Let’s Ask The Messiah

xmas

Tomorrow is a special day indeed. 


It is both Chanukah and Christmas.


Rabbi Michael Gottlieb mentions a really interesting point in the Wall Street Journal about the connection between Jews and Christians as brothers and sisters. 


Reflecting on the thoughts of philosopher, Martin Buber:


The key difference between Jews and Christians is whether Jesus was the messiah. 

“Christians believe he was here and they are awaiting his return. 

Jews believe that the messiah hasn’t yet come. 

His suggestion: let’s all pray for the messiah–Christians and Jews alike.  

When he arrives, we’ll ask if he’s been here before.”

With the messiah’s arrival, we can all hope to achieve “personal and universal redemption”–to be kinder, humbler, and more human[e]”


We all have an underlying need to believe in a “superhero”–with G-dly powers that can save us from ourselves and from each other, as well as from disease, disaster, and destruction. 


If G-d can speedily send us the messiah to help us with all of this, together Jews and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and everyone can band together to celebrate and welcome G-d’s love and redemption of all his children. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Greatest Danger Is Still Man

broken

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” kicked off last night, and it was an absolutely devastating storyline


This was the long awaited episode to see what happens after Rick and cohorts are captured and literally put down on their knees in the gravel by the evil and ruthless Negan and his army. 


The killings of Glenn and Abraham by getting their skulls brutally bashed in was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. 


And forcing Rick to nearly cut off his own child’s arm and all the other mental torture and physical abuse he endured left the show’s leader and hero, a completely broken man. 


All that they had overcome and survived was now just a shattered history. 


They were overcome, they were defeated, they were wholly broken.


What is amazing is that they could handle the Walking Dead zombies (even hordes of them), but ultimately, it was the evilness of man himself that they could not win against. 


Zombies are dangerous and scary, but man is the most dangerous and brutal predator out there, and the horrific things they can do to each makes everything else pale by comparison. 


Especially, when Negan kills and destroys, he does it with such completele evil joy that it leaves one questioning, how can this whole evil thing exist in a universe created and maintained by a good and merciful G-d. 


My wife said to me that this was a small reminder of what the Holocaust must’ve been like–with the Nazi’s holding a stranglehold of power and committing the most heinous atrocities and genocide against 6 million starving and enslaved Jews held in notorious concentration death camps.


After the show, watching “Talking Dead,” viewers indicated that this was the turning point in the whole show, and there was no going back for Rick and his group.


Yet, I am most certain that even if it can no longer be Rick who regains his strength and leadership mantle, there will be another who will rise up and overcome the evil Negan. 


It’s a dog eat dog world, and there is always another younger, leaner, and meaner dog in town–hence, every dog has it’s day.


Ultimately is that justice?


While perhaps we all wish to see good triumph over evil every time, there are certainly moments when good takes a good walloping. 


And then G-d sends a savior to restore good to it’s rightful dominant place in the universe.


In the process though, lives and souls can be shattered and never be the same again. 


Watching the eternal battle between good and evil is what totally tests our faith and gives us the free choice on which side to be on. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Did You Know You’re A Sinner

sin-jpeg

So walking down the street here yesterday, I ran into a sign and was handed a postcard, declaring:

“Sin Awareness Day”


Then I was confronted by a gentleman (or not so gentle) who proceeded to explain to me that I–and everyone else–are sinners!


Innocently, I ask, “Well, what have I done?”


The missionary answers with a stern face, “I’m sure you have lied!”


I said, “I don’t think so,” but then to play alone, I smirked and said, “Well what if I did?”


He answers and says, “You’ll need to repent!”


Thinking that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is right around the corner in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself, hey that’s right in line with where I’m going anyway…


The guy continues–of course–to try to enlist me to his “savior” that he believes can save us from all our sins. 


I challenged and said, “Well, how about Moses?”


He roars back, “Moses?!!!” and starts railing on about “convert, convert, convert.” 


Uh no, thank you, I am fine with the faith of my father, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, etc. 


And I appreciate if we can avoid the forcible conversion parts of yesteryear from various empires, caliphates, crusades, and inquisitions, with no shortage of associated torture, executions, and expulsions. 


Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:

“Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not.”


Heck, why be negative about ourselves (we are not inherently bad); instead see that we not living up to our potential and try, always, to do better. 


In that I am definitely a believer!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)