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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Sunday, October 23, 2016

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From D Rubin

יהי רצון ...  כן אזכה לישב בסוכת עורו של לויתן

May it be the will that as I fulfilled the mitsvoh of sitting in the sukkoh, so I should merit, in the coming year, to sit in the sukkoh of the skin of the Leviathan.

We say this prayer at the culmination of Sukkos. What does it mean?

(What is 'the skin of the Leviathan'? Where is it now? Would it even be kosher??!)

In Aqdomus – on Shovuos – we mention, not only the Leviathan but also the Shor HaBor – the Wild Ox. In an apparent cosmic duel, the Ox gores the Leviathan who manages to slaughter the Ox with a fin, both providing an amazing repast for the righteous. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??

(Forewarning: The following is based upon the writings of the kabbalists.)

The Shor HaBor – the Wild Ox – refers to the wild desires of this world, the various not-good character traits and desires that it is our job to strain, purify and uplift through the directives and advices of the Torah. The resultant knowledge of G-d is the Leviathan. It is the inner 'soul' of the Torah.

In the World-to-Come (days of Moshiach), our experience of reality will be radically changed. The wild desires of the world, the Shor HaBor, will no longer exist. The illusion that is the yetser horo will have been exposed. The Torah and mitsvos will exist on an entirely new plane. The Shor HaBor will have been 'slaughtered' by the 'fin' of the Leviathan, the performance of G-d's mitsvos. Our knowledge of G-d will be elevated to an entirely new level. When the soul is elevated to a higher level, the previous level is left as a 'shell'; it now becomes the new outer reality.

This is the עורו של לויתן – ' the skin of the Leviathan '.

(Gematrioh hint: עורו של לויתן = מלכות תורה – i.e. the outer embodiment of the cleaving to G-d.)

יהי רצון ...  שנזכה לישב בסוכת עורו של לויתן!



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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A Big Esrog and a Succos Story


Picture – Now that’s a BIG lulav and enormous esrog!

Succos Story – This Chabad Succos story was shared with our shul group…  “Rabbi Yehuda Clapman told me this story:

One year before Succos, Reb Elye Gross asked me if I already bought an Esrog?  When I replied that not yet, he suggested that I go to a certain individual to purchase an Esrog by him, because this Jew simply needs the Parnassa (he needs the income).  I obliged and I went to this person to search for an nice Esrog.

I looked around for a while and I couldn’t find any Esrog that pleased my fancy.  While there, another individual comes in picks an Esrog, asks how much, pays and turns to leave.  I joined this individual on his way out empty handed, and as we exited the house I turned to him and asked, what nice Esrog were you able to find here, I’m here for a good while and I couldn’t find anything reasonable?

He replied: By me a Mehuderdike Esrog (an esrog of the highest quality) is to give a Jew Parnassa for Yomtov (for the holiday)!

I was very impressed by his answer to say the least.

On Yomtov we met in shul, and in my curiosity I checked to see what Esrog is he really using, I was thinking that for sure he bought himself another beauty of an Esrog elsewhere (as he was capable of doing), and that this other Esrog that I saw him buy, he bought just to support that merchant for Yomtov.  When I saw the Esrog that he was using I was astonished, he actually used that Esrog that I witnessed him buy.

I was so touched by what I witnessed, that I decided that I must write to the Rebbe this beautiful story of pure Ahavas Yisroel.  Somewhat hesitatingly I went to the Rebbe’s office, and I asked the secretary if it would be appropriate to write this story to the Rebbe?  The Mazkir (secretary) was not pleased with my question, and he responded: Every day the Rebbe gets all kinds of letters full of negativity and sadness, and here you have a beautiful story of pure Ahavas Yisroel which would give the Rebbe so much pleasure, and you are hesitating to write?

I got the message, and I went to a certain Jew in Crown Heights who had a beautiful handwriting, plus he was a masterful writer and poet, I told him the story, and he went ahead to write for the Rebbe a whole Megila, telling the story with poetry and charm, he used special paper and he wrote with gorgeous lettering and style, and off I went to the Rebbe’s office to hand the letter for the Rebbe.  Next day I got a call from the Rebbe’s Mazkir, he said I have no answer for you from the Rebbe, but, I will describe to you what happened with your letter.

I put your letter on top of the pile of letters I brought into the Rebbe, I wanted your letter to be the first letter the Rebbe saw so he can read it first, and sure enough the Rebbe took your letter immediately and started reading, I stayed by the door and watched, here is what I saw:  The Rebbe started reading, and I noticed that he was not reading it fast as he would do many times, but rather I saw that he was concentrating and reading your letter word by word and line by line, and as he progressed in reading your letter line by line, I saw the Rebbe’s smile grow bigger and bigger and bigger!

Your letter caused the Rebbe much Nachas!

Let’s all celebrate a beautiful Yomtov of Achdus in these last moments of Hakhel.

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Chabad & Beit Shemesh, Israel

A while back someone asked me about Beit Shemesh, and Chabad in Beit Shemesh.  Here’s my reply to their email, with a few adjustments (as this was about a year ago)…

Beit Shemesh, Israel is a town of about 125,000.  It's laid out across a series of hills and valleys, with different sections having significantly different cultural mixes.  It’s considered a suburb of Jerusalem, being about a 40 minute car drive away.  There’s also train service to Tel Aviv.  While it’s definitely suburban, housing construction in Israel in “towns” still is much higher density that U.S. suburban (with row homes and condo buildings of 2-8 stories).

It’s a town growing quickly, with many immigrants, and each phase of growth has turned into a different cultural mix and different immigrant mix.

- Old Beit Shemesh...  Sephardi traditional Israelis, Russian Jewish immigrants, Ethiopian Jewish immigrants.  Housing is equivalent to what you might call row-houses of Eastern US cities.  Very few English speakers.  There is a Chabad house here.  Probably 20 synagogues. It’s divided between a poorer section and a long term resident section in individual homes (on very small lots).

- Kiryat Charedit...  An older ultra-orthodox neighborhood, very space compressed, very few English speakers.  Probably 30 synagogues.  Think of a cross between Williamsburg in New York and Monsey in New York.  It’s also a poorer area.

- Cheftzibah... A series of apartment towers, small apartments, young ultra-orthodox families, some English speakers, some extremism / ultra-religious zealots.  Probably 20 synagogues.

- Sheinfeld... Small homes, some row homes, some apartment buildings, mixed modern orthodox and zionist community, lots if not majority English speakers.  Probably 10 synagogues.  Moderate price.  This is the neighborhood that abuts the next on the list and makes international news on cross neighborhood conflicts.

- Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet... "Rama" means "Heights", the next 3 neighborhoods are on hilltops.  This is an extreme ultra-orthodox community, majority moved from Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.  Maybe 20% English speakers.  Yiddish speakers.  Decent sized apartments but limited green space.  2 Chabad shuls and a Chabad boys school and a Chabad girls school.  Probably 50 synagogues.  Moderate price.  Up the hill is more mixed and “normal”, down the hill is the zealot zone – with monthly public riots about the religious insult of the moment (or entertainment for the teens – riots are fun!)

- Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef... Mixed orthodox, modern orthodox, zionist, and ultra-orthodox community, about 60% English speakers.  Decent sized apartments with decent green space.   Probably 50 synagogues, including 3 Chabad shuls.  Expensive.

- Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel... NEW neighborhood.  Mixed ultra-orthodox community.  15 synagogues, about 30% English speakers.  Reasonably priced.  1 Chabad shul.  Nice apartments but still a lot of construction in progress.  So far the zealots have not been welcome in the neighborhood.

Lots of Americans that come to Israel arrive in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef.  It’s worth checking out, and yes the schools and yeshivas can deal with lots of immigrant children arriving – but checking out and arranging for schooling BEFORE YOU ARRIVE is important, as schools are at capacity.

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Jewish Unity

​   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Jewish Unity


     Why should shaking the four species on the holiday of Sukkot make us happy? What do they represent?

Jewish Unity



Sunday, October 16, 2016

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Israel Stinks! Israel is a Dream Land! ???


This may be a repeat, I don’t remember if I posted this about a year ago.  Someone wrote asking about Israel, and many negatives that they encountered while considering making aliyah (moving to Israel), and it was unusual in being both harsh but real concerns that they were having…


I’d like to get your perspective on the negatives that keep coming our way.  Surely you, as a forever resident, can clarify for us what we are hearing:

- That there is mistreatment and corruption at all levels, even in law enforcement

-         ( this is fairly tightly regulated here in the States)

- That even at the grocery store level there is no social requirement for helpfulness or responsiveness

-         (because there is less pressure from a marketing competitiveness)

- That North Americans are not really sought after or wanted or helped by the government compared to others

- That life in Israel isn’t hard, it’s downright obstructive

- That basically we will be eaten alive by the bureaucracy before we even unpack, depending on what mood the clerk is in that day.

Is this the case only for we olim (immigrants), who harbor “the dream” for years and show up starry-eyed in unrealistic infatuation?

And if this is the case, why did it appear to us when we visited that residents seemed happy?  It can’t ALL be about the great food!

How do people like you navigate your way through this to achieve some sort of protection from your own country?


imageHere’s what I wrote back, with a few new additions…

I'm not a "forever resident", I'm here just over 8 years (9 now).

We'll set aside the Zionism, Jewish homeland, religious reasons, and coming home drivers for a moment.  Let's talk some up-sides and address your questions...

-- Israel has a higher life expectancy than the U.S., and is actually #3 in the world.

-- Israel has a higher happiness index than the U.S., by a significant amount.

Israel is full of Jews, about 5% of which came from the U.S., and probably 40% who speak some English, but it is NOT the United States of America.  It's a different system, a different culture, with a different mind set.  Some things are better, some worse, and many just different ways of doing things.

"That there is mistreatment and corruption at all levels, even in law enforcement. ( this is fairly tightly regulated here in the States)"

Many who have run-ins with the system in the US would disagree about it being "fairly tightly regulated".  In particular the administrative state has become so ridiculous that it's pretty hard not to break laws on a constant basis - and get hung out to dry if somebody comes after you on it.  I personally was accused of "building without a permit" for removing old carpeting (go ahead, prove you didn't build), and for trimming a tree (yes, it was a crime to cut down a tree in my own yard where I lived).  But putting that aside...

Yes the Israeli system has some problems with corruption, and with influence peddling.  In some ways this isn't so different than the US, just a little more obvious.  It has been doing a reasonable job of cleaning itself up over the last 10 years.  But more to the point, why would do care?  Do you plan on becoming a land developer, or a supplier of services to the government?  Meaning - few people have day to day run-ins with the portions of the system having such problems.

On the side of the police and criminal justice system, the police have less restrictions on their actions than in the U.S., and do not treat citizens with respect, BUT also DO NOT shoot suspects.  There are almost no police shootings in Israel, even in normal crime situations.  And the police have to worry about terrorist incidents as well (which is about the only time there is police shooting.)  In other words, in Israel, #JewishLivesMatter :-)

"Even at the grocery store level there is no social requirement for helpfulness or responsiveness (because there is less pressure from a marketing competitiveness)".  This is a cultural misunderstanding.  Yes, true, customer service and pandering ("the customer is always right") is not part of Israel culture or business.  On the other hand, if you approach an Israeli in a store and ask for their expertise, not only will they help you, often all the people nearby will join the conversation to offer group advice. 

Israel has a flea market culture - everything's a negotiation and you have to push to not be taken advantage of - but also a brotherhood culture, when someone needs everyone will jump in.

"That North Americans are not really sought after or wanted or helped by the government compared to others"

Not helped by the government compared to others - true.  If a Jew is arriving poor from Argentina, they will get 20x the benefits of an American, who is assumed to arrive with skills and resources.

Not really sought after - before coming to Israel you MUST have an idea if you have skills, or a plan for acquiring them, that are of value in the Israeli employment market.  How are you going to support yourself?

Areas where Americans are in great demand... high tech (computers, software, engineering, science fields), medical, dental, bio-tech, international sales (usually high tech), pharmaceutical.  Many Americans are also successful working remotely as lawyers, writers, software support. 

Jobs where there is too much competition and Americans are unwanted: mechanic, construction, network administration, law enforcement, retail, food, media, government administration, banking.

Americans without skills end up:  teaching English, working in call centers, cleaning, running daycare centers.

Note hi-tech also has what’s hot and what’s not.  A fellow came to me and said he hasn’t been able to find a job in Israel after arriving as a COBOL programmer from the U.S.  There’s probably less than 500 COBOL programming jobs in Israel, and they are all long term government positions.  On the other hand, Israel is predicting a shortage of programmers (in the latest languages), engineers and scientists over the next 10 years – meaning if your tech skills are current, the market is hot.

"That life in Israel isn’t hard, it’s downright obstructive"

Life in Israel is DIFFERENT.  Some things are harder, some easier, some very challenging, some completely unrestricted.  If you come with "it's got to be the American way", then it's going to seem obstructive. 

EVERYTHING is different, you have to learn the new normal.  Banking is different, renting an apartment is different, school systems are different.  Is it obstructive that it doesn't work the way you are familiar with?  No, it's a new country!  Of course it’s very frustrating that as a functional adult you no longer know how to make a bank deposit or operate an ATM machine, fill out a government form, get a license, etc.  But if you come saying “they should do it the American way”, you’ve already set yourself up to be frustrated. 

"That basically we will be eaten alive by the bureaucracy before we even unpack, depending on what mood the clerk is in that day."

How's the DMV where you live?  Every tried to get a permit (yourself) to remodel your bathroom?  Ever been fined for a "obstructive bush"? 

The problem with coming to Israel is you have to walk through so much bureaucracy that you might never touch in the US or touch once over 10 years...and you get to do it all in a few months, yay!  You have to go through the immigration offices (Misrad HaKlita), the interior offices (Misrad HaPnim), getting a drivers license (Misrad HaRishiu), getting into the health care and social security system (Bituach Leumi), getting into an HMO (Kupat Cholim selection and office, 4 options), getting children into school (Egaf HaChinuch + schools), getting an electronic public transportation card (Rav Kav), selecting a bank and opening an account, registering for city occupancy tax (Arnona), deal with import paperwork if you ship in your household goods (Meches - import tax certification), and deal with the arrival at the port itself (Sochen - port agent).

You get to have all the fun doing all that, in Hebrew, and if you get any of it wrong you have to do it again.  Some of the offices may be local, some in another city.  Each office has it's own hours, with surprises (like closed Tuesday afternoons).  Each requires it's own paperwork, and some require paperwork from others (meaning the list above has to be done in the right order).

Bring a smile, a good attitude, a good book, every piece of paper you are issued by every office to every other office (bring a briefcase), and just know it's going to take some months to get through it all and get everything settled.  But once it's done, it's done.  And if you are using someone like Nefesh b'Nefesh, they do cut through some of it for you, and at least advise you on the process.  Ask for help, ask neighbors, ask in synagogue.  Everyone has done it and can advise.

"Is this the case only for we olim, who harbor “the dream” for years and show up starry-eyed in unrealistic infatuation?"

Realistic:  How are you going to earn a living?  Don't know?  That's unrealistic.

Realistic:  How old are your children who will be making the transition?  Young, easy.  Older than 8...hard without serious advanced preparation.

Realistic:  Do you have any children with special needs?  ADD/ADHD?  Other needs?  Have you pre-checked out how those needs will be fulfilled in a foreign system?  No, unrealistic.

Realistic:  Do you have any special health needs, special medications?  Have you pre-checked out if those needs can be met or meds are available?  No, unrealistic.

Realistic: Anyone in the family speak any Hebrew?  Read Hebrew (modern, language, not prayerbook)?  It's REALLY HARD to arrive with no Hebrew and trying to learn and function in a foreign system.

"And if this is the case, why did it appear to us when we visited that residents seemed happy?  It can’t ALL be about the great food!"

30% of olim fail and bail.  70% make it.  The more prepared you are, the better the chance of making it.  Making a living and children adjusting or having their needs met are probably the main reasons for failure. 

But many things are great.  Low crime rate, especially violent crime (which means children can go out and roam and travel by themselves to school safely).  Ready inexpensive access to health care.

"How do people like you navigate your way through this to achieve some sort of protection from your own country?"

You learn the system.  How do you avoid getting audited by the IRS, with 100,000 different regulations that could get you?

Israel is the dream of generations of Jewish people, returning home, returning to G-d’s gift to the Jewish people.  But it’s also a foreign country with a foreign language and partially foreign culture.  Oh, and it’s surrounded by enemies who occasionally try to kill it (thank G-d they have failed).  Yes, Israel is a modern Western nation, with modern medicine and infrastructure.  But it has developed it’s own way of doing things, due to history, where it’s leaders came from, who ran the country before it, and it’s own local needs and challenges.  Come with an open mind, a big smile, a plan, and flexibility, and G-d willing (and asking G-d to help) you’ll make it!

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FRANCE and others officially Deny Christianity

In a vote in the United Nations, the following formerly Christian countries either voted for or did not vote against a resolution denying the existing of the Christian bible and Jewish bible, specifically all areas and references to Jerusalem contained within.  Rather these countries voted for or did not vote against a claim by Muslim countries that Jerusalem and the holy sites therein are exclusively Muslim – and by doing so explicitly DENIED CHRISTIANITY (and Judaism).

The countries, that were FORMERLY Christian (or with a strong Christian history and a majority Christian population), have now explicitly denied their own history and the beliefs of the majority of their populations.

The FORMER Christian countries that supported or did not vote against the resolution are:

Former Christian country Argentina
Former Christian country Brazil
Former Christian country Dominican Republic
Former Christian country El Salvador
Former Christian country France
Former Christian country Greece
Former Christian country Italy
Former Christian country Mexico
Former Christian country South Korea
Former Christian country Spain
Former Christian country Sweden

The details on the U.N. decision can be seen here – but are irrelevant as YOUR GOVERNMENTS already approved it (or did not vote against it).  Welcome to atheism…and G-d wept.

What can you do?  Contact your government and express how inappropriate it is that it is supporting statements against your beliefs!  And you’re funding the UN department that’s doing this!  Suggest your government STOP SUCH FUNDING. 

This is the way you address this type of issue.  With all due respect to my fellow Jewish bloggers and Israeli social commentators, trying to state facts, bring up archeology, historical or biblical sources is poppycock.  As we can see from the U.S. election, outrageous statements, emotional rants and influencing statements work – facts are (sadly) irrelevant.  Stop trying to construct a logical argument, shoot for and from the heart.
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It Is So Nice

​   by Reb Gutman Locks

It Is So Nice


     I have to leave the Old City for a couple of hours once every two or three months. Other than that I am at the Kotel or in the Rova (Quarter). When I return the beauty of the Old City Wall and all that it stands for welcomes me.

     Thirty thankful years…, thankful for the privilege of being here to experience the holiness that increases every day. Thank G-d. 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

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The Essence of the Holiday of Sukkot

​   by Reb Gutman Locks  

The Essence of the Holiday of Sukkot


     Each holiday stresses a particular aspect of our overall service of Hashem. It is not that what we stress on any particular holiday is reserved only for that holiday, but rather, that particular teaching is emphasized at that time but should be carried out throughout the year.

    To best understand and apply what Sukkot comes to stress see this short video before the holiday comes.




 If you like it share it - If you love it share it again


Friday, October 07, 2016

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Yom Kippur

​    by Reb Gutman Locks   

Yom Kippur


    "For on this day He will forgive you, purity you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d"[i] The holiest day of the year; thank G-d for this day of forgiveness.


     One of the high points in the Yom Kippur prayer service comes when we call out;

"Teshuvah, Tefilla, Tzedakah"

                                         (Repentance, Prayer, Charity)

     Where this prayer appears in the holiday prayer books the rabbis have inserted a word above each of them. Above Repentance is fasting, above Prayer is voice, and about Charity is money.

     The obvious reason they are there is to point out the tools we use to accomplish those deeds. But there is a deeper reason the rabbis chose those specific words to teach that lesson. Each of these words has the same gematria (numerical value). The letters in each word add up to 136. Now why did the rabbis go out of their way to choose those particular words? There are many other words that could have taught these lessons. Having the same gematria shows us that each of these acts, Repentance, Prayer and Charity are equally important. We need them all.     

     The next question is, why 136? What does this number have to do with this subject? To search for the answer look at all the other words in the Chumash (Torah) that have that same gematria and see if you can find something they have in common.

Gematria-The Spice of Torah by Gutman Locks



[i] Leviticus 16:30


Thursday, October 06, 2016


Kissing the Kotel

​   by Reb Gutman Locks 

Kissing the Kotel


     Moshe and Aaron passed away in the highest way possible, with a kiss. Hashem kissed them and their souls left their bodies and passed on into the next world. But what is a kiss?

     A kiss is more than a simple act of affection. When we love someone or something we show that love by placing our lips on what we love and then we reach out our lips to come even closer to them, and then we kiss.

     But a kiss is even more than just warmly and tenderly touching our beloved. After we place our lips on what we love, be it a family member, our tefillin, or a mezuzah, we draw our breath back into ourselves as if pulling our beloved into our very bodies.

     And this is what Hashem does to the tzaddikim when they leave this world. Hashem draws their souls back into Himself with His breath.




Wednesday, October 05, 2016

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​   by Reb Gutman Locks



     The guide asked me to speak to his Birthright group for a few minutes.

     If you have only five minutes to change fifty Jewish kids' lives what would you say to them? There are so many essential things that these kids need to know, but I only have these few minutes. What can I say that will enter their hearts so they take the information back home with them? What is their real birthright?

     This question comes up whenever I try to help someone with tefillin at the Kotel, but it is fifty times more important when speaking to a group. Here is what I told Chabad's Teen Group when asked me to speak to them: 

3 Things Every Jewish Kid Should Do



Sunday, October 02, 2016

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Rosh Hashanah

​   by Reb Gutman Locks

Rosh Hashanah


     The "Head of the Year," remembering the creation of Adam the first man and Eve the first woman. The day of hearing the call of the Shofar … a reminder to wake up our sleepy spiritual lives, the day we pass before the Holy King Who allocates our portions for the coming year….

     May we all be judged favorably with mercy and generosity, may our past mistakes be erased, and may we all be inscribed for a wonderful, healthy, happy, sweet, and successful New Year. 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

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Two Great Guys

​   by Reb Gutman Locks

Two Great Guys


     Reb Abish and Reb Noach are both very well-known, highly respected teachers of Jewish Mysticism. Here they are discussing Kabbalah at 4:00 a.m. by the Kotel. They are both very knowledgeable in this lofty subject. Both are known simply by their first names. They are humble, quick to smile, easy to talk to, friendly, responsive, speak softly, pray sweetly....

     Humility is a sign of greatness. It is blessing to know them.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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Nazi shooting in Houston, Israel sells gas to Jordan- Jewish Skim Sept 27, Elul 24

Avoid the shtuss yet be an informed smart Jew while standing on one leg!  Here’s the news, with plenty of chutzpah, being talked about by Jews today…

Today’s Skim of the News for Jews – Be a Smart Aleck!


- Man in Houston dons Nazi uniform, shoots 9 killing 1.  A disgruntled lawyer opened fire at passing cars in Houston on Monday, wounding nine people before dying in a shootout with police.  Authorities and witnesses described a harrowing scene at approximately 6:30 am, in which the shooter stood next to his car — using a tree for cover — and fired a rifle and a handgun indiscriminately at passing cars and at responding officers.   He was eventually shot and killed by police.

- Israel signs 15 year $10 billion deal to supply natural gas to Jordan.  The agreement will provide Jordan with a total of approximately 45 billion cubic meters of gas from the Leviathan offshore gas field, turning Israel into its largest gas supplier.  The Israeli Energy Minister said “This is an important milestone in strengthening the ties and strategic partnerships between Israel and Jordan and the entire region”.  This is the 2nd such deal with Jordan, the first was for $1/2 billion. 

- Follow up on Budapest explosion, it was a bomb targeting police.  Hungarian authorities are hunting for a man who set off a bomb that seriously wounded two officers in central Budapest.  The police chief said “We have established without a doubt that our police officers were the targets of the attack.  They wanted to execute my officers.”  The chief didn’t say why the suspect wanted to harm police officers, but he didn’t rule out terrorism.  The suspect is  believed to be 20-25 years old and 170 centimeters (around 5’6”) tall.

…support the Jewish News Skim, click here.

…and that’s the news of interest to Jews today.     (our skim is ethnically focused, but we’re thrilled for every reader)

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Giving Your Tithe

​   by Reb Gutman Locks    


     When we leave this world, obviously we want to leave in the best way possible. It is said that a successful Jew dies with a smile on his face. What can we do to ensure that we too will have successful lives?

     When the Temple stood, at certain times we would make a confession to Hashem. Although no sin was involved this statement is called a confession. We would declare that we delivered all of the tithes, the charity, the portion of our gains that we were instructed to give to the appropriate recipients, to the Priests, the Levis, converts, orphans, widows, and to the poor, all according to the instructions in the Torah.

     Rashi explains the confession means, "I have rejoiced and I caused others to rejoice too." We see that it is not enough to just recognize that Hashem has given us our growth. We must be happy with it. And it is not enough to merely share our gain with the poor, but we must see to it that they too are happy. Then, after saying the confession, we would ask Hashem to gaze down upon us and to bless us.[i]

     It seems to me this "confession" is the perfect way to approach the Heavenly Judge. To be able to say, "I have rejoiced with the portion that You gave me, my life and its opportunities, and I have caused others to rejoice too. I tried my best to help the unfortunate of Your children to rejoice too."

     If we can honestly say this, then we will leave the world with a smile on our faces, and surely the Righteous Judge will look down upon us and bless us.


[i] Deuteronomy 26:15

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