Ten ‘Points to Ponder’

 
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Ten ‘Points to Ponder’.”

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.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Facing Hardship, Finding Humility

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Facing Hardship, Finding Humility.”
Like Celine Dion, no matter how much fame, fortune, or power any of us amass in our lifetimes, none of these things make an iota of difference in the time of G-d’s eternal judgment of us. The only thing that matters and carries on are our good deeds!

When we are young and vibrant and the world seems so small in a way, we can tend to think we are invincible, but as we get older and more mature, we learn that everything we do in life that strays from the Almighty’s path for us has a price to be paid and a humbling before our Maker.

(Credit Photo: Anirudh Koul via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celine_Dion#/media/File:Celine_Dion_Concert_Singing_Taking_Chances_2008.jpg)

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)

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.

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)

Sounds Refreshing

Great sign for the Pablo Picasso drink.

If you have too much, do you feel like the guy pictured here?

Maybe people need to feel this way sometimes (especially when the world looks like it’s going to hell).  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Overcoming The Inquisitor

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Overcoming The Inquisitor.”

While anti-Semitism and persecution for being Jews is horrible and should never happen, in a sort of obscene and ironic way, it ends up making us stronger as Jews. In short, testing our faith, ends up solidifying our faith!

No one likes adversity, suffering, or persecution, and G-d only knows that we as Jews have known our deeply painful share. Yet whether from Egyptian slavery to the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and more, it’s our test as Jews to survive, and to learn and grow from it our faith in Hashem.

Yes, these things are far easier said than done, but when we face these terrible events, we must try with all our might to overcome them, heroically and faithfully.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Trust Beyond Faith

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “A Trust Beyond Faith.”

When we have faith in G-d, it generally means that we believe that He created us and that He is the Master of the Universe. However, faith does not necessarily imply trust. Trust in G-d means that we believe that He not only created us, but that He sustains us and that there is Divine Providence in this world. When we trust in G-d, we believe that G-d is close to us and has a personal relationship with each and every one of us, and actually to everything in the world.

We all need to leave our egos at the door! No matter how strong or smart that we think we are, even the little grass above us (or above our graves) is greater than us. Certainly, G-d Almighty who is our creator and our sustainer, all-knowing and all-powerful, He is over us and watches over us in better times as well as those that are perhaps more challenging, but always we trust, for the good!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Plan Amidst The Pain

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Plan Amidst The Pain.”

In life, not only do we have to be determined and work hard, but G-d throws us curveballs and challenges all along the way that can often make us drop to our knees or throw our arms up in despair. However, we need to be faithful like Jacob and Joseph, knowing that it’s all a part of G-d’s plan and mission for us, and through these we learn and grow and become better versions of ourselves.

Moreover, if we but open our eyes to the miracle of our creation and our sustainment every moment of every day by Hashem, and remember that He put us all here for a purpose, then we can pay the daily price for what G-d puts in front of us and how we choose to handle it.We can do this knowing that it’s all really just a small price to pay in the end for so much that we gain in this world and that we will carry forward to the hereafter. In the end, nothing is free, but the price and the reason is always just what G-d wants it to be.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-d Doesn’t Ask Us

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “G-d Doesn’t Ask Us.”

Truly, in whatever situations we find ourselves in life, and the pain and suffering that we may have to endure, we really don’t have a choice of our circumstance, but only in how we choose to respond to it. In life, G-d puts us right where he wants us and in situations that are personalized and best for us, whether it feels that way at the moment or not. G-d tries us, and we have to respond with the “right” thoughts, words, and deeds—always remaining a mensch and choosing holiness and righteousness, no matter how difficult it may be. That’s our ultimate challenge, to find holiness even in the depths of despair.

Everyone is confronted with levels of pain and suffering, as I heard said that: “there aren’t enough people for all the pain in the world!” The challenge is to resist hopelessness and the loss of one’s integrity, and nevertheless to choose to do good. As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we have the opportunity to do teshuva and to try to influence G-d’s decree for us for the new year, but in the end, G-d is the ultimate Judge. He doesn’t ask us; He tells us what will be for us. Of course, we have the opportunity to answer G-d’s call to us and the responsibility to choose righteousness even in a distressed world and in trying times. In essence, the underlying test of it all is not only to survive the challenges we must face, but also to emerge from them as better people with purified souls.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)