Breaking News: Jews Wake Up!

In honor of Rosh Hashanah a Jewish newspaper interviewed me. Not that many read that paper 🙂 so I figured that I would post the interview. Here goes:

“So Rabbi Bluming is it true about your congregation as well, that Jews seem to come out of the woodwork for the high holidays?”

“Yes,” replied Menachem Mendel Bluming, “it is truly incredible and heartwarming.”

“Heartwarming?”, we asked. “It seems that it is just Jewish guilt. After all, where are they all year?!”

“Jews used to feel a lot of guilt. That is so last century.” Mendel Bluming asserted.

“Really? We thought that guilt is as Jewish as bagels and lox!” We asked Bluming.

“In my experience Jews see themselves as good people, not sinful people. They are right. After all after communism and the Holocaust and the previous generation that to a large extent gave them little or no Jewish education the mitzvot that they do are so incredible! How can they be called sinful?” Menachem Bluming shared.

“So to what do you attribute the Jewish awakening around the high holidays?” We asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel Bluming.

“The Baal Shem Tov shares a parable of a king who wanted to bring out the deepest strength in his child. He gave the child tremendous resources and sent him far from the palace. The lessons that he would learn and the resistance to outside influences that he would have to exert would bring out great strength in him.” Bluming taught.

“Over time he squandered his resources and became assimilated and distracted. One day he woke up in a cold sweat and had a deep longing to reconnect with his father the king. He took whatever he had and ran to his father’s palace. Alas, he could not even remember the language of the palace and his father’s kingdom and so he just cried out, “Daddy!!!” A parent knows the cry of their child and his father came out to embrace him. This is what happens each Rosh Hashanah and this is why each soul stirs and has a deep longing to connect.”

I hope that you find this insightful and I wish you and yours a sweet new year!

Menachem M. Bluming

Why Are Shabbat Laws So Limiting?!

Here’s a thought:

You are out for a romantic dinner, just the two of you. You make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, a quiet table for two in the corner. Gentle music is playing, lights are dimmed, and the ambiance is just perfect for a romantic evening.

You resolve not to talk about work, not to talk about the kids, rather to take the time to really connect and enjoy each other’s company. You laugh together, chit chat, and give one another complete focus and attention.

Then suddenly you say, “Oh, I just remembered something.” You take out your phone and call your business partner to remind him to send a report you are waiting for. It all took no more than fifteen seconds. You quickly put your phone away and smile at your wife.

But she’s not smiling. You just ruined the moment. You destroyed the atmosphere. Until now it was all about the two of you. As soon as you took out your phone, the ambiance was shattered. You brought the outside world into your intimate space.

You could try explaining that it was just a little phone call and is really no big deal. Good luck with that. If you think you can make a business call on a date night, you just don’t get what it means to create an intimate ambiance.

The Shabbat laws are all about creating an ambiance of rest, a moment of spiritual intimacy, when we appreciate G-d’s creation as it is without trying to change it. The state of the world when Shabbos comes in is the way it remains, and we do not interfere. If the light was off, it stays off. The flick of a switch, as insignificant as it may seem, would change the ambiance and ruin the moment.

Someone who has never fully kept Shabbat may find this hard to understand. But if you’ve tasted the profound sense of restfulness that Shabbos can bring, you know how even a slight interruption can make a difference.

We all need date nights and we all need Shabbos. And we need to protect the intimacy of these sacred moments

Rabbi Moss and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Bluming, Potomac, Maryland

Why Do People Become So Furious?

Haman in the Megilah of Purim had it all! His political position was second to the King! He had great wealth and a large family and a caring wife. He seems to have had good health and the people honored him to the point that they bowed when he came by!

Yet there was one man who irritated him to no end! Mordechai. That one man refused to bow to him, would not even bend when he came by. He could not tolerate this!! He became so enraged that this ultimately brought to his downfall.

In your world are you furiously irritated by something that causes you to overlook the tremendous blessing that fills your life?

Menachem Mendel Bluming has been a rabbi in Potomac, Maryland since 2003

The REAL Parenting Challenge from Mendel Bluming

Everyone is asking, how do you teach children anything these days?! They don’t listen, they are so distracted and they all think that they know better!

The answer has not changed over the millennia, unfortunately 🙂 We have to role model no matter how difficult it is.

If you have had a difficult day and someone struggling to put food on their table knocks on your door, the patience and generosity with which you respond is being recorded by your children in real time. Five hundred lectures about the importance of caring for the needy will not have close to that impact.

How do you use your time? Do you live a healthy lifestyle? Do you value education and learning when you have free time? Are you generous with your family? Do you give charity gladly?

So here’s the point: don’t worry about the fact that your children do not listen to most of what you say… Concern yourself said with the fact that they record all they see and it will impact them forever!

Parenting post by Mendel Bluming