Chanukah Message- Life’s a Dreidel

Take a dreidel and spin it. It’s fascinating. You never know which side it will land on. It could fall on the Gimmel, which means you win, or the Shin, which means you lose.

It seems totally random. You just spin and something happens. But really it isn’t. Every spin has an exact amount of kinetic energy to cause a measured number of turns. The table surface provides an exact amount of friction, and the air pushes the dreidel in a certain way, so it falls exactly as it is supposed to. Nothing is left to chance.

Life is like that. It may seem random sometimes. Things just happen, you win or you lose, it falls this way or that for no apparent reason. But that is not really so. There is a divine hand spinning the world. Every turn is deliberate, every experience you have is supposed to happen, and whether you win or lose, there is a reason behind it.

There are no self-spinning dreidels. There is always a hand behind the spin. And you are exactly where you are meant to be.

Rabbi Mendel Bluming serves the community in Potomac Maryland since 2000. Menachem Mendel Bluming and his family represent Chabad which teaches us to see the Hand behind every detail in life. Credits for this article to Rabbi Moss as well.

Celebrating Chanukah

On Chanukah we celebrate the menorah that is the central symbol of the holiday, not the astounding military victory and attainment of freedom. Because freedom is only worth what you do with it, how you live your life as a result. Because you are free do you kindle the menorah of spreading light and holiness in the world? Money and freedom are just energy… how you use them is what matters.

Rabbi Mendel Bluming serves the Jewish community in Potomac Maryland. Menachem Mendel Bluming and his wife invite you to join the communal menorah lightings

Thanksgiving Thought

You’ve shared with your secretaries that you will double their pay because of their good work… Two possible responses:
#1 “Well it’s about time you paid me what I deserve!”
#2 “Wow, how generous & kind of you… This makes me feel so much more dedicated to the work.” How would you feel after your secretary gave you the first response, how about after the second? After the second you might ask yourself why you didn’t give the raise sooner!! Think about that: What is our response to G-d’s generous goodness to us??

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Bluming is a Potomac Maryland rabbi who leads the Chabad Shul of Potomac. Mendel Bluming and his family have lived in Potomac since 2000.

Human vs. Religious Relationship

Would you rather marry a perfect spouse who will feel no connection to you or an imperfect spouse who will love you? In human relationship how long can marriage last if there is no feeling… When it comes to G-d our action is key. Feeling enhances our mitzvoth/deeds greatly but deed counts most. Hamaaseh hu haikar/ ist is the deed that counts most (Mishna Avot)

Rabbi Mendel Bluming leads the Chabad Shul of Potomac. Chabad of Potomac and Menachem Mendel Bluming’s vision is to serve as a conduit for your Jewish relationship’s growth

Dating Advice

“I’m dating and everything adds up; she seems to be exactly what I am looking for on paper. Just one thing… the love is absent. What do I do!??”

Love can only blossom in an open heart. When our heart is closed we cannot feel affection, even when that affection really is there. And what closes a heart is fear.
You’re scared. You’re scared of your dream coming true. You have finally met a girl who could really end up being your wife. This is what you have prayed for, waited for, and hoped for, for so long. And now that it is in front of you, you’re gripped with fear.

It’s scary to say goodbye to single life. It’s scary to accept that you will marry a real person with flaws and issues, not an imaginary perfect dream person. It’s scary to realize that now you’re growing up, and about to start the next stage in your life, with all the joys and challenges that will bring.
This is why your heart is blocked. Fear and love cannot both be felt at any one time. They are opposites. Fear is the urge to stand back, while love is the yearning to become closer. So ironically, when you meet a serious candidate for marriage, your heart is paralyzed by the fear that this might actually work out. Your blocked feelings might be a good sign. The fear could indicate that this is a relationship worth pursuing.

If you want to give it a chance, you first need to calm your fears. Take a long walk, all alone, and observe what’s going on inside you. Admit that you are scared. Acknowledge that it has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with you. Get comfortable with the idea that you may have found your match. Be grateful to G-d who has sent you such a wonderful woman. Believe in yourself that you are ready to take the plunge and become a married man. Let these ideas slowly sink in, face the reality and make peace with it.
Once you quiet your fears, your heart will be open to love. Then, if she is indeed the one, it won’t take long for the warm feelings to come flooding in. If you want to find love, you have to lose fear.

Rabbi Mendel (Menachem) Bluming is a rabbi in Potomac, Maryland who serves the Jewish community. Mendel Bluming officiates at many life cycle events. Credits also to Rabbi Moss

Why Do Mourners Tear a Garment?

The experience of loss arouses several emotions. On the one hand, death is a tragedy. A loved one is lost to their family and friends, who are left feeling a profound sense of separation and distance that seems beyond repair. For this reason, we observe a seven day intense mourning period, during which the family sits at home and feels the pain and loss, followed by a year of mourning. This helps them slowly accept the new reality; that their loved on has passed on.

But often, the mourners feel that it isn’t really true, it didn’t really happen, they haven’t really gone. This is not just denial. In a way they are right. Death is not the end. Our souls existed before we were born, and they continue to exist after we die. The souls that have passed on are still with us. We can’t see them, but we sense they are there. We can’t hear them, but we know that they hear us. On the surface, we are apart. On a deeper level, nothing can separate us.

So we tear our garments. This has a dual symbolism. We are recognizing the loss, accepting the reality, our hearts are torn, and there is a hole in our lives that can never be healed. But that is only true on the bodily level. The loss is a physical one. But the soul lives on.

The body is no more than a garment that the soul wears. Death is when we strip one uniform and take on another. The garment may be torn, but the essence of the person, the soul, is still intact.

From our worldly perspective death is indeed a tragedy, and the sorrow experienced by the mourners is real. But as they tear their garments we hope that within their pain they can sense a glimmer of a deeper truth; that souls never die.

Rabbi Mendel Bluming serves as rabbi of the Chabad Shul of Potomac since 2003. Among his communal roles, Menachem Mendel Bluming assists community members through this Jewish mourning period. Credits to Rabbi Moss.

Are Synagogues Safe After Pittsburgh?

We have all been deeply affected by the shooting in Pittsburgh.

There is a great danger ahead. The danger is that Jews become intimidated into hiding away. In the wake of such a tragedy, avoiding shul is far riskier than attending. You risk giving your kids the wrong message.

I will never forget something that happened when in Jerusalem during the 2001 intifada. One Thursday afternoon, the busy Sbarro pizza shop, became the target of a Palestinian suicide bomber. He stood amongst the crowds innocently eating their lunch, and exploded himself, killing 15 people, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and injuring 130. It was an unspeakable tragedy that shook the Jewish world.

It hit me hard too. But what stuck with me was what happened in the aftermath of the attack. Within a few weeks, the pizza store was open for business again. Construction crews worked around the clock to clean up the wreckage and rebuild it like new, as if nothing had happened. A bustling eatery had turned into the scene of mass murder, and then back into a bustling eatery, all in the space of a month. Only one thing had changed. A plaque was placed on the wall that read:

In memoriam of the darkness that befell us on August 9, 2001.
Sbarro Family, City of Jerusalem, and the whole House of Israel.

All the employees came back to work that day, except for one who was killed and two who were still recovering from injury. They resumed serving lunch to their customers, including some who had been there on that dark day only weeks before. The message was powerful: We will not forget the dead, but we will not stop living.

This is the Jewish response to terror. We don’t cower in the face of intimidation. We don’t allow our enemies to define who we are and what we do. We don’t adjust our lives to suit the evil schemes of those who hate us. We are here, and we are here to stay.

It was amazingly poignant that the day Sbarro pizzeria reopened was September 12, 2001, a day after the 9/11 attacks on America. Israel was teaching America and the world the answer to tragedy: we mourn for those who were lost, we pray for those who were hurt, we bring the perpetrators to justice, and we don’t change who we are because someone doesn’t like us.

You now have the opportunity to teach this truth to your children. Make a point to take them to shul, especially on Shabbos. Walk proudly as Jews. And explain to them that we don’t let evil win. We cry for the victims. And we honor them by doing what they wished to do – live as proud Jews.

Rabbi Mendel Bluming has served the Potomac Maryland area community since 2003 through the Chabad Shul of Potomac. Menachem Mendel Bluming encourages Jewish pride knowledge and engagement. This article was written by Rabbi Bluming and Rabbi Moss.

What Hospitality Means

Abraham our forefather was well known for his hospitality. He set up a centre of “Aishel” which included lavish food and drink and also accompanying his guests on their way. In fact the Talmud, Sotah 46b teaches us that this is a acritical part of hospitality and in the words of Maimonides one who accompanies his guests fulfils a mitzvah that is greater than all the other parts of hospitality.
Why must guests be accompanied on their way?
You see hospitality is not just charity. Charity is to provide another with their needs. Hospitality is to give another the gift of not feeling alone. They are traveling and far from home and you dispel the feeling of loneliness by welcoming them in and by walking with them on their way.
Today more than ever hospitality is so needed. We are in a generation where so many feel alone and your accompanying them on life’s path is more meaningful to them than most anything else.

As the rabbi of Chabad Shul of Potomac, Menachem Mendel Bluming serves the community and encourages the sacred Jewish traditions of hospitality and charity.

Feeling Empty When You Have it All

Adam and Eve had everything, yet the snake drained their happiness. The snake said: you are missing something that would make you so much happier (the forbidden fruit)… When your life truly has everything, don’t fall for the snakes who deplete you and entice you to feel lacking.

Mendel Bluming serves as rabbi of the Chabad Shul of Potomac, Maryland.

Is Judaism a religion?

Not really… If it was, why would it be a mitzvah to have a conversation with your friend or eat your breakfast in the sukkah. There is nothing religious about those activities. Judaism is not a religion it is a relationship and conversation with G-d. He relates to you through the totality of your life. From breakfast to your business, from your marriage to your child rearing. So, Judaism in one word? Totality.

Mendel (Menachem) Bluming is the rabbi of the Chabad Shul of Potomac Maryland. Mendel (Menachem) Bluming has been serving the community since 2003.