Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

April 11, 2021

Never A Doubt: Not An Inch


 Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Never A Doubt: Not An Inch."

In an effort to make peace with the Palestinians, some perhaps well-meaning politicians have attempted to negotiate to give away parts of the holy land of Israel, and this is a big mistake. In contrast to these politicians and some diehard “peaceniks” (i.e. who believe in peace at almost any cost), there are many people in Israel, from Zionists and nationalists to settlers, messianists, and the religious who maintain a deep underlying faith that the land of Israel, in its entirety, belongs to the Jewish people. Moreover, they trust that our current and miraculous possession of Israel, after 2,000 years of exile, is anchored in our transition from helpless, stateless, and victimized Jews to instead those of self-reliance, bold action, and faith in the Almighty that we are living in the times of redemption and Mashiach.

It’s not easy to stand firm in the face of delegitimization, boycotts, terrorism, and even war. For Jews, it’s a matter of faith over fear. If we have faith that G-d has brought us back to Israel and that he will not forsake us, then we will neither fear the absurdly biased resolutions of the crooked United Nations or the nations and their terror proxies roundabout that have sought our destruction. In the end, G-d decides, and not man, the fate of Israel and its people, and let it be for blessings only.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 15, 2020

Don't Lose Your Head

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Don't Lose Your Head."
Woman are notorious in the Bible for taking men’s heads—and I mean taking them!

The great news is that women are awesome fighters, the bad news is that your head is a very valuable thing to lose.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 26, 2019

A Song of Saul and David


Great song: David and Shaul from Ehud Banay's third album, ”The Third/Hashlishi”

The song is about the "bipolar" feelings of King Saul toward David (then the next king of Israel). 

Here are the lyrics:

כולם מזמן הלכו לישון

רק שאול ער, קודר
מרים לדוד טלפון

A late-night hour
Everyone is long gone to sleep
Only Shaul is awake, cheerless
He calls David up over the phone

אולי תקפוץ אלי, יא דוד
נפשי אגם שחור
תביא איתך את הגיטרה
כי באצבעותיך אור

Maybe you should stop by, Ya David
My soul is a black lake
Bring the guitar with you
For you have light in your fingers

דוד בא מיד רגוע,
מתיישב ומכוון
את המלאכה היטב יודע
עוצם עיניים, מנגן

David comes right away and he is calm
Sit down and tunes (the guitar)
The job he well knows
Closes his eyes, he plays

עשר אצבעות לדוד
קצה כל אצבע - קרן אור
כשהוא פורט על המיתר
הזמן זורם לו לאחור

Ten fingers David has
The tip of each one - a ray of light 
When he port on the string
The time is flowing backwards

שאול מבפנים קרוע
קרבות בתוך בטנו
אוהב-שונא, ומקנא
מכור לחברו

Shaul is torn inside
Battles in his stomach he has
Love-hate, and jealous he is
Addicted to his friend

דבר מה אפל נופל
השד חוזר להשתולל
סכין נזרקת באוויר
פתאום יש בין השנים קיר

Something dark falls
The demon is back to a rage
A knife is thrown in the air
Suddenly there is a wall between the two

דוד מתחמק משאול
אבל שאול לא מוותר
דוד שוכח וסולח
כששאול מתקשר
David is avoiding Shaul
But Shaul is not giving up
David forget and forgives
When Shaul call up
בוא שוב לנגן לי דוד
קח אותי לכוכבים
בוא שוב לנגן הלילה
שיר געגועים
Come again to play to me David
Take me to the stars
Come again to play tonight
A song of longing

בוא שוב לנגן הלילה...

Come again and play tonight..

בוא שוב לנגן הלילה
שיר געגועים...
Come again and play tonight..
A song of longing..

(Kudos to my Ulpan teacher, Rivka D. for sending me the video and to Izchak, my wonderful son-in-law, for providing the Hebrew/English lyrics)

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May 10, 2019

Who Is Occupying Whom?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Who Is Occupying Whom?"
  • Palestine was never a state, nor one ever administered by Palestinians.
  • Israel is not occupying any foreign sovereign’s land, so it cannot legally be considered an occupier.
  • There was never any partition plan accepted by the Arabs or implemented, so Israel is not occupying anything.
  • It is Israel that has continuously opened itself to the Arabs as citizens and settlers, while the Arab countries have rejected their own Arab brethren and exiled their Jews.
I hope you read this article and understand the lies and propaganda that is being spread about "the occupation."

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from Wikimedia Commons)
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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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July 3, 2018

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I'm not very skillful with it).

It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 

It wasn't like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 

I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 

We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 

It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs--she was so happy learning and practicing. 

Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class...ah, no!  (or at least not yet...)

While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival--it's truly miraculous!

There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!

And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 

I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 31, 2018

Birthday of Trees




Today is the holiday of Tu Bishvat.

That is the Birthday for (fruit) Trees!

It's when Jewish people celebrate and plant trees around the world and especially in the Holy Land. 

Last night, we celebrated with Chabad Israeli Center of Rockville where they had not only of the "7 Fruits" of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates), but they also had some very nice wine and cheese, delicious bourekas, and pastries. 

We learned about the biblical meaning of the "7 Species of Fruits" and the flourishing of the land of Israel, celebrated with music and song, and played a trivia game with our smartphones using a cool new gaming and learning application, called Kahoot

A special thank you to Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Beitsh and to Samy Ymar for sponsoring the event.

Overall, a beautiful evening to meet new people and celebrate a very happy birthday to the beautiful trees and mother nature that G-d has so benevolently bestowed on us. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 11, 2018

Bringing Down The House

I love this silver sculpture of Samson.

And one of my favorite stories and Biblical characters. 

Samson was dedicated to G-d from birth and was an enormous warrior. 

Even when he was betrayed, blinded, and bound, he maintained his ultimate faith in G-d.

He prayed that he be given the strength one more time to bring justice to G-d's enemies. 

And that's when he pushed against the pillars and brought the house down on them.

On one hand, a tragic figure that trusted and was fooled by the beautiful Delilah, but a completely heroic man of great integrity, who believed in G-d and in vanquishing his enemies.

Look to the Heavens for your strength and G-d can grant you the ultimate strength to achieve your mission in life and even in death. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2017

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel--Mazel tov!

- 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.

- 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.

- 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.

Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.

As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and "it is the right thing to do!"

Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 

And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 

We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d's promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.

From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.

Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 

But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 

The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.

We must never forget that it is only with G-d's blessing and under his watchful eye.

May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WhiteHouse.gov)
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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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August 5, 2017

Thou Shalt Not

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 

What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 

And how some people hear what they want to hear. 

All of the 2nd five start with "Thou shalt not,"  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 

So for example: Thou shalt not kill...steal...commit adultery...lie...desire.

But not everyone listens to the "Thou shalt not" and instead they just hear--selectively:

- Kill
- Steal
- Commit adultery
- Lie
- Desire

If you take out the "Thou shalt nots," you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.

How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life--get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it--no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.

Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don't do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!

Who you going to listen to? 

Not everyone seems to care--they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 

Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 

And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2017

Greatest Museum of Them All

So the greatest museum of them all is scheduled to open in just 3 months!

The Museum of the Bible.

Right here in Washington, D.C.--a few blocks from the Capitol. 

There is a wonderful video on their website

It's 430,000 square feet and 8 stories floors. 

With two 40-feet-high bronze doors that look like the Ten Commandments. 

And an overall tall and narrow shape with a curved roof that reminds me of Noah's Ark.

It encompasses: 

Religion.

History.

Art. 

It all comes together here. 

There is an interesting display of all the different versions of the Bible.

But what it all points to is how similar we all really are. 

The emergence of faith in The One G-d who created us all--his children--and the foundation in the words of His book. 

Yes, we share in common much more than what separates us. 

If we can just see ourselves in His eyes and be the people we can be and were meant to be. 

The museum should be an inspiration to be better, to be brothers, to have peace, to partner and progress to the future.

With our faith sustaining us, and the Bible and our conscience as our guides, we can overcome. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 18, 2017

The Nature of Good and Evil


Like in the Bible...

When our forefather Itzchak was about to bless his son Jacob and he said the words (are good) like Jacob, but the hands (deeds) feel like Esau.

Words are cheap, and actions speak volumes louder!

Good deeds mean something, but words are easily manipulated.

We can all spot good deeds, and that is what must guide our judgement of people and situations--that is where the truth rests.

Like my father and grandfather always taught me--some people are good and some are not so good.  ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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February 4, 2017

The Miraculous Mezuzah

So there is a Jewish commandment to put a mezuzah on your doorposts. 

Reminiscent of ancient times when Jews were slaves in Egypt and G-d told the Israelites to put the blood of the Paschal lamb on the doorpost.

When they did this and the Angel of Death killed the firstborn in each home of the taskmaster Egyptians--he passed over the doorposts of the Israelites that had the blood on it as commanded by G-d.

So too these days, the Mezuzah has the holy prayer of the Shema Yisrael on it:
"Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One".
And it is believed to be a symbol of G-d's divine protection for the home. 

This week in Synagogue, Rabbi Haim Ovadia told some miraculous stories about the Mezuzah from when he was the Rabbi in Bogota, Columbia.

He told of how the cartels would raid the buildings where the people in the community lived.  The cops would be told not to respond to the calls for help for at least an hour.  But what was a miracle was that apartments with the mezuzahs were not harmed. Later, the people found out that the cartels, thank G-d left them alone, because they didn't know what a mezuzah was and thought it was some sort of fancy alarm system!

Another story, was the boss who put mezuzahs on the offices at work, and what happened? The profitability of the business went up.  When they looked at why this happened, they realized that the boss would stop at the mezuzah to recite the Shema, and the workers thought the boss was there paying more attention to them and so productivity went way up. 

Finally, the last one was really funny.  They couldn't easily get mezuzahs in Bogota, so when they heard someone was coming from a trip to Israel, they asked him to bring 5 mezuzahs for the home. When it arrived, they opened it up, but lo and behold, the parchment with the prayer inside was missing from them.  When they asked what happened to it--the person said, I already know how to put up a mezuzah on the doorpost with 2 nails and a hammer, so what do I need the instructions inside it for!

G-d is glorious and the holiness that he bestows on us with his commandments is amazing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 22, 2017

Ambassador of Redemption and Peace

Thought this was so cool...

One of my friends from synagogue has an amazing replica of the letter From President Harry S. Truman recognizing the the State of Israel (with the President's last-minute hand-written edits on it):

It reads: 
"This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.  
The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." 
Harry Truman 
Approved May 14, 1948"
 And hence the Jewish people went from almost 2,000 years in exile and persecution--culminating in the genocidal Holocaust that wiped out 6,000,000 Jews--to be followed by the founding of the State of Israel and the keeping of G-d's promise in the Bible:
Genesis 15:18: 
"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
Deuteronomy 30:3 
"Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you."
We are living through historic times!

Now the Headquarters of the State Department is named the Harry S. Truman building...how fitting for all our diplomacy to be called for the President that recognized the State of Israel, as the Bible said. 

Then this weekend, I was truly surprised and humbled when another friend from synagogue said that he thinks with all my passion and caring for the United States, Israel and G-d that I could be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel...I couldn't have be more moved by these lovely sentiments.

As a child of Holocaust survivors and a person of faith who believes deeply that we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible literally being fulfilled and that we are in the time of the great redemption, I have a vision that we are ushering in the coming of the Messiah and that there will be peace in our lands and enlightenment of G-d upon the Earth. 

I hope and pray every day for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 21, 2017

Mystical 613 - Inauguration




So we are continuing to see the mystical, holy 613--the number of commandments in the Torah (Bible). 

- From the number of views on my LinkedIn Profile, 613, in the last 90 days.

 - To the tag the laundromat put on my dry cleaning, 60013.

- And to the caption, Day 61 - 1:31 PM, on the latest episode of the tv show, Alone, on the History channel. 

For those of you of faith...there are no coincidences--every leaf that falls from the tree is only at the will of the One Above. 

As I watched the inauguration of President Trump yesterday, it was inspiring that he featured the most number of religious leaders (6) at any inauguration.

And Trump, the President and billionaire himself, said that the military protects us, and law enforcement protects us, but the greatest protection is from G-d!

Further, I was amazed that one of the clergy that spoke at the inauguration was Rabbi Marvin Hier--the head of LA's Simon Wiesenthal Center (that memorializes the Holocaust/Jewish Genocide that occurred just more than 70 years ago). 

It was a true moment of awe, when Rabbi Marvin Hier said joyfully in front of the whole world (including the anti-Semitic United Nations and former President Obama with their evil resolutions against the Holy Land):

"Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs...[and] by the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill."

Perhaps, just perhaps...we are really entering the time of the redemption--when G-d will shine his light on his people and there will be peace, health, and prosperity for all the righteous of the world. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 31, 2016

613 Menu

So for those of you following my blogs about 613 (the number of commandments in the Torah)--this is blog 6 in the monthly series. 

And here it is again, on the menu for a simple Caesar Salad--depending on the size, it's $6 or $13.

I'm sorry but I don't need a statistician to tell me that the number of times and places for the revealing of 613--without even looking for it (seriously)--is extraordinary. indeed. 

G-d has a message for us of hope and faith--613--I plan on listening. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 11, 2016

613 In Miniature

So this is my fifth month in a row now posting about the holy 613 (number of commandments in the Torah). 

This time my daughter sent me this photo from this afternoon. 

Do you see the 613 in the middle (I almost missed it)?

She actually saw this on a city bus--it was on the vertical cord you pull to request a stop--and it was tiny.

But there it was--calling us out to have absolute faith in the Almighty above. 

As it happens, I saw another 613 this month--again out of nowhere. 

I was talking to a colleague in the office. 

He was wearing his badge--I think off to the side of his belt. 

And when I looked down for a moment, the number of the badge was glaring out 613. 

I thought for a second to take a photo, but this obviously wouldn't have been appropriate. 

It's just too weird at this point...

613 everywhere...and we are all seeing it.  

Mass psychosis, no.

Living in the time of the Messiah, hopefully.

Message to have faith, absolutely.

Please G-d, it should all be for the good. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Note: If there are any Torah scholars out there that can help interrupt these 613 sightings--would greatly welcome your comments for blessings. 

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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January 9, 2016

10 Commandments, 10 Plagues--What's The Connection?

-- Click on the image to read in large graphic --

___________________________________________________________

It occurred to me while listening to the Rabbi's speech at Magen David Synagogue today that there is nothing random in the Torah (Bible).

Since this weeks's Torah reading in Exodus was about the ten plagues in Egypt, I realized that this must be connected to the later ten commandments in a subsequent reading. 

This table explains how the commandments to the Jews (and all mankind) and the plagues on the Egyptians are connected one for one.

(Source Table: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 27, 2015

Supreme Court Of People and Of Heaven

So yes, I am a firm believer in live and let live. 

That goes for long time friends that have actually converted away from our cherished Jewish traditions to friends or relatives that choose a gay or lesbian lifestyle--it's their choice!

And everyone has free choice to do what they think is right--that is the nature of free choice--if we weren't free to choose, then how could we be responsible for our choices?

But what I am confused about sincerely with the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians is not the concept of where everyone is equal under the law, but the open contradiction with the Torah (Biblical) texts that I am familiar with since I was a child in Yeshiva:

1) Leviticus 18:22--"Thou shalt not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 

2) Leviticus 20:13--"If a male lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death, their blood is upon them."

I understand that many advocating for gays and lesbians have explained these texts as no longer applicable today (ref: Huffington Post):

- That the Biblical passages "do not refer to homosexuality as we know it today" (i.e. those that are consensual, not cultic rites, etc. )

- That they "are conditioned by the cultural and historical realities of the authors" and one needs to consider the greater biblical context for G-d's love and caring of all. 

But looking at the strict text of these passages, they don't seem to read as conditional (there are no conditions identified), and for those that believe that the Torah is divine (written by G-d) and is timeless, then how do we reconcile it with our wanting to be loving and accepting of ALL people who aren't hurting themselves or anyone else?

Adding to the confusion, we read just this week about extremists like ISIS killing gays by brutally throwing them off of roofs and routinely about arch enemy Iran hanging them in the public square. 

Also going in my mind is the question of there being separation of church and state in this country, yet does legalizing gay and lesbian marriage affirm that separation or does it cross it by legislating against the strict scripture that many hold inviolate. 

Similar to the debate on abortion rights, these are where modern day-to-day issues and traditional religious teachings and values can be difficult to harmonize. 

I am truly happy for gays and lesbians that they can marry if they choose and find their happiness--everyone deserves this, but religiously, I am left unsure of how to reconcile this with the Torah as written. 

Can we think that we are free to choose the individual commandments we believe in or not or to find explanations where we don't understand them or they don't make sense to us--if so, how do we know we are doing what G-d wants of us or whether we are going astray?

In the end here the Supreme Court affirmed the right to choose and to respect all people under the law--this is fundamental to our basic beliefs in freedom, human rights, and love of our fellow man.  

But in so doing, will some see this as encroaching on G-d's law and if so, what is the impact to those that are deeply religious and/or hold strictly heterosexual marriage as sacrosanct?

Surely each person must follow the dictates of their conscience which G-d has granted us, but pitting the Supreme Court of us earthly beings potentially against that of Heaven--this is a truly tricky and slippery slope to understand and reconcile. ;-)

(Source Photo: Twitter @WhiteHouse)
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