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Debating the Angel of Death

September 17, 2014

When we go to a funeral and listen to the eulogies of the departed, we are saddened and often inspired.  This often causes us to think about how we are living our lives.  We wonder how we would be eulogized.  If we are honest with ourselves, we might not like what we would hear.   Which leads us to make promises and resolutions to ourselves to make changes.  How often and for how long do you keep them?

We have all heard the idea of “what would you write, if you were writing your own eulogy”?

Let’s try a different approach.  There is a tractate in the Talmud that discusses how some of the Sages debated the Angel of Death, when he came for them.  How they tried to convince him to leave with his work undone.

How would you debate the Angel of Death?

Would you tell him of the good you have done?  If so, what would that be?

Would you tell him of the good you still have to do and therefore that you are still needed here?  If so, what would that be?

Would you tell him that you are ready to repent for past sins/misdeeds and now are ready to perform the good that you were created for and meant to?  If so, what would that be?

If he accepted any or all of your reasons for his delay, how long would continue doing the things that might keep him away?

In Ethics of the Fathers, it says “Repent the day before you die”.  That leads to the obvious question of “How will I know when “That’ll be the Day” (Buddy Holly)?  That leads to the obvious answer of….. Live everyday as though it is the “day before…”!!!

“Not a single moment in a person’s life is extra. Each person is given a particular number of days to accomplish their dreams.” – Unknown

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”. – James Dean

Heart and Soul

Some of this post was inspired by this article read here

“A Listening Heart”

August 20, 2014

 Here’s another thought and lesson that Robin Williams death brings to mind

Dr.Viktor Frankl, who is very well-known for his compelling book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” (listed here “Books That Inspire”) tells a very interesting story.  A patient (he was a psychiatrist) once phoned him in the middle of the night to tell him, that she was about to commit suicide. He spoke to her for two hours.  He gave her every reason to live that you can imagine giving. Finally, she said that she had changed her mind and would not commit suicide. The next time he saw her, he asked her which of the things he said convinced her to change her mind.  “None,” she replied. “Why then did you decide not to commit suicide?” She replied that the mere fact that someone cared enough to listen to her for two hours in the middle of the night was all that it took.

When King David was dying he appointed his son Solomon to be the heir to his throne.  Solomon was only twelve years old and as you can imagine, was quite anxious.  G-d appeared to King Solomon in a dream (1 Kings 3: 9) and asked him what he would like to have as the King.  He could have asked for more treasure, a larger population to rule over, more territory to rule over, a greater army, etc.  The one and only thing Solomon asked for was a listening heart”.

Robin Williams, R.I.P.

August 14, 2014

We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Robin Williams.  A man who warmed our hearts, inspired us, and put a smile on our face, both on and off-screen.

How painful it is to consider the depth of pain that one must feel to take that step.  It is heartbreaking to think of him or anyone in that much existential pain.

Here is a telling and perhaps prescient dialogue From “Mork and Mindy”, when Mork is giving Orson one of his regular reports about us

Orson: The report Mork.
Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
Orson: Does bed rest help?
Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
Orson: Do you have any idea why?
Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

We all crave to love, be loved, and to know that we matter.  Let someone know that they matter.   Do it today.


Time Is Not On Your Side

July 9, 2014

Unless you use it wisely.

Say someone e-mails you a YouTube video, or an article that deals with something you have been struggling with, will you watch it or read it if it takes more than three minutes?  Is that how you determine whether or not you will watch or read it?

How much time are you willing to invest in and for your life? How much time are you willing to invest in your growth, improvement, and refinement?  How much dedication, discipline, and energy are you willing to spend for your growth, improvement, and refinement?

Or are you content where you are?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

How much time do you spend in a day on things that don’t lead to your growth?  How much time and energy do you spend on avoiding that which will lead to growth and improvement?

Just asking!

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Ben Franklin

 “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

 “I was planning to procrastinate, but I never got around to it.” – Unknown

Heart and Soul

86,927 Days

July 2, 2014

On the Fourth of July 2014, we will have been blessed with and enjoyed 86,927 days of independence since the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776.  It said;

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

This was a novel experiment in building a nation based on individual rights and freedom. Without these rights and freedom we could not pursue our dreams and our individual purpose. Something else to be grateful for!  

May we cherish and protect those freedoms for many, many more days.  May we use our freedom to fulfill our greatest human potential.  


G-d Bless America

Always Fight Like A Champion

June 25, 2014

You have chosen a dream or goal and now you are preparing to begin.  In your preparation, don’t forget to prepare mentally.  Your mindset going into and while you are moving towards the realization of your dream, or goal, or purpose will be a determinant of the outcome.

Your preparing is in many ways similar to the way an athlete, let’s say a boxer, in training would prepare.  Proper training for a boxer requires not just physical, but just as important, mental preparation. Who you are, or believe you are going into the fight will be a determinant of your success.

“If you have it and you know you have it, then you have it. If you have it and don’t know you have it, you don’t have it. If you don’t have it but you think you have it, then you have it.” – Jackie Gleason

Just like the boxer, as you fight for your dream, goal, or purpose your mindset will also determine how you see and deal with any setbacks. You can see a loss as a knockout punch or “failure” and then give up.  Or you can see it as just the loss of a round, from which you can learn and become a better fighter.  It is never too late to change your mindset and not give up.

It has been said that even when Muhammad Ali was losing a fight, he fought like a champion.

“Failure is only postponed success as long as courage “coaches” ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory”. — Herbert Kaufman

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey

Heart and Soul

part of Eye Of The Tiger series

“I Can’t Help It”?

June 18, 2014
How often have you heard your inner-voice say after you’ve done something you regret (perhaps again) “I can’t help it”.  Or how often when someone calls you on something you’ve done that is regrettable, do you get defensive and say the same thing?
If you say that, then you believe or will believe that, and never improve.  You will continue to perform the same way and excuse it away.
Change your mindset by saying to that inner-voice, “Of course I can help it, I am the boss of me”.  Take charge.  You know you are better than that.  With this new mindset, whenever you do or say something you regret, say this to yourself, “I can do better and I will”.

         “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! – Audrey Hepburn

You know that you were created with free will and therefore everything that comes your way comes with a choice.  You always have the choice of attitude and response.  Making the right and good choice is often the most difficult.  The most difficult ones are the most important ones, so choose carefully.  When you can conquer that which is most difficult, everything else becomes easier.
There is a story of a Rabbi, who whenever a child of his misbehaved, he merely said to the child “Es Past Nischt”.  This is a Yiddish idiom which basically means “this doesn’t suit you”, or “you are better than that”.  This approach can be a valuable reminder for you, that indeed you are better than your missteps.  You can always do better.  Whenever you are confronted with a choice, take the old ten count and ask yourself if the choice you are about to make “suits you”.
 “Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from.” – Vernon Howard 
“One’s only rival is one’s own potentialities. One’s only failure is failing to live up to one’s own possibilities.”   —   Abraham Maslow

Heart and Soul


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