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Menachem Bluming Muses: Why Mourner’s Kaddish?

The Mourner’s Kaddish is recited for the departed, to assist in their soul’s journey upward. For eleven months after the passing, the soul ascends gradually to its place of rest. And then each year, on the anniversary of its passing, the soul graduates to an even higher place in Heaven. …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: 2020 in One Word

Unsurprisingly, Merriam-Webster has chosen “pandemic” as their word of the year. It has been the most researched, analyzed and studied word in all of 2020—a year that has certainly left its mark on the world.  But may I humbly suggest that perhaps the word “humility” better represents the year we’ve …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Conversion Confusion

Note received:  “I have to admit, I am angry. I was brought up Jewish, attended a Jewish school, and have only known Judaism as my religion. Now I am told I have to convert, because my mother never formally became Jewish. Isn’t it a little unfair that all my life …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Finding the Good in 2020

The realities of Chanukah exactly 2159 years ago forced the Jews to find a way to light the menorah with one seemingly inadequate cruse of oil. Amazingly it lasted not only for that Chanukah but to this day. In 2020 the realities forced us to somehow make one measly cruse …

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Menachem Mendel Bluming Muses: Converts to Judaism

Many people from all different walks of life have reported feeling an affinity to Jews and Judaism. Some leave it at that. Others take it further. For them, it is more than just a curiosity with Jewish things or a taste for Jewish cooking. It is in their soul. The …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Why Jacob Lied

It is a perplexing story in the Torah. Jacob fools his father to think that he is Esau in order to receive the blessing that his mother believes he would be able to actualize far better in this world. Just about every commentator questions: what could possibly justify such a …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Genius of the Heart

There are several different types of genius. There is genius of the mind, like Einstein. There is musical genius, as in Mozart, and artistic genius, like Rembrandt. Shakespeare would be a genius of the pen. There are sporting geniuses and business geniuses. Each one possesses an uncanny ability to excel …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: The Greatest Jewish Leaders

In heaven three angels received an unexpected and very exciting text. They were to descend to the earth to visit Abraham’s tent to bring him the good news about a new child Isaac who would be born to him and Sarah etc. Looking from heaven they imagined that they would …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: You’re Voting for Whom?!

It happened 2000 years ago. There was a plague that ravaged 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud (Yevamot 62b) teaches us that the reason for it was a lack of decency amongst the students toward each other. Commentators question how it is possible that Rabbi Akiva, who taught that love …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Absentee Ballots

American law establishes that a person who cannot vote in person does not forfeit his or her right to vote. Rather, they can vote early by mail or other means. In Israel, the citizen must appear in person at the polling place on Election Day. In Israel, if you are …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Why Marry?

Adam is created by G-d himself and placed in the Garden of Eden, Paradise. G-d then declared that it is not good for Adam to be alone, he must get married and so G-d created Chavah/ Eve. What exactly was not good about Adam’s life? He lacked for nothing. There …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Why Dance on Simchat Torah

The Torah is our guidebook for life studied by scholars for the past 3,300 years. The breadth and depth of Jewish scholarship has spawned thousands of brilliant published works deciphering and applying every word and nuance of Jewish law and teaching. Jews are not meant to just memorize and repeat …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Why we Waive the Lulav

The four species that we bless on Sukkot correspond to the four letters of G-d’s Hebrew name. Waving them in all six directions signifies our faith that G-d is everywhere. Specifically, we are saying that on every level, at every stage of life, in all that happens to us, G-d …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Thinking BIG

Before the holiest prayer of each day the silent prayer known as the shemonah esrei we say: Hashem sefasay tiftoch. Now literally that means G-d open my lips but sefasay also means my banks, like river banks. G-d broaden my horizons let me see YOU in a new light. Let …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Special Children

Note received: I guess you could say I am angry at G-d right now. We have been trying to become pregnant for several years since our oldest was born. Our prayers were finally answered. Well sort of. I am pregnant, but the doctors say my baby has a rare condition …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Asymptomatic Carriers of Good

It’s a game changer. With Covid-19 the reports are indicating that you can be totally asymptomatic and still be a carrier of the virus and unknowingly spread it further, G-d forbid. It means that even though you feel fine, and you are the nicest person in the world, there is …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Ever Feel Like Giving UP???

Amidst this unpredictable, confusing and worrisome Covid crisis, do you ever feel like just saying, “I GIVE UP!” ? Let’s notice the words: the word UP. Where does that term come from in the colloquialism ‘I give UP’? Grab onto the ray of light inherent in the word UP. In …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: Social Media

“Place guards at all of your personal entryways!” Commands the Torah in Deuteronomy. Don’t let anything into your sacred space, mind and heart without questioning it. One of the challenges with the coronavirus is that it is invisible. It is harder for person to be disciplined to protect against something …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: How to Find a Lost Item!

There is a Talmudic quote that is traditionally said when looking for a lost object: Rabbi Binyomin said: Everyone is blind until G-d illuminates their eyes, as it states (Genesis 21:19), “And G-d opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” The tradition is to recite this formula …

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Menachem Bluming Muses: High Holiday Services During COVID-19

This is what Rabbi Akiva Eiger, one of the greatest Jewish leaders of all time, suggested for High Holiday services in the late 1700s during a cholera epidemic: In every synagogue, in both the men’s and the women’s sections, it is only permitted to fill half of the seats on …

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