A Time to Rest


“Therefore the prudent doth keep silence in such a time; for it is an evil time.”

– Amos 5:13, JPS 1917 Tanach

I am challenged, flummoxed, and trying to refrain from being outspoken. Yet, there is an urge to speak my voice, within reason, as well as the parameters of my belief and practice. Finding the balance, during these times of uncertainty, is no small task.

Even so, I believe that consideration needs to be made for my own peace of mind; not in a selfish way, rather, to gain perspective for the sake of clarity. Then, I will be better able to express my thoughts in response to what is happening in the world.

Therefore, I might diminish the quantity of my writings, over the next two weeks. Using these two weeks before Passover, to reflect without feeling compelled to write will hopefully be a way of renewing my soul, so that I may start anew with fresh insights.

I will continue to post at least once a week at my WordPress blog, the Olive Branch. However, daily posts may very well be curtailed for now. If you appreciate my writing, you may find some of my other posts at the Olive Branch of interest to you. Please, feel free to “visit” that blog.

My parting words for now, if I am at all able to offer some relevant advice to last over the next two weeks, are “Do not allow yourself to be inundated by the news. Be selective, find realistic perspectives, and nourish your soul with eternal truths that will outlast this plague.”

daily contemplation: Renewal

B”H March 25, 2020 Today is a day of fasting and prayer in Israel, as well as throughout the world. According to the Hebrew calendar, today is the last day of the year, when the year is reckoned by the monthly perspective, beginning with Nissan, the first of the months. Today is also Yom Kippur […]

daily contemplation: Renewal — The Olive Branch

daily contemplation: Seeking the Good


March 24, 5780

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so the L-RD, the G-d of hosts, will be with you, as ye say.”

– Amos 5:14, JPS 1917 Tanach

If we put our thoughts on hold for a moment, in order to reflect on this verse, what realizations will become apparent to us? I would contend that one way to approach the inherent meaning of this verse, is to acknowledge that most people, including myself, whether or not we would at least acknowledge this for ourselves, are ready, willing, and able to seek good for ourselves. However, is this the type of “good,” that is implied here? What constitutes the good that we are called upon to seek? For surely, the objectives of selfishness are not being spoken about in this verse.

Within context, the previous verses speak of various transgressions committed during the life of Amos. He is calling the people towards righteousness. Most of the sins that he addresses, have to do with selfishness, greed, and lack of consideration for others. Selflessness promotes doing good for others, whereas selfishness causes a distortion in our thinking, wherein we may think that what is individually good for ourselves is the good that G-d condones. If that is the case, then we are only creating Him in our image. As is written, elsewhere, our ways are not His ways.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the L-RD” (Isaiah 55:8). Therefore, we should focus on G-d’s definition of good, while reevaluating our own definition. With the dark storm clouds of the Corona virus, hovering over the globe, we may be called upon to further scrutinize our thoughts, speech and behaviors even more so than we have done in the past. For myself, the gravity of this global plague compels me to think more seriously about life. More than a wake up call, I think that H’Shem is calling for an upgrade in our walk with Him. Our response is required, so that in doing good, especially in these challenging times, He will be with us in the midst of our nisyanos (struggles).