Children Are Our Future

There are already 32 states under lockdown orders and more surely to come.


It is good to see the children playing outside (even in smallish groups). 


It’s trying times with schools closed, many parents trying to telework, and the need to take care of the children (especially the younger ones) at the same time. 


We can’t lose sight that the children are our future. 


They are everything in this world. 


Even with the Coronavirus pounding away at our older and more vulnerable populations, we can still thank G-d that not many children have been infected


Even in challenging times, G-d shows His mercy to us. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would’ve thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 


But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 


As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face’s half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms–who knows!


What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 


Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 


Even as the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.


Where does this sickness stop?   


What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?


How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?


Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?


How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?


Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments…thank G-d we aren’t there. 


But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that “there” isn’t really all that far away from “here.”


…That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 


And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d’s help and mercy.  😉


(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)

Hope Amidst Coronavirus

This is absolutely what I call:

Hope Amidst Coronavirus.


Life is hope. 


The children are our future. 


Love and caring is our continuity. 


G-d’s is the Master over it all. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue.

While I understand the rationale to close the synagogues, not to congregate with others and expose ourselves or spread the Coronavirus, I can’t help thinking and believing that what we need now, more than ever, is prayer to Hashem and the mitzvah of Torah study that the synagogue provides to us. Indeed, only in the hands of G-d is the ultimate power of health or illness, and life or death…To me, this Shabbat was not a full Shabbat, because there was no synagogue, no Rabbi’s sermon, no community to talk and share with. I feel robbed of my religion today. I want to be able to go to synagogue and have a real Shabbat. How many other Shabbatot will we have to continue to go through without being able to pray in a minyan, hear the Torah reading, listen to the Rabbi’s speech, and see our community friends?


Many say and I firmly believe that we are on the doorstep of Mashiach and that he is even here among us waiting for the right moment to reveal himself. We’ve survived so much and finally have returned as a people to our homeland of Israel. Now we must survive the final birthing pains of Mashiach and then we will be able to go not only to our synagogues once again, but also to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray and learn at G-d’s very footstep in this earthly world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why The Happiness of Purim?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Why The Happiness of Purim?

In a world that is constructed of the story of Purim, everything looks like it’s based on mere happenstance and there seems to be no G-d involved—this is a world of randomness and meaninglessness. Whatever happens, just happens by nature or luck, and what can be more meaningless and depressing than that! Thus, the Rabbis had to decree all the laws for the happiness of Purim, because happiness is not innate to a story that is seemingly happenstance and devoid of G-d. That is the big difference between Purim, where Hashem is hidden, and Passover or Hanukah, where Hashem revealed Himself and made incredible miracles—the 10 plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea or the one day of oil that lasted for eight days.


On Purim, we celebrate our deliverance from the evil Haman and the king’s decree to kill all the Jews, but also we are overflowing with Joy remembering that G-d is always with us—in good times and G-d forbid in the bad times–we are not afraid of anything (another indecisive election, the stock market downturn, our enemies, Coronavirus, etc.) knowing that He loves us and cares for us, and will deliver us in the old days and in the new. May the final deliverance soon be completed with the arrival of the Mashiach—and the hidden will become revealed like on Purim and the joy will be forever increased. Amen.

 
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Tefillin Checked

I visited with Rabbi Levy yesterday to get my tefillin checked.

I learned that if there are questions about the legibility of the holy scrolls, they are given to a child to read to see in their innocence whether the tefillin are kosher or not.

Something felt very good and important about performing this mitzvah.

In the meantime, while mine are being checked, I have a loaner pair of teffilin to use and daven with.

Yet to be seen whether it is time for a new pair or not–like a bar mitzvah all over again. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Commandments are for All of Us

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Commandments are for All of Us.”

While some Jews certainly thrive in Yeshiva delving into the Talmudic understanding of the laws for long hours every day, and they serve an important role in understanding and transmitting the laws from generation to generation, others may be more interested in the fundamental philosophy of Judaism and in “doing what’s right” by applying the core teachings of the Torah at their own levels every day. Maybe this is one reason that the Ten Commandments are presented separately from the “mishpatim” that follow. Not that they aren’t both important and necessary, but that the Torah is for all of us in the ways that each of us can appreciate, learn, and apply them within the overall framework of the Torah.


Of course, all the commandments are important between G-d and man and between man and man, as well as the conceptual framework of the Ten Commandments and the details embedded in the rest of the 613 commandments. Yet certainly, all of us in one way or another struggle with some commandments more than others or with losing sight of either the high-level essence of the Torah or important details of implementation. Nevertheless, we must strive to not only appreciate that all the Torah comes from Hashem, but also that we each must work as best as we can, in our own capacities, to learn and fulfill G-d’s laws and to be a good example and “light unto the nations,” which is what being “the chosen people” is really all about.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal of Chagall Tapestry in Knesset, Israel)