Rain From Heaven

Took this photo yesterday in the courtyard during a thunderstorm.


It is the first time that I was actually able to see the rain almost in a slow motion.


They weren’t drops, but literally streaks of water zipping down from the sky.


The feeling was so pure and refreshing to clean the air and the ground. 


To replenish our reservoirs, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans. 


To nourish the fruit of the Earth and make it grow. 


We use up and make dirty, but G-d replenishes and makes clean! 😉


(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Israel To Space

Please see my new article in Times of Israel, “Israel’s Ladder To Space.”


So proud of Israel’s planning to join the Big 3 countries (U.S., Russia, and China) to land on the moon.


Amazing what even a relatively small in size and new nation like Israel can set their sights on and please G-d accomplish with G-d’s help.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Know Before Whom You Are Standing

So many synagogues have this important saying at the top of the Holy Ark where the Torahs are kept in front of the shul.


It says, translated into English:


“Know before who you are standing (i.e. G-d).”


The idea is to remember when you are in the holy place of worship that you are standing and praying before G-d and should conduct yourself appropriately and with respect and reverence. 


While certainly there are times when people forget themselves in the synagogue and say or do something not completely appropriate (e.g. socializing, talking, or even telling jokes to their neighbors during the service), usually it is not intended to be disrespectful, but rather to be friendly with their neighbors and community. 


However, this past Shabbat I witnessed behavior in the synagogue (name withheld)  that was truly a chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d). 


Out of respect for the Rabbi (and Rabbabite), I will neither mention their names or go into the details about what happened except to say that it involved the politics surrounding the end of the Rabbi’s 3-year term and the inability for him and the board to come to terms on a new agreement (even though one had  apparently been signed and reneged on). 


This did not belong in the synagogue on the holy Shabbat, period. 


Those embracing and kissing the Rabbi in his support and going against the President and the board that is elected to represent the congregation was disgraceful. 


Further, while I support the Rabbi saying his farewells, demanding to speak without the permission of the President and the board, and even before the President gave his regular announcements was inexcusable. 


And when the fighting between the Rabbi and President brought yelling and fighting to the congregants, this should have been a sign for that behavior to immediately cease. 


The desecration of the “peace” of the Shabbat with the politics, money, and contract issues and the ensuing fighting (almost civil war between those supporting the Rabbi and those the President and the board) before the Holy Ark filled with the Torahs was reprehensible. 


For the spiritual leadership to behave in such a crude and disrespectful fashion was a mark of utter disgrace in the synagogue before G-d. 


I have never seen anything like this before and hope never to have to witness anything so irreverent again. 


This was a most traumatic event for the community and I hope we will recover in time and have a complete healing. 


Moreover, I pray that G-d forgives the behavior that happened and has mercy on this congregation because things got out of control and I think they forgot before whom they were standing.  😉


(Source Photo and not of the synagogue under discussion: Andy Blumenthal)

Shabbat Risk

I haven’t played Risk in years. 


But my daughter and her husband came for Shabbat, and we sat down and had a great game. 


We distributed the countries. 


Placed our enemies. 


And went to battle, army to army. 


By the time it was over, my daughter had conquered Europe, Africa, and North and South Americas.


It was so good to see her taking country after country from my son-in-law and me. 


My son-in-law joked that he had underestimated her. 


We had a good laugh and nice time just sitting down at the kitchen table and playing a board game. 


Afterward, we went down to the pool and relaxed in the deck chairs and then my wife and I took off our shoes and walked in the grass in the garden. 


I laid down on the beautiful green lawn and looked up watching some planes jet over in the clear blue sky. 


It was absolutely beautiful weather and a marvelous day today with my family. 


In the morning we went to Synagogue and the sit-down kiddush with our friends.


I am grateful to G-d for all this and for the peace of the wonderful Shabbat! 


Also, what more can a man ask for Father’s Day. 😉

Making A Real Difference

I saw this sign posted at an organization’s office. 


I thought it was a nice way to motivate people working there. 

“What people are saying:
You are making a difference.”


Later in the sign, it says:

“The work you do is important.”

Isn’t this really what is critical to people–that what they do is important. 


Yes, we need to earn a living and pay our bills. 


And sure, we’d like something left over to save for a rainy day. 


But our lives are more than materialism. 


We are spiritual beings inside. 


At the pinnacle, we need to know that our lives mean something!


– That we are touching people’s lives. 


– That we will be remembered for the good we did. 


– That our good deeds and words will live on. 


– That our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) will carry the lessons and message forward. 


– That we’ve contributed in some meaningful way to the fight of good over evil in this world and the next. 


– That we’ve shown proper respect and worship to our L-rd/Maker/Sustainer. 


When we make a difference, it’s about so much more than what money can buy. 


It’s about our soul, our contribution, and even destiny.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dr. Insane and Meshuggenah Island

So I want you to know that there is a very thin line between fantasy and reality. 


There are those who want you to not only question reality, but also to accept alternative deceptions. 


They want to substitute fantasy and conspiracy and their version of “truth” for what is happening and real or intentionally phony. 


But (more) fake news and lies are not real news and truth. 


They ask questions, and they provide “answers.”


But the answers are more often contrived to make you think they are a reality when they are brainwashing and mindf*cking you. 


They show you maps and pictures–it is nothing but entertainment to sow fear and for mass hysteria and distortion. 


Dr. Insane is running her own Meshuganah Island. 


You can easily get caught up in it. 


But I caution you that there is a thin, thin line between fantasy and reality. 


It’s not a game.


The game and joke are on you. 


Misinformation, psychological operations throw you off track. 


Yes, there are secrets–there have to be. 


Not everything is for everyone to know at the moment.


But the world is not run on: I say, he says, she says. 


There is power. There are plans. There is execution. 


Randomness sometimes. 


Intent sometimes. 


Corruption all too often. 


You can’t really know. 


Were we smart or just plain lucky?


Someday, the unknown becomes known, but not on rants and raves. 


Follow the data carefully and question it to make sure. 


In the end, the King of Kings is guiding everything and therefore there is no reason to fear. 

 

The world is going according to plan.


Fear leads to you wanting to gain control. 


Some people want to vent or to pretend they know something when they don’t. 


There is no reason to conjecture and cross with Dr. Insane into Meshuganah Island.


Making things up makes things worse.


What we do have to do is to keep good winning over evil with truth. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

THE MIGHTY MERKAVA IV

What an amazing birthday gift from my beautiful kids. 


A model of the awesome Merkava IV battle tank from Israel. 


They know how much I love this tank which the brave soldiers of the IDF use to protect the Holy Land of Israel. 


As a son of Holocaust survivors, this gift left me so emotional and literally brought tears to my eyes. 


One of the real tributes of the Merkava is that unlike almost every other tank in the entire world which has its engine in the rear to protect it from enemy fire…


The Merkava IV has the engine in the front to protect the lives of the Israeli soldiers who man it. 


To the Jewish people, it’s not the tank that is important in and of itself, but it is its ability to protect each and every sacred life behind it. 


That is the noble creed of the Israelite people–nothing is more valuable than human life. 


70-years after the founding of the State of Israel–established from the very ashes of the 6,000,000 murdered in the Holocaust–I am so proud to say that IDF, despite being under almost constant threat from enemies near and far, protects the people and country with the utmost bravery, human dignity, and as a true light unto the nations. 


They are true heroes! May G-d Almighty bless each and every defender who stands watch over the Holy Land, and may He speedily bring a true and lasting peace to us all. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)