PORTFOLIO – GRID

A collection of textile samples lay spread out on the table

Samsa was a travelling salesman.

LATEST FROM

THE BLOG

It showed a lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur

boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff.

Stay Awake!

In July of 2013, I wrote a Musing where I referenced a book by authors Timothy Daughtry and Gary R. Casselman, called Waking the Sleeping Giant.  Less than a year into a second Obama term, I was disheartened and angry. My anger wasn’t directed at President Obama, Speaker Pelosi or those who voted for them. It was at the Keystone Kops who were running the Republican Party. The book expressed so many of my feelings.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership didn’t relate to the book’s message, which many others articulated as well. This most recent election revealed a natural consequence of their indifference.  Millions of Americans rejected the party apparatus.  In my mind, President Trump’s election along with that of a Republican Congress was a heaven-sent opportunity—and one that is in danger of being squandered because conservatives and  Republicans are reverting to an old, losing style of behavior.

Shortly after reading Mr. Daughtry’s book, my husband and I met him and we have stayed in touch over the years. He is graciously allowing me to share a recent column he wrote. I think that its message is well worth contemplating.

Trump is not the Real Target; You Are by Timothy Daughtry

As we watch the daily barrage of accusations and innuendo directed against President Trump by the far left, the liberal media, and even some in his own party, those of us who voted to put him in the Oval Office need to remember one crucial point: President Trump is not the real target.  You are.

Even considering his outsized persona and the stunning phenomenon of an outsider who has never held political office winning the presidency against one of the most powerful political machines in American history, the new movement that elected Donald Trump has never been about Trump. In the 2016 election, the “forgotten men and women of America” were hell-bent to send a message to the powerful elites of both parties.

The message was that the Washington elites are serving themselves and their own agenda and ignoring the rest of the nation.  The message was that Washington has become a swamp of corruption and self-serving collusion among powerful interests and that Main Street America is ready to see that swamp drained.

Donald Trump was our messenger.

Because his candidacy was not about Trump the man but Trump the messenger, he was able to withstand the smears and assaults of the Clinton Machine that would have sunk any other candidate.  They siphoned all the way to the bottom of their slime barrel, and still the message prevailed.

That message was simple and grounded in common sense.  No country can survive unless it has control over its borders.  People coming into American should be vetted to make sure that they pose no danger to us.  After eight years of stifling taxes and regulations, we should once again make America a healthy place in which to do business, make products, and create jobs.  Political correctness may seem silly and laughable, but in reality it poses a serious threat to free expression and open exchange of ideas. If it’s terrorism, call it that.  Say what is obvious to our common sense even if it offends the delicate sensibilities of the elite.

Now the denizens of the Washington swamp are sending a message back to the forgotten men and women who voted for Trump and his reforms: “Forget you.”

The leftists who worked to radically transform the nation under Barack Obama are telling us that they hold the reins of power and that we the people don’t run anything.  They are telling us that their agenda will prevail regardless of how we vote or what we want.  They are telling us that they can subvert, attack, and destroy any messenger that we send into their territory.  And feckless leaders in the GOP seem, at best, more afraid of displeasing the Democrats than betraying their own voters, and, at worst, in cozy collusion with the opposition.

What is at stake in the barrage of innuendo, twisted news, and “investigations” is not just the future of the Trump presidency, but the future of the very idea that governmental power rests ultimately on the consent of the governed.

Of course there is much at stake in the actual policy questions facing the country.  But underneath the debates about border security, court appointees, tax and regulatory policy, and so on lies a deeper question that is at the very heart of our system of government: Can the American people still change the direction of the country if we believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction?  Or will the powerful and self-serving elites impose their agenda even when we don’t consent to it?

When the voters put leftists in power, as they did with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the country moves left.  But when voters try to change course, as we did in the elections of 2010 and 2014, the country still careened towards open borders, government control of healthcare, rule by rogue judges, and lawless license for those in the power elite.

And so we went outside the traditional path and elected Donald Trump in 2016.  The liberal news anchors had barely dried their tears after Election Day when the left began to cloud the real meaning of Trump’s election by pushing the bizarre claim that the Russians had somehow hacked the election.

In their gaslighting version of reality, you didn’t really vote to drain the swamp.  You didn’t really vote to secure our borders.  You didn’t vote to repeal and replace Obamacare and put doctors and patients back in charge instead of Washington bureaucrats.  You didn’t vote to restore rule of law and common sense to Washington.  The Russians somehow threw the election to Trump.  You can go back home now and let the experts run things.

It’s swamp gas.  Don’t breathe it.

There is plenty in Washington that merits investigation, from foreign influence through the Clinton Foundation to Obama’s use of intelligence data for political purposes.  Congress has the power to do just that, but we need to give them the will.

Let’s remind our representatives that they might forget us, but we won’t forget them.

Tim Daughtry is a conservative speaker and co-author of Waking the Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals at Their Own Game.  Follow him on Twitter @TCDwriter.

* * *

There will be no Musing next week as we honor and celebrate
the feast days of Shavuot (Pentecost). Our office and store will close from sunset Tuesday night and reopen Thursday night.

For greater insight into what message God gave on Mt. Sinai 3,329 years ago next week, take a look at The Ten Commandments: How Two Tablets Can Transform Your Life

SALE

Available by mail or instant download

What’s the point of a blessing before eating?

Would you or Susan write about the appropriate way to pray before meals? I’ve heard two different views. One view indicates that we shouldn’t “ask” for our food to be blessed, as God already said, as His people, He will bless our bread and water. Instead, we should simply bless & thank Him, as our provider, etc. The other view indicates we should, indeed, ask His blessing on the food, prior to partaking of same.

Please advise…

Thanks 🙂

Christine B.

Answer: 

Dear Christine,

Although this isn’t your question, we (at Ask the Rabbi you get both of us!) would like to explain one of the major misconceptions about kosher food. Many people think that kosher food is food that is blessed. When a company has kosher certification, as thousands of large and small brands do, rabbis visit the company’s manufacturing facilities. However, they are not coming to bless the food but to supervise the production. Depending on the food, a rabbi might stay on the premises full time or alternatively drop in for sporadic visits. Every ingredient and its source, the methods of cooking and even the delivery containers are scrutinized.

Back to your question, Christine.  We would come down on the side of thanking God.  After all,  whatever food the earth brings forth is already blessed.  Consequently, we recommend thanking God for providing us with food and blessings us with such tasty sustenance   We ourselves,  say a blessing both before and after eating. The short blessing before eating is a formal acknowledgement (and it is important that our own ears hear our own mouth utter those words) that God supplies our food.  This blessing changes slightly according to the type of food. For example, before eating an apple we say, “Blessed are You, King of the world, who created the fruit of the tree.”

The blessing we say after eating is longer because it requires more effort to induce spiritual humility in ourselves when our stomaches are full than when we are feeling hungry.  What  exactly blessing God means is complicated. The Hebrew word blessing, bracha, has many dimensions.  For instance, the word also means knee from which we derive the concept of going down onto our knees and kneeling before God.  We have an entire chapter on that one word in our book, Buried Treasure!

So, in fact, the blessings surrounding eating incorporate both an appreciation of God as our provider and also recognition that eating is a spiritual as well as physical blessing.  We hope this helps.

Bon appétit,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

Next Tuesday night is the 3,329th anniversary of God giving his Torah on Mt. Sinai

Our office and store will be closed from Tuesday night through Thursday night for Shavuot/Pentecost

Tune in to what message was truly being transmitted through the Ten Commandments. Or take advantage of our pre-holiday sale to get The Ten Commandments audio CD and four more life-changing programs at one low price.

 

SALE

all audio CDs are available by mail or instant download

Moslem Murder In Manchester

Manchester is home to the second-biggest Jewish community in the United Kingdom. While a student in England, I regularly spent Jewish festivals with my cousins in Manchester. Needless to say, back then, even as a visibly identifiable Jew, one could safely walk almost anywhere in Manchester. For many years now, that has not been true. Starting in the 80s Muslim men attacked Jews walking home from synagogue with increasing frequency. Walking home from school became a terrifying ordeal for Jewish youngsters. Vandal attacks on Jewish property became endemic, yet the authorities did nothing. Why not? Because western leadership has become cowardly. Moslems often react violently to criticism while Jews do not so ignoring Jewish victims carried little cost. As the years went by, Moslem assailants became less fastidious when choosing their victims and the mayhem began to spread. By then cowardice was the default reaction from political leadership. Placating the Moslem population was seen as the avenue to peace. Last night the harvest was reaped. It goes without saying that not every Moslem is violent neither does every Moslem endorse violence. (Though the Palestinian Authority lends respectability to endorsing violence by compensating families of murderous terrorists.) Thought Experiment: If all the perpetrators of the last fifty savage attacks against innocent civilians happened to all be ballet dancers, how long before every ballet group in the world issued strong and definitive denunciations of terror? When a Jewish man killed 29 Muslim in Hebron about twenty-three years ago, Jews denounced him so widely you’d have thought nobody had ever done anything like this in all of human history. The government of Israel, every Jewish organization around the world and every rabbi condemned the murder. I’m just saying…
Meanwhile, Jews continue to serve the role of canary in the coal mine. I am nostalgic for the Manchester I used to know. These days large numbers of English-speaking people I meet in Israel are former residents of Manchester. Like France, Manchester is swopping its Jews for a considerably less peaceful population. Let’s hear how that’s all working out.

Vital Values

On July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, two of the men most instrumental in its drafting died. Former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within a few hours of each other.

To me, it was God linking these two statesmen for all time.  I can just see them approaching the Throne of Glory, arms around one another’s shoulders in eternal bonds of brotherhood.

On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse transmitted the words, “What hath God wrought,” (Numbers 23:23) from Washington to Baltimore using electrical pulses and his Morse Code.  That year, May 24 fell on the Bible holyday of Shavuot/Pentecost, which this year begins after sunset a week from tonight, on May 30th.

Serendipitously, Shavuot, the anniversary of the day upon which God gave His message to mankind through Moses on Mt Sinai, was the first time in the history of humanity that people thousands of miles apart could communicate almost instantaneously.  Of course, for those of us who believe that serendipity or coincidence are simply words that people use to mask God’s involvement in the world, the date of the telegraph’s launch is striking.

What lesson did the Lord intend when He guided Morse to give the world electronic communication precisely on the Festival commemorating His bestowing upon us the Ten Commandments?

In true rabbinical fashion, I will answer the question by asking three others.

What words can the pacifist professor of philosophy utter to engage the vicious predator with cold eyes and no conscience who has just put a gun to the professor’s head?

What meaningful dialogue can possibly flow from a meeting between the president of Planned Parenthood and the Pope?

Wouldn’t it waste your time to eavesdrop as a Bible believer debates a militant atheist?

All these encounters are between people who don’t speak the same language.  Because they share no matrix of meaning there is little basis for communication. While the feathers may fly and the fireworks might be sensational, nothing of true consequence is likely to emerge.

It’s no coincidence that Samuel Morse’s breakthrough communication technology debuted on the very day upon which God presented His ultimate system of values to the world. The message is clear. To put it starkly: There cannot be lasting creative communication and collaboration between people who do not share values.

Marriage with a very attractive individual, but one with whom no ultimate values are shared, enjoys very little probability of long term success.

Diversity of values is no asset in a business, particularly in a smaller entrepreneurial endeavor.  The effective business professional will hire associates who possess the necessary skills and drive. However, just as importantly, they must also share the company’s value system, set by the founder.

Families should not expect their children to receive the education they anticipate at schools and colleges that do not share the family’s value system.

Values must precede all else. For this reason, Israel’s journey from slavery in Egypt to its own geographic and spiritual destiny in Jerusalem has a date at Sinai as its pivotal point. The quest for independence and development can only succeed when the people are fortified and fashioned by their common value system, the Torah. The Exodus would be pointless were it not followed by receiving that explanation of reality.

The upcoming shared anniversary of both the telegraph and the Torah reminds us to communicate our value system effectively to our families and our social and business organizations.  It is far more productive and far less stressful to live with and direct a group of people who share common values and vision.

While I used the phrase the Ten Commandments above, in reality that is a mistranslation. To understand why these ten statements are vitally important to your life, you need to look at them through the lens of ancient Jewish wisdom. Our office and store will be closed from sunset Tuesday, May 30th through nightfall on June 1st, in obedience to God’s command for Shavuot. We are making our audio CD, The Ten Commandments: How Two Tablets Can Transform Your Life, available on sale until we close. Save even more by getting The Ten Commandments as part of the Biblical Blueprint Set and get an additional four life-altering CDs at one very discounted price.

Adapted from Thought Tools, May 23, 2012

ON SALE

All CDs are available by mail or as instant downloads

X