Today Is 6/13

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So today is 6/13.


Yes, check your calendar. 


It only comes once a year. 


613 is the mystical and holy number of commandments in the Torah. 


For more than 2 years (this is not a short-term phenomenon), my family and even some friends have been seeing an inexplicable number of 613 everywhere. 


Here is one from a stock I follow from the other week: Twitter was up exactly 6.13%…and I don’t follow that many stocks. 


Just yesterday, another stock (that been doing terribly…it’s a startup!) is down an enormous 61.3% since I started following it. 

And yet another major stock–of the largest company in Israel and the largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world–Teva–is down 16.03 year-to-date.


Nearly every day, we see an endless barrage of license plates, roads, train and plane schedules and physical or URL addresses, get purchase receipts or invoice totals, see number of posts, views, likes, or emails, and even the other day almost booked a hotel with the address….that’s right and only 613!


I am a rational person…maybe almost to the extreme, and what I initially laughed off as a lark or someone’s OCD thing, is beyond any reasonable explanation that I can fathom at this point.


I am left with faith that there is truly some message being sent from the One Above…the question is what is the meaning of the message?


I continue to hope and pray that the message is one of blessings and redemption for mankind…I hope you will join me in this prayer. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Knowable and Unknowable

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So as we all do, I often come across challenging and perplexing issues or problems in life. 


And my nature is to try to understand them, solve them, fix them–is it survival or the challenge or both?


But then we come across some things that are just beyond our [mere mortal] understanding or ability to simply fix them. 


I remember as a youngster learning in Yeshiva about when it says in the Bible that G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he continued to refuse to let the Jews go from their enslavement in Egypt.


And the classic mind-bending question is how could G-d harden his heart if Pharaoh retained free will which we all have to choose good or evil.


Did G-d harden his heart or did he have free will–which is it?  And if G-d hardened his heart, then how could Pharaoh and the Egyptians be punished for something they didn’t fully control? 


One explanation is that by facing the punishing plagues, Pharoah was losing his free will to decide what to do with the Israelites, so by hardening his heart, G-d was actually restoring his free will to choose once again…interesting. 


Of course in life, there is also the philosophical dimensions of so many seeming contradictions such as the cliche about what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.


Which wins out if one is unstoppable and the other is unmovable?


No, I don’t think these are just riddles, but the testing of the abilities of our human minds to understand further and further into the mysteries of G-d, creation, and the universe. 


So what do we do in life when confronted by things that are seemingly or really beyond our human capacities? 


– We ponder these weighty matters and sometimes we get frustrated and rip our little-left hair out or laugh at ourselves as to why we can’t just get it.


– We look to understand the deeper spiritual meanings of these challenges in the context of our earthly lives. 


– We try to solve and fix what we can within the confines of our spaghetti brain matter and flesh and bone bodies. 


– At the end of the day, we acknowledge our human limitations, and look to the Heavens for answers or at least for Divine guidance and protection along the way.


While we cannot understand everything or always reach our destination that we set for ourselves that should never prevent us from trying our hardest and going as far as we can on our journeys–and letting the next person, and the next person pick up the torch and carry it forward. 


In the Jewish prayers, we say that the matters of the earth are for our exploration and striving, but the ultimate secrets of the Heaven are for G-d alone. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jerusalem – Happy 50 Years!

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Just wanted to wish a very happy anniversary to Jerusalem.


It is the 50th year since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem, the beautiful and eternal capital of the State of Israel. 


Today in synagogue we celebrated with a special kiddush. 


72 years since the holocaust, and Israel doth live!


In song and dance, in prayer and devotion, in doing good deeds and charity, we celebrate our survival and G-d’s redemption and return of the Jewish people to his promised Holy Land. 


With still so much evil in the world–from brutal dictators, terrorists, human rights abusers, and bullies–it is always time to celebrate the freedom and democracy of America and Israel–who serve as a light unto the nations.


Surely as light can drive out darkness, those good people of faith and integrity can overcome the remnants of evil in this world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jewish In Florida

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These were three beautiful Jewish things that I saw in Florida in 24 hours.

The first was a billboard touting the wonderful America-Israel friendship and partnership.

“Frontline in the global war on terror.
Best friend and ally of the US.
Providing religious freedom and liberty.
Thank you Israel for sharing American values.”

The second were about 20 cans (“pushkas”) for collecting charity for the poor in a local kosher Pita Plus restaurant.  


Have a great shawarma plater (with mounds of meat) and give back to others in need and hungry. 


The third was a sign in a discount beachy clothing store with the holy Jewish blessing of Shema Israel.

“Hear O Israel:
The L-rd is our G-d.
The L-rd is One.”

There is definitely more than sun and surf and vacation here…


There is a feeling of G-d and faith, of charity and giving, and of special partnership between friends and allies, USA-Israel. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Things Still Happen

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So I know that I’m stating the obvious, but still I can’t help but reflect…


No matter how successful people are, things—bad things—still unfortunately happen.


This weekend, I read about how tragedy struck Uber’s founder and CEO—of a $70 billion company–and he lost his mother in a freak boating accident. 


A few years back, Facebook’s, powerful Chief Operating Officer and billionaire lost her husband on a treadmill in a hotel.


Other famous people, like superstar icon, Michael Jackson, died at a young age from an overdose. 


Life events can G-d forbid overtake us suddenly and with devastating impact. 


It’s scary, and it just never seems to end (B’AH).


No matter who you are or how rich and powerful, G-d is the most powerful.


While we can control only what we can control, there is no escape from ultimate fate that awaits when it is so decreed by the One Above—it should all be in His ever-bounding mercy. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Arguing The Negative

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I thought this was an interesting sign this gentlemen had.


It says:

“Those who reject Jesus do so because of sin, not science or evidence.”


Overall, religion is a matter of personal faith not to be argued, but rather when based to good, to be wholly respected. 


This argument though was basically saying, not to reject this particular tenet of faith of a major religion because there is “not science or evidence” from which to reject.


But usually, don’t we look for science or evidence to accept or do something. 


In other words, the default usually is that if you want me to believe in something or somebody, prove to me why I should


It’s a bad argument when you ask me to prove to you why you shouldn’t believe in something. 


Very often this is the same argument people use in relationships and in organizations.


We do the same thing everyday or over and over again, and we often don’t ask ourselves why we do it this way or believe this is a good way of doing something…we just do it. 


And in fact, when someone new comes in with “fresh eyes” and questions why we do it a certain way or have we considered another approach, we ask them to prove to us with “science or evidence” why their way is better, rather than reexamine our own ways and means.


I’m not in any way questioning here G-d or religion, but rather simply our approach to self-examination, introspection, and betterment.


Don’t ask me to prove to you why you should reject something, but rather be prepared to defend your hypothesis. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Poverty Stinks

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A lady dropped these placards around on the Metro yesterday with a little pack of tissues. 


It says:

“Hi, I have 2 kids and I’m a single mother and I have no job. If you can please help me for food and for rent. G-d bless you. Thank you.”


It is heart-wrenching, the poverty!


People without food or shelter. 


Many without medicine and proper clothing. 


Basic things that most of us take for granted.


It takes so little for everything to go to sh*t. 


Both individually and also societally. 


The world can be a cruel, cruel place. 


But people can open their hearts and wallets to help others. 


Also, advocate for people that are less fortunate. 


Imagine G-d looking down and what does he see from us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)