Hanukkah Is About Fortifying the Family

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Hanukkah is about Fortifying the Family.”

Modern Hellenism is when Judaism becomes less and less Jewish and more and more like another “value system” that is “politically correct” or “in style.”

To be clear, not every Jew is going to be “religious” in the same way, but still, each of us can contribute to the welfare of the whole. The point of Hanukkah is that Torah-true Judaism exists, even if we as individuals struggle to fulfill it. The task at hand is for each family and each of us to model proper behavior (thought, word, and deed) and to educate our children in the same so that the Greeks of our time do not win.

(Credit Photo: The National Guard via https://flic.kr/p/BBXA4R)

7 & the Redemption

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “7 & the Redemption.”

There can be no doubt that the long-awaited completion of our redemption and the coming of the Mashiach by the Jewish year 6,000 (the beginning of the seventh millennium) is established no less than the Shabbat, which is the seventh day of every week for us. The Shabbat, in fact, is considered a covenant between G-d and the Jewish people, and so too, according to Maimonides’ “13 Principles of Faith,” we trust in the coming of Mashiach.

(Credit Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

The Irreligious Religious

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Irreligious Religious.”

If some “religious” people do the wrong thing, disrespect their fellow Jews, hate on them, curse them, defile their prayers, that doesn’t mean they are really religious. Rather to the contrary — they are the irreligious religious!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

An Army That Sings and Dances

Please see my new poem in The Times of Israel called “An Army That Sing and Dances.

Holy warriors that turn their gaze upwards to our Heavenly Father.
In joy and tears.
By song and dance.
With an uplifted heart and a yearning soul.
Soldiers of the Holy Land.
They stand before G-d Almighty.
Ready to lay down their lives in complete faith.
The Redemption is here.
Just open your eyes.
Oh L-rd, return us to the Promised Land.
In joy and tears.
By song and dance.
With an uplifted heart and a yearning soul.
To serve You, and only You.

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/)

Synagogue Politics

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Synagogue Politics.”

Clearly, the mobile sanctuary and later the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and now our synagogues are “Houses of G-d,” where we go to pray, learn Torah, and worship Him, and where He resides among us.  Sure, G-d is everywhere, but the synagogue/Temple is a unique, special, and spiritual place where we as community dedicate ourselves to G-d and worship Him. It should go without saying that the synagogue is not a place for petty politics, protests, or other antics.

As Jews, we are supposed to make a “Kiddush Hashem” (sanctification of G-d’s name) and not Chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d), and so my hope and prayer is that people in this synagogue and in every synagogue, can “let go” and instead “let G-d.”

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, Image for Illustration Only)

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)

Sheep No More

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, Sheep No More

In thinking about sacrifices as animal substitution for consequences to man, we can also reverse this logic to explore what sacrifices can teach us about consequences to man in their relationship to the Jewish people. In this particular case, I am thinking about Jewish responses to those who desire to be our friends and want to build kind and productive relationships with us or the opposite, to our enemies, who seek to persecute, attack us, and make the Jews their korban, victims.

In short, traditional korbanot in the Temple can teach us not only about how animals can substitute for people in our sacrifices to G-d for thanksgiving, communion, and acknowledging of consequences and teshuva (repentance) for our wrongdoing, but also how the Jewish people can relate to the nations of the world in everything from full peace, positive engagement, acts of guilt and sin against us, and even full-fledged war. Sacrifices teach us that while peace is always the desired state and fiery war a last resort in our self-defense and preservation, we know that after thousands of years of anti-Semitism, persecution, and Holocaust, we are no longer the sacrificial lamb on anyone’s Temple altar.
(Source Photo: Pixabay Free Image)

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)