Never Too Young To Train

This was cute!

The little boy holding his mom’s hand and running around the track.

While many kids would cry and resist the exercise, this kid actually ran after his mom to go with her.

It was nice to see!

Never too young to train!

This is how excellence is born. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anger, Faith, and Growth

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Anger, Faith, and Growth.”

We live in an unpredictable world and I have made more than one bad decision recently. Fortunately, it was nothing too terrible, but I was still angry about it, and my gut reaction was to somehow blame G-d, and to feel angry at Him, because I thought somehow I didn’t deserve what had happened. However, I asked myself how can you be angry at G-d if you believe that everything he does is for your ultimate good? It took me a little time, but I realized that I wasn’t really angry at G-d, but at myself; It was my fault, I did deserve what happened, and my mistakes aren’t G-d’s.


Maybe this is what life is really all about–searching and finding G-d even among all the multitude of mistakes we make in life. We have to own our mistakes, learn from them, and thereby become stronger and better people.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Impact Each Other’s Souls

Finishing Natan Sharansky’s book Fear No Evil


And I rarely write twice on a book or movie, but this was so impactful. 


First on our souls, Sharansky writes:

The law of attraction, interconnection, and interdependence of human souls…there is a universal gravitational pull of souls, of the bond between them and influence of one soul on the other. 


Wow, Sharansky understood the deeper meaning of the soul and how they all emanate and are pieces from G-d and they are all connected to their source and each other, and what one person says or does impacts all the others (and thereby G-d himself). 


Literally, I experienced this the other day…when I personally made amends on something I felt that I had done wrong, and I could literally feel somehow righting a wrong in the universe and G-d, Himself, smiling down on me. 


It was the best feeling I think I have ever had in my life. 


Second on fear, Sharansky writes:


My inner freedom [is] more powerful than the external bondage…[and] fear of the L-rd…is a necessary prerequisite for man’s achieving inner freedom, and is also the prerequisite for spiritual resolve, the fear of the L-rd is the only thing that can conquer human fear.


Wow again. Sharansky through his nine years of suffering and hardships in Soviet prisons and labor camps found his deep inner strength to resist the tyranny of the KGB worldly masters and overcame them with his finding his fear and faith in G-d and was able to overcome. 


These are two amazing heavenly lessons that Sharansky shares with us from enduring and overcoming his incredible worldly hardships.


I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this and am with G-d’s help continuing to quench my thirst for this type of wisdom and true enlightenment.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Hate To Love

Just a self-reflection today…


Important to me. 


It’s about who I thought I was and…


Who I became. 


Truly, I went full circle from a child’s hate to an adult’s love relationship with:


– Reading


– Writing


– Swimming


– Hebrew


As a kid, I tried to avoid these like the plague, and as an adult I like to practice these every single day of my life. 


I wonder to myself is it that I strove to become good (or decent) at what I have previously been bad at or was somehow afraid of. 


Yet now, they are integral to my life, learning, and growth. 


Like the hands of a clock that circle and tick the hours and minutes. 


My life takes me full circle and brings me home to who I am and what I really love spending time at. 😉


(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)

Learning Hebrew: One Book at a Time

My daughter had a great idea for improving on our Hebrew language skills. 


Start small…as in children’s books. 


She got a few of these from the library and it actually was fun to read these. 


Aside from taking me back a few years in parenthood and bonding as a family over these, I found it useful to solidify my learning.


Dr. Seuss definitely had the right idea. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal with attribution to book בּובי בוא בובי לך by אמי רובינגר)

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)

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)

Israel 2020: Day 5

Went to the Holon Design Museum (south of Tel Aviv) today. 


They had exhibit called States of Extreme.


I found some really cool exhibits and ideas there.


Sort of felt my mind being expanded by it, which is I suppose one of the purposes of going to this. 


Two of my favorite from today:


1) The chair with people legs and 


2) The Fanuc robotic arm feeding the baby in the crib.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did. 


And Shabbat Shalom to everyone from the Holy Land!


(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)