We Remember and Cry

We Remember and Cry.jpeg

Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem–on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart–in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 


Tisha B’Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 


We remember and cry on Tisha B’Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 


It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 

By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
‘Sing to us from the song of Zion’
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 

If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness

We as a people have been through so much…servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide…thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder–yet, Israel Doth Live!


As the L-rd promised the Jews–after exile would come redemption, and so it is!


For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple–please G-d in our days soon.


From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany–we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold “from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River.” (Exodus 23:31) 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Tunnel From Egyptian Bondage

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On Passover, we celebrate G-d’s redemption of the Israelites and the great miracles he wrought in bringing them from slavery to freedom, giving them the sacred Torah, and taking them to the Holy Land of Israel. 


His mercy and kindness endures forever!


While many people think that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the desert…


Little do most people know that there is also this miracle tunnel that many Israelites took when G-d took them out of Egyptian bondage and exile. 


It connected them from Egypt and straight to the IRT subway train, which took them to the shuttle that then got them to John F. Kennedy International Airport and on to El Al planes to the State of Israel.


In G-d’s world, there is no limitations of time and space…and He literally brought them on wings on eagles to live in Israel and worship at his holy Temple in Jerusalem. 


For 3,500 years, the Israelite Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel–from their days and until ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and let us bless and thank G-d, and say Amen!  😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

The Miraculous Mezuzah

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So there is a Jewish commandment to put a mezuzah on your doorposts. 


Reminiscent of ancient times when Jews were slaves in Egypt and G-d told the Israelites to put the blood of the Paschal lamb on the doorpost.


When they did this and the Angel of Death killed the firstborn in each home of the taskmaster Egyptians–he passed over the doorposts of the Israelites that had the blood on it as commanded by G-d.


So too these days, the Mezuzah has the holy prayer of the Shema Yisrael on it:

“Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One”.

And it is believed to be a symbol of G-d’s divine protection for the home. 


This week in Synagogue, Rabbi Haim Ovadia told some miraculous stories about the Mezuzah from when he was the Rabbi in Bogota, Columbia.


He told of how the cartels would raid the buildings where the people in the community lived.  The cops would be told not to respond to the calls for help for at least an hour.  But what was a miracle was that apartments with the mezuzahs were not harmed. Later, the people found out that the cartels, thank G-d left them alone, because they didn’t know what a mezuzah was and thought it was some sort of fancy alarm system!


Another story, was the boss who put mezuzahs on the offices at work, and what happened? The profitability of the business went up.  When they looked at why this happened, they realized that the boss would stop at the mezuzah to recite the Shema, and the workers thought the boss was there paying more attention to them and so productivity went way up. 


Finally, the last one was really funny.  They couldn’t easily get mezuzahs in Bogota, so when they heard someone was coming from a trip to Israel, they asked him to bring 5 mezuzahs for the home. When it arrived, they opened it up, but lo and behold, the parchment with the prayer inside was missing from them.  When they asked what happened to it–the person said, I already know how to put up a mezuzah on the doorpost with 2 nails and a hammer, so what do I need the instructions inside it for!


G-d is glorious and the holiness that he bestows on us with his commandments is amazing. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

To Little Jonah

Butterfly

So swimming in the pool, I meet little 7-year old Jonah. 


He sort of made himself known to me when he decided he wanted to race me on the swim board.


I was going just a little faster–and I reminded him that I had a key competitive advantage, fins. 


He said, “Darn I should have brought mine!’


He asked how old I was, and I said a little older than you. 


Not satisfied, he pressed the question, saying “I can tell you are an adult.”


So I had to cave and admit that, and pointing to my heart, added that “I am young at heart.”


Jonah’s in 1st grade, and wanted to know what grade I was in. 


His guess was 4th grade, and I said “That’s about right.”


Jonah is from New Orleans visiting his grandmother for Passover. 


She was watching him in the pool and smiling with grandmotherly nachos, ear-to-ear.


I told Jonah to make sure to treat his grandmother nicely. 


But Jonah at this point had jumped into my swim lane and was in mock superhero fighting mode, and said “I want to punch you.”


I thought to myself, hmm it’s not only my wife that feels that way (LOL).


Anyway, it was clear that I had made a new friend with Jonah, who was off bobbing up and down in the water well over his head. 


Bye Jonah–have a good time visiting for Passover. 


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

G-dly Tattoo

Tattoo

So my daughter took this photo of someone on the train.


They had a tattoo that said Elokim–G-d’s name in Hebrew–on their hand along their thumb.


Also, they had a second tattoo on the top of their hand that had the Star of David. 


Pretty dramatic, I think. 


But what a way to remember G-d and your religion all the time.


And I thought wearing a yarmulke on my head was something!


Anyway, just another thought for the day.


I was talking with a young person this week.


They said, how hard it was to be young and not know what was going to happen–what life had in store for them. 


I agreed that it was, but also added something that I had heard a number of years ago that:

When your young, you have health, but no money to enjoy it 

and when your old, you have money, but no health to enjoy it. 

The point is that at every point in life, we have our challenges, and we just have to make the most of what we got, when we have it. 

Ideally, of course, we have plenty of health and money–and the time to enjoy it with our family and friends.  

Happy Passover!

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Boarding 613

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So this was pretty amazing with the mystical number 613.

Today, it showed up on the arrivals board for the trains, and I literally had to run down the train platform to capture this photo after my daughter saw it in the distance from the escalator. 

Under destination (DEST) and minutes (MIN) for wait, the first line says boarding (BRD)–although just a moment before it said arriving (ARR). 

Then the next two lines has the trains arriving in 6 minutes and in 13 minutes, respectively.

Also note that this same morning I saw 613 twice more (for a total of 3 times) on the train car/doors and in the phone number for a truck parked in front of the grocery. 

I am no prophet, but I believe that something important or perhaps cataclysmic is about to happen (“arriving”) in the world. 

Interestingly enough, in 10 days is Passover–the redemption of the Jews from slavery in Egypt along with the giving of the 10 commandments (of the total 613) on Sinai. 

Now is a good time for faith, devotion, and prayer–that is my feeling for what it’s worth. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Chametz Time Again

Thank you to Congregation Magen David for a wonderful end of Passover party.


The family, new friends, music, singing, dancing, and food made for a truly joyous evening.


Happy and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it. 


Now counting up to Shavuot and the giving of the Torah. 


The Jewish people rock! 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)