A conversation about G-d, mysteries of the universe and soul, Israel... and speculation about biblical prophecies and the end of days.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

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Why Cry?

​   by Reb Gutman Locks  
     

Why Cry?

 

     I helped the father and his two sons with tefillin. They are from Argentina. The father read the Shema in Hebrew. The boys had to read it in Spanish. Everything went well until I showed the father how to bless his sons. He wanted to put one hand on each son's head and bless them together but I told him to do one son at a time. He put both his hands on the elder son's head, said a few words of the blessing and broke down hysterically crying. He hugged the boy tightly, sobbing, and wouldn't let go. Finally, he let go and we brought the younger son over. The same thing happened again, and now the older son was also crying seeing his father and brother crying.

     Why cry?

     There are tears of sorrow, and there are tears of joy. There are tears of disappointment, and there are tears of tremendous appreciation. There are all kinds of tears, but basically the same thing is happening. The immediate emotion you are experiencing overwhelms your intellect and the result is a loss of control, and you fall into the wondrous emotion of tears.

     Having just put on tefillin at the Kotel, read the Shema with a full heart, prayed for his loved ones, and then to hold his beloved children and ask G-d to guard them…it was too much for him. His love for his sons swept away his control and he broke down crying…holding tightly onto what he loved…and he cried. His love and prayers for his sons flooded his mind, and he sobbed like a child.

     How do you feel after you cry so much? Well, it all depends on the reason you cried. Tears express the emotion. They can relieve the pain that caused them or they can increase the appreciation of what caused them.

     The father and his sons walked away loving each other even more than they did when they walked in.

 

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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Poles

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
    

Poles

 

     A reader from Poland objected to my writing that I have heard that the Poles were worse than the nazis y'ms:

     "Ok, I'm Polish and as much as I love you rabbi you're wrong about the Poles.

During WW2 there was a severe punishment for even giving a piece of bread to a Jew. Not only was the person that helped a Jew killed but so was his Whole Family. And yet there were at least 400 families that had great hearts and even pregnant women that paid the highest price. 400 that we know of and many others forgotten because "Poles were worse than nazis"… Polish people were not angels but neither were French and others who packed their Jews on trains with no pity whatsoever. Why everybody picks on Poles constantly I can't comprehend. My grandfather was Jewish and many Jews survived because of bravery of Polish folks. Please, don't follow blindly anti Polish propaganda. G-d bless.

 

Gutman's response:

     It is nice to think that you are right, but I heard that when survivors returned from the ghettos and camps to their homes in Poland the Poles who stole them killed the survivors. I, (thank G-d) was not there and can only go by what I have been told.

-----

     I asked an expert, Commander Aryeh Leib. Aryeh Leib is a holocaust survivor who went on to become a commander in the Israel armed forces. He lives in Florida and works all year long educating the public as to what happened during the Holocaust. This is his reply:

 

     Shalom my dear friend Gutman:

     There were good Poles, but most of them were happy to get rid of the Jews. As a matter of fact after the war when the owners came back to their houses or apartments, many were killed or most were chased away. I remember receiving them in Prague in 1945 & 1946

     I knew one little Irena Sendler who saved single handed 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto. I just honored her at our Holocaust gathering for her great work that she saved all those children. She saved their names in a jar, to give them back to their families after the war. You can see her name at "Yad Vashem."

     Also Dudu Fisher's father was saved with 15 members of his family by a Polish family. His name is also at "Yad Vashem."

     A total of 26,000 names are at "Vad Vashem." Rabbi Lau was just talking about them at our Washington Embassy.

     I hope this gives you a better picture. Today we are received in Poland in Krakow, Auschwitz, Warsaw better than before.

     I'm on my way to another "March of the Living" with the boys from the yeshiva Torat Shraga of Jerusalem, and after that back to Jerusalem.

     Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Kotel.

Best Regards to all,

Aryeh Leib

 

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The Mazel of Chodesh Adar

by Reb Aharon Rubin, author of Eye to the Infinite at Mystical Paths

image

1. The mazal of chodesh Adar is דגים, fish. The word דג is the opposite order of the letters in the aleph-beis, gimmel daled, גד - which the gemora explains, signifies the rich person [the gimmel or goimel] chasing after the reticent poor person [daled or dal] in order to give him tseddokoh.[1]

That these letters are here reversed appears to symbolise the reverse of this scenario: the poor person running towards the giver. Actually, in this case the giver has his ‘back’ to the poor person – i.e. he doesn’t see him coming. This calls to mind the anecdote, that the fish found swallowed within a fish have their head towards its tail – they were are actually swimming towards it, not away from it. This shows that it is not the prey that the fish is running towards, that feeds it. Rather, G-d provides its source from another, hitherto unnoticed, source.

The Midrash actually says that Homon ימש"ו, on seeing that his lots fell on the month of Adar, thought, "Now I shall be able to swallow them, like fish that swallow one another" (Esther Rabba vii.; Targ. Sheni iii). What he didn’t realise is that the fish would actually be swimming towards him and would eventually be the cause of his downfall and demise – עת אשר שליט האדם באדם לרע לו (Koheles 8:9), i.e. Esther, the queen within the palace.

This also shows the futility of relying completely on one’s own cheshbonos. Hence, Purim is named after the lots drawn. It also ties in with Chazal’s saying that this is the mazal of Yosef, who is ‘covered from the eye’, like fish who are beneath water.[2]

2. The Sefer Yetsiroh says המליך אות ק' בצחוק וקשר לו כתר וצירפן זה בזה וצר בהן דגים בעולם ואדר בשנה"(פרק ה') – He made the letter ‘kuf’ king in mirth, bound to it a crown, mixed them one with the other and created with them fish in world and Adar in year. We find the letter kuf has two meanings: in the Gemora Shabbos [ibid.] it stands for kodosh – “holy”, in אותיות דרבי עקיבא it stands for the ‘face’ of הקב"ה that turns away from a רשע. In contrast, elsewhere in the Gemora, its meaning carries a derogatory implication: [3]אדם בפני שכינה כקוף בפני אדם

Perhaps this points to the two contrasting uses of joy. Joy can be used in holiness or in empty-headed frivolity. Our Rabbis tell us that whereas the crying during the Yomim Noroim ‘corrects’ untoward sadness and depression, the joy during Adar, in particular on the days of Purim, corrects untoward joy.[4]

There is a discerning sign to distinguish the sadness, or the joy, that is a mitsvoh. The broken heart – in holiness – always brings to a feeling of inner joy. Conversely, joy of a Mitsvoh, is coloured with longing to aspire higher. Perhaps this is the answer to the apparent contradiction between the Gemora that says,[5]

הוד והדר לפניו עוז וחדוה במקומו והאמר רב פפא אין עציבות לפני הקב"ה שנאמר לא קשיא הא בבתי גואי הא בבתי בראי

and the Zohar that says the opposite.[6] In the ‘inner chambers’, there is never any sadness. But the joy is bound with the longing for that which will be, the higher, purer form of revelation of אז ימלא שחוק פינו.

Similarly, the sadness that is in holiness that is found in the ‘outer houses’ is bound to the true, clear joy of Presence.


[1] שבת פו:

[2] (ב"מ פד.):

"בן פורת יוסף בן פורת עלי עין" - אל תקרי עלי עין אלא עולי עין (רש"י - שאין עין הרע שולטת בהם). רב כהנה אמר מהכא "וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ", מה דגים שבים מכוסים ואין העין שולטת בהם, כך זרעו של יוסף אין העין שולטת בהם. עיין עוד בזוה"ק פ' בלק מאמר הינוקא.

[3] ב"ב, נח:

[4] See for example עטרת ישועה on אדר.

[5] חגיגה ה:

[6] זהר ויצא קס״ג א 'על דא תנינין אין עצבות לפני המקום לפני דייקא כו׳', ועיין בניצוצי זהר שם אות ב׳ ע״ד הגמ׳ חגיגה ה׳ ע״ב הא בבתי גואי הא בבתי בראי ורש״י שם, שהוא מתרץ דדברי הזהר מתאימים עם פירוש רבינו חננאל וע׳׳ע באוצר הכבוד להרמ״ה (נאווידווהר כ״ח רע״די), בסודי רזיא להרקח הל׳ מלאכים ע׳ י״ב, בשושן סודות (קארץ תקמ״ו) נ״ו א, בהפרדס שער מהות והנהגה, פי״ב, ומשם לפלח הרימון להרמ״ע שער ח׳ מהות והנהגה פ״ח, ובעבודת הקודש לר״מ בן גבאי חלק התכלית סנ״ז,

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

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What About Shabbos?

The following story is one of Reb Gutman Locks’s, and was recently published in the Living Jewish weekly Torah sheet in Israel…

imageLate Shabbat afternoon, a father sat his seven-year-old son next to me at the Kotel and said, "Okay, ask him your question."


The boy had a tiny voice, "If G-d renews the world every day, then what about Shabbat when He stops creating?"


I love it. Here is a question that most adults never dreamed of asking and a seven-year-old really wanted to know, "Then, what about Shabbat?"


Do you understand his question? In one place we are told that G-d ceased creating at the end of the sixth day, and rested from creating on Shabbat, and in another place we are told that G-d renews the world everyday! How do we reconcile these two apparently contradictory statements? Does G-d renew His creation on Shabbat, or does He "rest"?


Before answering his question I told the boy how wonderful it is that he asks questions like this. "Always ask questions. It is the best way to learn. On everything that you do not understand, ask."


Then I explained, actually, G-d renews the world every second. He holds everything in its form all the time, because if He didn't, everything would disappear. It would just stop being. G-d is forming everything right now out of nothing!


Then, what about Shabbat when G-d rests from creating? What this really means is that from that first Shabbat on G-d rested from creating any new things, and from then on everything new that comes in the world comes from something else that was already here."


I explained that this means that during the first week everything was first created solely from G-d's "words." But now, things come from other things. For instance, a baby is made from the mother and father, and the table is made from the tree, and on and on, but during the first week everything was brought into being without there having been any preexisting matter for it to come from. It was from this type of creating that G-d rested, (ceased).


The boy seemed to understand. His father asked me to give the boy. I said, "When you grow up, may G-d make you even better than your Mommy and Daddy." The boy beamed at his father, and smiled at the idea.


I asked him his name. He said, "Ezra Yehudah". I told him that before a baby is born G-d whispers to the baby's mother and father what name the new baby should have, and that name shows what that child is coming into  world to do. I told him to learn all about the great deeds of the first men to be called Ezra and Yehudah and those were the things that he should try to do in his life.


They walked away very happy. I was surprised that I had never heard that question before, and amazed that it came from such a young boy.

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He Says His Mother’s Mother Was Jewish

​    by Reb Gutman Locks   
     

He Says His Mother's Mother Was Jewish

 Three tourists walked into the Kotel area. They did not look Jewish. Often you can tell if someone is Jewish by the way they look. Not always, but most of the time you can tell. A little while later Shmuli brought one of them over to me and said, "He says that his Mother's Mother was Jewish."

     You cannot go by what tourists say because sometimes visitors like to say things they think will get them accepted, so they might make up stories.

     I asked, "Where're you from?"

     "Poland."

     I can't help it, but whenever I hear that someone is from Poland it reminds me what I have heard too many times. "The Poles were worse than the nazis." y'ms.

    "How do you know that your mother's mother was Jewish? Did she tell you?"

    "Yes, she told us all."

    "What about your mother? Did she ever tell you that she was Jewish?"

     "No. By then they had converted to another religion."

     It was common for older European Jews to convert, either in shock from what had happened there, or foolishly thinking that it would protect them if it would (G-d forbid) happen again.

     "Are you sure that your mother's mother told you that she was Jewish?"
     "Yes."

      He looked totally at ease when he answered.

     "If your mother's mother was Jewish, your mother was Jewish, and if your mother was Jewish, you are Jewish!"

      He did not know that having a Jewish grandmother could mean that he was also a Jew.

     "Come, I will help you to put on tefillin."

      He had no idea what I was talking about but he cooperated completely. I explained what tefillin are and why we put them on. After reading the Shema in English I had him pray for his loved ones and we took a few pictures for him to take with him. I told him that he is Jewish because his mother was Jewish, and if he wanted his children to be Jews he had to marry a Jewish girl. He understood. He was very happy for the experience.

     His non Jewish friends watched the entire scene from a distance. When they were leaving I told them, "Don't let him go out with your sisters. He has to marry a Jewish girl." They smiled.

     He walked into the Kotel as a Polish goi, and walked out as a Jew who had just put on tefillin. Quick change in who you think you are. Maybe it will all fade from his memory, or maybe he will think differently about his life and what he should be doing about it. He will see.

 

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Sunday, February 07, 2016

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Jews Now DIRECTLY Targeted on U.S. Campuses

image…their experiences as Jewish students at the SOCC would soon inspire a rude awakening: the campus progressives who were “fighting for justice on college campuses for students of color” weren’t only ignoring anti-Semitism and attacks on Jewish identity—they were sometimes the ones perpetuating it.

This was quickly made clear on the first day at a session called “Existence is Resistance,” hosted by leaders of UC San Diego’s SJP chapter. Students discussed the boycott of Israel as an issue of urgency for students of color. …they originally had no intention to engage in dialogue about Israel at the conference, but they were horrified at how attacks on Israel soon devolved into attacks on the Jews. “The session went way beyond the boundaries …”

For example, they said that Israel was poisoning the water that they sell into the West Bank, and raising the price by ten times. Any sane person knows that this is not true. They also said that when Jewish-American students go on Birthright trips, the Israeli government offers you money to live on a settlement.

Over the course of what was probably no longer than an hour, my history was denied, the murder of my people was justified, and a movement whose sole purpose is the destruction of the Jewish homeland was glorified. Statements were made justifying the ruthless murder of innocent Israeli civilians, blatantly denying Jewish indigeneity in the land, and denying the Holocaust in which six million Jews were murdered. Why anyone in their right mind would accept these slanders as truths baffles me. But they did. These statements, and others, were met with endless snaps and cheers…

It was a prevailing sentiment that I felt at the conference and in the progressive community, that because I am Jewish, I cannot be an activist who supports Black Lives Matter or the LGBTQ community. When I heard that among my peers that “the Jews are oppressors and murderers—How can you care about students of color on campus when they’re murdering our people abroad?”—it quickly dawned on me that it wasn’t that they don’t like us because we’re pro-Israel—they don’t like us because we’re Jews. We were targeted. It’s such a shame that the SOCC solidified and supported this belief of mine.

It was, ironically, in a safe space intended to protect students from discrimination and bigotry in which their Jewish identity was marginalized, ostracized, and politicized. And it was the progressive students and students of color—often themselves targets of hate, bigotry, and discrimination—who were the propagators of ancient hatreds against the Jewish people.

The full story here.

Reb Akiva comments – the permissiveness of violent and oppressive actions by “those against opression” on college campuses has gotten far far out of control.  It’s become dangerous to be a Jew on campus, or a male on campus, or a “white” on campus.  While supporting a movement decrying micro-aggressions (which apparently means there’s no actual aggressions left of concern) is ridiculous, that these people are calling for the HORRIBLE MURDER of Jews should be decried LOUDLY.  Instead of Jewish students joining organizations crying about made up wrongs to perpetuate a victim class, it would seem time for Jewish students and jewish organizations to begin to form into Jewish Anti-Discrimination Defense Teams and directly challenge the wave of real anti-Jewish discrimination and aggression flowing across U.S. campuses.

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Jews!

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
    

Jews!

 

     Jews are an amazing people.

     When I asked this tourist if he was Jewish he answered, "Yes, Sephardi."

     "But is your mother Jewish?"

     "Yes."

     I asked him where he is from. He answered, "Brooklyn."

     Okay, from here it is all normal, I mean typical... a Jew from Brooklyn.

     After we finished with tefillin I asked him what he does for a living. I bet you a buck you won't guess this one, not in a thousand years. Where is this young Sephardic Jew working? Moscow! He teaches English in Moscow!

     The Russian Chabadnik who works at the tefillin stand started talking to him in Russian. Seemed fluent to me.

     What in the world is a young Sephardi Jewish boy from Brooklyn doing teaching English in Russia? Amazing people… I bet his students appreciate him.

     "And all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants…." This is Hashem's blessing to Avraham 4,000 years ago because Avraham obeyed Hashem's voice.[i]

 



[i] Genesis 22:18

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Saturday, February 06, 2016

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Reb Gutman Highlights at Mishpacha

We were thrilled to see our own Reb Gutman Locks’s story covered in this week’s Hebrew Mishpacha magazine.  It’s Hebrew, click the pic below to get it.
locks_articlea
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Thursday, February 04, 2016

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Akiva’s Tech Hints & Life Hacks

by Reb Akiva

imageThe modern world with it’s intertwinned technology and complicated systems, including government and company and so forth, often leave us with challenges.  Even the techie may spend hours or days working through various problems.

As the techie in my family, I find myself searching the interwebs for hints and key info.  So when I’ve found a solution, I decided it’s important to share what I’ve learned for the next person to use.

Introducing Akiva’s Tech Hints & Life Hacks.  No promises of it being interesting, but maybe it will provide a solution or two for someone struggling through mundane but challenging issues.

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I’ll Wait a Few More Minutes

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
    

I'll Wait a Few More Minutes

 

     It was very cold and rainy. I was standing to the side, by the bookshelves outside next to the Kotel men's entrance looking for some Jews to help with tefillin. The Kotel was almost completely empty.

     After a half an hour or so I said, "I might as well go inside where it is warm. I am not helping anyone here today. Ah…I'll wait a few more minutes. Maybe I can help someone."

     So I waited. It was cold. Finally a platoon of soldiers came running in, but almost all of them had already put on tefillin that day. The one or two who had not yet put them on knew how to do it by themselves.

    "It's cold!" I yelled. "Okay, just a few more minutes."

     Right then a Jew in his 60's walked by. I called out to him, "Did you put on tefillin today?"

      He was an Iranian living many years in California. "Yes, I put them on in the morning."

     Then he walked over to me and asked, "Tell me, is there a place to give charity at the Kotel?"

      "You can give it here to the Kotel," I pointed to the Kotel charity box, "or to the Kotel tefillin stand if you like."

      "Oh, for the tefillin?"

       "Yes"

       He handed me an open envelope filled with what seemed to be maybe forty one-dollar bills. It is a custom to give someone coming to Israel charity to give here. It is a special mitzvah to help the Jews who live in the Land. Also, giving the traveler charity to deliver makes him a messenger on a mitzvah errand and this helps to protect him on his journey. I took the envelope and asked, "What do you want me to do with this?"

     He said, "Do whatever you like."

     Shmuli was standing right there so I immediately handed him the envelope saying, "This is for the Chabad tefillin stand."

      Shmuli took it and the man said, "Oh, Chabad", and he reached in his pocket and took out another envelope and handed it to me. I handed that envelope to Shmuli too.

     The man asked us to pray for a sick relative so Shmuli took him inside and helped him. Latter Shmuli came back and said, "It looks like all one-dollar bills, but it all helps. Barouch Hashem."

     I went inside to wait for maariv (evening prayers) and a few minutes later Shmuli sat next to me and said, "There was $700 in the envelopes!"

     Barouch Hashem. Chabad at the Kotel, like all other locations, always needs help paying the salaries of their staff. They are all married with lots of kids. Thank G-d I stayed for a few more minutes to let Hashem give me the gift of being able to help. Barouch Hashem.

 

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

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Prayers Go to Heaven

​    by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     In my video, "Should Every Jew Move to Israel", I explained that all of our prayers from all over the world first come to the Kotel and from here they go on into Heaven.

     Joshua commented, "Great Video! One correction…all prayers go to the Har Habayis (the Temple Mount) before ascending, not the Kotel…"  

     As often happens, there is disagreement between our sages. Apparently, the great majority of rabbinical authorities except the Rambam say that the holiness of the Temple Mount ceased either after the First Temple was destroyed or certainly after the Second Temple was destroyed.

     Even though the vast majority of those sages say there is no remaining holiness on the Mount, still we say, just in case the Rambam was right, we are not to go up onto the Temple Mount until the Moshiach comes and then we will all be able to go up again.

     The Kotel was not even part of the Second Temple. It was "merely" a retaining wall built to guard the Temple Mount from sliding and thereby weaken the Temple's foundation. Today's holiness of the Kotel is not due to its original function. A Midrash tells us that the Kotel was built with the funds gathered from poor Jews' charity. This is why it was not destroyed with the Temple. But its special place in the spiritual world today is because the Shechina (G-d's revelation) never leaves the Kotel. This is why our prayers come to the Kotel first and from here they proceed to Heaven.

     When the Temple was standing all of our prayers came to the Temple Mount and then went on into Heaven. And when the Temple will be rebuilt (soon in our day) again our prayers will come to the Mount and from there continue on up into Heaven. Now we have the Kotel. We thank G-d for what we have, and we pray that He will soon bring the Temple.

 

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Monday, February 01, 2016

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Liberal Western Wall Prayer Site in the News

image

Commentor S.M. emailed a news alert and commented…

NEWS ALERT - Israeli Cabinet approves liberal Jewish prayer at holy site

Israel's Cabinet voted Sunday to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a move advocates said marked a historic show of government support for liberal streams of Judaism.

The issue is of particular importance to the Jewish community in the United States, where the more liberal Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism are dominant. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed the plan in an attempt to please American Jews, a key source of support for Israel, despite stiff opposition by ultra-Orthodox and religious nationalist elements in Israel who are key members of his own government.

"I know this is a sensitive topic, but I think it is an appropriate solution, a creative solution," Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday's Cabinet meeting, where members voted on the plan.

According to the government plan, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, Israel will build a new plaza for mixed gender prayer at the Western Wall, adjacent to the Orthodox prayer plaza but separate from it.

COMMENT - Shalom alekem!  Just wondering what your thoughts are about this.  I honestly don't see why these people can't just respect the wishes of Orthodox Jews.  What happened to ... "What is hateful to you, don't do to others"...?  Maybe they'd like it if the Na Nachs invaded their synagogues and disrupted their services. 

What's next?  A new section at the Western Wall that's set aside just for the LGBT community?  Where does it end?  And when the Temple is rebuilt, are these Reform and Conservative women going to lobby for the right to serve as Levitical singers and priests?  Is the Israeli government going to force the Orthodox Jewish to accept a female High Priest? 

::::heavy sigh::::

Akiva REPLIES:

The international news is an absolute wonder.  Pregnant Jewish women are being stabbed almost daily by “Palestinian” Arab children (11 year olds, 13 year olds, 16 year olds) who are plied with propaganda begging them to kill and providing charts on the best places to stab to be effective, and that gets no mention in the international news (though the Foreign Minister of Sweden then complains that the 13 year old running at a policeman with the bloodly knife is shot).

But the decision to change from a wooden prayer platform on the south end of the Western Wall to a tiled platform with improved lighting…that’s world shaking news.

Here’s the conflict in brief, and the new situation:

The Western Wall Plaza, the holiest place for Jewish prayer CURRENTLY AVAILALBLE (the holiest place is the Temple Mount, but there’s a mosque there so Jews are not allowed to pray there – it might upset somebody), is operated as a traditional Jewish holy site / synagogue – meaning prayer space is separated by gender.  Everyone is welcome, there is no charge, and nobody is checking people’s religion, ethnic origin, gender preference, or whatever.  The site can’t be expanded as it’s bounded by Old City houses on the north side, and an archelogical garden fall off on the south side.  (There are discussions of going down, making it a multi-level site.)

Jewish men’s prayer involves wearing tefillin (the black box phylacteries) daily for morning prayer, wearing a prayer shawl for daily morning prayer, and reading from the Torah scroll on Monday, Thursday, Shabbat morning, Shabbat afternoon, and on holidays and Rosh Chodesh – the new month day, and reciting a series of prayers from the prayer book.

Jewish women’s prayer is more flexible, does not require any of the above, and may recite the prayer series from the prayer book or not, as time allows.  Jewish women often frequently recite Psalms.

Now there is ongoing friction in Israel between religious authorities that are government funded, such as the Western Wall Plaza authority, city burial authories, and others, and the nature of democracy.  The religious authorities are maintaining a very clear well understood religious standard.  But some people come along and want to do their own thing.  Women who want to do men’s prayer actions – or mixed gender prayer groups.  They complain this is publically funded, you can’t discriminate.

The Israeli government is trying to square this circle by saying they’ll build ANOTHER small plaza area inside the archtelogical garden south of the current Western Wall Plaza, which is also at a lower level and therefore out of sight from the Western Wall Plaza, to satisfy these people’s demand.  THEY ALREADY DID THIS a few years ago, but the area is somewhat temporary with a wooden platform floor and temporary flood lights.  The government is trying to close this issue by offering to upgrade the site to permanancy, improving the flooring, lighting, and entrance path to get there.

It’s a reasonable compromise.  NOTE that while the religious party government ministers are grumbling about it, they are NOT opposing it or voting against it. 

S.M., you make a good point – these people do NOT respect tradition, they only respect their own wants.  But if they have enough of a consituency, or legal or monetary power, then it’s reasonable of the government to try to accomodate them and get this issue out of everyone’s faces. 

Sadly, at least one segment of these people has stated they will NOT accept this accomodation and will continue to fight the 97% of people who use the Western Wall Plaza as the traditional Jewish holy site it is.

READ IT!
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Punking the Frum Community “The New Zionists”

imageThe Jerusalem Post, and picked up by Voz Iz Neius, published an article titled “The New Zionists – Ultra-Orthodoxy has Effectively Surrendered to the Zionist Idea”.  The article APPEARS to be a lament by an ultra-orthodox author about how the charedi (Israeli ultra-orthodox Jewish community) ideals of the previous generations are being reversed in this generation…with a probable destination of Reform Judaism and turning their back on Torah.

Here’s a few quotes…

Jews must avoid “connecting with what amounts to religion’s destruction and an obstacle to the house of Israel,” wrote Lithuanian sage Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, while the chief rabbi of Lodz, Eliyahu Meisel, wrote that “anyone with God’s fear in his heart shall distance himself from them [the Zionists], will not walk with them, and will keep his legs from their paths.” 

One hundred and twenty years on, a Hasid is a minister in the Zionist government; thousands of ultra-Orthodox men serve in the Zionist army and a plethora of ultra-Orthodox colleges lead thousands into the Zionist state’s economic beehive and social mainstream…

The undeclared aim was to restore the proverbial ghetto, where thick and tall social walls would keep rabbinical authority unquestioned and modernity’s temptations at bay.  The key to such social resignation lay in the Jewish state’s leading social welder – the army. If Haredi men joined the army, they might cease to be ultra-Orthodox. If exempted, their distinctiveness would be preserved and, in fact, deepened….

…The ghetto’s slow but steady construction now proceeded unopposed. By 1968, the 400- man quota had doubled, and by 1977, an aggregate 25,000 Haredi men had already avoided full military service since Israel’s establishment.  This social nucleus of the emerging ghetto incubated in the secluded neighborhoods where the ultra-Orthodox lived with their rabbis close to their schools, yeshivas and shops. This self-segregation was further cemented by the men’s failure to acquire vocations, in line with their commitment to spend their time studying Torah, all of which reduced to a minimum their daily contact with the rest of society.

By the turn of the century, the annual number of ultra-Orthodox men avoiding full IDF service had crossed 7,000 ‒ enough to man two combat brigades.  Besides provoking the middle class, where many felt they were financing a celebration of draft-dodging and voluntary unemployment, this arrangement also perverted the Jewish tradition that, while cherishing lifelong study, had never financed it for more than a select few.  It was an anomaly that had to explode, and it did…

Faced with a harsh recession, Sharon and his finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, cut in half the child allowances that had become central in many ultra-Orthodox families’ livelihoods. Prodded by Lapid, who was now deputy prime minister, they also trimmed government funding for yeshivas and other Haredi causes.  Ultra-Orthodox politicians felt choked.  With 65 percent of ultra-Orthodox males unemployed and their average income less than half that of the rest of the population, Haredi rabbis realized they needed a new deal with the Jewish state.  The ideal of non-work was, therefore, quietly abandoned. Ultra-Orthodox vocational schools began to sprout in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, initially training plumbers, mechanics, electricians and nurses, and then spreading to computer engineering, accounting and law….

Still, the walls of the ultra-Orthodox ghetto have been breached and thousands are pouring out, much the way the Jews of Germany, Austria and Hungary did when their own ghetto walls fell between the times of Moshe Sofer and Herzl.  Back then, it took hardly two generations before the newly freed Jews became lawyers, doctors, dentists, scientists, publishers, journalists, bankers, and tycoons.
The same process is underway in Israel – the Zionist creation where more than half a million ultra-Orthodox Jews now speak no language other than the Hebrew that Zionism revived…

Yet what appears as a lament to a generational lifestyle being lost is written by a secular Israeli writer, and much of what he describes is HIS vision, with limited or no experience, of the Jewish ultra-orthodox community in the next town over (that he’s probably never visited).

Being picked up by the ultra-orthodox Jewish news web sites, we’re being punked. 

The Jewish orthodox community, while maintaining the highest values, has and does adjust generation to generation and place to place, keeping Torah a living Torah while maintaining it’s ideals.  That’s Toras Chaim.  Our author believes that if a frum man goes to work that means orthodox Judaism is coming to an end.  He’s very very wrong.

READ IT!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

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There Is No Barber

via Reb Goldstein, as he heard from Rav Brizel…

imageIn a certain town there was a barber who did not believe in G-d. When asked why, he responded, "Look at all the sick people, look at all the problems people have, how can there be a G-d if such things exist in the world!?"

Upon hearing this, the man he was speaking to turned around and began to shout out in the street, "I do not believe that there is a barber in this town, there is no barber in this town!"

The barber then stopped him and said with surprise, "But I am a barber, I am standing right in front of you. How can you say that you do not believe there is a barber here?"

To this the man responded, "I look around and see people with long hair, with messy hair, with dirty hair, since all these people have problems with their hair, it must mean that there is no barber in this town. To this the barber responded, "But what can I do, I can only help these people if they come to me."

The man said, "Hashem too can only help those who come to Him!"

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Should Every Jew Move to Israel?



by YOUR-NAME at Mystical Paths
-  by Reb Gutman Locks     Has the time come for all Jews from all over the World to come home?
Is the promised Redemption really happening now?


 type article here -
READ IT!
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