Hearts and Stones

I love the saying by Rav Zvi Yehudah Cook:

There are people with hearts of stone, and there are stones with hearts of people. 

The people know who they are, and the stones reside where has G-d set them. 

In the final redemption, the peoples’ hearts will turn back to Hashem and the stones with hearts will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Coming Great American Aliyah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Coming Great American Aliyah.”

If you just open your eyes and have faith, you will know that you will be going to Israel–the question isn’t if, but when! What G-d has decreed, no man can annul. There are three types of ways things will unfold for American Jews: Some will go to Israel on their own,”nicely.” Others will be going only when they absolutely have to–“not so nicely.” The third group will not be going–unfortunately, as difficult as it is to say, they won’t make it. While this is all about the fulfillment of messianic times, and we don’t know when precisely it will all transpire, I pray that people (including myself) will choose to plan intelligently for the future to make aliyah in good times, and that their shouldn’t be pain and suffering for the Jewish people in getting there, but rather that it is an amazing experience filled with endless blessings.


May G-d bring us in peace, prosperity, and health to fulfill His promise of the ingathering and to rebuild the Temple and bring Mashiach to the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who’s Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 


Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 


Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.


Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:

Gedaliah didn’t fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.


I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 


Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur–fasting and atonement. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Founding of Zionism

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I am reading the book Israel: “A Concise History of a Nation Reborn” by Daniel Gordis.

 

I’ve prepared this summary of the founding of Zionism, which I have briefly summarized above.


Hope this is helpful to those interested in the origins of the founding of the modern State of Israel. 


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Your Fantasy Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “What’s Your Fantasy Synagogue.”

We all go to synagogues that we like in some ways and don’t like in others, but have you ever thought about what your fantasy synagogue would be like if you could make one?Last Shabbat, we were invited for lunch by some wonderful friends who had been sports writers, and the topic of fantasy football came up, where people compete for coming up with the best team by picking their own players and forming their ideal team. I said, half jokingly, wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same thing with synagogues and pick the best aspects of each and make an ideal house of worship for ourselves where we could pray, learn, grow, and experience holiness and community. 

In the article, I detail “the best of the best” when it comes to synagogues and the ultimate ideal synagogue is of course, in the coming of the Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

What If Israel Lost?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “What If Israel Lost?

What if, G-d forbid, Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors and lost? It’s an almost unthinkable thought, yet it is actually a complete miracle that Israel, surrounded and vastly outnumbered by its enemies, actually wins and survives in a very tough neighborhood.


Despite these miracles that we have been blessed to witness, we can’t let down our guard militarily or spiritually. We must do good deeds, act with kindness and charity to our fellow man, and worship Hashem to continue to merit the success over our enemies and our settlement of the land of Israel.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Speedily Rebuild The Temple

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Rebuilding The Temple, Healing Our People.”

Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) is on Shabbat this year, so we conduct the day of mourning and fast on Sunday. The destruction of the Temple and our subsequents exiles from the Holy Land are deeply traumatic periods of Jewish history. Needless to say, this is a very sad and scary time of year. However, we are living in the time of redemption, when after 2,000 years, the Jewish people have been blessed to be returned to their biblical homeland, Israel. Next up is the rebuilding of the Temple VERY SOON, please G-d.


Let us hope and pray that we are deserving of Hashem’s blessings and mercy, and that sadness will be completely turned into joy, the world will be healed, and peace will prevail.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Pray For The Day

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Pray For The Day.”


While I am a staunch supporter for the security of Israel, I pray for the day (a miracle) when Jews and Arabs can be brothers again–shoulder to shoulder–that embrace and help each other, rather than enemies “at each others’ throats.”


In my mind and heart, there has got to come a time when the hatred and violence ends, and when instead peace can and will prevail. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-d Counts On Us

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “G-d Counts On Us.”

Israel with just over 6.5 million Jews could not simply defeat the surrounding Arabs numbering over 400 million by sheer military might alone–the pure numbers just don’t bear that out–and that’s why any sane person knows that the miraculous hand of G-d is at work here, and that we are living in the times of Mashiach.

With G-d, numbers alone don’t tell the whole story–even while He counts us, more importantly, He counts on us to be good people in the ongoing battle of good over evil. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jerusalem’s Amazing New Bomb Shelter

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Jerusalem’s Amazing New Bomb Shelter.”

Israel Railways zips passengers north-south between Nahariya and Be’er Sheva and east-west between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv…but the best thing of all is that it also serves for the strategic defense for its citizens…there are provisions for 3,000 to 5,000 people to shelter from a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack on the holy city of Jerusalem

Thankfully, Israel is growing as a democracy, a Startup Nation, and as a light unto nations, yet it must remain vigilant and strong against enemies that could even attempt the unthinkable. 


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)