Tag Archives: Thinking About What Matters


Reaching Every Corner By Menachem Tenenbaum, a JOI Rabbi serving at Aish.com

Chanukah is a holiday many of us have been celebrating our entire lives. It may seem like the same holiday each year. In truth, as we change and grow, the holiday should take on new meanings.
For instance, there are many ideas and messages to be learned from Chanukah and the various customs. Perhaps we should try and focus on one of these ideas so that we can truly gain from Chanukah in a different way each year.

In this week’s Parshah, Parshas Mikeitz, Yosef(Joseph) rises to power as the second in command in Egypt. His first task as viceroy is to store food for a hunger threat. Once the hunger begins he rations out food to the people as deemed necessary.

Unbeknownst to his brothers he had become a ruler and thereby controlled the ood. His brothers come searching for provisions. Realizing these men are his older
brothers he took care of them while prodding them with questions to see how the
rest of the family was doing.

He devises a scheme to be able to meet his little brother, Binyomin. He accuses his brothers of being spies and in order to disprove his accusation they would need to bring Binyomin. He calls them spies and then says, “By this you shall be tested; By Pharoah’s life you will not leave here unless your youngest brother comes here.”
Seforno deduces an interesting lesson from this test. He asks why Yosef’s brothers couldn’t get any man to come with them to Yosef, lie, and tell Yosef this is their brother. Sure they would have been lying, but their lives were on the line and there must be some loophole? Seforno says that even if they would have agreed to lie, it would not have worked. The brothers would not have been able to find someone to
agree to put his life on the line by lying about being their brother. Only a real brother cares enough to help in this way.

Yosef knew for this reason they had to bring their real brother. The Torah is teaching us such a powerful message, brothers care about brothers, no matter how difficult the situation. Real brothers go above and beyond for their family. In Judaism we view our entire nation as brothers and sisters; we go above and beyond for our brethren.
As we light the candles on Chanukah we can think about the small flame lit after
dark. When we ignite that tiny candle it brings light into every corner of the room. It does not stop half way and say it is tired or not interested. The candle always does the full job. A message of Chanukah may be to try and reach out to every corner of the nation, to every Jew. Sometimes it is challenging and even uncomfortable but like Yosef said, “By this you shall be tested.”

B’ezras Hashem when we focus on the small flame from our Menorah we will be
inspired to reach out to others no matter how challenging and pass the test.

Have a Wonderful, Warm, Fun Filled Chanukah!

May you walk in peace and may the light of love shine in and through you, now and forever.

Image from blingcheese.com.  Thank you.



May you walk in peace and may the light of love shine in and through you, now and forever.

Be back tomorrow night.

Stay strong.



Think you already say thank you 100 times every day?  Good for you. Think it is too hard to find something to be grateful for? Think again.

Saying thank you is an easy way to practice gratitude.  Say it to all who deserve it, say it to objects, to the sun, to the moon and stars. The major challenge is to thank pain, but it teaches important lessons.

Saying thank you is an easy way to practice gratitude.

emotional fitness tips

Tip one:  Always thank those who serve you.  Try adding a compliment to your think you.  Being in the business of waiting on others, working a cash register, selling things, nursing someone, doing for others as part of a job is hard work.  A genuine “Thank you”  makes the job easier.

Tip two: To say Thank you a hundred times you need to think more than just other people.  You need to thank life, to thank things that work, to think beauty.
Tip three: Enhance the power of a thank you by adding  a calming breath before saying thank you and again after.

Tip four:  Thank yourself. We forget we deserve recognition.  Sounds silly to say “Thank you” to you.  Well, than thank your brain or your body and specify what you are grateful for. “Thank you brain, for helping me solve that problem.”  “Thank you feet, for getting me going.”  “Thank you heart, for opening me to love.”

Stay strong

Big business knows the power of good manners and the carefully train employees to being polite.  When done sincerely, a thank you not only improves the other person’s emotional intelligence, but strengthens you. Like a hug you get as much as you give.

For all you do for me, thank you. Every like, every share fills my heart with gratitude and strengthens me.



The first and most important: Emotional Fitness Training is a self-help, knowledge sharing, coaching program. It is not therapy. Nor does it replace therapy when therapy is needed. If the exercises and support provided here do not help you gain control of negative feelings, more may be needed. Support groups, coaching, and therapy are other paths to emotional fitness.

Anyone with suicidal thoughts, thoughts of harming other people, or who engage in dangerous out-of-control behaviors needs professional help. Anyone with serious suicidal or homicidal plans need an immediate psychiatric evaluation.  Call a suicide hot line if you are unsure of where or how to get help. Suicidal hotlines USA.  Life can be better.

The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog post. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments.   Life is too short to let problems you can avoid irritate you.


May you walk in peace and may the light of love shine in and through you, now and forever


The French proverb “Tout comprendre rend très-indulgent”, commonly translated as “To know all is to forgive all” is most often attributed  to Mme de Staël.  I first read it as a quote by the Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas who lived many centuries before de Staël.  I have also seen it attributed to Evelyn Waugh.  I suspect variations can be found in many obscure ancient texts.

Why am I talking about this? Because trying to know or understand has made it possible for me to hope for peace.  Nevertheless, many who have quoted this as a truth have been called to task.  Why? for many some acts  are unforgivable.  I quite agree.

My way out of these colliding truths is to forgive the person but not the act.  Not easy.   Bishop Tutu  lead me to that path with his definition of forgiveness.

Tutu said, “Forgiving is not forgetting;  it is actually remembering–remembering and not using your right to hit back. Its a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”

I write this to explain that I am expanding my usual Shabbat Shalom posts.  Time permitting, I hope to provide links to facilitate understanding of “the other.”  By “the other” I mean not just other religions including atheism, but also to  philosophy, and psychology.

Jews were charged with the task of Tikkun olam meaning our mission is to repair or heal the universe –  a mission that resonated strongly with what my atheistic father and agnostic mother taught me about what matters.

One of my Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises says to Remember The Mission.    Several other of my exercises tell  you to  act on The Mission. The Mission is to bring peace and justice for all  to this world.

 As a student of history, I can easily fall into despair.  The Mission for bringing peace to this world has been a failed task across the ages.     I work against despair by doing what I can to act on The Mission.   That is all any one of us can do and it remains my biggest hope.  That hope? If each of us does what what we can, when we can and how we can peace will spread.

As Margaret Mead noted “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

My Shabbat Shalom posts will be one of my ways of acting on The Mission. I know it will strengthen me and I hope the posts will help you think about what matters and commit to acting on The Mission.

For now, remember to use the coming weekend for family and friend time, me-time, quiet time, nature time, and thinking about what matters time. Part of creating peace in this world, is creating peace in your inner world.

For all you do to support my efforts, thank you.


IMAGE BY: adinadesigns.com