James Gandolfini, RIP

A lesson from Sopranos’ mafia kingpin.

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Comments (10)

(10) Bobby5000, July 4, 2013 2:07 PM

Men at 50, at risk

Some 50-60 year old men will die or become seriously ill. (women live at least 6 years longer) With G-d's help we can seek long life and some basic precautions will help:

1. Get a yearly physical.

2. If you feel strange, see a doctor, and if he doesn't help, go back or go to the emergency room. At 30, aches and pains may mean little, at 50, unexpected pain or sensations may indicate a serious condition. Did poor James go to the bathroom because he felt bad instead of seeking help.

3. Get regular exercise and maintain good habits.

4. Be a meaningful force for good in this world. Give Hashem the reason to keep you here.

To a long and healthy life with G-d's help.

(9) Anonymous, July 4, 2013 7:52 AM

Just a Comment

Please know that I'm not commenting on the deceased actor--JG. In particular, I'm not judging JG about what kind of person he was; that's obviously not for me to decide and I didn't know him. Rather, in just responding to your changed thinking--and in particular--in terms of one's acting career (nothing else, not taking away from any good from anyone etc.). I would say as follows: A person should bring their values (assuming good) into their career and everything else. Sure a person can play a role, but how do they play it. As such, I suggest you go through episodes of the famous show you mentioned. Then you decide for yourself whether what you see is generally good for society, neutral, or generally not good for society. How do think it impacts of our culture? And, if you were an actor, would you portray any of the roles in the same way, or would you do it differently within your cultural beliefs. As you say, what do you think (after reviewing the episodes)?

(8) Howard Mallinger, July 2, 2013 11:30 PM

The Talmud Says

As my rabbi has taught us, when our time comes,HAS-SHEM will just want to know how we treated our fellow man,NOT how much gelt,or jewels,or property we have--remember that's how HAS-SHEM will remember us by,AMEN.

(7) Simcha, July 2, 2013 10:38 PM

Fantasy and Reality!!!

Everyone should know the difference between the fantasy of TV and movies and the reality of everyday life. There are those who see the actors and actresses in movies as their fantasy character and not as they truly are in the real world. There is a big difference between fantasy and reality. There may be actors who act in real life as in the movies but this is not the norm. A good example is Carroll O'Connor from the TV show "All In the Family". He played Archie Bunker, a bigot on the show who did not like Jews or anyone else for that matter, but in real life, he was very pro-Israel who was active in raising money for Israel. "Don't judge a book by its cover!"

(6) Rachel, July 2, 2013 7:41 PM

"He was a great actor, but that wasn't who he really was"?????

UGGHHH!!! There is SO much wrong with that statement, it suggests, Rabbi Solomon, that you know next to nothing about great actors. I'm not necessarily talking about big stars, I'm talking about great artists. It's only because so many people confuse celebrity/fame with talent that I'm even bothering to reply....
A great actor has to have empathy more than anything else, and that's why many great actors are involved in charitable causes. To find the inner life of a character (especially an outwardly unsympathetic mob boss) and bring that character to life in such a way that the audience goes with the actor on that journey is a remarkable achievement.
Anyone serious about acting (again, I'm talking about the craft, not the publicity-seeking know-nothings who are sometimes -wrongly - referred to as actors) knows James Gandolfini's tremendous body of work. Indeed, it is a testament to his talent that a man who was so physically unimposing would become a major star. Furthermore, he won a Tony award for his Broadway performance (of another anti-heroic character) in "God of Carnage".
It is perfectly appropriate for a state to mourn the loss of one of its great talents, just as it is appropriate for a country to honor its great talents (e.g. the Kennedy Center Awards.) And I'm kind of shocked that you wouldn't have bothered to find out more about Mr. Gandolfini's work before jumping to conclusions.
The arts - including the performing arts - at their core teach us something about being human. Mr. Gandolfini, who studied with the great acting teacher Sanford Meisner, was an artist. And saying that maybe it's inappropriate to honor someone who played Tony Soprano is up there with saying it's wrong to honor someone who played Macbeth.
Your point that we should all consider how we want to be remembered is a good one. However, your initial attitude toward Mr. Gandolfini opens you up to the charge that the Orthodox are narrow-minded.

(5) Anonymous, July 2, 2013 7:02 PM

What I want the people say at my funera

I want they say: Oh my god,he is moving!!!

(4) James Walden, July 2, 2013 6:05 PM

About the Video about James G.

I think Rabbi Salomon's thoughts are great as I had the same thoughts when I heard about the Actor, James G. but realize that may not know all the facts about a person & judge too quickly before knowing all the facts. really a great Video & respect Rabbi's idea's & actually agree. got to thinking about my own last testament when my time comes!

(3) Margarita, July 1, 2013 3:18 PM

something to think about

personally i was sad to hear about Gandolfini passing away - he was only 51 and it was very sudden death. even more tragic is the point of his son finding him in a hotel........ somehow story touched us all on different levels and, even if we did not know / watch movies, it reminded us of our mortality and fragile life.
sadly politicians go for cheap popularity and this is the only way to describe the reaction. maybe it is time for us to think about politicians based on their policies, but many people vote for someone just because they liked something (not always recalling what did they like). maybe it is our media reports (mostly gossip and no accountability), maybe we are too tired and disengaged (most likely it is both), but we all can see the result.
as for your question - B"H i do not understand the need for eulogy (everyone has his / her own memory and will treasure it forever, people can come to comfort the mourner and talk about it one-on-one, but ....). i hope The Temple will be rebuilt soon in our days. however if it will come to it, i hope people will not talk but give money to charity (there are preferred charities).
what i think should be done - addressing real issues, connecting our beloved Torah to real life situations and resolutions (emphasising Leviticus 19:16 as a basis for our behaviour) is a good start.
thank you for giving me something to think about

(2) ross, July 1, 2013 3:02 PM

Seventh inning stretch?

I have a feeling I'll pass away one year in late October when the Yankees are in the playoffs. That takes care of the five or so people who would've come to the funeral.

(1) Sidney, June 30, 2013 3:40 PM

James Gandolfini vs Tony Soprano

Right ON!

If people were mourning James Gandolfini,(whom until a few days ago I never heard of, although I did hear of T. Soprano) as described by you, FINE.

If however if the mourning was for the character, Tony Soprano, then were the Orthodox Jews as sad when Rabbi Dr. JB Soleveichik or Rabbi YS Elyashiv passed away?

Truly something to think about!


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