Righteous Love

“And the love they shared was a deep love…”

“And the love they shared was a forever love…“

“And the love they shared was a righteous love…”

A righteous person is someone who will do what’s expected and correct – even when he/she won’t be held accountable for those actions – nor recognized for them. A righteous person is someone who understands his inherent obligations to others – and is committed to live up to those obligations – even those never explicitly delineated.

Righteous love is a love based on the beauty of the persona – who the person is and whom they’re striving to become. It’s a love heavily focused on a person’s core character traits and unshakeable values, his/her dreams and ambitious goals.

Righteous love deepens with time, as the quality of the loved one’s character is further revealed, and with each challenge and situation.  Travelling on a long journey, for example, whether it is the journey to another country in the time of a famine, or the journey to direct and safeguard a family, will reveal greatness of character, depth of strength, clarity, and perseverance – and will deepen and enhance righteous love. Righteous love is the love shared by our patriarch and matriarch, Abraham and Sarah.

A portal to an understanding of the love shared between Abraham and Sarah is Abraham’s comment on Sarah’s beauty: “I now know how beautiful you are”. Embedded in his praise referencing her physical beauty, is an acknowledgement of her internal beauty – with which she interacted with the world around her. Expressed in his words of admiration was an acknowledgement of the beauty of her character and her spirit. The meta-message of these words was a private – and public, announcement of how Sarah dreamed and laughed, cried, thought and engaged everything in her world.

So what do righteous lovers do differently than the rest of us?  Read the rest of this entry »

Love of Life

Your clouds stand at attention, with great pride, manning the gates of the vast horizon.

Your waters sparkle and move, yet are remarkably silent. There silence is rich and vivid, yet still and humbling.

Your eagles stand alone, each one as a spirit of what might be, a spirit of what is, and a guardian of the moment.

Your air is so rich I can taste it and its taste fills me.

Your harvest, the wheat and barley, the grapes and olives, stand quietly – seeing it all, as part of it all.

Small birds charge across your vistas, powerful and determined in their purpose and direction. More birds – large and small – fly as a group and fly as one.

Your skies smile warmly, offering layers of great insight wrapped in remarkable beauty.

The color of your endless seas touches the color of your vast horizon, creating new color; becoming hues of blue and hues of pink.

Your greatest creation – man and woman – sit humbled, inspired, challenged to turn the moment into a forever memory.

You caution them: The picture of this moment will dim but in fact can burn brighter if you live the moment; moment after moment.

Your message to them: Fly low to the ground yet touch the outermost horizon!

Your mandate: Live in this world of the clouds and the waters, the eagles and the air, the harvest, the birds and the skies – and the color touching color to create new color. Grab hold of the heavens, revel in the silence, feel the spirit of the past, present, and future in each moment, taste the air and allow it to flow through you.

And as you follow those who fly, smile back at the skies, soaking in their remarkable beauty.

Dear life, You have empowered us!

We will fly low to the ground yet touch the outermost horizon.

Love and Death

There are some who touch your heart. There are others who are greater, and they touch your heart and your mind. Then there are those few who go beyond your heart and your mind and touch you deeply, permanently, and eternally – they touch your soul.

There is giving, and then there is continuous giving that is humbling.
There is sweetness, and then there is an absolutely natural sweetness that flows in every gesture and action.
There is compassion that goes beyond the norms of the day, and provides a vision to look inside people and situations, and see what many will never see.

And then there is humility. There is humility that is the gate behind which some men plant their fear, and apprehension. And then there is the humility of Moses and Abraham which doesn’t denote meekness or a sense of insignificance, it is defined by fineness, strength of character, and awareness of God’s presence everywhere and in everything. It is a humility that serves as a healthy outward package around ingenuity, drive, creativity, commitment to a greater goal, and strength and courage in pursuing that goal.

There have been humble men – and then separately and distinctively, there have been leaders and builders. But to be defined by the two together – as they stand side by side in the individual and all that he does – is extraordinary. That is a reflection of the greatest men that ever were, that was Abraham – that was Moses.

When man was created he was described as standing immediately below his Creator.
That stature is inherent to man, but is not expressed in all men. It stands in that twilight domain between physicality and spirituality – and is rarely seen.
It is what we are, but not necessarily who we’ve been.
When it is attained it is generally held to for a brief moment; except with those who have succeeded by reaching inside to grow to their most accomplished horizons.

You have touched us eternally – in our hearts, minds, and souls.
Your giving has overwhelmed us, and is greater than words.
Your sweetness was in every gesture, and every action.
Your compassion, allowed you to look inside of us, see that by which our lives were challenged, and see what others could not see.
Your humility was defined by fineness, beauty of character, and an awareness of your Creator everywhere. It was the illuminating package around your ingenuity, drive, creativity, and commitment. It was a reflection of the greatest of men and defined you and all that you did. Read the rest of this entry »

Pride and Possibility

He was always proud of you –

            ask him

Your father’s pride in you was never dependent on your today,
it came from all of your yesterdays

And in truth, if the yesterdays were not,

it would be based on the sparkle of your spirit and the luster of your dreams

And if your spirit was yet to shine and your dreams were too young to glow,
it would be based on the tenderness of your smile and the sweetness of your voice

And if your smile was too silly to enjoy, or your voice was still course,
it would be based on the softness of your hands and the wonderful scent of your hair

And if your hands were too small to hold or your hair was yet to grow,
it would be based on the simple childishness of you,
a childishness that for him will always be you

And today,
If your childishness is somewhat hidden,
If your hands are large and your hair has somewhat changed,
If your smile has its sorrow and your voice its concern,If your spirit shines only as you do,
And your dreams have yet to glow,
Know that the yesterdays have filled his heart with all of you,
In a way that can only be filled by you.

And in truth even if the yesterdays were to somehow become lost to memory,
His pride for you would be unshaken,In that your fathers pride is based on the truest of things,

Absolutely nothing

He was always proud of you
Just ask him.

A Love Letter to a Friend

Your caring for me
comes through you as an energy
that captures me and wraps me
in your glow and my own

You champion my strengths
and see them at times
even when they may be hiding from me

Your smile has great force
in showering me with a halo of confidence
and my own reclaimed ability to smile

Your laugh is quick in granting me acceptance

Your eyes dance and sparkle for me
and I know they may not do that for others
in that you can’t feel for them as you feel for me
And even if you did
they couldn’t see your caring as clearly as I do
nor could they soak it in with the thirst that I do

Our souls feel at once connected

as I guess they might have at one time before been connected Read the rest of this entry »

LOVE and PASSION

 As the show opened, a man stood in the shadows of the stage, and spoke in a voice that was barely audible, he said:

“I remember the passion we felt when we were first married. Each time we were together was remarkable and memorable…”

 

“We’re together 10 years now. Things are not the same. The love we feel for each other is as strong as it’s ever been and I could never imagine spending my life with anyone else, but the expressions of that love… I guess these kinds of things change over time…

Maybe I need to be more realistic about what to expect from life.”

 From a booth off stage, the narrator added:

 

“Does Judaism, the religion whose goal it is to facilitate an intimate relationship between G-d and man, speak about intimacy between woman and man? Is the physical expression of love and passion, between man and wife, important in the eyes of the greatest men who ever lived, our Sages? Are there ways to grow and heighten the expression of the love we feel for each other?”

 A young man stepped on to the stage. The spotlight shone on him, and as he spoke, the one man show began… Read the rest of this entry »

EE = PPB Tools to Build Unconditional Love

Dear friends,

This past week’s Learn, Live, Excel message, “You Couldn’t Make This Up,” elicited more thoughts and comments than any other to date. It clearly touched something about which many people feel strongly.

The responses were varied.

The majority agreed with what was written and hoped that many would read the message and grow/change as a result. I join those readers in their wishes and hopes.

Some wrote that the essay ignored the beautiful practices of the Syrian community in particular and the Jewish community at large. I agree with those readers as well. Each and every day our communities perform spectacular and unparalleled acts of kindness and generosity to others. We celebrate, and are humbled by, our greatness. We must, therefore, be courageous in our efforts to grow and become better.

A small percentage of the responses felt the examples focused on the more religious segments of our community. They are correct. I consider myself part of that constituency; a group that is intensely engaged in Torah learning and the pursuit of rigorous, daily growth in Torah and misvot. I understand the following: The more you love Hashem, the more you must love Hashem’s people. The more Torah you know, the more is expected of you. And that’s the way it should be.

One response caused me to take a walk on the beach and think about where and when I have failed and continue to fail on this issue. I walked for a long time thinking about what I must do to become a person who unconditionally loves and respects all. I thought about the fact that I love Hashem intensely, His Torah is my oxygen and my lifeline. I thought about how each of His people is spectacular, contributing to the furtherance of His creation in a way exclusive to them.

So I’ve written this week’s essay to me – first and foremost. Read the rest of this entry »