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)

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)

Wedding Speech for Minna and Nafi

Blessed are you, Hashem our G-d, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.  

Let me express today my complete joy and thanksgiving to G-d for bringing us to this sacred time, when we join the handsome chasan, Naftali (Nafi) Meles to my beautiful daughter, Michelle (Minna) Blumenthal.

I was blessed with my wife Dossy to have two absolutely beautiful and incredible daughters, Minna and Rebecca.  All three of these women are the loves of my life and the apples of my eyes.  They are beautiful outside of countenance and most importantly, inside in their neshamas (souls).

Now as well I must thank the Almighty for blessing me with two amazing sons, both after my namesake.  My Hebrew name is Abraham Naftali, and 3 years ago we were blessed to have Itzchak from Israel come into our lives and marry my daughter, Rebecca and become a son unto me.  If you remember in the Torah, Itzchak was the son of Avraham and also he married Rivkah (Rebecca). 

And again, today, Hashem has shown me his blessings and mercy and brought Naftali into our lives to marry our daughter, Minna.  My middle name is Naftali and again, I welcome my namesake Naftali Meles into our family as my second son.

So truly I am blessed and have so much to be grateful for, bli ayin harah, with now 2 lovely daughters and 2 wonderful sons.

Both Minna and Nafi are the mezinkahs, Minna in our family, the Blumenthals, and Naftali in the Meles family—the last child of each of our families to be married off, so this is a great and truly joyous occasion.

I want to tell you a little about Minna and Nafi today.

Minna is an incredible young woman.  She is a deeply religious person with a heart of gold, who always looks to do right by Hashem and others.  Minna is also thank G-d celebrating the completion of her Master’s Degree in Communications just a few months ago, in June, from Georgetown University and she has been working for Homeland Security, since she was just 16 years old.  She has brought us so much nachas and please G-d this is just the beginning for many more accomplishments in her life.  

Nafi, who I have come to know this last year, is an incredible young man.  Nafi is a wonderful Jew who learns weekly with a Torah partner, and is dedicated to making a wonderful Jewish home with Minna.  Just last month Nafi completed a highly prestigious internship with the Department of Defense, and is moving forward, please G-d, with his career ambitions as a permanent government employee and rising star.  As many of you know, Nafi is also an accomplished drummer and he comes to us in Rockville with drum set and all. I think eventually they’ll need a bigger apartment. 

Minna and Nafi are joining together today to build with G-d help a bayit ne’aman B’Yisrael, a lasting house in Israel.  They have a wonderful love and understanding for each other and with Hashem as the 3rd partner in their marriage, I am confident they will be very successful in building their home and family.

I want to take the opportunity to thank the Meles family for having such a wonderful son as Nafi to share with Minna and us, and for joining our families together.  I pray that Hashem will bless this beautiful loving couple with many, many years of health, joy, parnasa, and peace! And of course grandchildren for all of us!  Amen!

I also want to thank each and every one of you for joining in our simcha today.  Unfortunately Covid has limited the quantity of the attendees, but it allowed us to focus on the quality instead!   Please G-d many more simchas with all of you in the future!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)