My Realness and My Dreaminess

Just a quote from the show Homeland that I wanted to share:

“My dreams have a realness…
My Reality has a dreaminess…”

This is so true!


Dreaming and reality have a definite touchpoint and carryover between them. 


In Judaism, their is a saying that:

“Sleeping is one-sixtieth of death.”


Life-sleeping-death all exist along a continuum. 


The elements of our being cross all three of these domains. 


When we are alive, there are elements of dreaminess–and it often doesn’t feel quite real. 


When we are asleep, our dreams can often seem so real that we actually feel them and physically react them–we may even scream and wake up an incredible fright. 


When we are dead, I believe that we live on–that our soul never ceases–that it is a part of our everlasting G-d. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Eyes Give It Away

Have you ever noticed that eye contact gives it away. 


Even for the best poker-faced folks out there–the eyes are the conduit to the soul. 


Here’s how it works:


– When someone is plotting to do you harm, they avoid looking you in the eye.


Why?


They are afraid, they are going to give themselves and their evil intentions away. 


And so they attempt to hide their evil intentions behind closed eyelids, turned heads, and avoided gazes. 


They think by avoiding eye contact, you won’t be able to read them–seeing into their eyes and their malevolent thinking and planning.

Probably also even the worst of them may actually feel a little guilty (somewhere in there is a soul even if it’s mucked up in dirt, corruption, and absolute sin). 


– Yet the opposite is true when someone is executing their evil plans–attacking you and wanting to severely hurt you or worse. 


Then, they look you straight in the face and in the eyes.  


They are staring intently and honing in for the kill. 


And in their wide open eyes, rage and evil burns, as they raise their voice and their clenched fists. 


Seeking to execute their plots, their eyes come at you, tracking you, targeting you, and attempting to shoot/hit you first and hard. 


When evil is there–the eyes are the giveaway–and the person’s soul burns dark and deep. 


But remember, G-d–the King of Kings–is forever light and He will chase the darkness away. 


The L-rd executes darkness.


The L-rd will blind the haughty.


The L-rd will render a mighty justice.


The L-rd will save his faithful. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hashem Has A Plan

Sometimes things in life can look very dark. 


In every generation, “they come against us.”


But the Holy One Blessed Be He watches over his children. 


He neither slumbers nor sleeps. 


When the wicked arise in arrogance and evil to hurt us, we must turn to the One Above.


“I will not fear, because G-d is with me.”


Only He directs the course of the world.


Only He determines who will succeed and who will fail. 


The evildoers plot their sinister ways.


But G-d sees and hears, and will disturb their evil intentions.


G-d, my soul crieth out to you in the times of my trouble and affliction.


My mouth begs you for your mercy and your just and swift hand. 


Please G-d intervene and thwart the evil plans of those that hate you and your children and seek them harm. 


L-rd arise. L-rd arise. 


L-rd save us. L-rd save us. 


L-rd make us successful.  L-rd make us successful. 


Vanguish our enemies and let your faithful servants prevail. 


Make G-d turn his fiery and his sword on the enemies of His children.


May He exact ultimate vengeance and bring great discomfort, torment, and travail upon those with evil intentions and doings.


L-rd hear my cries, and swoop down from your Heavenly palace and save your people.


And the evil will be eradicated and the L-rd will bring final justice. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel–Mazel tov!


– 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.


– 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.


– 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.


Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.


As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and “it is the right thing to do!”


Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 


And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 


We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d’s promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.


From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.


Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 


But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 


The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.


We must never forget that it is only with G-d’s blessing and under his watchful eye.


May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via White House)

Our Forefathers Were Planners And So Are We

Thank you to Rabbi Haim Ovadia for his speech today at Magen David Synagogue on the topic of how our forefathers in the Bible were planners and so are we today. (Note: some of the thoughts below are directly from Rabbi Ovadia and others are added by me.)


In the Biblical story of Jacob, there are numerous examples teaching us the importance of planning.


1) Shepherds vs Hunters:  Jacob was a shepherd versus his brother Esau who was a hunter.  Shepherds have a long-term outlook with their animals, tending to them and caring for them over the long-term, while hunters go out for the kills to eat for that day. 


2) Working for Rachel and Leah vs. Selling the Pottage:  Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachel and another 7 for Leah–this was the long-term view and commitment to work for Lavan in order to marry his daughters. In comparison, Esau came in hungry from the field and sold his birthright for the immediate gratification of a bowl of pottage.


3) The Plan to Take Esau’s Blessing: Rebekah worked with Jacob to prepare meat for Isaac and put hair and clothes on Jacob that made him look and seem like Esau, so Jacob could get the blessing from Isaac, while Esau was still out hunting in the field. 


4) Dividing his Camp in Two: Jacob sent messengers (i.e. reconnaissance) to see and plan for what Esau was doing in coming to meet him. When the messengers returned with word that Esau was coming with 400 men, Jacob planned for the worst, dividing his camp in two, so should one peril the other could survive. Additionally, Jacob prayed and sent rounds of gifts to Esau and also presented himself to Esau before his beloved wife Rachel and son Joseph in the safety of the rear. 


Long-term planning has been fundamental to the Jewish people throughout history and to modern times:


1) “People of the Book” – The Jewish people are known as “the people off the book” for the devotion to Torah study, learning, and continually investing in education, which is a view for long-term investment and success.   


2) Good Deeds to Inherit The World To Come – Fundamental to Jewish belief is that this earthly world is just a “corridor” to the World to Come.  We do charity and good deeds, not only because it’s the right thing to do (certainly!), but also because we believe that these merits will help us long-term when we pass, and go to the spiritual next world, Heaven. 


3) Believing and Praying for the Return to The Promised Land – For 2,000, the Jewish people never gave up hoping and praying on the deliverance of G-d’s promise to return them from exile to the Promised Land.  This was a long-term view that helped sustain the Jewish people throughout their far-flung exile and through millennium of persecution and genocide.

Ezekiel 11:17: “Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”

4) Waiting 6,000 years for the Messiah: For 6,000 years, the Jews have maintain faith and plan for the coming of the Messiah, the rebuilding of the Temple and the ultimate redemption of the world.  

“(Ani Ma’amin) I believe in complete faith in the coming of the Messiah…Even tough he may tarry, none-the-less, I will wait for him.”

Like our forefathers, it is critical to maintain faith in the Almighty and practice long-term planning as keys to success in life. 


If we take the long-view, we can overcome so many short-term challenges, obstacles and even suffering–believing, praying planning, and doing for a better, brighter future. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Motivation, Hard Work, and Blessings

So I am incredibly impressed at how talented so many people are. 

And I’ll tell you, people are motivated to get ahead and they are working hard to do it. 

I took Lyft to a couple of destinations down here in Florida. 

Two drivers that I had just yesterday were both from relatively poor backgrounds in Jamaica. 

And both were incredible in what they’ve been able to accomplish for themselves.  

One was a senior communications technologist with a large cable company.

Another was a pretty impressive and successful Reggae music star. 

Both had come to this country and made amazing lives for themselves. 

In meeting these incredible people, I learned that everyone is driving Uber and Lyft now-a-days. 🙂

Both were driving as they told me just to keep busy on their days off–because they “hate being bored!”

More importantly, I learned that despite whatever background, hardships, or adversity you come from or have experienced, you can make it in your own way! 

Motivation and hard work coupled with mercy and blessings from, and faith in the Almighty Above are an incredible combination that can propel people towards incredible levels of success in life that maybe many would’ve never even really dreamed of. 

There is no easy road–just one filled with trying your best, plenty of obstacles, stumbles, and falls, and then picking yourself up and trying again and again until hopefully and with G-d’s help you break the bonds and chains keeping you from your amazing levels of potential and contribution to this world. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Future Beyond Fear

This is my spin on a Jack Canfield saying, but I like it this way:

“The future is on the other side of fear.”

Sometimes we feel hemmed in or torn down by life.


And there is plenty of fear of failure and not being able to do what we need to do. 


But the only way to get there is to get past the fear!


You need to look straight ahead into the future of what you want. 


And you need to overcome your worst fear…that you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not strong enough, and you’re not beautiful enough.


…and the gnawing feeling inside that you can’t do it.


This is precisely when you need to center yourself, strengthen yourself, and pray for G-d’s help.


Whether to get over it, under it, or through it. 


The future–your future–is on the other side of that fear–that fear that is holding you back.


No, you’re not stupid, ugly, weak, or unworthy.


Yes, you’re a child of the G-d on the most high. 


So you can reach deep and reach high to accomplish your mission in life. 


You can truly leap over mountains and even reach for the stars. 


No, it’s not beyond you.


It’s right in front of you.


Take that deep breath, clench your fist, gird you sword, and ready yourself in every way.


The fear holding you back is yours to conquer. 


And the future is yours to be had. 😉


(Inspired by my wife, Dannielle Blumenthal)


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)