Did Dr. Brown Answer? Let’s Evaluate!

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How NOT to Respond to a Christian Missionary – part 2

 

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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When He Smote Egypt and Our Houses He Saved

When He Smote Egypt and Our Houses He Saved

The Holiday of Passover is so called because God passed over (pasach)
our houses when He smote the Egyptians with the plague of the firstborn
and He saved our houses (Exodus 12:27).

We all know why God was hitting the Egyptians. The Egyptians used their
strength to take advantage of a nation that did them no harm. They
displayed a stunning lack of appreciation for what Joseph had done for
them and they went and enslaved Joseph’s children and his people. They
became paranoid about Israel and created false and evil accusations
about them and in their self-centered cruelty, they killed innocent
children. All this is there in the Torah in the beginning of the Book of
Exodus.

In short, Egypt displayed every negative character trait quality and we
felt the brunt of it. We witnessed what happens when humans allow
themselves to be ruled by their negative side.

When God came to give the Egyptians the fruit of their wickedness, He
saved our houses. And this is an awesome responsibility because this
means God wants us to be the opposite of what the Egyptians had
become. He saved us to be different.

As we sit around our Passover table we need to remember; when He Hit
Egypt, He saved us and expected us to be His people. People who do not
take advantage of others because they find themselves in a stronger
position, be it physically, socially, emotionally, financially or
spiritually. But rather we need to be people who hear the argument, the
pain and the fear of those who are weaker than us. Instead of a focus on
our own wants and needs we should be attuned to the wants and needs of
others. Instead of attributing the worst intentions to the people around
us, we should judge them favorably. Instead of seeing people that are
different from us as opponents and as a potential threat, we should see
them as brothers and equals and see their needs and wants. Passover
demands that instead of remembering every real and imagined negative
thought or deed that was done against us and living with the bearing of
grudges, we remember and magnify the good that others have done for us
and live with the quality of appreciation. Instead of seeing others as
objects that we can use for our advantage, be it emotional or financial;
we should seek to benefit them in any way that we can.

The responsibility of Passover is to be different than Egypt. This may
sound like an impossible task. Can we truly rid ourselves of every
negative character trait? Don’t the ethical masters teach that it is a
lifetime of work to break one negative character quality, how then can
we avoid being like Egypt?

The answer is that serving God is not a destination, it is a journey. It
is not our business to perfect ourselves overnight. It is our
responsibility to travel in the right direction. We need to grow and
move forward with happiness and joy that God brought us close to His
service, to be His people. And we can know and trust that God is with us
every step of the way.

May God accept those step we take towards Him and clean us all the
impurity that Egypt represents. And may it be His will to shine the
light of the redemption upon us and through us to light up the world
with His light.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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The Inner Jew and the Real You

The Inner Jew and the Real You

We find ourselves in unusual circumstances. The most obvious expressions
of our Judaism are out of reach. It is not an outside enemy that is
preventing us from praying with a congregation, from learning Torah in a
sanctuary that roars with the sound of God’s children enjoying His word,
and from so many activities that require a gathering of Jews. The Holy
One sent a virus that forces us to stay home; “And you shall not go out
from the doors of your houses until the morning” (Exodus 12:22). We may
be home alone, we may be blessed with a spouse, we may be blessed with
children, we may be blessed with parents and siblings, but we are home.

And at home we come face to face with ourselves. This is the time to
find the inner Jew, build that inner Jew and infuse that Jew with
strength and light.

The inner Jew is secure with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The
inner Jew is a pillar of tranquility that is the outer expression of our
trust in God. The inner Jew exudes compassion and sensitivity to the
people he/she is confined with and to the people he/she can reach by phone.
Because inside that Jew you will find a well-spring that is sourced in
Abraham, our common father. The inner Jew doesn’t take up space, not
physical space and not emotional space that other members of his/her
family can use. He/she is far from self-centerdness, not wanting to
touch that which others can benefit from. The heart of Isaac, our
ancestor is sensitive to the justice that is needed to keep a family or
an individual on an even keel. This same heart prays, not because it is
the “thing to do” but because his/heart yearns for the submission to God
that is inherent in praying. The inner Jew needs truth to live, honesty
with him/herself, a connection to God’s truth and a striving toward
holiness and Godliness as is appropriate for one who carries the name
“Israel,” our ancestor who prevailed over the Angel of Falsehood.

And the inner Jew finds leadership in the heart of David, the sweet
singer of Israel. The inner Jew praises God, cries out to God, and
yearns to God from the heart, from the inside of the heart.

The Sabbath of the inner Jew is a time of light and connection with the reality of our own souls.

If you are a Gentile reading this article and you are not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you are called by your Creator to be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for yourself and your family. You are created in the image of God and His breath was breathed into your nostrils. You too can participate in this blessing and this light. Use this time to find the read you, that Godly soul inside of you that reflects His goodness and His truth. You will yet illuminate your world as did Abraham before you.

May we all merit to find our inner selves and make that Godly soul
shine until the dawn of the true redemption.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

 

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Christianity vs. The Sabbath – excerpt from Supplement

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Throughout Brown’s attack on the Rabbinic understanding of the Sabbath the recurring refrain is: “is this what the Lord intended?” Brown expects his readers to come to the conclusion that the Rabbinic observance of the Sabbath is not the observance that God intended when He presented this commandment to His people.

If one’s understanding of spirituality in general and of the Sabbath in particular has been acquired from the literature and the general milieu of the modern Western world, then Brown’s argument will find a listening ear. But if one’s understanding of spirituality and of Sabbath is rooted in the Jewish Bible and in the environment of ancient Israel, then Brown’s argument is meaningless.

The Western world does not consider a procedure, in which people follow a detailed set of physical instructions, to be a rich spiritual experience. But the Jewish Scriptures teach us otherwise. Some of the pivotal narratives…

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He Makes His Ways Known to Moses – Psalm 103:7

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

He Makes His Ways Known to Moses – Psalm 103:7

Moses had asked God to be shown the ways of God. God told Moses that He will pass by with all of His goodness before Moses and He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy (Exodus 33:19).

What does this mean? Some Christians argue that this passage teaches that there is no rhyme or reason to God’s grace. God chooses to favor whosoever He chooses to favor. The fact that Scripture teaches that God favors those who do His bidding and frowns upon those who do not does not faze these Christians. These theologians reinterpret all of Scripture according to their misunderstanding of this one verse in Exodus. These religious doctors argue that man has no free will and that when God arbitrarily chooses to favor someone God blesses them with good deeds and then blesses them with…

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Intercession for the Wicked

 

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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