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Healthy and Happy New Year 2020!!

January 1, 2020

Healthy and Happy New Year!!

As we begin another new year, another new, another beginning, a new decade, we look forward to all that we wish for.  The good that we wish for ourselves, is the good that we wish for others and vice-versa.

For this New Year, let’s do more than just wish.  Let’s make this a “Happy New Year”.  Let’s make this the year where our deeds make our wishes reality.  A year where we tap into “all of our possibilities” and potential to become the human we were destined and created to be. A year where we each do our part to make our world a better one.

We can get there by constantly striving to make all of our actions directed to a purpose higher than just ourselves.

All that we need and the world we all wish for is in our hands.

Many years ago there was this great old wise man, a seer, who was coming to a town to speak.  His reputation preceded him, so many people waited with great anticipation for his arrival and then went to hear him speak.  Among them, was this one young and skeptical man, who went simply to challenge the wise man.  After the wise man spoke, there was a Q&A. When it was the young mans turn, he put out his cupped hands and asked the wise man what was in his hands. The wise man replied, “two little birds”, which was correct. The young man was impressed, but he was still skeptical, so he asked whether they were dead or alive. The wise man knew that if he replied, “they’re dead”, the young man would open his hands and the birds would fly away. If he replied “they’re alive”, the young man would crush the birds in his hands. The wise man’s reply was simply

“the answer is all in your hands.”

“Each person must see himself as though the entire world were held in balance and any deed he may do could tip the scales.” – Maimonides

May 2020 be your best year ever…so far!!

Healthy and Happy 2020

Be Good Do Good Think Good

 

You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Enjoy Latkes

December 23, 2019

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Latkes and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy some of  Chanukah’s lessons and miracles.

Here are some of the lessons that apply to all

Jews all over the world are now celebrating Chanukah, the celebration of many miracles.  From the victory of a small band of men fighting for their religious freedom against a very large and well equipped army, to one days worth of olive oil used to light the Menorah which then lasted for eight days.

The miracle of the oil burning for eight days represents the victory of light over darkness, both literally and figuratively.

At nighttime, Jews place their lit Menorah in doorways or windows to bring light to the dark street and to all who see it.

“A little light will dispel much darkness.”   —   Tzeda LaDerech

On the Menorah is a head candle called the Shamash, which is used to light all the other candles.  The Shamash lights other candles without losing any of its own light.  Each of us can be like the Shamash and bring light to all whose lives we come into contact with.  When we are like the Shamash, not only do we keep our light, we actually shine brighter.  We all have that power through acts of goodness, kindness, and charity.

“From one burning candle many candles are lit, yet its own light is not diminished.” – The Sages

Here is another powerful and universal message from Chanukah, the miracle of light.*

Of all the special qualities of a pretty and delicious olive, its essence is found in its oil when lit, producing its light.  In order to get to the olives essence, it must first be crushed to produce the oil.

So too in our lives, we sometimes are or feel crushed – by pain and suffering, loss, struggle, and disappointment – and just like the olive, it is then that our essence can be revealed.  It is in those moments that you may find your essence and with it bring your light to the world.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas

and to all a good light

*Based on a teaching of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Can Make You Stronger

December 17, 2019

“That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

You’re probably familiar with that quote.  I think it would be more accurate to say “can make us stronger”.

It ultimately comes down to choice.  How you choose to respond to all that comes, or is sent your way, can make you stronger.  You have no choice as to what comes or is sent your way.  You do have the choice as to how you respond.

Like a boxer in a fight who gets knocked down.  He can give up and stay down, or he can get up, quickly learn what just happened, and fight stronger and better.

One choice can make you stronger and one might kill you.  Not literally kill you, but kill your chance for a life filled with meaning, purpose, success, and joy.  The life you say you want, right?

“Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make our choices. Then our choices make us.” – Anne Frank

“It’s choice, not chance that matters” – Jean Nidetch

“Life is a sum of all your choices.” – Albert Camus

It begins with internalizing the attitude of believing that you do have the power of choice.  You are the boss of you!

All of life’s choices have a price. We can’t choose the price. We can only choose whether we are willing to pay it.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way”. – Dr. Viktor Frankl from his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”  He was a Holocaust survivor*

Attitude and Choice

“In life some people have it easy and make it hard and some people have it hard and make it easy” Sam Fox, my Father (obm), a Holocaust suvivor

Dr. Edith Eva Eger, who was also a Holocaust survivor, never forgets what her mother told her the day her and her family were taken by the Nazis:

“We don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but no one can take away from you what you put in your own mind.”

Dr. Eger used to ask herself, “Why me? Why did I survive?” But over the years she has learned to ask a different question: “Why not me? What is mine to do with the life I’ve been given?”

Here is your homework

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t read Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book, make the choice to read it!!

Then read “The Choice” by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

 Be Good Do Good Think Good

Happy Day of Giving Thanks 2019

November 27, 2019

We so quickly and casually say “Happy Thanksgiving” that we often miss and forget that it’s a day for actually giving Thanks. Of course, so is every day and we begin everyday with Thanks.

What are you Thankful for?

Who are you Thankful for?  Thank them!

Thank You for being a friend of Fred Fox, Spinning Rabbi

Humpty Upty*

November 17, 2019

*An oldie but goodie, that a reader recently brought to my attention, so I’m reposting it with some addition

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.” – Mother Goose

Why couldn’t all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put Humpty back together again?

First, Humpty had to want to be put back together again.  Secondly, and most importantly, only Humpty could put himself back together again.

Everyone else could lend a supporting hand, an uplifting hand, be a cheerleading section, but it was all up to Humpty.  Humpty could continue to be a Dumpty, or he could choose to be an Upty!!

When we realize, believe, and continually remind ourselves that each of our lives have value, that we are here for a specific purpose and mission, then being an Upty becomes easier.

We all sometimes stumble, we all sometimes fall, and we all sometimes get knocked down.  What you do when that happens determines where you go and you determine the determining.

“Why do we fall- so we can learn to pick ourselves up.” –  from Batman Begins

“The righteous may fall seven times, but they always rise again.” – King Solomon Proverbs

If you were a boxer and got knocked to the mat, you might say to yourself (consciously or un) “if I stay down I can’t get hit again”.  That is the self-preservation instinct born of fear, protecting you from getting hurt again.  The odds of winning are zero if you choose to stay down.

The ultimate self-preservation instinct should be to get back up in order to fight for the life you want.  How much do you desire that life?  How hard are you willing to fight for it?

 “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair

Know that you will fall or get knocked down again.  Accept that and understand that it’s part of preparing and learning.  The trick is to train, learn, and prepare yourself so that each time, you not only get back up, but you get back up quicker.

 Be Good Do Good Think Good

 

Another Lesson From The Butterfly

November 3, 2019

Here is another lesson from the butterfly.  See the previous post for the first ones

There is a story that when John James Audubon was a boy, he saw a budding butterfly that had just transformed from a caterpillar in it’s cocoon.  It looked to him as though the butterfly was struggling to get out and was in pain.  So he snipped the cocoon in order to make a larger opening.  Soon the butterfly emerged.  Sadly, one of it’s wings was deformed, so it couldn’t properly fly.

This teaches us that it was in the struggle that a butterfly becomes fully formed and strong enough to be what it’s meant to be.

Sound Familiar?

You, me, and all of us have had struggles, or are having some now, and yes there will most likely be more.  Just like the butterfly, it is through those struggles that we can get stronger.  It is getting through to the other end, that we get stronger and can fly.

If you adopt the belief and attitude that the struggles presented to you are challenges meant to make you stronger, they will do just that when you push through the cocoon.

The difference between you and the butterfly is choice.  The butterfly does not have a choice, you do.  What you choose to do with the struggle determines whether you come out of your cocoon ready to fly.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is life at the end of the cocoon.

Be Good Do Good Think Good

A Man and a Butterfly

October 17, 2019

One beautiful day, a man was sitting on a bench when a butterfly landed on his arm.  The man marveled at the beautiful butterfly.  He believed that everything happens for a reason, even a seemingly small thing such as the butterfly landing on his arm.  He wondered what was the reason for this?  What was he to learn from this?  So he said hello to the butterfly and it responded.

He asked the butterfly “what is it like to be a butterfly?”.   “It is wonderful”, the butterfly said.  I fly around wherever I want.  I hear everyone say how beautiful I am.  When I land on someone, they don’t try to swat me off like a bee.  They are happy to see me and I put a smile on their face.  I’m really very happy to be a butterfly.”  The man said “that really does sound wonderful.”

The butterfly went on to say, “Let me tell you a secret.  When I was a caterpillar, for what seemed like an eternity, all I did was crawl around looking for food or shelter.  Life didn’t seem to have any purpose or meaning.  I heard about becoming a butterfly and even though I wanted change, I was scared.  I had become comfortable with what I was and was scared of something so very new.  I was comfortable with the known and fearful of the unknown.  Now I look back and I am so happy to have become the butterfly that I am and was meant to be”.

The man never forgot what the butterfly told him.  He let it be a constant reminder for him to be like the butterfly.  To change and grow and grow.  To also fly and anyone he landed on, he would make sure that when he left them, he left them with a smile on their face.

 Be Good Do Good Think Good

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