Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Make Your Life a Sanctuary for G-d.”In short, everything we do in life should be great, but not for our greatness. Everything that we do should be done with passion and determination, but not for our sakes. We are only here by the loving grace of G-d and for as long as He wills it. In our time here, we need to act in a way that means something beyond our finite, selfish mortal selves and instead be selfless for the purpose of our Creator.
If you lived your life for G-d, for good, and for a greater purpose, then your inner spiritual legacy will live on beyond your years and even your name. If you build a sanctuary for G-d, it will have holiness and permanence not only in this world but, more importantly, in the next.
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Worst Curse.”While space is the “final frontier,” Shatner is correct in his fear of the cold and emptiness that extends around countless stars and solar systems, where we have yet to discover any real life other than our own. Even on our own living planet here on Earth, everything for us as individuals is impermanent and can so easily be lost. What we think we’ve built as a fortress of money, power, and prestige can literally be snuffed out in a blink of an eye, and it is beyond our control to stop it except to continue to mend our own flaws and try to do good in life. In truth, we need to be constantly grateful for everything that we have and for as long as we have it, because in life, there are no guarantees of what is to come.
My dear father, Fred Blumenthal (ZT”L), like many from his generation, used to read Reader’s Digest. I remember that there was a section called “Points to Ponder,” which I thought was a good title for things that can have a deeper and more profound meaning in our lives. So in this vein, I’d like to share a variety of thoughts that may give you pause to ponder as well.
In terms of seeing the world and life clearly, you have a choice of how to live. You can choose to endlessly chase meaningless material things and the next physical high, or you can live your life with a deeper understanding that this world is just a corridor to the future world, where the “breath of life” from G-d returns to Him for everlasting revelation and reckoning.
Whereas normally the soul guides and directs the body, in the case of mental illness, the soul becomes imprisoned in the body and mind that is sick. When this happens, a person reverts to their wholly animalistic nature, and hence, what we are seeing is like a car without a driver, accelerating and careening dangerously until, usually, a horrible accident and end.
Never more than today are we living lives of total excess. This week, we saw a Mercedes-Benz 1995 car sell for a record-breaking $142 million. Last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authorities seized a Russian oligarch’s $793 million mega yacht. And this last year, Morgan Stanley predicted that Elon Musk may eventually become the world’s first trillionaire.
In a world where marketing, sales, advertising, branding, and the media all seek to convince us that life is essentially about “things,” self-satisfaction, the next high, and happiness, we can easily forget how transient and valueless all that really is. Inside each of us though there is a deeper, true voice that seeks a life of real meaning, purpose and immortality, where faith, compassion, giving, and self-sacrifice is the true measure of our character and the ultimate gauge of life success.(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/smiley-emoticon-greed-822993/)
What happened to genuine faith in G-d, belief in the holy Torah, our duty to abide by the 613 commandments, and generally doing right in this world by our fellow man and before G-d Almighty? Maybe I’m being too literal here but being a “good Jew” has got to mean something important. We are keeping alive the tradition of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, spanning back thousands of years to our Forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to G-d delivering us from Egyptian servitude, and His giving to us the Torah on Mount Sinai, and to His bringing us to Israel, the Land of Milk and Honey, and keeping us from being wiped away by one great empire after another. Being a Jew means being part of an important important and yes, “chosen” for a special mission of being a “light unto the nations” and that means action on our part: thinking, saying, and doing what’s right all the time!
We are tested daily to do what’s right, even when it’s not convenient, easy, enjoyable, or popular. What is a Jew? We need to really ask ourselves that question. It’s not trivial and neither should the answer be. Our lives in this world and the next are depending on how we live up to the high bar that is set for us each and every day of our lives that Hashem mercifully grants to us.(Photo: My dear parents Fred and Gerda Blumenthal at my Bar Mitzvah)