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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Friday, October 20, 2017

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Redemption is Happening

    by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     When he walked up to the tefillin stand I did not ask him if his mother was Jewish. I assumed from his appearance that she wasn't. He was huge and was literally covered with colorful tattoos! Both his arms were completely covered, he had gigantic colored tattoos on the back and sides of his neck…. Wherever I looked he was tattooed!

     I asked him what he was doing in Israel. He said that he was a krav maga teacher. Krav maga is an effective Israeli self-defense system and many non-Jews come to Israel to learn it.

     He was with an Israeli who told me that the guy was Jewish. I asked him if he was Jewish. He said of course he was.

     "Is your mother Jewish?"

     "Both my mother and my father are Jewish."

      I put tefillin on him and was surprised that he knew the blessing. I had him say the appropriate prayers and then go stand by the Kotel and talk to G-d in his heart.

     While he was away the Israeli, who turned out to be his cousin, told us his story. His parents are Israelis who left Israel and moved to Germany! That alone is shocking. They left, or never had any Jewish beliefs and became x-ians! He was raised in Germany in a x-ian home.

    Then later, after doing all his nutty things, he rejected the x-ian beliefs and began learning Torah.

     After we took off the tefillin I gave him a couple of ideas that show how foolish x-ianity is to give him some more support in his leaving that idolatry. He seemed to have already known them.

     It is hard to picture a Jew beginning further away than he was and still he has come to a Torah life. How close we must be to the end!

     Hashem is calling to all the Jews all over the world; "If you your dispersed will be at the ends of heaven, from there Hashem your G-d will gather you in…".[i] Redemption is happening. If you want a better seat you better come now." 


[i] Deuteronomy 30:4

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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You Never Know

    by Reb Gutman Locks
       You Never Know

 

       Our deeds are like seeds that we plant and you never know how far they might grow.

     The man in the picture was visiting from America. He came up to me during the holiday and said, "You changed my nephew's life. Eight months ago, you put tefillin on him and sent him to the Kotel to say some special prayers. I don't know what you told him to do, but he is a different person now. He believes and acts differently. Not only that, but he is a teacher in a Reform Temple and now he is teaching those children to do the same thing."

     This is what I tell them: "The mitzvah opens the gate to Heaven. Talk to G-d in your heart. Picture everyone you love one at a time with light on their faces and smiling and ask G-d to bless them. Thank Him for all the good He has given you. Ask Him to guide you in life. Take a couple of minutes and talk to G-d…"

     What a blessing it is to be able to reach those young Jewish children who are, at best, learning the history of the Jewish people in their Reform school and showing them that they can talk to G-d in their hearts.

Talking to G-d 

(link)
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

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The Ambassador

   by Reb Gutman Locks

  

     The United States ambassador to Israel is a religious Jew. He was at the Kotel the other day davening mincha. When he was leaving I was standing by my tefillin cart.

     I called over to him, "Ambassador, you are a miracle!"

     He answered "Well, I don't know about that."

     He walked over to me and shook my hand.

    "Yes, you are… compared to what we had before you, it certainly is a miracle."             

     Then I told him, "Give Trump our love."

     "I'll do it."

      I leaned over and whispered, "Tell him to talk nice."

      He said, "We tell him all the time."

      Is it a miracle that a pro-Israel religious Jewish man is the new ambassador to Israel? As I told him, compared to the previous president who was anti-Israel and supported our enemies, it certainly is a blessing. And should Trump speak nicely instead of his frequent outbursts? Of course he should. He gives his enemies fuel whenever he blurts out his emotions. Speak nicely…be smart…use your words to get the results you want.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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2:00 AM

   by Reb Gutman Locks
Chassidim Dance
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In the Beginning

    by Reb Gutman Locks

In the Beginning

 

     Hashem created and formed the creation using the letters of the aleph bet. A hint of this can be seen in the first letter of the aleph bet. All letters have a gematria (numerical value) and we learn more about the Torah by investigating these values.

     The first letter, the aleph, has the numerical value of one. We know that Hashem is One, but the One that Hashem is is not the one as in one, two, three…. It is the One as in Only.

     The aleph is made of an upper yud, a vav, and a lower yud.


     This hints to the way of creation. The upper yud has been folded over diagonally (brought down) making the vav as the fold. Across from where the upper yud now lies there comes the lower yud.

     Aleph has the gematria of one and Hashem is One. Yud vav yud has the gematria of 26. Twenty-six is the gematria of Hashem's most holy name, Yud Kay Vav Kay.

     The Torah teaches us that there is nothing other than Hashem.[i] He is the One, He is the all, but in order for creation to appear He has to hide Himself so there can appear to be an other. It is the Jew's job to reveal Hashem's Presence by using His creation for Holy purposes.



[i] Deuteronomy 4:39

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Sunday, October 08, 2017

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Waiving the Four Plants

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Waiving the Four Plants

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Waiving the Four Plants

 

     On Sukkot we wave these four types of plants in six directions. What does this mitzvah come to teach us?

Jewish Unity - Luluv 

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

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Yearning

   by Reb Gutman Locks
     Yearning

 

     Think about someone very special in your life, someone you love so, so much. But because of your personal needs you are on a trip and cannot see this person for now and you want to see him or her again. You want to spend time with him, to share your love with him.

     Yearning can be a very trying emotion, or it can be a very helpful, even warm and enjoyable experience.

     When you focus only on what you are missing you will most likely become sad, hurt that you do not have your love with you. But you can also look to see how fortunate you are to even know such love, most people don't. Then you will be focusing on what you do have, albeit not in your "hand" right now.

     There is a prayer we say at mincha on Rosh Hashana that includes such tender, yet pressing requests: "Beloved of my soul, merciful Father…. Glorious resplendent One, Light of the world, my soul is lovesick for You, I beseech You, O'G-d, pray heal it by showing it the sweetness of Your splendor…. I have been yearning to behold the glory of Your majesty. These my heart desire…. Reveal Yourself my Beloved…the time has come and be gracious unto us ….

     On one side we long so much for Him we could even, G-d forbid, become sad… sad that we do not have the immediate experience of His Shechina (Revealed Presence). But also, we thank G-d that we know such an experience is possible. We are so blessed to know that we could see that He is truly present, that we have in our soul the knowledge that this most glorious vision can happen.

     Even as we yearn so much, we thank Him for allowing us to know that He is here to be yearned for.

   

 

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

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How to Wave the Luluv

   by Reb Gutman Locks  
      

How to Wave the Luluv

 

     If you haven't seen this video, you most likely have not been fulfilling the mitzvah of waving the Luluv and Esrog properly.

 

G-d Said, "Be Happy"


(link)

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

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Yom haKippurim

   by Reb Gutman Locks
       

Yom haKippurim

 

      The day of atonement. The day our judgement for the New Year will be sealed. We come before the Judge seeking forgiveness and a favorable decree. We stand before the King of Kings dressed in white as if we were angels, free from sin. How will our judgement turn out? What kind of year will we have? A momentous day of immense importance.

     Why then can we read "Yom haKippurim" as "The day that is like Purim"? Purim is the day of immense joy, the joy of having been saved from our enemies. What does the Day of Atonement have to do with Purim?

     There is a Baal Shem story that answers this question best. One Yom Kippur the Baal Shem was away from home spending the holiday in a small village. He saw that one of the simple, unlearned Jews kept smiling and even laughing out loud during the evening service. The Baal Shem held back and didn't say anything.   

     But then in the morning the same thing happened. The simple Jew kept smiling and laughing, mostly to himself, but still it was noticeable.

     Noon prayers went the same. Finally, the Baal Shem could not hold back any longer. At the closing prayers, the Baal Shem approached the simple Jew and said, "This is a very serious day today. Our judgements are being finalized today. We stand before the Judge and you are laughing the entire time. Don't you realize how serious a day this is? Why are you laughing like this?"

     The simple Jew looked at the Baal Shem totally surprised at his question.

     "Of course I am happy on this wonderful day. All of my sins are being forgiven. Thank G-d, the kindest Judge there could ever be is forgiving me today."

    The Baal Shem smiled and said, "You are right."

    Yes, this day is the most serious day of all. Yes, we are being judged, perhaps even for our very lives. But if we sincerely say that we are sorry for what we did wrong, and we honestly promise not to do those horrible things again, then all of our sins will be forgiven. What a wonderful day! It's like Purim.  

Turning to G-d

(link)

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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What Kind?

   by Reb Gutman Locks
     

What Kind?

 

     Can you guess what kind of tree this is? Look closely on the right side of the tree, about 15 feet off the ground. It's a kid's-tree.

 

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

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I’m Not Religious

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
      

I'm Not Religious

 

   Hz left this comment on my latest video:  Turning to G-d

    "I'm not religious but still love your short video clips. Thank you for sharing!"

My response:

     If your mother is Jewish, have a glass of wine Friday nights and say the blessing, and put on tefillin weekdays…. It's fun if you do it right…you don't have to be religious to take advantage of these beautiful things.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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What If?


    by Reb Gutman Locks  
      

What If?

 

     I was talking with a very nice, young, non-religious Jewish man. He was raised religious but he did not have a great relationship with his father so as soon as he could he left. I really like the guy. The conversation went something like this.

     "How come you don't kept Shabbos?"

     "Sometimes I want to make a phone call or something."

     "That's so important?"

      He smiled comfortable with the idea that he can do whatever he wants.

      I asked. "Let's say, G-d forbid, that you are right. Let's say that after you die nothing happens, no heaven, no hell, just zero. I would still want to live my life helping people, trying to make the world a better place."

      He agreed completely.

     "So, if you are right, I have lost nothing by living as I do and following the Torah."

      He kind of agreed.

      I went on, "But now let's say that I am right, and life goes on after this one. Then what's going to happen to you?"

      His face twisted. He didn't say anything but the thought that maybe what I am saying is right made him wonder about his life and what might happen to him after he leaves this world.

     The ironic thing is that not only do the non-religious Jews lose a huge share of what will be later, but when you do it right, living a religious life is more enjoyable than a secular life. The fact is, studies show that religious people are more optimistic, therefore happier than secular people, and live longer, healthier lives. I'm having a good time. Baruch Hashem.

 

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

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G-d’s Abode?

G-d's Abode?

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

      David asked: How do you make sense of this?

     "Look down from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers." [i]

     But G-d is everywhere, why does Moshé imply that He is high up and not here with us?

Thank you.

 

Gutman's response: Hashem fills and surrounds all…He is everywhere… so how can He have an abode?

     We know that Hashem is everywhere, one of His Names is Place (Makom) and obviously Place has to be every place. King David wrote that G-d is even in Hell.[ii]

     So then why do we come to the Kotel to pray? Why is it that wherever we are, all over the World, when we pray we face Jerusalem? We do this because here in Jerusalem, and particularly the Temple Mount, Hashem makes His Presence easier to recognize. He hides less here than anywhere else in the World. He does this to draw us to the teachings of this place, His holy Torah.

     G-d is everywhere and He is all, but the way we address Him will determine our mindset, our experience when we pray and think of Him. When we call G-d "our Father" we should feel differently than when we call Him "our King."

     We often think of Hashem as being in Heaven. We do this to elevate our thinking toward the upper worlds. During one of the prayers of Kedusha[iii] we say that the angels ask one another, "Where is the place of His glory to adore Him." This is to direct our thinking higher and higher trying to recognize and experience even a tiny ray of His wondrous glory.

     In the wilderness, when we were about to begin another leg of our journey Moshe would say, "Arise Hashem and let Your foes be scattered…."[iv] Does Hashem rise up? Not in the way a person does. "Rise up" when referring to Hashem in this way means to have His will manifest and directed to scatter our enemies, not that He literally rises up or lies down.

     What then is the "abode" of Hashem? In the sense of this line in the Torah it is the "place" above (before) creation where Hashem is not hiding. We want His blessings to come to us undiminished by His hiding Himself as He does in this lower world.

     Many times, Hashem reminds us that He is with us. All these are metaphoric terms used to bring our awareness to higher and higher spiritual realms trying to direct our consciousness to the Glory of Hashem.



[i]  Deuteronomy 26:15

[ii] Psalms 139:8

[iii] Shabbos morning musaf

[iv] Numbers 10:35

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Friday, September 15, 2017

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Podcasts-The Weekly Torah Portions

    by Reb Gutman Locks   
        

Podcasts-The Weekly Torah Portions

    

     From the Old City, Gutman's book on the weekly Torah portions is now available as a free weekly audio Podcast. Something unique in each Torah portion of the year. You can subscribe by clicking on the following link, or by searching the iTunes store:

http://www.thereisone.com/podcast.htm

(link)

 

 

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