Showing posts from May, 2021

COVID Religion on the Way Out

Covid has really shaken things up for the last year plus, but it seems to be on the way out now. Just like in the wake of 9/11, there will be some lasting changes to normal activities which will become a new norm, like easy store curbside pickup (which is great when you have kids in the car). There’s another huge change that I hope we can capitalize on. For years, America has increasingly become more and more secular, which is worrisome to many. Hopefully the Covid religion will help bring back Yiddishkeit to many people who have “drifted”. After all, Covid and religion have some striking similarities: Seeing - You can’t see the virus with your eyes, just like you can’t see G-d with your eyes. Belief - Because of this, some people deny the existence of Covid, just like people deny the existence of G-d. Evidence - If you pay attention, you can see what Covid (G-d forbid) does, just like you can see what G-d does. Delayed effect - It can take two weeks or more to see the impact that an i

Pesach Letter

To the Jews of Temecula & beyond, Passover is the time of freedom & this past year has highlighted what freedom is, and what it isn’t. Freedom is not the same for all. A plant with water, earth and sunlight is free, even though it can’t move. An animal, on the other hand, is only free if it can  move . Even with all its nutritional needs met, without the ability to move, it’s not free. A person, even with nutrition, and even with freedom of movement, is not free without the ability to  think . Like the Chossid, who, during the holocaust in a labor camp, was promoted from field labor to a desk job, but requested to be put back in the field. When asked why, he responded, “As long as I’m in the field, my body is a slave, but my mind is free. Once you put me at a desk, I’ve lost my freedom of thought!” The amazing thing about people, is that for us, freedom is a moving target. Even an achieved scholar who’s understanding is stagnant, has lost their freedom. This past year, we’ve al

Why I Support Israel

Yesterday, a bunch of us came on zoom in tefillin and learned Torah, gave tzedakah, and prayed for Israel, and it worked! Last night was a huge surprise operation which was extremely successful. I’m so grateful to have played a small (or not so small?) spiritual part in this amazing victory. But why do I care about Israel so much? I don’t support Israel because I’m a Zionist. I don’t support Israel because I believe they are right. I don’t support Israel because I’m a racist. I don’t support Israel because of Israeli politics. I don’t support Israel because of American politics. I don’t support Israel because of Iran. I don’t support Israel because it’s the homeland of the Jews. I don’t support Israel because the Bible says it’s ours. The one reason I support Israel is because 7 million of our brothers and sisters live there and I care about them. This idea may seem simple, but it actually makes huge differences in what we support. Zionism dictates that some sacrifices are required “fo

I Forgive You!

I’m still reeling from the tragedy in Israel last week. These 45 people who lost their lives (almost all in their teens and twenties) are our cousins, even if we never met them, and they were special people. Being so far away, and reading articles from hostile media, it’s so easy to not care at best, or judge them at worst, assuming they were flouting Covid restrictions, being wild and reckless causing a stampede etc. Here is a story that was shared with me: Over this past Shabbos, one of the survivors from Meron, gave over something quite unbelievable, when relating his experience: When he was entangled among all the other trampled people, he (this survivor) managed to find a small passage of air that kept him alive. In those precious minutes, this survivor heard another person saying Shema, knowing clearly that he was about to return to His Creator. And then, this victim, after saying Shema, continued: "Whoever is on top of me, I am moychel (forgive) you completely." And th