Not by Chariots or Horses

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Not by Chariots or Horses.”
As I watched through the window of the synagogue, the people practicing their boxing, I remembered when I was young and learning to fight. It took an enormous amount of training, hard work, and practice, and still at the end of the day, the realization always that we are but the foot soldiers for G-d. We must be the best prepared in every way that we can (“Never again!”); however, it is G-d who not only leads us, but also fights for us. In the Prophets (Joshua 6), we learn that Hashem literally brought down the walls of the great city of Jericho simply by having Joshua and the Israelites march around it, blow the Shofar, and yell a great shout. So too may G-d continue to fight for us against the enemies in our time and speedily complete the final redemption.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Zionism of Strength and Humility

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Zionism of Strength and Humility.”

I sometimes get very scared when we don’t give Hashem the proper credit for our incredible accomplishments and military successes, but rather we talk about our own “self-reliance.” To a certain extent, the calls for self-reliance is understandable amidst broad-based anti-Semitism in the world, calls for Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and near constant United Nations resolutions again us. Of course, in these circumstances and with our history of suffering persecution, pogroms, and Holocaust, we may look to insulate and protect ourselves from the world’s incessant and irrational hatred of Jews.

Most importantly though, we have to recognize that G-d is in charge. As a small people in a tiny (albeit marvelous) land, surrounded by enemies, we can never forget that remaining sovereign over Israel and defeating our enemies that rise up against us time and again is nothing but completely miraculous. Our enemies are 1,000 to 1 against us, and yet G-d makes them run from before us.

(Source Photo: IDF; https://www.flickr.com/photos/idfonline/51131344223/in/album-72157719004030432/)

You Got To Make It!

I liked this sticky note over this nice ladies desk:

You do not find the happy life.

You make it!

Too many people seem to wait for miracles, like manna from Heaven to give them what they need or want. 

They don’t realize that G-d has gifts us what we need (including strength and determination) to work towards these things ourselves. 

We are not the Israelites stuck in the barren desert for 40 years that we need it to rain manna. 

Of course, it’s nice every once in a while when a miracle shows up and we are given an extra hand (or maybe even a full arm). 

But day-to-day, we have to at least try to be self-reliant–as well as work with others–to work towards our goals and fulfill our missions in life. 

You got to make it happen if you want it bad enough.  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Passivity To Power

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “From Passivity To Power.”

Over the course of our history, the Jewish people have grown from a passive and helpless people during 2,000 years of exile to become, once again, an assertive and strong nation in the Land of Israel as we once were in the days of Joshua, King David and the Maccabees.

In the end, we need to be as faithful as “Jacob” and as strong as “Israel.” As we learn in the Torah and from the rest of Jewish history: inside every Jacob, who just wants to serve G-d in peace as the “People of the Book,” there is also a determined, strong, and brave Israelite fighter and innovator who can stand up for his people and his faith.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-d’s Redemption Is A Promise

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “G-d’s Redemption Is A Promise.”

The Jewish people’s exile was only temporary and that is what G-d promised us. But the anti-Semites of the world somehow want to make us believe that G-d has forsaken the Jew permanently, and thus they chant “Free, Free Palestine!” and call the Jews occupiers.

In short, the worst punishment is not just being hurt, but also feeling exiled, abandoned, and hopeless. This is where we must look up to the Heavens for G-d’s salvation, and work to merit His bringing us back towards His divine presence. As with anyone who has experienced personal “exile” and suffering in life, we know those are the darkest of days when G-d’s face is hidden from us, and we may feel alone and abandoned. But G-d is always there, waiting for us to seek Him out and return to Him, and that is when we can finally not only see the light at the end of the darkest of tunnels, but also when we can feel G-d reach out to us and bring us back home again to Him.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Israel Is Tops

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Israel Is Tops.”

In just 73 years, with G-d’s miraculous help, we have a Jewish State that is top-ranked in the entire world: Israel is ranked overall #30 in Best Countries in the World.

In our 4,000 year history as a people, we suffered long and painful exile at the hands of the Babylonian and Roman Empire, but then in 1948, we were given another miraculous chance for the Jewish State of Israel. So far, we are doing great by all measures; now we have to make sure to keep it up for good.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Know He Exists

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Know He Exists.”

G-d, who is infinitely compassionate, did the most compassionate thing, which was to create us and give us the ability to be compassionate on others. The way we bring Hashem to reside with us is to transform the world (tikkun olam) “to make it a place that G-d can call home.” We do this by performing acts of loving kindness, making the mundane holy, and manifesting G-d’s divine providence. In essence, it’s not enough for us to know G-d exists, but we need to be a light unto the nations to reveal G-d’s unity, sanctity, and ongoing relationship with his creations to everyone in the world.

Like the story of the priest from the Holocaust, we don’t believe G-d exists, but rather, we know He exists. And when we perform our mission in this world by doing good deeds and manifesting G-d’s oneness and divine providence then we make this a place where G-d wants to reside with us in this world as well as in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

My Wonderful Opa

Remembering my wonderful Opa (grandfather) at Chanukah time. 

He was the President of Congregation Ramath Orah on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in NYC. 

I used to be so proud of him standing up at the bimah (podium) and giving the Shabbat announcements every week and everything he did to care for the synagogue and community.

Also, I loved to go up and sit next to him by Ark where the holy Torahs are kept. 

He was an exceptional human being, as was his son, my father (and my father’s siblings, my Uncle Sid and Aunt Ruth). 

Good to the core people!  People of faith and family!

I miss my Opa and Oma (grandmother) as well as my dear parents very much. 

Like the Chanukah Menorah, they were the light of my upbringing and set me on a path to go forward with my own family. 

Chanukah is a time of miracles and I feel that I have seen them not only in our history, but in our lives today!  😉 

There’s Someone For Everyone

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “There’s Someone For Everyone.”

I’m sitting resting on Shabbat, minding my own business, and reading the Favorite Tales of Sholom Aleichem, but then my wife tells me a story circulating in the news that seemed like it could even be one better. At least my exaggerated version of it did as a tall tale in the making.

It starts like this: There is a woman who did not have a lot of luck with men…

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)