Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Lessons in Life and Menschlichkeit

Credit Photo: makamuki0 via

Not every Jewish person is a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or programmer. Recently, I got to speak to a nice Jewish man who is a barber, and I learned some important things about getting along and helping people.

COVID Shave and a Haircut

It was during the early days of the COVID pandemic, and everything was shut down. However, feeling the need to earn his living, the barber kept his shop open. Well, sure enough, not long into the pandemic, someone arrived at his shop and started lecturing him, saying, “You’re not supposed to be open!”

Fortunately, a quick haircut for the complainer resolved it all.

A Heart for the Homeless

One day, a homeless person comes into the barbershop and asks if he can wash himself. Having a heart for another human being in need, the barber agrees. When I asked him what moved him about this man’s plight, he said:

A person doesn’t ask for something like this unless they really need it! I couldn’t say no to someone in need.

I responded that I had heard that growing up as a child and said, “Yeah, a lot of people have hard lives,” to which he said very thoughtfully:

Yes, they do have hard lives, but sometimes they also make it hard on themselves. Like alcohol, drugs, and bad relationships, people have to make better decisions in their lives.

Give people a reason and meaning.

After a little time, I learned that the barber runs multiple businesses and is such a hard worker between them.

When I asked him how he was able to be a successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses, he told me:

I have another “trustworthy, good guy” who can run one of the businesses, and when he’s not available, the shop runs itself because the people like what they do and take responsibility for their own income.

In short, he told me that if you give people a reason and meaning, then you don’t need to be on top of them all the time.

The Social Media Trinity

When I asked what he liked best about being a barber, the man said:

I love talking with people. They are infinitely fascinating!

Then he hesitated and was sort of downbeat, and he said:

But nowadays, people are too busy on their smartphones to talk much to me anymore.

I asked quizzically, “What are they busy doing on their phones during a haircut?”

He thinks for just a brief moment, and then, smiling big, he replies:

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—the Social Media Trinity!

Honestly, I thought to myself that social media was mostly such a waste of time, and really, they’d be more productive having a good conversation with this barber.

I realized, too, that I also like talking to and learning from others. And from all the various people I’ve had a chance to meet, I have found that it’s not how much of a big shot someone is, how smart they think they are, or how much money they have in the bank, but the humility and humanity of good, decent, hardworking people out there that often have the most important lessons of life to share.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
Related Topics
Related Posts