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.
Today is Purim, when we celebrate the Jewish victory over the evil Haman and his conspiracy to annihilate the Jews in the Persian Empire. Haman drew a lottery to determine what he thought was a fortuitous day, the 13th of Adar, to murder the Jewish people and pursued this plot through a decree by King Achashverosh. But as we know, G-d made miracles through Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai, and Haman and his ten sons ended hanging by the noose that he built for Mordechai.
This has been my personal experience as well, as I can see both now and in 20/20 hindsight that there is a definite Divine method and not just a world of random chance and madness.
When we act up and fight with each other, then in the end, we will really only end up hurting ourselves.
Tomorrow can be better than today and yesterday, if we learn to live in peace and brotherhood with each other, and understand that hurting another is really only hurting ourselves in the end. G-d’s holiness dwells among us only when we stop the silly bickering and infighting, and love each other, and Him, with all our heart and soul. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Reincarnation actually makes so much sense, especially when you see that G-d can and does bring people back to the world when they still have life lessons to learn and growth to be achieved. It’s part of our preparation and our soul’s purification process to go back to Hashem.
Obviously, we are not G-d, and don’t have the time and event perspective of Hashem who was, is, and will be. However, if we understand that G-d has a plan, everything is connected, and there is a reason for everything, then we can go through life inspired to do the right thing ourselves even when we are challenged by our circumstances.
G-d, who is infinitely compassionate, did the most compassionate thing, which was to create us and give us the ability to be compassionate on others. The way we bring Hashem to reside with us is to transform the world (tikkun olam) “to make it a place that G-d can call home.” We do this by performing acts of loving kindness, making the mundane holy, and manifesting G-d’s divine providence. In essence, it’s not enough for us to know G-d exists, but we need to be a light unto the nations to reveal G-d’s unity, sanctity, and ongoing relationship with his creations to everyone in the world.
Like the story of the priest from the Holocaust, we don’t believe G-d exists, but rather, we know He exists. And when we perform our mission in this world by doing good deeds and manifesting G-d’s oneness and divine providence then we make this a place where G-d wants to reside with us in this world as well as in the world to come.
I am grateful to write that I had my first grandchild, a wonderful baby boy, thank G-d. Now, as with all children, comes the next very exciting part which is, please G-d, to raise and teach him to live a good life of Torah, family, hopes and dreams.
We teach our children, even as we learn along the way ourselves. Two critical things we have from Hashem to help us on this journey: we have the Torah as our holy guidebook, and we have our soul and conscience as our inner voice exhorting us, right from wrong. These are the tools that we go forward with to try and perfect ourselves and the world, and to teach our children to do the same.
Over the years, I heard bits and pieces about him, including that he was ill, and I tried through my other friends to reach out to him. Somehow, it never worked, and more time wore on. Recently again, when another old friend lost their parent, I read something that reminded me that I still had unfinished business with my friend that I had hurt. So now was as good a time as any to reach out.
Somehow hurting someone never really goes away. Those feelings are sort of immortalized in time. The hurt is tangible and become concrete in the genetic fabric of our souls. My soul told me that it was time to try to correct for a mistake I made. You never know how much time is left, and it is important to try to make things right. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
During Covid-19, it is easy to get down about all the people getting sick (many dying) and for the rest of us the intense feelings of isolation. However, during this time (and particularly this week of Thanksgiving), I am learning the importance of staying positive and appreciating all G-d’s blessings that we do have. More broadly, I am coming to understand that inside a person, G-d exists amidst love, kindness and cheerfulness: these are elements that nourish the flame of our soul and wherein G-d happily coexists with us. It makes a lot of sense that when we are angry, jealous, or sad, the holy Shechinah (presence of G-d) cannot fully reside inside us. Because G-d Himself is gracious, kind, and loving and created us from this, so His spirit within us (our soul) flourishes amidst these feelings, but diminishes within us like a flame without oxygen when we distance ourselves emotionally and spiritually.
Just like one candlelight extinguishes the darkness around it, so also the light that we nurture within ourselves can extinguish the darkness that we occasionally feel inside.