A Trust Beyond Faith

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “A Trust Beyond Faith.”

When we have faith in G-d, it generally means that we believe that He created us and that He is the Master of the Universe. However, faith does not necessarily imply trust. Trust in G-d means that we believe that He not only created us, but that He sustains us and that there is Divine Providence in this world. When we trust in G-d, we believe that G-d is close to us and has a personal relationship with each and every one of us, and actually to everything in the world.

We all need to leave our egos at the door! No matter how strong or smart that we think we are, even the little grass above us (or above our graves) is greater than us. Certainly, G-d Almighty who is our creator and our sustainer, all-knowing and all-powerful, He is over us and watches over us in better times as well as those that are perhaps more challenging, but always we trust, for the good!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Discerning The Truth Amid Iran’s Lies

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Discerning The Truth Amid Iran’s Lies.”

While people can easily utter falsehoods, like Iran saying that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, the documents and computer drives that Israel captured in 2016 when they courageously raided Iran’s nuclear archive shows that Iran has been pursuing a dangerous nuclear weapons program for decades.

The world has tried to contain Iran for decades: From monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities through the IAEA, to sanctions and covert actions to deter and set back Iran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and the JCPOA deal to try to contain Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, nothing has worked, and Iran is intent on getting the bomb.

Moreover, while the costs of a preemptive attack on Iran could be great, the doctrine from former Prime Minister, Menachem Begin that Israel cannot and will not allow countries that threaten Israel’s existence to get the means to carry it out is as true today as in 1981 when Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak.

The Jewish people learned from 2,000 years in exile and persecution ending in the Holocaust that killed six million Jews that we must take verbal threats of annihilation supported by facts on the ground against us most seriously. As children of the Holocaust survivors, we must be true to our words of “Never again” and act with courage and determination to confront the enemy covertly and if necessary, with overt action to stop their genocidal pursuit from ever getting off the ground.
(Credit Photo: via https://www.flickr.com/photos/aeneastudio/3657735814 by aeneastudio and adapted by Andy Blumenthal)

The Power of Giving to Overcome Abuse

Please see my new article in The Time of Israel called “The Power of Giving to Overcome Abuse.”

We can’t outsmart G-d, and we can’t take what isn’t rightfully ours. In effect, the charity we must give, already belongs to G-d, and we can’t keep it or invest it, because at the end of the day, G-d will have what is His. And with this realization, lying back down in bed, I sung the words from Proverbs many times to myself and smiled, thanking G-d for my children who teach their parents and for G-d enabling me to learn new lessons for my soul and how the blessings from G-d are ultimately realized.

In short, while sexual molesters (i.e. monsters) steal from the bodies of their victims and inflicts devastating harm to them physically, mentally, and emotionally, in stark contract are those who give charitably to others, giving of themselves in order to make others that are in need whole again in body, mind, and soul.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Finding Our Religion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Finding Our Religion.”

The contrast between me being Jewish and the environment that was as broad as the United Nations (actually only a few blocks away), helped me to find myself and to build my personal Jewish identity. So, I think that for those Jews that are afraid for their children to leave the confines of the home, their “shtetl” neighborhood, and the local yeshiva, because they are afraid of the “foreign” (goyish) influences, I think that while that may be right for some Jews possibly, it is definitely not right for all of us.

In a sense, the redemption of the Jewish people and exodus was so much greater a miracle by Moshe becoming this great Jewish leader from within the fires of the Egyptian paganism at the time. Moshe’s rejectionism of Egyptian power and culture used for evil to enslave and hurt others was a powerful choice of good over evil and a message to Pharaoh and his household that despite all his wealth, strength, and influence, that Pharaoh and Egypt would fall before the hand of the true, Almighty G-d of Israel. Similarly, I think the message for us is that the final redemption for us and the world will come initially from “galut” (outside of Israel) from the cauldron of “Edom” (the Roman Empire and Western civilization) and all the materialist and pleasurable freedoms and allures thereof.
(Credit Painting: Dossy Blumenthal)

Dancing on the Head of a Pin

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Dancing on the Head of a Pin.”

We’re all different, and we all have something to say and contribute to solve life’s challenges. While some of us may think that they are better than others, the reality is that we are all human, fallible, and subject to life’s circumstance and G-d’s mighty hand. However, too often, we let ego get in the way, and instead of taking on the huge, almost insurmountable challenges that we face, we end up fighting about who’s in charge and who gets the credit.

As we face the daunting challenges confronting America, Israel, and the world, we need effective “servant-leaders,” who are guided by a genuine moral compass and faith in G-d to take well-reasoned actions and not to punt the problems down the political road. Real leadership means leaving your ego at the door; it means self-sacrifice, compassion, creative thinking, and bold problem-solving. Big challenges can be dealt with, but we’ve got to have the right measure of ourselves, strength of character, and unity of purpose to finally overcome them.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Plan Amidst The Pain

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Plan Amidst The Pain.”

In life, not only do we have to be determined and work hard, but G-d throws us curveballs and challenges all along the way that can often make us drop to our knees or throw our arms up in despair. However, we need to be faithful like Jacob and Joseph, knowing that it’s all a part of G-d’s plan and mission for us, and through these we learn and grow and become better versions of ourselves.

Moreover, if we but open our eyes to the miracle of our creation and our sustainment every moment of every day by Hashem, and remember that He put us all here for a purpose, then we can pay the daily price for what G-d puts in front of us and how we choose to handle it.We can do this knowing that it’s all really just a small price to pay in the end for so much that we gain in this world and that we will carry forward to the hereafter. In the end, nothing is free, but the price and the reason is always just what G-d wants it to be.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Hypocrisy Leads To Abuse

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “When Hypocrisy Leads to Abuse.”

As many of you, I have been following the news about sexual abuse allegations against Rabbi Chaim Walder and have been horrified and disgusted that this renowned ultra-orthodox Children’s book author and therapist is now accused of abusing the same. Like community Rabbis (e.g. Rabbi Barry Freundel) or Jewish educators (e.g. Stanley Rosenfeld), this phenomenon of using a privileged position to take advantage of women and children is certainly, by this time, not new and remains a stain on the Jewish community, no different than that of the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts for the abuse by its priest and leaders on those that trusted them and the religious values and ideals they represent.

Truly, these horrible acts of hurting, abusing, and scarring for life women and children (including boys) are regrettably alal around us, whether with domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, and human trafficking. But fortunately now they are at least “out of the closet” where rather than have the community deny the possibility that such evil exists or even circle the wagons to wholly protect the perpetrators (before fully investigating the facts), we now have greater recognition and are working towards accountability of these wrongs, and hopefully, far greater protection for people in the future.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

“Rock and Roll” With Chabad

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Rock and Roll With Chabad.”

People are often blocked from moving forward by uncertainty, indecision, insecurity, self-doubt, hesitancy, worry, and fear, yet one man, such as Jacob, can stand up and move that big rock off the well if he just sets his mind to it and tries!

The bottom line is that when people say it can’t be done or to wait because it will take an entire village of shepherds to simply move the rock from the well, instead we can see that even one determined person can “rock and roll,” make a difference, and start to make something special and meaningful happen.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)