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/)

The Hypocrisy of False Repentance

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Hypocrisy of False Repentance.”

We firmly believe that there is true Divine justice by the Almighty (even if not always by our court system), and that if we don’t do good and work at perfecting our deficiencies as is our purpose in Olam Hazeh (this world), then we will suffer the consequences in the World to Come.

(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)

From Judaism with love

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “From Judaism with Love.”

Civilizations’ notion of a perfect world comes not from classical Greek and Roman society — where art, architecture, beauty, government, philosophy, and empirical science emanated — but rather directly through Judaism (i.e., from Hashem).

One one hand, you have Greece and Rome with polytheism and paganism, where gods are in the image of man, beauty is holy, and morality is subjective and malleable. On the other hand, we have Judaism’s clear declaration of monotheism (with one omnipotent, benevolent, eternal, and invisible G-d), where man was created in the image of G-d, the holy is beautiful, and morality is objective and unchangeable. At the end of the day, there is no contest: G-d’s Torah, as transmitted through the Jewish people, is the absolute and enduring “light unto the nations” towards the perfect world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

He Who Saves A Life

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “He Who Saves A Life.”

We all know the Jewish dictum of “He who save a life, saves the world.” In Judaism, every single life is invaluable, and hence we are even allowed to violate the holy Shabbat for the preservation of human life (“Pikuach Nefesh“). Similarly, when it came to a prisoner exchange for IDF Sargent first Class, Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas terrorists for five years (2006-2011), Israel exchanged1,027 Palestinians in a prisoner exchange for Shalit. Life is truly sacred to the Jewish people.

This week, I had the opportunity to meet and hear from members of Israel Air Force’s Elite Search and Rescue, Unit 669, at Magen David Synagogue in Rockville, Maryland. There I was reminded of the brave Israeli soldiers who not only defend the holy land and people of Israel, but also who are there to search for missing soldiers and rescue them and civilians “regardless of location or conditions” when faced with war, terrorism, or other disaster. Soldiers from unit 669 go into every possible dangerous situation, and under fire, to save lives at whatever cost to themselves.
(Source Photo: Flikr)

Beautiful Bonsai Tree

Something genius about a Bonsai tree.

The way it is on one hand natural and on the other hand “sculpted” by people. 

Sort of a metaphor for life, where G-d gives us the raw material and asks us to go do good with it. 

G-d creates and people shape that creation. 

Beautiful partnership makes a beautiful Bonsai! 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Last Kiss Goodnight

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Last Kiss Goodnight.”

Certainly, every human being has the desire to live and goes about fighting for life. It’s part of our genetic makeup and our very survival instinct. Yet, we all know that the cycle of life brings us from the beginnings of infancy to growth, the maturity of adulthood, then decline, old age and ultimately death itself. Truly, we all know the end from the very beginning, and with that we can achieve a greater awareness that what’s good in living isn’t the materialism and chasing the next “high,” but rather the ability to choose to do good and to be on a higher spiritual plane.

Life is choice and having control over how we respond to life’s circumstances. Death is simply observing and being. Therefore, even if we merit being in the Divine presence in the afterlife, we still can’t actively help anyone, like those we love, any longer. This is why we want to merit life where we can continue to work on ourselves and help others. Thus, despite all the pain and suffering associated with life, it is more than offset by the opportunity to learn, grow, and transform our very essence in a purification process of our souls.

(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)