It’s For Us

I love this saying from one of my colleagues:

“G-d doesn’t do it to us. 
He does it for us!”

Instead of asking with anger and resentment “why me?” — perhaps we can try to see the larger picture and be grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that G-d does give us. 

While certainly there is pain and suffering in this world, there is also the chance to learn, grow, and become stronger and better people. 

We are here to hopefully leave the world a better place than before we got here. 

The perspective that the challenges and obstacles are not meant to really harm us, but to help us is not an easy pill to swallow.

But maybe it really is the enlightened view of faith that we all need to fight on and overcome. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Among All The Apples

This was an interesting photo moment at Whole Foods–this Valentine’s Day huggy bear sitting among all the apples. 


Sort of how I felt after synagogue today and at other times. 


I’ve learned the importance as my father had so often tried to teach me of going to synagogue.


Yes, the prayer and service to Hashem.


But also the community. 


We all need people. 


None of us is an island. 


At synagogue, aside from the opportunity to speak and be close with G-d, I appreciate the hearty calls of “Shabbat Shalom,” the embracing handshakes, hugs and occasional kisses, the chance to see and kiss the holy Torah, and being among friends.


Like the apples, we’re all sort of the same, yet unique, and we stand together. 


As apples, we all have our glowing and shiny outsides, a sweet inner core, and also plenty of juicy meat. 


People too put on their best clothes, shoes, and do themselves to look their best going to synagogue, and inside they are there to express their goodness with G-d and the community.


Also though, you hear plenty of the heartbreaking stories about what is happening to them as families and individuals. 


Sure, there are the lovely smachot (happy occasions) in their and our lives to celebrate, but there is also plenty of adversity and challenges faced daily. 


One member passed away this week, another is getting cancer treatments, and someone got hit by a car crossing the street and is in the hospital with literally 79 screws holding their ribs together!


Then there are those out looking for work, others suffering from bad marriages or getting divorced, someone with a sick child that needs lifelong care, and someone who even got robbed this week.


Yes, shiny on the outside and with the sweetness of souls and hearts, and yet everyone has their baskets of challenges to deal with. 


For someone like me, I literally feel it inside for people–it’s like I can almost imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. 


Obviously, I can’t–no one really can–but I imagine myself and ask myself OMG what in the world would I do–and of course, I have no real idea. 


Synagogue is I guess the most perfect place to experience all this–since we are before G-d, asking for his blessings and mercy, and with others, we bond to who are all in the same boat paddling and trying to survive and live a full and meaningful life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If G-d Is With Me

I love this photo and caption that I saw on Facebook. 


Basically it translates from Hebrew as:

“If G-d is with me
Who can stand against me.”


And it’s a picture of someone walking through the split sea like in the exodus from Egypt. 


G-d can truly make miracles. 


What G-d decrees no man can stand against it. 


We need to merit G-d’s standing with us. 


You have to do right, speak right, and have the right intentions. 


Only G-d can judge whether we are there!


But how amazing things can be for us if we look to the Heavens and merit G-d being with us.


Then no man can stand against us! 😉


(Source photo: Tali-Cohen Saban)

Two Lightning Strikes

One week apart, two freak accidents, both families nearly wiped out. 


Both touched me. 


Exactly one week ago, I learned and wished condolences to the man in synagogue who lost his wife, youngest son, and mother-in-law in the Mexico tourist bus accident. 


Today–7 days later, a neighbor comes up to me and tells me she’s going to the funeral for her daughter, son-in-law and three children killed in the Costa Rica plane crash this week, and I wished her that G-d have mercy. 


Like two lightning strikes–not a coincidence (I don’t believe in that).


I believe more that it is a warning, and it is really frightening.


I pray that G-d should have mercy on all of us. 

Please G-d, Save Us. 
Please G-d, Save Us. Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 
Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 

Life truly hangs by a thin thread.


The time period between my meeting the man and women from these two families–7 days–represents both life and death–it is both the number of days of “Sheva Brachot” (days of celebration for a bride and groom) and the number of says of “Shiva: (mourning when someone dies)


We need to be committed to doing good in this world and in His name.


— Repentance, charity, and prayer.


All of us must do our best to serve G-d and always do right with integrity.


G-d should defeat evil, and He should have mercy on his faithful children, so that He turns mourning into celebration and blessings. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to kristendawn, and interesting that it is from Costa Rica)

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)

Motivation, Hard Work, and Blessings

So I am incredibly impressed at how talented so many people are. 

And I’ll tell you, people are motivated to get ahead and they are working hard to do it. 

I took Lyft to a couple of destinations down here in Florida. 

Two drivers that I had just yesterday were both from relatively poor backgrounds in Jamaica. 

And both were incredible in what they’ve been able to accomplish for themselves.  

One was a senior communications technologist with a large cable company.

Another was a pretty impressive and successful Reggae music star. 

Both had come to this country and made amazing lives for themselves. 

In meeting these incredible people, I learned that everyone is driving Uber and Lyft now-a-days. 🙂

Both were driving as they told me just to keep busy on their days off–because they “hate being bored!”

More importantly, I learned that despite whatever background, hardships, or adversity you come from or have experienced, you can make it in your own way! 

Motivation and hard work coupled with mercy and blessings from, and faith in the Almighty Above are an incredible combination that can propel people towards incredible levels of success in life that maybe many would’ve never even really dreamed of. 

There is no easy road–just one filled with trying your best, plenty of obstacles, stumbles, and falls, and then picking yourself up and trying again and again until hopefully and with G-d’s help you break the bonds and chains keeping you from your amazing levels of potential and contribution to this world. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Longevity…85 Is The New 65

Youth.jpeg

So I was speaking to one of our very nice elderly neighbors.


Last week he lost his dear wife of 60 years!


I had visited him during Shiva (the Jewish period of mourning) to wish him our best and let him know we are there if there is anything he needs. 


He told me how the night before she passed, they had gone out to eat and to the theatre (she loved the theatre)…and everything was fine!


And then the next day, he went to work–he still teaches medicine at the local hospital 2 days a month.


At midday, he called his wife and asked how she was and if she needed anything from the store (to eat etc.)


She told him she was fine and she didn’t need anything. 


But by the time he got home just one hour later…she had fallen, hit her head, and died. 


He tried to do CPR by it was no use, she was gone. 


Both he and his wife were 84-years old. 


He mentioned that would tease her that he was 3 months older than her, and so she had to listen to him!


I felt so bad for him…it was obvious how much he loved her and missed her already. 


When he told me how old she was, I tried to say reassuringly:

“That’s a good old age…at least she lived a full life!”


But then he answered:

“84–that’s nothing! 85 is the new 65!!!”  

And went on to tell me how many of their friends are already in the 90’s. 


It’s funny how no matter what age you are…there is always a will to live!


He said how she had passed quickly and so maybe he could consider that a blessing. 


And we talked about how it truly is especially when some other people really suffer prolonged periods with terrible debilitating and painful illnesses. 


It was also strange that around the same time, I ran into yet another elderly neighbor, and he had tears in his eyes…and I asked how he is. 


He told me how he just learned 3 weeks ago that his wife has lung cancer. 


Seeing his expression how bad things were, I inquired what stage it was at. 


He said, “stage 3 cancer,” and I told him as well how sorry I was for his pain. 


All this made me realize again, how very tenuous life is…and we all hang by a thread that G-d decides at any moment when to shear and when to cut–we need to live every moment to the fullest and as if it’s our last. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)