Showing posts with label Righteous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Righteous. 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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January 14, 2018

Beyond Money

Okay, I don't impress easily, but I got to tell you somebody really did.

Tring to keep their confidentiality, let me just say this...

A couple returned some money to us, but they went truly above and beyond. 

They returned some money that technically they were entitled to, and I never would've imagined that they should give it back to us. 

When I saw the check and what they did, I really couldn't stop myself saying how amazing this couple is. 

They are a religious Jewish couple, and I just feel that what they did was such a "Kiddush Hashem" (their behavior is a sanctification of G-d's name in the world). 

Some people pretend to be religious on the outside, but inside their behaviors don't reflect it. 

In this case, the people were generally religious not just on the outside, but on the inside as well.

Their doing righteous literally was uplifting for my soul to see that there really are such incredible people in this world. 

Yes, some people are bad--do bad--and we can get not only disappointed but depressed that they seem to thrive anyway. 

So to see the good in people--extra good--it renews my hope in mankind and in G-d Above who shows us the way and can inspire us to behave morally and ethically amazingly.  ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2018

Yearning For Redemption


Just an impression from my recent trip to Israel. 

There is such a yearning for people to do good and to merit the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) towards the ultimate redemption for mankind. 

It's on every street corner and light post.  

Whether it's eyes gazed on the righteousness of Rabbi Nachman or The Rebbe--as we used to sing as kids in NCSY:
"We want Mashiach now!"

Whether Mashiach is an actual person or a spiritual revelation in the world leading to redemption--it represents an unprecedented enlightenment, holiness and a spiritual healing, and love and peace for mankind. 

While we strive to earn our daily bread, it's nice to have a part of us that also seeks a greater good and achieving betterment for the world. 

Any small or big things we can do in our lives to contribute to Tikkun Olam ("fixing the world"), it's purposeful, hopeful, and uplifting to try. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2017

Hitler Is Kaput

So I was surprised when a great friend wrote to me the other day about Hitler. 

And he said that some people say that he won!

He wanted to destroy the Jews and he did manage to kill 6,000,000 of us!

He wanted to conquer Europe (and the world) and he sparked a world war that killed between 50 million and 80 million people, spread fascism, and Germany still today remains the economic powerhouse of Europe.

But killing people, spreading evil, and causing world war is not the sign of a winner by any means--quite the contrary! 

And I replied to my friend:

Hitler and the Nazis are gone, dead, and destroyed, and we are here--what a miracle that from the ashes and depths of the Holocaust, the Israelites were redeemed after 2,000 years of exile--and just as the prophecy foretold, Israel was reborn, lives and thrives!

The sick hatred, evil, and fascist values of Hitler and his Third Reich Germany are gone into the dustbin of history and moreover, their very mention or memory evokes disdain and contempt as being the antiChrist and archetype of evil in the world.

Over the weekend, I watched the movie, The Zookeepers Wife and it was terrific. 

While the Nazi's perpetrated every conceivable evil on mankind, the righteous among the nations still managed to stand up in the face of evil and save innocent lives, and even when it put their own lives and that of their loved ones in jeopardy--that is true goodness!

The movie showed not only the Zookeeper and his wife who saved over 300 Jews during the Holocaust, but their young son yelled out after the miserable Nazi and said, "Hitler is kaput" or Hitler is finished!

Yes, Hitler and his evil cohorts are destroyed, but in every generation, there are new threats of evil and hate that arise, and to those, we still must bravely and with steadfast determination and strength confront--and those must be made kaput as well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 20, 2017

Mine and Yours

In synagogue today, we read from Pirkei Avot ("Ethics of Our Fathers").

And I talked with my friends at lunch about one passage from this timeless wisdom.

There are 4 types of people:

1) "Average Joe"


What's mine is mine, and what's yours in yours. 

Someone described this as "his and her--separate--accounts."

2) Stupid


What's mine is yours, and what's yours in mine. 

Ah, this is just someone whose plain old confused.

3) Wicked


What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine.  

One guy described his ex-wife this way.

4) Righteous 

What's mine is yours, and what's yours is yours.  

We all agreed this is the meaning of life--to be kind and giving to others.

What type of person are you? And what type of person do you want to be?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2017

Thank You Chaplain Berning

I read about this amazing "Spiritual Communications Board" that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 

The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can't talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 

The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 

The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 

And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help... from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 

While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d's help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 

To heal, people don't just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 

The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)
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January 29, 2016

Responding To Foolish Holocaust Denial

So I just watched a video where the radical Muslim speaker tries to explain how it is not the Earth that rotates around the Sun, but rather how really the Earth is fixed in space, and it is the Sun which rotates around it. 

His logic and proofs include things like the following:

- If the Earth was really moving, and you tried to fly to China, the plane shouldn't have to move, since China would just come to the plane. 

- Also, if the Earth was moving in the same direction as the plane, and you were flying to China, then you would never get there, because you'd just be chasing a moving China. 

This is how people's inner darkness, ignorance, and evil can attempt to extinguish the light. 

Similarly, this past week, the "leader" of Iran took the opportunity on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27)--of all days --to once again express his vile denial of the Holocaust.

Khamenei declaring: "It's not clear if the Holocaust is a reality or not."

And calling for the "dear people of Iran" to "stand up to the ignorance" of the West.

Wow, who is calling whom ignorant and trying to brainwash the good people of Iran. 

It's funny, but there are so many nice people from Iran that I've had the opportunity to meet and befriend, and one of them is an elderly man who is a swimming buddy of mine-- and he is such a nice person--I really enjoy talking with him (despite some of our differences of opinion). 

The point is that when the leadership is corrupt, evil, and insecure, then they try to extinguish the good in the masses of the people, so that the people stay in the dark, blinded by scare tactics, scapegoats, and hatred--this is how they stay in power

When it comes to Holocaust denial though, I think this is definitely going way too far, and I imagine the souls of the Six Million righteous who perished in the Holocaust--under the worst genocide the world has ever known--that they are watching and they are listening. 

And Khamenei and his cohorts of evil doers will most certainly have to contend with all these very real martyred righteous souls. 

So in their warped ignorance, foolishness, and hatred--where the sun rotates around the earth and with utter darkness they attempt to extinguish the light of the good people--I imagine with the strongest and most vivid of images and sounds that certainly Heaven does not await them...but a very fiery Hell of their own making indeed. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to slgckgc)
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September 16, 2015

Mano A Mano

So this is what it comes down to.

Man against man.

A fight to unseat and prevail against one's ultimate opponent. 

Each one bravely charging forward into the fight. 

Armed and dangerous. 

Both shielded, but not fully protected. 

One will be going down hard and maybe not coming up again. 

Good versus evil. 

Repeated over time as the war of attrition plays out. 

The heavenly battle taking place among mere mortal agents. 

Until eventually the righteous triumph over the selfish, lusting, and greedy villains.  

In didn't start in Medieval times and it won't end until it's over and won, and it will be won for G-d's sake. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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January 2, 2015

Eulogy For My Dear Father, Fred Blumenthal

Today, we are here to commemorate my father, Manfred Blumenthal--Meir Ben Shimon Halevi’s passing. My dad was my father, my guide, my role model for life—he meant everything to me, and my words alone cannot capture my feelings of love, devotion, and gratitude to him.

My father was a deeply religious man and he was a tzadik (truly righteous person), and his passing yesterday on the Jewish date of Asara B’Tevet (the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet) is a portrayal of his very belief system and of him as a servant of Hashem, always. 

On Asara B’Tevet, over 2,400 years ago, the Babylonian Emperor, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the holy city of Jerusalem leading months later to the breach of the city walls and then on Tisha B’Av to the destruction of the Jewish temple. 

The synagogue to my father was the surrogate for the Jewish temple, and he went everyday like a soldier, morning and night, to pray and serve G-d. In fact, some his most joyous moments, when I was a kid, was when we went together and I sat at his side in shule. 

To my dad, he loved Hashem, his family, and the community and was devoted to them in every way.  

Religiously, my dad not only went to synagogue to pray, but went regularly to multiple shiurim (Torah classes) during the week, served years ago on the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society), did Bichur Cholim (visiting the sick), gave charity all the time, and made a beautiful Jewish home with my mother, Gerda Blumenthal, for us first on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, then in Riverdale, New York, and finally in Silver Spring MD.

My dad and mom loved Riverdale where we lived for over 20 years, yet when my wife and I and our children moved here to Silver Spring to make our home and work for the Federal government, my parents uprooted and moved here within the very same year to be with us.

No matter the hardship, my dad would do whatever it took. When he and his brother and sister (Sid and Ruth) and their parents (my Oma and Opa) fled the Nazi’s in Germany and made their way through Italy and England and ultimately to America, my father lost all his education, was interned on the Isle of man, and worked selling goods on the streets to help his family survive. 

The Holocaust deeply scarred my father, who was only a child when it happened, and interestingly enough these days, Asara B’Tevet is also the general Kaddish Day (memorial) for victims of the Holocaust, many of whose martyrdom is unknown. 

When interned, my father got very sick with a high fever for many days, and one day, the fever broke, and my father awoke and said to his family, "Today we are going to get our visas to America"--and that is exactly what happened.  

Miracles followed my father as well as his devotion to family…he worked for decades, as manager, in ladies handbags. Yet due to competition from overseas, the company finally closed, and my father was without a job, and my Bar Mitzvah was coming up. Even though out of work and not knowing when another job in that economy would present itself, My father believed and said, “Hashem will provide” and that we would still have the big event bringing me into my religious manhood as a Jew. It was a beautiful event and my father did get another job from a neighbor who sat right across the aisle from us in Shule who happened to have, a handbag manufacturing company.

I remember my dad working extra hard to put me and my sister Roz through Yeshiva, college, and even graduate school.  I remember him coming home from work and then going out again to work Bingo nights for the school to help them out. 

Despite tough economic times, my dad insisted that he pay for me to go to karate classes, which he knew I loved, and always put aside allowance money for me and my sister and then the grandchildren.  

For years my dad taught me to always do what was right, follow the Torah, and my conscience…he was the ultimate role model for me as a good, decent human being. 

When my mom was so sick with Parkinson’s disease, first at home and then at the Hebrew Home, my dad was again there like a soldier, all day long, every day, to sit with her and care for her with no thought at all to his personal needs or health. My mom passed away less than a year ago on January 13, 2014 (the 12th day of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat).

I remember so many wonderful times together from Shabbat meals and holidays, and celebrations like my wedding to my wife Dossy and Bat Mitzvah’s of our children, Minna and Rebecca and my niece’s, Yaffa. As well as challenging times, when one of us was sick in the hospital and my dad was there with me, again multiple times a day, to comfort me and help me—with no thought of himself. 

As a parent, I could go on and on about my dad, but he was also a good friend to so many of you in the community and he loved to talk with you, tell jokes, pray with you, have a meal with you, join with you at the shule dinner and so many other community events. 

Manfred Blumenthal, my dad, was a true servant of G-d and a loving father and grandfather who would and did do anything for us, including saving the life of my very wife, who had gotten ill a number of years ago.

Even though I would argue with my dad, I always knew he was right about things, and he would guide me no matter what.  

Now today, I stand here next to his casket…devastated at the loss.

I love you dad, we all love you and wish you peace, happiness, and countless blessings in the afterlife. You gave us everything and you deserve to be rewarded by the Almighty in heaven together with mom and your loving parents, Simon and Hilda Blumenthal.

I cannot say goodbye, just see you later where we can all stand together in heaven before Hashem!
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April 28, 2014

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014

I was so humbled to hear the story of survival of Dr. Alfred Munzer today at the Holocaust Memorial Observance.

Dr. Munzer was hidden for the first four years of his life from the Nazis by a righteous Indonesian family in the Netherlands.

Earlier this month, Dr. Munzer visited Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, to share his awesome story of humanity and compassion in the face of Nazi brutality and genocide. 

Dr. Munzer told his story today through photos of his Jewish and Indonesian family's life during the Holocaust, and related how his father and sisters were murdered by the Nazis; from his immediate family, only he and his mother survived to come to America in 1958.

I was so inspired by Dr. Munzer's story and encourage everyone to hear it at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where Dr. Munzer volunteers. 

When people help other people, even at their own peril, that represents true globalization of the human race and the unity of all mankind. ;-)
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January 15, 2014

Eulogy For My Beloved Mother, Gerda Blumenthal

We are here today to remember and honor my mother, Gerda Blumenthal, who passed away on Monday.  

My mother was my personal heroine, even as just two days earlier, a great hero of the Jewish people died as well--Ariel Sharon, a former Prime Minister of the State of Israel and a hero general who fought militarily to defend his people, but who also disengaged the State of Israel unilaterally from Gaza to make peace. 

Sharon’s role in history to secure the Jewish people came on the heels of the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were murdered – one of every three in the entire world!

To my mother, the holocaust was one of the defining moments in her life. She was just 5 years old, when the murderous Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, came up behind my mother and her father on the street in Germany, grabbed him and dragged him off to the concentration camps. My mother, a child, was left alone crying on the streets, until some neighbors found her and brought her home to her mother. Miraculously, her father was one of the few to actually be let out a number of weeks later, as he had already received visas for the family to come to America. He had lost 20-30 pounds in just those few weeks of brutal slave labor and beatings, but he and the family were free to come to this country and start anew. 

Like many of the immigrant families who were forced to flee persecution, my mother and her family arrived here penniless, and her father who didn't even know the language, worked as a tailor to try and support the family. My mother had wanted to pursue her education—and to be a nurse—but when she graduated high school, she was asked to immediately go to work to help the family earn a living in those difficult days. She did this dutifully and worked—mostly doing secretarial work, which was popular in those days—while raising my sister and I and taking care of my dad. My mom would put me on the school bus, rush off to work, and be home in time to make dinner for all of us. Mom was unwavering in her commitment to taking care of us. Mom taught me what family was, what it was to put family first, and what it was to work hard, very hard, always being there to take care of us, even when at times, it seemed like too much for any human being. 

My older sister and I are eight years apart. But there was another sibling, Susie, born between us. However, she died as a baby leaving my mother and father bereaved of their 2nd child still in the early years of their marriage. Despite this new challenge in their lives—and what seemed like another personal test—my mother carried on with my father to build the family, and I came along four years later.  I have always tried to make my mother and father proud of me, especially in light of the loss of their other child. 

My mother and father—were best friends, but like all loving couples, they also argued—but they always came back together again to make up and bond. And I learned well from them that in relationships, we can argue, but we can work things out—even though it’s not always easy to say I’m sorry or I was wrong, but we come back together because we are a family--we love each other and have that commitment. The loss of my mom is magnified, because of that deep love, but also because we are a small family that has always lived a hop, skip, and jump from each other—like one extended family. 

My mother and father put my sister and I through private Jewish school, all the years, and then through college and graduate school—so that I was able to get my MBA and my sister her PhD. Even in later years, she helped babysit for my children and was like a second mother to them, so that my wife, Dossy could get her PhD as well. She loved my daughters—Minna and Rebecca, and my niece, Yaffa, so much.  My mother and my father even moved here to Silver Spring in 2000—soon after we relocated here to work for the government—so they could be with us and the grandchildren—even though my mother really loved living in Riverdale, NY and the community and friends there, and would otherwise never have left there. 

I will never forget the endless sacrifices made for us, which contrasts to many other families in modern times, when people seem more focused on career, their own interests and happiness, and mired in the world of the Internet and social media. But my mom taught me that while we may want a lot of different things, we need to put our priorities in order and focus on what is really important—family, friends, and faith. 

Like Ariel Sharon who suffered a stroke eight years ago, my mother was diagnosed with the horrible disease of Parkinson’s—also eight years ago. My mother went from being the one who took care of everyone to where my father, in his own old age, and his own illness, had to take care of her. He did this with unbelievable courage and tirelessly, he did everything for her—everything! Even when we all thought she needed to go to the nursing home, he brought her home and cared for her himself for two years under extremely trying circumstances. Until this last April, when my mother was hospitalized again and was too ill to go home again. She went to the Hebrew Home In Rockville, and later because of her severe pain was put under hospice care. My mom unfortunately suffered horribly—more than we have ever seen anyone suffer. When she passed this week, I was horrified to lose my mother, as anyone would be, and at the same time, I was grateful to G-d that perhaps she now had some rest from the all the terrible illness and suffering and was finally at peace. 

She died on Monday almost immediately after the Rabbi said the final prayers with her, and so I hope that the prayers and good wishes of the Rabbi and all of us—her family and friends—are heard in heaven and usher her in as a righteous soul, loving wife, mother, and grandmother—and grant her everlasting peace and reward from the Almighty. 

Mom, we will always remember everything you have done for us. You taught us what a good traditional Jewish home and values are. Thank you for the love, care, and endless sacrifices. You will live on in the children and grandchildren and hopefully, our lives will be a merit for you. We love you always, and miss you. May G-d welcome you back, grant you peace, and bless you.

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December 7, 2013

Life, Cartoonish And Not

Strange day, starting with these cartoon characters standing on the street waving to everyone.

And they say texting while driving is distracting -- what's this?

Some other weird things:

- At a food store, saw an argument between an Asian customer and a Spanish-speaking cashier--they were arguing over something as silly as an orange juice, but what made this especially comical was because of the language barrier, each was getting more and more frustrated, until they both sort of gave up, and the customer storming out saying he was never going there again. 

- At the rehabilitation facility, spoke to a couple where the husband--age 88--was there "unexpectedly" for the last two months after a relatively minor surgery. The wife--age 79 (married 60 years)--was visiting him every day. She said that they had never been really sick before, and that when he got out, they were going to visit their other condo in Florida and resume their regular, favorite hobby of ballroom dancing. 

- A nurse assistant, from Sierra Leone, told me how he had escaped the bloody civil war there that left 50,000 people dead.  He described how the rebels would overrun the villages killing everyone as he pointed his finger saying "boom, boom" and making slashing movements as if holding a knife or machete--and that many from his family were murdered. He described how he had escaped to neighboring Guinea and from there called his uncle in America who helped get him here, but the price was that he had to leave his family--a wife and two children behind. He said in the last 11 years, he was able to visit them only once in 2008 for a couple of weeks, and at the end of this month, he was finally able to go back to bring them to America. 

I wondered how very different our lives are--and how some people suffer with war, poverty, illness, and loss, while others are vacationing and dancing into their 90's. I'm not judging or implying anyone as good or bad--especially since all these people seemed very nice--but these events reminded me of a Jewish saying about the conundrum of the seeming righteous people that suffer and the wicked that prosper--and that only G-d is The Judge, who knows who is really righteous and wicked, what they really deserve, and that some people get rewarded in this world, while others in the world to come. 

Either way, I hope G-d has mercy on us, so we don't suffer, and have much more happy dancing times and less to none illness, poverty, and fighting. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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