Faith Chases Out The Fear

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Faith Chases Out The Fear.

It’s interesting that faith and fear are incompatible and they cannot coexist. Where one is, the other is not. Just like the light chases away the darkness, so too does faith expel fear from our lives. When we believe that G-d is in charge of everything that happens, and that he loves us and ultimately wants what is good of us then what is there for us to fear?


No matter in what danger we find ourselves and no matter how scared we feel, we are not alone. The Master of the Universe is watching over us, waiting for us to raise our eyes to the heavens in faith, and to take a stand and do what’s right. If we do, then G-d will manifest himself to us and indeed “will carry, and will deliver” us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It Spills Over

Sometimes the glass is not half full or half empty. 


But rather is spills over entirely. 


There is nothing, nothing left inside. 


Worse even is when the glass completely shatters.


Then there isn’t even a vessel anymore. 


All that’s left is to pick up the pieces. 


As humans, we try to fill up the water, stop the water inside from spilling out, and to save the glass.


The rest is in G-d’s hands. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Good Things In Life Are Challenging

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Good Things In Life Are Challenging.”

“Everything truly pleasurable in life starts with considerable pain.” More colloquially in working out, we usually say: “No pain, no gain!” And there really is a lot of truth to this. If you think about it, this concept really applies to everything meaningful and ultimately valuable in life.

 

As we reflect this time of year, before Rosh Hashanah, it is good to ask ourselves, what are we chasing and working so hard for in our lives? Are we chasing vanity–more riches, power, and honor or are we striving to do good and make a difference? The latter is a life worth living and where our efforts and pain can bring true reward in this world and ultimately in the world to come.

 
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we’ve got to cope with a different reality.


Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 


We can’t do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 


There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 


When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:

Yes, we’re getting older–what’s the alternative?


Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 


We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.


And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it’s like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:

You’re not supposed to leave this world alive!


Putting these together: 


I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process–because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. 😉

Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah.”

In a sense, we all live at least two lives–represented by the two faces we wear: The first is the happy face, where we portray ourselves as if everything is going so well, almost near-perfect in our lives (our vacations, accomplishments, celebrations, and so on), and this is the face that we routinely show to the world. Then, there is the second face, which is essentially where everything is not (always) quite so rosy, where life’s challenges, troubles, and hardships take their tangible toll, and this is the face that we learn to keep private and regularly hide from the world. Usually, it comes down to a rationale that goes something like this: just imagine what would people think of us if they really knew us for who we are and what we were actually going through? Yet the funny thing is that everyone is going through something–that’s life!

In a couple of weeks, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we come knowing that there is no mask to be worn in front of our Maker, and truly, we are naked before Him in all our thoughts and deeds. We can’t pretend anymore that our lives or ourselves are perfect, but rather this is the time for true and earnest reflection, repentance, as well as judgment for the New Year based on what each of us is really all about. May each of us have the courage and conviction to face our real selves, to learn, grow, improve, and ultimately to self-actualize, and may we receive G-d’s mercy and blessings for a happy and healthy New Year!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)