G-d Hears Your Prayers

My son-in-law reminded me of a beautiful Jewish saying about prayer:

Even if a sharp sword rests upon a person’s neck, he should not refrain from praying for mercy.ย 


One can still hope for mercy from the Almighty even at death’s door.ย 


This is truly beautiful and uplifting–we can approach G-d anytime, and as long as we are alive, there is always hope.


The saving from G-d is like “the blink of an eye.” ๐Ÿ˜‰


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Vision of Jewish Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Vision of Jewish Strength.”

 

With the rebirth of the State of Israel came the rebirth of the Jew. No longer the Jew cowering in the face of pogroms, Inquisition, Crusades, persecution, expulsions, and the Holocaust. The new Jew, as epitomized by the brave men and women of IDF, would be remade in the image of Moses who led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery, and King David who vanquished our enemies in our land, as well as the Jews of Purim and Hanukah, who fought ever so valiantly and to victory against the great empires of Persia and Greece or for us, whoever rises against us as the modern day equivalent.


But as important to the new Jew as our physical survival is that of our spiritual wellbeing. The persecution of Jews over thousands of years was not just a physical attack, as horrible as it was, but also a spiritual, religious, and cultural one, where Jews were prohibited from learning Torah, worshiping, and practicing as Jews. Thus, the second point of criticality in having the State of Israel is that it provides for Jewish sovereignty and ensures “the Jew as actor, determiner of his or her own destiny.” The Jewish people to truly thrive must be able to express themselves through their own language and history, religiously and culturally, and practically through their own leadership and decision-making to forge their own future.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Song of Saul and David

Great song:ย David and Shaul from Ehud Banay’s third album, โ€The Third/Hashlishiโ€


The song is about the “bipolar” feelings of King Saul toward David (then the next king of Israel).ย 


Here are the lyrics:

ื›ื•ืœื ืžื–ืžืŸ ื”ืœื›ื• ืœื™ืฉื•ืŸ
ืจืง ืฉืื•ืœ ืขืจ, ืงื•ื“ืจ
ืžืจื™ื ืœื“ื•ื“ ื˜ืœืคื•ืŸ

A late-night hour

Everyone is long gone to sleep

Only Shaul is awake, cheerless

He calls David up over the phone

ืื•ืœื™ ืชืงืคื•ืฅ ืืœื™, ื™ื ื“ื•ื“
ื ืคืฉื™ ืื’ื ืฉื—ื•ืจ
ืชื‘ื™ื ืื™ืชืš ืืช ื”ื’ื™ื˜ืจื”
ื›ื™ ื‘ืืฆื‘ืขื•ืชื™ืš ืื•ืจ

Maybe you should stop by, Ya David

My soul is a black lake

Bring the guitar with you

For you have light in your fingers


ื“ื•ื“ ื‘ื ืžื™ื“ ืจื’ื•ืข,
ืžืชื™ื™ืฉื‘ ื•ืžื›ื•ื•ืŸ
ืืช ื”ืžืœืื›ื” ื”ื™ื˜ื‘ ื™ื•ื“ืข
ืขื•ืฆื ืขื™ื ื™ื™ื, ืžื ื’ืŸ

David comes right away and he is calm

Sit down and tunes (the guitar)

The job he well knows

Closes his eyes, he plays


ืขืฉืจ ืืฆื‘ืขื•ืช ืœื“ื•ื“
ืงืฆื” ื›ืœ ืืฆื‘ืข – ืงืจืŸ ืื•ืจ
ื›ืฉื”ื•ื ืคื•ืจื˜ ืขืœ ื”ืžื™ืชืจ
ื”ื–ืžืŸ ื–ื•ืจื ืœื• ืœืื—ื•ืจ

Ten fingers David has

The tip of each one – a ray of lightย 

When he port on the string

The time is flowing backwards

ืฉืื•ืœ ืžื‘ืคื ื™ื ืงืจื•ืข
ืงืจื‘ื•ืช ื‘ืชื•ืš ื‘ื˜ื ื•
ืื•ื”ื‘-ืฉื•ื ื, ื•ืžืงื ื
ืžื›ื•ืจ ืœื—ื‘ืจื•

Shaul is torn inside

Battles in his stomach he has

Love-hate, and jealous he is

Addicted to his friend

ื“ื‘ืจ ืžื” ืืคืœ ื ื•ืคืœ
ื”ืฉื“ ื—ื•ื–ืจ ืœื”ืฉืชื•ืœืœ
ืกื›ื™ืŸ ื ื–ืจืงืช ื‘ืื•ื•ื™ืจ
ืคืชืื•ื ื™ืฉ ื‘ื™ืŸ ื”ืฉื ื™ื ืงื™ืจ

Something dark falls

The demon is back to a rage

A knife is thrown in the air

Suddenly there is a wall between the two

ื“ื•ื“ ืžืชื—ืžืง ืžืฉืื•ืœ

ืื‘ืœ ืฉืื•ืœ ืœื ืžื•ื•ืชืจ
ื“ื•ื“ ืฉื•ื›ื— ื•ืกื•ืœื—
ื›ืฉืฉืื•ืœ ืžืชืงืฉืจ

David is avoiding Shaul

But Shaul is not giving up

David forget and forgives

When Shaul call up

ื‘ื•ื ืฉื•ื‘ ืœื ื’ืŸ ืœื™ ื“ื•ื“
ืงื— ืื•ืชื™ ืœื›ื•ื›ื‘ื™ื
ื‘ื•ื ืฉื•ื‘ ืœื ื’ืŸ ื”ืœื™ืœื”
ืฉื™ืจ ื’ืขื’ื•ืขื™ื

Come again to play to me David

Take me to the stars

Come again to play tonight

A song of longing


ื‘ื•ื ืฉื•ื‘ ืœื ื’ืŸ ื”ืœื™ืœื”…

Come again and play tonight..

ื‘ื•ื ืฉื•ื‘ ืœื ื’ืŸ ื”ืœื™ืœื”
ืฉื™ืจ ื’ืขื’ื•ืขื™ื…

Come again and play tonight..

A song of longing..

(Kudos to my Ulpan teacher, Rivka D. for sending me the video and to Izchak, my wonderful son-in-law, for providing the Hebrew/English lyrics)

The Life and Legacy of Sarah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Life and Legacy of Sarah.”

The Rebbetzin explained beautifully that when we live a good life, not only does our soul live on in the afterlife, but our good deeds continue to have an influence in this world even after we, ourselves, have passed.


We should never underestimate our influence in this world, and that what we say and do reverberates like concentric circles that spread out from the source farther and farther. Moreover, while you might not think that what you do matters all that much or is a big deal, you never really know the outsize impact that it can have. Therefore, even while Sarah had passed and Abraham mourned her, the truth is that her legacy of the great Jewish nation was only just beginning!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, “Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch.”

The Rabbi asked why did Hashem who is omnipotent even need to create us? And he answered because in G-d being the ultimate good, He โ€œhad to create usโ€โ€”this in essence being the ultimate expression of good by sharing that goodness with us to learn and be good as well. In short, what could be a greater good than extending that opportunity to be be good to others.


Like our forefather, my Hebrew name is Avraham, and for me personally, this has been a critical life lesson: learning to see challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and consistently be a person that tries to do what is right even when it is hard or the lines seem to be grey. In the end, I believe that G-d put us in this world in order for us to choose good over evil and demonstrate kindness to others. With the Torah as our blueprint, and Avraham, our forefather, as our role model, we must apply the great teachings of the Torah and always strive to act as a proper mensch!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Can’t Sit, Can’t Stand

So I’ve been having this excruciating lower back pain for about a week.ย 


I literally cannot sit or stand without shooting pain.ย 


When I sit, it hurts the lower back so much to get up.ย 


And when I stand, all I want to do is relieve the pressure and sit down.ย 


I feel like the warning from G-d in the Torah where He says (Deuteronomy 28:67):

In the morning you will say ‘”If only it were evening!” and in the evening “If only it were morning!”

The only real relief so far is lying down or going in the pool.ย 


Planning to see the doctor to check it out and hopefully with G-d’s mercy it will be better very soon.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)ย