Religion & Beliefs

3 Indispensible Pieces of Advice

As I part with my blogging week, here are three pieces of advice  They are simple, and I believe, useful and true. 1.  Always call.  When you doubt (upon hearing of someone’s loss, or illness) whether you should call, don’t … Read More

By / December 21, 2008

As I part with my blogging week, here are three pieces of advice  They are simple, and I believe, useful and true.

1.  Always call.  When you doubt (upon hearing of someone’s loss, or illness) whether you should call, don’t doubt.  Your silence is more likely to be seen as indifference than delicacy.  Even if awkward, call.

2.  Learn to say ‘no.’ Someone else’s legitimate expectation does NOT create in you a legitimate obligation.  My congregants have a legitimate expectation that the Rabbi will attend their event.  Since always attending would make it impossible to ever have a home life, I often find myself saying ‘no.’  I do not say it with glee, but try also not to say it with guilt.  One who cannot say ‘no’ is forever a slave.  Besides, your ‘yes’ means nothing if you really cannot say ‘no.’

3.  It is usually not about you.  Other people spend time thinking about you as often as you do about them.  In other words, they too are thinking about themselves, and not the cranberry sauce you spilled on your shirt.  It may torture you all night, but they are already on to their own considerations.  A gentle humor about oneself, taking yourself seriously but not solemnly, smooths life’s path.  

OK, I said three things; the fourth is not from me.  It is from the great writer Henry James, who said the three most important things in life are: "to be kind, to be kind and to be kind." 

Now, good luck; or as we say in Aramaic, B’seyata D’shmaya — with Heaven’s help.