Interview with Charlie Harary

Charlie Harary

Mr. Charlie Harary, Esq. is a prolific speaker who has traveled all over the country and abroad speaking to organizations, schools, universities and institutions on a variety of topics. 

He has created dozens of videos that have received worldwide attention reaching hundreds of thousands of people in over 15 countries. Mr. Harary is the CEO of H3 Capital LLC, a private equity company based in New York and is a Senior Lecturer for the Orthodox Union, Aish Hatorah and NCSY. 

Elise: Tell us about your new book Unlocking Greatness: The Unexpected Journey from the Life You Have to the Life You Want?

Charlie: For many years I have been talking with people about how to grow, where does change come from. It is complicated. Growth just doesn’t happen because you feel motivated to do so. I realized over time that to have a conversation from start to finish would be too much. So, I sat down to write about it. What I realized is that there are really three components to change. There is understanding how your mind works. There is the concept of Neuroplasticity, how the brain is always changing. Understanding how your soul works and what your soul is looking for is really significant in the connection of others. There’s the understanding of how your body works, which are habits and rituals. When you put them all together you can actually change. So that’s what I did. I wrote it out in a book; bringing out the greatness in each and every one of us.

Elise: How long did it take you to actually write your book? 

Charlie: It takes a long time. Writing a book is an endeavor. I was teaching it in a business school first. I thought it would be a cinch. But it was not like that at all. I rewrote it and rewrote it. I got the draft back from Random House and they ripped it to shreds. And then I rewrote it and rewrote it. I was working full time and writing the book on the side. It took me almost two years to write.

Elise: I quote from your blog, “There are a few experiences as intense as writing your first book and training for your first marathon at the same time. That was my life this year.” 

As it is said during our Pesach Seder in the Dayenu song, had you taken the Jews out of Egypt but not punished the Egyptians, that would have been enough? I feel like this applies to your life. What made you do both? One could have been enough.

Charlie: Yeah. Usually what happens is that your timeline and G-d’s timeline are totally different. I intended to write the book a year earlier, but nobody picked it up. When they finally picked it up, they put a deadline on it which was the same time a friend’s daughter had gotten ill. I had already decided to run a marathon for her. There was no way I was going to back out on this. I didn’t intend for either of these two things to hit at the same time, but they did. Like everything in life, you think that you can’t do certain things, but G-d tells you that you can and when you listen to him, you usually can do more.

Elise: Who do you admire?

Charlie: I admire a lot of people.  My grandparents came from a different generation and made it work. I admire my rabbis who really have lived their lives trying to find the truth. I admire my wife for who she is. I admire people who have overcome challenges because I think that is why we are here.

Elise: What makes a person great?

Charlie: It is how they deal with the life that is in front of them. When you recognize that you are coming from a piece of G-D, and that you have to work to bring that out, then you are achieving your greatness. Greatness is really an internal journey that you take.

Elise: What in your childhood made you the person you are today?

Charlie: I am still trying to be the person I am today. I am nowhere near where I should be. I wish I could be bigger and better. I think it was my parents. They are both very hardworking, industrious and entrepreneurial. I was impressed by observing my father work as hard as he does and watching my mom go back to school for her masters and doctorate. 

Elise: Tell us about your religious journey. 

Charlie: I went to a modern orthodox high school. I wasn’t interested in anything Jewish. I was always very spiritual. I always believed in Hashem but I wasn’t interested in the rules. I remember on Yom Kippur davening to Hashem for a championship and a new car. I spent most of my time getting into trouble. I had my own permanent chair in the principal’s office and my mom defended me five out of five school days a week. I got to Israel and still was not interested. Then, I got halfway through when I started to realize that there is something really magical here. People who were delving into Torah seemed to have a certain happiness – that I didn’t find elsewhere. So, I started to sit and study and it really blew me away. I found that the greatest life you can have is with the creator of the universe.

Elise: What are your spiritual goals?

Charlie: I want to be able to really walk with Hashem. It is a lifelong journey. To be able to wake up in the morning and say, “Your will is my will, my happiness is when I am with you.” As David HaMeleck says, “All I want is to be in your home.” To bask in G-d’s glory. It is not an easy process. That’s what I am striving for.

Elise: Where does your passion and inspiration for Judaism come from?

Charlie: It comes from a feeling that G-D loves us and that he is with us. The more I think about it, the more I get excited that the creator of humanity is not only around me, but he is inside of me and he wants to have a relationship with me.

Unlocking Greatness: The Unexpected Journey from the Life You Have to the Life You Want? is available at: http://charlieharary.com/