Tag Archives: healthy relationships

How to Build a Strong Bond Now!

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Ha’azinu – Deuteronomy 32:1-52

Have you noticed when something comes easily often it leads to disappointment, frustration, or sadness? I see this with my daughter. When I buy her a new toy she wants badly she’ll play with it for a few days and then get bored. When she pays for a toy with money she’s saved up it lasts much longer. Among us grownups, it seems relationships are easily formed and just as rapidly discarded. Parshas Ha’azinu shows how to deal with this challenge:

“For G-d’s portion is His people Jacob, the rope of His inheritance.” (Deuteronomy/Devarim 32:9)

How to Build a Strong Bond Now!

This week’s parsha, the last Sabbath reading of the cycle, has the song Moses wrote at the end of the previous parsha. In it, he appoints heaven and earth as a witness to all of the disasters that will happen to the Israelites if they stray from the path G-d has set. He also describes the joy that will come at the time of the final redemption. At the end of the parsha G-d gives Moses his final task.

G-d Wants to Bond with You

How do you visualize your connection with people?

When G-d describes His relationship with the Children of Israel, and indeed with all his children, He uses the image of a rope. Think about the metaphor:

  • Rope can be used to tie two people together. If the right knot is used when they struggle the ropes will get tighter.
  • Rope can be used for towing and for hanging.
  • A single strand of a rope breaks easily. If you sever enough of them the rope will break. But you can strengthen the rope by weaving in new strands.

Throughout life, you’ll encounter hard times. You can let them dishearten you, destroy your relationships or, like the special knot, bond you more closely with your family and friends. Commit to working through them together. Step by step you’ll find the right path to resolution and closeness.

Life can be like tug-of-war. If you insist on always having your own way you’ll pull people into a mud puddle. But if you build strong, steady anchors at both ends of a rope, you create a lifeline over the ooze. There is more than one way to overcome an obstacle. You don’t always have the right answer. By giving way to others needs, you’ll build bridges rather than moats.

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Humans make mistakes. Sometimes they’re bad enough to damage a connection to someone. But if you regularly bond with your loved ones you will create more links than you break and relationships will endure.

Imitate G-d’s Bond in Your Relationships

If you don’t sense a bit of the eternal when you begin a friendship think twice. Rather than chasing after people with whom you build thread–like connections at best, look for those with whom you can create long-lasting bonds.

G-d wants an eternal, substantial connection with you. Wave off the quick and the short-term. Seek out and build everlasting bonds in your life. Starting now pays huge dividends.

How do decide which relationships you'll invest in?

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Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. Its name comes from the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

Do you have a question about the Old Testament? Ask it here and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

The Key to Building a Successful Life

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Shoftim – Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9

Wealth, a solid marriage, or better health: We all want these things yet they seem so elusive. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the one thing to do that will lead to success? What grand action inevitably leads to wealth? What are the magic words that will create a solid marriage? What is the trick for breaking a bad habit or ingraining a good one? Parshas Shoftim, has the answer:

“I will set a king over myself…” (Deuteronomy/Devarim 17:14)

The Key to Building a Successful Life

This Sabbath’s parsha reviews the mitzvah (commandment) to establish courts, how to handle certain crucial types of cases, the appointment of a King, the gifts for the Kohanim (Priests), how to tell if someone is really a prophet, setting up cities of refuge, how the Israelites will conduct war, and what to do about an unsolved murder.

Knowing that the Israelites will want a king like the other nations, the Almighty places many restrictions on this ruler, including writing two copies of the Torah. Doesn’t that strike you as a little strange? Wouldn’t it be better to require the king to know the Torah by heart?

But G-d had a different purpose in mind. The king had to write the two scrolls, placing one in his treasury while keeping the other with him at all times. In this way, though he goes through his day constantly being shown honor and deference, he will nonetheless remain aware that he is subject to the laws of the Torah and by extension subservient to the Creator. When he sees the vast wealth in the royal treasury he may be tempted to think he is omnipotent. But among the money and other riches is something even more valuable – the blueprint for how to have a relationship with G-d. Ideally, this will keep the king humble.

Since most of us won’t become kings and queens this seems to be of little use. However, the king also must read the Torah every day.

If you want to make something a part of you, daily involvement is required. Do you have a goal? Every day, preferably two or three times a day, review the goal and why it is crucial to achieving it. Write it out and carry it with you. Read it before you go to bed and when you wake up. When you face a challenge, pull it out and read it again.

Do you want to improve your relationship with your spouse? Create meaningful interactions, like the ones I wrote about in a previous post, that you can do every day. They don’t have to be big. Focus on connecting.

The road to success is built one small action at a time, whether you’re building a business, relationship, or habit. Make them your constant companion and sooner than you think you will be the monarch, at least as far as having the life you want is concerned.

What do you find is the biggest hurdle to doing something enough times to be successful?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below ↓


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

Are You Accumulating This Asset for Your Retirement?

Increase Your Current Income and Build Future Wealth

Retirement may be drawing near. Or perhaps it’s not even a blip on your radar yet. Either case preparation is imperative. The longer you wait to begin building assets the greater the risk you’ll have insufficient resources, materially decreasing your wellbeing.

Are You Accumulating This Asset for Your Retirement?

You Don't Need Money to Build Solid Connections

One of the major factors hampering people’s ability to save for their later years is current needs: starting a business, raising children, and helping other family members among them. While overcoming such financial challenges is crucial, there is another asset equally or even more important that you can build starting today. It will not diminish your current life. In fact amassing this asset for the future pays enormous dividends today.

On turning 55, I was deeply touched by how many people took time out of their day to call, send a card, or post to Facebook. When I posted my thanks, noting:

The response was wonderful. I wrote last week about my longest standing friend Rik, who I have known for 40 years. I’m blessed to have several other friends for almost as long. At my stage of life, such long-term relationships are irreplaceable. These people knew me through the formative periods of my life and bring a perspective others cannot.

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As friendships grew, we helped each other advance our careers and businesses. We invested in each other's projects.  We raised our tides together.

You Control the Quality of Your Relationships

Of the factors that will determine the quality of your life as you age: health, finances, and social interaction; the last one is the only one almost solely in your control. You can live a healthy lifestyle and nonetheless have setbacks to your health. Prosperity can come and go.

Having close, enduring relationships costs you time and goodwill, but often little enough of each compared to the other demands you face. Social media makes maintaining such connections easy. AT&T’s famous slogan to “Reach out and touch someone,” that in its day cost upwards of $1 a minute, can be accomplished today almost for free. Here are suggestions for building lifelong relationships:

  1. Contact at least one friend per day. Ideally, in person, second best is calling. If time prohibits both of these email, text, or Facebook someone every day. Let people know you have them in mind and are grateful for their friendship. Doing this will make you happier too.
  2. Always remember birthdays. With an e-card service like BlueMountain.com, you can set up reminders and schedule cards to be sent in advance. Facebook is another great place to say happy birthday although its reminders aren’t as prominent as they used to be.
  3. Cultivate friends who live life the way you want to. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you lead a more affirming, growth-oriented life. Beware, the opposite is true as well.
  4. Equally important, have younger friends who hopefully will outlive you. As you age regrettably your older friends and peers may predecease you. To retain your zest for life you must stay socially connected.

Whether you retire with a comfortable nest egg or continue working, stay in robust health or face challenges, friendships will make your life incalculably richer. As well, you’ll make your friends’ lives better now and in the future.

Don’t wait. Start building connections today, right this minute. Put it at the top of your daily to-do list. Turning Shakespeare’s well know warning, “All that glisters is not gold…” on its head, there are things that gleam more brightly than this precious metal. As you accumulate years, you’ll find your most profitable investments are friendships.

How do you stay in touch with your friends?

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Who Showed You that You Can Be Great?

Achieving your goals, becoming successful, growing as a person and spouse: all of these require that you do things you haven’t done before. The unknown looms. That millions of people have done the same thing before means nothing in the face of the uncertainty and dread over how badly you might fail. Left to fester, fear becomes a permanent block. It can destroy your pursuit of greatness, leaving you with a small, shabby life.

Who Showed You that You Can Be Great?

I remember taking my driver’s license test. Hour upon hour of drivers’ education, drivers training, and practice with an experienced driver meant nothing when the tester entered my car. Nor did the fact that tens of millions of people had gotten their licenses. I was sure I would hit a parked car or worse a moving one and fail. At sixteen years old I had met the person who would usher me into the world of the possible, I just hadn’t absorbed the lesson yet.

We can’t recall if we met in 1973 or 1975, but Rik Carter and I have been friends for four decades, maybe more! Both big movie fans, one day he called me up and asked those fateful words:

“Do you want to make a movie?”

ME, a filmmaker?!

His next questions defined out relationship. “How much money do you have?” Pooling our resources we had enough to buy one roll of Kodachrome. And so began the filmmaking career of Rik and Kevin, aka Carmel Cinema Productions (we were clever in those days, using our last names CARter and BeMEL).

I could regale you with stories of our escapades around Santa Barbara, California, jumping off a cliff, scaring a couple of police officers half to death. But I digress.

Fast forward a couple of years and Rik was performing in the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland. Though I was several months shy of my 18th birthday, he convinced the people running the parade they should hire me.

ME, a professional hoofer?!

Then he got me into the coveted role of Arch Pusher. One night, dressed smartly in my “It’s a Small World” gondolier’s costume I was happily skipping and dancing down the parade route with my five cohorts, all of us pushing a Small World doll on a wheeled platform with a bright arch of lights over it. The parade stalled in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle so we decided to put on an impromptu show.

Cartwheels, back handsprings, and flips abounded. People went wild. Each of us strove to top the fellow before, rousing the crowd to applause that drowned out the music. The sound was deafening. No drug-induced euphoria could have been better.

ME, a star?!

(Author’s Note: Because of Rik’s influence I never tried any kind of drug. Yes we were among the squarest young people maturing in the 1970s.)

Rarely by word, but always by deed, Rik showed me you have to pursue your dreams. He has lived his life that way. Because of this great friend, I have the memory of the screaming crowd in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle to remind me when I step out of my comfort zone and put my heart into it, the results are electric.

I hope you have a friend or relative like Rik. More importantly, if you haven’t connected with him/her in a while, do so, NOW. Keep the memory of triumph aflame in your heart, to burn up fear and to light the path to achievement and success!

Who believes in you more than you do?

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Do You Know the People You Need to Be Successful?

One of the great things about friends, especially those you’ve known for a long time is how comfortable you are around them. You can act the way you want to without worrying about being rejected. Likewise you accept them for who they are. Of course, there are those things about them that drive you crazy. It’d all be okay except for one problem:

You Become Like the People You Associate with Most Often

Do You Know the People You Need to Be Successful?

Do you have friends who perpetually struggle financially? Or who can’t seem to maintain solid primary relationships? If you answered yes, you’re putting yourself at risk for the same issues.

Such friendships impact you two ways:

  1. They drain your energy and enthusiasm by constantly drawing you into never ending negative situations.
  2. They provide no guidance for how you can advance your life.

As you pursue your goals, you have to let such people go. Of course, deciding when and how will be hard, but if you don’t you won’t have room in your life for the new friendships that will support your growth.

It’s no different for you than for someone like Mark Zuckerberg. Where would Facebook’s founder be if he went to keggers with his old college buddies? Would his company be the world-changing force it is today? It’s no accident that people at the top of any field: business, academia, government, get to know each other. They need friendships that will make further advancement possible.

I don’t mean you should cynically use people and then dump them. But reality is not all friends are forever. And if you don’t know people today who are the living the life you want for yourself one, five, or ten years hence, you’re acting in the dark and hindering your growth.

Today, start connecting with people who share your values and are on a growth path similar to yours. Even better, find friends like this who are ahead of you in life. Over the next 12 to 24 months you’ll become like them.

How do your friends support or impede your growth? Please comment below.

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