Tune into any reality show these days (“Extreme Makeovers,” “Cribs,” “The Biggest Loser,” the list goes on) and it probably won’t be long before a certain message filters into your consciousness: If you change your outer life, it will change your inner life. But that’s a lie. What we have is not who we are, no matter how hard pop culture may drill that message into our heads. That’s just a bit of the wonderful insight shared on this week’s episode by Rabbi Steve Leder, senior Rabbi of Wilshire Temple in Los Angeles. Leder is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including “More Money Than God: Living A Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul,” and “More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us.”
Listen in as he shares why he became a Rabbi, and how the synagogue became the place where he could pursue his passion for creative, cultural, intellectual and spiritual matters. He also discusses his early work on a congressional campaign and why he decided not to pursue politics. “I realized that I cared more about the values expressed in the bible than I did about the values being expressed in political warfare, so I made the decision at 20 years old to go to Rabbinical school, and I never looked back,” he says.
As a Rabbi, Leder says that over the years, he’s seen many people who have a disconnect between their set of professed values and their lived values — and that’s a recipe for trouble. When we have this disconnect, it can present many problems in our lives, and pose a challenge for how we raise our children. As a father, Leder knows all too well the challenges of raising kids who truly know the value of a dollar, and understand the difference between wants and needs. He and Jean share some real talk on how to raise healthy, well-grounded and decent humans in the Instagram, instant-gratification reality we live in. In today’s world, we can press a single button and have just about anything we want delivered right to the doorstep. So how do we break the cycle of shopping for sport? “For kids, you have to engage,” Leder says.
In his most recent book, “More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us,” Leder opens up about his difficult recovery from a car accident and severe back injury that changed his perspective on suffering. “I realized coming out the other end of it, that I knew very little to nothing about real pain, and this book was an apology, and an attempt to set the record straight about pain and what we can learn from it,” he says.
Lastly, in Mailbag, Jean advises a woman who recently found herself as the primary breadwinner following her husband’s retirement, and tackles a question about the rules for exactly how much you need to have saved heading into retirement. In Thrive, Jean dishes on wedding insurance, and whether or not it’s something the happy couple should really be investing in.