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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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The Supreme Court?

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

The Supreme Court?

 

     I have been asked to respond to the recent US Supreme Court decision.

 

     For good reason Hashem calls homosexual relations an abomination. "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination."[i]

     The intense sexual desire that comes upon males with puberty is actually for the good. Hashem puts it there for a very holy purpose. He wants His World to be filled with healthy families. Without that strong sexual desire very few men would marry and go through all of the struggles that married life brings.

     When Hashem first created Adam he saw that it was not good for man to be alone so He created Eve, the first woman. Remember, the Torah is not only a history book but a guide for each of us in every generation. Eve was taken from Adam's body instead of being created a separate being. But, why? Hashem could just as easily have created her from the earth as He did Adam.

     As soon as Adam saw Eve he knew that she was his. He said of her that she was the bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. The Torah says of this; "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh."[ii] 

     A marriage is not the coming together of two equal partners. A marriage is the coming together of two halves to make a complete one.

     The perverting of the sexual desire does not produce a family. A perverted relationship comes merely to satisfy lusts. The Torah tells us not to follow our hearts and our eyes as they will lead us astray. Our intellect must rule our heart.

     The US Supreme Court's decision comes to satisfy the hearts of a very small twisted minority. But the real problem is that their immoral decision has spread to the entire nation. The law-abiding children in America will be raised believing that homosexuality is normal! This is a huge error.

     The fact is, as all will see in the end, the US Supreme Court is not really the Supreme Court. On the day of our true judgment we will stand before the Supreme Judge. And guess what? He is going to judge us according to His Torah and not according to the US Supreme Court's perverted ruling.



[i] Leviticus 18:22

[ii] Genesis 2:24

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

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I Bet You a Buck

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
      

I Bet You a Buck

 

     The gemora says that this long, terrible exile has been caused by Jews hating Jews without reason. Some great rabbis add that it stands to reason that the way to end it is for Jews to love Jews without reason. This means that we show Jews love without expecting them to give us anything in return. Let's see if these rabbis are right.

     Thanks to the internet, several thousand Jews are going to read this suggestion. What if we say? "I'm going to test these rabbis. I'm going to go out of my way and show extra love to ten Jews, totally without reason, and I'm going to see if there is any change." It doesn't have to be a major thing. You don't have to buy him a new car, or pay for a vacation in Israel. Sometimes just giving someone an extra smile will pick him up from the lowest places.

     Jews, being like we are, when someone gives us love we become even more loving. This means that we are going to give more love than we would have, so the love that you are going to start is going to increase and spread.

     I bet you a buck those rabbis are right. I bet if we go out and even if for only one day, increase the love that we already have for each other, and we manifest that love in some way that the other Jews see that we are loving them, I bet that we will read in the News that some wonderful thing miraculously happened to some Jews somewhere in the world.

     Let's try. What do we have to lose? When you give love you feel more loving, so no matter what happens things will get better, if not for everyone, at the very least just for you.

 

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Friday, June 26, 2015

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We Can’t Afford to Lose Our Girls!

Are you looking for a (Orthodox Religious) Girls School (grades 7-12) in Israel for your daughter’s who need a bit of special attention and care?  Have a daughter that the traditional Jewish religious school system isn’t working for?

Check out Machon Menucha!  A new school in Jerusalem, Israel…

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

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Fathers & Sons

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Fathers & Sons

Secrets to Success

​ 

Start them early



Make sure they have a good time doing it


and


Don't put them down

 

 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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Jerusalem–Drones Eye View

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What a Blessing

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

What a Blessing

 

     Moshe's father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro) is praised even more than the Jewish people for having blessed Hashem when he heard how Hashem saved Israel from Pharaoh.[i] The gemora points out that the Jews sang and danced and praised Hashem when He saved them, so why does the gemora praise Yitro above the Jews. It is explained that blessings are even greater than praises.

     King Dovid gave us specific instructions how to increase our daily spiritual awareness; "…serve Hashem with gladness… come before Him with joyful song… enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courtyards with praise …."[ii]

     Although the Psalm seems to be speaking only of entering the Temple in Jerusalem it is also instructing us how we are to proceed in our individual search for Hashem. Hashem is equally everywhere at all times, but He is hiding. Our spiritual work is to reveal His glorious Presence.

     First, King Dovid told us to be glad that we are able to serve our Creator and to sing joyfully when we wish to approach Him. Then to come closer, we can enter the outer gates by thanking Him over and over again for all the good that He is doing for us.

     Once we are through the outer gates we want to continue closer. Deeper inside, past the gates of the Temple, was the Courtyard. To enter the Courtyard we have to do more than simply thank Hashem, we have to recall some of His greatness. "How great You are Hashem. You fill and surround all. You are without beginning or end. You always have been, and You always will be. You are the very purpose of life…." Praise is higher than thanksgiving so it brings us even closer to the treasured goal of actually revealing Hashem's Presence.

     But now what? The closer we get to our goal the more we thirst, but what more can we do than praise G-d? The gemora explains that blessings are even greater than praise.

     When we say a blessing we move into a realm that is not found when reciting thanks or praise. We say G-d's Name and we elevate our thoughts into the realm of holiness. If we pay deep attention to the words of the blessing we will reap even more. For those moments we will actually dwell in holiness. This is why we are commanded to say blessings. G-d wants us to be holy.

     Thanksgiving comes from our emotions. Praise comes from our intellect. Blessings come from our spiritual heart.

     Enter the outer gate, from there move into the courtyard… then proceed into the Holy area, and ultimately when we cleave to the blessing, we will move into the Holy of Holies.



[i] Sanhedrin 94a, Exodus 18:10

[ii] Psalms 100:2, :4

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

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The Light that Does Not go Out

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

The Light that Does Not go Out

 

     Two brothers from America; the one on the left had never put on tefillin before. He could not read any of the prayers in Hebrew. Although his first wife was Jewish, his current wife is not. The other brother could read the prayers in Hebrew, albeit very slowly and broken. He had put on tefillin before and he was very proud to tell me that his children went to Jewish day schools. I asked him why he had so much more Jewish education than his brother.

     He answered; "When I was here before I was married, Meir somebody picked me up at the Kotel and took me to Aish." (A local yeshiva) He pointed to the Aish building. He studied at Aish for a few months before returning to America. It was not the most intense Jewish education you could get, but it was enough for him to know to marry a Jewish girl and to give his children a Jewish education.

     The "Meir somebody" was Meir Shuster, OB'M who used to stand at the Kotel almost all day long for many years looking for young Jewish tourists. He would take them to his hostel, Heritage House, for a few weeks free of charge and he would try to place them in yeshivas.

     What do you think happened to Meir's neshama (soul) when that brother remembered him fondly at the Kotel saying that he went to the yeshiva and gave his children some Jewish education because of him? I'll tell you exactly what happened to it. Although Reb Meir is gone, his work is not over. Every time someone he helped does a Jewish deed because of him, Meir's soul goes up a little higher.

     This is the deeper meaning of, "Her lamp does not go out at night."[i] Even in the darkest night of all, death, a righteous person's deeds continue to lighten their soul, bringing it higher and higher, closer and closer to the brilliant Light of Hashem.

 

 



[i] "A woman of valor" Proverbs 31:17

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

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From the Roof of Kever Shmuel

Shmuel HaNavi, the biblical prophet Samuel.  This kever (tomb), along with the ruins of his home town, is located at the top of the Jerusalem Ramot neighborhood.

The roof access is usually closed, but on a recent visit was open.  Here’s some pictures…

The stairs – stone, hand carved, odd distances, about 5 stories straight.  Scary!  (This pictures is actually from the top down.)

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The roof area…

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The building from the roof…

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The ruins of the town.  Jerusalem in the distance…

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From this direction it’s Ramallah in the distance…

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And the inside of the kever, which is just finishing a renovation…

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Blessings from Kever Shmuel HaNavi, the tomb of the biblical prophet Samuel.

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Two Boys from England

​   by Reb Gutman Locks
   

Two Boys from England

 

 "You gotta marry a Jewish girl."

"I know…I know. You already told me that when I was here last year and you put tefillin on me then, too." 

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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IsraTrivia

Adoring the walls of our local city hall in Israel is this…

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That beautiful huge wall poster is the local sewage processing plant.  While it is indeed a very important function of city government to provide sewage services, it’s generally not what one expects to see presented as decorative or art.

Ick.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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Yikes!

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   

 I'm Shrinking!

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

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The Wisdom of Others

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

The Wisdom of Others

 

     Why are we told not to praise the good of idolatrous religions? If it's good, it's good. What's the problem with it?

     We are warned; if we praise the good that they say we will come to praise the bad. Quite often we read an ancient saying that seems so easy to agree with. But then, when we think about it deeper we see that really it is not for us.

     Here are a couple of good examples that are going around the internet. They seem so wise, so right on, and since one is talking about depressed or anxious people, and the other is talking about evil, what they say might even be right for them, but these are not the words to guide a Jew's life.

 

An American Indian saying;

     "We all have a fight going on inside us. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority… and ego. The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion …and faith. Which wolf will win? The one we feed will win."

     This certainly seems to make sense. But the Jewish answer is even better.

     We do not try to starve that evil wolf; we feed it good food. This means that we show the evil animal how to use its strength and determination to accomplish good things instead of bad. We show the evil inclination within us how even it will have a better time if it does good.

 

Lao Tzu founder of Taoism teaches;

"If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future

If you are at peace you are living in the present."

     But Jews should not lose sight of our past, present, or future. We are told to remember every day that Hashem brought us out of Egyptian slavery, and we should anticipate the coming of the Moshiach, the Temple, and the Redemption.

     We remember that Hashem brought us out of Egyptian slavery way back then so we will remember if we do what we did back then, i.e. rely on Hashem, He will take us out of our current bondages, too. We think about the future Redemption so we will do things today that will help to bring it. As for the present, we are to make proper choices today, and we are to rejoice in the result.

     Jews should use Jewish sources for wisdom to live by so we remember that we are Jews and do the things we should be doing.

     So how are we to think about the past, present, and future? Maybe like this;

Learn from the past, plan for the future, and do something now.

 

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

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I’m Late

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

I'm Late

 

     He is 36 years old, from the Ukraine, and had never seen tefillin before. As always, after reading the Shema (Hear O'Israel…), I showed him how to pray for his loved ones by picturing them with light on their faces and smiling…, to thank G-d for all that He has given him, and to pray for the things that he needs. He put his heart into it and you could see his face change as he prayed. When he finished I asked him, "How was the experience?"

     He answered with a warm smile, "Beautiful!" and thanked me sincerely.

     I asked him why after all his years did he finally put them on now. He answered, "Because you asked."

     I told him that he had to marry a Jewish girl. He laughed, held up two fingers and asked, "What? Do you want me to get married to two women?"

     "Oy! I'm late." I wish I would have met him ten or fifteen years ago. Maybe his life would have been entirely different.

     One small kindness, like helping a Jew to learn about tefillin can change his life forever. This is the major difference between physical kindness and spiritual kindness. Surely it is good and needed to be kind in physical ways. Of course, we are to do such things as to give charity or to give someone a hand crossing a busy street, but when you show a Jewish woman how to take advantage of the spiritual opportunity that comes with lighting Shabbos candles, or when you help a Jew to open his heart when he puts on tefillin so he begins to become aware of G-d's presence, that kindness that you show them often changes their lives forever. One or two minutes of your time is all it takes.

   

 

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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Nshei Chabad Jewish Women’s Magazine

The Nshei Chabad Jewish Women’s Magazine is one of the absolutely best Jewish publications out there.  The latest issue is now available as an e-book, for immediate download and enjoyment on a PAD, PHONE, or COMPUTER.  Get it below in under 1 minute, or click this link.

(And if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for FREE.)

Just click the image below, or here if the image doesn’t appear.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

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Science

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   
   

Science

 

A Jewish College student majoring in physics asks:

     Judaism uses a calendar that makes it seem like the world has only been around for 5775 years. How can that be if we have fossils that date back millions of years and the dating mechanism for finding out how old they are is only inaccurate up to a few ten thousand years? 

Gutman's response:

     There are a number of ways to address this question. First, know that the Hebrew calendar dates from the 6th "day" of creation and not from the first day. That means that the first six days are not included in the Hebrew calendar. Also, in common language "day" can mean 24 hours, or quite often it is used to mean "era" (period of time) i.e. "in that day".

     The age dating process used by scientists is based on the speed of light having always been constant. When they find that the speed of light at the moment of creation was much faster than it is now they will have to adjust all of their dates to the new information.

     In my lifetime scientists have restated their estimated age of the Universe by some 40%. When I was a teen they said the Universe was some 40% older than they say it is now, so really we cannot rely on their dating. With science we use their current information, but we always know that that information can, and often, changes and we simply adjust to the new information. But, whatever the exact 24 hour age of the Universe is, it really does not affect my daily life.

      Even though the scientists often change their minds, the Torah has never changed a single letter. For instance, up until some 100 years ago scientists laughed at the Torah for saying that the world had been created. They said that it has always been here and that the Torah is simply a traditional book created by man and handed down from generation to generation. Then they discovered the Big Bang; and now they say that the universe was created. They say it happened from a very small, very dense stone, which blew up and the Universe is the result. This is also what is written in the Midrash. They are finally catching up to us.   

     If the Torah was simply man-made and handed down from generation to generation who was there to witness the creation and to accurately report it? The Torah has to be coming from a source higher than man.

     There are many things in the Torah that science has only recently come to accept, such as washing your hands after touching a dead body. They have only been recommending this for some 100 years while the Torah has been saying to do it for thousands of years.

     But perhaps the main thing is that Jews who do not follow the Torah almost always intermarry and have non Jewish grandchildren! They or their children have no reason not to intermarry. To me this is perhaps the greatest physical benefit of a Torah observant life; that there will be a Jewish people in the world and that my family will continue to be Jews.

      Also, it has been shown that Jews who follow the Torah live longer and happier lives than Jews who do not. This alone is enough reason to keep the mitzvahs.

     But without doubt the greatest benefit of a successful Torah life is the spiritual experience that comes when you are blessed to see Hashem's revealed presence. Then you experience the fulfillment of your purpose in having been created.

 

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