The Life and Legacy of Sarah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Life and Legacy of Sarah.”

The Rebbetzin explained beautifully that when we live a good life, not only does our soul live on in the afterlife, but our good deeds continue to have an influence in this world even after we, ourselves, have passed.


We should never underestimate our influence in this world, and that what we say and do reverberates like concentric circles that spread out from the source farther and farther. Moreover, while you might not think that what you do matters all that much or is a big deal, you never really know the outsize impact that it can have. Therefore, even while Sarah had passed and Abraham mourned her, the truth is that her legacy of the great Jewish nation was only just beginning!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Adding A Very Special Facebook Friend

So this was really strange what happened to me before Yom Kippur. 


My parents passed away 5-6 years ago already.


I always miss them so much!


Somehow, on Facebook, my dad’s Facebook profile came up, which I was surprised to find. 


Looking at it, I saw under his friends was of course, my mom. 


I didn’t even know my mom had a Facebook page (I don’t think she ever really used it). 


But I was so curious, I clicked on her profile.  


I saw the prominent blue and white button to “Add Friend.”


And I saw my hand reaching to press for that button. 


I so wanted to reach out and be able to be with, see, communicate with her again. 


Then I stopped myself realizing that the friend request, unfortunately, couldn’t go to Heaven. 


If only it could…I would be so happy to press that button and have my mom hear from me again. 😉


(Photo of my dear parents from Florida)

Open Your Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Open Your Eyes to Hashem.”

G-d has a plan and a reason for everything–not only for them, but for all of us. We are all on a journey, and even if we don’t always readily see G-d, it’s part of our core faith that He is always there, He is guiding us, and that everything is for the best. Yet despite our best efforts to have faith, at times, we may feel that we don’t know what we’re doing here–why we’re at this place, at this time, or even how we got here–we may actually feel a little lost. Maybe we just can rattle off a list of “Well I did this and then that and then this other thing happened.” But exactly how we got to where we are, regardless of our best laid plans, is often a mystery to us as human beings. As I often tell students and colleagues in the planning discipline of enterprise architecture, “Man plans, and G-d laughs.”


While we may think we are going about fulfilling our plans and accomplishing our life dreams, the truth is that everything ultimately comes from G-d. He gives you the strength, the health, the family and friends as support, the talent, the opportunity, and the right thoughts in your head and the right words in your mouth to do what you do. Of course, we must do our part and the hard work to find and fulfill our mission in life and to overcome the challenges we face, but we are flesh and blood and in the bigger realm of things, messengers of G-d in fulfilling his bigger plan for all of us. If we open our eyes, we realize that wherever we end up and whatever happens to us is by His merciful decree.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Good Father

I know it’s not Father’s Day yet, but I had a beautiful dream about my dad the other day that I wanted to share. 


In my dream, I was looking at this ledger.


And at the top of the ledger, it said:

“A Good Father”


I understand that good didn’t mean like good vs. great, but rather like good vs. evil in this universe. 


Beneath it, there were lists and lists of signatures of people who knew my dad. 


Their signatures were an attestation that he was not only a good dad, but a good and righteous person. 


I remember in the dream his presence was there with me as I looked at the ledger. 


Then there was an astoundingly bright light that I was basking in.


Now I could feel I was in the presence of the Master of the Universe. 


I looked up to the center and most intense part of the light, and lifted my arms upward in complete supplication to it…towards G-d.


And I felt myself crying out to G-d, and as I cried out louder and more intensely, I was transported back–whooshed through a tunnel at light speed…to awaken from this incredible dream.


Unlike most dreams, this one I remembered and it stuck with me even days later now. 


My dad was truly a great father and a great man!


I am grateful to Hashem for letting me see him this week, and I miss him greatly. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Transcending Suffering and Impermanence

There is a buddhist philosophy that life is all about loss and suffering. 


The Budha says:

Life is suffering.


Why? Because life is impermanence–whatever we gain, eventually, we must lose. 


– Riches, power, people, health, even our memories perhaps. 


In a sense, this is like the saying from “War of the Roses”:

There is no winning, only degrees of losing. 


However, there is one exception to the impermanence and loss in life:


The only thing that is permanent is our good deeds, and with this we can achieve an everlasting good name for ourselves.


In Judaism, we teach:

A good name is better than fine oil.


Hence, this is the permanence that we strive for in life and in death.  


If we can attain a good name through purity of soul then in a sense, we can transcend life’s suffering and impermanence.  


By becoming non-attached to all of life’s temporary things, and instead focusing on perfecting ourselves, we can free ourselves from suffering and from this world, and then we can go on in everlasting-peace to the afterlife. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys–thank you G-d!


Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 


Yes, of course we wouldn’t recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn’t have the bad to compare it to. 


But just when you think you’ve gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it’s time for the next speed bump.


I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 


Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 


Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  


But even daily upsets can be frustrating.


I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 


It’s not paradise we are living in–that comes later when we get our angel wings!


This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 


We are not here just to have a merry ‘ol good time day in and day out. 


While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 


Life is like a puzzle–a very big puzzle–and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?


Some people seem to get old before their time.


They go about echting and kretzching–at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I’m not 18 anymore!


Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.


One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  


This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:

“I thought growing old would take longer.”


Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!


I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 


I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 


Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago–can’t believe the things I used to be able to do–Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!


But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!


Maybe we do not get old…maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 


Age is experience, learning, growth–lots of mistakes–and then recovering and trying again and harder.  


Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 


No, life does not get old. 


Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 


But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)