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, 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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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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First Time


   by Reb Gutman Locks
     First Time

 

     He was visiting from Texas. He is 77 years old and had never put on tefillin before. When I asked why he had never put them on, he said that he had tefillin at home, that his father bought them for him for his Bar Mitzvah, but he never put them on, not even for his Bar Mitzvah. Oy!

     He had a good time doing the mitzvah, and especially enjoyed praying for his loved ones. Mitzvahs can be so enjoyable when they are done properly.  

     Why do some 80% of the American Jews refuse to identify themselves as Jews? Either they have been "turned off," or they have never been "turned on." If you know any of these Jews bring one home for Shabbos dinner. You might save his or her life.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

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Kever Yosef Hatzadik Shechem Chol Hamoed Sukot

By Fayga tours of holy, biblical and archeological sites in the holy land


This past Sukot I led a group of 50 people to Kever Yosef Hatzadik in Sechem ( Nablus ) in honor of the traditional  spiritual guest to the skukah our biblical patriarch Joseph  here are some pictures from my tour.


20180927_014916yosefyosef4yosef3

20180927_02075720180927_023353

yosef7+yosef8yosef2

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Touring Jericho (this week)

by Fayga, tours of holy, biblical and archeological sites in the holy land


20181012_072934

At the entrance to Jericho, the red sign warns you may likely be killed if you are not Arab.  The Israeli army jeep in front of our bus guarantees freedom of religion and fulfillment of treaty obligations to allow visits to holy sites.

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This past Friday I led group of 35 people to visit  Yericho (Jericho) known as the oldest city in the world,  the oldest inhabited city in the world.

There is a lot of biblical and Jewish history in Yericho (Jericho) dating up to the recent Oslo accords when it was given away with Gaza as well as the Tomb of Yosef in Shechem (Nablus).  We stopped to visit the Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue that abandoned, standing still in time. This synagogue dates back to the time of the seconded Holy Jewish Temple, over 1,800 years ago.  It has a beautiful mosaic floor with a dedication in Aramaic from the community that built it. It’s also the place where Yehoshua bin Nun (Joshua) met the Malach (angel) sent by G-d - being told to conquer Yericho ( Jericho ).

We also stopped by Tel Yericho,  what's left of a city that's been around from the time of the Cainites and the first city Joshua and the Jews conquered.

Our last stop was by other synagogue called Naran with a rich Jewish history.  Due to time constraints given by the IDF we did it not make it to the Elisha (the biblical prophet) spring.

There is a lot of archeology and Jewish history around Yericho hopefully i’ll get to explore it more with all of you.

Here are some pictures from Yericho the Key to the land of Israel!

20181012_090929Signs at Tel Jericho

20181012_08401220181012_09032820181012_08464820181012_08393220181012_084636What remains from Rachavs home who’s house was on the wall of the city.

Tel Jericho

20181012_091346Some of our IDF escort

20181012_081019A solider  praying at the Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue 20181012_07380120181012_07405720181012_07421620181012_081832Our bus and the farm by Shalom Al Yirshrael synagogue as well as the mosaic floor. 20181012_093159Naran Synagogue and community.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

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We Want


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     We Want

 

     We want Eliyahu the prophet to come to herald the age of the Moshiach… but that will not be enough. We want the Moshiach to come and bring the end of this final exile… but that will not be enough. We want peace in the world… but that will not be enough. We want the 3rd and Final Temple to come… but that will not be enough. We want the resurrection of the dead when all the righteous will come back to life… but that will not be enough. We want the fulfillment of all the prophecies… but that will not be enough.

     There is only One Thing that will be enough; that will completely satisfy us; seeing Hashem's revealed Presence, the Shechinah. This is the only "Thing" that will ever be enough.

     DayeinuSha-Dai (That which is enough)

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Friday, October 12, 2018

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Non-Jew Asking about Shabbos Melacha

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A self-identified non-Jewish reader wrote:  (edited for readability and anonymity)

"I am an avid reader.  While not jewish, I don't believe much of what's being taught in church today.  Too many man made doctrines and prosperity teachings. 

Our father said we would suffer to build our trust in him and teach us lessons about how we should treat others.  I came across a question earlier today and am interested in the answer, because I have a great respect for all people people and would never want to disrupt anyones Sabbath.

The question: 

Suppose an inconsiderate gentile neighbor were listening to music at a fairly high volume on Shabbat, to the point that you could hear it on your own property. Would one be permitted to:

A) directly ask the neighbor to turn the music down (or would this be a forbidden form of requesting melacha for one's own benefit?)   Or 
B) enjoy a song which one happened to like when it came on (assuming the gentile is listening for his own pleasure and there is no input whatsoever from the Jewish neighbor regarding the whether music will be played at all, let alone the playlist)?
Reb Akiva answered:

Thanks for raising an interesting question.  Initially it set me thinking down the path of the halachic (Jewish law) answer... but then I paused and thought, why is a self described non-Jew interested in the answer to the technical intricacies of a Jewish law question?

You wrote, "I have a great respect for all people people and would never want to disrupt anyones Sabbath", and this is shows a wonderful concern for your fellow man and a consideration that we see from G-d's commandments to all people (the seven Noachide laws) are expected from all mankind.

So I commend you for your interest, and as a non-Jew believe it is your best interest to focus on the 7th Noachide law, to 'establish courts of law and ensure justice in our world'.  Justice is not just laws, if so the requirement would not state to establish courts and ensure justice, it would just state the former.  Justice is about a baseline morality and balancing the competing needs and desires of each person, as well as accommodating and compromising to allow each person maximize their situation while minimizing the impact to others.

As humans we will never be perfect in doing so, but it's reaching for the G-dly for us to strive as best we can.  

In this particular time of accusations, social justice protests, inflamed community relations, and unbalanced societal issues... voices of sanity, reasonableness, respect and accommodation are sorely needed.

Blessings,
Reb Akiva  
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

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A Great Invention


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     A Great Invention

 

     I have a great idea. It will give tremendous relief to millions of people. We will make a fortune, too. It's a robot that goes on vacations for you.

     Just think of it…no more summertime hassles. You can just sit on your couch at home for a whole week eating snacks instead of running around trying to catch a plane or looking for taxis…. No more pushing and shoving to get a seat. Just sit on your couch at home relaxing, reading a book, writing a few letters, or taking a few naps. No more searching for kosher food restaurants…the benefits go on and on… It's got to be a big seller.

     The surveys show that the most dangerous time for a heart attack is 9:30 in the morning while on vacation!

      No more… Instead, it will be a peaceful time sitting on your couch while your robot takes off for you.

      Whew, what a relief.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

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A Ray


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     A Ray

 

From Ovadia

     Gutman, I have been so inspired by you along my journey to yiddishkeit. But now as an orthodox Jew I have encountered certain questions many of which you have answered. I have one question though. It is brought in Chassidus, in a number of places, that a Jewish soul is unlike anything else, a literal spark of G-d. While everything else is sourced in davar Hashem (word of G-d), a Jewish soul is sourced in His breath.  Therefore, according to midrash and Chassidus, etc., everything is secondary to the Jew. While I have believed this, I am now finding it to problematic for a couple of reasons. There are sources that say that the physical world itself is a manifestation of Hashem's essence and to me the idea that a Jew is anymore sourced in the essence of G-d is a problem on a number of levels.
Please help me understand this.  How can this be?  Is it possible our rebbeim didn't see the whole picture?

 

Gutman's reply:

     Hashem is Infinite; therefore, He must be all. But He is not just the all… He is beyond the all, too.[i] By definition, the Infinite has no end, therefore He must fill and surround all at all times. There can be no place devoid of Him.

     Then, can we say, since He is All, he must be the chair I am sitting on, too? And if so, can we then say that the chair is G-d?

     We do say that the Infinite is all, which includes the finite, but since the finite is limited, it cannot be called the Infinite. We cannot say that the chair is G-d.

     Hashem hides Himself in order for creation to appear. He hides more in a rock than in an animal, but He also fills and surrounds the rock. If we could look at a rock with a good enough microscope we would see the molecules the rock is made of moving around. There is life even in a rock. The more dense the object, the more Hashem seems to be hiding.

     All people have an animal soul, this is what vivifies us.

     Jews have an extra role to play in creation. We are to be a holy people, a Nation of Priests and a Light unto the Nations, so Hashem gives us an added degree of holiness in order for us to be able to accomplish our task. To do this, instead of creating a holy soul something from nothing to give to us, He simply apportions a ray, or a spark, of His Being over our soul.

     However, as with all things… we can either use the added spiritual benefit that Hashem gives to us and make the world a better place both spiritually and physically…, or we can choose to ignore it and live a life guided only by the animal soul. Each of us decides how to live our own life.



[i] Deuteronomy 4:39

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

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Tour of Yericho


Join me on the unique opportunity to visit the Biblical city of Yericho ( Jerico)

"The key to the land of Israel"
Join me for the unique opportunity
to visit Yericho and its many historical sites including : Tel Yircho ( the ancient city of Yricho) two ancient synagogues , and the spring of Elisha the prophet and more.

This trip is closely coordinated with the IDF and IDF escort through the city of Yericho.

This trip will leave God willing Friday October 11 2018 at 6 AM return at about 1-1:30 PM. From the Mercaz of Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph. Cost 70 NIS

RSVP required!
To RSVP please call or messge Fayga at 054-942-2171

** arrival at about 8 a.m.to Yricho
** For those interisted it will be possible to daven shachries at one of the synagogues we will be visiting.
** We will make a stop at the Beit Chulga organic farm so everyone can eat. You can also purchase from their organic farm products.

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Living the Good Life


   by Reb Gutman Locks
     

Living the Good Life

 

      Arutz Sheva News reports that, when polled, 85% of Israeli seniors said they were happy with their lives (89% of men and 82% of women), and 22% were "very happy" with their lives.

     When you live in Israel things are good for you, and then, as time goes on, they get even better.

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Thursday, October 04, 2018

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What is So Important?


    by Reb Gutman Locks
     

What is So Important?

 

     What is so important about the story of the Garden of Eden? Why do we need to learn about such things? Why do we need to know what happened to our fathers and mothers way back then? Does any of this really matter?

     Hashem gave us these writings to teach us essential lessons in life. These stories are both literally factual, that is, they actually happened, but even more important to us is that the stories of our ancestors are actually talking about us throughout the ages.

     We are Adam and Eve in the Garden, and what happened to them is somehow happening to us. The Jewish people are Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah. What they went through we go through albeit on a much lower level. We are faced with the same challenges they faced, and if we are to succeed we must learn from their trials and their successes. Then, we will receive the reward that they received.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

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Why Do You Have Your Name?



by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths




Why Do You Have Your Name?


     For a
good reason you have been given your name. Now that you have your name, is
there anything you are supposed to do about it?

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

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A Contract with Hashem


    by Reb Gutman Locks  
       

A Contract with Hashem

 

     One of the last things Moshe did at the end of his days was to seal the covenant of Hashem with the Jewish people saying, "Not with you alone do I seal this covenant, and this oath but with whoever is here, standing with us today before Hashem, our G-d, and with whoever is not here with us today."[i]

     But there is a strict law that no one can obligate anyone else into a contract if that other person is not present at the time the obligation is made. Moshe was referring to the Jews who were not even born yet! So how could he obligate us if we were not even alive at that time?

     There is an exception to this law. One cannot bring someone who is not present into a contract UNLESS that contract is to that other person's benefit, and if it is to his or her benefit, then the contract is legal and the person who is not present is brought into the agreement.

     That covenant, the oath Moshe obligated us to, seals the Jews' relationship with Hashem... a wonderous bond that can never be broken. 



[i] Deuteronomy 29:13

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Hashanah Rabbah


   by Reb Gutman Locks
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Friday, September 28, 2018

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3 AM Friday morning


   by Reb Gutman Locks
    3 AM Friday morning
Spontaneous dancing…celebrating Sukkot, the holiday of rejoicing before Hashem

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