Born With The Music

Saw an incredible segment on 60 Minutes on Sunday about this amazing girl named Alma


Alma Deutscher is a British-born (of Israeli-descent) musical whiz kid who was playing piano and violin at age 3. 


And she composed a whole opera by the time she was 10. 


They call her the Second Mozart, although she prefers to just be the First Alma!


She literally hears music playing in her head all the time, and she says that there are different expert musical composers in her head that she calls on to solve whatever musical challenge she is facing or sound out the emotion she is trying to get to. 


In her interview, she did not seem like a 12-year old, but rather an old soul who has come back perhaps many, many times. 


Listening and watching Alma is sort of like watching a walking miracle–as there is no way she learned these skills at such a young age and has “comprehensive mastery” over all the music and instruments. 


If there was ever a question about where knowledge, skills, and abilities come from, with a child prodigy like Alma, there should be no lingering doubts about G-d’s complete role in everything.  


With Alma, G-d graciously let’s us in to the mysteries of creation by showing us the source of all is Him. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Being Jewish and Proud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Being Jewish and Proud.”

With roughly 15 million Jews in a world of 7.7 billion people, we make up less than .2% of the world population. However, despite our small size, we’ve been recognized with over 20% of the Nobel Prizes for contributions to the sciences, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Most Jews tend to believe not only in a strong core religious education, but in higher education and lifelong learning, and others excel even when starting out and innovating from their garages. From Abraham and Moses to Einstein and Freud, and even to today’s Jews leading the Technology revolution–such as Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg–the Jewish contribution is truly unparalleled.

Until Mashiach, there will always be some people that hate on us and want to destroy us–perhaps and unfortunately, that’s just who they are. But we choose not be anyone else but Jews, because that’s who we are–and there is every reason to be ourselves, maintain our faith of thousands of years, continue to make awesome contributions that benefit mankind, and be forever proud to be a Jew.

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

I Will Survive

G-d gives us strength. 


To battle ignorance, apathy, and evil. 


To educate, persuade, influence, and fight for what’s right. 


With a thick skin of battle armor.


And sword and arrows of insight, cunning, and righteousness.


To stand firm even when you feel weakened. 


To find the words even when you are mocked. 


To see clearly and hear distinctly even when confounded. 


The soul and spirit of G-d guides you.


As you traverse a journey through life’s winding tests and challenges. 


Fight heroically to repair that which is broken. 


Say resolutely, I will survive!  😉

We’re Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d’s larger overall plan for the world. 

Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d’s eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.

And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that “I’m here with you thru it all.” You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the “tough gift” to cope, grow, and become better people. 

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person–a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

OMG, What A Beautiful Song

And Even In Hiding

By Yaakov Shwekey & Kobi Peretz

Even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear no evil
Because you are with me
Even behind the difficult things you are going through
I stand…I stand…I stand
Even in the place which is hidden, within that which is hidden
Surely, the blessed Hashem is found there too  

My heart and soul are uplifted by this beautiful song. 😉

Arrogance And A Messy Head

While sometimes children behave like “know-it-alls”…


Often an attempt to showcase what they’ve learned or to build their self-confidence. Sometimes, it’s also to bully others.  


More unusual though is to find an adult that thinks and actually says they know it all. 


But sure enough, I ran into someone who told me (about technology):

“I know everything!”


And they said it with a straight face. 


Literally, they told me how they came up through the ranks and knew EVERYTHING with emphasis!


Moreover, they told me that if I didn’t know something, I should go ahead and ask them because they would most definitely know it.


So I respect all people and certainly admire those who are knowledgable and talented in their fields. 


But something felt very wrong about an adult who feels that they have to go around bragging about the depth of their knowledge–and that their knowledge is apparently infinite (at least that’s what they espoused). 


I wondered to myself–is the person arrogant and a big mouth or the opposite–lacking in self confidence and therefore needing to boast and show off to compensate for their inadequacies?


When they were talking, it seemed like their head was getting so big and full of themself that it would just explode!


Most adults with emotional intelligence realize how little they know, and the older they get the more they realize that they don’t know in life. 


Especially, people of faith recognize that G-d is all-knowing and all-powerful, and we are but mere “flesh and blood” and truly just a speck of dust in the universe.


So truly smart people are humble and they look to learn from others, rather than preach and teach in a monologue of hubris.


Like many people that get too big for the britches, G-d usually brings them back down to Earth and their head to size.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)