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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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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Touching the Kotel


    by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     We are told that the Shechinah (G-d's revealed Presence) has never left the Kotel.

     If so, why don't people see it?

     Well, for one thing, in order to move up spiritually we have to pay attention. Spiritual awareness does not come without effort.

     For instance, if you ignore the holiness at the Kotel do not expect the Shechinah to run up to you and grab you. The general rule is mida keneged mida. This means that Hashem relates to us according to our deeds. So, if you are showing such disrespect for the Holy Place as to smoke cigarettes there, including these e-cigarettes, talking on telephones, or any behavior that could be seen to be ignoring the unique holiness of the place, then it is obvious, the Shechinah is going to hide from you.

     How then are we to approach the Kotel?

     Some people are very careful to only touch the Kotel when they kiss it, and then only with their lips. Others love it so much they try to lay their arms and legs and as much of their body on it as they can. Some are so respectful they will not even touch it. And there are others who will not even walk within a few feet of it. They see that the Kotel is built with each upper tier narrower than the one beneath it. This is what made it strong enough to have lasted all these years. But it also means if you stand right next to the Kotel at today's ground level you will be standing over the lower tiers, so they stand back a few feet to prevent this.

     What's the rule? It seems that it is up to each individual to decide. My advice is; the more respectful and humble of holy things and holy places you are, the more you will gain from them.

     Each of us decides our own level.

 

 

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

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Things are Good...


    by Reb Gutman Locks  
     

Things are Good...

 

     A new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Education shows life expectancy for Jews living in Israel rising to 7th in the world.

     A 2015 CBS study found that Israeli life expectancy has risen by 9 years since 1980.

     According to the 2018 UN happiness report, Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world.

    Hashem is blessing those of us who live in His Holy Land. These are signs that the Redemption has already started.

    If you are Jewish, and you want to live a longer, happier life, then come up to this Land of Milk and Honey that Hashem has given to the Jewish People.

     Things are good here… and they are getting even better.

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

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40 years ago


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Unless you were in LA in the late Seventies, this won't mean anything to you.

40 years ago ... me driving the Rosh nuts.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

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A Family Event

A Family Event

 

     Shmuli put tefillin on a tourist who was visiting the Kotel with his family. He is a doctor from America. After he read the Shema, Shmuli brought him and his two small sons over to me to have the father bless his children.  

     I showed the father how to give the special blessing to his young boys and had him add to the blessing all the things he wanted Hashem to give them.

     Then I showed them how to talk to G-d in their hearts by praying for their loved ones and for all the good things they want Hashem to do. The kids did a great job. They really knew that they were talking to Hashem.    

     When they finished, I told the boys, "When you grow up you have to marry only a Jewish girl or your mother will break both your legs." I explained why they had to marry only Jewish girls.  

     I told them that whenever they hear a rule they should try to understand why the rule is like it is, "If you understand why that's the rule you will want to follow it instead of thinking that it's just another rule."

     I explained how we are a people, not a religion and that the mother determines what people we belong to.

     For a moment my mind floated up and I saw an old religious man passing on to these two small children the traditions that have been handed down like this for 4,000 years… especially when the weekly Torah portion is stressing the same thing. I had to grab hold or I would have broken down and would not have been able to continue.

     I told the father that we have to take a picture. He said that his wife had the camera, and then he saw her standing behind the low wall that separates the tourists from the prayer area. I brought them over in front of her to have their pictures taken.   

     His wife was there with their daughter, and his mother in law. They were all smiling huge smiles. They took a bunch of pictures of the father with tefillin on and with the boys smiling. The boys called out to their mother saying they had to marry Jewish girls, or, "You'll break our legs!" they all laughed.

     After the pictures we spoke some and they left.

     What's the point? Their experience with tefillin at the Kotel was surely the highlight of their day, if not of their entire trip. They enjoyed themselves very much doing a mitzvah.  

     If all you are doing when you help others to do a mitzvah is just the mechanics of the commandment, and not showing them how to have a good time doing it, you are not fulfilling your duty… And all the more so, are you supposed to have a good time when you do a mitzvah, or else you will not be able to show them how to enjoy the mitzvahs either.

 

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A Family Event


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     Shmuli put tefillin on a tourist who was visiting the Kotel with his family. He is a doctor from America. After he read the Shema, Shmuli brought him and his two small sons over to me to have the father bless his children.  

     I showed the father how to give the special blessing to his young boys and had him add to the blessing all the things he wanted Hashem to give them.

     Then I showed them how to talk to G-d in their hearts by praying for their loved ones and for all the good things they want Hashem to do. The kids did a great job. They really knew that they were talking to Hashem.    

     When they finished, I told the boys, "When you grow up you have to marry only a Jewish girl or your mother will break both your legs." I explained why they had to marry only Jewish girls.  

     I told them that whenever they hear a rule they should try to understand why the rule is like it is, "If you understand why that's the rule you will want to follow it instead of thinking that it's just another rule."

     I explained how we are a people, not a religion and that the mother determines what people we belong to.

     For a moment my mind floated up and I saw an old religious man passing on to these two small children the traditions that have been handed down like this for 4,000 years… especially when the weekly Torah portion is stressing the same thing. I had to grab hold or I would have broken down and would not have been able to continue.

     I told the father that we have to take a picture. He said that his wife had the camera, and then he saw her standing behind the low wall that separates the tourists from the prayer area. I brought them over in front of her to have their pictures taken.   

     His wife was there with their daughter, and his mother in law. They were all smiling huge smiles. They took a bunch of pictures of the father with tefillin on and with the boys smiling. The boys called out to their mother saying they had to marry Jewish girls, or, "You'll break our legs!" they all laughed.

     After the pictures we spoke some and they left.

     What's the point? Their experience with tefillin at the Kotel was surely the highlight of their day, if not of their entire trip. They enjoyed themselves very much doing a mitzvah.  

     If all you are doing when you help others to do a mitzvah is just the mechanics of the commandment, and not showing them how to have a good time doing it, you are not fulfilling your duty… And all the more so, are you supposed to have a good time when you do a mitzvah, or else you will not be able to show them how to enjoy the mitzvahs either.

 

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Sunday, November 04, 2018

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Humility


   by Reb Gutman Locks
      Humility

 

     Rabbi Yosi was praising Rabbi Meir in the Talmud. He said that Rabbi Meir was "a great man, a holy man, a humble man."

     From here we learn that holiness is a higher level than greatness, and humility is higher than both of them. So wonderful is the characteristic of humility.

    The Talmud says that the charity box with the least amount coins in it makes the most noise. When someone is trying to collect charity, he will shake his charity box to draw attention to what he wants. If the box is full it will make little noise, but if there are only one or two coins in it, its rattle will be very loud.

     These two teachings are talking about the same subject.

     If someone without greatness, holiness, or humility wants to be noticed, he will have to emphasis or exaggerate the little that he has in order to gain the attention he wants. For instance, he might take grand titles so others will look up to him.

     And what about modesty? A modest person knows that he or she has something they could show off, but they cover it so others will not be attracted to them because of that thing.

     A humble person doesn't even recognize that he has something to show off.

     Humility is much higher than modesty.

     The Torah teaches that Moshe was the most humble man who ever lived. As great was his holiness, a man who could talk to G-d "face to face," his humility was even greater.

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Thursday, November 01, 2018

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Give Me a Hug


   by Reb Gutman Locks  
      Give Me a Hug

 

     This nice guy is a lung doctor visiting from America. Even though I put tefillin on his friend who had a great time, he refused. I tried a few times, but he wouldn't agree.

     Then, out of the blue he said, "Instead of tefillin, give me a hug," and he went to hug me.

     I am not a hugger, not at all. I completely avoid hugging everyone. It's not my thing. I can't remember the last time I hugged anyone, but I said, I'll give you a hug on the condition you put on tefillin.

     He said, "Alright."

     I gave him a big hug, put the tefillin on him, and had him pray for his family.

     It was the best hug I ever had.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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Pro-Semitism


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     Pro-Semitism

 

    The only practical answer you and I can give to anti-Semitism is pro-Semitism. This means doing more Torah and mitzvahs than we would have done had they not attacked, and encouraging other Jews to do more, too.

    Not only will Hashem protect us even more due to the additional mitzvahs we will be doing, but maybe, when the evil attackers see that their actions bring about a strengthening of the Jewish people they will desist from their evil attacks.

     Without doubt, start with increasing your mitzvah of loving your fellow Jew without reason. We see that attacks bring us together, so we can assume that if we come together before the attacks, the attacks won't have to come.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

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To Pittsburgh with love, from Israel


The horrific events in Pittsburgh, effectively a traditional anti-semitic pogram, the horrifying mass murder of Jews simply for being Jews, have been felt throughout the Jewish world.

My workplace in Israel put together a simple message... we care about our fellow Jews in Pittsburgh.

May Hashem avenge their blood, and may He comfort the mourners of Ziyon and Jerusalem.
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Sunday, October 28, 2018

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Science Blew It Again


   by Reb Gutman Locks

Science Blew It Again

 

     New analysis of supposedly 3.7 billion-year-old fossils in Greenland reveals that the researchers who first announced the discovery may have gotten it all wrong. In truth, it seems the strange deposits found in ancient ground may have just been rock all along.

     I remember, maybe fifty years ago, the Scientists changed what they had established as the official age of the Universe. Now they say it is 40% younger than they had thought! Who knows what they will change next. Every scientific study seems to contradict the previous study.

     If the Torah would have made even a tiny mistake the World would have thrown it away. But when scientists make even huge mistakes no one gets the least bit upset with them, and surely no one throws science away.

     The Torah has not changed even a single letter in the thousands of years since it was first written.

     Last week, I heard a someone tell an atheist, "It takes more faith not to believe in G-d then to believe in Him."

 

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Friday, October 26, 2018

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Thank G-d

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Thank G-d

 

    Rain! The first real rain in Jerusalem this year. Please G-d there will be ample rain this year

 

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

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Early Morning Dancing


   by Reb Gutman Locks  

 

     Singing and dancing is one of the best ways to show your love for Hashem, His Torah, and His mitzvot. This is true anywhere, and even more so at the Kotel.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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Why Don’t Jews Convert to christianity?



 
by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths








     For 2,000 years christians
have tried to convert Jews to their religion. Why do we refuse? What is so
wrong with their beliefs? What does the Torah say about their teachings?

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

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Take Your Jewish Blood Pressure


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     When I call out for Jews to put on tefillin at the Kotel I sometimes say, "Come take your Jewish blood pressure." It makes them laugh and can warm them up to the idea.

     Now, guess what? Science is catching up with me.

     The studies report, "Jewish men who wrap leather straps around their arm as part of their daily morning prayers may also be protecting themselves from the worst effects of heart attacks, a study found." 

    "Israeli studies have shown that Orthodox men have a lower risk of dying of heart disease compared to non-Orthodox men."   

     They think it has to do with the strap briefly restricting blood flow and oxygen to the heart and then restoring it.

     I bet it comes from doing mitzvahs.

     Not only is taking your physical blood pressure good for you since it lets you know what is going on inside your physical heart, so is taking your "Jewish blood pressure" good for you since it helps you to understand what is going on inside your spiritual heart.

     Stay healthy. Put on tefillin.

 

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Pierced


   by Reb Gutman Locks  
     Pierced

 

     Very early Shabbos morning at the Kotel, a young American came up to me with a group of charadi boys. He was dressed in modern, not so religious looking clothes. He smiled widely when he saw me and happily said, "I read your book."     

      That always means "Coming Back to Earth," the stories recounting some of my many, huge mistakes. 

      I said, "The problem with that book is that all those stories are true." He laughed.

     He told me that he was learning in one of the local baal teshuva yeshivas. I noticed that he had two pierced ears with diamond looking stones on studs.

     I asked him, "When you get married who's going to wear the pants in the family." This is slang for, who is going to be the boss in the family.

     He puffed up his chest and said, "I am."

     I asked, "Then, who's going to wear the earrings?" His chest collapsed as all the other boys laughed loudly.

     I explained, "The problem with earrings is not so much beged isha (a man wearing a woman's garment which is forbidden). The problem has to do with a Jew who steals something. If he cannot pay back what he stole the court sells him to a Jew to be a slave for 6 years. Then he goes free. He goes free unless he says that he doesn't want to go free; he wants to be a slave. If he says this, his master puts a hole in his ear and he becomes a slave forever (actually, until the Jubilee year). And you look like you did it twice! They all laughed.

     I motioned with my hands, "Take them out. Maybe the holes will heal," and I walked away to get some prayer books for the minyan.

     I turned around and saw him unscrewing the studs from their holders. He took out both earrings. I walked over to him, slapped him on his shoulder and said, "This is a smart guy. You don't meet so many smart guys in the world anymore," and I walked away.

     I think he is going to keep them out and maybe the holes in his ears will heal, and I think he will marry a Jewish girl, and if she is smart she will let him think that he is in charge.

 

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