A Song of Saul and David

Great song: David and Shaul from Ehud Banay’s third album, ”The Third/Hashlishi”


The song is about the “bipolar” feelings of King Saul toward David (then the next king of Israel). 


Here are the lyrics:

כולם מזמן הלכו לישון
רק שאול ער, קודר
מרים לדוד טלפון

A late-night hour

Everyone is long gone to sleep

Only Shaul is awake, cheerless

He calls David up over the phone

אולי תקפוץ אלי, יא דוד
נפשי אגם שחור
תביא איתך את הגיטרה
כי באצבעותיך אור

Maybe you should stop by, Ya David

My soul is a black lake

Bring the guitar with you

For you have light in your fingers


דוד בא מיד רגוע,
מתיישב ומכוון
את המלאכה היטב יודע
עוצם עיניים, מנגן

David comes right away and he is calm

Sit down and tunes (the guitar)

The job he well knows

Closes his eyes, he plays


עשר אצבעות לדוד
קצה כל אצבע – קרן אור
כשהוא פורט על המיתר
הזמן זורם לו לאחור

Ten fingers David has

The tip of each one – a ray of light 

When he port on the string

The time is flowing backwards

שאול מבפנים קרוע
קרבות בתוך בטנו
אוהב-שונא, ומקנא
מכור לחברו

Shaul is torn inside

Battles in his stomach he has

Love-hate, and jealous he is

Addicted to his friend

דבר מה אפל נופל
השד חוזר להשתולל
סכין נזרקת באוויר
פתאום יש בין השנים קיר

Something dark falls

The demon is back to a rage

A knife is thrown in the air

Suddenly there is a wall between the two

דוד מתחמק משאול

אבל שאול לא מוותר
דוד שוכח וסולח
כששאול מתקשר

David is avoiding Shaul

But Shaul is not giving up

David forget and forgives

When Shaul call up

בוא שוב לנגן לי דוד
קח אותי לכוכבים
בוא שוב לנגן הלילה
שיר געגועים

Come again to play to me David

Take me to the stars

Come again to play tonight

A song of longing


בוא שוב לנגן הלילה…

Come again and play tonight..

בוא שוב לנגן הלילה
שיר געגועים…

Come again and play tonight..

A song of longing..

(Kudos to my Ulpan teacher, Rivka D. for sending me the video and to Izchak, my wonderful son-in-law, for providing the Hebrew/English lyrics)

Four Types of Desire

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Want What I Want.”

There are four types of greed/jealousy:

  • I want what I’m missing
  • I want what I had
  • I want what you have
  • I want you to not have what you have

We can be slaves to our egos, emotions, and desires, or we can seek to control them and be better than mere animals. We have a soul, a conscience, and the Torah, so the choice should be clear even if not always easy.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.


And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 


When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 


Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 


I can’t imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this…so natural, so carefree, so back to living!


Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it’s not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun. 


Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!


Perhaps, it’s a lesson about life these days…we’re adults, we’re responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life’s responsibilities. 


But maybe, just maybe, there is something–a lot–to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again. 


Why do we have to wait until we’re old…too old to work anymore…and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be.  


We can’t run from our responsibilities but isn’t it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.


Life is too short to let it get away from us. 


Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun…those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Thou Shalt Not

10 Commandments.jpeg

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 


What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 


And how some people hear what they want to hear. 


All of the 2nd five start with “Thou shalt not,”  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 


So for example: Thou shalt not kill…steal…commit adultery…lie…desire.


But not everyone listens to the “Thou shalt not” and instead they just hear–selectively:


– Kill

– Steal

– Commit adultery

– Lie

– Desire


If you take out the “Thou shalt nots,” you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.


How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life–get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it–no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.


Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don’t do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!


Who you going to listen to? 


Not everyone seems to care–they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 


Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 


And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Satisfied and Bless G-d

Fancy Car.jpeg

I loved Chabad Rabbi Schneur Kaplan’s speech today in synagogue.


It was about how we can learn to be happy with what we have in life.


The biggest marketing gimmick is to say to the guy, “Look at what your neighbor has next door!”


Jealousy, desire, greed, having more and better than the next guy/girl…


That’s what many people live for and how they think.


Some can have as much as the founders of Apple, Google, and Facebook combined and still it’s not enough.


If just one person has something more…it can drive that person crazy.


Like Haman on Purim, who had wealth, power, large family and everyone bowed down to him…


Except one person named Mordecai who wouldn’t bow.


And despite having everything, but missing that one thing drove Haman so crazy–it was his downfall!


When we eat, we can be satisfied with one slice of pizza and say grace or we can have four slices and still not be satisfied.


How do we look at things?


We can be grateful for whatever we have and say that G-d gave us just what we needed at this time and place.


Or we can look at what we don’t have, and forever be bitter and unsatisfied.


What joy we can experience in life when we realize the graciousness for what G-d has bestowed on us and we are thankful for what we have. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why We Fight?

Google Diversity.jpeg

Well first of all, let me say that I really liked this image on Google the other day. 


Beautiful to see the diversity and brotherhood (and including those with disabilities)!


I had a an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day about why people often don’t get along. 


She said something that I thought was really astute:


“If there were unlimited resources, then no one would have a reason to fight!”


Think about that a moment…


Everyone feels they don’t have enough or someone else has more then them or they are afraid they won’t get their share, and so what happens?


Like jealous little children, we fight for the pail and shovel in the sandbox. 


Only as adults, our sandbox is a lot bigger and it involves hate, bigotry, racism and deadly weapons including guns, knives, and even nukes!


So this isn’t the Garden of Eden where everyone prances around free and with plenty and nothing to worry about. 


Instead, everyone has to work “by the sweat of your brow,” and there are limits to what we have, and there is fighting over who has what.


Yes, truly “greed is the root of all evil.”


What we need to learn and internalize is that it’s more important how we act towards each other than what we have and that the real gold in life is the good we do and not the plenty we amass. 


Sure we each need enough to be able to survive and excel as human beings, but it’s fool’s gold that prevents us from seeing each other as the real brothers and sisters we all are. 


If only we had enough–in both perception and reality–then peace could reign among mankind. 😉


(Source Photo: Google)

The Evil Stink Eye

Stink Eye

So there is an important Jewish (and non-Jewish) concept of the evil eye (in hebrew, it’s called an “Ayin Hara”).


This is the idea that people who are jealous of you or simply don’t like you, can wish bad (or evil to befall) on you. 


And the more people or the more merits these people have in life that cast this evil wish (in mystical terms, some may call it a spell), perhaps the stronger the potency of it on you. 


Superstition or real? This is a matter of what you believe in and maybe experiences you’ve had in life have taught you to beware of when others don’t wish you well. 


This is why many righteous people try to avoid the limelight–they don’t want others to focus on them and harbor bad feelings toward them. 


Better in a sense to remain more private and discrete than suffer the evil eye of others. 


If we understand that there are not only physical powers in the universe, but also spiritual and metaphysical ones, then we may choose to protect ourselves by shielding ourselves from the public eyes of jealousy and hate.


Others may choose to do extra charity, prayer, and good deeds in an effort to protect themselves from competitors and antagonists in life. 


It’s funny, but when my wife sees someone she perceives giving another the evil eye, she calls it, “The stink eye!”


And truly, it does stink that people can be so mean and hateful to others, but unfortunately, not everyone in life is nice and good.


It takes all types, and that is why it’s critical to avoid those evil glances, feelings, and thoughts of others.


Hurt can take many forms–words and deeds are the two that we recognize most often. 


However, we shouldn’t discount the harm that thoughts and feelings can cause as well. 


The mind and spirit of humans can reach out and up to the Heavens, and so we must live our lives good to G-d as well to people, and Bli Ayin Hara (without the evil eye) for blessings and not for curses. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)