I visited my friend Rabbi Yitzy this week and the first thing he asked me was how my son Nate is doing. I haven’t seen the Rabbi in a month, and he’s only met my son once, yet he remembered who he was. This made me feel so sad for the Rabbi, as his mind is truly intact while he remains a prisoner to his body. He can only control eye movement, so that’s how he communicates.

I then asked the Rabbi, “How do you deal with sadness on the days that are painful?” The Rabbi told me he does three things. 1. He helps others, showing them how even a prisoner can have a positive attitude, 2. He watches comedies, and 3. He listens to music. I asked him what his favorite comedy was and he said it was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

His humanity and especially his love for comedy made me smile from ear to ear, and we made a date with Nate to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off together.

It’s nice to be able to look up to heroes and people of greatness, yet I don’t know if I will ever achieve such greatness. So, while it’s inspirational, it’s not aspirational; learning from someone’s humanity and hearing the tools one uses to overcome sadness is aspirational.

Life throws us curveballs and no one escapes without suffering, yet it’s the tools that we use to make the suffering meaningful and tolerable, and it’s utilizing our pain to empathize with others in their pain.

Life isn’t about the pursuit of happiness which is fleeting, it’s about the pursuit of meaning.

Victor Frankl fought so hard for us to understand that the human being can have everything taken away from them except the choice to find meaning. The choice of how we respond, how we reply, and how we react is ours, and no one can take that away from us.

Rabbi Yitzy has every right to give up. His life is really tough and he is truly powerless over everything but his thoughts. He finds healthy ways to distract himself, yet he knows that he is ultimately here to help others find meaning, to help them find their tools to help themselves and others.

This week, let’s use our suffering to be kind and helpful towards others.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love



I want to remind all of you that you can hear more on my podcast, Showing Up. We have lots of amazing shows with interesting guests on a variety of personal development topics. It would be great if you could also rate 5 stars, review and subscribe to the show. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/showing-up-with-asher-gottesman/id1489856285y