Surviving Marriage Meshugas

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Surviving Marriage Meshugas.”

At the end of the day, like all things, marriage is partially what you make of it and how hard you work at it. Remember, bringing two people together, even two halves of the same whole, can be challenging and requires understanding and compromise.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Judaism with love

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “From Judaism with Love.”

Civilizations’ notion of a perfect world comes not from classical Greek and Roman society — where art, architecture, beauty, government, philosophy, and empirical science emanated — but rather directly through Judaism (i.e., from Hashem).

One one hand, you have Greece and Rome with polytheism and paganism, where gods are in the image of man, beauty is holy, and morality is subjective and malleable. On the other hand, we have Judaism’s clear declaration of monotheism (with one omnipotent, benevolent, eternal, and invisible G-d), where man was created in the image of G-d, the holy is beautiful, and morality is objective and unchangeable. At the end of the day, there is no contest: G-d’s Torah, as transmitted through the Jewish people, is the absolute and enduring “light unto the nations” towards the perfect world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Beautiful Song From The Guardians of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “A Beautiful Song From The Guardians of Zion.”I was very moved by the Israeli police, who have dangerous jobs defending the borders and the cities of the Holy Land, yet singing unburdened about our home and heart!

The Jewish people are an incredible tapestry of amazing people from all over the world.

The Irreligious Religious

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Irreligious Religious.”

If some “religious” people do the wrong thing, disrespect their fellow Jews, hate on them, curse them, defile their prayers, that doesn’t mean they are really religious. Rather to the contrary — they are the irreligious religious!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why I Cry At Circumcisions

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Why I Cry At Circumcisions.”

Circumcision reminds me of Abraham, our forefather, who was tested and told to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, to G-d. It is truly counter-intuitive for a parent to hurt or sacrifice their child. Yet, this is exactly how G-d tested Abraham before the angel of G-d told him not to raise his hand to Isaac, and instead Abraham then offered to G-d a ram that was caught in the thicket. However, when it comes to circumcision, we are also tested and actually are commanded to surgically remove the male child’s foreskin and as the baby cries out, every parent, no matter how faithful and religiously devoted, winces and feels deeply inside for their child’s pain, even if it is only momentary and soothed by a sip of kosher Kedem Concord Grape wine.

The rite of the circumcision is an incredible transcendental religious experience, where our very faith is tested and we go against our own physical instincts to protect the child, no matter what, and instead we submit ourselves to G-d Almighty, the Master of the Universe to perform the circumcision, because He told us to. Whether there are medical benefits or not, G-d commands, and we obey. We are His people, and his thoughts and plans are infinitely greater than ours. At the circumcision, in an act of complete faith, we graciously give over our male children and ourselves—in body, mind, and soul to G-d. We renounce our desires, our gratification, our very instincts, and put ourselves in G-d’s merciful hands. In that moment of selfless giving, we fulfill our covenant of generations with G-d and we affirm our holiness as individuals and as a nation.

(Photo Credit: Avital Pinnick; https://www.flickr.com/photos/spindexr/4678468852/)

Not Terror But Hugs

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Not Terror But Hugs.”

While standing up for the Torah to be brought back to the ark, a little boy comes up to me and just gives me a big hug. I learned afterwards that the boy “makes the rounds” in shul giving everyone a beautiful Shabbat embrace. This simple symbolic act of caring and loving others, mainly many older people in synagogue, by this innocent child gave people an uncommon sense of happiness and even hope in our future despite the anti-Semitism and hate of too many others outside.

The love of G-d is our secret for life and for our perseverance throughout history. G-d loves us as His children, but also punishes us as His children. As children, we are always learning and growing, but as adults we have to act in a way of righteousness and holiness, so that we will merit the former, and not the latter. With G-d’s mercy and blessings, hopefully, we will have peace in our synagogues and our lives, wherever we reside in the world, to worship and live as Jewish people free of bigotry, hate, and terror, once and for all.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, Adapted from L. Krestin)