Before the relaxation and contentedness from Memorial Day Weekend (MDW) completely fades, take a moment to appreciate the meaning of the holiday. Traditionally, the last day of May is devoted to honoring and remembering both men and woman who died in military service. It’s also the unofficial kick-off of summer in America. Which means that beaches will now be life-guarded, and typically start charging admission.
Although I’ve had family members who served in the military, and fought during WWII (my grandpa on my mother’s side); there aren’t any immediate family members serving in the active military. And fortunately, most of the people in my network were unscathed when terrorists attacked New York City (NYC) on September 11th, 2001. What all this can be filtered down to is the following: service brings honor. Whether that’s military service, growing a business that serves the community, or the blessed men and women who don some kind of uniform for work each day.
Take Time To Read
Along these lines, in the book I’m currently reading, Thou Shall Prosper: The Ten Commandments for Making Money, Rabbi Daniel Lapin compiles a mountain of research for upholding the pursuit of profitable business in the highest esteem. In the First Commandment, “Believe in the dignity and morality of business,” he describes why providing a service (i.e., servicing other people) is directly linked to feeling good about own’s own business ventures. This is evident in when meeting an acquaintance for the first time, for example, and asking, “what do you do for a living?”¹
Furthermore, pride in one’s work and success in one’s business (i.e., ability to produce consistent profitability) go hand-in-hand. Rabbi Lapin provides many colorful stories of this principle in action. The shoe-shiner at John F. Kennedy airport who doesn’t need the work, because he owns several shoe-shine stands strategically placed throughout the busiest terminals; however, opts to continue shining shoes out of the sheer joy he receives in the day-to-day interactions. Another, more appropriate, example are the firefighters who ran into the burning towers unaware of it’s impending structural collapse on 9/11.
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Those brave souls, whose identity was bound to the service they provided for the community, would unknowingly be etched into the annals of history. And it’s that degree of servitude that we all should embrace to the daily demands of our working professions. The above clip was taken on MDW at the General Electric (GE) building on 50th St. & Rockefeller Plaza, between 5th and 6th Avenues. The Plaza is/was adorned with American flags across the entire promenade. There was also a big float of a ballerina; which may have been from Alice in Wonderland? Not sure; however, the dozens of flags bear an obvious meaning.
Make It Here
I’m proud to be an American, and equally as grateful for having the opportunity to do business in a free market. And one of the biggest, and most influential markets, in the world no less.
Related Post: Why I’m Grateful For What I Have
They say, “if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere.” Although I haven’t finished reading Thou Shall Prosper, the lessons contained therein are both abundant and frequent. Highly recommend investigating for yourself, especially if you’re self-employed. Some holidays have an implicit focus on money (e.g., Chanukah and Christmas); however, MDW is a holiday about nationalism, freedom, and honoring the sacrifice made by our military. So if you want practical lessons about making money, go check out the book. Because beach season is upon is, and you’re sure to need a good read (not just to get people to use my affiliate link ;))
I have another clip from over the weekend, which to me represents what MDW is all about. Sure it’s customary to attend BBQ’s, fly the American flag, and watch baseball on TV. Indeed most people spend their time off relaxing, if they’ve got the weekend off from work. Accordingly, having the ability to stave off working for even just a few days represents what Rabbi Lapin alludes to in The Fourth Commandment, “Do not pursue perfection,” as taking luxury for granted. Now I myself had taken off a few days; however, driving home from my last shift before the big holiday break (pictured above) I felt a swelling of intense gratitude for the subsequent 72 hours of freedom.
The feeling that best exemplifies how I believe MDW, as a construct of American culture, should be regarded is summed up in the following passage from Thou Shall Prosper:
Taking the day off, even for something as wonderful as spending time with your children, is a luxury; and being able to do so means that your worries do not [temporarily] revolve around food, shelter, and survival.
Finally, the book illustrates how Jewish culture is intertwined with a reverence and respect for making money. And the author does a great job of explaining why so many highly successful business-people are Jewish. Rabbi Lapin also debunks several myths as to why this same phenomenon exists. Again, it’s a terrific read that seeps the reader into the inter-workings of Judaism; without the countless hours of reading from the Torah practice.
In case you haven’t realized it by now, this post was created for dual functionality: a.) to keep readers abreast of the rideshare driving market during the spring season (specifically how I interacted with MDW this year), and 2.) a book review of Thou Shall Prosper, which is one of a handful of books that I’ve read recently/am reading currently. Actually trying to slow down the pace a little bit of reading; because I’m progressing through almost 2-3 books per month this year. There are likely to be a few more juicy morsels in Thou Shall Prosper, so perhaps I’ll update with another post after it’s done.
Have a great summer.
¹Lapin, Daniel, 2010. “Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money,” John Wiley &
Sons. Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey