Showing posts with label Abraham. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abraham. Show all posts

November 16, 2019

Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch."
The Rabbi asked why did Hashem who is omnipotent even need to create us? And he answered because in G-d being the ultimate good, He “had to create us”—this in essence being the ultimate expression of good by sharing that goodness with us to learn and be good as well. In short, what could be a greater good than extending that opportunity to be be good to others.

Like our forefather, my Hebrew name is Avraham, and for me personally, this has been a critical life lesson: learning to see challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and consistently be a person that tries to do what is right even when it is hard or the lines seem to be grey. In the end, I believe that G-d put us in this world in order for us to choose good over evil and demonstrate kindness to others. With the Torah as our blueprint, and Avraham, our forefather, as our role model, we must apply the great teachings of the Torah and always strive to act as a proper mensch!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 10, 2019

We Can't Look Away



(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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March 19, 2019

Israel - Day 5 - Hebron and Tomb of Patriarchs and Matriarchs






















(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal) 

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September 2, 2018

One G-d, Many Stories

So we went to the mall and there was a new Indian gift store.

We went in to take a look, and they had all sorts of things, but one section had a lot of colorful statues. 

We didn't even really know what we were looking at when one of the young lady salespeople came over to explain. 

And she's pointing to different statues and saying that this is the "G-d of love," this is the "G-d of prosperity," this is the "G-d for removing obstacles," etc. 

I said to her questioningly (non-judgmental), "So we are Jews, and we believe in monotheism. How do you understand this concept of different 'G-ds'?"

She said, "Well, I learned about these growing up in India, but the way I've come to terms with this is that these "G-ds" are really different 'faces' of one G-d" and then she started to tell us the "stories" of them. 

So in her explanation, when they are confronting challenges in life, they pray to the "face of G-d" that focuses on removing those obstacles, and when they are seeking prosperity then they pray to that "face of G-d" so on and so forth. 

It was interesting to me how this young lady came to find a monotheistic interpretation and path for herself and perhaps others who have similar beliefs.  

I wondered to myself whether this understanding can be in a way be similar to the Jewish concept of G-d having different attributes like midat Rachamin, din, etc. 

Of course, I know that G-d loves all of us, and I respect everyone's personal beliefs.

For me and my traditional Jewish belief system, I wholeheartedly affirm as my namesake Abraham:
Sh'ma Yis'rael, Hashem Elo'kenu, Hashem Echad.
Hear O' Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one.  
 ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Moshe Shalom)
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October 21, 2017

The Origin of Government In The Bible


Thought this was a really interesting speech by the Rabbi Haim Ovadia in synagogue today.

The origin of government and the function/dysfunction of society and rule of law is rooted in the in beginnings of mankind as told in the Bible/Torah. 

Starting with Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden -- This was pretty much anarchy with only one law at the time not to eat the apple from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. 

Then in Noah's Generation - There was oligarchy with roaming gangs that took the women and committed wickedness. 

Followed by the Tower of Babel -- This was communism with everyone united to build and have a common property, a great city and tower reaching to the heavens.

Subsequently Sodom & Gomorrah - This was capitalism with people looking after their own selves and cities, getting spoiled of their material goods, and committing all manner of vices. 

And only then in the time of Abraham - There arose democracy with G-d electing Abraham and the Israelites based on lovingkindness and charity. 

As we know from the Bible and can see in the chart above, only democracy resulted in blessings for all of mankind.  

Yes, the election in the bible was made by G-d, but the notion is one based on "elected" representatives that do good and are a light for the whole world--so no, dictators need not apply!

The Bible is truly a blueprint for us as to how we can live our lives as well as how we can govern the world effectively . ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 10, 2013

Biblical Art







So we turned the clock forward this morning and spring was here...it was warm enough to go hiking again. It was a long one, but great to be back outdoors. 

After the hike we stopped at Max's in Silver Spring for their famous shawarma sandwiches...OMG are they amazingly good (I got mine extra spicy and mixed with the tahini sauce and fresh meat right off the spit...it is delicious!

After paying, I noticed there was this beautiful wall hanging between the register and pickup counter...I started to take a closer look and there were these gorgeous scenes from the bible:

- Creation and the 7th Day of Rest

- Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden 

- Noah and The Ark, Cain and Abel, The Tower of Babel, and Abraham 

- Joseph, Moses, The Exodus from Egypt, and The Ten Commandments

- The Promised Land of Israel, The Fall of Jericho, King David, The Temple, Hezekiah, and Jonah and The Whale

The detail, colors, and flow on this artwork was absolutely amazing. 

It is called "A Celebration of Spirit" and I believe that the artist is Charles Fazzino. 

The lithograph was tall and narrow, and I would love to see it as a whole wall mural...it is really beautiful and brought the bible so alive.

I found out today that not only the shawarma is good at Max's... ;-)

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November 17, 2012

One Day We'll Be Old


This is a wonderful, moving music video by Israeli composer Asaf Avidan, remixed by German DJ--the song is called One Day/Reckoning (Wankelmut Remix)--it has topped the music charts across Europe. 

The reframe:
"One day baby, we'll be old
Oh baby, we'll be old
And think of all the stories that we could have told."

On a simplistic level, this music video is about two lovers torn apart and wondering how they'll look back one day and imagine what if only they had been able to make things work.

On a deeper level, perhaps this music video is a representation of the Israel and German who produced it--more than six decades after The Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the feelings of lose and of what could've been instead. 

"No more tears, my heart is dry
I don't laugh and I don't cry
I don't think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why"

Why the murder of six million men, women, and children--helpless--shot, starved, gassed, burnt in the ovens, electrified on the fences, attacked by dogs, and experimented on by sadististic scientists?

"We can't cry anymore, the heart is dry."

As time passes and we age--we think what could have been if we were allowed to live in peace --"think of all the stories  we could have told."

Now in Israel, again Six million Jews living in the Middle East, the fulfillment of the promise by G-d to Abraham, the return to The Promised Land. 

But the Middel East is composed of more than 20 countries and contains 20% of world's Muslim population or has roughly 315 million Muslims. In some areas, fundamentalism has taken root, and it is a volatile and dangerous neighborhood to live in.

Missles fly to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and and the people of the Holy Land take cover in bomb shelters as thousands of missiles threaten them.

In modern history, Israel has lost over 22,000 soldiers,with another 75,000 wounded, and there have been about 4,000 civilian victims of terror attacks. 

To put this in the perspective of a country the size of the U.S., this is the equivalent of us losing more than 1.1 million American soldiers, having almost 4 million wounded, and another 200,000 civilian victims of terrorism--it's unthinkable!

"I don't laugh and I don't cry"

Now Israeli's are blamed for defending their small country and the remnants of their people from being driven into the sea by those surrounding them on all sides. 

"Here I go again, the blame
The guilt, the pain, the hurt, the shame
The foundering fathers on our plane
that's stuck in heavy clouds of rain"

Next is Iran who threatens to wipe Israel off the map and is rushing to develop the nuclear weapons to accomplish their malevolent goals. 

"I don't think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why"

Why won't you let us just live in peace--leave us alone, once and for all. 

"One day, we'll be old
Oh baby, we'll be old
Think of all the stories we could have told"

If only, all could live and let live--think of all the better stories we could tell and all the lives not lost, and all the promise of a better future.

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