Friday, September 13, 2013

Change By Fiat?

Dedicated to the memory of Chana Leah (Jaqueline) Meyeri of San Francisco, who passed away this week after a long battle with breast cancer. May her husband, daughter and extended family be comforted. 

The purpose of this email is to change your life on Yom Kippur and beyond. Please print and share.

Full mailboxA riddle for your Yom Kippur table:

When is something small something big?

See how many answers you can come up with. I'll give you two, one is a story and the other is a Yom Kippur idea.

The story is something happened to me in San Francisco this week. When I went to get the rental car, the "midsized" cars were all gone. Never mind that when I paid for the car at the counter they forgot to mention that all they had were Fiat Minis.

The couple in front of me were not pleased.

They squinted in the bright September sunlight, surveying the lot.

"You don't have anything else, only Fiats?"

"Well, sir, we do have that Mustang over there which I could give you."

His face lit up. "Would there be an extra charge?"

"No, sir, I will give you the same price."

"That'll work!" All three were quite pleased - the couple and the agent.

But yours, truly, I'm thinking to myself, "Too bad I wasn't here a minute earlier, I could've had that Mustang. That would have been fun to drive."

The other travelers who didn't get the Mustang were not so pleased. Some of them even decided to wait for a larger car rather than drive the dreaded Fiat!

In the end, I was very fortunate that I didn't have the Mustang or any larger car.

Because.... I had to park in San Francisco.

And for the first time in 13 years Bay Area driving, parking was a breeze!

Check this out:

Easy Parking
    Easy parking with room to spare

To Americans, that ain’t a lot of car.

But so right for that city.

Speaking of paring down, last week's Rosh Hashana blog, "If I Can Do It, So Can You", resonated with a lot of readers.

(It turns out that not only has Zero Inbox already been discovered, someone even wrote a book about it. And here I thought I'd invented something.)

Does an empty Inbox at the end of the day appeal to you?

Does a clean desk appeal to you?

What about a clear head? A clear conscience?

Clutter outside leads to clutter inside. And vice-versa.

Order outside leads to order inside. And vice-versa.

Zero Inbox is the vision.

How do you get there?

“Just do it.”

In the age of liposuction, we all want to trim by FIAT.

It doesn’t work.

But there are two things the Fiat story can teach us:

1. Things really do happen for good reasons. Even though we don’t always see that right away.

2. Small is big. When you need to park in SF, small is huge. When you want to change yourself, a big commitment is worthless because you won’t be able to keep it, but a small step is a huge stride.

On Yom Kippur, after you finish counting all of your flaws, don’t promise yourself you’ll now be perfect. But DO commit to making one small change towards that new you. For example:

“I hereby commit to exercising once a week until Channuka.”
“…to eating no cookies for the month of October.”
“…to drinking no alcohol for 1 week.”
“….to smiling at my wife once a day for two weeks.”
“…to hugging my husband once a day until Thanksgiving.”
“…to pausing to say ‘Wow, thank You” every time I drink a glass of water for 4 weeks.”
“…to turning off the cell phone from 6-8 pm for 6 weeks.”
“…to turning off the TV and Internet every Friday night for 4 weeks.”
“…to giving 10 percent of my September income to tzedaka.”

Think about it. Plan it. Make the declaration out loud at sunset on Saturday, just before the end of Yom Kippur.

Then do it.

Someone in San Francisco asked me yesterday, “What if we don’t succeed?”

Answer: Not an option!

If you can even think that you might not succeed, then you are not committed, or you are over-reaching. Gotta be real, and gotta be 100% committed.

Now you know my answer to the riddle, When is something small something big?

When it's real.
May we all be sealed for life and peace, health and wealth, holiness and simcha; a zero inbox, easy parking, and a small but very real change for the better.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Yom Kippur

PS – Sukkot is next week and our recommended books and supplies, including the no-tools-snap-together Sukka, are at

PPS:  At this time of year, many people try to give extra tzedaka. If you're that type, please help aleviate hunger or support Jewish education. This blog is supported exclusively by tax-deductible contributions from readers like you. This is one of two times each year we invite you to become a paid subscriber. Nothing is free, so if you're not a supporter, someone else is paying for you to enjoy this. If it's worth a nickel to you or more, please do the math and click here. It only takes a minute or so and any amount helps.

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