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Where Does “Love Your Fellow” Begin

July 20, 2020

In the last post, I once again used the quote

“Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

Let’s delve into the meaning of that quote further and see how we can use it as a guiding light.

We are all aware of this cardinal rule “Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19;18), which is sometimes stated as “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.  It is a cardinal rule, because it is something to constantly have in our thoughts, to guide our actions or words, whether consciously or un.   It is another one of those cardinal rules that needs to be constantly thought of, until it becomes second nature, or as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, “habits of action that become habits of the heart”.  

Most of the discussions about this cardinal rule centers around what it means to “love your fellow/neighbor”, no matter how difficult it may be.  We all tend to find things about our “fellow/neighbor” that we don’t like, or bugs us.  This teaching reminds us to look for the good in all.

For now though, let’s focus on the “as yourself/thyself” part, which is really where it begins.  If you don’t love yourself first, then your “fellow” isn’t so thrilled with you loving them and your “neighbor” is probably thinking, “don’t come a knocking”!!

 If you don’t love yourself, then how can you love another?  If you can’t see your inner beauty/soul, the true you, how can you see that of another?

How To Love Yourself

To truly love yourself, begin by recognizing and constantly remembering that you have value and you matter.  You are not just matter, it is you that matters.  Never forget that.

You, your soul was created on purpose.  It was placed in your body for a specific purpose.  A unique purpose that benefits all.  It’s a mission that only you can fulfill.  That you are still here, as in alive, is on purpose.  In other words, you are still needed.   As younger people would say, “How cool is that”?

When you truly believe, internalize, and actualize that, you will love yourself and then you can start knocking on your neighbors doors.  They will be glad to see YOU!!

When you believe that you are needed and matter, you will also be better prepared and able to handle anything that comes your way.

 “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – C. S. Lewis

 “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr. Seuss

 “We must be our own before we can be another’s.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The worst fault a person can have is to forget his intrinsic greatness as a human being.” –  Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin

When you don’t believe, it becomes too easy to believe you are a victim.  Victimhood leads to depression, anger, and blaming another/others.  It can cause any interaction with another that isn’t what you want it to be, or perceive it, to be taken as personal and negative.  There is no room to see another, just to see what you want to see.  It causes you to act on assumptions.  None, of this lends itself to “love your fellow”.

Victimhood is internal and it can cause the need for external affirmation and going to any length to get it.  Including going along to get along, even when you really know better.

“We don’t always see things as they are, we see things as we are” –  Anais Nin

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” – Henry Winkler

“Victimhood comes from the inside.  No one can make you a victim but you .  We become victims not because of what happens to us but when we choose to hold onto victimization.” – Dr. Edith Eva Eger


When you truly love the truly you, then you can truly love your neighbor/fellow.  When we all do that, we will have the wonderful world we all truly wish for.

 Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy


July 3, 2020

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”. 

The founding of America was then, a very novel idea in building a nation based on individual rights and freedom.  A nation founded on the idea that man is inherently good and given freedom could/would live up to that good. A nation founded on the belief that all are created in the image of G-d.  That we are all children of G-d.  That given freedom, we could and would eventually have a country that lives up to and recognizes these “self-evident truths”.

Those who got freedom back then, were grateful.  Yet it was not something that they were familiar with and had no real experience.  They were an imperfect people given the freedom and opportunity based on the founding principles to grow and become a more “perfect union”.  So began the journey in learning how to use their new freedom.

We were created with free will.  The USA was created to be a land that gave us the opportunity to express our free will.  With the freedom of free will, we can choose to elevate ourselves and become the person we were created to be.  A unique person, with a unique purpose and mission for which we were each created.  A mission that contributes to the benefit of all.  A person who follows

“Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19;18).

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me. And if I am only for myself, of what good am I.” – Hillel, Ethics of fathers 1:14

Without these rights and freedom we could not pursue our dreams and our individual purpose.  When we use that freedom to be who we are meant to be, to fulfill our unique purpose, America will be all that it’s meant to be and what it was created for.   Without the freedom to fulfill our individual purpose, we will never get to a land fully defined by it’s founding principles.

What could be more gratifying for each of us to know that we chose, because we could, to use that freedom to reach our ultimate potential as human beings.  To know that it came from you and not imposed on you.  To look around us and see that all are enjoying “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”  To be truly United.  It may take longer than we would like but freedom is the only way to get there.

If there are faults in America, it is not the fault of America.  We are all still imperfect people.

A young child asks his parents on a long trip, “Are we there yet?”.  The parent answers “no, not yet”.  On our journey, we must constantly ask ourselves, “Am I there yet?”. Each of us is a work in process that can lead to progress.  The closer we get, the closer we will be to the goal that America was founded on.  We have made much progress, so let’s keep going, until the answer becomes, “yes, we are there”.  Without freedom we will never get there!

To have the freedom to pursue and become our true selves is indeed something to be thankful for.

Our liberty should be celebrated everyday by using it for the good of all.

May we cherish, be grateful for, and protect those freedoms for many, many more years.

May we use our freedom to fulfill our greatest human potential.


G-d Bless America

Grow To Be Bigger

June 11, 2020

I am again sharing this story* below in the hope that it will cause some personal reflection for each and everyone of us.  That this story will then help bring some healing and begin to bring us all together.  Together to create the country and world we wish to have.

There were two young brothers ages eight and ten. The younger brother was the taller one. We all know, and men certainly remember that for boys, height is really important. So naturally the older, shorter brother was very jealous of his younger, taller brother.

One day, while playing in the backyard, the older, shorter brother pushed the younger, taller brother into a little ditch. This wasn’t done in order to hurt or knock him down, but rather to make him appear shorter. At which point the older, now looking taller brother gave a “Nah, nah, nehnahna, I’m taller than you!” Their father witnessed this and called over the older brother.  The Father told him to bring over a chair and he did.  The Father then told him to stand on it.  The boy didn’t understand but he complied and then asked why he was standing on a chair, and his father said,

“Whenever you want to be bigger, you raise yourself up, instead of pushing someone else down.”

Bigger here means to be a better person than you currently are.  The person who lives by

“Love your fellow as yourself” Leviticus

This is a true story that we can all store as a reminder for and to ourselves.  It’s a reminder to ask yourself, if you are guilty of pushing others down in order to make yourself bigger.  It doesn’t.

Be honest with yourself, as hard as that is for all of us, and ask yourself whether you are acting as the older/shorter brother and if so how to change that.  Change that to grow.  Grow and hope that we all do.  When we all grow, we will have the world we all wish for.

We climb our mountain by always elevating ourselves.  We do it by elevating ourselves in all that we do and in any circumstance. We do not do it at the expense of anyone else, but for our and everyone else’s benefit.  By doing that, we may also inspire others to do the same.  Then we will get closer and closer to the world we wish for.

If you are aware of someone pushing someone down, thinking it will make them bigger, you might share this story with them as a subtle hint.

True growth towards the world we wish for begins with you and it begins now

 Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

*The story is attributed to the 5th Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch. Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Schneerson. He recounted this story of his youth that happened with him and his older brother, Zalman Aron.

Your Comfort Zone

May 18, 2020

We often stay in our comfort zone no matter how uncomfortable it may really be.

Here’s a favorite quote that’s a reminder to push ourselves through challenges to bring a desired change.

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

In order to accomplish anything important and of value requires making changes.  Those changes require getting out of what has become our comfort zone.  Those changes come with some struggle.  Diamonds are not found lying on the ground.

The desired change(s) begin with your decision and commitment to make those changes.

Let’s say you want to get in better shape.  You hire a personal trainer to help you do it. The trainer will put you through drills and exercises that you might not like and might not want to do.  Those drills will cause some pain and discomfort.  When you are done, you are stronger, healthier and better.  Could you have gotten those results without all the blood, sweat, and tears?

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller

All the above applies to our choice to get out of our comfort zone in order to grow in some way.

This pandemic has taken us way out of our comfort zone and not by our choice.  Although it has been forced upon you, you can choose to use it as a catalyst and an opportunity to grow and reach new personal heights.  Being forced out of your comfort zone, rather than choosing, could be the most significantly meaningful opportunity to make the most significant and meaningful changes for yourself and by extension for the world.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Are there changes you could/should make?

Hopefully, you have used this time to think about what your priorities have been.  What they are and/or what should they be?  What is truly valuable to you?  What will really bring you joy, not just happiness?  What gives your life purpose and meaning, or what could?

Now having been forced out of your comfort zone, make those changes for now and going forward.  Commit to them and you will come out of this stronger, healthier, better, and more joyful.


Do not let this “Shelter In Place” become your new comfort zone!!

 Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

Attitude Your Personal Light Switch

May 1, 2020

During this pandemic, my recent posts have highlighted the added importance of having and maintaining a positive attitude.  There are many past posts specifically about attitude, this is one of my favorite that I posted five years ago.

Here it is

Chanie Gorkin, a sixteen year old girl, who follows in the tradition of Chabad Chassidism, was given a homework assignment to write a poem.  The subject was “The Worst Day Ever”.

She decided to infuse hers with some Chassidic philosophy.  One part is the idea of “Head over Heart”, meaning that one has the power of their intellect to govern their emotions.  The other part is the concept of finding some good in everything.

 Her poem speaks to the power of attitude.  How you see and respond to everything that comes your way can either keep you climbing your mountain or keep you stuck.  Your attitude is like your personal light switch.  You can either turn the light on, or leave it dark.  Your attitude…..Your choice….

Here is what she wrote.  There is a surprise twist so read slowly and pensively

Worst Day Ever

By Chanie Gorkin

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,
And see what I really feel about my day.

 Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

I Remember

April 21, 2020

Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.*

In honor of all those who perished, were murdered in the Holocaust, and what lessons we can learn from remembering, I send this to you.

My parents are Holocaust survivors, or now, were Holocaust survivors.  In their honor and memory, I remember.  In memory of the six million Jews who were murdered, I remember.  For this I say “Never Again”.  We remember to honor those who were murdered and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, anywhere, and to anyone.

“What does it mean to remember? It is to live in more than one world, to prevent the past from fading, and to call upon the future to illuminate it.”  Elie Wiesel

This year we have another reason to remember.  While we remember the many, too many, who were murdered, shot, gassed, and many, too many who perished from Typhus, malnutrition, just gave up, suicide….    Today we also remember and think of those like my parents, who weren’t murdered… who survived, as our existence is challenged by Covid-19.

While it is not an apt comparison, as no comparison is fair or equal, they can serve as lessons, reminders, and add some perspective.

To most of us, it is unimaginable how the survivors survived enduring the unendurable and unimaginable.

They were able to do this because consciously or un, they believed that their lives had a purpose and meaning.  They had faith, hope and looked to the future with that. They believed they had something or someone to live for.  If they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t have survived in the first place.

This is a powerful lesson and reminder for us all.  These survivors remind us of what people are capable of enduring, how, and why.

It is a powerful lesson for all of us today in “shelter in place”, uncertain of how long, fearful of the disease, mourn the loss of life, fearful of our personal economic future, etc.

Just like the survivors did, let’s replace fearful thoughts by looking to the future with faith, hope, and purpose.  With that, we can and will get through this to a brighter tomorrow.

“The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life.” – Dr. Viktor Frankl from “Man’s Search For Meaning

Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

*Today is also the Yarzheit, anniversary of my Mother’s passing.  I write this in her honor and memory.  Quite a coincidence that her passing was on the same day as Yom Hashoah?

The Things We Learn

April 13, 2020

As we continue to go through this very challenging time, we learn some things, and are reminded of some that we already knew.  We knew them, but allowed them to fall from daily practice.  Or we never really put into practice, even though we knew better.  Now we can learn and/or learn again and put them into regular practice now and when things get better (not if – but when).

Some Lessons Of The Many Lessons


Many of the things that we made priorities, we now realize aren’t really that important.  We learn about that which truly matters, puts meaning in our lives, and hence brings real joy.  Take inventory of how , where, and on what you’ve spent your time before.  This period has given us an opportunity to learn what really matters.


We learn the value of staying connected.  We learn the value of a phone call, not just social media or text.  Let someone hear your voice, so they know you care.  Don’t you like to hear someone’s voice?  How much more personal and meaningful is that versus social media? Social media takes very little time and effort.

We all know someone who in normal times could use some love and attention, how much more so now.  So many of us are in “stay at home” and have cabin fever.  What about those that have empty cabin fever? Make the call and make it a lasting habit

Always Wear A Smlie

Remembering to always smile.  It makes you feel better.  It brings a ray of sunshine to what might be a cloudy day to the person you’re smiling at.

The downside of wearing a mask, is that someone can’t see you smile.  I was on a walk the other day and as usual I wave and smile at everyone.  Two women were walking towards me from the other direction.  One of them said to me “I’m smiling back, but you can’t see it because I’m wearing a mask”.  I said, “I can tell that you were smiling.  Keep smiling whether you think someone can see it or not.  They may not see it but they can feel it”  She said was very touched.  The I left her with this quote

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. – Phyliss Diller 

Don’t Procrastinate

We all to some degree procrastinate.  This pandemic reminds us of how quickly things can change.  We are reminded of how precious each moment we are given is.  With those reminders, we are reminded to not put off.  If we do the shelves might be empty and there will not be any toilet paper…….that was a joke/ metaphor.  Only put off that which shouldn’t be done t all.

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

Take For Granted Or Be Grateful

There are so many things that we normally take for granted and now we realize that they are things we should be grateful for.  Be grateful for the things we take for granted or don’t take for granted the things we should be grateful for.

I don’t take for granted the loyal readers of this site and I am always grateful for them.  That is why I do this.

Let’s learn to remember and remember to learn

Learning, remembering, and putting into action the many lessons will bring more happiness to your life and will make this a better world when this is over.

 Be Good Do Good Think Good Be Healthy

These are just some reminder/lessons.  Using the comment box, please share the ones you’ve learned

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