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)

Making Off With The Passover Buffet

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Making Off With The Passover Buffet.”I see Chabad not only performing genuine good deeds, but also always b’simcha (in happiness) with a big smile, even generously letting others take the Passover buffet home with them. To me, this is truly a taste not just of a festive and kosher Passover, but of the times of Mashiach where rather than fighting over the scraps of food, there is so much plenty and caring that we can’t even give it all away.

(Credit Photo: Dossy Blumenthal)

Calling On The Vatican

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Calling On The Vatican.”Historically, the holy city of Jerusalem was captured, and the second Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Roman Army led by Titus and his father Emperor Vespasian. Later, in the year 81 CE, the Arch of Titus (pictured above) was erected to commemorate Titus’s victory over the Jews and depicts the plunder the Roman Army carried back in their ceremonial march. Clearly carved in the arch are the Temple menorah, trumpets, and the table for the showbread—a sampling of the Temple spoils that the Romans carried off back to their home.

I want to beseech the Pope and the Vatican to return the items that they have from the Jewish Temple that rightfully belong to the Jewish people. These items sitting idly in the Vatican vaults and archives hold enormous sanctity to the Jewish people who crafted and worshipped with them over the duration of 1,400 years from the Tabernacle to the First and Second Temples. In the spirit of love and brotherhood between Christians and Jews, and in the name of G-d who commands all mankind not to steal from one another, and to return lost items to their rightful owner, I say to the Pope, it is high time to do the right thing and return our holy Temple vessels to Israel.(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/forum-romanum-arch-titus-relief-883849/)

Finding Our Religion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Finding Our Religion.”

The contrast between me being Jewish and the environment that was as broad as the United Nations (actually only a few blocks away), helped me to find myself and to build my personal Jewish identity. So, I think that for those Jews that are afraid for their children to leave the confines of the home, their “shtetl” neighborhood, and the local yeshiva, because they are afraid of the “foreign” (goyish) influences, I think that while that may be right for some Jews possibly, it is definitely not right for all of us.

In a sense, the redemption of the Jewish people and exodus was so much greater a miracle by Moshe becoming this great Jewish leader from within the fires of the Egyptian paganism at the time. Moshe’s rejectionism of Egyptian power and culture used for evil to enslave and hurt others was a powerful choice of good over evil and a message to Pharaoh and his household that despite all his wealth, strength, and influence, that Pharaoh and Egypt would fall before the hand of the true, Almighty G-d of Israel. Similarly, I think the message for us is that the final redemption for us and the world will come initially from “galut” (outside of Israel) from the cauldron of “Edom” (the Roman Empire and Western civilization) and all the materialist and pleasurable freedoms and allures thereof.
(Credit Painting: Dossy Blumenthal)

If G-d Wouldn’t Let Moshe In, Who Am I?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “If G-d Wouldn’t Let Moshe In, Who Am I?”

Sure, we may not fully understand G-d’s decision on not letting Moshe into the land of Israel (or decisions that affect our lives today), still we can affirm our faith that G-d is a just and merciful Judge.

In the end, none of us are the level of Moshe Rabbeinu, and if G-d didn’t let him in, well who are we? This is a frightening thought to me. Yet at the same time, I believe that if we as the Jewish people collectively put our heartfelt yearnings and prayers together to be able to go and settle the land of Israel then perhaps G-d will answer us in the affirmative!

(Credit 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)

In the hands of heaven

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “In The Hands of Heaven.”

From Passover, we learn the Egyptians didn’t earn the riches, but built their wealth on the backs of the starving people of the world and of course that includes their Israelite slaves. As the Egyptians gloated on their arrogance, power and wealth, eventually the Master of the World showed them who is really boss. All the money, materialism, fancy titles, and honors are all just fleeting. In Hashem resides the glory and He has the say over who gets what and when.

G-d can redeem 600,000 men, women and children, and a large mixed multitude of people with them and very many flocks and cattle in the Exodus and to Him, it’s just another day on the throne of Heaven. In our own times, we have experienced a miraculous redemption from the death camps of Europe, and have returned like the Israelites to the Promised Land of Israel. G-d decides then and now what the plan is and how it unfolds, and everything we have is by G-d’s grace, and these are Seder lessons worthy of celebrating.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fiery Star of David

Sharing this beautiful Magen David (Star of David). 

Saw it on Facebook and thought it’s really dazzling!

Man, we’re on fire  and in a good way–rebirth after the horrors of the Holocaust, redemption to and flourishing of the Promised Land of Israel, and what looks like many more incredible things to come.

Hence, my reading of the three stars: our past, present, and future. 

G-d’s plan for the world is happening, and it’s hopefully very bright indeed.  😉

Preparing for The Third Temple

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Preparing for the Third Temple.”

In essence, the Jewish Temples have been not only physically buried over, but also the site has been historically Islamicized despite the Temple Mount’s intrinsic holiness to all three major religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). In short, this is a very sensitive issue that is likely anchored in facets of intolerance and religious rivalry, as well as pretenses of superiority and dominance, rather than ultimately on the shared connection we have through both our genetic and spiritual lineage as Abraham’s decedents.

We absolutely want to have a peaceful and productive coexistence with all people, but just as Israel has risen from the Valley of Dry Bones, so too the day is coming soon when the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in shinning glory and we can worship G-d just as we did in times before. What will be special about the 3rd Temple is that it will not only be for the Jewish people, but for all the world’s people to come together harmoniously to recognize and worship the one true and faithful G-d of us all. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)