Showing posts with label Light. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Light. Show all posts

May 17, 2019

A Good Father

I know it's not Father's Day yet, but I had a beautiful dream about my dad the other day that I wanted to share. 

In my dream, I was looking at this ledger.

And at the top of the ledger, it said:
"A Good Father"

I understand that good didn't mean like good vs. great, but rather like good vs. evil in this universe. 

Beneath it, there were lists and lists of signatures of people who knew my dad. 

Their signatures were an attestation that he was not only a good dad, but a good and righteous person. 

I remember in the dream his presence was there with me as I looked at the ledger. 

Then there was an astoundingly bright light that I was basking in.

Now I could feel I was in the presence of the Master of the Universe. 

I looked up to the center and most intense part of the light, and lifted my arms upward in complete supplication to it...towards G-d.

And I felt myself crying out to G-d, and as I cried out louder and more intensely, I was transported back--whooshed through a tunnel at light speed...to awaken from this incredible dream.

Unlike most dreams, this one I remembered and it stuck with me even days later now. 

My dad was truly a great father and a great man!

I am grateful to Hashem for letting me see him this week, and I miss him greatly. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 5, 2018

Stained Glass Majesty

There is something about stained glass which is so beautiful and amazing. 

It's not only artistic and colorful, but also it's a magical combination of opaqueness and translucence.

It provides cover and privacy from the outside world, yet it plays with the light that comes in through it to give a wonderful effect to any room.

If I could, I would make every room in every building with stained glass. 

I would bask in the light and the color. 

It would feel warm and holy--the light of G-d on me. 

It's as if G-d and His holy host are streaming in from the Heavens, and surrounding me all about. 

I feel lifted up in space and time stops, all is safe and wonderful in the world. 

Beautiful and holy spiritual energy celebrating, dancing, and singing all around me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 4, 2018

Celebrating Chanukah At Ulpan

It was so nice tonight at Ulpan. 

Morah Degani had a special night planned for us tonight to celebrate Chanukah. 

She called me up to light the candles for the 3rd night and recite the blessing. 

Then she played Chanukah songs and we sang along to the Hebrew words on the screen. 

We later read and talked about the story of Chanukah and all the meaning and significance of it for having freedom of religion/worship and to maintain our religion and not assimilate. 

It was a beautiful way to learn and practice our Hebrew. 

Happy 3rd night of Chanukah! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 2, 2018

On The First Night Of Chanukah

Please see my article in The Times of Israel called, "The Lesson of the Candy Lane Menorah."
It was a beautiful ushering in the first night of Chanukah by Chabad of Bethesda, Maryland. The "candy" menorah that they were going to use was somehow destroyed, but Chabad came with a spare--they are terrific...even when things go wrong, miracles can happen, but we have to be prepared like Chabad was tonight.

Happy First Night of Chanukah to everyone! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 29, 2018

Light Drives Out Darkness

In the words of the great Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"Darkness can't drive out darkness.
Only Light can do that."
There is so much darkness in certain people. 

So full of hate, violence, and corruption. 

They use and abuse others for their selfish aims. 

Only faith and giving can drive out selfishness!

The other day at work, I briefly stopped over to help a colleague with something (I thought it was pretty minor, honestly). 

The next thing I know, another colleague who observed me, leaves--literally--a gold star on my desk. 

I had to laugh to myself--isn't this what we do with kids. 

And then I thought to myself--Wow! People at any age can be recognized for just being decent human beings with one another.

Rather than just recognize the latest work accomplishments, isn't it truly something to recognize helping others. 

Being good people is the essence of what life is all about. 

I'm glad that there are still people in the world that know this. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 15, 2018

Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.

This is what they told me:

"When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness."

Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!

So while I really don't know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 

Yes, there is no light--there is only darkness. 

Yes, there is no Heaven.

But I don't believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 

Instead, what I believe is that you "Go back to GO and you do not collect $200."

In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 

Since you didn't complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission...you go back to the beginning. 

You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 

Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 

Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 

So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 

I don't know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I've already done. 

It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 

How is that for frustrating--working just to redo what you already did. 

Perhaps that is quite the measured "punishment" for those who end their life prematurely--before G-d says it's time. 

While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again--I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 

I assume it's nice to live again, but it's got to be a value-add life--not just a do-over!

So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life--it's probably not a purely rational moment in time--I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 

Because, suicide isn't game over, but rather the game begins all over--from the beginning again. ;-)

(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go--I am sure that is perfectly okay). 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 28, 2017

Turkish Lights




Just wanted to share these beautiful Turkish lights that I found in Hollywood, Florida. 

We had a delicious lunch at L'Chaim Asian Cuisine and Steak House--the honey chicken was to die for--OMG, it was like candy!

Afterwards, we walked about the shopping strip there and came across this store with these amazing lights. 

It was a hookah (not hookers!) store which I am completely not interested in, having never smoked a cigarette or anything my entire life--true!

But these light were gorgeous. 

I took these pictures and was even tempted to buy one--loved the colors and happiness of them. 

Held off for now, too many nice things, especially since we then followed up with a day trip to Sawgrass Mills today--what an unbelievably huge shopping and outlet mall.

I know it must definitely be time to head home soon, because the shopping experience down here is wearing me down--just kidding, but it's definitely a paradise not only for the beach, but for the shopping fun as well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 4, 2017

5-Minute Intervals




This was sunrise at 5-minute intervals. 

All I can think is how glorious G-d is and how marvelous his creation.

- The light of the L-rd chases the darkness away.

- The might of the L-rd brings forth a new day. 

- The right hand of the L-rd shows us all the correct way. 

How are your works so majestic indeed. 

All we can do is gaze with eyes wide.

Truly the perfection of the L-rd is shown in his creation. 

We are blessed to see and experience it.

Every day is a miracle that we have in this world.

Even with pain and sorrow, our soul clings to this life. 

Until such time that our Maker calls us home to Him once more. 

Then we gasp our last breath and enter his Heavenly abode. 


For this world is just a corridor to the true world that is to come. 

And so just imagine what that must be like to be even closer to G-d and his endless loving majesty. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 26, 2016

From Darkness Will Come Light

In response to continuing hateful and anti-Semitic resolutions by the UN and supported by President Barack Obama, here is what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu thoughtfully said:
"Here on the first night of Hanukah, I stand next to the Maccabees of our times, IDF soldiers and wounded IDF heroes.  
I salute you and say to you clearly: The light will dispel the darkness.  
The spirit of the Maccabees will overcome.
Happy Hanukah!"
Israel is a tiny democratic nation, the size of New Jersey, surrounded by hostile nations and terror organizations, but by continuing to shine a light on the desire for true peace and security for a people that were decimated by the Holocaust, we can dispel the darkness of thousands of years of hate and discrimination. 

I believe in my deepest heart of hearts that most people in the world, and especially in the shining light of nations of America and Israel, are good and decent.

And together, we can overcome the darkness of bigotry, intolerance, and hatred with the light of good and righteousness in this world. 

Faith, caring, and love can overcome.  ;-)

(Source Graphic Andy Blumethal)
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April 9, 2016

It's Got To Be

So I read a book review the other day that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. 

The book was by an atheist who had 2 near-death experiences. 

And while for other people, they see the light at the end of the tunnel--and are reunited with family loved ones and are in bliss from being with the Heavenly Father...

This guy saw nothing but blackness and said it was empty and nothingness. 

And he was dead serious about it. 

He said there is nothing after we die, absolutely nothing. 

Now, while I have always believed in life after death and even in reincarnation if we still have more growing and learning to do, I had heard others say contrary beliefs in the past.

One guy in synagogue when I was a young adult used to say, "When you die, you're as dead as a dead dog!"

Lovely thought (not), but I never took any of that seriously. 

Yet, this guy's book somehow got to me on a deep level. 

Maybe because I lost my beloved parents over the last 2+ years and am still deeply mourning them, and the only thing that can possibly console me about that is the notion that I will one day be reunited with them and see them again. 

So the opposing idea that it's really over--that I will never see them again--experience their love and laughter again--is beyond my comprehension--it literally blows my mind in a bad bad way. 

Also, I said to my wife, if this atheist is by any chance right (not about G-d) but about there being no afterworld, then what is the purpose to anything we do--who cares?

Without G-d, without Divine will and justice, and a world-to-come, there really is nothing but darkness and not just after we die, but now too--because it would all be purposeless. 

No, I cannot believe that!

The atheist saw nothing afterwards, because he believes in nothing--it's a measure for a measure. 

For those who believe that there is more, much more--there really is. 

It has to be that way...for anything to make sense. 

For us to try so hard. 

For us to go on.

For us to have a purpose.

For there to be justice.

For there to be us. 

My dad used to tell me that "No one has ever come back from the other side to tell us what's there."

So it really is the ultimate mystery of life...but I choose to believe in life now and in life later. 

The miracles of my own life and those around me show me again and again that there is design, there is order, there is a plan, there is a purpose and I will find mine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2015

Amazing Chanukah Photo

A colleague at work showed me this photo: front and back. 

In it, the Chanukah candles in the window defy the evil Nazi banner in front of their headquarters in Germany and foretelling of the impending Jewish genocide and world war.

On the back on the photo is written:

"Chanukah 5692 [1931]. Judea dies says the banner. Judea will live forever responds the lights."

As we are once again living in a time of brutal terrorist violence and a moral black hole in civilization, we must again turn to Hashem and the Menorah to light up the darkness of our times. 

May G-d have mercy on His people and bless them in peace. ;-)
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July 31, 2015

A Being of Light

So last night, I dreamed about my beloved dad. 

He was in synagogue praying--something he did every day.


I was telling my dad that it was time to go.


But he didn't want to leave--synagogue was his favorite place to be close to G-d and his friends. 


My dad was in the front of the synagogue elevated on the steps before the Holy Ark (where the Torahs are kept).


I looked at my dad and somehow knew/felt that he was near death. 


I ran to him and threw my arms around him in an incredible completely loving hug--clutching on to him to stay with us, longer.


In this embrace, I could feel his total and undying love for me.


Now he no longer looked like my dad but like a being of light--such as I had never seen.


He had died, but was still somehow alive in another way. 


I miss my dad--he was a truly holy man (a Tzadik) and a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who would do anything for us. 


I wish I could sit and speak with him again, hold his hand, hear him sing when we came over, and see him smile. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Taltopia.com)

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May 31, 2015

Light Up The Night

This was a beautiful piece in the New York Times today.

It was about how two sons handled the final hours with their father after he was removed from off life support.

With the prodding of one son, the father reluctantly agrees to see a Rabbi before his death, and this Rabbi describes to the dying man the meaning of his (and our) life:

"Imagine your whole life now, and for each [and every] time you did something good, imagine it as a little glow you left behind that lights a dark road stretching back in time. It's a long, long row of lights now, isn't it?"

Remembering over time, the father nods, smiles and is obviously comforted in this final hour as he sees in his mind's eye all the shinning lights for the acts of kindness that he was leaving behind. 

Isn't this what life is all about?

Every choice we make, everything we do, can have an amazing impact and leave light when before there was just darkness. 

Imitating G-d in creation, we create light separating it from the darkness out there, good from evil...we create the future. 

Our goal...light up the night. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 2, 2015

Orange Spiral, Going Up

What an absolutely gorgeous staircase.

A modern spiral with vivid orange and white. 

When I look at this, it's almost as if the staircase is in motion, like a spinning drill bit. 

The person sitting to the right of the stairs seems like they will be swept away or crushed in the next spin of the stairs.

Next to the big windows, the incoming light hits the stairs and creates shadows that give it even more life. 

Excellent job by GW University in their new Science and Engineering building. 

You'd expect to see something like this in the Museum of Modern Art...it's awesome! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 7, 2014

Lighting The Shabbat Candles

Wanted to share this beautiful picture

The mother is ushering in Shabbat.

The children are gathered around.

The father is in synagogue.

The mother lights the holy candles.

She covers her eyes, and makes the blessing.

"Blessed are you, G-d, King of the Universe, who made us holy with his commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Shabbat light."

She then blesses her loved ones. 

Shabbat is here, and it is time to stop all the routine, mundane things from the regular weekdays. 

There is no work on the 7th day--it is the day for Hashem!

Rest, peace, and spirituality are upon us. 

Let us celebrate together and rejoice. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2013

Divine Light and The Soul Of Man

I took this picture today in the nursing home. 

It hangs over the memorial of names for people that have passed. 

The saying as translated here from Proverbs is: "The Divine light illuminates the soul of man."

But the meaning of the hebrew words themselves are more like: The light of G-d is the soul of man.

What is a person's soul?

- Their consciousness.

- The knowledge of right and wrong.

- The part of us that yearns to learn, grow, and be better. 

- The part of a human being which is eternal 

- The part of a person that can be reunited with loved ones in the afterlife. 

- The part of a person that can be resurrected (to try again).

- The spiritual, inner, real you!

G-d breathed into man life. 

The physical body is the shell, the exoskeleton, and the vehicle that houses our soul. 

The soul is the part of us that drives the vehicle, that makes decisions--good or bad, that navigates the world, and that expresses emotion from the depths of our inner being. 

Our soul loves, cares for, empathizes and has mercy on others or it can be angry, jealous, hateful, and cruel--these are expressed through our bodily actions. 

G-d's light is powerful indeed--and inside each and every one of us--it powers us to do good or bad, depending on how we take care of the gift. 

Do we let ourselves run rampart driven by carnal wants and desires or do we elevate these impulses and use these to serve our master through good deeds and selflessness? 

The divine light illuminates who we are and can be.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2013

The Light of G-d is the Soul Of Man

Beautiful stained glass in the synagogue in Rockville, Maryland.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 30, 2012

Dyson Vs. Dirt Devil

For those of you neat freaks out there, you probably have been sold on the King of Vacuum cleaners--the Dyson!

Dyson, a British company has built a vacuum cleaner (and fan and hand dryer) empire with 4,000 employees and $1.5 billion in sales. 


For a number of years now I have used Dyson including their super powerful (and expensive) "Animal" bagless cleaner--this thing actually ate up one of my phone cords and tore it to shreds.


I've also had other Dysons and my experience has been that while they look really nice in their bright yellows and grays, and sort of sleek for a vacuum, but they tend to break down--especially the motor for the brushes that work on the floor that I find accumulates hair and dirt around the spinner until it stops working. 


The other thing that I've found with the Dyson is they come with so many annoying attachments, many with no place to actually attach them all--I think it is overkill for most people's basic cleaning needs. 


After going through a number of Dysons, I finally got fed up with paying so much and getting so little, and we decided to stop "investing" in short-lived Dyson vacuum cleaners.


Instead we said let's get a simple, cheapo, Dirt Devil for like 50 bucks and run it into the ground. If it stopped working we could replace it 6-10 times for the cost of a single Dyson!


We purchased the Dirt Devil, and my expectations were very low--I actually considered it an experiment in purchasing this low-tech machine, and just seeing what we would get. 


Well, it's been about 3 months and I can't believe the amount of vacuum you can get for so little money with the Dirt Devil--it is bagless like the Dyson and without scientifically measuring the amount of dirt it picks up, I'd say it is almost equivalent in getting the dirty job done. 


Additionally, the Dirt Devil--doesn't come with all the useless attachments--a case where more is less--and it weighs only around 8 pounds, which is 1/3 of what the Dyson weighed--so it is much easier to use around the home. 


Similarly, when I look at the cool Dyson fans without blades, it seems almost magical how they actually work, but frankly who cares if it cost $300-$450 and doesn't work as well as a basic floor Vornado that sells for about $120. 


My opinion is that Dyson is generally overpriced and underperforms--but at least you'll have the image of innovation and performance, even if not the reality at the price point.


Anyway, If I had a vacuum cleaner dream, it would be to one day get one of those "commercial" vacuum cleaners that you see being used in the huge buildings--almost non-stop use--and they may cost a little more, but they actually give you more as well. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Molly DG)

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December 28, 2012

The Materiality of Super Strength Graphene

Scientific researchers in Britain, Norway and the U.S. are bringing us a major breakthrough in material science—by developing a “super strength” substance called graphene.

According to the Guardian (26 December 2012), graphene has “unmatched electrical and physical properties.” It’s made of an “atom-thick sheet of carbon molecules, arranged in a honeycomb lattice,” and promises to revolutionize telecommunications, electronics, energy industries, not to mention the untold applications for the military.

- Conductivity:  Transmits electricity a million times better than copper
- Strength: The strongest material known to humankind, 200 times that of steel (Sciencebuzz)
- Transparency & Flexibility:  So thin that light comes through it; more stretchable than any known conductor of electricity

Just a few of the amazing uses graphene will make possible (some of these from MarketOracle):

- Home windows that are also solar panels—clear off that roof and yard
- TV in your windows and mirrors—think you have information overload now?
- Thinner, lighter, and wrappable LED touch screens around your wrists—everyone can have Dick Tracy style
- Medical implants and organ replacements that can “last disease-free for a hundred years”—giving you that much more time to be a helicopter parent
- Vastly more powerful voice, video and data and palm-size computers—giving the average person the “power of 10,000 mainframes”
- Both larger and lighter satellites and space vehicles—imagine a skyscraper-size vehicle weighing less than your “patio barbecue grill”!
- Tougher and faster tanks and armored personnel carriers with the plus of an invisibility cloak—even “Harry Potter” would be jealous

The potential is truly amazing, so whomever thinks that the best technology is behind us, better think again. Better yet, soon they’ll be able to get a graphene brain implant to help them realize what they’ve been missing. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to University of Maryland)

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