The Blessings and The Curses

L-rd, Bless your loving children. 


And do swift justice to the wicked that seek their destruction. 


Bless those that stand guard at your heavenly and earthly gates. 


Curse those evil ones that make a mockery of your lofty kingship. 


Bless the humble and faithful to you and your laws.


Curse those that stand in arrogance and spread hate and vileness before you. 


Bless those that bless you and seek to do good. 


Curse those that curse you and do harm to your creations. 


Bless the righteous people with all that is good. 


Curse the wicked and tear them asunder so that they are utterly destroyed. 


L-rd, please hear your lowly servant and bring the ultimate redemption to your people. 


And verily discomfort, smite and throw to the depths of punishment and exile the cursed wicked. 


None can stand before you in their shame and disgrace. 


Do it for your name’s sake; do it for your children’s sake, do it for your justice’s sake, do it to make things right in your beautiful and perfect world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

The Nicest Blossoms Ever

So I almost never do this. 


Posting about the same thing twice in a short period. 


But this is an exception. 


The Cherry Blossoms this year are the nicest I have ever seen them. 


Hopefully, this is a sign of blessings from G-d.


The world is blossoming and hopefully so is our fortune. 


May G-d have mercy on the good people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ramath Orah Synagogue

So the other day, I received this wonderful email from someone working on the 75th anniversary of Ramath Orah Synagogue on the Upper West Side in Manhattan where I grew up. 


My grandfather (Opa), Simon Blumenthal, had served as the President of that synagogue for many wonderful years.


I remember always being so proud of him for his dedication and hard work for the community. 


I look up to him when he got up to give the announcements at the pulpit. 


And he built the beautiful center bimah, the special succah downstair with the roof that opened up to the sky at holiday time, and made many other truly impressive improvements to the synagogue. 


He and his wife, my grandmother (Oma), Hilda Blumenthal were an absolutely beautiful couple and the finest of people. 


My parents, Fred and Gerda Blumenthal, continued in their footsteps and to be members at Ramath Orah long after we had moved away to Riverdale, and they were contributors to the shul and attended the annual synagogue dinners for many years. 


Even though the synagogue was mainly filled with elderly people at the time, we always knew and prayed that it would become revitalized again, which it did and is now. 


Pictured at the bottom is me as a kid sitting with a talit over my shoulder and in my grandfathers (the President’s chair) in the front of the synagogue.


Aside from leading and singing the regular Yigdal and Adom Olam prayers, I loved to sit with my father and grandfather in synagogue.


We prayed together, and we stayed together as a family and community. 


I miss them all so much, but am sure they are up in Heaven together sitting in the Big Synagogue in the sky basking in the light of Hashem and watching over me and my family today!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Devil Wolf Attack

So I had one of the scariest dreams that I’ve ever experienced–and it is a true story from just last evening. 


It was so completely real, I can’t even tell you.


There was a devil wolf that attacked me from the the back and literally jumped on me. 


It’s claws were wrapped around my neck and I could tell that with any movement whatsoever, they would immediately slice and sever my arteries completely.


His huge jaws were at the backside of my head, it’s hot breath searing my flesh, and his sharp gnawing teeth were ready at any moment to snap into my neck. 


His full weight, incredible strength, and evil presence were heavy on me and ripping into my back and shoulders. 


It was clear how close I was to the very end of it all. 


The pure evil of this devil wolf being and the ferociousness of the attack was the most fearsome that I could ever imagine. 


What happened next I will never tell anyone, except that I am alive to tell the story.


But this experience of undeniable and terrible evil so close and foreboding has left me a different person forever. 


There are forces of true evil out there–for sure–and we must never let our guard down for a second. 


But as Rabbi Nachman says, it is a narrow bridge, but with the good of G-d, we must never fear at all. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Efraim Stochter)

Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.


This is what they told me:


“When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness.”


Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!


So while I really don’t know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 


Yes, there is no light–there is only darkness. 


Yes, there is no Heaven.


But I don’t believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 


Instead, what I believe is that you “Go back to GO and you do not collect $200.”


In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 


Since you didn’t complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission…you go back to the beginning. 


You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 


Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 


Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 


So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 


I don’t know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I’ve already done. 


It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 


How is that for frustrating–working just to redo what you already did. 


Perhaps that is quite the measured “punishment” for those who end their life prematurely–before G-d says it’s time. 


While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again–I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 


I assume it’s nice to live again, but it’s got to be a value-add life–not just a do-over!


So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life–it’s probably not a purely rational moment in time–I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 


Because, suicide isn’t game over, but rather the game begins all over–from the beginning again. 😉


(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go–I am sure that is perfectly okay). 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-d Protects Us – Happy 2018!

So I took this photo in a Jewelry store in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem. 


All these beautiful hamsas!


Hamsas are traditional symbols of G-d’s protection and to ward off the evil. 


These were some very beautiful ones. 


Some say that it is symbolic of the hand of Miriam, Moses’ sister, raised in a protective stance over the people. 


Five fingers are like the five books of the Torah and a reminder to use all five of our senses in worshipping and praising G-d. 


Talking to someone yesterday about surviving in the face of some very difficult challenges, she said to me:

“Remember, just because the adversary is powerful, you are the David to the Goliath!”


With G-d’s help and blessings, even a little David can slay the giant evil Goliath. 


For the New Year of 2018 and forward, G-d should bless us and protect us, shine his face upon us and be gracious unto us, lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace!  


The L-rd is the ultimate strength and justice and in front of Him no evil will stand. 


Our faith may be tested, but from it, we will come out smarter, stronger, and better souls, as G-d teaches us to look always to the Heavens where all good emanates. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shower Us With Peace

Oh L-rd, we pray that you shower your people with an abundant and complete peace. 


A peace of mind, spirit, and body.


A peace that permeates every aspect of our being and knows no limits to time and space. 


May You grant us a complete saving and healing. 


As threats loom large on the horizon, we look to the Heavens to ask for your merciful saving grace. 


Enemies rise against us, and only you can reach down and lift us up.


We stand in your presence, naked and humbled.


As the winds blow and clouds gather, only you can protect and save. 


While some men look arrogantly at their own strength and smarts, these are nothing to the Master of the Universe.


G-d uproots the wicked and plants his faithful children in their stead. 


Peace is the ultimate blessing, and only G-d can grant it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)