Archive | March, 2014

When Do We Finally Say We Are Content With Life

31 Mar

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The picture above is of my Dad and my Uncle Herb.   Both them were great influences on my life.  My Dad was the smartest person I ever met.  He quit high school to join the Army in WWII and he worked at a local utility company until he retired.  But what I remember growing up is that my Dad never just sat with us to watch TV..he always read a book at the same time.  Financially we were not well off, but we had a house, we never starved, we took a few vacations, went fishing and hunting, had family get togethers, had a pool in the back yard and a car to drive.  My Dad was not always a happy person, and when I was young and my Dad’s brother, my Uncle Phil, who was just the greatest uncle on the planet, was still alive (he died of lung cancer at age 42 on my wife’s birthday –my wife also died if lung cancer) and my Dad would get together most weekends and get drunk while the families had dinner together.  Why both of these guys wanted to get drunk every weekend I don’t understand.  They were both very bright, people loved them, they had wives and families, they worked and had homes…but I just feel that for some reasons neither one ever really felt content (although at the end of his life–he died at only 69– I think my Dad had finally become happy). My Uncle Herb above was also someone that was great guy and wonderful father and uncle (he lost a son and daughter to illness when they were young) and I always looked up to my Uncle Herb as a very strong and intelligent man.  I was blessed to have my Dad, my Uncle Phil and my Uncle Herb in my life.  I literally would not trade my parents for a billion dollars.  They gave me the clear idea that you need to be nice to people, that you need to work hard, that you need to have faith in God, and, from my Dad and these two uncles, have fun.  They had fun at parties, with family, at picnics. They really knew how to enjoy parts of life.  I have no idea of their demons that made them want to be drunk so much, but frankly, I am not sure it was a bad thing, though it may have been for them.

All this goes the question, when are finally content with the life we have.  As a Jew, a primary goal in for us to have complete faith in God (Emuna) and complete and active faith that God controls everything except our free will used to live by God’s rules and law.  Jew are truly commanded to be happy…to accept whatever happens as God’s will… as the Chofetz Chaim stated: “If it could be better, it would be better.”  Meaning that here, as you find your place in the world is what God wants you go to through…so be happy with whatever happens.  Captain Obvious: Easier said than done because we are human and we have emotions and fears and flaws and are pretty darn fragile for much of our lives.

Looking back now I can see that most of my life I should have been much much happier with what I had, with my life.  

 

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Where Does Hope Come From, How Can We Hold On to It

28 Mar

Where Does Hope Come From, How Can We Hold On to It

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Rochester New York

28 Mar

Rochester New York

This picture makes Rochester look like a wonderful place

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Geiger at about 20 years old

27 Mar

Geiger at about 20 years old

In all honesty, if I had understood the world then as I understood it now, I am thinking I could have done much better. Been a better husband, a better father, a better friend, certainly a better Jew. But then again, everyone, I think can say this, so it very very trite. And the fact is that if my faith tells me that Hashem controls everything but my free will in deciding how well I follow Gods laws, then, I guess I should just note what the Chofetz Chaim said: ” If it could be better, it would be better.” Right now at 57, looking, from a secular perspective at total doom, I just see too many mistakes.

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Naomi’s Wedding

27 Mar

Naomi's Wedding

August 2010, about two and one half years after Vicki died, Naomi got married. Cannot tell you how much I wish Vicki had been there…

Spiritual Intercessor

27 Mar

Very interesting insights from Rabbi Kaplan

Sophia Street

Bergit Stadem by Bart Lindstrom At a Jewish funeral, you might hear the prayer, “May she (or he) be a melitz yosher for her family.”

Literally, melitz yosher means “ambassador of righteousness,” but in colloquial English it means, “spiritual intercessor.” A spiritual intercessor is someone who prays on behalf of another person.

There are many different ways to pray on behalf of another person. You can challenge God’s decisions, you can ask for mercy and gentleness, you can pray about a situation and then come to a decision about how to help someone.

Hebrew Bible shows us all of these possibilities.

Abraham challenges God’s decision to destroy the city of Sodom. He gets God to agree to save it if ten righteous people can be found.

Moses asks for mercy. After the people build the Golden Calf, he acknowledges their sin, but tells God what kinds of consequences are too harsh for people to bear.

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Is Being Kind Really Better Than Being Smart

27 Mar

Is Being Kind Really Better Than Being Smart

Photo from movie “Harvey” Edward P. Doud states that being kind is better than being smart.