Mutual and Eternal Love

Please see my new poem in The Times of Israel called “Mutual and Eternal Love.”

Like Abraham, we are tested to do “what is right and just,” and history is our witness.

For “we are dust and will return to dust,” but our souls will rise to heaven and be reunited with our everlasting, loving Father.

(Also, please remember to listen to the Jewish music video as you read the poetry.)

Monsters and Humans

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Monsters and Humans.”

Ultimately, the litmus test is whether there is a human in that being. If there is that spark of G-d, that soul, that inner conscience weighing right and wrong, that fear and love of G-d and his creations driving decision-making, then there is still hope for that person as well as for mankind.

However, if we are dealing with those who are sadistic animals in human form, then we must be as soldiers of Hashem, taking a firm stand and decisive action, because true evil does not remain dormant for long.

(Source Photo: Aneesh Ans; https://www.pexels.com/photo/painted-face-of-person-portrait-photo-1211966/)

Can Love Be Blind?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Can Love Be Blind?”As long as in this material world, the body hides the soul of the person, then love can never be fully blind because people cannot see the true brightness of the soul inside or realize the primacy of people’s spiritual inner selves without getting distracted by the physical aspects of the person, including attraction (which as we all know fades over time) and, of course, class, race, and ethnicity. Yes, physical/chemical attraction is an important part of intimate relationships, but at the end of the day, it’s what’s inside that counts, not only in this world, but for our eternal being and purpose.

(Source Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-holding-a-lantern-7789180/)

Finding Truth in a Topsy-Turvy World

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Finding Truth in a Topsy-Turvy World.” 

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.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Madness and The Soul

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Madness and The Soul.”

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.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Truly Alone

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Never Truly Alone.”

Alone, in the quiet.

There is pain, suffering, and loss.

Anxiety and depression.

But wait, there is also faith.

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/)

Testing Our Faith

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Testing Our Faith.”

In short, I think it’s healthy for us as human beings to ask questions, even the most difficult questions of why. We need to make sense of our world and the context in which we live. Questions like: Why do good people at times experience horrible loss and suffering? Why do atheists and sinners often seem to excel and succeed (my wife says, perhaps they sold their soul to the devil!)?

While asking why to search for G-d and try to understand His ways is human, at the same time, we as mere mortal human beings can not ever fully know G-d’s ways or His plan for us. In short, Mendel, the Chabad rabbi, said today, don’t get fixated on the why. Instead focus on what you can do to make the world better. Actions speak louder than words.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Measuring Success Like G-d

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Measuring Success Like G-d.”

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/)

Playing The Odds

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Playing The Odds.”The stranger told me: Precisely fifty years ago, the doctor told me the exact same thing about having a one in a hundred chance of paralysis if they operated. So, what did I do? I went to see the Rabbi (Avigdor Miller) and ask his advice, and the Rabbi says to me: “A Jew doesn’t take odds like that!”

I thought to myself while Jews don’t take those wild odds (1 in a 100 of paralysis), why do they play the odds with their souls by pretending to be religious on the outside, but on the inside and away from human eyes doing evil? Surely, we all know that G-d sees everything and that a faithful judgment awaits us all. And it all made sense not to play the odds not only with our physical health, but also with our spiritual wellbeing.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)