Category Archives: Self-Esteem

I Fell…

Sorry I haven’t posted to Seeking Simcha in a few months…I fell.

Things were going well for me during my journey towards simcha (Jewish happiness). I was losing weight, meditating and working towards Shalom Bayit (greater peace at home).

But then I started getting stressed and very busy at my high-tech job, triggering a pattern of dysfunctional eating (something I have struggled with in the past). I began binging at restaurants and eating until I literally felt sick.

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The “Playful Child” on Rosh HaShana

Rabbi Gideon Weitzman, the rabbi of my shul/beit knesset in Modi’in, recently published an excellent book entitled, His Words, Their Voices: Essays on the Haftarot.

In his essay on the specific Haftarah (a section of the book of Prophets) that is read communally on the second day of Rosh HaShana, Rabbi Weitzman struck a chord with me by writing about the “playful child.”

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My Tisha B’Av Flaw

For many of my (nearly) 39 years on this Earth, I went for the jugular during arguments. It didn’t matter who I was arguing with — family, close friends, mere acquaintances — instead of seeking common ground, I would directly challenge and attempt to disprove the other person’s argument. Too often I made it personal.

Some of my friends would laugh about my ability to “burn the bridge” (while perhaps secretly worrying that I would one day end the friendship with them as well).

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Rachel Dolezal and “Aliyah Identity”

When I first heard about Rachel Dolezal, the woman who masqueraded as African-American and seems to have falsely claimed she was the victim of hate crimes, I immediately thought about some of my own identity issues and the way I sometimes misled others after making Aliyah.

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Learning from David Blatt

No first-time NBA coach has been as analyzed and criticized as the Cavaliers’ David Blatt — maybe ever. (Sam Amico)

Writing for Fox Sports Ohio, Sam Amico also notes that a national basketball writer with 30 years of experience said he has never seen another NBA coach so “loathed by the media.” LeBron James, Blatt’s star player, has sometimes also seemed to undermine and openly disagree with his coach.

We can debate why  Blatt, an American-Israeli Jew,  has come under such fire, but I think it’s his response that is actually more important from the perspective of obtaining greater simcha (Jewish joy).

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A Jewish Mother’s 5 Happiness Lessons

This Mother’s Day I am reminded of all the happiness lessons I learned from my Jewish mother.

1. Be friendly and nice: as a kid, I would get annoyed when my mother would stop and chat with what seemed like every person in line at the supermarket check-out. Of course as I matured, I realized how much more pleasant the world would be if everyone gave other people the feeling that they matter.

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Bird Man, Birdman and Purim

My name is displayed on a banner that hangs in my high school gymnasium. Nearly 20 years ago, I finished my three years of varsity high school basketball in Massachusetts having scored over 1,000 points.

At the time, I was the second-leading scorer in school history. A few years later, after others players had also broken that barrier, the school created a banner for its 1,000-point scorers.

If the high school version of me had known that one day his name would hang on a banner in the gym, he would have been ECSTATIC. I got into basketball because I craved recognition. 

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Disordered Eating Blocks My Spirituality

I just failed another “lunchtime challenge.” A few months ago, I started working full-time at an organization that doesn’t have a cafeteria. Our building is surrounded by restaurants, so most employees head downstairs to grab a bite.

It sounds simple enough, unless you are a person who struggles with binge eating. I start obsessively thinking about what I am going to eat almost immediately upon arriving at work. I tell myself, “Today will be different,” but more often than not, I order fatty, unhealthy food in large quantities. Because I’m embarrassed about my terrible habits, I usually eat alone, in my office.

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Does Writing a Blog Make You Happier?

Will writing this blog make me happier? Or will I become sucked into the social media vortex?

My intention for starting Seeking Simcha is to chart my exploration of Jewish happiness. But obviously that’s something I can do offline. By putting the blog posts online and sharing them via social media, I am hoping to help others. Although this is still very much a brand new effort, I’m not succeeding so far. This blog has one follower, none of my six blog posts have received even a single comment and I have a whopping 23 Twitter followers.

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For Happiness, Empty One Pocket

Rabbi Simcha Bunim, may the memory of  the righteous be for a blessing, had a famous oral teaching:

Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: “For my sake was the world created.”

But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: “I am but dust and ashes.”*

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