Israel 2020: Day 3

Went to the Holy city of the Kabbalists today, Sefad.


Saw the beautiful 15th century Abuhav Synagogue, the Candle Factory, the artist colony, and the of course, the holy graves of the Tzadikim to pray.


It was a marvelously spiritually uplifting experience (as well as being up high in the mountains) and is an overall beautiful and unique city of ancient winding alleys and treasures at every turn. 


So grateful to have had this opportunity to visit there, thank you Hashem!  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reaping What You Sow

I liked this saying from the Kibbutz:

If you don’t say good morning to the tree, it won’t say happy new year to you.


Wow, that is pretty wise.


The love and care you put into something every day is what eventually you will get out of it. 

According to you work is your reward.


Yes, (generally-speaking) you reap what you sow…that’s the fruit of your labor. 

Consequences are real and they can be painful if you don’t see the connection between your actions and the reactions. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There is a Place for Border Walls

There is a place for border walls. 


Walls are not bad. 


And neither are all people.


But some people are bad.


And we have the right to be protected from them. 


Walls help to manage the flow. 


Not everyone can just go whatever, whenever, wherever. 


Surely, some people need to move to and fro. 


But we must decide who and when and where. 


Walls define spaces and ownership.


Not every place and thing is everyone’s.


People have property rights as do sovereign nations.


Not everything is strictly defined.


There is the commons that we share. 


But also there is a mine and a yours. 


That’s how economics functions and how people give and take. 


Walls help separate and secure. 


Bridges help connect and transport. 


They are not mutually exclusive. 


I’ve never seen a house, company, organization, or government without walls. 


And neither have you. 😉


(Credit Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Wild Advertising Art

Bus Art

I took this photo of an ad for Milagro Tequila on the side of a tour bus in Washington, D.C.


Milagro (“Miracle”) is a company that prides itself on it’s collaboration with artists to create cool murals to advertise it’s liquor. 


Tequila is made from the sweet, fruity, blue agave plant from northwest Mexico, hence the writing over the mural saying, “Agave Expressionism.”


It must be challenging to look out the windows of this tour bus covered in this very blue mural and messaging. 


Why is this ad effective? 


First, it is intense and exciting–the vibrant colors, the big mask with the bulging eyes, and the skulls with the green leafy stuff growing out of the head. 


Second, it really is a work of art, and you wouldn’t expect to see this on a regular tour bus shlepping around town. 


Third, the cultural contrast between the Mexican artistic expressionism and the rest of the comparatively humdrum city life is standout. 


Fourth, after a long hard day at work, people are tired, thirsty, and ready for some fun–so this is a welcome message.


Overall, this has the creativity and connection with the people to hit the mark–pretty neat. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Can You Love A Robot

Lollypop
Pew Research reports that by 2025, “Robotic sex partners will be commonplace.”



While I certainly understand loving (new helpful) technology, actually making love to a machine is taking things a little too far.



Even with great advances in artificial intelligence (AI), a robot can be nothing more than an artificial partner…a humanoid is not a human!



Despite portrayals in the movie Her (2013) of a nerdy writer who falls in love with his life-like operating system, the reality of human and machine love is more a desperate call for companionship and understanding than a real connection of equals–physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. 



While a computer may be programmed to say the things you want to hear, to laugh at your jokes, and even to succumb to your advances, love cannot be programmed or even artificially learned. 



The complex dynamics between two real people locked-in the emotional roller coaster of life with its ups and downs, pulling together and pushing apart, of shared experiences, challenges, and conflicts, can only be met head on with a best friend, soulmate, diametric opposite, and at the same time congruent equal. 



Only another human being can love you and be your love.



A machine, however beautiful designed, charming, and learning of you, can be just a poor surrogate for the sad person screaming out for connection in a large lonely world. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Western Wall 1000

Western Wall 1000

About 20 years ago, we took on a little family activity to put together this 1000 piece puzzle of the Western Wall (“The Kotel”) in Jerusalem.

We all sat around the dining room table in my parent’s house working to put the puzzle together.

It was a pretty tough puzzle, since the pieces of a large part of the puzzle, The Wall, looked so similar.

But it was something we all rallied around, had fun with, and figured out as a family.

The only problem we couldn’t readily solve, came down to the last piece of the puzzle, and almost smack center–it was missing.

A 1000 piece puzzle with only 999 pieces.

My dad, ever the innovative one, took out a marker and colored in the missing piece.

He framed the picture of the holy Kotel and hung it in their living room.

I was amazed that he took such great pride in the puzzle we worked on, since it was imperfect.

But it taught me that while nothing in life is perfect, it is our bonding together in love that creates a type of spiritual perfection.

It was also interesting to me that like Jews now-a-days put little pieces of paper (“Kvitels”) with their deepest prayers into the crevices of the Western Wall, my dad put the families last piece into the representative puzzle picture of it.

Finally, the Western Wall is itself just a piece of the destroyed (twice) holy Temple (“Beit Hamikdash”) that stood in Jerusalem, and one day hopefully it will be rebuilt with all the pieces through the loving bonding of the people that yearn for that special connection to the Almighty again.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)