Showing posts with label G-d. Show all posts
Showing posts with label G-d. Show all posts

June 18, 2020

Freedom But Disparity

America is a great country.

The freedom, rights, and opportunities we have is exceptional and enviable in the world and history.

But the disparity between rich and poor, majorities and minorities is grotesque.

On one side of the street are the mansions, and on the other are the slums.

One on side of the train station are those going off to work, and on the other side are the homeless lying in the gutter.

On one side of the scale are people fat with money and power, and on the other side are people hungry and decaying.

Wealth is overflowing for those that are the fortunate, but also corruption runs systematically deep.

This isn't an issue of political party, but one of the righteousness of men's hearts.

G-d watches and man disappoints, but the the future is still wide open.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2020

Frog Ready To Spring

Cool photo of this frog in motion and ready to spring.

You can really see his leg muscles in action.

It's amazing all the different and wonderful creatures that Hashem has created.

Thank you G-d for this amazing world you have created for us.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 8, 2020

Holding Back The Tide

These rocks are holding their own against the tide. 

They are also standing the test of time. 

We all need to push back against the tide when wrong is pushing forward. 

Whether its corruption or violence.

Be like a rock!

Choose good over evil in every situation.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 5, 2020

We Have To Pray Just To Make It One Day

So as we have done for ages...

We pray.

We weep.

We bless. 

We request.

We thank.  

We only control what we say and do.

The rest is in G-d's merciful, blessed hands. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 23, 2020

The 11th Commandment

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The 11th Commandment."
How many times do I hear about fellow Jews trying to "out-frum" (i.e. be holier than thou) other Jews: whether it's in terms of Kashrut, Shabbat or even who stayed up the latest for the Passover Seder. Recently, when it came to coronavirus, I was more than a little shocked to read that someone actually attributed the disease to it being a punishment from G-d because women's skirts are not being worn long enough. While certainly it's good to be introspective and there is a strong concept of reward and punishment in Judaism, there is something about us Jews where we tend to want to go a little more and a little farther. In some cases, we are doing "hiddur mitzvah" (beautification of the Mitzvah) which is praiseworthy, but in other cases, we may be adding unnecessary "chumras" (i.e. stringencies) than can backfire religiously. My unequivocal preference is to follow my father's teaching to me of the Rambam's "Shvil Ha'zahav" (i.e. the golden path) and not go too far to the left or to the right, but keep a healthy middle of the road approach to life.

In the end, the number of commandments are what they are, and with 613 throughout the Torah, there is enough to keep us all busy going what is right with G-d and our fellow man. While we may like to overachieve in our careers, our education, and our pedigrees, it is not necessary to try to outdo each other religiously. Religion is a matter between us and Hashem and G-d knows what is in our hearts and counts up all our deeds according to His holy Torah with nothing added and nothing subtracted.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 20, 2020

The Times of Mashiach

Truly, we are living in the times of Maschiach. 

Someone contacted me with a friend request on Facebook, and his profile included that he is a:
Torah-Observant Gentile

Wow! 

It's truly like we say in the Aleinu prayer every day:
All Mankind shall invoke Your Name, to turn to You all the wicked of the earth.  They will recognize and know--all the inhabitants of the world---that every knee should bend to You...The L-rd will be King over the entire earth; on that day the L-rd will be One and His Name One.
We are on the way and I hope we all get to see and cross over the finish line soon. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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May 17, 2020

Singing Frankie The Fish + Happy Engagement Day


At the fish counter at Seven Mile Market in Baltimore, they had Frankie the Fish singing away.
Give me that fish...if it were you in that sandwich you wouldn't be laughing at all.

And most important today is I am singing because of a very happy day:

Thank you Hashem on the the engagement of Minna and Nafi! 

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2020

Anger, Faith, and Growth

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Anger, Faith, and Growth."

We live in an unpredictable world and I have made more than one bad decision recently. Fortunately, it was nothing too terrible, but I was still angry about it, and my gut reaction was to somehow blame G-d, and to feel angry at Him, because I thought somehow I didn't deserve what had happened. However, I asked myself how can you be angry at G-d if you believe that everything he does is for your ultimate good? It took me a little time, but I realized that I wasn't really angry at G-d, but at myself; It was my fault, I did deserve what happened, and my mistakes aren't G-d's.

Maybe this is what life is really all about--searching and finding G-d even among all the multitude of mistakes we make in life. We have to own our mistakes, learn from them, and thereby become stronger and better people.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 3, 2020

We Impact Each Other's Souls

Finishing Natan Sharansky's book Fear No Evil

And I rarely write twice on a book or movie, but this was so impactful. 

First on our souls, Sharansky writes:
The law of attraction, interconnection, and interdependence of human souls...there is a universal gravitational pull of souls, of the bond between them and influence of one soul on the other. 

Wow, Sharansky understood the deeper meaning of the soul and how they all emanate and are pieces from G-d and they are all connected to their source and each other, and what one person says or does impacts all the others (and thereby G-d himself). 

Literally, I experienced this the other day...when I personally made amends on something I felt that I had done wrong, and I could literally feel somehow righting a wrong in the universe and G-d, Himself, smiling down on me. 

It was the best feeling I think I have ever had in my life. 

Second on fear, Sharansky writes:

My inner freedom [is] more powerful than the external bondage...[and] fear of the L-rd...is a necessary prerequisite for man's achieving inner freedom, and is also the prerequisite for spiritual resolve, the fear of the L-rd is the only thing that can conquer human fear.

Wow again. Sharansky through his nine years of suffering and hardships in Soviet prisons and labor camps found his deep inner strength to resist the tyranny of the KGB worldly masters and overcame them with his finding his fear and faith in G-d and was able to overcome. 

These are two amazing heavenly lessons that Sharansky shares with us from enduring and overcoming his incredible worldly hardships.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this and am with G-d's help continuing to quench my thirst for this type of wisdom and true enlightenment.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 1, 2020

Shabbat Shalom and Stay Healthy!

Beautiful Shabbat is almost here again. 

A time for rest and rejuvenation. 

Each of us has to take care of and nourish our body, mind, and soul. 

Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom!

Please stay safe and healthy. ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 26, 2020

Count Your Blessings

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Count Your Blessings."
I just wanted to share a short reflection with everything going on in the world these days with coronavirus and the economic shutdown: I see people are scared and confused, under lockdown and feeling financial strain, and many are getting sick and dying. But I remember the words of my dear father who used to say: "Count Your Blessings!" And he was so right. There are so many things, literally every moment of every day, for us to be grateful for:

Certainly, we all face extreme difficulties or challenges at times in our lives, but things can always be so much worse, and there is still so much for us to be grateful for. Therefore, truly thank you G-d with a hundred blessings—and more—for every moment of every precious day. And we affirm that surely the L-rd who created us will continue to sustain us, and that ultimately all will be for the good.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 19, 2020

Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Coronavirus: A Modern Leprosy."
What an interesting time this week during the coronavirus for my bar-mitzvah parshas of Tazria and Metzora, where we learn about how to handle someone with the plague of leprosy...What’s fascinating though for our times is that right here in the Torah, long before medical science understood germs, washing of hands, and disinfectants, we have the first instruction on quarantining someone who is sick. The person with leprosy is deemed impure and is put outside the camp in quarantine, repeatedly checked (e.g. tested) by the Kohen, until they are healed, at which time they are purified before being allowed back in. What we don’t see with leprosy is that the whole community is put in a state of quasi quarantine as we are doing now globally with the coronavirus.

In the end, I see this coronavirus blowing up with some people forever anxious and germophobic and others becoming complacent and careless about the whole thing. Either way there will be more sick and dying people, as well as anger at the system that over time repeatedly failed us. This week’s parsha is a good reminder to go back to the ultimate wisdom of the Torah and read again how we handle the leper and manage with a thoughtful risk-based management approach and an eye on the ultimate purity—physically and spiritually—of the individual and the community.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

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April 16, 2020

Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End."
Despite our redemption from slavery in Egypt (1312 BCE), we continue through cycle after cycle of enslavement and exile.

In Kabbalah, we learn that the Jewish soul reincarnates until it reaches its spiritual enlightenment and fulfills all the mitzvot. Similarly, the soul of the Jewish people is reincarnated and relives painful destruction, slavery, and exile until we learn, grow, and finally become what we are destined to be as servants only of Hashem and as a light unto the nations. This has been our fate, but also it is one that we are finally nearing the end of with the return to the Promised Land and perhaps even the arrival soon of Mashiach.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

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April 8, 2020

Corona Matzah Man

So this is what happens when Coronavirus pandemic coincides with Passover. 

We get a Corona Matzah Man wearing his face mask so he doesn't get sick, G-d forbid. 

Even as we get ready to celebrate the seder tonight and recall G-d's mercifully delivering us from Egyptian servitude, we also can be certain that He will deliver us from this dreaded Coronavirus. 

G-d is all powerful and has a purpose for everything. 

Perhaps, we just needed a reminder of who was in charge not only on Passover, but all the year round. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 31, 2020

Children Are Our Future

There are already 32 states under lockdown orders and more surely to come.

It is good to see the children playing outside (even in smallish groups). 

It's trying times with schools closed, many parents trying to telework, and the need to take care of the children (especially the younger ones) at the same time. 

We can't lose sight that the children are our future. 

They are everything in this world. 

Even with the Coronavirus pounding away at our older and more vulnerable populations, we can still thank G-d that not many children have been infected

Even in challenging times, G-d shows His mercy to us. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 30, 2020

Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would've thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 

But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 

As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face's half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms--who knows!

What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 

Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 

Even as the Navy's hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.

Where does this sickness stop?   

What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?

How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?

Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?

How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?

Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments...thank G-d we aren't there. 

But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that "there" isn't really all that far away from "here."

...That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 

And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d's help and mercy.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)
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March 29, 2020

Hope Amidst Coronavirus

This is absolutely what I call:
Hope Amidst Coronavirus.

Life is hope. 

The children are our future. 

Love and caring is our continuity. 

G-d's is the Master over it all. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 14, 2020

Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue."
While I understand the rationale to close the synagogues, not to congregate with others and expose ourselves or spread the Coronavirus, I can’t help thinking and believing that what we need now, more than ever, is prayer to Hashem and the mitzvah of Torah study that the synagogue provides to us. Indeed, only in the hands of G-d is the ultimate power of health or illness, and life or death...To me, this Shabbat was not a full Shabbat, because there was no synagogue, no Rabbi’s sermon, no community to talk and share with. I feel robbed of my religion today. I want to be able to go to synagogue and have a real Shabbat. How many other Shabbatot will we have to continue to go through without being able to pray in a minyan, hear the Torah reading, listen to the Rabbi’s speech, and see our community friends?

Many say and I firmly believe that we are on the doorstep of Mashiach and that he is even here among us waiting for the right moment to reveal himself. We’ve survived so much and finally have returned as a people to our homeland of Israel. Now we must survive the final birthing pains of Mashiach and then we will be able to go not only to our synagogues once again, but also to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray and learn at G-d’s very footstep in this earthly world.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 8, 2020

Why The Happiness of Purim?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Why The Happiness of Purim?"

In a world that is constructed of the story of Purim, everything looks like it's based on mere happenstance and there seems to be no G-d involved—this is a world of randomness and meaninglessness. Whatever happens, just happens by nature or luck, and what can be more meaningless and depressing than that! Thus, the Rabbis had to decree all the laws for the happiness of Purim, because happiness is not innate to a story that is seemingly happenstance and devoid of G-d. That is the big difference between Purim, where Hashem is hidden, and Passover or Hanukah, where Hashem revealed Himself and made incredible miracles—the 10 plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea or the one day of oil that lasted for eight days.

On Purim, we celebrate our deliverance from the evil Haman and the king's decree to kill all the Jews, but also we are overflowing with Joy remembering that G-d is always with us—in good times and G-d forbid in the bad times--we are not afraid of anything (another indecisive election, the stock market downturn, our enemies, Coronavirus, etc.) knowing that He loves us and cares for us, and will deliver us in the old days and in the new. May the final deliverance soon be completed with the arrival of the Mashiach—and the hidden will become revealed like on Purim and the joy will be forever increased. Amen.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 24, 2020

Getting Tefillin Checked

I visited with Rabbi Levy yesterday to get my tefillin checked.

I learned that if there are questions about the legibility of the holy scrolls, they are given to a child to read to see in their innocence whether the tefillin are kosher or not.

Something felt very good and important about performing this mitzvah.

In the meantime, while mine are being checked, I have a loaner pair of teffilin to use and daven with.

Yet to be seen whether it is time for a new pair or not--like a bar mitzvah all over again. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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