Showing posts with label Mercy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mercy. Show all posts

May 2, 2019

Beautiful Anne Frank


In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:

This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

For two years, they stayed in the attic...not being able to make a sound or open a window.

But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 

After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  ;-)

___
Song:

Anne Frank's Diary

Lyrics:

A bookcase hides me. 
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It's not true, it's not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I'm a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious ...
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious ...

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March 6, 2019

Trends In Homelessness

So the plight of the homeless in Washington, DC and other large cities like NY and LA is despicable. 

This photo is taken not far from the Capitol building in DC. 

The homeless are not living in tents in the dead of Winter. 

As the people pass by, under this particular overpass were no less than 4 tents. 

While millionaires and billionaires splurge on themselves, so many people continue to go without adequate food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, healthcare, education, and jobs in America. 

When G-d looks down and see the unsympathetic wealthy next to the downtrodden poor--and many of the wealthy act like insatiable pigs, while the poor go hungry and cold--shall the L-rd that judges all the earth not do justly?  

Yes, there should be incentives for people to work hard and contribute, but when the wealth is skewed so that more than 50% of all the wealth is owned by just the top 1% of people and the top 1% own more than the bottom 90% of the population--we have a system that is not just broken, but grossly unjust and inhumane. 

Corruption is alive and well, and who is there among our leaders to stand up and say and do what is right by G-d children? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2019

In The Blink Of An Eye

Please see my new article in The Times Of Israel called, "In The Blink Of An Eye." 
It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Those moments when your life or those of a loved one hang in the balance. It can go either way--you can end up on the road to success or potentially in the morgue. 
In those pivotal split seconds--your life can go this way or that. Do you recognize who is pushing on the scales of justice and are you ready on where to go from there? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2018

The Value of Pain

Three notables on the value of pain:

1) Pain is a warning of dangerous threats and helps safeguard us.

2) Pain that doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

3) Pain lets you know you ain't dead yet.

Then again, nothing wrong with a little pain relief. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 2, 2018

The Heart of The Matter

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Heartfelt Challenges."  

It's about some of my reflection on having a heart condition. 
Over time, what I’ve learned is that what is really important in life is not money, honor, power, or pleasure, but the simple things of family, community, faith, caring, giving, and generally trying your best in all circumstances. Every day is a chance to keep learning. 

Praying and hoping that please G-d everything goes well with the upcoming procedure. 

(Source Photo: Andy  Blumenthal)
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August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things...clothes...money...

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No... It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God's hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 8, 2018

Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa

Thought this was a beautiful wall hanging in a local restaurant here. 

Three golden Hamsas!

Hamsa is symbolic for the protective hand of G-d. 

Three is a number for "chizuk"  (strengthening) that signifies something is firmly established. 

The three Hamsas together is a potent representation for G-d's protection, mazel (good fortune), happiness, health, prosperity, and peace. 

Oh G-d, we pray that you show us your endless divine mercy and bless us with all that is for the good. 

Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2018

Know Before Whom You Are Standing

So many synagogues have this important saying at the top of the Holy Ark where the Torahs are kept in front of the shul.

It says, translated into English:

"Know before who you are standing (i.e. G-d)."

The idea is to remember when you are in the holy place of worship that you are standing and praying before G-d and should conduct yourself appropriately and with respect and reverence. 

While certainly there are times when people forget themselves in the synagogue and say or do something not completely appropriate (e.g. socializing, talking, or even telling jokes to their neighbors during the service), usually it is not intended to be disrespectful, but rather to be friendly with their neighbors and community. 

However, this past Shabbat I witnessed behavior in the synagogue (name withheld)  that was truly a chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d). 

Out of respect for the Rabbi (and Rabbabite), I will neither mention their names or go into the details about what happened except to say that it involved the politics surrounding the end of the Rabbi's 3-year term and the inability for him and the board to come to terms on a new agreement (even though one had  apparently been signed and reneged on). 

This did not belong in the synagogue on the holy Shabbat, period. 

Those embracing and kissing the Rabbi in his support and going against the President and the board that is elected to represent the congregation was disgraceful. 

Further, while I support the Rabbi saying his farewells, demanding to speak without the permission of the President and the board, and even before the President gave his regular announcements was inexcusable. 

And when the fighting between the Rabbi and President brought yelling and fighting to the congregants, this should have been a sign for that behavior to immediately cease. 

The desecration of the "peace" of the Shabbat with the politics, money, and contract issues and the ensuing fighting (almost civil war between those supporting the Rabbi and those the President and the board) before the Holy Ark filled with the Torahs was reprehensible. 

For the spiritual leadership to behave in such a crude and disrespectful fashion was a mark of utter disgrace in the synagogue before G-d. 

I have never seen anything like this before and hope never to have to witness anything so irreverent again. 

This was a most traumatic event for the community and I hope we will recover in time and have a complete healing. 

Moreover, I pray that G-d forgives the behavior that happened and has mercy on this congregation because things got out of control and I think they forgot before whom they were standing.  ;-)

(Source Photo and not of the synagogue under discussion: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 5, 2018

Rich, Famous, and Suicide

So I can't believe that Kate Spade (55) committed suicide -- Hanging. 

What an amazing fashion designer--so much to live for!

Famous for her gorgeous handbags (that used to be the business my dad was in too). 

Her net worth was $150,000,000!

Why does someone so beautiful, successful, rich, and famous take their life???

Ultimately, none of these things make happy or meaning in life!

Still, it is incredibly hard to understand seemingly having so much and throwing your life away--unless of course, we consider terrible things like severe depression and other horrible illnesses that can break anyone. 

Yet, there seem to be so many of these hugely successful people that take or lose their lives so young and with still so much to give the world:

Alan Turing (41) -- Cyanide

Alexander McQueen (40) - Hanging 

Amy Winehouse (27) -- Alcohol 

Chris Benoit (40) -- Broken Neck

Christine Chubbuck (29) -- Shooting

Dana Plato (34) - Overdose

Ernest Hemingway (61) -- Shooting

Jerzy Kosinski (57) -- Overdose

Kurt Cobain (27) -- Shooting

L'Wren Scott (49) -- Hanging

Lucy Gordon (28) -- Hanging

Marilyn Monroe (36) -- Overdose

Michael Jackson (50) -- Overdose

Mike Alfonso (42) - Hanging

Prince (57) -- Overdose

Robbin Williams (63) --Hanging

Sawyer Sweeten (19) -- Shooting

Sylvia Plath (30) - Gas Oven 

Vincent Van Gogh (37) -- Shooting

Virginia Woolf (59) - Drowning 

Whitney Houston (48) -- Drowning 

G-d should have mercy and help to take away the pain and suffering from people so that they can live and not die prematurely anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2018

Beautiful Virus, Huh?

So this is an image of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

Yeah, I never heard of it either. 

It is a virus that attacks and destroys tobacco and other plants. 

Viruses are ugly and evil in that they hurt and kill other living things

Yet in looking at this molecular image, I seriously hate to say it, but it is also beautiful in a way. 

The shape, color, complexity--the design and wisdom embedded in it--what can I say, but even this too is a miracle. 

Sure, it would be better in a mortal sense if there were no viruses to make us suffer and literally eat away at us. 

Yet, surely G-d has a plan even for these nasty virus molecules.  

Do they help us gain immunity to even worse diseases?

Do they help us to use ingenuity to discover, fight, and evolve to withstand their attacks and progress our society in larger ways?

Do they help us learn however horribly to turn to G-d, strengthen ourselves, and somehow try to cope with suffering and loss in life and death.

All sickness is unbelievably horrible and the suffering it causes is truly impossible to understand, and G-d should please, please have mercy on us. 

Yet, looking at this molecular image of even this virus, there is something comforting in the supreme intelligent design and creation of it all.  ;-)

(Source Andy's photo of image by Visual Molecular Dynamics)
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March 23, 2018

Going To Bed Hungry

So lots of people like to drink tea. 

But the other day, a nice person was telling me how they drink tea all the time. 

It's not just that they like tea, but there was an important true story behind it. 

You see, they said, when they were young growing up in a foreign country, they often didn't have enough to eat. 

So instead, they had resorted to drinking lots of tea. 

They went on to say, that as children, they often had to go to sleep hungry. 

It is truly a wake-up call for those of us who, thank G-d, have what to eat and so much choice and plenty in this great country. 

Not everyone in the world is so blessed to eat heartily and go to sleep with a full and satisfied belly. 

It is especially saddening and tragic when we are talking about innocent children in this world. 

As we go from the workweek to the weekend, perhaps it is a good time to reflect on how much we have to be grateful for and to wish blessings of peace, health, and prosperity on all our fellow mankind, here and all around the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumethal)
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February 16, 2018

It's For Us

I love this saying from one of my colleagues:
"G-d doesn't do it to us. 
He does it for us!"

Instead of asking with anger and resentment "why me?" -- perhaps we can try to see the larger picture and be grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that G-d does give us. 

While certainly there is pain and suffering in this world, there is also the chance to learn, grow, and become stronger and better people. 

We are here to hopefully leave the world a better place than before we got here. 

The perspective that the challenges and obstacles are not meant to really harm us, but to help us is not an easy pill to swallow.

But maybe it really is the enlightened view of faith that we all need to fight on and overcome. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 10, 2018

Among All The Apples

This was an interesting photo moment at Whole Foods--this Valentine's Day huggy bear sitting among all the apples. 

Sort of how I felt after synagogue today and at other times. 

I've learned the importance as my father had so often tried to teach me of going to synagogue.

Yes, the prayer and service to Hashem.

But also the community. 

We all need people. 

None of us is an island. 

At synagogue, aside from the opportunity to speak and be close with G-d, I appreciate the hearty calls of "Shabbat Shalom," the embracing handshakes, hugs and occasional kisses, the chance to see and kiss the holy Torah, and being among friends.

Like the apples, we're all sort of the same, yet unique, and we stand together. 

As apples, we all have our glowing and shiny outsides, a sweet inner core, and also plenty of juicy meat. 

People too put on their best clothes, shoes, and do themselves to look their best going to synagogue, and inside they are there to express their goodness with G-d and the community.

Also though, you hear plenty of the heartbreaking stories about what is happening to them as families and individuals. 

Sure, there are the lovely smachot (happy occasions) in their and our lives to celebrate, but there is also plenty of adversity and challenges faced daily. 

One member passed away this week, another is getting cancer treatments, and someone got hit by a car crossing the street and is in the hospital with literally 79 screws holding their ribs together!

Then there are those out looking for work, others suffering from bad marriages or getting divorced, someone with a sick child that needs lifelong care, and someone who even got robbed this week.

Yes, shiny on the outside and with the sweetness of souls and hearts, and yet everyone has their baskets of challenges to deal with. 

For someone like me, I literally feel it inside for people--it's like I can almost imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. 

Obviously, I can't--no one really can--but I imagine myself and ask myself OMG what in the world would I do--and of course, I have no real idea. 

Synagogue is I guess the most perfect place to experience all this--since we are before G-d, asking for his blessings and mercy, and with others, we bond to who are all in the same boat paddling and trying to survive and live a full and meaningful life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2018

If G-d Is With Me

I love this photo and caption that I saw on Facebook. 

Basically it translates from Hebrew as:
"If G-d is with me
Who can stand against me."

And it's a picture of someone walking through the split sea like in the exodus from Egypt. 

G-d can truly make miracles. 

What G-d decrees no man can stand against it. 

We need to merit G-d's standing with us. 

You have to do right, speak right, and have the right intentions. 

Only G-d can judge whether we are there!

But how amazing things can be for us if we look to the Heavens and merit G-d being with us.

Then no man can stand against us! ;-)

(Source photo: Tali-Cohen Saban)
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January 6, 2018

Two Lightning Strikes

One week apart, two freak accidents, both families nearly wiped out. 

Both touched me. 

Exactly one week ago, I learned and wished condolences to the man in synagogue who lost his wife, youngest son, and mother-in-law in the Mexico tourist bus accident. 

Today--7 days later, a neighbor comes up to me and tells me she's going to the funeral for her daughter, son-in-law and three children killed in the Costa Rica plane crash this week, and I wished her that G-d have mercy. 

Like two lightning strikes--not a coincidence (I don't believe in that).

I believe more that it is a warning, and it is really frightening.

I pray that G-d should have mercy on all of us. 
Please G-d, Save Us. 
Please G-d, Save Us. 
Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 
Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 
Life truly hangs by a thin thread.

The time period between my meeting the man and women from these two families--7 days--represents both life and death--it is both the number of days of "Sheva Brachot" (days of celebration for a bride and groom) and the number of says of "Shiva: (mourning when someone dies)

We need to be committed to doing good in this world and in His name.

-- Repentance, charity, and prayer.

All of us must do our best to serve G-d and always do right with integrity.

G-d should defeat evil, and He should have mercy on his faithful children, so that He turns mourning into celebration and blessings. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to kristendawn, and interesting that it is from Costa Rica)
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December 18, 2017

Shower Us With Peace

Oh L-rd, we pray that you shower your people with an abundant and complete peace. 

A peace of mind, spirit, and body.

A peace that permeates every aspect of our being and knows no limits to time and space. 

May You grant us a complete saving and healing. 

As threats loom large on the horizon, we look to the Heavens to ask for your merciful saving grace. 

Enemies rise against us, and only you can reach down and lift us up.

We stand in your presence, naked and humbled.

As the winds blow and clouds gather, only you can protect and save. 

While some men look arrogantly at their own strength and smarts, these are nothing to the Master of the Universe.

G-d uproots the wicked and plants his faithful children in their stead. 

Peace is the ultimate blessing, and only G-d can grant it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2017

Longevity...85 Is The New 65

So I was speaking to one of our very nice elderly neighbors.

Last week he lost his dear wife of 60 years!

I had visited him during Shiva (the Jewish period of mourning) to wish him our best and let him know we are there if there is anything he needs. 

He told me how the night before she passed, they had gone out to eat and to the theatre (she loved the theatre)...and everything was fine!

And then the next day, he went to work--he still teaches medicine at the local hospital 2 days a month.

At midday, he called his wife and asked how she was and if she needed anything from the store (to eat etc.)

She told him she was fine and she didn't need anything. 

But by the time he got home just one hour later...she had fallen, hit her head, and died. 

He tried to do CPR by it was no use, she was gone. 

Both he and his wife were 84-years old. 

He mentioned that would tease her that he was 3 months older than her, and so she had to listen to him!

I felt so bad for him...it was obvious how much he loved her and missed her already. 

When he told me how old she was, I tried to say reassuringly:
"That's a good old age...at least she lived a full life!"

But then he answered:
"84--that's nothing! 85 is the new 65!!!"  
And went on to tell me how many of their friends are already in the 90's. 

It's funny how no matter what age you are...there is always a will to live!

He said how she had passed quickly and so maybe he could consider that a blessing. 

And we talked about how it truly is especially when some other people really suffer prolonged periods with terrible debilitating and painful illnesses. 

It was also strange that around the same time, I ran into yet another elderly neighbor, and he had tears in his eyes...and I asked how he is. 

He told me how he just learned 3 weeks ago that his wife has lung cancer. 

Seeing his expression how bad things were, I inquired what stage it was at. 

He said, "stage 3 cancer," and I told him as well how sorry I was for his pain. 

All this made me realize again, how very tenuous life is...and we all hang by a thread that G-d decides at any moment when to shear and when to cut--we need to live every moment to the fullest and as if it's our last. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 24, 2017

G-d Holds All The Keys

So what is there to fear in this world. 

Whatever happens, happens. 

And G-d is the master over it all. 

He holds all the keys. 

G-d opens doors. 

When we are being challenged, look toward the Heavens. 

There is a door there somewhere. 

What can ANY man do to us?

When G-d reigns over ALL men.

In G-d, there is salvation and mercy. 

G-d will watch over His people.

And He will bless them in peace! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2017

613 Everywhere

So many times, I have written about the holy mystical number of 613 (the number of commandments in the Torah) and variations/transpositions on these numbers (316, 163, etc.).

My wife and I continue to see 613 all the time and everywhere!

Prices, receipts, license plates, accounts balances, stock price changes, lottery winnings, bar codes, time of day, wait times, schedules, number of email, rows in a spreadsheet, road numbers, social media views, etc. etc. etc.

- I have questioned myself over and over whether I am seeing it because I am sensitized to it or simply even looking for it at this point. 

The answer is a definite no!

Here's a recent example, of the change in the stock price for Teva Pharmaceuticals (above)--it's exactly -.0613!

But this isn't a one time event or a fluke.  

As we all know stock prices fluctuate every moment on the marketplace. Yet, when I check at completely different and random times, it is up or down by a variation of 613!

Other times, I'll check multiple stocks... and they will simultaneously be moving or priced at variations again of 613--at the exact same moment, I repeat, different stocks priced at the exact same moment.  

Here's another non-financial example:

I did a post a few weeks ago on the critical importance of emergency preparedness. 

Look at how many views it got on LinkedIn...exactly 163!

This happens everywhere and all the time!

Here's a third example:
A license plate. 

Here's a fourth example:

Can you see the code on the package...613!

A fifth example:
A tracking code on a shipment. 

A sixth example: 
A bar code on a bottle of Life Water.

A seventh example:
A label on some spinach!

An eighth example:
A construction site.

An ninth example:
A public solicitation for the Department of Energy.

A tenth example:
The winning pot for Powerball. 

Hey, I am not superstitious and I am not OCD--seriously. 

But this happens all the time.

I cannot help but think that G-d is sending us an important message.

From a personal level, my wife and I have both tried to take the messages seriously and to continue to improve our lives--albeit we know, we are far from perfect human beings. 

However, we also feel compelled to share this message more broadly.

There is a lot going on in the world, and could this mean something bigger and more consequential to a lot more people?

Please, please, please, G-d have mercy on your children...we are but flesh and blood...and we desire to do good. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 8, 2017

What's With The Water

At this time of some major hurricanes hitting the USA (first Harvey, and now approaching IRMA and Jose)...

I have been remembering from the other day when I was in the pool, but I had a very different experience from usual. 

Yes, I was swimming hard and disciplined doing my laps.

But my mind decided to focus on the water.

Just the water...nothing else. 

I literally blanked out the world around me...no pool, no exercise, no other people, no current events, no random thoughts.

I just put all my senses unto the water itself. 

The cool softness of the water as it glided over my hands and body. 

The subtle resistance of the water, yet the buoyancy it provided. 

The waves and current as the water flowed around my body moving crisply through it.

The healing purity of the water physically and spiritually. 

I imagined the clearest and cleanest water, and how it quenches our thirst and washes everything in the world clean again. 

Water, earth, wind and fire...the wisdom and perfection of them and us cannot possibly be random events, but they are testament to the genius of our Creator. 

Thank you G-d especially for the water in the time, place, and amount that is for a blessing--and as a series of strong hurricanes continue to roar towards your people, let it be merciful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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