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)

Jews, The People of Thanksgiving

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Jews, The People of Thanksgiving.”

This week was Thanksgiving (חג ההודיה), but for Jews we are already called, “The People of Thanksgiving. “We are named יהודים (Yehudim) after יהודה (Yehudah), the son of Isaac and Leah because Leah said (Genesis 29:35): “הפעם אודה את יהיה.” (“This time let me thank G-d”). Also as Jews, we are not just called the People of  Thanksgiving, but we are actively supposed to say 100 blessings a day thanking G-d, so in the true sense of the word, everyday is Thanksgiving Day for the Jewish people.


Jews are the People of Thanksgiving not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We are thankful for being the chosen people and for our redemption and return to the Promised Land of Israel; we are thankful for the life and opportunities that G-d has given to us; we are thankful in good times and G-d forbid, in the bad times; and we are thankful because, yes, ultimately everything from G-d is for the good.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Being Jewish and Proud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Being Jewish and Proud.”

With roughly 15 million Jews in a world of 7.7 billion people, we make up less than .2% of the world population. However, despite our small size, we’ve been recognized with over 20% of the Nobel Prizes for contributions to the sciences, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Most Jews tend to believe not only in a strong core religious education, but in higher education and lifelong learning, and others excel even when starting out and innovating from their garages. From Abraham and Moses to Einstein and Freud, and even to today’s Jews leading the Technology revolution–such as Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg–the Jewish contribution is truly unparalleled.

Until Mashiach, there will always be some people that hate on us and want to destroy us–perhaps and unfortunately, that’s just who they are. But we choose not be anyone else but Jews, because that’s who we are–and there is every reason to be ourselves, maintain our faith of thousands of years, continue to make awesome contributions that benefit mankind, and be forever proud to be a Jew.

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

I Will Survive

G-d gives us strength. 


To battle ignorance, apathy, and evil. 


To educate, persuade, influence, and fight for what’s right. 


With a thick skin of battle armor.


And sword and arrows of insight, cunning, and righteousness.


To stand firm even when you feel weakened. 


To find the words even when you are mocked. 


To see clearly and hear distinctly even when confounded. 


The soul and spirit of G-d guides you.


As you traverse a journey through life’s winding tests and challenges. 


Fight heroically to repair that which is broken. 


Say resolutely, I will survive!  😉

Why Only Two, Daddy?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Why Only Two Daddy?”

The father goes on to explain that these are the commandments that G-d gave to the Jews (when they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt). He enumerates just two examples: keeping the Shabbat and honoring your mother and father. The son asks, ‘What are the other commandments?’ The father hesitates either not knowing any of the other commandments or simply unable to remember any more of them on the spot. And all of a sudden, the little boy starts wailing to his father: ‘Daddy, why do you know only two, why?’


Knowing the Torah and commandments is not only for ourselves to do what’s rights, but also to pass on the torch to the next generation. It’s not always easy to be good examples, but it’s the challenge we all face. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Absolutely The Times Of Mashiach

So I love going to the Chabad synagogue down in Fort Lauderdale


The Downtown Jewish Center Chabad.


They are so welcoming and genuine.


Rabbi Kaplan and his wife Devorah are absolutely charming, wonderful people.


The davening is traditional and I love singing all the prayers exactly as I remember them as a child.


The speech is always relevant bringing the Torah’s message to what’s going now.


For example, tonight is Shavuot and the celebration of the getting of the Torah and our obligation to live up to the mission we’ve been given.


This is similar to the big story this week with Meghan Markle marrying into British Royalty with Prince Harry–thereby she becomes royalty.  So too the Israelites entered into a marriage contract with G-d Almighty at Sinai, and they became royalty to G-d entrusted to keep his commandments and as a “light unto the nations” to always do the right thing. 


The Rabbi is a true inspiration and today, we talked with him about living in the amazing times of Mashiach.


There is so much polarization and confusion in the world.


From people to countries looking for a guidepost–whether individuals, corrupt organizations, extremist politicians, or fascist and warring countries.


I so agree with the Rabbi that we are living in miraculous times and redemption is right around the corner.


Everything we do is an opportunity to make a kiddush Hashem and turn the tides in the war of good over evil.


Married to G-d, but in humility, we serve him and do good and help bring the world to love, peace, and Tikkun Ola m. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)