Posts in spirituality
Making Miracles in our Lives

These are the key things that I think if we focus on could really help us move the needle and get unstuck and get going.

  1. Ignore, or, better yet, drive back your inner critic – Often, we can be our own worst enemies. We can do the work, but we talk ourselves into thinking that we can’t. When this happens, be willing to push back and engage in some positive self-talk. Examples include: (1) “You CAN do this! That’s why they promoted you.” (2) “You’ve been in situations like this before and have always come through.” (3) “Just ask someone who was in a similar situation how they handled it.”

  2. Envision yourself breaking through – Ask yourself this: Suppose that overnight, while you are asleep, a miracle occurs and you are no longer stuck. Instead, you have achieved your goal and then some! When you wake up in the morning, everything is exactly how you want it. What do you notice is different? What is the first thing you see?

Read More
12 Personal “T.H.A.N.K.S.G.I.V.I.N.G” Reasons To Show Appreciation

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays of the year.

For many, it’s a time to be with family and enjoy delicious food (and some football).

It’s also the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

At its essence, though, Thanksgiving is all about gratitude,

Whether you choose to remember how early American settlers survived a difficult winter or something more recent and personal, Thanksgiving gives us all opportunity to pause and reflect about all the goodness in our lives and say, “Thank you.”

🙏 “Thank you” for your gifts

🙏 “Thank you” for your opportunities

🙏 “Thank you” to the special people in your life

🙏 “Thank you” to the Being that produced you

Read More
Learn to Let it Go

When I say that haven’t recited this prayer properly I refer mainly to the above paragraph. After all, there have been people who have hurt me, sometimes in serious ways. They seemed very content with their behavior and most did not seek forgiveness. Even though I recognize that if we all – myself included – willingly forgave one another then we would all be able to approach God for the atonement that we desperately seek. But still, it was so hard to forgive sometimes, especially is their behavior hurt my career and/or affected my family. I suspect that most of us have struggled with this point. We simply have a hard time letting go and are prepared to hold grudges indefinitely when we feel that we were right, even to our own detriment.

Read More
Do You Live to Work or Work to Live?

The upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the Festival of Weeks, which commences on Saturday evening) commemorates the Hebrews receiving of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, at Sinai some 3300 years ago. On that seminal date, a series of commandments were issued that would frame key elements of monotheistic thought, spiritual observance, and social interaction for centuries to come.

The Sinaitic experience was the culmination of a seven-week period that began with the Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt (commemorated by Passover). That physical birth, so to speak, of the Hebraic nation was followed by its spiritual naissance at the foot of the mountain.

It is noteworthy that the seven-week period that separates Passover from Shavuot is a period of counting, known as Counting of the Omer. During these 49 days, the Torah proscribes a steady, upward count, leading up to Shavuot.

Read More
How to Come of Age in Style

This past week, my son Chaim celebrated his 13th Hebrew birthday and became a bar mitzvah. My wife and I reveled in the moment that was shared by family and close friends.

Literally, the term bar mitzvah means “son of a mitzvah (commandment)” and is intended to convey that a young Jewish man who has come of age is now obligated in the fulfillment of divine commandments as an adult male. (The same holds true for young Jewish women when they reach the age of twelve.)

But this milestone is so much more than a simple transition from childhood to adulthood (the Torah offers no such concept as adolescence). In fact, it represents three very important transitions in a young person’s life that can serve as a lesson for us all.

Read More
Making Good on this Last Chance

This past Sunday I traveled to Phoenix in order to present at a national conference for school business officials. When my teenagers found out where I was going, my trip quickly took on new meaning. To them, the conference was really only a means to a loftier purpose, which was to shop at a local clearance store called Last Chance.

For the uninitiated (which included this author until very recently), Last Chance is Nordstrom’s only true clearance store in the country (as opposed to Nordstrom Rack, which offers savings when compared to Nordstrom stores but not to this degree). Clothes, shoes and accessories that end up here are sometimes new, sometimes used, and often damaged. This merchandise comes to Phoenix because it was accepted as a return somewhere along the way and could not be sold in any other Nordstrom store. Last Chance sells it at steep discount, and offers shoppers hope that they might to get their hands on high-end Italian and other products that would otherwise be cost prohibitive for them. As you might imagine, shopping at this store has the feeling of being part Marshall’s, part Grand Central Station, and part Black Friday.

For me, it was quite the experience. Shopping for my children with my outdated sense of style is hard enough (especially as one is a girl, for whom I was told that I have no sense of fashion). To do so while navigating through the bustling store made matters all the more interesting. Suffice it to say that any return trip to Phoenix will go unmentioned to my kids.

Read More
Put the past where it belongs

Success is not about the resources that we have access to but rather the resourcefulness that we bring to each situation. The most successful people in life were not necessarily the ones who had it all laid out for them on a silver platter. Plenty of folks with the standard “success ingredients” such as intellect, strength, charisma, wealth, good working environments, strong business plans, etc. have done surprisingly little in life.

What can we do to become more resourceful, so that we can take proper advantage of possibilities, manufacture opportunities and manage setbacks in a way that allows us to move forward? Consider using these techniques:

  1. Prepare well in advance. We never know exactly how things will work out. The best-laid plans often go sideways, many times for reasons that we could never have predicted. The readier we are for situations, the easier it will be to live in the moment and chart a different course to success.
  2. Be an avid learner. Again, the more we know the better we typically do. As part of being prepared, take the regular time needed to be well-versed on whatever we are trying to achieve. Many pundits suggest at least 30 minutes daily of growth-oriented reading.
Read More
What to say when you have no words - A Jewish look at simcha

Succos is called “zman simchaseinu.” The reasons for this are many but the underlying theme for all of them is that this time of year is particularly joyful and one that we should experience in a celebratory fashion.

But how can we be joyous when four orphans must mourn for their murdered parents, who brutal deaths they witnessed firsthand? How can we sing and celebrate when bloodthirsty murderers extoll their deaths and encourage more, training their children to hate Jews and conduct jihad?

What kind of smile should come to our lips as we watch footage of Jewish worshippers in the Old City, including children and even infants, who are mercilessly harassed on their way to or from the Western Wall?

Read More
Feeling the Pain - 9 Av

The walk between my Jerusalem apartment and yeshiva, a walk that I took multiple times a day, included a series of steps. Little of consequence ever happened to me on those steps, or anywhere else on the path for that matter.

But this night was different, at least it would be. It was the night of Tisha B’Av (9 Av,) and I, like hundreds of others, had gone to hear the mournful recitation of Eicha (Lamentations) on the yeshiva’s hallowed floors, just a stone’s throw from where the harrowing scenes of annihilation and destruction had occurred on two separate occasions (first during the Babylonian period and then at the hands of Titus and the Romans.) Together with everyone else in the yeshiva, I had recited the first set of kinnos (dirges, elegies), and tried my best to understand their powerful message. But, as I had in years past, I failed to make a deeper connection, one that evoked any form of emotive response. Despite four years of study in Israel and three Tisha B’Av experiences in the Holy Land, I remained sufficiently disconnected from the day’s tragic, somber history as to not shed even a single tear.

Read More