A conversation about G-d, mysteries of the universe and soul, Israel... and speculation about biblical prophecies and the end of days.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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Direct Your Heart





   by Reb Gutman Locks
    

Direct Your Heart

 

     I helped this soldier to put on tefillin. He read the Shema and then turned for me to take them off. He seemed unmoved by the experience. I told him, "The mitzvah opens the door to Heaven. Talk to Hashem. Tell Him what you want for your family, for the soldiers, for the Jews in danger, everything that you want, and thank Him for all the good that He has given you. Talk to G-d in your heart."

     We usually cover our eyes when we read the Shema. The soldier didn't. He read the Shema seemingly indifferent to its meaning. He looked like he was reading a magazine. But when he began to talk directly to Hashem in his personal prayers he lowered his head and covered his eyes. I was taken by his sincerity … which I did not see when he read the Shema.   

     This is the easiest way to elevate a mitzvah from satisfying only the basic, physical commandment to also bringing spiritual awareness into the mitzvah. This is the aspect of a mitzvah that makes the mitzvahs so precious to us and to Hashem. G-d wants us to get the most out of the mitzvahs. The mitzvahs are for our benefit, but when we do them right and Hashem sees that the mitzvahs have effected a change in us, they become even more precious to Hashem.

     The Mishnah[i] tells us in order to make our mitzvahs "a sweet aroma to Hashem", we must "direct our hearts to Heaven." Sincerely talking to Hashem directs our hearts to Heaven.

 



[i] Minacot 13:11

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Friday, June 23, 2017

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What to do with x-ians Who Come to the Kotel


   by Reb Gutman Locks 
     

What to do with x-ians Who Come to the Kotel

 

     My recent article about the Fijian and other x-ians coming to the Kotel and praying loudly drew a lot of attention. I see now that I should have included what I think might be at least a partial solution to the problem.

    There are certain rules that are enforced at the Kotel. There is a guard stationed by the entrance to the men's side who sees to it that only males enter the men's area. They also insist that all (males) cover their heads when they are at the Kotel and have kippas there for them to use. I wonder for the need for non-Jews to cover their heads as this is a Jewish custom that was never intended for the non-Jews.

     I am pleased to say that the guard also insists that anyone wearing a cross around their necks (or wherever) put it under their shirts. I have never seen any of them complaining about having to hide their crosses when they come into our Holy Place.

     What I see that is almost entirely missing[i] is some type of outreach to the millions of gentiles who come to the Kotel instructing them as to what Hashem wants of them. We are obligated to be a light unto the Nations and there is no better opportunity than this to fulfill that obligation.



[i] The Chabad tefillin stand has these printed but hands out only a few a day.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

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Wigs – Huge False Alarm


    by Reb Gutman Locks
      

Wigs – Huge False Alarm

 

     There is an enormous outcry within the religious community claiming that Jewish women cannot use wigs as the hair in the wigs may have been offered up to an idol and is therefore forbidden. This claim is "substantiated" by wig-makers who say that no matter where the hair is bought there is no way of knowing where it originated. This means that there is a chance that the hair in your wife's wig was donated to a god in a Hindu temple, and according to the rabbis who are warning about this, that wig is forbidden to be used.

     Here are the facts as far as I know. The Hindu women wanting to get their god to answer their prayers go to a Hindu temple and donate their hair. It is cut off by a temple barber and the hair is sold to wig-makers for its monetary value and the temple uses the money as it sees fit. For the temple this is a substantial source of income, even millions of dollars. Note that the hair is not donated to be used on the idol or to be used as a sacrifice to the idol, but is donated solely for its monetary value.

      Some people in India have complained that the temples make millions of dollars and the women do not get even one penny. Temple officials have defended their decision to sell the hair, arguing that the hair would otherwise be thrown away, but the money the temple earns from the hair sales can be used to fund orphanages and hospitals.

     "For example, with the money we received in exchange for the hair we financed children's education by building schools. We distributed approximately 30,000 free meals every day for the poor and needy, and we have built hospitals to cure those who, otherwise, could never afford such expensive treatments," said a director at the Tirumala temple.

     If this is in fact the reality, then that donated hair is not forbidden as a sacrifice to an idol.

     There are different levels or types of holiness and tumah (spiritual uncleanliness). When something fitting to be offered up in our Holy Temple was given to the Temple as a sacrifice that animal or wine or flour attained the status of kedushat ha-guf (holiness of its body). This means that that item itself became holy and even if it were somehow sold or transferred to someone it would still maintain that level of holiness.   

     As opposed to this, if something unfit for an offering, such as a deer or a broom was given to the Temple, this was given as bedek habayit i.e. given for the use of the Temple.

     When the Temple sold that item the holiness would leave the item and go onto the money that the Temple received in its place. This means that that item could be used however its new owner wished to use it. This second type of offering more parallels the Hindu donation of hair. The hair is given only for its monetary value or to be thrown away and not to be used in their temples.

     Assuming all of these facts are indeed true, particularly that the cut hair is used solely for its monetary value or thrown away, then the donated hair that might end up in a Jewish woman's wig would cause no problem at all. Its tumah left it when the temple sold it for money.

     When it comes to halacha (Jewish religious law) there are often many different opinions. In this case of the problem with wigs there are many learned rabbis giving their opinions, and almost all of them say that the wigs are forbidden. These posekim (Jewish law deciders) know more about Jewish law than I will ever know, so I place this article before them saying, if the facts are as I see, then it seems that the conclusion I have stated, that the wigs are not contaminated with the idolatry, is the proper conclusion.

     I am sure if they object I will hear about it.

   

 


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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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G-d is One!



   by Reb Gutman Locks

G-d is One!

 

     An x-ian from Germany came up to me at the tefillin stand. He had seen one of my videos on Hinduism and wanted to tell me that he too had been in India and tried their belief but then returned to his religion.

     I used my standard explanations that are the best to quickly show them why they should not follow that religion, but as usual; being an x-ian he did not want to listen. It is so surprising that they openly contradict themselves, but still feel there is no problem with their belief.

     "Is G-d in the heart of the devil?"

     "G-d created the devil."

     "That's not the question. Is G-d in the devil's heart?"

     "No. He is in my heart"

     "They cheated you. They gave you a little god. Your god is not everywhere. The G-d of the Bible is Infinite. The Infinite has to be everywhere."

     "That's right. G-d is everywhere. G-d is Omnipresent."

     "Only worship the G-d Who is everywhere. Now the real problem comes with yushka, that guy they crucified 2000 years ago.

     "You shouldn't call him that. It's derogatory. His name is jeshua."

     "The Torah says that we should not let the names of their gods come across our lips. It's forbidden to even say his name…. They went to his grave on the fifth day. Was he in the grave on the fifth day?"

     "No, he was arisen."
     "Well, if he is not in the grave he is not everywhere. Don't worship him."

     "He is at the right hand of G-d."

     "Don't worship the right hand of G-d. Worship G-d."

     "He was the son of G-d."

     "When you pray to G-d do you call G-d your father?"

     "Yes."
     "Then you are the son of G-d. Why are you telling me that that guy was the son of G-d? G-d is the Father of all."

      A man came up, handed him something and walked away. He said that he was his father. Then he said that his father and mother were x-ians, but both of them were Jews.

     "How do you know?"

     "Because all of my grandparents were Jews."

      Living in Germany his parents must have thought it safer to convert and not be known as Jews. I asked him a couple more times about his grandparents and he was positive that they were Jews.

     "If your mother's mother was a Jew then your mother is a Jew, and if your mother is a Jew, you are a Jew."

     "I know. I've always known that I'm Jewish."

      I pulled his arm and said, "You are a Jew you can put on tefillin. I put tefillin on him and had him read the Shema in English.

    "You just read that G-d is One. G-d is not three like they taught you."

      He wouldn't listen. I gave him my email address and he wrote a couple of times and I answered him but it seems he has stopped responding.

      They teach x-ians if they even begin to have a doubt about yushka they will burn in hell forever. The last thing I told him was a quote from their book.

     "If you do not know what kind of tree it is look at its fruit."

      He nodded approval.

     "And the fruit of that man has been that more Jews have been killed in his name than in any other name in history."

      He walked away apparently unchanged, totally comfortable with all of his contradictions, but the information is in his head. Let's see if anything happens.

    



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Sunday, June 18, 2017

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Idolatry at the Kotel




   by Reb Gutman Locks  

Idolatry at the Kotel

 

     Every year or so a group of some 30 x-ians from Fiji come to Jerusalem for a couple of weeks. They come with their pastor whom they call their "prophet". First, understand that they are very nice people, really. Now, having said that, know that it is not pleasant to daven with them sitting in front of the minyan.

     They like to come very early in the morning and stand close to the Kotel. Often, they start mumbling very loudly in Fijian. Some of them are holding a copy of their "new bible" with the story of yushka. And today one of them added a shirt to advertise his distorted belief that that man was god! (picture)

     Often they sit or stand close to the Kotel when we are davening so we have non-Jews praying to yushka right by us when we pray. It does not feel good to have someone worship an idol sitting a few feet away from us when we are praying.

     Hundreds of thousands of x-ians come to the Kotel every year. Often they kneel down next to the Kotel, or will make circles holding hands and pray out loud.

     Obviously it is forbidden for anyone to worship an idol anywhere, and all the more so is it forbidden to do so in this holy place, but no one does anything about it. When they get too loud, and especially if they are making the Torah reading hard to hear I yell at them and they look startled, but they stop.

     Seeing that no one is doing anything about it, I asked the senior Rabbi of the Old City if they are allowed to do this. He said that it is forbidden, but do not stop them. When I asked him why aren't they told that their religious practices are not welcome in this holy place? He replied that it would make a huge disturbance in the Western world.

     Can you imagine what would happen if they would do these things in a mosque at prayer time?

     Surely there is some polite, effective way to let guests know that they should not display their idolatrous beliefs at the Kotel.

     When Hashem said,[i] in the end days, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people", He did not mean that idolatry will be welcome here. Hashem said, "My House"... Hashem's house… not a house of idolatry.

 



[i] Isaiah 56:7

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Not All


    by Reb Gutman Locks
     

Not All

 

Not all sensitive people are kind, but all kind people are sensitive.

Not all humble people are holy, but all holy people are humble.

Not all rich people are generous, but all generous people are rich.

 

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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A Blessing


​   by Reb Gutman Locks  
    

A Blessing

 

    

     There was an IDF (Israel Defense Force) ceremony in the Kotel plaza. When the soldiers graduate from a basic level of training they hold some type of swearing in ceremony or such and the parents come to be with their sons and daughters. It is seen to them to be a milestone in their child's life.

     It was before the ceremony began and I was walking out through the Plaza. I saw a small family with what looked like their son in uniform. I asked the man if the boy was his son. He said he was.

     "Put your right hand on his head and give him a blessing."

      He put his hand on the boy's head but then quickly took out a cap he had in a bag and put it on his head not wanting to say Hashem's name with his head uncovered. His wife pulled a kippa out of a bag she was carrying and put it under her husband's hand onto the boy's head.

     I held the card I carry with the blessing so the father could read it. He read loudly and the boy lowered his head looking down. All went well until around half way into the blessing when the father broke down crying. I love it. Maybe I'm nuts but I love seeing the fathers overcome with love for their children. He was a big, tough Israeli, but his love for his son was too much for him to contain. He managed to finish the blessing and I told him to add to it what he personally wanted for the boy. He loudly called out a list of things and when he finished, as usual, I asked, "Is he a good son for you?" The father raved about how good the boy was, "Gold, Full!"

     I said to the new soldier, "Hashem protect you." He said thank you and I walked away without looking back.

     It's such a nice thing to do.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

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How Do You Get Happy?

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Friday, June 09, 2017

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ISRAELIS SMOKE


   by Reb Gutman Locks
     

ISRAELIS SMOKE

 

     "BREAKING WITH WESTERN WORLD, ISRAELIS SMOKE MORE IN 2016 THAN EVER BEFORE"

Not all stupid people smoke, but all people who smoke are stupid.

What's Wrong with Smoking?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCPH3J5LXsc


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Thursday, June 08, 2017

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Hashgacha Pratis

    by Reb Gutman Locks   
       

Hashgacha Pratis

 

     Mordechai is a cheder rebbe, a charedi teacher of small children. He is really a great guy. One of the things that makes you love him is that every morning when the small children come into the classroom he welcomes them with the warmest, most loving song, "Good morning dear children welcome to class today". The guy is unique.

     A year or so ago he was having a tough time with money and he asked me if I had any "extra" money. He indicated that he wasn't asking for a coin or two. I told him that if Hashem had someone give me anything I would save it for him. Sure enough within a couple of days, someone came up and gave me $100 for tzedaka (charity). The next time I saw Mordechai I happily gave him the money telling him that Hashem sent it.

     A couple of days ago, he came up to me at the Kotel and hinted that again he could use some money… if anything showed up.

     Yesterday, I was putting tefillin on someone and I thought, "If he gives me 20 shekels I will give it to Mordechai. Usually, if an Israeli appreciates his experience with tefillin he will put a coin or two into the charity box. But when this Israeli finished he reached into his pocket and gave me 20 shekels. I thanked him and told him that I would give it to someone for him. It made me so happy to see that Hashem also thinks that Mordechai is a great guy.

     Then I put tefillin on another guy and sure enough when he finished he handed me 20 shekels, too. I told him that I would give it to someone for him and I thought how really sweet it is to see Hashem helping Mordechai even more than I had thought.

     Hashgacha pratis is Divine Providence. It means that G-d does something in such a way that He lets you see that He is doing something. I love it when Hashem allows me to help Him in this way, and I really love it when I see that He likes one of my ideas, too. 


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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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The Soul You Have Given Me

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
    

The Soul You Have Given Me

 

     "The soul You have given me is pure, You have created it, You have formed it, You have breathed it into me, and You preserve it within me, You will eventually take it from me and restore it within me in Time to Come."[i]

     The soul is a 'chelek (portion) of Hashem on High. As such it cannot have been created in the sense that everything else has been created. All creation is created, "Something from nothing" (yesh me'ayin), and as such, all is still being formed out of nothing. If Hashem's will that holds all creation together would cease even for a moment, all creation would revert back to nothing.

     But the soul is a portion of Hashem on High. It is not made out of nothing as is all creation. So why does the prayer say that it was created?

     The word "create" can be used in more ways than its most common meaning of creation of "something from nothing". Such as when Hashem commanded Ezekiel to "construct a signpost…."[ii] There, the root "create" is used to mean "make". Besides create and make that word/root can also be used for "to form".

     The soul is unique in all creation. In order for creation to appear Hashem has to hide Himself. The lower the nature of the created object, the more is Hashem hiding there. But with the soul there is the least degree of hiding in all of creation. The soul is not being created "something from nothing" as is all of creation. The soul is an actual portion of Hashem from on High.

     Almost all people go through life considering themselves to be their body. But we are not the body. The body is a vehicle, a garment for the soul. The soul without a body can accomplish nothing in this world. The soul needs the body in order to fulfill Hashem's purpose in creation. But we are not the body.

     The soul enlivens, vivifies us into our being. What we are is that enlivenment that Hashem has allocated to our body, and what our lives will amount to depends on the way that we utilize that enlivenment.

     Those who consider themselves to be the body will be led almost entirely by their animal inclination.

     Those who realize that their very life, their being is the soul's life will search for ways to satisfy the One Who is breathing that soul into us.

 



[i] Early morning blessing

[ii] Ezekiel 21:24 

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

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Occupied London

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

(Ma'aaan News) Last night the infidels ran in terror before the holy warriors in Occupied London, with the ango-saxon settlers falling before the holy strength of the Yihadats, who kindly told them prior to their untimely deaths that that "this is for allahaha".

All know that London, as well as last weeks holy attack site of Manchester, are occupied territory.  This is because of the hedethe which states that after the priest returned from this nighttime ride to the 'furthest motel' - which all know meant but wasn't written and subsequently interpreted 800 years later to mean Jerusalem - that his 3rd cousin twice removed borrowed his winged convertible and flew to the 'furthest tower', which now that Musselmen have moved there is clearly known to mean the Tower of London.  Afterwards the 3rd cousin twice removed made a brief side trip to Manchester, to check out the site of the future football team, and bunked there overnight, automatically meaning it's musselman territory.

The London settlers have clearly fallen in fear before the holy Yihadats, as their authorities now advice them to RUN AWAY, HIDE from the strength of the Yihadats, and TELL their children to cry in fear.  The Yihadats have broken the back of the infidels, who's leaders used to say (June 4, 1940) "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We will never surrender", while on June 4 2017 they say "RUN HIDE TELL".

Just as the Jews will soon run from Israel, the Brits will soon run from London and Manchester.

We have defeated them...and they still cannot even speak our name.


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Head Coverings


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     

Head Coverings

 

     One of the workers at the Kotel told me that a non-Jewish tourist had a question that he did not know how to answer.

     The tourist was from China. I had never heard his question before. He saw the guards insisting on men covering their heads when they entered the Kotel prayer area but women did not have to, and he wondered why.

     I explained, "Our Temple has been destroyed. When the priests served in the Temple they had to have their heads covered. The rabbis gave us the custom of Jewish men covering our heads to remind us of the Temple service. And since women did not serve in the Temple they do not have the custom."

     There are reasons for all of our customs and all of our laws. Each of them brings its own specific benefit. If we do them without understanding why we do them they can become a burden, but when we understand why we do them, they become an uplifting experience.

    The Torah does not come to give us a burden. It comes to relieve a burden. It comes to help us to remember and fulfill our spiritual purpose for being here.

 

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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Mussar Mistake

    by Reb Gutman Locks   
      

Mussar Mistake

 

     The mussar movement is some 200 years old. It was developed in Lithuania to defend the Lithuanian Jews from the so called   "Enlightenment Movement." Its stated purpose is to instruct ethical and spiritual discipline.

     Most Jews today who teach and practice mussar stress the correction aspects of mussar being quick to point out what is wrong. The intention is to improve oneself, or most often someone else, by pointing out their mistakes. Oy! The truth is I am allergic to mussar. It's not because mussar is wrong, but because it seems that the ones who are giving it are focusing only on the negative.

     The other day Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor and writer for Chabad.org, stopped by the tefillin stand at the Kotel. At first I didn't recognize him but as soon as I did I opened up on him.

    "Tzvi, I am so glad to see you. I want to tell you about your writings."

      I could see him bracing for the onslaught.

    "Your writings are great. They are really good. You get to the point, you answer the questions, you don't give in, but all the time you are nice and friendly. You don't speak down to the reader. You are doing a really great job."

     He looked at me and said, "I was expecting mussar."

     I said, "That was mussar."

     Mussar is intended to improve someone's service to Hashem. Pointing out what's wrong is not the only way to improve someone. It is even better to strengthen the good they do. This improves their service to Hashem more than just saying what you think they are doing wrong.

     When I first visited a yeshiva many years ago it was a Litvak yeshiva. Mussar is their "spiritual" technique. Every Thursday night they would divide into groups of five students to a table, put a bottle of coke cola on the table, and take turns telling each other the things that they did not like about each other. Not to be mean, G-d forbid, but just to do each other a favor by showing them what they had to correct. Mussar!

     Then I visited a Chasidic yeshiva and they did the same thing, well almost. Every Thursday night they divided into groups of five students to a table, put bottle of vodka on the table, and take turns telling each other the things that they did like about each other. Chassidus! I always had a place in my heart for Chassidus.

     You can improve the world by stressing the good things. You not have to stress what's wrong. Then it not only makes the world a better place, it feels good when you do it.

 

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

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The Holocaust: Why?

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
      

The Holocaust: Why?

 

     Without doubt, my worse subject; not only because I cannot stand thinking about the murder and torture of millions of innocent Jews, but also because I do not understand why Hashem let it happen.

     First off, know that whenever something happens we are obligated to ask, "Why did this come?" The Baal Shem taught that everything that comes to us comes for a reason and we are to learn these experiences. This is true not only for the negative things that come into our lives, but also the positive things, too.

     Next, know that we can never say why something bad came to another person. We just do not know what they did or did not do to bring such a thing upon themselves.

     Having said that: Still, we cannot help but notice some things about the insanely cruel treatment that was forced upon these Jews. First, I believe we all agree that the vast, vast majority, if not 99% of those Jews were totally innocent. Surely they did not do anything that obligated them for torture and death. But when we look at the way the torture was given we cannot help but to draw some conclusions.

     After 2,000 years of harsh exile, in the early 1900 's, the then controllers of the Land of Israel, the British, announced Jews could go live and settle in the Land. It became publicized with the Balford Declaration. But the Jews said, "No." They did not come.

     Eighty percent of the Jews did not come out of the Egyptian slavery. They preferred slavery to going into the wilderness trusting in Hashem. They perished in Egypt.

     Eighty percent of the Jews did not come out of Babylonia. They preferred the "luxuries" of that exile.

     And some eighty percent of the Jews in European countries did not survive. They apparently said, "If we go to Israel we will starve to death. The Land cannot support us." They were starved to death by the Nazis (YMS).

     Apparently, before the horrible, senseless Holocaust the Jews of Europe were trying to intermingle with the gentiles and hide their Jewish identity. At least that seems to be a reason for those evil people forcing us to wear the infamous yellow stars with "Jude" written on it.

     Also on this subject, the intermarriage rate in America today is 85%! Looks like, (G-d forbid) 80% of the Jews in America are not going to survive that land of "prosperity".

     My looking to make some kind of sense out of the Holocaust does not suggest that I am saying that the Holocaust was justified. Surely Hashem could have found a solution to bring all of us home without that cruelty.

     Those without an answer often try to blame it on sins of previous incarnations. I am not comfortable with that attempt at all. Some say we needed a tremendous sacrifice and Hashem only accepts pure offerings. Again, I am not happy with this, or with any other answer, but recently a thought came that might have something to do with it.

     Whatever sin we did 2,000 years ago that caused this horrible exile incurred a punishment too great for one generation to withstand. So Hashem spread the punishment over many generations. But the accumulative merit of the Jewish people became so great that we forced the fixed date of the Final Redemption to be moved forward. But the sin that caused this exile had to be spread over another 200 or 300 more years, until the year 6000, so Hashem sacrificed those innocent Jews to have the remaining punishment for the sins that brought this exile to be paid off in one generation. It's done. The bill is paid.

     Now nothing is outstanding. There is nothing to prevent it. Hashem can bring the total Redemption right now…The Moshiach can appear…All the Jews from all over the world can come home now, all at once…the 3rd and final Temple can come either made of fire from the sky or from rapid earthly construction…the Resurrection of the dead can happen…and the full Revelation of Hashem's Presence forever. He can do it all right now. Please G-d, right now. This is what we want.  

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