Category: "Holidays"

Happy Birthday

Posted on Dec 10, 2020 by in Herz Happenings, Holidays, Seasons, Ilan Blue, Ilan's Red Space
Happy Birthday

Hey there Birthday Boy:

I guess what I have to wish you is the knowledge that you are on the right path, the faith that the actions you take are the right ones, even when they turn out to be the wrong ones.

May your curiosity take you to better and better places. May you find there the things you never knew you were looking for but you were glad you found.

May you continue to grow wiser, and may you find more reasons to laugh every day.

May people read your thoughts and be lifted, carried to new worlds. May they respond, and laugh, and cry, and think, and put a smile on your face.

May you find friendship and never be lacking for people to share your journey. And may you find the one, in her time, to laugh, and cry, and make new human beings, and grow old with.

And may the world be a better place for you having visited it. And may that visit be a good long, wealthy, healthy, joy of a ride.

Lech Lecha

Posted on Nov 1, 2020 by in Today, Holidays
Lech Lecha

And it's only in going to title this that I see it fits so well with yesterday's parasha, so that's where the name comes from. I'll let you make the connection.

So Shabbat is over three hours already, and I'm not sure exactly what I've done. I came in at about a quarter to seven, I turned on the computer, prayed Maariv, made myself a cup of coffee, watched a stupid NetFlix episode (I think I'm going to cancel NetFlix; I realized I get more out of MasterClass, it costs about the same; so unless you all tell me otherwise, that's what I'll do) while I played a day of my Solitaire (I just uninstalled that again: I've been better about it anyway. I got to actually just doing the hard or expert one or ones most days.), checked my e-mail (annoying: one of my new clients is checking up on me with Maria after I busted my butt for him; I'm firing him; and another also checked in with Maria because she somehow doesn't get that “n/a” means not applicable), and then I ended up on LinkedIn, where I'll soon be unfollowing a few more people (most of Pulver's friends are stupid anti-Trumpists), and then on to Facebook, where I saw a couple of my social posts, and ended on the one displaying the card above.

It's Saba's yahrzeit this week, so I said Kaddish for him today. I don't know I'll be making a minyan on the actual day (Thursday night/Friday), and I guess it was nice of him to show up as I was floundering into another wasted evening. I thought to write you first, but gave myself permission to do other things.

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw

So, I'll look for myself, and wonder where it was that my father forgot these things, or decided the world wouldn't let him be this, or maybe he did win. I don't know what his mighty purpose was. It seems I keep finding new questions I would have liked to ask him, some of which I can imagine how he'd answer, but I don't know. And it makes me sad to think of it, and it makes me miss him. And wish I'd somehow done or been more. And I know that's stupid; so I'll let it go.

being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one

There are certainly elements of this I see in my own life, the biggest to date being the role I play in creating the five beautiful human beings who are my immediate family. And while I still have a role to play, you are mostly grown and don't need the attention you once did.

And I suppose there is something to this in my time at Landmark, the whole point there being to give people lives “given by purposes they recognize as mighty ones.” It's kind of meta I guess.

And I see it in what I created with some of my students. I suppose I saw there a mighty purpose, but wasn't sure that my actions actually brought what I thought I might. There's one student who sticks with me, a seventh grade girl from last year, who asked me for a hug at the end of the year (in a religious school) because I was as a father to her. Dr. Peterson notes that one of the things that fill him with awe is how little people need, and how this they are simply not getting.

So I guess a purpose I can recognize as a great one is helping people to orient themeselves toward a life that uses themselves as Shaw saw as the true joy. I suppose I take his thought as a principle of faith, and you obviously see in this my continued annoying questions of you.

And it could be that others define joy differently, but I like this definition.

And I wonder if the mighty purpose is present in what I do. I take care of people—I suppose that is also a mighty purpose—but I'm not sure I recognize it as one, especially when I run up against the client I said I'm firing back at the first paragraph.

It's actually now two plus hours since I started this. A part of the reason is that I went back to listen to Dr. Peterson again in his Dr. Oz interview. He talks of his own purpose, but I like his formulation: to “Buttress and Sustain the Healthy Sovereignty of the Individual,” that how he should be remembered is as a person who wanted the best for people.

This fits. It's just nailing down my particular idiom that's at issue now.

the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap

I would say I'm being used, but I worry it might be a wearing down for things that I wouldn't define as mighty.

But perhaps this is a good challenge. What I do is good. But I could build a system to manage the doing of this rather than to be trying to do so much of it. Then it would be easier for me to expand to play on a bigger stage, if that is what I want.

the being a force of nature

It's something to generate myself as. I haven't consistently until now, but it might be a good place to look.

I'll let you know how that goes.

And if I didn't put it right, read Mr. Green's The Key to Perfect Freedom. I'd gotten lazy about typing out the quote; so I searched for it, and found it there, with his oh so cogent thoughts on the matter.

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Israel Remembrance Day

Posted on Apr 28, 2020 by in Personal, Today, Holidays

For my Hebrew speaking friends, this is an appropriate sentiment for today:

For those of you who aren't, here's the gist. This Rabbi Levi was called and requested to provide comfort to the parents of a fallen soldier. He was at a loss. He knew there was no comfort.

And he addressed the day. It's not for the families of the fallen. They live with this every day. It's for the rest of us.

Rabbi Levi saw this, admitted to the parents there were no words of comfort, but there was this:

Our obligation as the survivors is to live lives that honor the sacrifice that those who came before, who died for us, made.

The implied invitation of the Rabbi, and my express one, is to live such lives.

May no life that was given have been given in vain. May it be God's will that our commanders, politicians and countries protect those who protect us as they put their lives at risk for us.

May we find it in ourselves to live lives that honor those who came before, and then actually go out and live them.

Happy Jew New Year

Posted on Sep 27, 2019 by in Community, Holidays

I left synagogue a few minutes ago, and said to someone "It's my hope that when 100 Jews gather in a place, they actually leave it cleaner than they found it." He laughed.
I want to know why that's funny. Why shouldn't 100+ religious Jews, after a week or a month of selichot, in and around their place of worship, in the community that is their pride and home, in the land they call holy, on the eve of the new year and the days of awe/judgment, create a space that is the fitting welcome for their king/lord/master/judge?
And if that't too heavy a question, how about "Is it really such a big ask to just leave a place a little nicer than you found it?"
And if that's not direct enough, I invite everyone who lives here, every time you leave your abode, to pick up one piece of garbage on the way, and if you can't find one, then find some other way to leave the space(s) you are passing through a little better than you found it. I also invite you to share what you are taking on.