three presidents of poisonous Ivy schools should be an eye opener to every parent in the country and not just the Jewish ones. You see, for whatever reason, Jews, like Israel, are canaries in a coal mine. In other words, the hate may start with the Jewish students, but it will most definitely not end there. I am old enough to remember the spate of aircraft hijackings that took place in the 70’s. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked plane after plane for political awareness to highlight the plight of the Palestinians. This led to copycat hijackings at such a rapid pace that there was an average of one plane a week hijacked in the U.S. alone. What started with Israel ended up being the world’s problem. Terrorism may have started in Israel but clearly did not end there. Last week I had to take my shoes off at JFK because of the insanity. On and on.

The irony is great. The very same halls that offer pure wisdom also offer pure hate, which is the complete antithesis of wisdom. It is extremely difficult to witness the rapid fall of our greatest institutions. They are literally collapsing into an immoral abyss which will be extremely difficult to climb out of. The saddest thing of all for me is to see the hypocrisy and the immorality of our leaders at these so-called higher institutions of learning. If the three aforementioned presidents would have been asked about the civil rights of any other group that was not Jewish, they would have been extremely outspoken against such vile speech. They would have responded with alarm and sincerity that they utterly condemn this type of rhetoric. Sadly, when it came to the Jew, they argued context even when pushed to the wall. Such distasteful people. Thank the cosmos that the president of UPenn resigned. At least some justice was served. For Harvard University to defend its president Claudine Gay is nothing short of a modern-day Kristallnacht where Jews were trampled on with nary a peep. Harvard should lose every Jewish dollar and every dollar funded by our government. These people are not fit to serve and most definitely not fit to defend. Harvard sticking to their guns!! Standing by her!! Reprehensible and unforgivable. She and the other beauty from MIT should be sent packing post haste. 

The silver lining in all this is that my peers, constituents and students have opened their eyes. These universities are no longer held in high esteem. The Harvard, Cornell, UPenn and MIT worship has been lessened to a great degree. They and the other higher institutes of higher hate are no longer idols to be worshipped. People have begun to wake up and take notice that these idols, just like the idols depicted in Biblical times, have ears but cannot hear and eyes that cannot see. They have been exposed as spineless and selective with a tremendous lack of common sense and completely skewed when it comes to any moral compass.

I urge you to not send your children to any college or university that simply does not care about your child’s wellbeing. Colleges are supposed to be a safe way to plumb the depths of wisdom, understanding and knowledge. If your child must lock themselves in the school cafeteria because of an ignorant mob who has no clue what from the river to the sea even means, then you need to get your child the hell out of there, and then you must sue the college for the torture, trauma and violation of your child’s civil rights.

I pray for better days. I am not optimistic, though. When anti-Semitism is debated in context, we are in deep trouble because as I wrote earlier, “context” will be coming for the rest of us as well in very bad ways.

Humbled by the insanity.

Sign the Petition

As a parent of a Jewish student, I am deeply disturbed and frightened by the recent congressional hearing where the presidents of Harvard, UPenn, and MIT failed to unequivocally condemn calls for genocide against Jewish people. Their inability to clearly state that such hate speech violates campus rules on harassment is not only shocking but also dangerous.

It is alarming that in 21st century America, leaders of prestigious educational institutions cannot stand firm against anti-Semitism. This lackadaisical attitude towards hate speech creates an unsafe environment for Jewish students who are now left wondering if our safety and well-being are valued by these institutions.

According to a survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League in 2020, 63% of American Jews have experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism in the past five years (ADL Global Survey). This statistic is already disturbingly high; it should not be exacerbated by university leaders failing to take a clear stance against hatred.

We demand immediate action. We call upon these presidents - who should be champions of diversity and inclusivity - to step down from their positions due to their failure in providing clear moral leadership. We urge all those who value justice, equality and non-discrimination on college campuses across America to join us in this cause.

Please sign this petition demanding their resignation as we strive together for safer campuses free from hate speech and discrimination.


Israel - The insanity continues

I don’t know about you but whenever I hear the term “conflict” in Israel, I am incensed, as there is no conflict per se, but usually a barrage of rockets from the southern border coming from Gaza courtesy of Hamas, or from the Northern border gifted from Hezbollah with Iranian money and support. These rockets are not aimed at military sites or other strategic places that would help their military cause. Rather, they are aimed indiscriminately into civilian residential neighborhoods killing and maiming men, women and children. 

The savagery increased against innocent men, women, children and even babies on October 7th when these sub humans high on drugs decapitated babies, raped young women and killed indiscriminately with glee. Then to add salt to the wound, these beasts kidnapped 240 human beings by dragging them forcibly back to the rat tunnels in Gaza.   

When I witness the pro Palestinian protests denouncing Israel's genocide and pulling down pictures of the poor hostages while at the same time holding their own genocidal signs reading from the river to the sea, I laugh out loud. Boorish behavior are usually perpetuated by boors. 
I notice that there are never signs by these "humanitarians" that ask for the release of the hostages which is arguably a real humanitarian crisis. Boors, anti Semites, sheep, buffoons' and idiots.      

There is no country in the world that would tolerate such attacks on its citizens. None. There would be fierce retaliation to not only stop the rockets but also to punish these vile aggressors. The fact that Israel warns the inhabitants of buildings to flee before retaliating in order to minimize casualties is a tremendous act of kindness. Once again, no other country would warn their enemies before attacking them giving them advance notice.
In fact, Israel is doing the entire world a favor by disposing of these Hamas trash. Israel is a canary in a coalmine. History has proven that terrorism starts with the Jewish people but does not end with the Jewish people. 

While Israel recognizes life as sacred, which is not the case with people that celebrate the brutal murder of innocent human beings, I believe that Israel does not need to practice restraint against terrorists’ groups like Hamas or Hezbollah.  In fact, it is Israel’s sacred duty to defend her citizens at all costs, as it is the duty of every other nation. Israel should not be the exception.

There is a failed argument called proportionality. It is an insane, rotten, vile, nonsensical approach to attempt to hinder Israel from protecting its citizens.
The proportionality argument goes as follows. Since Israel is a stronger force with a larger army, it needs to reduce its power to the same capacity, or in proportion to its enemies. This is immoral and wrong. In fact, if Israel would act in proportion to Hamas, it would kill men, women and children via cowardly attacks at bus stops and malls.
Furthermore, proportionality is not an accepted premise under international law. Let’s be clear, Israel is not a wrongdoer for having a superior military, and Hamas is not a poor victim for having a limited military.    

When the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres stated that this savagery was not created in a vacuum, this makes him unfit the post he heads. My God, the UN was created to stop the murder and bloodshed on innocents. Yet this creep offers excuses for the savages. I do not accept his apology and never will. This man was silent when Israel was barraged by thousands, yes thousands of rockets, upon its citizens, and he needs to be silent now. One cannot spout one-way rhetoric. This goes for the entire U.N. who only gets involved in a panic when Israel responds. The U.N. is immoral and serves no purpose other than to condemn Israel for human rights violations. Some of the U.N. countries who lead the U.N. Human Rights Council are China, Venezuela, Russian Federation and Cuba. I am surprised that North Korea is not in on the action as well. You really cannot make this stuff up.

It takes a lot of money to fire thousands of rockets. Where is this money coming from? Who is supporting terrorist causes who kill children?
Can you imagine if this same money went into infrastructure like schools, hospitals, and universities? There is so much money that went to Gaza and sadly most of it goes to jihad?
It is no Mitzvah to give them money. It is quite the opposite. It is a dastardly act and needs to stop.

We must remember that most Gazans are civilians and are being held hostage by a wicked, unscrupulous, crooked group who have blood lust on their minds. While it is true that Hamas was voted in by the Gazan populace, this is because the Palestinian Authority had less money to offer than Hamas. This is a hard lesson learned. One must be careful what they wish for/vote for, because now Hamas rules with an iron fist. Besides, the last election took place in 2005. Who knows what the outcome of a more recent election would look like?
For every Israeli and Gazan that is killed, I place the blame on Hamas, Palestinian murder trivializers, the Gazan people who voted in this wicked regime, politicians who give terrorists money, bias media reporting, BDS fools and any and every outside agitator.
You have blood on your hands.

I pray for peace.

The Seven Ways to combat Anti-Semitism - Tried & Proven

Due to the recent uptick I Anti Semitism, I am sharing something I wrote a while back. Really pertinent for today’s times.

There are seven types of anti-Semites that I can think of.

1. The Nutjob 
2. Jealous
3. Evil People
4. Race Baiter Opportunists
5. Ignorant and Fearful
6. Historical 
7. The Goonies/Followers/The Weak

Each of the above categories feels justified to hate the Jew. For some of them the hatred is so rabid and visceral, that it actually effects their life and wellbeing.  Their problem -- not mine. What is my problem is what I do about it, or more likely, what we do about the hate.

I have come up with seven responses to hate which, in actuality, will not make them hate us any less, but will allow us to survive as a people and to be the first responder in combatting anti-Semitism. You see, as Jews we are not unlike canaries in the coalmine who can detect trouble before the miners. The savages may come for us first, but by all means, they will not stop with only the Jews. Case in point, when the world looked on at the intifada, which included suicide attacks happening in Israel, and clicked their respective tongues and shook their respective heads but did nothing to help, the savages upped the game and they started to attack, kill, maim and beat other nationalities in other parts of the world. So, take heed, our response to anti-Semitism is not only for Jews but for mankind as well.

Pick up a shovel and fight back. Simple as that. Anti-Semites are a cowardl y bunch and have no tolerance for difficult hate. They prefer to be 3 on 1 and not 1 on 1. I am not advocating anarchy; I am simply stating be active and not only reactive. Better safe than sorry. If you see something then DO something. The time for Chamberlain passivity has long passed. (Not sure there ever was a time). We need to be prepared to stand up to be stronger, better and more courageous than they are.

Taking a line straight out of their playbook. Do not purchase any item whatsoever from an anti-Semitic owned business. Not one more Roger Waters upload and no donating to Ilhan Omar’s PAC or to Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). This is a very effective way of sending a message.

Continuing the above theme… We as parents spend way too much money to send our kids to school as it is. So therefore, if a college campus has either anti-Semitic faculty with undue influence or a campus that has literally uncontrolled hate and bigotry on it with no limits, then rest assured that the dean’s office and its board have given, at the very least, a tacit nod. Colleges like UMass Amherst, who has invited Linda Sarsour not once but twice, should not be given any respect, even the $75 application fee. Please realize that the college campus is the frontlines of where this anti-Semitic war is being held. Choose carefully how bloody you want that war to be.  

Squabbling amongst ourselves is probably the worst thing we can do, especially publicly. This will cause the hater to implement a divide and conquer strategy in order to weaken us. We need to stand together as a united front. As an example, when Jews pay homage to the fanatical leader of Iran by either flying to see him or expressing love on Facebook, then this hurts all of us. We need to stay strong together as one family unit.  We need to remember that when they hurt one of us then they hurt us all. I shake my head in disbelief at the levels of acrimony that exists between Jews. If Hitler taught us anything, it is that he never cared what type of Jew you were.

Regardless of your opinion on how many states Israel should have, supporting Israel is a must and the only moral thing to do. The difference between Germany 1933 and France 2020 is Israel. Israel is the ace up our sleeve. It is the one advantage that our poor grandparents never had in Eastern Europe. It is the key, the answer if you will, to our very survival. So, don’t be quick to knock it, boycott it or tread on it, as you may need it yourself one day, especially considering the current political climate.

There is no question that we as Jews need to continue building hospitals, nursing homes, synagogues, businesses, schools, Yeshivas and Jewish Community Centers. We need to be powerful and strong and we need to continue to do the good that we do. So, the first message is to continue expanding and not be afraid. There is a caveat though -- build securely. Spend some of the building money on safety and security. Be vigilant and be safe.

Don’t even think of shirking the kippah because of anti-Semitism. On the contrary, instead of scaling anything back, we need to enhance our Jewishness and Jewish awareness. We need to show the savages that we are proud of who we are and we are unashamed and unabashed. We are the people who brought morals and values to the world. If they choose to buck these morals and be morons, then this is their choice. We are messengers for a good world. Shooting the messengers will not stop the message from being carried out.

God bless.
Feel free to share. 

Jews did not steal Palestine

I knew it.

I knew that the world's sympathy for Israel would only last until Israel started to fight back. It is my firm belief that the world gets a little queasy when a Jew fights back. The short memory of some of the world’s leaders as far as the savagery that was perpetrated on innocent civilians and even babies is appalling.

Then you have the ongoing protests against Israel in the streets and on social media. It is sickening to see the immoral opinions shamelessly spewed by ignoramuses, haters, and fools. Do they understand the meaning of the chant from the river to the sea that oozes out of their mouths and pens? They are sick and sadly getting sicker.

Their argument is that Jews stole the land.

Aside from the fact that it is untrue as we will explore, I have the following question for them. What brought on the slaughter of Jews in the Hebron Massacre in 1929? No land issue then. Why did the not so grand Mufti meet with Hitler to plot the extermination of Jews well before the Declaration of Independence in 1948? They cannot answer this, but I can. Sick and getting sicker.


Let’s tackle this grand lie that Israel stole the land shall we. Let’s do this with facts and not boorish chants.

Inconvenient FACT #1. Jews are called Jews because we come from JUDEA. There has been a continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel since we entered the land following the death of Moses. Read that again. Jews have been living in Israel for over 3300 years!!!

Inconvenient FACT #2. Palestine was the name given by the Romans following the capture, destruction and expulsion of Judea. The Arabs chose the name Palestine to throw the Roman victory in the Jews’ face.

Inconvenient FACT #3. There has never been an independent Palestinian state.

Inconvenient FACT #4. Jews did not steal land from Arabs when they returned to Israel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They legally purchased land from absentee landowners living in Arab capitals to build kibbutzim and communities. Local Arab tenants were often displaced following the purchase so Jews could be hired to work the land.

Inconvenient FACT #5. The Arabs of “Palestine” were offered their own state, side-by-side with Israel in 1947. They, along with the surrounding Arab countries, rejected the partition recommendation (UN Resolution 181), which resulted in civil war and an invasion of five Arab armies to destroy the entire Jewish community of Israel. These Arab armies lost, and they are still mortified and embarrassed due to their stubborn pride.

Inconvenient FACT #6. Nearly 80% of what was meant to be an Arab Palestinian state was stolen by Jordan, who is the real culprit here. During the next two decades under their control, they never gave the Palestinians independence. During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel gained that territory in a defensive war when Arab armies massed troops along her borders and once again threatened destruction.

Inconvenient FACT #7. Israel offered the Palestinians 97% of the land they claimed to be fighting for in 2000, making Israel the first and only country ever to offer them a state. This offer was rejected with no counteroffer. A similar offer was made in 2008 with the same result. Arafat did not want peace, as peace is bad for business. Arafat died a BILLIONAIRE.

Inconvenient FACT #8. SOMEONE PLEASE TELL AOC AND ILHAN OMAR and the other haters in Congress that Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza in 2005, removing all soldiers and civilians, giving full control to the Palestinians in hopes of peace. The terrorist organization Hamas controls Gaza as they were sadly voted in by the Gazan people. The not so innocent Gazan people chose these terrorists who use them as human shields. There has not been another election since which is typical of terrorist regimes.

Inconvenient FACT #9. The Israeli settlements in Gaza is 0%. The Israeli settlements in Judea/Samaria, also known as the West Bank, is 2 – 3 %. So, don’t tell me that this is the reason for the ongoing feud.

Inconvenient FACT #10. What would you do if your pregnant daughter’s fetus was ripped from her body or your baby was beheaded by savages? Would you run and protest in the streets in favor of these beasts? The only reason you dare show yourselves is because it is the Jew that was killed. You have to live with this and not me. I apologize to all anti-Semites and to self-loathers for taking the wind out of your sails and the air out of your balloon.

Please help spread the word. Share this myth buster and let the truth prevail once and for all.

Why do they hate us?

I was asked this question yesterday. The person wanted to know why Muslims hate Jews. Before I respond to this question, I need to clarify that I do not think Muslims hate Jews. It is simply not true. Take a look at the UAE. They don't hate Jews or even Israel for that matter, for those who choose to make that distinction. I visited Kazakhstan, which is a Muslim country, and could not have been treated nicer if they had tried. 

So, allow me to rephrase the question. I also feel that I need to separate it into two separate questions. 1. Why do they (people) hate Israel? 2. Why do they hate Jews?

I think there are a few points to uncover.
The stolen land argument and reason for the hate is the primary reason the haters will give you for their rigid and long-term hate. Israel is lambasted by the haters who denounce its occupation of oppressed people.

The proven fact that the Jews living in Israel (they called it Palestine) were treated as second- or third-class citizens over the centuries when there were no land squabbles seems to be willfully and conveniently ignored. 

The proven fact that Jordan made the city of Jerusalem Judenrein until 1967 seems to be willfully ignored. The Jews were kicked out of their homes and sent packing out of the city into homelessness.

The proven fact Jews were massacred in mass by Arabs way before any land arguments is ignored. Google Hebron Massacre 1929. I visited the museum in Hebron. The perpetrators of these heinous acts taught evil to the Hamas savages. In other words, hatred was taught from parent to child. How sad. 

The fact that the Grand Mufti held talks with Hitler (they both should find no eternal peace) to discuss the Jewish problem way before the establishment of the modern State of Israel should give you pause.

The fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza and chose to evict its own people from their beautiful homes and communities in 2005 was met with thousands of rockets as appreciation. 

I think the question should be switched on its head. How can anyone be so wicked? You got what you demanded. Israel is no longer occupying your land. Why are you shelling and killing civilians? Why are you decapitating babies? 

Clearly, this is not about land. 

So, what is it? What is the reason for the hate? 

Answer: Mental illness. These terrorists are sick savages. They are insane. They have no vocation. They refuse to live a life with meaning. They therefore fill this void with hate. The hatred fuels them which is what I call insanity. 

Can you imagine what their life would look like if they took their decapitation skills and became surgeons instead? Instead of building bombs and rockets they should be building universities. In 2005 the Gazans had every, and I mean every opportunity afforded them. They could have had every amenity and every luxury, but instead they chose this path. This is why it is a mental illness. 

It is the same answer. Mental illness. 

When I saw the subhumans dancing and celebrating because Hamas murdered whole families, I shook my head and realized that they are mentally ill and need help.

When I see signs that read Gays for Palestine, I think to myself, mental illness. The Palestinians throw gay men to their death from tops of buildings. 

When BLM Chicago puts out a statement that it stands with Palestine a few days after hundreds upon hundreds of innocent civilians are murdered, I seethe with a burning anger. Doesn't BLM exist because innocent civilians were being killed? Madness!! Insanity!! 

When I see on the news sub humans in Sydney,  Australia chanting "gas the Jews", I see insanity personified.  The irony is that these loony savage scum got their wish as 30 Israelis were found gassed to death by smoke inhalation in a bomb shelter.

On and on and on. 

The bottom line is anti-Semitism is a mental disorder and anti-Zionism is as well. The hatred has been inculcated by insane parents and grandparents which has led to an imbalance in the brain. 

If my mental illness reasoning does not satisfy you, then my next answer is money. The amount of billions upon billions given to these savages in the name of peace is nauseating. The savages have taken this money and used it to destroy rather than build. Then they are given even more money. Then they are given even more money to destroy further.

Yep, that too is mental illness. 

I run a non profit based on love and compassion, and I always am running in the red. Maybe, I am the one who is mentally incompetent.  It seems if I would start an organization of hate, I would receive serious funding from the UN, EU, Iran and even from our very own State Department.

Crazy times. It seems that insanity is prevailing.

Need to pray.


Can we really change the past?

This is the final countdown to the High Holidays where we attempt to elicit a good year filled with health, happiness, success, and serenity from the heavenly powers. During these 10 awesome days beginning with Rosh Hashana and culminating with Yom Kippur, we attempt to reconcile our past year’s failings and inadequacies, promising to be more even-tempered and compassionate and patient with others. We also take a quick pick at our spiritual shortcomings.

The elephant in the room that no one asks is the following: While we can attempt to reconcile the past all we want, we can never erase what we have done in the past. At this moment in time, scientists have not been able to crack the code which allows us to turn back time and repair the damage we have caused ourselves, our loved ones, and others. In fact, the past is very much a part of who we are. Ask any therapist and they will tell you that we are all a product of our upbringings. Luminaries such as Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein and Jean Piaget all staked their careers on one’s childhood traumas. So, while we are able to tell ourselves that the past is in the past, is it really in the past or is it embedded deep in our psyche and a part of our very current DNA?

Judaism’s answer is so powerful that it is life altering.

In short, no one wants or expects you to change your past. Aside from being impossible as we just mentioned, it is also a disservice to mankind to alter what happened.

While it is obvious that we need to regret and take ownership of all our misdeeds and make amends if needed, this is elementary. What we really need to do is to learn from our mistakes and failures.

While success breeds success and momentum, it is nowhere near as powerful as the lessons gleaned from failure. You see, a mistake can be so powerful that it can create a dramatic shift in our behavior. It allows us to say to ourselves, “I cannot believe that I did this,” or “I never would have believed that I could have sunk so low. I need a reality check as I do not want to be this type of person.”

I read recently that when the stock market tumbles, the analysts do not call it a catastrophe as I do. Rather, they call it a correction. What an interesting choice of words. What is a correction? If you look at Webster’s, one of the definitions is improvement. How about that? Sure, a down market can be viewed as something terrible, but it also can be viewed as a chance to make some money. The same is true with a mistake. It can be seen as a horrific lapse of judgment, and it may be so. Or it can be viewed as a chance for improvement.

The Kabbalah explains it this way. When someone wishes to jump into the air, they bend their knees and crouch lower than their regular height and then they jump high. The descent is solely for the sake of the ascent. I usually think of an Olympic diver whose diving board bends down low which then propels them much higher. A mistake, if handled correctly, can be treated the same way, namely, a descent for the sake of an ascent. No one consciously makes a mistake. If they did so, it would not be called a mistake but rather premeditated.

Bottom line, once the mistake happens, we can respond in one of a few ways.

1.     Berate yourself and beat yourself up. I believe that this accomplishes nothing other than low self-esteem, which we all know is super toxic to oneself.       

2.     Laugh it off and move on without the slightest care. This is arrogance and is also super toxic to others. Arrogance leads to so many more problems.

3.     The last response is one that is healthy for all. This would be the path of introspection. A person should ask themselves how this happened and more importantly, how they can ensure that this does not happen again. Of course, apologies should be offered. This mindful approach has no downside as self-awareness is the best path to enlightenment and improvement.

There is a fascinating Talmud that discusses when a person processes their misdeeds and regrets them. Even ones committed on purpose with malice will not only be forgiven but will also be converted into merits. While it seems that conversion to merits is a bit too far, it makes perfect sense. If the misdeed ultimately leads the person to positive change, then the transgression was actually a catalyst for change. So, while we do rue the actual negative act, we eventually come to applaud the transformation that it brought about.   

Coming full circle…. Don’t forget the past and try to bury it as it should not be buried. Rather, learn from the past and be a better person because of it. Celebrate the past and make changes because of it and not despite it.

Remember to err is human. To completely screw up takes a politician.

How to Avoid Burnout

We all go through it. It is called by different names by different cultures and nations. Some call it a midlife crisis while I call it burnout. Besides, I know so many who are afflicted way before midlife and quite a few who are afflicted much later on in life. I call it burnout because that is exactly what it feels like. Burnout. A complete depletion of brain and emotional powers to the point of exhaustion. Not unlike a candle that has run out of wax and has no light to offer even to itself.

It is a terrible feeling and extremely intense to be in the middle of burnout. There are, however, thankfully, some tricks of the trade to deal with it, preferably before the onset of a burnout. These words of wisdom can help during the burnout period as well.

The following are some of the proven ways to prevent burnout or to ameliorate the length and severity if already afflicted.

Instead of one’s every single thought being lodged (read stuck) in one’s brain creating overload in the cerebrum of the central nervous system, one should continuously do a brain dump by purging the thoughts onto paper.
Writing down one’s thoughts is a power move as it gives one a chance to process these thoughts on paper where one can read and reread without having to worry as to what will be forgotten or not. It also allows for negativity to be placed on a piece of paper which is external to our brains and bodies. Keeping this stuff inside can be quite unhealthy, while getting it out is so cathartic and will actually make you feel better.
Another beauty of journaling is that you can track how far you have come. You will be able to see certain resolutions you have processed and are now at peace with. You can inspire yourself by seeing how far you have come.

There is something very special about music as it can be so uplifting and inspiring. I once read that a solo dance party is the best way to shake off the doldrums. Put in some airpods, turn on a lively happy song and pop up the volume and let yourself go. The serotonin will begin flowing and the negativity will start dissipating.
There are different types, styles and genres of music because we are different. Pick music that will float your boat. I do think that we all can agree that funeral music is probably not the best choice if an uplift is desired though.

Sometimes you just gotta go when you gotta go. This can be for a weekend or a week. This can be planned or done spontaneously when the need arises. The bottom line is that we all need some time off. It is inhumane to be on continuously without pause. I once saw a meme where someone wrote that they cannot think about retiring, and that they will have to work until lunchtime on the day of their funeral. It is so important to change the environment every so often.
To use the argument that you do not have the time is foolish. Make the time. If you feel that you cannot leave your job as you are so crucial to the project at hand, I am going to be blunt. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is expendable, including you. You are not the only talent or thinker out there. Your work will do fine without you even if you never return. Think of it this way, your work will be better served if you take a break and come back refreshed.

Once you come back from some R & R, be careful not to fall into the same trap of overworking yourself. Be mindful and take breaks. Go outside. Sit on the grass with your shoes off and close your eyes for a few minutes. So many of the Fortune 500 companies have created a break room where there are mini pods for someone to take a power nap. I personally like to walk around my office building a few times enjoying the fresh air.

It is so important to do things that you enjoy doing, whether it be going out to eat, the waterfront, a concert or just chill with friends. You must live a life worth living. Just to wake up, go to work, eat dinner, and then go to sleep only to do the same thing the next morning is not a good life. We must intersperse our days, weeks and months with family visits, wine tasting and a Cuban cigar. All these are examples that I can think of. Enjoyment can come in many forms.

The adage a friend in need is a friend indeed comes to mind. Life is not meant to be a solo trip. There are all types of vocations that help us get through life. We have gardeners, dentists, attorneys, doctors, and street sweepers. Simply put, we cannot do everything by ourselves. So why should we go through life without it being enriched by someone whose company you enjoy and lean on at the same time. Just talking it out helps purge the toxicity. Even if the friend just sits and listens to you and vice versa and speaks minimally. It is so vastly important. I cannot underscore the power of this medicine called a friend.

Looking at life through the Facebook page of someone you know is nothing short of toxic. It is simply a fabricated story of existence and is the furthest thing from reality. I firmly believe that the creation of the personal handheld computer called a cell phone with all its glorious capabilities is the ruination of society, as it is simply too much information with most of it not vetted or even needed. The bottom line is that screen time of all kinds needs to be minimized as there is nothing real about it. To call it virtual reality is absurd. More like virtual dishonesty.
In addition, much of the news is either divisive, offensive or too troubling to read or watch. It always amazes me that good news travels at the speed of molasses while bad news travels at the speed of light.

Many times, burnout occurs because we are overextended and try to do too many things for too many people. We need to place healthy boundaries around ourselves to ensure that we are the captain of our own ship. For many, the present company included, this is not an easy thing to do. Therapists are taught as part of their training to perfect what is called compassion with borders. This is to ensure that a particular client or two does not burn them out.
I recall with vivid pain the following boundaryless episode that happened to me. I share this story simply to bring awareness that having no boundaries will end up causing pain. I was at Disney with the family and someone back home had a loss. They called me to assist them with the funeral. I told them that I was away, but they pleaded that they really needed me in their time of desperation. I proceeded to leave my family in Disney while I went to help this individual bury their loved one. My wife was furious and my kids were upset. I, on the other hand, did what I had thought I had to do.
Fast forward a few years. This individual has now moved out of state, and despite my attempts to keep in touch and continue a great relationship, he does not return my calls any longer and I have outlived my usefulness. This realization that he was done with me brought great distress. I mean, come on, after all I have done for him. I even left….. After all is said and done, if I can be honest, the real offending party was me and not him. Yes, he got his way on his terms, but who allowed this to happen? Me!
A huge lesson – hopefully learned.

The bottom line is that we must give ourselves the respect that we would surely give others. We need to learn to say no if something does not feel right. At the very least tell the person that you need to think about it. This will allow you to process the request to see if it actually crosses a boundary.

Not my bailiwick, but good nutrition and exercise is vital. A healthy body and a healthy mind work in tandem.

All the above advice is by no means comprehensive. Feel free to add something positive in your life that will make you feel alive.

Now go live.

Rosh Hashana Reflections

Before you turn around Rosh Hashanah will be upon us. Whether you feel it is early this year or late, it does not change the fact that we are getting real close to the big day.

I am sure you have noticed the stark differences between the Jewish New Year and the civil one. On New Year’s Eve (December 31) we gather together in an exuberant atmosphere and party hard, accompanied with blowers and streamers, champagne and cocktails and we celebrate in the streets. Contrast that with Rosh Hashanah eve; we get to bed as soon as we can because tomorrow is a very long day, and we need to hear a different type of horn, which has no definitive tune.

Furthermore, January 1 is a day to sober up from the previous night’s festivities. In the Jewish New Year however, instead of sobering up from last night’s nonparty, we sit somber in the sanctuary hopefully absorbing every word of the Rabbi’s sermon, and with any luck, enjoying the cantor’s heartfelt melodies.

It is true that in Judaism, like the rest of the world, we recognize we do need to celebrate the New Year. After all, we made it to yet another year. In Judaism, we add an additional component to the day, which understandably changes the narrative. To understand this better, we need to really appreciate the reason as to why Rosh Hashanah is even a Jewish holiday.

Our sages share that Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the anniversary of the creation of the world. In essence, we are commemorating the world’s birthday. However, the sages clarify that Rosh Hashanah was not the first day of creation, but rather the sixth. In other words the first day of creation happened six days before Rosh Hashanah on the calendar.

Why celebrate day 6 and not day 1? You see, on day 6 humankind was first introduced to the world. Day 1 through day 6, God created heaven and earth, light and darkness, seas and clouds, sun, moon and stars, fish and fowl, beasts, animals, reptiles and the West Nile mosquito. The last thing God created on Friday late afternoon was Adam & Eve.

The Rabbis explain that the reason we do not celebrate the 1st through 6th is because until then God was not acknowledged. Once a discerning human being was created, someone recognized God as its creator and therefore a day of distinction.

In other words, on Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the birthday of humankind. We are taught that Adam & Eve were created last to show the significance of the fact that a human being was brought into a ready-made world because humans need to have everything they need to accomplish their God-given mission immediately. We were brought into existence to make this world a better place.

If God made Adam & Eve first before everything else, they would have to hang around for six days in a desolate existence. There was no sun to soak in, and there was no beach to relax on. Can you imagine a world without Manischewitz wine? Adam & Eve would have to wait until everything was ready to go to start making a difference.

These powerful thoughts teach us that laziness is detrimental to our mission, and it conveys that the world was made for us to be productive. God is our boss and demands that we make a positive difference to the world every single day.

Since we celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the day mankind was created because mankind was commanded to work with what you got, it follows that Rosh Hashanah is the actual birthday of mankind.

A birthday in Judaism is so important that it is not something that we take lightly. A birthday is the day God decided that the world needs you TODAY to come into this world and get to work. There is no redundancy in Judaism. No two people were created for the same reason. Each one of us has a unique mission to fulfill and today is the day.

As Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of mankind, we need to reflect on what good we need to accomplish in the coming year. Likewise, an individual’s birthday is spent the same way, pondering and ruminating. We do not want to blow this special day by getting drunk in the streets, rather we pray for guidance and clarity, peace of mind and serenity.

Allow me to be the first to wish you all a happy birthday. May we all fulfill our specific purpose and may it be with ease.

Worth praying for.

Please feel free to share.

Hakol B'Seder

The terms 'b'seder' or 'hakol b'seder' have absolutely nothing to do with the Passover Seder, because if it did it wouldn't make sense why it is such a common phrase. Yet, it is probably the most used mantra repeated by Israelis millions of times a day. What does it mean? 

The colloquial translation of b'seder is 'ok', and hakol b'seder is  'everything is ok'. 

The Israeli people live by this mantra,  despite living surrounded by people who would rather die than live side by side in peace. In spite of the homicide bombings, stabbings, car rammings and every other threat, the Israelis manage to give a thumbs up and say 'hakol b'seder' to literally anyone they meet and in any situation.

The reason this is on my mind is because the other day I was venting my spleen to someone over something that infuriated me. He looked at me and in his Israeli accent, he said "Rabbi, hakol b'seder." That was it. No other words of advice or comfort.  With that declaration, he shut down the conversation. 

Mind you, he was not trying to be rude. On the contrary,  he was trying to help me, give me perspective, put it behind me and move on. I looked at him and just nodded. It may not seem like a great story to share, but those two words 'hakol b'seder' spoke volumes and meant so much to me, and hopefully will to you as well. 

Too often we get stuck in a vortex that we cannot seem to get ourselves out of.  We live in the past - either in fear or misery, or we live in the future - with uncertainty and anxiety. This is not a good way to live. The best way to live your gift of life is in the present - and simply tell ourselves, hakol b'seder- all is ok. 

The key to this phrase is the word "is." If we live life with the assumption that all "will" be ok,  then this completely disses the present. The present is terrible,  but the future, now we are talking. If we are always looking to the future, then when will we live our present life?  Let's not even talk about all the "used to be ok" comments, as that is obviously a non starter.  "All is ok" is a declaration of optimism and positivity that all IS okay right now.

We need to take a page from the Israeli playbook. No matter what nonsense is going on in one's life. No matter how aggravating our day has been. No matter the long line at the airport or at Starbucks, we must stand strong and shake it off with these two beautiful words, hakol b'seder.  Leave the hand wringing for the serious stuff you will need to deal with and start living a meaningful and happy existence.

I think about the particular vent the other day that made him say those magical words to me, and I am now cognizant that whatever happened that got me so worked up was not really worth the emotional response I had. I allowed some idiot to take space in my brain, rent free. Completely does not make sense to me now.

Before you get worked up and shake a fist and say that this guy is crazy - as not everything is b'seder, there are things that are dire - you are correct. I would never be so insensitive as to say 'hakol b'seder' to someone who is ill or going through some serious challenge, because it is not b'seder. It is lo b'seder. 

I am simply referring to issues and situations built up in our minds to the point of craziness, when in reality it is not the biggest deal. 

B'seder. I am done.

High Holidays are around the corner... Can we Really Turn Over a New Leaf?

As incredible as it may be, we have less than five weeks to the Jewish New Year and only six weeks to

Yom Kippur, the awesome day of Atonement.

In other words, in five weeks Jews all over the world will find themselves sitting in a synagogue beseeching their creator to bestow a happy and healthy new year, and a mere week later we will back in the pews repenting our misdeeds and imploring God not to bear a grudge.

Here is the strange thing about Jews and the High Holidays. Every year we ask God to forgive our sins by itemizing them in detail, and every year we come back and itemize them again, and every year we feel extremely confident that God has surely forgiven us again. I don’t know about you, but if someone hurt me once and asked my forgiveness, I would hopefully be quick to forgive. If the same person hurt me again with the same shenanigans, I would be less inclined to forgive. If then he hurt me again for a third time it would be extremely difficult and foolhardy for me to let go and forgive. I am sure that this is true of all of us.

Permit me to give you a scenario that actually happened. Someone asked me for a loan of money to be paid back within a few months. Sure enough, they reneged on their promise, and they defaulted. A couple of years later, this person approached me for another loan. I reminded them that the first loan was never repaid. They argued that it was a particularly rough situation, and they assured me that this would not reoccur. I “lent” them money again but this time I simply viewed it as a gift, as this is in tune with my philosophy that you can only get hurt if you have expectations. Sure enough my non expectation proved to be the right approach. Do you honestly think that I would be open to this person approaching me for another loan? If they had the audacity to approach me for a third time, I would simply tell them to go abuse someone else for a change. So, why do we think that we can abuse God year after year after year after year? The same infraction followed by the same repentance followed by the same infraction all over again. It makes us look like insincere pathological liars and cheats.

One of the responses offered is such a great lesson and should, in my opinion, be taught to children in schools globally.

God did not create us as angels who spend the day singing His praise and sipping lattes with an extended pinky finger while reclining on a balcony overlooking the heavenly island of Capri. Rather, he created mortal human beings with desires, needs, wants, and wishes. He created us with real life problems such as uninvolved parents, bad influences, and painful addictions. We have been planted into a world where there are so many varying confusing opinions as to what is right and what is not, what is morally acceptable and what is abhorrently unacceptable. It is all so confusing and leaves one exhausted. And while it is true that we are endowed with intellect and do have the power to reason and make good choices, we were also programmed on some level to make terrible choices as well. To add to this mess, we innately have conflicting emotions and traits to deal with. For example, while we want to be selfless, we also need to be selfish. It is our job to be able to rise above the noise and nonsense and discern what is the most honorable and noble path to take. He left discernment to us. Go figure!

Let’s face it. Every single human who has ever walked this earth has been by definition imperfect. Every single one of us has erred in some way, and most likely in many ways. Our greatest leaders have been proven to be fallible. Even Moses was fallible. We were created imperfect and we will live in an imperfect state as long as we draw breath. We will make multiple mistakes on any given day, week, month, or year.

However, none of the above makes us bad. In fact, quite the opposite. The fact that we have so many challenges and we still for the most part try and do the right thing makes us beautiful and good. There are very few of us who are actually bad and rotten to the core. Most of us try to get things right and attempt to do the right thing but are not always successful. There can be a myriad of reasons as to why we failed at doing the right thing. Sometimes the failure can be due to ignorance and/or willful blindness and perhaps laziness or even maybe due to lack of willpower. Any reason you share will most likely underscore the fact that it was most definitely not because you were a bad person, but rather a flawed one.

It is hard to forgive evil, wicked, malevolent, rotten, malicious, and spiteful people. Unless someone is evil, they would never advocate that the Nazis should be forgiven. No way. Hitler and the Nazis are unforgivable and so is Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The leaders of the Mongol Empire were evil and so were the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition. I would hope that God would not entertain forgiving them ever no matter how many Yom Kippurs come and go.

However, non-evil but flawed people like you and me are a completely different story. If we cannot get a break from the all-powerful, just, and omnipotent one, then we are all doomed to suffer in eternal purgatory because of our human failings. He did not create us as angels and therefore He has no expectations of us to be angelic. Our job is to be human with all its frailties and shortcomings.

It is for this reason we are able to approach God each year with remorse, regret, and a resolve to do better. We are telling God that we are human and fallible, and we need you to let it go and not build up resentment against us.

In conclusion, the Hebrew word for repentance is Teshuva. The word Teshuva when translated literally does not mean repentance but rather return. Now, Webster defines “repent” as “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life,” “to feel regret or contrition,” or “to change one’s mind.” Think about it this way. Essentially repentance means to “turn,” while Teshuvah means to “return.” The lesson is crucial. To repent means that in the past I consciously decided to be one kind of person, and now, because I regret it, I want to become a new kind of person going forward. Return on the other hand means I’m returning to who I always was. I was never bad, just flawed. I was never rotten, just ignorant. I never meant to be selfish, I was just caught up in the moment.

We are not turning a new leaf. We are returning to our true selves filled with goodness and infinite potential to do great things.

The dynamics of emotional pain

In my previous thoughts I posited the negative consequences of prolonged emotional pain inhabiting one’s body as being completely unhealthy and toxic to one's very physical existence. I would like to follow through with some additional thoughts to elucidate the dynamics that are at play within every human psyche.

While emotional pain has its purpose and place, long suffering emotional pain does not. If allowed to linger, the pain will get stronger and stronger, and eventually will overcome the body, its host. Not unlike a parasite that attacks the body left unchecked, it will overtake the body and possibly cause its demise.

Just like an infection needs to be treated with antibiotics, emotional pain needs to be treated as well with a strong course of action.

One of the first steps of dealing with emotional pain that has overstayed its welcome is by possessing the following awareness. Once the dust has settled and the crisis is no longer in your face, then you must understand that the emotional pain you are experiencing is not your identity, core, nor essence, and most likely it is not coming from a good place. In general, most emotional pain, even deep disturbances, are to be viewed as articles of clothing, not unlike gloves that can be donned or taken off at will. (In my experience, there are some crises that have no end date. Losing a child is one example and this whole discussion does not apply).

Don't get me wrong, pain can be an effective survival tool, but it is most definitely not your being and essence as will be discussed.

After you understand this crucial point with regards to the source of your pain and your awareness has firmly crystallized, you now need to stand up to this retrograde guest that will not leave your body and demand that it evacuate your consciousness immediately as it is no longer welcome, and there is simply no more tolerance for squatting inside of you anymore. This type of emotional scourge needs to be dismissed and sent packing. It has outlived its usefulness. Basically, you need to shut it down.

To be able to do this, you also must recognize that your essence and core are supremely stronger than this parasitic pain. Elongated pain, which is artificially fabricated by one's mind, is nowhere near as powerful as a human being who possesses a myriad of intellectual and emotional faculties. Pain does not stand a chance.

The dynamics look something like this. The mind does not like change, and once it gets hooked on a thought or an emotion, especially one that helped it get through a tough loss, breakup, disappointment, or other form of disturbance, the mind unfortunately remains latched on and does not want to let go. The mind coldly rationalizes that it is foolhardy to let go of something that has been so helpful to it. Why should it let go of this bit of comfort as well? This is why many people hold on to past grief (some grief is not let go-able), as these dark grieving thoughts were comforting at some point, and to lose this comfort as well as the other loss is too much to bear. So many of us ironically find misery to be our go to place, our happy place, and this is because it is the place the mind knows and feels comfortable with.

However, as we articulated, holding on to emotional pain longer than necessary is deleterious to one's health. It is not only not good for the mind and body, but also not good for your deepest being either. One's soul/life energy does not want to live in negativity for long periods of time as it is stifling and retards the purpose of its very existence of living. Look at it this way, brooding, negativity, despondency, depression, and ominous feelings are the antithesis to a soul. A soul is a bright energy that needs to be productive and creative, and negativity strips it of its potency. A soul thrives on happiness, elation, and movement while sadness sucks these qualities right out from within the soul.

So, while it is hard for the mind to let go of its comforting negative thoughts and feelings, you as the host must put an end to them and send a strongly worded cease and desist memo primarily to the mind to stop its illicit love affair with pessimism, gloom, negativity and cynicism.

Now, pain most definitely has its purpose. Think of physical pain as a teaching moment. You don't have to tell a child a second time not to touch a hot pot that just came off of the range. Once they experience pain by touching the pot, they know with certainty that the same mistake will yield the same results which will be painful. Likewise, if your fiancé is causing you immense pain, then, like a hot pot, you need to proceed with caution lest you get burned, and no one wants to get scalded.

Important note: Feelings of discomfort such as nausea after drinking cacao will alert you that maybe the next time you should decline that third cup. However, discomfort is never to be confused with pain, as discomfort is designed to make you change your current situation. Pain on the other hand can be debilitating while discomfort makes you aware that something is not right.

In short, our pain receptors help us get through life by alerting us that this or that situation can be painful and/or destructive. So, it is insanity to allow runaway pain to destroy our existence with vengeance and vitriol instead of its original purpose of protection.

I can tell you that by showing some backbone to the elongated emotional pain by telling it to get lost is what is sorely needed. The reason as to why this is so effective is because you are the host and the master of your destiny, and you are the producer and director of your body’s energy. You and only you have the choice to allow someone to share, use or even abuse you and your body. Now, just as you would hit, scratch, kick, yell, and punch at a stranger abusing you, the same treatment should be afforded to the fabricated and artificial emotional pain. Yell and shout at it to leave you alone as you are no longer interested in pursuing this abusive relationship.

End it once and for all. The ball is in your court.

A Painful Epiphany

The other day I was a complete captive, as there was an accident ahead of me, and 7,000 vehicles behind me. I had nowhere to go. So, what does one do when one is a captive of the road? To me, there are only three real options aside from brooding. One is to listen to music; two is to call someone; or three, to process thoughts. While brooding is also a part of processing thoughts, I don't really think that it accomplishes anything other than to continue the cycle of more brooding. Bottom line, I chose to give some time to something that has been on my mind as of late, the concept known as pain. The following paragraphs are the outcome of my epiphany on the road.

To be sure there are various types of pain, and in the hopes of clarity, I hope to elucidate some of the types of pain and agony that exist. There are obviously many nuances, and the fact that I have not brought them up is by no means any indicator that it is somehow unimportant.

There is not one person alive who has not experienced physical pain. From teething as an infant to growing pains as a child (growing pains was not something I had to deal with), sports injuries, broken bones, simple headaches, migraine headaches, period cramps, oral cavities, back twinges and in my specific case, blasted kidney stones. We all have physical pain at one point in our lives and we seek help from our parents to professionals to mitigate the pain. A little Tylenol for minor aches and pains, antibiotics for infections, nitrous oxide for root canal, etc. Once we mitigate the pain, we are ready to move on with our lives. The last thing we should do is simply live with pain. If a simple fix and/or a good night’s sleep does not make things right, we try the next step and go see a specialist.

There is another type of physical pain that does not get fixed that easily, chronic pain requires greater involvement and may necessitate an incredibly difficult journey, which can include multiple interventions. If someone needs to replace a knee due to chronic pain as an example, they need to have surgery and replace a part of the knee in order to be able to be pain free. While the rehabilitation involved is quite difficult, it beats living with chronic pain. Unfortunately, there does exist chronic pain that even surgery cannot nix. We then need to resort to strong meds. Unpleasant to say the least.

Another type of pain that is not necessarily physical is emotional pain. This pain is very real and does hurt quite a bit. Losing a loved one is very painful emotionally. It can be crippling and overwhelming. I always respond when someone shares that they are heartbroken after a loss; that pain is commensurate with love. The more you love and are connected with this person, the more the loss will be felt. Emotional pain can be due to a variety of reasons other than loss and for the most part are all real and factual. No one should dismiss someone else’s pain as being unsupportable or remark about the individual in pain that they are being melodramatic. Emotional pain is pure, raw and unadulterated anguish.
For the most part, I find that the closer we are to the person causing anguish the more pain results. A spouse can really ruin one’s emotional life as opposed to simply being annoyed at a contractor for not showing up. Let’s not even talk about one’s child and the resulting pain.
Emotional pain is a process that we have to go through until we are able to exit the rollercoaster ride after all the ups and downs are complete. The good news is that life experience is the best teacher, and a difficult event can drastically alter us for the better (or unfortunately, for the worst). I have found that some of my greatest challenges were teaching moments and I am able to help others who have had similar experiences to mine.  

Allowing emotional pain to linger day in and day out is not good. Lingering unresolved emotional pain is akin to allowing an oral cavity to continue wreaking havoc without attending to it. We all know, and if you don’t I will tell you from firsthand experience, that not addressing a small cavity ultimately can lead to requiring a root canal with a dentist (in my case I have dubbed him the Butcher of Babylon). Not pretty. Likewise, you know what happens if you do not set a broken bone properly? Lots more pain.
I heard an analogy recently that resonated with me. A vacuum cleaner is a remarkable invention and the way it sucks up dirt is brilliant. You just roll the head of the vacuum on the ground and all the shmutz disappears. That is until the bag is full and can no longer absorb a speck more of dirt. Once that happens the entire machine stops operating until the bag is emptied. Likewise, if we do not take care of our emotional pain, we will reach a point where we will be filled to the brim with toxicity and we will not be able to be a functioning human being.

Therefore, if one’s emotional pain at what transpired eons ago is still palpable, active and painful, then it needs to be addressed before it is crippling. This is especially true when the person or thing that caused you hurt is no longer in your life.

There is obviously the route of therapy. Everyone needs and deserves to have someone in their lives to talk to when the need arises to discuss familial hurt, pain, vulnerabilities and any and all issues that arise that need to be dealt with. There is nothing shameful in having someone who is trained to listen and to nudge you in the direction that you need to be nudged. The Mishna, a book that was written 2,500 years ago, discusses the obligation for everyone to find a mentor to discuss issues pertaining to one’s life.

One must also address oneself with resolve with the following few comments:

“I am not going to allow this emotional trauma that happened to me to control me. Instead, I am going to be in control of it. I am the host, and this debilitating thought is simply a guest and not a permanent resident. I now choose to be rid of this parasitical guest that seeks to overwhelm me. No longer will I allow this to continuously fester. Pain, you are no longer welcome in my life. I am the master of my own destiny, and I have now decided that you are done. I will not allow this fabricated pain (as the issue causing pain is no longer a part of your life and has not been for a while) distract me from my greater mission of being a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted person who wishes to live to the fullest. Goodbye pain and good riddance.” 

The above-based approach is based on a Kabbalistic approach by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the famed book called Tanya.

The Power of Now

I was just recommended a book to read penned by Eckhard Tolle titled The Power of Now. It is a book on mindfulness. The overwhelming message essentially is that we should focus on the present moment and not constantly ruminate on the past or fret over our future. He opines that the present is the only thing that really matters, as it is the only important slice of time that we have at this moment. While I have not finished the book, the first 70 pages totally resonate with me. The book though is not to be read detached lying on the sofa. Rather, it is a book that needs to be studied and not simply read.

After thinking about it, I realized that Tolle’s teachings on The Power of Now are not something I have never heard before. In fact, I have seen it before a number of times in the ancient writings of the Mishnah and Talmud penned over two millennia ago.

The quote “If Not Now When” is attributed to the great Rabbi Hillel, who was the Chief Justice of the Jewish Supreme Court. Rabbi Hillel is responsible for much of the application of Jewish Law practiced today. He taught us where to place the Mezuzah, how to light the Chanukah candles and he instituted the Matzah sandwich we eat on Passover.

Most people understand the aphorism “If not now” originated by Rabbi Hillel to mean one should not procrastinate. Do not push off doing what needs to be done until another time, but rather do it now! There is no time like the present as they say. Rabbi Hillel was no slouch and was an accomplished human being. Clearly, he was a man of alacrity and got things done.

I believe that Rabbi Hillel is also alluding to the above Power of Now message as well. Simply put, his quip “If not now”, also means if one cannot live in this specific moment, then when will they live? You see, living in the past is not really living as that time has passed and living in the future is not living, as that time has not yet arrived. So, if not NOW, then when?

The Talmud, which follows the Mishnah, is much less cryptic, as no interpretation is necessary. The Talmud asks the following rhetorical question. Why worry?  The Talmud explains why it is rhetorical with this statement: “What is past is past and is present is only present in the time it takes to blink an eye, and the future is unknown.” 

I now have to ask myself the following fundamental question. As a student of Judaism, why did I not internalize the Talmud and Mishnah’s lesson of the Power of Now and waited until I read a non-Jewish book on enlightenment? The lesson to me is all about the timing of readiness. Simply put, I saw the words in the Mishnah and Talmud but I was not emotionally ready or open to apply them to me on a practical level. I simply viewed these beautiful words of wisdom as cliché. The timing of Tolle’s book was impeccable, and I took to the book as a moth to a flame. It was only then that I realized that I have indeed seen this somewhere before.

It is so clear to me that Judaism has already processed and clarified all of life’s issues both positive and negative. The Jewish teachings are so rich and so dense, filled with meaning, purpose and answers. However, we not only have to know where to look, we also have to be ready to internalize the message.

The bottom line is that Power of Now is an extremely important teaching and its benefits are numerous. Here are my top four:

1. It allows one to really live in the present and not base one’s life on something that either happened in the past or base it on something that may or may not happen in the future.

2. Furthermore, even if something did happen in the past, I am not the same person as I was in the past, and therefore did it really happen to my current me?

3. Living in the present will not allow the mind to pester your brain and overwhelm it with intrusive thoughts. You simply will not have the bandwidth to deal with all the mental idiosyncrasies that the mind throws your way. This is not to mean that we should not look back and learn from our mistakes. We need to respect the past but not be hampered by it.

4. Living in the now allows you to appreciate things that we sometimes overlook. A simple budding flower can be overlooked because our mind is flooded with other nonsensical stuff, things that we can do nothing about. 

Go take on the day.

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.