True Meaning of Torah Observant

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “True Meaning of Torah Observant.”The key is that everyone (Jew and Gentile) has an opportunity to do good or the opposite. We are all G-d’s children, and He loves all of us, and wants us all to learn and grow as human beings with the spirit of G-d breathed into us (Genesis 2:7). The Jews have a special mission to try and live by following the commandments in the Torah, as a good example to others. This is similar to the Kohanim and Leviim who had a special role within the Jewish people as the Temple priests and as the musicians and singers that accompanied them. No one is inherently better than anyone else. We all just have our roles, and we a need to do them the best we can or learn to be better as we go along. Like we start the cycle of reading the Torah again with every Simchat Torah, so too the New Year is an opportunity to “up our game” and another chance to raise the “standard of living” according to G-d’s will.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Last Kiss Goodnight

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Last Kiss Goodnight.”

Certainly, every human being has the desire to live and goes about fighting for life. It’s part of our genetic makeup and our very survival instinct. Yet, we all know that the cycle of life brings us from the beginnings of infancy to growth, the maturity of adulthood, then decline, old age and ultimately death itself. Truly, we all know the end from the very beginning, and with that we can achieve a greater awareness that what’s good in living isn’t the materialism and chasing the next “high,” but rather the ability to choose to do good and to be on a higher spiritual plane.

Life is choice and having control over how we respond to life’s circumstances. Death is simply observing and being. Therefore, even if we merit being in the Divine presence in the afterlife, we still can’t actively help anyone, like those we love, any longer. This is why we want to merit life where we can continue to work on ourselves and help others. Thus, despite all the pain and suffering associated with life, it is more than offset by the opportunity to learn, grow, and transform our very essence in a purification process of our souls.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-d Doesn’t Ask Us

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “G-d Doesn’t Ask Us.”

Truly, in whatever situations we find ourselves in life, and the pain and suffering that we may have to endure, we really don’t have a choice of our circumstance, but only in how we choose to respond to it. In life, G-d puts us right where he wants us and in situations that are personalized and best for us, whether it feels that way at the moment or not. G-d tries us, and we have to respond with the “right” thoughts, words, and deeds—always remaining a mensch and choosing holiness and righteousness, no matter how difficult it may be. That’s our ultimate challenge, to find holiness even in the depths of despair.

Everyone is confronted with levels of pain and suffering, as I heard said that: “there aren’t enough people for all the pain in the world!” The challenge is to resist hopelessness and the loss of one’s integrity, and nevertheless to choose to do good. As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we have the opportunity to do teshuva and to try to influence G-d’s decree for us for the new year, but in the end, G-d is the ultimate Judge. He doesn’t ask us; He tells us what will be for us. Of course, we have the opportunity to answer G-d’s call to us and the responsibility to choose righteousness even in a distressed world and in trying times. In essence, the underlying test of it all is not only to survive the challenges we must face, but also to emerge from them as better people with purified souls.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Let Freedom Ring

I saw this van with all this messaging about “Communist China.” 

Guy from the truck asks me:

Do you know what CCP is?

Not having heard that acronym, I started to mumble something about communism, and before I could finish, he goes:

It stands for Chinese Communist Party. 

He continued:

That’s dictatorship. Do you know what that is?

I responded:

Of course, and the people want to be free.

He goes:

Yes, freedom! We want freedom. 

It’s hard to believe that a generation ago the Cold War ended, but here we are still with people battling Communism and repression of basic rights. 

How lucky we are in America, Israel, and other western countries to live in freedom and have basic human rights. 

People around the world fight and die trying to earn their freedom, and we wake up with it every day, and it’s just there for us. 

It’s an incredible blessing to be free to think, speak, worship, and live how we choose.

We have to safeguard freedom and even fight for it: to have it, to keep it; and we should use it wisely to do and grow good in the world.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Follow Haters and Liars

I liked this sign:

Truth does not mind being questioned. 

A lie does not like being challenged. 

This seems like truth to me!

People who push an agenda and their propaganda never like to discuss it or answer questions about it. It’s usually prejudice in some way and they just want to ram it down people’s throats. 

Questioning and shedding light on things that don’t seem right is part of our moral and civic duty.  

Of course, the haters and liars would rather that we just accept the falsehoods they are peddling like stupid sheep who blindly follow them down the road to perdition. 😉

(Source Photo: Friend)

Remember To Always Be Kind

Nice sign on the electrical pole, reminding us to always:

Be 💗 Kind

What kind?

The kind that has compassion on others, cares and love them, and does what’s right. 

That’s really the only kind worth being! 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shabbat: Time Vs. Space

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Shabbat: Time Vs. Space.”

When we choose to keep the Sabbath, we mark a day of the week in time, where we reject all the worldly pursuits of space and materialism in lieu of recognizing that there is a higher power, G-d Almighty, and that as Ahmari says ‘everything else is ephemeral and passes away with time.’

What we do to make things holy in time rules over what we do purely physically in space, that nothing but G-d is timeless, and everything material reverts back to its origins and is gone from time as if it never even was. In the end, we need to live our lives with the forethought that the spirit goes to the everlasting afterlife, but the body goes to the physical grave.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Comfy Legs

Those legs look comfy in the chair. 

Cross, uncross, cross. 

Of course, the dress pants and shoes aren’t so comfortable. 

Do clothes really make the wo/man?

Here, there’s no real clothes or should I say person to speak of. 

Clothes is better than a fig leaf for Adam and Eve.

Much of clothing is just “look your best” and try to “feel good” vanity.

The soul is what really makes the person.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mr. Golden Sun

There’s nothing like the hot sun.

Too bright to look at it. 

It enlightens our whole world.

The warm glowing sun is life.

Cold empty darkness is death. 

Light drives out the dark. 

We need more light in this world. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)