Mastering Cheerfulness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Mastering Cheerfulness.” 

During Covid-19, it is easy to get down about all the people getting sick (many dying) and for the rest of us the intense feelings of isolation. However, during this time (and particularly this week of Thanksgiving), I am learning the importance of staying positive and appreciating all G-d’s blessings that we do have. More broadly, I am coming to understand that inside a person, G-d exists amidst love, kindness and cheerfulness: these are elements that nourish the flame of our soul and wherein G-d happily coexists with us. It makes a lot of sense that when we are angry, jealous, or sad, the holy Shechinah (presence of G-d) cannot fully reside inside us. Because G-d Himself is gracious, kind, and loving and created us from this, so His spirit within us (our soul) flourishes amidst these feelings, but diminishes within us like a flame without oxygen when we distance ourselves emotionally and spiritually.

Just like one candlelight extinguishes the darkness around it, so also the light that we nurture within ourselves can extinguish the darkness that we occasionally feel inside.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There’s Someone For Everyone

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “There’s Someone For Everyone.”

I’m sitting resting on Shabbat, minding my own business, and reading the Favorite Tales of Sholom Aleichem, but then my wife tells me a story circulating in the news that seemed like it could even be one better. At least my exaggerated version of it did as a tall tale in the making.

It starts like this: There is a woman who did not have a lot of luck with men…

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Humming The Hatikvah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Humming The Hatikvah.”

But as I walk in the water, feeling both the softness and purity of the beautiful water as well as the buoyancy and resistance of it, I think to myself that no Jews should not be familiar and know The Israel national anthem. After 2,000 painful years in exile culminating in the concentration camps like Theresienstadt and The Six Million murdered Jews, we all must know that now G-d has kept his promise to our forefathers and returned us to The Holy Land.

Assuredly, we are living in the time of miracles, the redemption, and soon to be the coming of the Mashiach. Now is the time not just to hum The Hatikvah, but to bring every Jew back, including me and my family. It’s almost time to go home, where we will sing and dance, with hearts brimming over with Joy, before our L-rd, and once again go to worship at our holy Temple in Jerusalem. May it be His will! Amen.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Creation to the End of Times

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “From Creation to the End of Times.”

As Jews, we travel through history to our destiny along an arc of birth, growth, decline and the learning from our mistakes, to ultimately the fulfillment of our divine mission for world enlightenment. Jewish history can be broken down in a couple of amazing ways: first by every two millennium from creation forward, and second, starting with Abraham, in 400-500 year increments.

We have an incredible history that takes us along a clear trajectory from our founding of monotheism and special relationship with G-d as His “chosen” in the receiving the Torah and its transmission, to our many weaknesses and failures in going astray from our mission, and ultimately to our redemption and achievement of G-d’s purpose for us in bringing his teachings and glory to all the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tefillin: Our Wi-Fi To G-d

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Tefillin: Our Wi-Fi To G-d.”

I remember not long ago my son-in-law, Itzchak telling me:

Tefillin are our antennas to Hashem!

And like an antenna, we are able to pray and have our signal amplified to G-d as well as be able to be imbued with G-d’s spirit and direction to us in life. With the Straps of the Tefillin as well as the boxes and knots, we spell out the letters of G-d’s name on our head and on our arm. Thus, we are not only wrapped in this “spiritual antenna,” but we literally wear G-d’s words on the parchment in the Tefillin boxes and with His holy name stamped on our centers of thought and feeling.

In short, Tefillin is opportunity for us to network over Wi-Fi with the Master of the Universe. It takes us out of the daily grind of looking at the world in selfish, shortsightedness of what’s in it for me today, and how can I get more gold and goodies than the next guy or girl. Inside all of us, we have a soul from G-d, and through our spiritual Wi-Fi connection, we can energize that part of ourselves with a good, strong signal straight to the Big Guy upstairs.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumethal)

The Elections: Perfecting Our Imperfections

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Elections: Perfecting Our Imperfections.”

Clearly, from the President on down to each and every one of us, we can be certain that none of us is perfect. However, G-d put us here, precisely, to have the opportunity to repair our imperfections. In this earthly world, our soul is tested, and we thereby have the opportunity to come out stronger and better because of it. The challenges in this world provide the “purification by fire” that our souls need to elevate themselves from past mistakes or imperfections. In essence, G-d in his ultimate benevolence — of love, kindness, and giving — bestows on us, His children, the chance to learn and grow and to realize our potential!

In short, while our elections leave us a lot to be desired in terms of the candidates for the highest office of this great land, we can see from the presidential candidates on down to the citizens of this country and to those around the world that there is both shortcomings and the potential for becoming the people that G-d knows we can really be. 😉

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Andy Blumenthal Does Some Hip Funk

Andy Blumenthal doing a little Hip Funk with the song/prayer Oseh Shalom:

He who makes peace in his high places
He shall make peace upon us
And upon all of Israel
And say Amen

Soundcloud song is recorded here.  

Enjoy the vibes!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Forever Together: Peace and Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Forever Together: Peace and Security.”

For Israel, we’re turning the corner towards peace and how wonderful it is, yet even as we do, we must never relax on the safety and security of our people.

Yes, in earnest, we hope for peace, we crave it, and we even sacrifice (sometimes painfully) for it, but also we know that we must safeguard that peace and our lives though the best, most advanced and relentless security, in case that often illusive and miraculously achieved peace at any time fails or falters. Strength, along with undying faith in the Almighty, is the constant and enduring safeguard of the peace that we so yearn for with our every fiber. This is why peace and security must always go hand-in-hand together.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Power of Life and Death

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Power of Life and Death.”

It’s so important to develop mastery over the whole life sequence: think nice thoughts, speak kind words, do good deeds, and develop positive habits. This is one of the secrets to life itself.

Life is often in the hands of our tongue–one stupid word and it can mean your head, and one smart thing and it can be, with G-d’s help, your ride to the stars!

Indeed, controlling your words, like controlling your desires, temper, and so on is a constant challenge we all face throughout life. Yes, it’s easy to just let oneself go, but the consequences can be severe for shooting off your mouth, acting stupid, or getting angry. We can get better with patience, time, and practice. We can become better, stronger people. We can learn to guard not only our tongue, but our temperament and deeds, and live a better, and perhaps even a longer life for it. 😉

(Credit Photo: Dossy Blumenthal)

Sukkot: A Time of Divine Protection

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Sukkot: A Time of Divine Protection.”

Sukkot is the Jewish Festival of Shelter and of Ingathering.  

In these challenging times of coronavirus and before this eventful election, more than usual, we need G-d’s blessings to shelter and protect us, and to bless both the United States of America and the State of Israel that they should be safe for all of us and that the “ingathering” be not only of the harvest, but of all the exiles from the four corners of the earth to G-d’s Promised Land for the final redemption.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)