A Story

         Margaret and her husband, Paul, were struggling financially.  Paul gave Margaret their last $40 and had warned her to spend it cautiously. 

         Margaret bought some groceries and a “few good bargains”, including some gold wrapping paper.  After returning home, Paul became angry that Margaret had “wasted” the money.

         Paul, feeling frustrated, sarcastically asked their four-year-old daughter, Tina, would you go and get that gold paper your mother wasted the money on?  After some time had passed, and Tina had not yet returned with the paper, Paul went into the other room to find the youngster surrounded by gold paper with scissors in hand.  In front of her were a half-wrapped shoe box and an empty tube where the wrapping paper had been.  Paul scolded his daughter with angry words.

         The following morning, Paul was still upset.  It was his birthday.  Little Tina picked up the half-wrapped package and went to her father.  She handed the gift and said:  “Daddy, it’s for you.”  Paul took the package and shook it gently.  It was light.  Nothing rattled.  Paul carefully opened the wrapping and looked inside; but at the discovery of the contents, his anger began to rise again. 

        It’s empty!  You wasted the paper!  Don’t you know that if you give a gift, you have to put something in the box before you wrap it?  As tears began streaming down Tina’s face, she explained:  “But Daddy, I did put something in the box!  I blew all my kisses into it.  It’s full of love just for you!”

With warmth and affection,

Rabbi Sally Olins, DD

A Vision of Tomorrow

         There once was a man who was the leader of his people.  He knew the time was near to turn the reins of authority over to one of his three children; but he did not know which one.  He called them all together and said:  “I am old and ready to pick my successor.  Go down into the valley and see what you can find.  Whoever brings back that which is most important will lead our people.”

         After only a day, the first two returned.  “What have you brought?” asked the father.

         “I have brought a branch from the trees that grow in the valley.  They will shade us and feed us and give us wood to build our houses.”

         Said the second, “I have brought some forage for our flocks and herds so that we might prosper.”

         Two days later, the third child finally came back.  He was holding nothing.  “What have you brought?” the father asked.  “In my hands, nothing,” he replied.  “But I have gone down into the valley and then climbed the mountain on the other side.  From the top, I could see beautiful rolling plains where we can farm and where we can spread out as far as the eye can see; and we can become whatever we wish.”

         “You are the one who shall lead,” said the father “for you have brought back the greatest gift of all – a vision of tomorrow.”

         May we all share in the vision of a peaceful and healthy summer.

With warmth and affection,

Rabbi Sally Olins, DD

Failure Is Never Final

Failure is never final!

The only time you can’t afford to fail is the very last time you try.  Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure; it just means you haven’t yet succeeded.

Failure doesn’t mean you have accomplished nothing; it just means you’ve learned something.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been disgraced; it just means you dared to try.

Failure doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes; it just means you must do things differently next time.

Failure doesn’t mean you’re inferior; it just means you’re not perfect.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your time; it just means you have a reason to start over.

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up; it just means you must try harder.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never make it; it just means you need more patience.

Failure doesn’t mean you’re wrong; it just means you must find a better way.

With warmth and affection,

Rabbi Sally Olins, DD

The Gift

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.  It carries over no balance from day to day.  Every evening it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do?  Draw out every cent, of course!  Each of us has such a bank.  Its name is TIME.  Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds.  Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.  It carries over no balance.  It allows no overdraft.  Each day it opens a new account for you.  Each night, it burns the remains of the day.

If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.  There is no going back.  There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”.  You must live in the present on today’s deposits.  Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!  The clock is running.  Treasure every moment you have!  And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special.

         Remember that time waits for no one.

         Yesterday is history.

         Tomorrow is a mystery.

         Today is a gift.

         That’s why it’s call the present!

With warmth and affection,

Rabbi Sally Olins, DD

The Fastest Runner

Perhaps you know the thrice-told tale of Yameel – the fastest runner and most reliable messenger in all the African jungle. His swiftness, sense of direction and memory of specific locations were legendary. On any given day, he could be seen sprinting through the bush – from one village to another … his long, muscular legs safely and quickly conveying him and an urgent message to their destination.

One day he was observed standing motionless – statue-like, staring straight ahead. A passer-by was amazed to see the agile messenger in such an uncharacteristic pose and asked him why he was standing so still in the middle of a mission. Yameel responded, “I have been running so fast that I have left my soul behind, and I am waiting for it to catch up to me.”

Too often, during the week we run from one task to another. Only on the Sabbath are we privileged – indeed, commanded – to let up and let go, to turn towards ourselves and those we love, towards our God.

So I urge you:  Try it – you’ll like it! Invite your soul to catch up to you. It can positively change your life.

With much affection,
Rabbi Sally



First Aid Kit Components:

A toothpick, a rubber band, a mirror, a stone, a band-aid, a pencil, an eraser, gum, a “Kiss” chocolate, and a tea bag.

1. A Toothpick: To help you remember to “dig” deep and find positive qualities in others.

2. A Rubber Band: To help you remember to be flexible, since people and things aren’t always what you want them to be.

3. A Mirror: To remind you to look at yourself first before criticizing or judging someone else.

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God's Love

What do you think God’s love is?

Answer:  “A dog’s love is the same as God’s love.  That’s why ‘dog’ is “god’ spelled backwards.”

The similarity between what we hope for from God, and what we get without question from dogs, is too striking to be ignored.  Isn’t God’s love that which makes us feel less alone and a little less afraid?  And can we not say the same about the devotion of dogs?  Doesn’t God love us no matter what?  And can we not say the same about dogs?

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Counting Your Blessings

The message I want to convey to you as we begin this New Year is to make sure you notice what is beautiful, what is blessed around you and within you.  It is a choice that is always open to us.  We can choose to begin each day thanking God for the gift of life, the gift of breath and the spirit that is with us at every moment.

We can notice God’s presence in a sip of water, a slice of bread, a piece of fruit.  In this way of thanking God, we stop and notice many times a day – that we are awake, that we are alive, that there are wonders everywhere around us, and that God is revealed to us through these everyday miracles whenever we choose to take notice.  This is a choice we are given:  the choice to notice – i.e. to notice our blessings.

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5 Important Thoughts

  1. When you know you are doing your very best within the circumstances of your existence, applaud yourself.
  1. You are not a Xerox of anyone else. Each life is an original work of art. When are you going to start signing autographs?
  1. Our immune system is only as strong as the dosage of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-care that we administer to ourselves daily.

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Rabbi Sally - The People's Rabbi