What’s With This Crazy World?

I don’t recognize this world. 

This world has gone to sleep. 

It’s not the world of life I used to know. 

Now fear and isolation pervade about. 

Things aren’t even what they seem or they seem to be what they aren’t. 

Everything is glossed over and black and white are easily substituted. 

There used to be a moral ground and a forward path. 

Now you have to have a stronger faith and inner conviction than ever before. 

To see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope it’s the light we all yearn for.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That’s Called Living

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “That’s Called Living.”

I was overjoyed this week when the IDF captured the sick murderer of Esther Horgan. Esther, a wife and mother of six children, was jogging in the forest near her settlement of Tal Menashe in Shomron, when the bloodthirsty Palestinian attacker in waiting came upon her and smashed her head in with a rock.

Thank G-d, now there are over 400,000 settlers in the West Bank and another 200,000 around East Jerusalem. Esther Horgan and her family represent the best of the Jewish people giving of themselves, and putting themselves at the front line, in order to fulfill G-d’s commandment to us to settle the land and safeguard the country for the rest of the Jewish people.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Know He Exists

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Know He Exists.”

G-d, who is infinitely compassionate, did the most compassionate thing, which was to create us and give us the ability to be compassionate on others. The way we bring Hashem to reside with us is to transform the world (tikkun olam) “to make it a place that G-d can call home.” We do this by performing acts of loving kindness, making the mundane holy, and manifesting G-d’s divine providence. In essence, it’s not enough for us to know G-d exists, but we need to be a light unto the nations to reveal G-d’s unity, sanctity, and ongoing relationship with his creations to everyone in the world.

Like the story of the priest from the Holocaust, we don’t believe G-d exists, but rather, we know He exists. And when we perform our mission in this world by doing good deeds and manifesting G-d’s oneness and divine providence then we make this a place where G-d wants to reside with us in this world as well as in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

My Wonderful Opa

Remembering my wonderful Opa (grandfather) at Chanukah time. 

He was the President of Congregation Ramath Orah on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in NYC. 

I used to be so proud of him standing up at the bimah (podium) and giving the Shabbat announcements every week and everything he did to care for the synagogue and community.

Also, I loved to go up and sit next to him by Ark where the holy Torahs are kept. 

He was an exceptional human being, as was his son, my father (and my father’s siblings, my Uncle Sid and Aunt Ruth). 

Good to the core people!  People of faith and family!

I miss my Opa and Oma (grandmother) as well as my dear parents very much. 

Like the Chanukah Menorah, they were the light of my upbringing and set me on a path to go forward with my own family. 

Chanukah is a time of miracles and I feel that I have seen them not only in our history, but in our lives today!  😉 

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)

Modeh Ani – Thank you G-d

Beautiful song after the prayer, Modeh Ani that Jews say every morning immediately when we wake up. 

I give thanks to You, living and eternal King for you have restored my soul within me with mercy; Your faithfulness is great.

Thank you G-d for everything you do for us.

Your mercy endures forever!

As Sholom Aleichem say: we should not know the taste of hunger.  😉

(Credit Video: Omer Adam עומר אדם)

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)

Someone’s Always Watching

These days someone is always watching.

Whether someone is peering at you from upstairs or around the corner.

Or there is a surveillance camera.

Or someone is recording you on their smartphone. 

You are never really alone. 

And even IF, and that’s a big if, that no one person is watching.

Remember that G-d above still sees everything!  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)