Thursday, December 25, 2014

When was the Last Time you Thanked your Garbage Man?

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Dear Henry,
       Today December 25, is a National Holiday that approximately 250,000,000 Million Americans celebrate. For some Americans, like myself, this is a day in which there is blessedly no traffic, in which I consume enormous amounts of Chinese food. But for the majority of Americans, this day is a very spiritual, special day. And since this day falls on a Thursday this year, a handful of these 250,000,000, spent their night last night, on December 24th, collecting the garbage in the frozen, quiet city streets. Last night, instead of spending time with their families, sipping hot Cocoa by the fire place, knitting mittens and playing Monopoly, a number of amazing individuals went out to work. For them, work means standing on the back of a car, in sub-zero weather, stopping every ten feet to empty dirty, smelly garbage into the back of their trucks. After doing this for one house, they continue on, and on, and on, the longer they continue on, the colder the temperature becomes.
     In my opinion, our garbage men and women, as they case may be, are exceedingly inspiring Americans that we all ought to learn from, for several reasons. Firstly, have you ever stopped to think about the service they provide for us? Imagine for a moment, that there was not garbage collection? Where would we put our dirty diapers, or our nasty smelling spoiled cantaloupe? We would just leave it in our backyards? Even if there was a dump we could take it to, how excited are you to transport the putrid smelling rubbish you have accumulated over the last week? How long will it take for that horrific smell to finally disappear from your car? These heroic garbagemen and garbagewomen, as the case may be, are providing you and I an enormously important service. And for that we are obligated to thank them.
   In addition we can all bask in admiration of our local garbage collection team for their dedication to their jobs, and their hard work. What job is there that requires more effort and sacrifice? Up here in the frigid Northeastern tundras, it gets bloody cold. And yet, every week, no matter what the temperature, rain, shine, hail, snow, blizzards, monsoons, what have you, they come, every single week, without fail. Are we as dedicated to our jobs as they? Are we willing to invest as much as they are? All I can do, is tip my metaphorical hat in admiration.
   Finally, we should give them credit for dutifully performing their jobs, despite not receiving any thanks, or positive feedback. Human beings crave compliment, and positive reinforcement. Mark Twain himself said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." And even if you wanted to, like a mighty flash of lightening, the garbage truck can come roaring by like a mighty lion ready to pounce on its unsuspecting prey, at any time, whether we are ready for it or not. Sometimes, in the grey, cold, Northeast, the garbage truck comes cruising down the block at 4:00 in the morning. Even the most noble intentioned Americans out there are not going to be waiting for the garbage man at 4:00 AM in their flannel jammies. It is a more thankless job than being a clergy member. And yet, they come through every single week. And even if they were mad at you for having too much garbage, what can they do about it? At least a waiter in a restaurant who is mistreated can spit in your food, or something. Not so with the garbage man. He just comes through for you, EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
       So Henry, I ask you the following question: When was the last time you thanked your garbage man? I triple dogg dare all of my thousands upon thousands of dedicated readers from Idaho to Belize, from Montana to Dji Bouti-- figure out a way to acknowledge your local garbage collectors for their hard work. Maybe glue a gift card onto the garbage bin, or tie a bow around it with a note. We all need to look at ourselves in the mirror and honestly answer the following very difficult question: When was the last time I thanked my garbage man?

Forever Yours,
Danny Wolfe

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day off in Israel

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Dear Henry, 
  This past Monday, the wonderful opportunity arose for me to take  a day off, and go to Israel to attend my littlest nephew's bris. A lot of people might be thinking, that's a very interesting place to go for a day off. On a day off, perhaps it would make more sense to go to the nature reserve for some bird watching, go to the farm for some good old fashion cow tippin, or to do some blueberry picking. How does it make sense to drive three hours to the airport, wait three hours for my flight, sit on the cross Atlantic flight for 10 hours, spend a day in Israel for the sake of a 2 minute service and an accompanying breakfast, then, that night, go to the airport, hours before my flight, and do the same exact thing, just this time wait 2 more hours on the plane since I am flying against the jet stream? Well Henry, and all you doubters out there, I am here to tell you that all of this was 100% worth it; I would do it 1000 times more, and I recommend you take a day off in Israel as well. 
     There are three glaring, obvious reasons this is true.  The first reason is that Israel is a place unlike any other. Any opportunity to go there is an outstanding privilege that should not be passed up. We are talking about the land that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob treaded with their own two feet. This is the place that Moses so desperately desired to go, but tragically, couldn't. This is a place that we have been exiled from for the last 2000 years. This is where G-d's presence is so concentrated and easily perceived, where miracles happen every single day.  This is the center of the universe where being a Jew comes as natural as a colorful butterfly spreading her beautiful wings at Colorado's Butterfly Pavilion. As I once heard quoted by a great rabbi, being Jewish in America is like being a Polar Bear in the Bronx Zoo. Being Jewish in Israel is like being a Polar Bear in the The North Pole. Thus, I ask you, how on G-d's green earth could I have passed up the opportunity to be in Israel even for one day? What would the millions of Jews brutally persecuted in the Diaspora over the past 2000 years have given for ONE DAY in Israel? What would they have given, how much money would they have paid?
      Thus as I got out of the car Sunday evening  in a quiet lovely little place called Nof Ayalon, I took an intense, deep breath, and as my lungs were filled with the pristine, holy air of Israel, I honestly would have been content getting back in the car, going to the airport and heading home. That one breath of Israel reinvigorated me, rejuvenated me and reignited a spark from deep within me that words cannot adequately describe.
       There is a second reason I have absolutely no regrets about my day off in Israel. Quite simply, I was able to be with my family who I rarely see, at a major joyous life cycle event. If there is one thing my Pops taught me growing up, it is that family is everything. I was blessed growing up in a beautiful, loving family. In addition to my wife and kids, there is no one I would rather spend the holidays with than my Momma and Pops, my Bro and his family, and my baby sister and her family. I was also able to see my uncle, aunt and 4 little cousins. Being with my loving family at such a collective joyous, blissful moment-- celebrating the bris of my nephew, effectively welcoming him into G-d's eternal covenant with the Jewish People, was nothing less than magical. Celebrating together with my family was worth every second of the over 22 hours of flying time.  As my brother-in-law beautiful declared as the bris was happening, "Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has enabled me to live, and has sustained me, and has brought me, to this (glorious) day." 
     And finally, dear Henry, the third reason that taking a day off in Israel was an amazing idea that my thousands upon thousands of readers across the vast universe should do is that it drove home what I believe is one of the most crucial ideas a person can comprehend in his life time.  The Mishna states: the day is short; but there's a lot of work. Our time in this world is not infinite. We will be here hopefully 80-90 years, but in the large scheme of the universe that is but a minuscule fraction. Being in Israel for all of one day drove this point home very hard. I had 24 hours in Israel. Was I going to use that reading articles from ESPN, or playing snake on my phone? Or was I going to cherish every one of my precious moments in the Holy Land? Being in Israel for one day made me realize I didn't have time to waste. I had to wisely use every second. And as I waited for my plane on which I currently comfortably sit in my row to myself, I realized that although I arrived at this very airport YESTERDAY, it seems like a week ago- because in the last 24 hours I bonded with my parents, sister, nephew, brother in law, aunt, uncle, 4 little cousins, and my

sister's amazing in-laws. I also learned Torah in Israel, prayed at the Western Wall, visited some old friends, went to my rugelech guy, and falafel guy, ate a mind-blowing sufganiya, and engaged in one of my favorite Israeli pastimes by schmoozing with an Israeli taxi driver. In one day I accomplished an enormous amount. How much can I accomplish if I use my time so efficiently 365 days a year for 120 years? I believe the potential is endless.
    As I sit here, somewhere over the vast Atlantic Ocean with an hour to go in my flight, I know I will be at work in a few hours and this will all feel like a distant dream. But it is a dream I dare not forget.

Danny Wolfe

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Dear Henry,
      For a laundry list of reasons, I do not own a television. There are a whole bunch of reasons for why I choose to not own a television. One of them, is that I do not want to see the commercials, and have their messages and values seep into my soul.
      You see, dear Hank, I was recently tricked. I have a Iphone 4s. And on that Iphone 4s there is an incredible app called NFL Mobile. The nice thing about NFL Mobile is that it allows me to watch most Broncos games this season, the season when they will finally win that elusive Super Bowl (you heard it here first.) What the ITunes store neglected to warn me, however, when I purchased the app for free, was that with the Broncos games, came commercials. With the commercials, came very, very messed up values.
      For example, the following commercial promoting an app called NFL NOW probably airs 130 times a game on the NFL Mobile App. And about the 27th time, it hit me how convoluted it was. The commercial can be found here,
goes as follows:
"Now listen up NFL, I want the NFL the way I want it, and I want it now! I want my team, I want my own stream! I want highlights and breaking news my way...."
      Apparently, this app allows people to watch updated videos about their teams they root for. The message is clearly that I shouldn't be bothered and inconvenienced to have to wait for the NFL news that interests me.  If I want something now, I should get it now. I shouldn't have to wait. Not only shouldn't I have to wait, but I shouldn't have to undergo the nuisance of having to watch news about other teams that I don't care about. Like, who cares that Geno Smith throws the football like a third grade school girl? And why should I have to suffer through watching "highlights" from the Giants debacle against Jacksonville? Everything in the world revolves around my convenience. This ego mania promoting commercial is indeed very troublesome, and I believe antithetical to Jewish values.
       We live in a world of instant gratification, and we cannot be bothered to work or struggle for things anymore. We cannot wait for things any more.  Long gone are the days of sitting for 3 minutes waiting for your AOL 3.0 to dial up to the internet. Gone are the days of dialing 10 digits to reach someone on the telephone. In Judaism however, we assume that spiritual pleasure is the most intense, real, long lasting pleasure there is. When biting into a steak, the pleasure is immediate, but long forgotten 30 seconds later. It is fleeting. When visiting the elderly, doing a mitzvah,  or keeping kosher, the pleasure is not necessarily immediate-- but it is eternal. We believe in an afterlife in which we are rewarded for our efforts in this world-- even if that reward comes 120 years after the initial action.
        Now instead of having to bother speaking to someone I simply text them, in order to avoid the inconvenience of a real conversation. And if I do want to burden myself to speak to a person, Baruch Hashem there is a new app called Glide, which enables me to speak to them, leaving a video message, without having to go through the burdensome back and forth of a real live conversation in which I would actually have to listen and respond to what they say in real time.
      And furthermore, the other day I was speaking to my friend who was complaining to me about the very unfortunate reality that when using an Iphone in order to respond via text to a missed recent call, you have to press two buttons, in essence moving your right index finger a tiresome two times. In contrast, the new, handy dandy Droid, enables you to only have to suffer through one click, instead of two. Similarly, the Droid has the nifty Glide feature when texting, which means that its users no longer have to suffer through picking up their fingers between typing individual letters. I personally am strongly considering switching over so I won't have to continue soaking my index finger in a bag of ice, after it is so sore from a long day of moving up and down between letters of text messages.
      Lets say that swiping instead of typing, and one click instead of 2,  saves a person 1 minute a day, or 7 minutes a week. I hear the value of such time saving technology if we ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WITH THOSE 7 minutes! But what are we doing with the time saved? Are we using it to go pick up the trash littering our streets, helping old ladies cross the street, going out and having a meaningful conversation with a homeless person, visiting the sick, saving the whales, making a blessing, or baking blueberry muffins for our new neighbors? Or are we egregiously wasting them reading ridiculous articles on ESPN about how Lebron James decided not to toss some baby powder in the air any more before his basketball games?
      I suffer from this more than anyone. And that's why today was a blessed day-- when I arrived at work, I saw to my utter  horror that both my Ipad and my Iphone were out of battery, and I forgot my battery charger at home, and no one except for me still uses the Iphone 4S, so no one had a charger to lend me. So something weird happened-- when I spoke to people, I didn't rudely, constantly stare down at my phone like I usually do. Between meetings I didn't throw my precious time out the window by reading nonsense on the internet-- I actually used my brain. I thought. I tried to figure out where I stand on current events, relevant issues going in in Furgeson, Israel, and across the globe. It was mind-blowing.
     I encourage you, my thousands upon thousands of devoted readers across the vast expanse of globe to think about this epic rant, and figure out how it can apply to you. Maybe you also suffer from ego-mania. Maybe you waste more time than you should. Maybe you try to take every shortcut you can rather than truly toiling and working for something. Whatever it is, in life we need to try to identify areas in which we can improve, and to grow to become better people.
    Forever yours,
    Danny Wolfe

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tisha Bav Reading Material

      On Tuesday, August 5th, the Jewish people worldwide will be commemorating the tragic 'holiday' called Tisha Bav. On Tisha Bav both of our Holy Temples were destroyed, and the Jewish people were cast into a painful, and brutal exile. We fast, sit on the floor as is the custom for mourners,  recite kinnos (sad dirges memorializing the sad events of our past) refrain from washing our hands, marital relations, anointing ourselves, and we do not wear leather shoes. (For more specifics check out this link:
     It is meant to be a very painful day; yet for most of us, as a result of never having lived with the Holy Temples, we fail to grasp what exactly it is that we are mourning; what exactly is that we have lost. Yet our rabbis tells us that every difficulty in our lives, and every tragedy we face is connected to the fact that we do not have our Beis Hamikdash, our Holy Temple. I heard a beautiful analogy to our present situation: If a person is on life support after narrowly surviving a dangerous accident, from his own internal perspective, he might be grateful for still being alive. However to everyone looking in, they feel sorry for him, because they understand that he is not in fact really living. Living on a machine is no way to live. So too, our own state, without the Holy Temple, is analogous to living on life support-- we don't realize how much we are lacking; how much we are missing; and how this situation we call life is not what is ultimately the state in which we are meant to be living. Without our Beis Hamikdash, we are at a loss, and our existence is on a tremendously lower level than what it is meant to be.
      I heard a beautiful idea from a great Rabbi named Rabbi Shimshon Pincus. Rabbi Pincus said that the way to 'celebrate' and observe Tisha Bav is to feel the pain of Tisha Bav-- the pain of being in exile, and the pain, kabbalistically of the Almighty being in exile. It is to understand that every stress, difficulty, tragedy and devastation in life is linked to the fact we don't have our Temple. Therefore, our job is to figure out how to feel that pain-- and if the Jewish people could collectively fill up a bottle of tears from crying on Tisha Bav, the Messiah would come. The Talmud in Tractate Shabbos says beautifully "Anyone who sheds a tear for an upright person, the Holy One, Blessed is He counts them and places them in His storehouse. "
       Our tears our precious to the Almighty. Our job on Tisha Bav is to cry our eyes out. Sometimes, this is hard. Tragically, this year, it is not hard. Therefore, I have prepared below a reading list for articles you can read to cry, and understand how much we are missing by not having the Beis Hamikdash. On Tuesday, go to your room, close the door, open up your computer or iphone, and observe this powerful day by reading these articles.

1. In this article read about the widow of a soldier who gave birth 10 days after he was killed. Think about this man who never will meet his child-- and the child who will grow up never having seen her father.

2. In these articles, reflect on the infectious smile of Hadar Goldin, the young man who was engaged to be married in a few weeks. Reflect on the words of his fiance, "the hero of Israel, I love you and miss you. I'm waiting for you so we can dance at our wedding soon." 

At his funeral she said, "“I though we would be together forever,” she says. “I love you so much, and I miss you so much. I so wanted to be your bride, Hadar,”

3. Read here about two American boys, who could have been any of our close friends, who moved to Israel to serve in the IDF. One of them moved to Israel after being inspired on Birthright. The other one spent some time learning about Judaism at Aish. 
Think about the potential they had, and the pain of their famies.

4. Read this article from Newsweek, which featured on its front cover how Jews are fleeing from Europe. Reflect on the fact that it is not 1938, but 2014.

5. Read about how #Hitlerwasright was trending. Again, it is 2014.

6. Read about and remember the Fogel Family, murdered in their sleep by terrorists 3 years ago. Think about the three surviving children, who are being raised without parents.,7340,L-4041237,00.html

Watch this video memorializing them:

7. Read a eulogy about the three Israeli boys, kidnapped and murdered for being Jewish.

8. Read the second letter here, from Rabbi Eisenmann about this situation

9. Read this article about Nava Applebaum, murdered a day before her wedding because she was Jewish.

10. Read about Mrs. Sandler, whose husband and 2 children were murdered in France for being Jewish and teaching Torah.

11. Read about my heroes Chabad Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, murdered spreading Torah, serving the Jewish community of Mumbai India, for being Jewish. Read about their son screaming "mommy, mommy" at their funerals.

Reflect more on their holy lives here:

Let us read these articles, and cry bitter tears.

The Almighty should indeed collect our tears, and transform them to tears of joy. 

May the prophetic words of King David come true speedily and soon:

"When the Lord brought out Zion of captivity, we were like people in a dream. At that time our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with cries of joy...Let our captivity, Lord, be a thing of the past, like dried up streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears shall reap in joy."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

איך נפלו גיבורים- How the Mighty have Fallen: An Open Letter to the Families of our Soldiers

Dear Families,
I never had the privilege to meet your child, but he is my hero. For most of you, I was born about 6000 miles away from where you child was born. And yet right now, as I write this letter, bitter tears are being shed from my eyes like an endless waterfall as a result of the acute pain I feel from losing a family member. My pillow is drenched with tears of sorrow. I cry because instead of being with you at this moment, telling you in person how grateful I am to you for the mighty heroes you have raised, and instead of crying with you at your Shiva house, I am thousands of miles away, in a country by and large numb to what you are going through. But you should know that in addition to the hundreds of people you have seen come to mourn with you, there are thousands more who you don't see, whose hearts are quite simply broken. There are tens of thousands more of your extended family who are crying with you. I wish I could have met your holy child. I wish I could have met the Kadosh who valiantly fought for his Eternal People. I wish I had the merit to meet the individual who sacrificed his holy soul for the sake of the security of the Jewish Nation. I wish I only could have met the person who inspires me to no end with his dedication to Am Yisroel.
      Obviously nothing I say can alleviate the unbearable pain you are suffering through. But you should know that as you cry, we cry. Your tears are our tears; your agony is our agony. G-d should bless you with courage and strength. 
I love you very much, and am constantly thinking about you. You are our inspiration, and may the holy soul of you child be for a blessing, and shine upon us from it's eternal resting spot in Gan Eden. G-d bless you all. 

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך אבילי ציון וירושלים

With deep heart felt love,
Danny Wolfe 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Goodbye Twitter, Facebook and Times of Israel.

      Three boys kidnapped, and murdered because they are Jews, and general silence in the world media. Rockets being fired at school buses filled with innocent Jewish children on a daily basis, and silence from the world media. A 20 year old Israeli girl from Afula stabbed 17 times by an Arab taxi driver. You've never heard about this, but it happened in May.  A man shooting up a Jewish Community center in Kansas City. A terrorist shooting up a Jewish museum, murdering Israelis visiting Belgium. And today, shots fired near a house occupied by Israelis in New Dehli.
     And now, what appears to be a cruel, grotesque, mortifying and horrific TRUE Blood Libel, minus the "libel", fueling the dangerous flames of anti-Semitism around the world to levels I don't ever remember before witnessing.  And, well meaning Jews posting articles and opinions about this which absolutely promotes further Jew-hatred. I can't take it any more. If I read one more news article, I will vomit. I am sickened. I am going to uninstall Twitter from my phone, remove Safari from my iphone and turn it all off- so that I can focus on being a good father and husband. Someone please wake me when this is all over. In the mean time, I am going to pray- with every ounce of my soul, for the well being of my brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, and everywhere else in this scary world of ours.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


       Anger. Bewilderment. Pain. Confusion. Agony. Grief. These are all the words that best described my reaction to the horrific news coming out of Israel yesterday, that our three holy brothers, Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah, and Naftali Frenkel z'l HYD were murdered in cold blood for no other reason than the fact that they are Jews. For the last two and a half weeks, from the time they had been kidnapped until yesterday morning, I went to sleep with my phone next to my bed, so I could check the news first thing in the morning, to see if they had been found. Last night, I went to sleep with my phone next to my bed, so that I could check the news this morning to see the details of their funerals.
      When I first heard the news yesterday, I was in the middle of a jovial, fun-filled family road trip. And then, as I was filling up gas somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania, my mood drastically changed. How do I get back in the car, and  pretend I am fine, just like I was before I got out of the car to fill up the gas? How do I explain to my precious, angelic children, ages one, three, and five, that the reason that I am suddenly so sullen, removed, and absent is because three of our brothers were murdered because they are Jews? How do I explain to them that while I am physically in Pennsylvania, my heart and soul are in bereavement alongside my 6+ million Jewish brothers and sisters in our Homeland? How do I tell them that my sudden miserable mood and demeanor is a result of a bleeding heart; a tearful soul? How can I tell them that all they wanted to do was go home to their loving Mommy's and Totty's for Shabbos, when instead they went home to their Totty in Himmel (Father in Heaven) for eternity?
     Honestly, I don't have any words, or explanations.
     But what I do know, is that these last two and a half weeks I have seen more achdus, (Jewish unity), than any time in my life. Jews of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes have been bonded together in prayer and action on behalf of these three holy boys. We have merged as one massive family in a way that I have never in my life witnessed. These Kedoshim (martyrs) have united the Jewish people.
Two days ago we began the month of Tammuz-- a month that begins a three week mourning period for the Jewish people (the 17th of Tammuz) when we start grieving for the destroyed Temples. About two thousand years ago, our Holy Second Temple sat in ruins, as the Jews entered a bitter and painful exile which plagues us until today. Our Rabbis explain that Temple was destroyed because Jews had a baseless hatred for one another. Jews were divided, and could not get along. They harbored resentment for one another.
     Now, as a result of the indescribable pain we as a nation and People are feeling, we are united. Those petty differences are gone. Our job, and obligation, is to make sure that this is not a flukey, temporary situation. This must become the permanent state of the Jewish people. What I pledge to do, to honor these Holy boys, who died al kiddush Hashem, is to love three more Jews, without any other reason than the fact that they are my three Jewish brothers and sisters. I am picking one Jew to my political/religious left, one to my political/religious right, and one who shares my beliefs and opinions because it does not matter what any other Jew believes or thinks-- all that matters is that they are my beloved family members. If the Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, it stands to reason it can be rebuilt for 'baseless' love.
     G-d willing we can remain united as a people. Right now, we are crying and mourning together. In G-d's incredible mercy we should soon be laughing and dancing together, shedding tears of joy as we celebrate the rebuilding of our Holy Temple, B'mheyra B'yomeinu.
May the Holy memories of Yaakov Naftali, Gil-ad Michael, and Eyal be for a blessing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

An Open Thank You Letter to the Dude who Taught me about Relationships

Dear Dude who lives on Manning Street who who I see outside every morning at 7:15 AM,
      You do not know who I am, and I don't know you; but you inspire me greatly. You don't know me, and likely have never seen me, but I feel like I have known you for years. I, like many other passengers in automotive vehicles frequent the street in which you live. Your street helps me get from one point to the next. And by passing your house every morning, I have observed you do one thing for which you have become a profound role model: You spend time time with your daughter. In the freezing winter, this meant simply waiting with her in the bitter cold, as she awaited her school bus. In the spring it has meant playing catch with a baseball in front of your house, awaiting the bus. But you don't just spend time with her, playing catch when you know it will only be for a short time before her bus comes. Because I have also seen you outside on the weekend with her, with no place to go, tossing a ball back and forth with lacrosse sticks.
      At first I was unsure why exactly watching you had been so inspiring to me. And then I recalled my own youth, where my parents did the exact same thing: My pops played catch with me, coached my baseball teams, and hit my groundballs. And my momma was cheering me on in the bleachers. And perhaps without even consciously realizing it at the time, the love that they were showing me seeped into my bones, enabling me to feel secure, confident, happy, and beloved. 
     One of the three things the Torah contractually requires a man to provide for his wife is "onah." There are different understandings as to what exactly this word means, but I have heard quoted in the name if a tremendously brilliant and righteous rabbi, that in its most simple form, "onah" means time. In modern hebrew, "onah" means "season." Thus, according to this most literal understanding of the verse describing a man's legal obligations to his wife is that he must give her time. Perhaps this means that they have dinner together. And during dinner, the TV is off, the cell phone is charging in the other room, and the newspapers (if the couple is archaic and still gets newspapers) are put away. It is just one-on-one time-- an opportunity for the couple to connect and to convey the feeling of how they thoroughly enjoy being in the presence of their beloved. 
      This idea is a secret for success in any relationship today in which we find ourselves: with a friend, a spouse, or a child. We need to give one another time. Sometimes it is hard, in a world with so many distractions: we could be checking our email on our iphones, or speaking to Siri, or avoid spending time  with someone by emailing or texting them. Yet it is obvious that the most cherished, scarce, fleeting gift we have is time. What possible better way to show you love someone, than by investing your precious time in them. 
     For this profound lesson, Dude who Lives on Manning, I thank you.

Danny Wolfe

Friday, May 9, 2014



Dear Henry,
       I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I am SMH. Sorry for being such a negative Nancy, but I cannot stop SMH. For those of you out there in the vast universe who are currently reading my blogg, who are not as updated in the the times we live in as I am, let me explain what SMH means. SMH, oh Henry, means "Shaking my head." It means shaking my head in disgust or bewilderment at something one reads, sees or hears. And Henry, two days ago, I was SMH when I read an article on excitedly describing how two former athletes, Gilbert Arenas, and Tracy 'T-Mac' Mcgrady "trolled" the struggling center for the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert. (For those older readers out there, "trolled" is a nicer word for "bullied" ( Arenas posted a fake jeopardy answer on his instagram page, describing how this "all star" is averaging 1.7 rebounds per game in April, and a picture of someone who posted a meme, describing how Hibbert was Mr. 0'0- 0 points, 0 rebounds. Retired ball player TracyMcGrady tweeted, "Me and Roy Hibbert had the same amount of points and rebounds tonight."Mcgrady, was watching from his couch, while Hibbert was playing in the game. The ESPN article then goes on to excitedly post other comments from random people on the internet, further making fun of Roy Hibbert.
     After reading this article, I was sickened. Call me old fashioned. Call me reactionary. Call me radical. Call me extreme. But whatever you do, please do not call me late for dinner. This article was disgusting, and down right cruel. It is one thing to talk trash to someone you're playing against in the heat of an intense game. Its quite another thing for retired players to smack an innocent, very talented guy, when he is down. And the fact that ESPN proudly posts this article, is yet another reason I am SMH.
       (As I am editing this blogg post, ready to post it, I come across a post on twitter from, condescendingly reporting that " Even the NFL’s official Twitter account mocked Johnny Manziel’s draft fall ." Johnny Manziel is a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns who was drafted last night. He was once projected be one of the very top choices of the draft, but he was passed over by team after team during the draft. The Official Twitter handle of the NFL posted "#SadManziel?")
      One has to wonder: What exactly compels people to berate others when they are down? Why kick someone when they are in pain? If I would find someone in the street suffering, and I slapped them in the face, what would that say about me? Am I so weak and pathetic, that I think the only way to attain happiness or respectability is by making other people feel like dirt? Lest you say, "he makes millions of dollars, he deserves it," is that really true? Just because a person is fortunate enough to make a good living, people have a right to be downright cruel and hateful? I am not a psychologist, but it seems to me that the only types of people who would act in such a manner are people with an extreme lack of self-worth, and a boat-load of insecurities. And for that, I feel sorry for T-Mac and Arenas.
      The Torah teaches that one should love his neighbor like he loves himself, and the Talmud elaborates with the famous statement of Rabbi Akiva that," One should not do to others what he would not want done to himself." If Tracy Mcgrady and Gilbert Arenas would not want to be taunted and ridiculed after humiliating games in their careers, they have no business making fun of Roy Hibbert.

Danny Wolfe

PS. Thank the Lord Above for real role models like Kevin Durant, who so beautifully thanked his mother for his success. (Go to 23:00 of this video, and hold a box of tissues as you watch.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reflections on Broncos Super-Blow (out)

Dear Henry,
       My name is Danny Wolfe, and I am a Broncoholic. (For more on this see previous post,
I was very confident that the Denver Broncos would win Superbowl 48 against the lowly Seattle Seahawks. I made arrogant predictions to my thousands of followers worldwide on the social media. I tried to arrange campaigns to send me to the Superbowl. I had grandiose visions of Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey hoisting up the Lombardi trophy. I debated in my head if I should take off a few days and fly to Denver for the victory parade. I was so pumped up for the game, that immediately prior to going to watch it, despite the weather being about 20 degrees here, I unknowingly left my coat on the hanger at my synagogue, after reciting the evening service. I was amped up-- the adrenaline was pumping like a stream of regular unleaded gas into my glowing, golden Hyundai.
      And then the game started. And 12 seconds into the game, I had to literally pinch myself, to see if I was experiencing a nightmare. And then, after the first play of the second half, in which Percy Harvin returned the kick for a touchdown, I realized that this was no nightmare-- that in fact, I was watching the ugliest, most disturbing football game I had ever seen in my life-- the complete unravelling of the Broncos as they were absolutely demolished to the Seahawks in the Superbowl.
     During the commercial break after that touchdown, I turned my attention to Facebook-- to peruse the  statuses, and to be able to commiserate with my fellow Broncos fans. This perusal of Facebook instantly and radically changed my entire life perspective. You see, Henry, as I was looking at Facebook after the first play of the third quarter, a play that made the game an unreachable 29-0, I felt some sadness, and downright sorry for myself. And as I felt this sadness I took a glance at a status from a dear friend who less than a week ago tragically suddenly lost a very beloved, close family member. She had written a status update, vividly describing the profound pain she was experiencing, the flow of tears she had shed, and her unbearable heartbreak.  And with that jarring, eye-opening glance on Facebook, any 'pain' or 'sorrow' I had due to the Broncos game, instantly evaporated. I was coming home, alive and well, to my loving family, alive and well. There is nothing in the world that I have a right to be sad about, or to complain about.
     Upon reaching this stirring realization, I reflected to myself, that literally about 48 hours earlier, I was by the bedside of a comatose young teenager, praying for his full recovery, as a dear friend of mine played the guitar for him.  And the timing of all of this hit me like a ton of bricks: Within a five day span, on one hand, a dear friend experienced such a tragic loss, and I am by the bedside of a child who is in a coma, and l'havdil elef havdalos, on the other side, the Broncos lose the Superbowl by 35 points. The enormity of the difference between these events gave me extreme clarity.  I learned from the proximity of these three events a very stark lesson: I need to be exceedingly grateful for every gift I have, and G-d forbid I should ever, ever pity myself over something as stupid as a meaningless game.
      The Torah teaches us, Eizeh hu Ashir? HaSameach b'Chelko. Who is rich, the one who is happy with what he has.  Each and every one of us, no matter how difficult life can be at time, still has a tremendous amount for what we can be grateful. No matter how bad any one in the world ever has it, there is always someone else, who would trade places with them in a heartbeat. (For more on this see
     The night of the Super Bowl, I did not sleep well-- but not because the Broncos lost-- but because of the genuine pain I felt for my friend.
     This stirring experience taught me one crucial lesson about football that I would like to convey to hundreds of thousands of my fellow Broncos fans world-wide, still seeped in a deep depression after the brutal loss: It's just a lousy game.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Confessions of a Broncoholic


Dear Henry,
                Euphoria. Delight. Unadulterated Joy. Pure Happiness. Contentment. These are the only adequate words to describe my mood yesterday. No, I did not have a child. Yes, the Broncos dismantled the New England Patriots.
                As I left synagogue after dutifully reciting the afternoon and evening service, and became aware that the score was now 20-3 in favor of the Good Guys, I was astounded at my genuine sense of delight and happiness. Utter joy, that I literally have not felt since holding my youngest in my arms on the night he was born a year and a half ago. Indeed, I was one very, very happy rabbi.
               This feeling of genuine simcha (happiness) kind of surprised me.  I have not lived in Colorado in over ten years. I am now in my late twenties. I do not own a television-- not wanting to be bothered by the values promoted on it. I traded in my Eminem CDs for 8th Day CDs. I like to wake up early in the morning to immerse myself in the vast Sea of the Talmud.  As I matured, I came to realize, at the end of the day, how futile professional sports are. After all, what personal connection do I have to the Broncos? Because I happened to be born in Colorado, the Broncos success can really determine my happiness? Do the players know I exist, care about me, or root for me in my own life?  Some might be good guys, while others mights be arrogant, violent, and downright nasty people.
         And when I reflected further, I grappled with some of my emotions: How I was delighted when Wes Welker took out Akib Talib from the game; how I was cherishing Bill Belichek's scouring, kvetching, and downright suffering; how I was savoring the Tom Brady pout, with his head buried miserably in his shaky hands; and most  satisfying of all--how I vengefully mocked the miserable Boston sports fans who were so nasty in their arrogant comments about the Rockies in the 2007 World Series. I eagerly opened Boston Sports news articles, and websites, rejoicing over their misery.
             And yet, I am a peace-loving, revenge-hating rabbi. I don't want people getting injured. I don't want people to be sad. And I don't believe in revenge.
            These mixed emotions really troubled me, and I asked my better half why it is that I love the Broncos so much. As always, she told me something incredibly profound:You have spent your whole life investing crazy amounts of time in the Broncos-- you cannot suddenly stop loving them. That love does not just disappear. She is right. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler famously teaches that in hebrew, the root of the word for "love" means "to give." The Torah teaches that the more one invests, and gives to another, the more he comes to love them. And I have invested hours upon hours of my life into this team--I love them.
          I will conclude this piece as confused, and bewildered and perplexed as I began this piece: On one hand I have the pure joy of victory under my belt-- and absolute confidence that the Broncos will take care of business in two weeks in New York shutting up Richard Sherman for hopefully a very long time. And yet, on the other hand, I have profound disappointment in my sadistic emotions about my team defeating the other team. I am better than that.
        However, one lesson that I can take out of all of this with absolute clarity, is the following logical argument: If I have invested immense amounts of time and effort into loving my local football team- your Denver Broncos, the best offensive team in the history of the National Football League, who I do not even know, who don't know me, who have never tangibly ever given anything to me, then certainly, without a doubt, I ought to invest all the time and effort in the world into loving my fellow man--those I interact with on a daily basis. The Torah teaches us that we are required to love our fellow human being as we love ourselves. This is puzzling--after all, how can the Torah command us to feel an emotion such as love? One answer is that we can in fact choose to love-- by investing, and giving to others. The more you invest, the more you love. Any parent can tell you, the more sleepless nights you have taking care of your children; the more diapers changed, the more you absolutely adore your precious child.
      My New Years resolution is to start to love others, the way I love the Broncos-- to learn from the way I invest time into the Broncos, and to apply that to everyone else around me. Maybe then, will I discover the futility of my relationship with the soon to be three time Super Bowl Champs--The Denver Broncos.

Danny Wolfe