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)

A Curse That Is Really A Blessing

Charity.JPEG

So here is an amazing true story from this week.


My wife was in Israel. 


She went to the Kotel (Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem) to pray. 


On the way, an old, poor man stopped her and asked for food. 


My wife gave him her sandwich. 


Then after walking another block, he stopped her again and gestured for assistance. 


This time, my wife gave him some money too.


After this, she asked him if he would bless our family.


And he did and also gave a special blessing to my elder daughter who had just recently gotten engaged. 


My wife also went to the Kotel and prayed for us and her. 


That same evening back in the States here, my daughter and her fiancee ended their engagement. 


At first, the breakup seemed like a big disappointment and that a terrible thing had happened–almost like a curse–but G-d works in mysterious ways. 


When we saw the reasons for the breakup, we realized fully that G-d had indeed heard the blessings of the old, poor man (maybe an angel) and the prayers of my wife.


We wish the young man all the best in his future, but we just saw clearly that this was not the right match. 


So what at first can seem like a curse is really a blessing in disguise. 


Truly, when you give charity, you’re not only helping others, but it’s really a blessing for you too. 


Thank you to the old, poor man in Jerusalem and to Hashem who heard my wife’s prayers at the Kotel. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Tunnel From Egyptian Bondage

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On Passover, we celebrate G-d’s redemption of the Israelites and the great miracles he wrought in bringing them from slavery to freedom, giving them the sacred Torah, and taking them to the Holy Land of Israel. 


His mercy and kindness endures forever!


While many people think that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the desert…


Little do most people know that there is also this miracle tunnel that many Israelites took when G-d took them out of Egyptian bondage and exile. 


It connected them from Egypt and straight to the IRT subway train, which took them to the shuttle that then got them to John F. Kennedy International Airport and on to El Al planes to the State of Israel.


In G-d’s world, there is no limitations of time and space…and He literally brought them on wings on eagles to live in Israel and worship at his holy Temple in Jerusalem. 


For 3,500 years, the Israelite Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel–from their days and until ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and let us bless and thank G-d, and say Amen!  😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Life Is All About Stones

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Today, Rabbi Haim Ovadia gave an interesting speech at Magen David Synagogue about the life of Jacob and his relationships to stones. 


Here’s what I took away from this: 


– Jacob took a stone to rest his head on (i.e. a pillow) and went to sleep. 


– After Jacob dreamed about the Angels ascending and descending the ladder to the heavens, he anointed the stone with oil and consecrated it to G-d. 


– When Jacob sees Rachel coming to water her father, Laban’s sheep, Jacob rolls the stone from off the well to quench their thirst. 


– As Jacob blessed his 12 sons, he is called the “stone of Israel.”


So what’s the significance of all this stone in Jacob’s and in our lives?


MILESTONES: We celebrate major stages (milestones) in our lives like births, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, and jobs/promotions,  and we also give diamond (stone) rings to our beloved upon engagement. 


CORNERSTONES: We build the foundations (cornerstones) for progress and advancement with our contributions to the world (giving to others, leaving the world a better place than when we got here). 


HEADSTONES: We mark and honor a person’s life and place a headstone at their grave to signify our love, respect, and gratitude for everything they have done. 


I’d add that hopefully, along the way in our lives, we don’t have too many problems and too much stress and get KIDNEY STONES. 


Interestingly “Some people have a heart of stone, and some stones have a heart.”


Like the Western Wall (“The Kotel”) of the Temple in Jerusalem where the Jews pray to G-d–the stones in the wall have history, they have seen the joys and challenges of the people, and they have heard the stories and prayers of the worshippers that go to pray there.

Stones themselves are neutral–they can be used to celebrate, consecrate, build, and memorialize, with, and stones can also be used to hurl and smash and kill with.


For Jacob and his children, even simple stones are a way to worship G-d Almighty.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Western Wall 1000

Western Wall 1000

About 20 years ago, we took on a little family activity to put together this 1000 piece puzzle of the Western Wall (“The Kotel”) in Jerusalem.

We all sat around the dining room table in my parent’s house working to put the puzzle together.

It was a pretty tough puzzle, since the pieces of a large part of the puzzle, The Wall, looked so similar.

But it was something we all rallied around, had fun with, and figured out as a family.

The only problem we couldn’t readily solve, came down to the last piece of the puzzle, and almost smack center–it was missing.

A 1000 piece puzzle with only 999 pieces.

My dad, ever the innovative one, took out a marker and colored in the missing piece.

He framed the picture of the holy Kotel and hung it in their living room.

I was amazed that he took such great pride in the puzzle we worked on, since it was imperfect.

But it taught me that while nothing in life is perfect, it is our bonding together in love that creates a type of spiritual perfection.

It was also interesting to me that like Jews now-a-days put little pieces of paper (“Kvitels”) with their deepest prayers into the crevices of the Western Wall, my dad put the families last piece into the representative puzzle picture of it.

Finally, the Western Wall is itself just a piece of the destroyed (twice) holy Temple (“Beit Hamikdash”) that stood in Jerusalem, and one day hopefully it will be rebuilt with all the pieces through the loving bonding of the people that yearn for that special connection to the Almighty again.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)