Showing posts with label Temple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Temple. Show all posts

February 20, 2021

The Power of Love

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Power of Love."

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)

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 29, 2020

Mastering Cheerfulness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Mastering Cheerfulness." 
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.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 8, 2020

From Creation to the End of Times

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "From Creation to the End of Times."
 
As Jews, we travel through history to our destiny along an arc of birth, growth, decline and the learning from our mistakes, to ultimately the fulfillment of our divine mission for world enlightenment. Jewish history can be broken down in a couple of amazing ways: first by every two millennium from creation forward, and second, starting with Abraham, in 400-500 year increments.

We have an incredible history that takes us along a clear trajectory from our founding of monotheism and special relationship with G-d as His "chosen" in the receiving the Torah and its transmission, to our many weaknesses and failures in going astray from our mission, and ultimately to our redemption and achievement of G-d's purpose for us in bringing his teachings and glory to all the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Share/Save/Bookmark

July 19, 2020

PTSD Gets Around

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "PTSD Gets Around."
The Jewish people are a nation recovering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), where memories of trauma flood our national psyche and can trigger emotional (and even physical) symptoms. Whether fear of the next “evil decree” against the Jews, to another pogrom of crazed rapists and killers rampaging through a Jewish town, or even of genocide itself, the Jewish people have known plenty of deep-seated persecution and have to deal with the accompanying fear and anxiety of being the quintessential “strangers in a strange land,” almost everywhere in the world and over a very long period of history.

PTSD is very real not only for our suffering veterans, and for individual people that have been sexually abused or experienced physical violence, but it can also be a national psychiatric disorder based on collective trauma that affects our mood, anxiety levels, and behavioral reactions to events. Suffering from exile, persecution, and helplessness from thousands of years does not go away in a generation or even a century. It is a long road for our national recovery where we can learn to once again live healthy and productive lives absent from the fear and anxiety of another bad Tisha B’Av.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 9, 2020

Synagogue or Sickness?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Synagogue or Sickness?"
When I was a kid and my father would {strongly} encourage me to go to synagogue. My father was a man of deep faith and he used to say warningly to me: "It's better to go to synagogue than to the hospital." Obviously, he was implying that if I didn't follow G-d's word, then G-d forbid, he would punish me and instead of going to Shul, I would go to the hospital. Maybe not the best way to teach someone to want to go to prayer services, but I know he meant it out of complete love for me and ultimately for my best.

Yet ironically, now with coronavirus preventing us from practicing the many communal aspects of our faith, so many of us can only but wish that we could just go to synagogue to celebrate the holidays and Shabbat together once again. Unfortunately, for now at least, we don't even have the option to go to synagogue⁠—the choice has been taken from us. G-d willing, hopefully soon, we can once again go⁠—with willingness and love⁠—not only to pray at synagogue, but also to the holy Third Temple in Jerusalem itself.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

February 16, 2020

Israel 2020: Day 7


Today, we went to the Kotel (Holy Western Wall) in Jerusalem. 

We went on a special tour of the Kotel Tunnels.

Got to see the foundation stones under the Temple Mount where legend has it that G-d created the world from and where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac.

This is also the place where the first and second Jewish temples stood.

We literally got to see so much of the ancient underground building stones, pillars, arches, bridges, waterways, and even learned how they think that these mega limestones (weighing over 520 metric tonnes) were moved into place so many thousands of years ago with pulleys, gears, and levers. 

It was a fascinating and fun tour. 

Thank you to my son-in-law and daughter for getting us tickets to this. 

Lovely time by all. ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal, and sorry about turning it sideways once it gets to the underground waterway) 
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 9, 2020

From Victims To Victors

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "From Victims To Victors."
The critical image of transformation of the Israelites going from the very depths of slavery to the lofty heights of redemption, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and going to the Promised Land is relived again in our very own times. This happened immediately after the Holocaust, when the Jews left the death camps of Europe (in fact, many coming by boat over the Mediterranean Sea instead of on foot over the Red Sea as in biblical times) to come to Israel. Here too, the Jews went on to fight as free men in the War of Independence for the founding of the State of Israel just like the Israelites fought the Amalekites in the desert and the Seven Nations to receive the Promised Land of Israel. Furthermore, just like we received the Torah after the redemption from Egypt, we are seeing an incredible resurgence of Torah learning in Israel today.

In both cases of redemption, we had to transform from being victims of slavery and persecution to instead taking the reins in our hands, and with Hashem's help, determining our own destiny and becoming the victors! Incredibly, just as the Israelites were redeemed by Hashem from Egypt and brought to conquer the Promised land 3300 years ago, so too were we, Jews, brought from the ashes of Auschwitz to the shores of the Israel to fight and become "a free nation in our Land, the Land of Zion, Jerusalem" (Hatikvah). And just like the redemption from Egypt resulted in the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to worship Hashem in the desert, so too will we soon relive the redemption in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, in the right time, we will need to have faith and courage to rebuild it with our very hands, and this will happen speedily and truly in our days. May Hashem let it be!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 5, 2019

Hearts and Stones

I love the saying by Rav Zvi Yehudah Cook:
There are people with hearts of stone, and there are stones with hearts of people. 
The people know who they are, and the stones reside where has G-d set them. 

In the final redemption, the peoples' hearts will turn back to Hashem and the stones with hearts will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 15, 2019

The Coming Great American Aliyah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Coming Great American Aliyah."
If you just open your eyes and have faith, you will know that you will be going to Israel–the question isn’t if, but when! What G-d has decreed, no man can annul. There are three types of ways things will unfold for American Jews: Some will go to Israel on their own,”nicely.” Others will be going only when they absolutely have to–“not so nicely.” The third group will not be going–unfortunately, as difficult as it is to say, they won’t make it. While this is all about the fulfillment of messianic times, and we don’t know when precisely it will all transpire, I pray that people (including myself) will choose to plan intelligently for the future to make aliyah in good times, and that their shouldn’t be pain and suffering for the Jewish people in getting there, but rather that it is an amazing experience filled with endless blessings.

May G-d bring us in peace, prosperity, and health to fulfill His promise of the ingathering and to rebuild the Temple and bring Mashiach to the world.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

August 9, 2019

Speedily Rebuild The Temple

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Rebuilding The Temple, Healing Our People."

Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) is on Shabbat this year, so we conduct the day of mourning and fast on Sunday. The destruction of the Temple and our subsequents exiles from the Holy Land are deeply traumatic periods of Jewish history. Needless to say, this is a very sad and scary time of year. However, we are living in the time of redemption, when after 2,000 years, the Jewish people have been blessed to be returned to their biblical homeland, Israel. Next up is the rebuilding of the Temple VERY SOON, please G-d.

Let us hope and pray that we are deserving of Hashem’s blessings and mercy, and that sadness will be completely turned into joy, the world will be healed, and peace will prevail.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

March 17, 2019

Israel - Day 3 - Jerusalem
























(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal, 
Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)

Share/Save/Bookmark

July 30, 2018

That's The Power Of Love

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, "Shabbat Nachamu: That's The Power of Love."

We don't have to fight, but even when we fight, we can overcome through compassion, love, and constructive reconciliation.  

Love and friendship can win over anger and fighting, and help to usher in the ultimate redemption. 

Hope you enjoy the article. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 22, 2018

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 

The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 

The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 

I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 

I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city--the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart--and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, and introspection for the Jewish people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 1, 2018

An Arrogant Model Who Defiles The Holy Temple

Please see my new article, Naked Before G-d, in The Times of Israel. 
"In such a G-dly place [as the Kotel], where we are all spiritually naked for our actions before our Maker, [Belgian model,] Ms. Papen displayed not soul, but her haughty flesh."

And like the Sotah in the bible, who drinks of "the bitter waters" for defiling the sanctity of her marriage, Ms. Papen will most certainly come to see the consequences for her defilement of the most sacred place of Judaism. 

I wouldn't want to be her, seriously! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 26, 2017

@The Great Kotel in Jerusalem


So we made it to the Kotel in Jerusalem yesterday.

What an amazing experience.

It's been too many years.

Definitely, one of the top moments of my life.

As we entered the old city and walked through the narrow ways toward the Western Wall of the Temple, my heart and breathing was racing and I could feel the spiritualness getting closer and closer. 

When we finally arrived at the Holy Wall, I was just completely overwhelmed and saying over and over, OMG!

We took some photos, and then immediately when to pray at the wall. 

I think I got lost in prayer and didn't realize how long I had been standing and clutching the Holy Wall of G-d's ancient Temple. 

I truly believe that our prayers ascend to Heaven at this special spot of G-d's earthly abode. 

I wanted to fall to my knees, but stopped myself repeatedly as this is not generally the Jewish custom. 

But in my mind, my body, and soul was prostrated completely before G-d Almighty.

I put myself in His hands.

We can only do our best, and the rest is all in His control.

We can try to make the best decisions we can, but the real guidance in life comes from Him and His will for us. 

We learned in Yeshiva, not to ask in prayer for specific things in life to happen for us, but rather to ask G-d to do what is right in His eternal mind for us. 

This is right...submit to the King of Kings and let Him show us the way for us.

What are the right words to say to G-d?

At the end, thank you and please continue to help us, your children. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 29, 2017

We Remember and Cry

Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem--on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart--in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 

Tisha B'Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 

We remember and cry on Tisha B'Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 

It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 
By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
'Sing to us from the song of Zion'
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 
If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness
We as a people have been through so much...servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide...thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder--yet, Israel Doth Live!

As the L-rd promised the Jews--after exile would come redemption, and so it is!

For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple--please G-d in our days soon.

From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany--we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold "from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River." (Exodus 23:31) ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 10, 2017

Tunnel From Egyptian Bondage

On Passover, we celebrate G-d's redemption of the Israelites and the great miracles he wrought in bringing them from slavery to freedom, giving them the sacred Torah, and taking them to the Holy Land of Israel. 

His mercy and kindness endures forever!

While many people think that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the desert...

Little do most people know that there is also this miracle tunnel that many Israelites took when G-d took them out of Egyptian bondage and exile. 

It connected them from Egypt and straight to the IRT subway train, which took them to the shuttle that then got them to John F. Kennedy International Airport and on to El Al planes to the State of Israel.

In G-d's world, there is no limitations of time and space...and He literally brought them on wings on eagles to live in Israel and worship at his holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

For 3,500 years, the Israelite Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel--from their days and until ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and let us bless and thank G-d, and say Amen!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 14, 2016

Jerusalem's Absolutely Jewish Temple Mount

So the Nazi's tried to make the world Judenrein--free of Jews--meaning dead, as in Holocaust and genocide!

The Babylonians tried. 

The Assyrians tried.

The Greeks tried.

The Romans tried.

The Persians tried. 

And more...

...but they all failed. 

Empires came and went with their anti-Semitism, hatred, racism, discrimination, and bigotry. 

Now the UNjust United Nations, heralded by demagogues, dictators, and human rights abusers from around the world come together against Israel.

The latest yesterday, by the corrupt UNESCO, which drafted yet another resolution against the Jewish State declaring that the Holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem where the Jews worship at the Western Wall of their twice destroyed temple (Beit HaMikdash) is not Jewish.

The First Temple: 
1 Kings 6: "In the 480th year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the 4th year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the L-rd. 

The Second Temple:
Ezra 1-3: "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia...the L-rd stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia...thus says Cyrus king of Persia...whoever among you of all his people, may his G-d be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the L-rd, the G-d of Israel--he is the G-d who is in Jerusalem."

The anti-Semitic UN and it's farcical subagencies like UNESCO can make earthly resolutions--false and worthless--all they want. 

But there is a heavenly G-d, and only He/She reigns supreme and whose resolution is truth and will endure. 

Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and the Temple Mount is the holy site of the Jewish people, and if the UN has a problem with the word of G-d then they have a very BIG problem indeed. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal; The beautiful painting by Penina Flamm)
Share/Save/Bookmark