Happy 70th Birthday to Israel

What a beautiful Shabbat today at Magen David Synagogue celebrating the 70th Birthday of the State of Israel. 


Prayers, blessings, song, waving flags, and a lovely Kiddish feast following services. 


Immediately after the genocidal Holocaust that exterminated six million Jews – 1 out of every 3 in the entire world – the modern State of Israel was founded in 1948. 


With thriving cities, arts and culture, flourishing farming, science and innovation, Holy religious sites, a rich history everywhere, and a formidable military. 


There is so much to be proud of and to thank G-d for.


Oh G-d, we praise you in that you have returned your children to Zion as you promised from Biblical times and breathed fresh life into their dry bones. 


Only you can revive an entire people and a land.


Only you can create a blooming Garden of Eden from barren desert. 


Only you can make a strong and just a nation from one that once was carted away of crowded train cars to the death camps and crematoria 


Throughout 2,000 years of exile, we remembered your promise and we prayed for redemption, and you showered your gracious mercy on us and brought us back on wings of eagles. 


For 70 years now, nations have risen up against Israel to try to destroy it, but only you have saved it through the brave arms of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 


Praise to G-d Almighty.  Praise be to G-d in Heaven and on Earth. Praise be the creator and sustainer.  


We honor you through keeping your Holy Torah commandments and remembering that you Hashem, are our G-d and you are One. 


It is our job to live a life of integrity, to do good whatever we do and wherever we go, as your children and as a light along with America unto the other nations. 


As we sang in the Holocaust, “I believe with a full faith in the coming of the Messiah, and thou he tarries, I will never-the-less wait.”


The waiting was over 70-years ago, and we are living in the age of redemption. 


Miracles abound and the world progresses scientifically and technologically and with a spirit of doing good and justice. 


The nation of Israel lives!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Yearning for Redemption

Just an impression from my recent trip to Israel. 


There is such a yearning for people to do good and to merit the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) towards the ultimate redemption for mankind. 


It’s on every street corner and light post.  


Whether it’s eyes gazed on the righteousness of Rabbi Nachman or The Rebbe–as we used to sing as kids in NCSY:

“We want Mashiach now!”


Whether Mashiach is an actual person or a spiritual revelation in the world leading to redemption–it represents an unprecedented enlightenment, holiness and a spiritual healing, and love and peace for mankind. 


While we strive to earn our daily bread, it’s nice to have a part of us that also seeks a greater good and achieving betterment for the world. 


Any small or big things we can do in our lives to contribute to Tikkun Olam (“fixing the world”), it’s purposeful, hopeful, and uplifting to try. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel–Mazel tov!


– 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.


– 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.


– 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.


Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.


As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and “it is the right thing to do!”


Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 


And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 


We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d’s promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.


From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.


Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 


But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 


The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.


We must never forget that it is only with G-d’s blessing and under his watchful eye.


May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via White House)

Our Forefathers Were Planners And So Are We

Thank you to Rabbi Haim Ovadia for his speech today at Magen David Synagogue on the topic of how our forefathers in the Bible were planners and so are we today. (Note: some of the thoughts below are directly from Rabbi Ovadia and others are added by me.)


In the Biblical story of Jacob, there are numerous examples teaching us the importance of planning.


1) Shepherds vs Hunters:  Jacob was a shepherd versus his brother Esau who was a hunter.  Shepherds have a long-term outlook with their animals, tending to them and caring for them over the long-term, while hunters go out for the kills to eat for that day. 


2) Working for Rachel and Leah vs. Selling the Pottage:  Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachel and another 7 for Leah–this was the long-term view and commitment to work for Lavan in order to marry his daughters. In comparison, Esau came in hungry from the field and sold his birthright for the immediate gratification of a bowl of pottage.


3) The Plan to Take Esau’s Blessing: Rebekah worked with Jacob to prepare meat for Isaac and put hair and clothes on Jacob that made him look and seem like Esau, so Jacob could get the blessing from Isaac, while Esau was still out hunting in the field. 


4) Dividing his Camp in Two: Jacob sent messengers (i.e. reconnaissance) to see and plan for what Esau was doing in coming to meet him. When the messengers returned with word that Esau was coming with 400 men, Jacob planned for the worst, dividing his camp in two, so should one peril the other could survive. Additionally, Jacob prayed and sent rounds of gifts to Esau and also presented himself to Esau before his beloved wife Rachel and son Joseph in the safety of the rear. 


Long-term planning has been fundamental to the Jewish people throughout history and to modern times:


1) “People of the Book” – The Jewish people are known as “the people off the book” for the devotion to Torah study, learning, and continually investing in education, which is a view for long-term investment and success.   


2) Good Deeds to Inherit The World To Come – Fundamental to Jewish belief is that this earthly world is just a “corridor” to the World to Come.  We do charity and good deeds, not only because it’s the right thing to do (certainly!), but also because we believe that these merits will help us long-term when we pass, and go to the spiritual next world, Heaven. 


3) Believing and Praying for the Return to The Promised Land – For 2,000, the Jewish people never gave up hoping and praying on the deliverance of G-d’s promise to return them from exile to the Promised Land.  This was a long-term view that helped sustain the Jewish people throughout their far-flung exile and through millennium of persecution and genocide.

Ezekiel 11:17: “Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”

4) Waiting 6,000 years for the Messiah: For 6,000 years, the Jews have maintain faith and plan for the coming of the Messiah, the rebuilding of the Temple and the ultimate redemption of the world.  

“(Ani Ma’amin) I believe in complete faith in the coming of the Messiah…Even tough he may tarry, none-the-less, I will wait for him.”

Like our forefathers, it is critical to maintain faith in the Almighty and practice long-term planning as keys to success in life. 


If we take the long-view, we can overcome so many short-term challenges, obstacles and even suffering–believing, praying planning, and doing for a better, brighter future. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Behold, The Day Cometh

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{I don’t know what this is, but it came to me, and it just feels important to share…I start to feel spiritually overwhelmed, very emotional, and then all choked up…and so it starts}


Behold, the day cometh when the earth will open it’s mouth.


And there will be a very great slaughter. 


And the earth will shake and tremble before the Holy One blessed be he. 


He walks before the nation of Israel. 


Ready to strike with the all-powerful tip of His spear. 


Like a bolt of lightening without warning.


Magnificent in beauty and damning in tumultuous energy. 


The sky thunders before His majesty. 


The angels stir and flee before the All-Mighty Creator. 


His holiness envelopes the earth and stars. 


His eyes are full of mercy, but justice is in his mighty outstretched arm. 


Those that stand in evil before His glory will soon be buried in a very great rubble. 


The skies are darkening; the day is arriving. 


And all the people will know that G-d dost live, and His people shall live. 


Evil will be obliterated from off the face of the earth, and His holiness will manifest in peace and redemption. 


The implements of war will be smashed to smithereens, engulfed within the insides of the earth. 


And their makers buried beside them, crushed and utterly destroyed.


A mass grave to the east and to the west, and then a great rebuilding. 


From the L-rd goeth forth justice to his enemies and mercy to His children.


{The streaming stops suddenly…I want it to continue…but it’s over…I try my own words, but they are not His…I give up for today.}


(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

And It Will Come To Pass

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I was walking today and this is what was in my mind…


And it will be in the days of Putin king of Russia and Xi Jinping king of China that Trump king of the USA will advance peace between Israel and its neighbors. 


So that nation shall not life up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.


And you will quiet your enemies to the north, and to the southwest, and to the far east. 


None shall stand against you. 


The time is coming when great arrows will pierce the hearts of your enemies, and the eyes of the people shall see and know that G-d, the protector of Israel and the judge of all, doth live and fulfills all his promises to those that honor their commitments to Him. 


The answer is in your words and deeds to bring glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 


Sharpen your swords, gird your tongue in prayer, and cover yourselves in the everlasting deeds of your forefathers and mothers. 


The time arrives for all mankind to witness the long arm of the L-rd and know his reign and mercy endures forever. 


Be of faith and good courage. 


And Israel will dwell in peace and security and the world will prosper in the redemption. 


The ambers and ash of history are still warm, but the times of evil and destruction shall give way to a renewal of the simple, the good, and the peaceful following.


He who sits on the throne that is the foundation of all that lives gazes upon his creation with a sadness and promise. 


Those who commit the worst evils will be found guilty and cleansed, and those of pure heart will be guiltless.


Evil will not stand in the presence of the L-rd of Hosts. 


Redemption is at hand and the glorious saving by the spirit that is the spirit that speaks to all with a voice of thunder and lightening, and the angels will be awakened, and man will know and serve Him once more with a full heart and mindfulness to the Almighty.


Blessed be His name and His deeds are magnificent beyond wonder, generosity, and holiness. 


Amen, Amen, Amen.   


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Today Is 6/13

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So today is 6/13.


Yes, check your calendar. 


It only comes once a year. 


613 is the mystical and holy number of commandments in the Torah. 


For more than 2 years (this is not a short-term phenomenon), my family and even some friends have been seeing an inexplicable number of 613 everywhere. 


Here is one from a stock I follow from the other week: Twitter was up exactly 6.13%…and I don’t follow that many stocks. 


Just yesterday, another stock (that been doing terribly…it’s a startup!) is down an enormous 61.3% since I started following it. 

And yet another major stock–of the largest company in Israel and the largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world–Teva–is down 16.03 year-to-date.


Nearly every day, we see an endless barrage of license plates, roads, train and plane schedules and physical or URL addresses, get purchase receipts or invoice totals, see number of posts, views, likes, or emails, and even the other day almost booked a hotel with the address….that’s right and only 613!


I am a rational person…maybe almost to the extreme, and what I initially laughed off as a lark or someone’s OCD thing, is beyond any reasonable explanation that I can fathom at this point.


I am left with faith that there is truly some message being sent from the One Above…the question is what is the meaning of the message?


I continue to hope and pray that the message is one of blessings and redemption for mankind…I hope you will join me in this prayer. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)