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, August 17, 2017

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Cruising the Jerusalem Wine Festival

by Fayga at Mystical Paths

(More from the 14th Jerusalem Wine Festival - part 2)
It’s the start of (grape) harvesting season in Israel so all the wineries were not being represented by the wine makers or an owner of the winey, one and only one booth that I stopped by was the owner there. It was all PR teams showing the wines, either hired teams for the event or or the winery’s own for larger wineries that have one.

Being I had a short amount of time as well not wanting to just walk around taste everything, I was on a hunt for the good stuff. I looked for recommendations from anyone who had already attended before I arrived, and got a short list of about 3 or 5 booths to stop by that had amazing products.  Thankfully except for one I wasn’t familiar with these wineries so for me it would be a new learning experience, I was excited! 
Getting my ticket was a breeze and there were no line, thank G-d. It was very very very humid outside but no one seemed to mind.  Walking around I was shocked to see there weren’t many booths, lots of open space and it looked less crowded, although all the booths were busy.  
We'll focus on the upper area booths in this article.
The upper area had about 7 wine booths with the usual De Karina chocolate booth - they were extremely busy and people were buying the chocolate and their liquors, which are suburb by the way. I waited about ten minutes and then gave up on getting some chocolate. 
Other booths had some type of beer or cider, did not really pay attention. One cheese booth, 424 Below Sea Level specialty salts (also highly recommended), and an Italian wine glass company - which was a new one for me.
My first stop was by Capsouto. The booth was quite busy with a wait. This was my first introduction to this winery: they have O-K hasgacha and Jacques was there pouring and doing PR. I did not get a chance to speak with him but his wines were really good. I personally liked the 2016 whites- the Cuvee Albert and Cuvee Eva, though for me the Albert was better than the Eva. I also liked the Cuvee Marco 2014 a really nice red - not heavy at all. I can’t say I learned much about the winery besides the vinter Jacques having bought a vineyard here in Israel.
No other booths in the area caught my interest though one who I really wanted to taste had no Hashgacha (no kosher supervision), and a commercial wine without supervision simply can't be kosher - so that was out for me.
...to be continued.
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Don’t Blow It

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Don't Blow It


     Early this morning I showed one of the Kotel workers that someone lit a candle and placed it on the wall right by the Kotel. It used to be that they were not strict about candles burning by the Kotel and it really got out of hand. Some even put candles right on the Kotel itself! Many of the walls around the Kotel were covered with black gunk from the candles. Then, a few years ago, they had a major cleanup and since then they have been strict not to allow anyone to light candles and set them on the walls.

     The young man ran right over and blew out the candle.

     When he returned I gently told him that we should not blow out candles. "Maybe wave your hand close to them and the wind will put them out, but don't ever blow out a candle."

     He wanted to know why.

     I explained, "Breath is a level of our soul, and our souls have come into this world to share light, not to extinguish it."  

     The word for breath in Hebrew is Neshama. Neshama is also the name of one of the levels or dimensions of our soul. Wind is Ruach. Ruach also means spirit and is the name of another level of our soul.

     He understood right away.

     When we follow our customs such as not blowing out a candle, and if we pay attention, they can be a reminder of our purpose in being here. Obviously, the light we have come to share is not the physical light that comes from a candle but the spiritual light that comes from showing someone how to serve Hashem.

     Also, physical light can be a reminder of spiritual light. For instance, we cannot see the actual physical light but we do see what the light does, what it shows us. Somewhat like this, we cannot see the spiritual Presence, but we can see what It does.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Hate Me on the Right, Hate Me on the Left, Yell at me from the Center

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Tablet Magazine wishes to inform me that MY SILENCE ON CHARLOTTESVILLE is DEAFENING.  Not to be outdone, the Forward wants to know...

Hopefully my fellow co-religionists will forgive my chutzpah for speaking for the Klal (for us all).

To the first author, who notes they self-identify as a Jew of Color but I would merely identify as just another wonderful Jewish neshama (soul), I say first not every problem is my problem, just as I haven't heard statements or only heard basic bland ones by the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, Presbyterians, Protestants, or Baptists.  And while you are self-identifying with those on the Left and the counter-protestors, many of those groups represented have been attacking Jews, terrifying Jewish students on college campuses, and calling for my DEATH and the DEATH of those Jews living in Israel - calling for Palestine from the river to the sea.

For the second author, the same reason you didn't condemn Obama for this ties to the Nation of Islam and Jew hating black preachers.  

"The Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox leadership has, in general, refused to condemn the President’s anodyne response, and it’s embarrassing."

You know, continuously being told your opinion / statements / response are the most important thing in the world is a bit ego building.  I would appreciate if you'd dial it back before I develop an ego problem.

Seriously, both authors, why is Orthodox Judaism's positions so important after this horrific civil clash in an American Southern city?  One basically allowed to happen by the local police and local politicians. One in which both sides arrived armed and prepared for violence.  

When the communists and the nazis fight, I don't have a position.  When Hezbollah and ISIS fight, I don't have a position.  Nor should I, as they both hate me.  Rather I pray that G-d save me from their hand...of both groups and both sides.  Because they ARE coming after us...


Tuesday, August 15, 2017



   by Reb Gutman Locks



      I was walking by the entrance to the Kotel and a religious man was lighting a cigarette. I made a harsh face showing how I hate that stuff and took a few steps to the side as I walked by to avoid smelling the smoke.

     A while later he came up to me and thanked me.

    "What for?"

    "I don't smoke very often and when I lighted that cigarette I thought maybe I shouldn't be smoking in this place and you walked by and made a face at me and I knew that Hashem sent you to tell me not to smoke here."

    "He sent me to tell you not to smoke anywhere, not just here."

     Danny, a rabbi friend of mine has smoked cigarettes for most of his life. He tried to quit from time to time but always went back to them. Now he has that horrible disease. He (G-d forbid) is at the end of his life. He is barely into his sixties. I begged him time after time to stop but he wouldn't listen. Only a miracle will save his life.

     I saw a couple of other men here in the Old City smoking and I said, "You know what is going on with Danny, right?" They both made a sad face and nodded that they did.

    "Then why are you still smoking?"

     They smiled meekly and said something like, "What to do?" as if they do not have it within their power to stop.

     I really do not understand how the rabbis allow that poison, and the governments, too. They say that now some 8 million people a year will die from smoking, and still the governments allow the tobacco companies to sell that addictive poison to anyone who is foolish enough to buy it. The tobacco companies seem to be evil drug dealers.

What's Wrong with Smoking?



Monday, August 14, 2017


Kosher Blue Nun spotted in Jerusalem!

by Fayga at Mystical Paths

Jerusalem had its 14th yearly "Jerusalem Wine Festival" at the Israel Museum (and being in Jerusalem almost every offering is mehadrin kosher). As opposed to past years I did not see the event heavily advertised, perhaps they wanted less of a crowd or knew what they offered this year would not be as extensive.

The festival in the last few years has been getting a reputation of going up in price and down in quality. Personally I haven’t agreed till this year where the cost of a ticket plus transport plus time wasn’t so worth it for someone coming without a car.

Ticket cost was 95 NIS + transport with a chofshi yomi 26.5 NIS. NIS 121 is quite expensive for an evening that doesn't even include food for the average Israeli who’s trying to get by. The festival isn’t supposed to be a fancy event though it is upscale. It’s more to get people drinking wine and a fun night out in the summer.

The festival certainly gives a chance to meet new wineries and other wine compatible producers and products (chocolate and olive oil, for example) to people who would not otherwise get exposure to them. For me I like to go for the night out and see what’s new from different wineries or find wines that I've never heard of… Israel has a lot of boutique wineries that are hidden secrets.

I also enjoy going to buy and see the gourmet products like 424 salt or Tishbi wine jellies as I don’t find such things sold in my community and truthfully you don’t find them much either in the kosher community focused supermarkets.

In the next article I'll talk about some of the wines I tried, and a few I purchased for special occasions.  One of the oddest for me was the picture above, "Blue Nun".  My father from the U.S. mentioned this is a known popular mid-market non-kosher wine in the U.S., but I had never heard of it before.  As you can see from the photo, they've come out with a kosher product (under U.S. Triangle-K supervision).  Many of the kosher-keeping attendees were put off by the photo (Judaism has a history of persecution by the Catholic church, the source of "nuns") as well as not being familiar with U.S. kosher supervisions.  In Hebrew it says it's a Gewurtztraminer Riesling.

If kosher wine articles from Israel are something that interests you, please let me know in the comments and we'll see if we can make this a regular article here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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Where do you want to go?

    by Reb Gutman Locks   

Where do you want to go?


     If you are a young Jewish man with a burning desire to find G-d there are a number of choices you might try. For instance, if you try India and the Far East as so many young Jews have, and if you are really serious about it, you might end up looking like the first guy pictured below. Or, if you try the spiritual path that has been in your family for the past 4000 years, and if you are really serious about it, you may end up looking like the guy in the second picture. It's your call. 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

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The Aleph Bet

by Reb Gutman Locks

The Aleph Bet


     Hashem creates the Universe with the Hebrew letters and the Aleph Bet reveals the wonder of it all;


     The story of man marveling at Hashem's creation, speaking as if seeing it has just moved to something from nothing;


     Father, what good fortune has come that You have made the seven days of creation. It is as a tiny grain of completion, starting to grow, traveling on, departing, tearing away from the initial explosion heading on delivering to its fulfillment, it's precious foundation has been put.


                                                                                                               אב  Father

                                                                                                 גד Good fortune 

                                                                            (א) הו   That 

                                                                                                 ז  (days of creation)                         

                                  חטי    Grain of

                                                                               כלמ  Completion (root of (כלה

                                                                      נסע Traveling-Cause to depart

                                                            (ה) פצ   Tear away-Deliver

                                                    קר (י) Precious (root of קר)

                                             שת  Foundation-Put (root of שית)



Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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Peace Rockets of Love and Firey Death This Evening, War Tomorrow?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Less than an hour ago, Palestinian Peace Rockets of Love and Firey Death were shot from Gaza at Israeli Jewish civilians in the southern city of Ashkelon.  Bringing a message of love and peace through explosions and shrapnel, the Palestinian Peace Rockets of Love and Firey Death fell like flaming butterflies upon Israeli Jewish civilians.

As the Hamas spokesperson said, 'nothing shows our love and respect and desire for peace like trying to blow you up and kill your children.'

In Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be looking at the rocket attack as mana from heaven.  Under political threat because of rumors that his wife may be indicted (for trivial issues) and he may be indicted for advisors taking advantage and a percentage of a military equipment deal and/or political financial support from abroad, it's a perfect wag the dog moment for him to take a real attack and threat and turn it into an active war.  And trivial or questionable claims or indictments disappear when there's an active national threat.  I am not claiming that Netanyahu will do this...but you couldn't hand him a more perfect scenario.

The crazy question becomes...is there someone in Gaza supporting Netanyahu by handing him a completely valid pretext for starting a war?

And given 2 of my sons are in active service in southern Israel, should I worry?

May Hashem bless and protect Klal Yisroel, the nation & people of Israel, and curse, deter, and destroy our enemies.

(Image via the Jerusalem Post).  Image from here.
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Who Was Moshe Yelling At?

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Who Was Moshe Yelling At?


     Again, in this week's Torah reading Moshe is condemning the prior acts of the Jews standing in front of him. They were about to cross the Jordan river and enter the Holy Land.

     "OY! Over the past forty years you did this, and OY! you did that…," and on and on. But who was Moshe yelling at? The Jews who were standing there before him were all either young children or not yet even born when those things he was complaining about happened!                                                  

     This is because the Jewish people are one, a single people, from those who lived a very long time ago… to those who are not yet born… and you and I who are alive today…. G-d blesses us as one, and (G-d forbid) punishes us as one… all together, a single people.

     This is why our enemies hate all of us, and this is why it hurts each of us so much when a Jew is attacked anywhere in the world ….  And this is why we should love one another…  and why we should try to help one another in any way we can. We are one.



Monday, August 07, 2017

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Is the Times of Israel being provocative, or trying for violence?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Is the Times of Israel attempting to foment religious violence in Jerusalem?  Or are they just trying to force culture change incompatible with the religious, cultural, and political environment of Jerusalem?  Because here's todays headline...

Here's the letter I wrote, them, and I urge you to contact them as well...

Dear Times of Israel:  With all the interesting, exciting, and life threatening events happening in Israel, could you explain how "A Gender Bending Taming of the Shrew" is the #1 top head line on your home page?

An event that may even be attended by tens or (even) hundreds, versus the many events in Israel that affect millions.

Could it be that you're trying to culturally influence your readership towards acceptance of alternatives that are traditionally unacceptable in the Middle East and particularly in Jerusalem?

Or are you trying to manufacture news?  Because I'm certain that if this play was taken to East Jerusalem or even to any of the various Jewish or Xian religious parts of Jerusalem, you would have

a bloody event to report.
 Are you trying to incite violence?

You can Contact Them here.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

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What Should We Be Looking At?

   by Reb Gutman Locks

What Should We Be Looking At?


     After the fast I spoke with a fine, religious, highly respected, retired doctor at the Kotel. Somewhat tongue in cheek, I said, "It's all a mistake."

     "What's a mistake?"

     "The fast. It should be changed into a holiday and we should be happy."

      He pointed to the Kotel and said, "For this?" He meant to compare the Kotel to the Temple.

     "Look how far we have come. We should be extremely happy that we have come this far."

      He persisted, "Look how far we have yet to go!"

     "If you look for how far we have left to go you will always be sad. If you look at what we already have you will always be happy."


      A young man jumped in, "What about that rabbi who cries, screaming all the time when he prays. Shouldn't we be doing that?"

     "'Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courtyard with praise.' Nowhere does it say to keep on crying."

     "It says that the gates of tears are never closed."

     "That's because when you cry you close all of the other gates and there has to be at least one gate open since Hashem always hears our prayers."

      Even after the Moshiach comes we will still want more. We will want the Temple. And even after he brings the Temple we will still want more… and more…until we actually see Hashem's Presence. Until that happens, there will always be more to go.

     Are these fine, respectable, religious Jews recommending being sad until we are blessed with the Revelation of G-d's Presence! All of the wonderful things that we are expecting (may they all come right now) will still leave us wanting more until we see Hashem's Presence. There is nothing to want beyond that.




Friday, August 04, 2017


Australia Bans Building of Synagogues because “Terrorism”

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

image<---- warning, dangerous synagogue!

A well known town in Australia has “banned the construction of a synagogue because it could be a terrorist target”.

The ban was placed by the local city council, but then upheld in court. 

“Jewish leaders are shocked the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists — and that the council has used their own risk assessment (and facility protection and mitigation strategies) of the threat posed by IS against it.”

“The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.  “The decision is unprecedented,” said the rabbi, “Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organisation should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”

The Jewish board noted, “they had never heard of any other religious group being denied a place of worship just because they were targeted by outside extremists”.

“the Court appeared to use the proposal’s own risk assessment and security measures in the proposed design — including using setback buildings and blast walls — as evidence the site was too much of a security risk.”

So there you have it.  Being Jewish is “too much of a risk” and Jews are denied places of worship in Australia, a primary country of “Western civilization” because terrorism and Islamic attitudes are allowed to flourish in their country.

The end of the vaunted Western civilization Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Worship, and the protection of those freedoms and minority members of society.

And as I remind my readers, the Jews are often the first but NEVER the last.  The new dark ages are advancing…may we see this as a harbinger of Moshiach!


Thursday, August 03, 2017

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Irrelevant News, is it worse than Fake News?

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

imageWife of Israeli Prime Minister may have used government funds to “buy a fancy meal”.  Major police investigation announced.

Wife of Israeli Prime Minister started recycling program in Prime Minister’s official residence and may not have filed the right accounting papers for the $5000 recovered over a year.  Major investigation announced.

Trump rumored to call Whitehouse a dump (after moving there from living in his literally gold plated condo-mansion).

Trump yelled at TV in the Whitehouse.

In Eastern Europe lived a nice Jewish man with a nasty problem: he talked too much about other people. He could not help himself. Whenever he heard a story about somebody he knew, and sometimes about somebody he did not know, he just had to tell it to his friends. Since he was in business, he heard quite a lot of rumors and stories. He loved the attention he got, and was delighted when they laughed because of the way he told his “anecdotes,” which he sometimes embellished with little details he invented to make them funnier and juicier. Other than that, he was really a pleasant, goodhearted man.

He kind of knew it was wrong, but . . . it was too tempting, and in any case, most of what he told had really happened, didn’t it? Many of his stories were just innocent and entertaining, weren’t they?

One day he found out something really weird (but true) about another businessman in town. Of course he felt compelled to share what he knew with his colleagues, who told it to their friends, who told it to people they knew, who told it to their wives, who spoke with their friends and their neighbors. It went around town, till the unhappy businessman who was the main character in the story heard it. He ran to the rabbi of the town, and wailed and complained that he was ruined! Nobody would like to deal with him after this. His good name and his reputation were gone with the wind.

Now this rabbi knew his customers, so to speak, and he decided to summon the man who loved to tell stories. If he was not the one who started them, he might at least know who did.

When the nice man with the nasty problem heard from the rabbi how devastated his colleague was, he felt truly sorry. He honestly had not considered it such a big deal to tell this story, because it was true; the rabbi could check it out if he wanted. The rabbi sighed.

“True, not true, that really makes no difference! You just cannot tell stories about people. This is all lashon hara, slander, and it’s like murder—you kill a person’s reputation.” He said a lot more, and the man who started the rumor now felt really bad and sorry. “What can I do to make it undone?” he sobbed. “I will do anything you say!”

The rabbi looked at him. “Do you have any feather pillows in your house?” “Rabbi, I am not poor; I have a whole bunch of them. But what do you want me to do, sell them?”

“No, just bring me one.”

The man was mystified, but he returned a bit later to the rabbi’s study with a nice fluffy pillow under his arm. The rabbi opened the window and handed him a knife. “Cut it open, and dump the feathers out the window!”

“But Rabbi,  it will make a mess!”

“Do as I say!”

And the man cut the pillow hanging out the window. A cloud of feathers came out. They landed in the street below and quickly were blown down the street and across the town in a swirling trail.

The rabbi waited ten minutes. Then he ordered the man: “Now bring me back all the feathers, and stuff them back in your pillow. All of them, mind you. Not one may be missing!”

The man stared at the rabbi in disbelief. “That is impossible, Rabbi. Rabbi, I can’t do that, you know it!”

“Yes,” said the rabbi and nodded gravely, “that is how it is: once a rumor, a gossipy story, a ‘secret,’ leaves your mouth, you do not know where it ends up. It flies on the wings of the wind, and you can never get it back!”

He ordered the man to deeply apologize to the person about whom he had spread the rumor; that is difficult and painful, but it was the least he could do. He ordered him to apologize to the people to whom he had told the story, making them accomplices in the nasty lashon hara game, and he ordered him to diligently study the laws concerning lashon hara every day for a year, and then come back to him.

Today’s news is worse than this, as it’s weaponized.  Dump a rumor and get it on the news…and destroy someone.  Sadly the news is worse than fake, it’s worse than irrelevant.  It’s weaponized.  And propaganda ministers everywhere smile.


What If They Say, No!

   by Reb Gutman Locks

What If They Say, No!


Moshe B. asks:

      I'd appreciate some advice on dealing with the "I don't believe" (in Hashem) response

and rejection to an offer of putting on tefillin. 


Gutman's Response:

     Over half of the Jews we help with tefillin at the Kotel initially refuse. So how do we get them? Each time is different and has to be made to fit the Jew we are reaching out to. The more experienced you get the more you succeed.   

     Some of the things that I have found that have worked are;

     Do not ask them if they want to put on tefillin because they don't. Instead say, 'Come put on tefillin.'

     They often refuse so we respond with whatever we think will work, but to the one who says he does not believe, I answer. 'You don't need belief to do it. The Torah says, 'we will do it then we will understand'. Doing it brings the understanding,' and I gently pull their arm or bring the straps to their hand and see if they let me continue as they often do. "Assumed consent" is an old sales technique.

     A general rule is; we are not allowed to push, but we are allowed to pull.

    The important thing is that when you do get them to do the mitzvah that they have a positive experience and not just a dry repetition of words that they do not understand.

     Make sure that after they fulfill the physical mitzvah of wearing tefillin and saying the Shema that you try to open their hearts so they will come to love the mitzvah. The objective is not simply to get them to do the mitzvah but to 'get them," i.e. to bring them to want to do the mitzvah again.

     I use, "When you fulfill a commandment a time of favor comes. It's as if the Gate to Heaven opens and Hashem listens intently to your prayers. Close your eyes and 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, and ask Him to protect the Jews in danger. Take a couple of minutes and talk to G-d in your heart." I find this moves them, while just the physical mitzvah leaves them feeling unchanged.

     Some years ago a middle-aged Jewish man came up to me at the tefillin stand and told me a story. "Five years ago I was walking down the street in L.A. and a young yeshiva student asked me to put on tefillin. I blew up on him and yelled, 'You rotten Jew you just lost your share in the World to Come. You embarrassed me in public,' and I ran off in a huff!"   

     "I got so angry … I took some fifty steps, but then I stopped and said, 'how low have I come that a Jew would ask me to do a mitzvah and I got angry at him! You know, I turned at that minute and went home and put on my tefillin and I have been putting them on every day since."

     Imagine how that boy must have felt back then and probably still today regrets what he did. But you never know when you try to do a mitzvah what good will come from your effort. It is not up to us if we succeed, but it is up to us if we try.




Tuesday, August 01, 2017


The Secular Disconnect

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

imageA.B. Yehoshua is one of the secular sages of modern Israel.  Writer, and dare I say, philosopher, Mr. Yehoshua is one who puts the positions of Israeli secular society and the secular elite into words.

Today, on Tisha b’Av, the anniversary when we mourn the destruction of the Holy Jewish Temples (same place, 2 occasions) in Jerusalem, the Temples where G-d’s presence was manifest physically on Earth as described in the holy Torah (bible) and the details of the services in the Temples described both in the Torah and in the Mishna.  We yearn for it’s rebuilding every day, the coming of Moshiach our righteous redeemer, and the return of G-d’s holy presence manifest on Earth.

On this sad day that we hope will turn to joy, Mr. Yehoshua gave an interview on Israeli radio…

“…Prize-winning author A.B Yehoshua on Tuesday slammed religious Jews who want to pray on the Temple Mount — and Diaspora Jews for not coming to live in Israel…  ‘the real tragedy behind the day of mourning was not the destruction of buildings, but the fact that too many Jews still live overseas and do not understand that they have a motherland.’ … ‘“The problem is that half the nation doesn’t even think of returning to Israel. The problem isn’t some building. There’s a mosque there, an exquisite mosque that was built 1,300 years ago. There’s also the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And we should be proud that in Jerusalem we can combine the three monotheistic religions’”

- Umm, no, the church is NOT on the Temple Mount, it’s on the other side of the Old City in Jerusalem – guess he can speak as an expert but hasn’t been there.

“The Western Wall is there. Do you need to send Jews to pray on the Temple Mount? Would you be pleased if the Muslims came and bowed down at the Western Wall and prayed there?”

- Umm, many people of many religions do come and pray at the Western Wall, including Xians who sometimes fall to their knees, as pictures by Reb Gutman here on Mystical Paths have shown  - guess he can comment on praying there but hasn’t been there.

“That’s their [the Muslims’] house of prayer. Our synagogues are spread all over the world and we want people to respect them and look after them. And we have to respect the places of prayer of others.”

- No one is demanding they stop praying there, and no one is interfering with their praying there…except when they attack us, kill our policemen,, and incite riots there.  Respect is a 2 way street, and they are NOT respecting us.  But as we’ve discussed previously here, that’s because they don’t speak the language of respect, they speak the language of honor/dishonor. – guess he’s an expert without knowing anything about what’s going on there or how they act.

Many Jews exiled by the Babylonians in the sixth century BCE failed to return to Israel, he said, and during the Second Temple period, from 530 BCE to 70 CE, half of the Jewish people already lived in the Diaspora.  “Maybe the people found in the destruction of the Temple an excuse to leave Israel,” he said.  “After the Temple was destroyed, for 400 years it was a heap of trash. The Jews didn’t even clean it up. They left Israel, and that’s the problem. And if the Temple is rebuilt, what, there’ll be salvation here?”

- OH MY GOSH, “the destruction as an excuse to leave”???  That’s literally like saying the Holocaust was an excuse to leave Poland.  Their towns and homes were burned, their families were killed, and the traumatized survivors were hauled away at sword point.  They didn’t “leave Israel”, the survivors were driven away. – guess Mr. Yehoshua doesn’t mind reframing history to meet his agenda.

The first Zionists were secular people who told Jewish immigrants to settle areas such as the Negev, the Jordan Valley and the Jezreel Valley, not to go to Jerusalem, he added.  There was something symbolic in the decision of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, to settle in the Negev Desert and “not to rub up against the Palestinians on a place that is holy to them.”

- BINGO.  Mr. Yehoshua, who most likely lives in Tel Aviv, not in the Negev or Jordan valley, doesn’t understand why the Jews of the world aren’t rushing to move to the…Negev desert?  These Diaspora Jews should NOT connect with our Jewish holy places, not connect with praying to G-d, and not connect with the Torah.  Instead they should connect to the Zionist nationhood, leave their current home countries, and move to the Negev.

He’s missed the whole point.  The connection to the Land of Israel is through the Torah of Israel, which is from the G-d of Israel.  The peoplehood of the Jewish people fades without the Torah, as  does the connection to the Land of Israel.  It’s EXACTLY through the connection to the Torah that the Jewish people connect to Israel…and draws them to make their life in G-d’s gift to the Jewish People – the Land of Israel. 

On Tisha b’Av, Mr. Yehoshua should know better.

Source article @TimesofIsrael

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