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)

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Wrapped In Bubble Wrap

So I thought this was an interesting risk management strategy…


One colleague joked with me that:

“Everyone should just wrap themselves in bubble wrap!”

Reminded me of that game where people put on big wearable inflatable bumpers and then smash into each other for fun.


The problem though is that sometimes we put on the bubble wrap, bulletproof vest, or seat belt, but then we get stupidly overconfident. 


We think we are protected, but nothing human in impenetrable. 


So the person with the seat belt and air bag drives too fast and off a cliff and still gets him/herself killed. 


Or the person with the bulletproof vest gets shot with a high caliber armor piercing shell or in the back of the head.


Like on many cars, where the mirror says, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear,” we need not over rely on safety, protective, and risk measures and still do stupid things.


One guy told me, he backed up into the wall in the garage, because he thought there was more room and that’s not how things looked in the mirror. 


Let’s face it, there is no bubble wrap that can fully protect us from life. 


Everyday we face risks out there, and we need to manage them with common sense or else… 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

613 Everywhere

So many times, I have written about the holy mystical number of 613 (the number of commandments in the Torah) and variations/transpositions on these numbers (316, 163, etc.).



My wife and I continue to see 613 all the time and everywhere!



Prices, receipts, license plates, accounts balances, stock price changes, lottery winnings, bar codes, time of day, wait times, schedules, number of email, rows in a spreadsheet, road numbers, social media views, etc. etc. etc.



– I have questioned myself over and over whether I am seeing it because I am sensitized to it or simply even looking for it at this point. 



The answer is a definite no!



Here’s a recent example, of the change in the stock price for Teva Pharmaceuticals (above)–it’s exactly -.0613!



But this isn’t a one time event or a fluke.  



As we all know stock prices fluctuate every moment on the marketplace. Yet, when I check at completely different and random times, it is up or down by a variation of 613!



Other times, I’ll check multiple stocks… and they will simultaneously be moving or priced at variations again of 613–at the exact same moment, I repeat, different stocks priced at the exact same moment.  



Here’s another non-financial example:

I did a post a few weeks ago on the critical importance of emergency preparedness. 



Look at how many views it got on LinkedIn…exactly 163!



This happens everywhere and all the time!



Here’s a third example:

A license plate. 



Here’s a fourth example:

Can you see the code on the package…613!



A fifth example:

A tracking code on a shipment. 



A sixth example: 

A bar code on a bottle of Life Water.



A seventh example:

A label on some spinach!



An eighth example:

A construction site.



An ninth example:

A public solicitation for the Department of Energy.



A tenth example:

The winning pot for Powerball. 



Hey, I am not superstitious and I am not OCD–seriously. 



But this happens all the time.



I cannot help but think that G-d is sending us an important message.



From a personal level, my wife and I have both tried to take the messages seriously and to continue to improve our lives–albeit we know, we are far from perfect human beings. 



However, we also feel compelled to share this message more broadly.



There is a lot going on in the world, and could this mean something bigger and more consequential to a lot more people?



Please, please, please, G-d have mercy on your children…we are but flesh and blood…and we desire to do good. 



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

u-haul

So true story…

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it’s wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that’s not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word “terrorist.”

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it’s probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee…I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up…that’s good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, “I called you about this suspicious vehicle.”

He goes sternly, “Well, what’s suspicious about it?”

I described the obvious…how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word “terrorist”.

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, “That’s not suspicious!” Then he concedes, “but I will give it a ticket.”

He must’ve seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, “Well Sir, you’re the expert!”

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

“ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies.”

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, “An Affordable Weapon” and the statement that “low security” gatherings “are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations.”

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Iran Man

Iron Man

Today, Iran warns a U.S. Navy ship and fighter jet to stay away from military exercises they were conducting.


And what did we, the Superpower, do? 


We hightailed it out of there. 


Yet, presumably we were in international waters this time, so it’s curious why the U.S. military would take it’s orders from Iran if we were legitimately there. 


This is just…


– A little more than 2 weeks after Iran seized 2 U.S. Navy ships and 10 sailors and put them execution style on their knees and broadcast this to world.


– And less than a month after Iran fired missiles within 1.3 km of the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman.


Wonder why did Iran warn us this time and not last month with the aircraft carrier–should we be “thankful” again to them, this time for warning us.


– And just less than 2 weeks ago, Iraq-based Shiite terror militias (alleged proxies for Iran) abducted 3 more Americans (almost simultaneously with their prisoner swap with us–refilling their human cache).  


– All this, plus the 2 ballistic missile tests (those capable of carrying nukes) that Iran conducted in October and again in December in violation of U.N. resolutions, and what do we have? 


A new “Iran Man” (not Iron Man) in town–with over $100+ billion to spend on global terrorism while chanting “Death To America”–and he most certainly isn’t a superhero. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Warning 613

613

As per my prior posts in November and December, we are continuing to see the mystical 613 (representing the number of commandments in the Torah). 


This morning, on the Washington, D.C. Metro, see the time showing (above upper right). 


The whole family is seeing this, as I got a note from my daughter just a few minutes ago looking at online classes at Lynda.com and one of the classes had 613 views. 


Even to me (normally a critical thinker and healthy skeptic), it seems beyond regular explanations for the frequency and locations that we are seeing these signs. 


Also, last night I had a scary dream about what seemed like the end of times–it was almost like The Walking Dead, with people running to the countryside amidst chaos and destruction all around them. 


As tensions heat up between major Sunni and Shiite rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and “Axis of Evil” Iran unveils a 2nd underground depot with missiles capable of carrying nukes, and ISIS continues their jihadi rampage leaving 80% of Ramadi in Iraq destroyed at a cost of $10 billion, a new Jihadi John replacement is executing British hostages in Syria, and there are escalating superpower tussles with Russia and China–it is not hard to see just some of the potential dangers in our times in terms of escalating conflict, terrorism, and war. 


What is the future for us all, I do not know for certain, but all I can tell you is there appears to be warnings all about, and the question is will we heed them or not and then what is the outcome–it should be with mercy and for blessings. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

ISIS Ruined Our Vacation

613.jpeg

So we rolled the dice this Thanksgiving vacation and came up sort of empty.


We were supposed to go to Las Vegas, but then there is ISIS threatening to strike the U.S. 


Already, ISIS is claiming 71 soldiers in 15 states in the U.S., and the FBI is saying that ISIS terrorists are being recruited in all 50 states


Yet our leadership doesn’t want to fight ISIS while they are still over there–instead, we are foolishly waiting for the next big terror attack over here, as if 9/11 with 3,000 dead wasn’t enough!


We are stubborn, deaf to the terror threats, reactive, and refuse to wake up to the danger that is facing our country. 


Dancing around the issue with some drone and airstrikes–no matter how lethal–is not going to remove this enormous terror threat–coming from some of the most barbaric of enemies that we have ever faced. 


My sister told me from a lecture she heard recently about the terrorist threats we are facing, “We are used to fighting finite wars–there is a start/middle/end. [But] they [ISIS] fights infinite wars–not defined [by time or space].”


So how did we come to cancelling our Vegas holiday vacation?


Here is our story…


The number 613 in Judaism is very important–it represents the number of commandments in the Torah.


We have been seeing this number lately wherever we go: We look at the clock, it’s 6:13. We are driving and look at the license plate in front of us–613. We go shopping and the receipt is for $6.13. We rolled a pair of dice (above), that’s right 613, and much more. 


We asked what this means and were told it’s a warning and to do teshuva (repentance) and follow the commandments more stringently. 


On Shabbat this week, I was reading the Wall Street Journal, and then saw an article on a new illustrative book of the commandments called, “The 613.”


That night, I dreamed the entire night about 613–and the need to unlock the code of what it meant for us. 


The next day, my wife said “I have a really bad feeling about Vegas, let’s go visit your parents graves.”


When we got there, my wife touched the tombstone, and said she could hear my dad telling her not to go to Vegas–was this just playing on her imagination?


So she calls her father who is chasidic and he contacts a famous, pious and mystical Rabbi, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe–and without asking him about the trip–the Rebbe just pops out to my father-in-law that he should tell us not to go on our trip, and if we have to go, to take a different path.


My wife tells her father that we already made plans, have tickets, and don’t want to cancel the trip, so we are instructed to give charity (so I immediately write a check for $613!) and do other deeds for repentance instead. 


Then the night before we are supposed to fly out, my daughter comes out with her iPhone and a news items on the State Department issuing a global travel alert “amid concerns that terror groups and individuals plan more attacks after the Paris massacres.”


If all this wasn’t enough, my back which has been hurting the last week, then completely gives out out on me–and in enormous pain, we simply can’t go anywhere.


One warning, two warnings, three warnings…we can’t be deaf to G-d’s message.


So on this Thanksgiving, a sincere thank you to Hashem (and the Vizhnitzer Rebbe) for guiding us and keeping us from danger.


And a not so thank you to ISIS for implicitly spoiling our Thanksgiving holiday plans to Vegas. 


A small and insignificant, but nevertheless a casualty to our political disengagement, false appeasement, fearfulness to recognize the enemy, and war-weariness to take the bastards down and take them down hard and for good before something, G-d forbid, serious and much worse happens. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)