Please pray for the speedy and complete recovery of the injured soldiers of Israel in this war against terrorism and barbarity...
Friday, August 01, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Living Jewish is still an incredible Shabbos parsha sheet, with chassidic stories, chassidus for the weekly parsha, and help for life. Check out this weeks edition for parshat Devarim and for Tisha bAv here…
by Reb Gutman Locks
Why should I be happy when I do a mitzvah?
It is what G-d wants me to do.
When I do a mitzvah, something changes in the upper worlds, even if I can't see it.
When I do something good, it makes the world a better place.
My portion in the World to Comes increases when I do a mitzvah.
I become holy by doing a mitzvah, as the blessing says, "… Who has made us holy with His commandments…."
I and all of my people are more favorably judged because I did it.
Doing mitzvahs strengthens the Jewish people.
I'll use the merit I receive for doing it, by praying for others.
I become a little more aware of Hashem's Presence when I do a mitzvah.
Doing the mitzvah moves me toward fulfilling my purpose as a Jew.
When I do a mitzvah my animal inclination is being used to do good.
If I do the mitzvah right, it will make G-d smile.
All good reasons to be happy, and I bet you can come up with a few more, too.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
by Reb Gutman Locks
A young man who has been learning in a non-Chassidic yeshiva stopped me on the way to the Kotel yesterday afternoon. He was really frustrated. He asked, "Can you give me some Chassidic insight about something? Why is G-d doing this to me? I am so frustrated! I am really upset. I have to move to another apartment, and I can't find a place to stay. I've been looking for two months and things are getting desperate!"
He leaned on a wall while he spoke. His face was twisted showing his discomfort.
"Obviously, G-d is telling you to change something, but first; have you taken all of the normal steps to find an apartment?"
"Of course I have. I have asked people, and I checked out the neighborhood online, but I can't find anything," he answered.
"Have you put up a dozen notices on the local bulletin boards with your telephone number, and replaced them every few days? And have you checked the "Rental" sections of the local newspapers?" He hadn't.
He again complained that he was so frustrated and was even in pain over this.
I said, "First, you have to take the proper steps in order to know what to do. If you do not look in the normal places for what you need, but just yell at G-d, you are not going to understand the message. Everything comes for a good reason, but we have to take the proper action when these things happen so our actions can become vehicles that G-d will then fill for us."
I told him if he took all of the obvious steps to find a place to stay… tried real hard, and still couldn't find one, then maybe he should see if he should be living somewhere else, doing something else, like maybe, it was time to learn a profession, or a trade so he could get married.
Everything comes to teach us something, but very often we just see these things as obstacles that are preventing us from doing what we want.
When you pay attention you see these kinds of things happen quite often. A couple of days after explaining to that student how everything comes for a good reason, someone ordered one of my books via email. I had to go to the Post Office to ship it.
The Rova (Quarter) Post Office closed down some time ago, leaving either the Post Office in town (a bit of a walk) or the closer one at Jaffe Gate. The one at Jaffe Gate is usually tightly filled with arabs, and you almost always have to wait in that crowded room for well over 30 minutes. Not my favorite thing to do. But, if you get there some 10 minutes before they open, there is a good chance that you will be in an almost empty room, and can be in and out within 10 minutes from the time they open.
I got there at 7:15, some 15 minutes before it opened, and I waited…and I waited…and I waited. I waited some ten minutes past the time it was supposed to open. Frustrated at having wasted so much time, I returned to the Rova. On the way back I thought that it must have been for a good reason, although I had no idea what.
I returned to my desk just as an email popped up. It was from the man who had ordered the book that I tried to ship. He wrote that he had made a big mistake in the shipping address, and would I please send it to the corrected address instead.
Everything comes for a reason, and once we realize this, our days, and their obstacles are less frustrating.
Monday, July 28, 2014
A commentor wrote, in response to Reb Gutman’s “This is Why”…
you are attempting to rationalize GENOCIDE! What a good jew! of course when the shoe was on the other foot "see WW2" the jews were singing a different tune!
Now they "the jews" are the aggressors, they STEAL LAND and have no qualms MURDERING MEN/WOMEN/CHILDREN whatsoever in doing so!
You can't spin your way out of this,.. EVERYONE see's the CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY! Sure the jewish owned media and talking heads will try to spin the GENOCIDE the way you're attempting to but IT WON'T WORK!
Remember, PALESTINE existed LONG before the country now called israel came into existence! the UN and Britain gave land to the jews, they had absolutely no right to give anyone's land away!! After 1948, the jews lied and MURDERED to STEAL the Palestinians land.. it's been going on now for over 60+ years.. now VERY LITTLE of Palestine exists because of the ONGOING THEFT!
STOP TRYING TO BE THE VICTIM!! YOU ARE THIEVES, LIARS AND MURDERERS! AND THE WORLD SEE'S IT NOW!!!
Wow, someone is feeling upset.
We could argue simple facts, like “Genocide? Give me a break! 1,000 dead in Gaza is certainly a tragedy, though a self-inflicted easy avoidable one (how to avoid? don’t fire rockets or attack the country next store.) But regardless, Gaza has a population growth rate of 2.91%, the 13th highest in the world. From 2010 to 2014 the population increased from 1.6 million to 1.8 million. IF this is a “genocide”, it’s the most incompetent ineffective genocide ever!”
We could argue straightforward history… “PALESTINE existed LONG before the country now called israel came into existence”. Simply wrong. No country called Palestine has EVER existed. Going backwards, the country of the territory identified as either the Land of Israel or Palestine has been (in most recent to historical):
- 1967 – present & future - Modern State of Israel
- 1948 – 1967 - Modern Israel + parts by Egypt (Gaza), parts by Jordan (West Bank & East Jerusalem), and parts by Syria (Golan Heights)
- 1920 – 1948 - British
- 1517 – 1920 – Ottoman (Turkish) Empire
- 1260 – 1517 – Mamluk (Egyptian) Empire
- 1099 – 1260 – Crusaders (European)
- 636 – 1099 – Caliphate from Medina then from Damascus (Saudi Arabia then Syria)
- 390 – 611 – Holy Roman / Byzantine Empire (Turkish)
- 6 – 390 – Roman Empire (Italy)
- 690 BCE – 6 – Historical Israel, 2nd Temple Period
… and back, Persian/Babylonian period (Iran), then Historical Israel, 1st Temple Period.
NO Palestine in that list.
We could argue comparisons… over 150,000 dead civilians in Syria AT THE SAME TIME as current events, but that’s just a civil war not genocide??? The U.S. killed over 100,000 civilians in taking control of Iraq, “acceptable collateral damage” but not genocide? (or unacceptable civilian casualties???)
But to try to make sense, use logic or facts is irrelevant for someone who feels like you do. So here’s the deal…
G-d gave Israel to the Jewish people. It’s written in the Torah, in the Bible, and even in the Quran. Whether you like it or not, believe it is justified or not, whether you consider them interlopers (I consider you the same) or not, there is now a nation of Israel with millions of people living there. They are not leaving, and they will defend their lives and country. If you attack them, they are going to fight back. This is going to lead to death and destruction. You may hope that it will be their death and destruction, but so far (thank G-d) that hasn’t been the case.
You can accept that and try to figure out how to live with them as your neighbor. You may choose to cooperate with them to your mutual benefit, or ignore them and try to get by with whatever resources or relationships your territory has available. In either case you can then go about living your life to the best you can within the territory which you have, and nobody will bother you or hurt you or attack you.
But if you make war, you are going to get war. And war is hell, and even with the best of intentions lots of civilians die and are harmed. Lots of property is destroyed. And lives are disrupted. Don’t like it, don’t do it!
Literally as I am writing this a rocket was fired DURING A CEASE FIRE REQUESTED FOR EID AL-FITR by Hamas. You expect and demand a ceasefire for your religious holiday and then fire rockets at us during YOUR REQUESTED CEASEFIRE? And then scream GENOCIDE and religious persecution when we respond?
Stop trying to kill us and choose life.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
(forwarded) by Reb Gutman Locks
This is why Hashem sends us such evil enemies.
An Israeli soldier on the Gaza border writes:
What's happening here in the staging area [area where soldiers prepare to enter Gaza] is beyond comprehension, not rationally, not emotionally and beggars the imagination.
Almost every hour a car shows up overflowing with food, snacks, cold drinks, socks, underwear, undershirts, hygiene supplies, wipes, cigarettes, backgammon and more. They're coming from the North and the Center, from manufacturers, from companies and private businesses, from prisons, Chareidim and Settlers, from Tel Aviv and even Saviyon.
Every intersection on the way down here we get stopped, not by the police, but be residents giving out food. What is amazing is that the entire situation wasn't organized and everyone is coming on their own without coordination between the folks coming.
They're writing letters and blessings, how they're thinking of us all the time. There are those who spent hours making sandwiches, so they're as perfect and comforting as possible.
Of course representatives of Chabad are here to help soldiers put on Tefillin and distributing Cha'Ta'Ts (Chumash, Tehillim, Tanya) for every troop transport and Breslov are showing up to the border and dancing with the soldiers with great joy.
The Chareidim are coming from their yeshivot to ask the names of the soldiers with their mothers' names so that the whole yeshiva can pray for them. It should be mentioned that all of this is done under the threat of the terrorist tunnels and rockets in the area.
Soroka Hospital (in Be'er Sheva) today looks like a 5 star hotel. A wounded friend who was recently discharged told us how the MasterChef truck is parked outside and is preparing food for the wounded.
It goes without saying the amount of prayer services that are going on. On the religious front as well, there are lectures and Torah classes, all the food is obviously Kosher. Shachrit, Mincha, and Maariv with Sifrei Torah. They're giving out tzitzit and Tehilim by the hundreds. It's become the new fashion! The Rabbi of Maglan [Special Forces unit] told me that almost the entire unit has started wearing them, because the Army Rabbinate has been giving out tzitzit that wick away sweat. They're gaining both a Mitzva and a high quality undershirt. We've started calling them "Shachpatzitzti" (a portmanteau of the Hebrew term for body armor and tzitzit). We're having deep conversations late into the night without arguments, without fights and we find ourselves agreeing on most stuff.
We're making lots of jokes at Hamas's expensive and without politics. There's lots more to add but my battery is running low and the staff has been requesting someone give a class on Likutei MoharaN (Breslov).
How happy is the nation that is like this.
Friday, July 25, 2014
If you are in Israel and have a PC / Laptop / Mac, and would like to get real time rocket alerts (incoming rockets on civilian areas) aka Civil Defense or Tzeva Adom Sirens via your PC / Laptop / Mac, we’ve built a live web page for that! If you can’t hear the sirens because you are inside and the A/C is on, this page will do it.
If you are outside of Israel and just want to enjoy the “experience” of hearing the alerts, our page will do that!
Here it is: IsraelSirens.com
- Also good for a “silent radio” for Shabbat. Pick your city and you’ll only hear an alert if it’s for you.
- If using on a Laptop, make sure you’ve turned off Sleep and Hibernate, it can’t alert if the Laptop turns itself off.
- …note… While it will display on a Phone or Pad, it will not play the alert sound. For a phone or pad, check for the Tzeva Adom or Code Red app in the Play or App store.
May we have a PEACEFUL and SILENT Shabbat everyone in Israel and the world! Shabbat Shalom.
by Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier of The Beis Midrash
We are all well aware of the seriousness of the current situation in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). Even those of us outside Eretz Yisrael are experiencing frustration and sadness. But when and how will it end?
Been There; Done Otherwise
This week's parsha (Torah portion read for this week) seems to sum up the current situation perfectly. Before the Jews entered Eretz Yisroel, Hashem (G-d) defined the precise boundaries of the Land. But first He commanded:
You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it...But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.
- How would the politically-minded people of today have reacted to Hashem's command to clear the land? But Hashem knows what works and what doesn't, and the same principle applies to the terrorists who threaten Eretz Yisroel today. There's no question that stopping short of destroying all terrorists will, G-d forbid, come back to haunt us. We must finish the job we started. The Rebbe made the very same point by illustrating Israel's failure to do so during the Yom Kippur war and the campaign of Shalom Hagalil. We must learn, once and for all: clear the land from our enemies.
- We see time and again that we're alone in the world. The Torah says that our enemies "will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides." Our enemies may be despicable terrorists who draw up plans of mass terrorist attacks. They may be villains who use humans as shields and spend humanitarian funds to dig terror tunnels. But the world doesn't rush to see it that way. We're left to deal with them on our own. Our enemies remain spikes in our eyes and thorns in our sides, not the world's. And this will persist for as long as terrorist are around. Shying away from action until the world comes around won't work; it'll always remain our pain and our responsibility.
- "They will harass you in the land in which you settle." To our enemies, it's not enough that we give them parts of our land; they want to harass us in our own cities as well. They constantly demand that we give them more. In fact, they don't want us to exist altogether, and they will continue to act this way as long as they exist.
- We have two kinds of enemies, spikes and thorns. Spikes are the overt enemies, the ones who commit terrorist acts against us or openly support those who do. But then there are the thorns. They are the nations who present themselves as peace-makers, when in reality they have only their own agendas in mind. These thorns also try to isolate us from the rest of the world. As Rashi explains, "the commentators interpret this in the sense of a hedge of thorns which will surround you, fencing you in and confining you so that none can leave or enter."
- The Torah first tells us that Hashem is giving us the Land, and then identifies its boundaries. We must make it clear to the world that a) this land is ours for one reason only: Hashem gave it to us, and b) every inch of the land is holy and must remain in our controlled territory.
Enough is Enough!
Addressing the Shalom Hagalil campaign, the Rebbe said: so many Jewish soldiers have sacrificed their lives fighting to protect Eretz Yisroel. We must see to it that the job is completed, for if it's not, their self-sacrifice will have been in vain, G-d forbid!
We laud Prime Minister Netanyahu for his strong stance until now, and we pray that he follow the Torah's directive, finishing the job he began, making decisions based on security advantage rather than political advantage. The political world never did and never will want to understand us.
As for us
What can we do to help? Social media has become a major and influential component in the current crisis. People sitting in the comfort of their homes and offices can make commotions which reverberate across the globe. This reminds us that our every action can impact the entire world. We must do our part - giving tzedaka, learning Torah and adding in mitzvos in merit of the IDF and all the Jews living in Eretz Yisroel.
May Hashem guard our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, and may we merit to see true peace in the Land with the coming of Moshiach now.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
by Reb Gutman Locks
He did not want to put on tefillin, but he was so soft that I could pull him in anyway. He is from Brazil and had never put on tefillin before. His family moved there from Poland before he was born.
After he read the Shema in English, I showed him how to pray for his family and for the Jews in danger from the current war. He stood there praying for a very long time, and then he waited there even longer just looking at the Kotel and what was happening. When he finished he turned to me, rubbed his chest and stomach and warmly said, "It feels so good inside!"
And this is how we should all feel when we do a mitzvah. If you do not feel good, if you do not experience a warm sense of joy when you do a mitzvah, you did not pay attention. Hashem gave us His Torah to take away our burdens, not to increase them.
Shalom, Will the Mashiach return in a shemitah or a Jubilee year?
ANSWER: via Dov bar Leib
The Yovel (jubilee) year is 5776 not 5777. 5775 is a Shmittah (Sabbatical) year. Yovel years must be Motzei Shmittah (the year after Shmittah).
5776 begins the Malkhut she beMalkhut Yovel cycle since Ezra HaSofer. This makes 5776 a potential Yovel year since there are no real Yovel years since the destruction of the 2nd Temple. So we are ending the yesod that is in malkhut year of the yesod that is in malkhut Yovel cycle since Ezra HaSofer.
During the 2nd Temple, the Yovel cycle was 50 years. But after the churban bayit sheini, the Yovel cycles were 49 year cycles.
The Shmittah year begins this Rosh Hashana, Jewish year 5775 or secular year 2014.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Both Chabad and Breslev organizations have been busy compiling web sites of chassidus and writings of their Rebbe’s for download, with increasing amounts in English as well. MUCH of it is available for immediate FREE download, which is very cool!
Breslev Site: BreslovBooks
via Lma’an Yisme’u
Reb Hillel Paritcher is one of the most well-known Chabad/Lubavtich chassidim of all time, the symbol of an oived, and a hallowed gaon and tzadik. Reb Hillel was a chossid of the 2nd Lubavitcher Rebbe Mitteler Rebbe and the 3rd Lubavitcher Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek, and was appointed by the Mitteler Rebbe as mashpia for the Yidden living in the colonies. Reb Hillel reared many young chassidim according to the ways of Chassidus, and even taught and wrote unique teachings of Chassidus, some of which are printed in the sefer "Pelach Harimon." Reb Hillel passed away on the 11th of Av, תרכ"ד.
In his later years, the Tzemach Tzedek did not say Chassidus regularly. Once, a group of new chassidim came to Lubavitch and were disappointed that the Tzemach Tzedek was not saying maamorim. They complained to the Tzemach Tzedek that they came to hear Chassidus. The Rebbe told them they should go to Reb Hillel and he would teach them Chassidus. The chassidim complained, "A kli sheini cannot cook." (A borrowed term from Hilchos Shabbos, implying that learning Chassidus from Reb Hillel would not have the same "cooking effect" as hearing it directly from the source, the Rebbe himself.) The Rebbe replied, "But it is yad soledes bo." (Another borrowed term implying that the Chassidus of Reb Hillel was still boiling hot and would have an effect.)
Reb Hillel taught them the beginning of Tanya, and he prefaced it by saying, "Tanya discusses a Beinoni and a Tzaddik. A Beinoni is one who is of this world (since he is constantly challenged by the world around him). A Tzaddik is divested from this world (he is higher than this world and it has no affect on him). A Rebbe, however, is a greater level. He is divested from this world, yet is able to be in the world at the same time (he can live an ordinary lifestyle, though in truth he is totally above it all.)"
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
via Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier
A surgeon once came to the Lubavticher Rebbe to discuss a specific surgery he was going to perform on a Jew. During their conversation the man expressed his disagreement with the Rebbe's strong views on not giving up any land in Eretz Yisroel.
The Rebbe asked, "You're an intelligent and kind person. Can you perhaps divide the surgery into ten segments, cutting open a little at a time, and only then removing the growth, that way avoiding the enormous blood loss and pain to the patient?"
The surgeon explained that the Rebbe obviously knows very little about surgery. "If I were to do that, the incisions would heal in the interim and be worthless, and the growth would continue to enlarge. The only method that works is to open the patient, notwithstanding all the blood loss, and remove the entire growth at once."
"Perhaps the same is true regarding the situation in Eretz Yisroel?" said the Rebbe. "Claiming that a gradual eradication of the terrorists is the best way to protect innocent civilians is like doing surgery a little at a time. Slow negotiations and concessions with terrorists only allow them to grow! The only method that can work is to go in and totally remove the terrorist forces, and after that the healthy tissue - i.e. the many Arabs who have no interest in terror and want only to live peaceful lives - will be spared.
The words of the Rebbe are as true today as they were then.
by Reb Gutman Locks
The Baal Shem Tov taught, whatever we see comes to teach us something. When we see evil, it may be that Hashem is showing us that evil to urge us to try to correct it. Or, He could be showing us that evil to point out that that very evil has to be in us, or we would not see it. According to this, it seems that we should look at the evil so we will know what we are supposed to do. But, "it is forbidden to gaze at the face of an evil or wicked person."[i]
There is a major problem with looking at evil. When we look at a happy infant we smile, and feel really soft. When we look at toddlers wobbling down the street, we smile as we share their joy. What we see, we feel. And this is the problem with looking at an evil person's face.
A person's face expresses that person's inner feelings. Then, when we see those expressions on his face, those feelings come to us. If we would be sensitive enough we would feel a complete stranger's desires just by seeing his face.
Also, as time goes on, the way a person most often feels, wrinkles his face accordingly. This means if you are usually negative, your face will wrinkle down. The corners of your mouth will tilt down making you look negative even when you are not feeling negative! A person who is usually happy will get wrinkles that lean up, almost like twinkles around his eyes. Even when that person is not particularly happy, he will have a happy face. Nasty feelings make nasty wrinkles. Judgmental feelings make judgmental wrinkles, and on, and on. Look in the mirror and see what feelings have wrinkled your face.
So, what are we to do? If we look at faces, we internalize their feelings. If we do not look at faces, we will not know what we are to fix. Try this. Just notice who is around you without gazing at their faces. If there is a message there, you will get it right away without having to internalize their feelings.
Then, as you go through your day, see if you can make happy, positive wrinkles in your face.
[i] Megillah, 28a