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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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A Muslim Asks

A Muslim Asks

 by Reb Gutman Locks


Mikael, who lives in Sweden, asks:

     I have some questions. Why is it okay for you to ask of the people of yours that are in the "graves"? I mean you preach the monotheism but you ask your rabbis for "help" when they are not here. For us Muslims supplication is an act of worship and it should only be done to ask of G-d because He is the only one who has the attributes for example to give blessing to help us.

     And I find it a little confusing, are you in your orthodox community also divided in some groups? If so, why and what are the differences?

     I would like to learn more of Judaism but of the right understanding if you understand what I mean. What is your view on the prophet Muhammad? (may the blessing and Peace of G-d be upon  him and all the prophets.) In the Koran it is said that can find him in your Torah and that you should accept him and follow him. If so why don't you?

     It is said that also that one of the high rabbis in Medina accepted Islam and Muhammad as a prophet while the other Jews do not. Do you know this story?

 

Gutman's response:

     Although there are some Jewish sources that speak of asking the righteous deceased to intercede with G-d on our behalf, the proper way of prayer at gravesites is to pray to G-d, and to ask G-d to consider the merit of the righteous person buried there, and to answer our prayers.

     We believe that G-d answers the prayers of righteous people more readily than He does to a less righteous person, so we treasure the blessings that these living righteous people give.

     The Jewish people are one people. We are not a religion, but rather we are a people with a religion. Any person who has a Jewish mother is a Jew no matter what he or she believes. But not all Jews are equally religious, so some follow most closely to what the Torah says, while some have become more modern.

     All of the Torah observant Jews (orthodox) follow the same Torah, and its laws, but there are also customs such as dress, and small changes in the order of prayers, and such. The customs are handed down from fathers to the sons, and are all good to follow.

     But since there are so many different types of Muslims, (some 73 types) such as Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Marizai, Wahabi, why does it confuse you that there are different customs among religious Jews? 

     Muhammad lived some 1400 years ago. The Torah was written some 3,300 years ago. So how could he be "found" in the Torah?

     I can only judge your book and your prophet by the behavior of those who call themselves Muslim. One out of five people in the world are Muslim, and four out of five wars in the world are Muslim. And most of these wars are Muslims killing Muslims. Hundreds of innocent people being murdered every day because this Muslim does not believe like that person, even if that other person is a Muslim! Why is this happening?

      I have never heard of a Jew accepting your prophet without becoming a Muslim. There have been Jews who have been forced to convert or be killed. Perhaps you are speaking of one of these.

 

     Now, I have a question for you. Since you are a Muslim, and since the Koran clearly writes, more than once, that G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people, why is the Muslim world not rejoicing that we are coming home? Why are you fighting us instead of trying to help all the Jews in the world to hurry home to fulfill the ancient prophecies of both the Torah, and the Koran? Why are you making war with us instead of following your religious book?

 

     This is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. May it be a year of Peace, not only for the Jewish people, but for all of the people of the world.

 

Shalom

 

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

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Eye to the Infinite–New Edition discount for Our Readers

Eye to the Infinite is a Jewish Meditation guide, or rather one could say a guide to proper kavana and kavanot during prayer (and at other times).  Reb Aharon Rubin, one of the contributors to our blog, is now offering a new revised and expanded edition in a special offer to Mystical Paths readers.

Those who buy through http://jewish-meditation.weebly.com/latest-edition.html from now till Yom Kippur will get a 20% reduction of cost price (write MYSTICAL-PATHS in the PayPal message-box and he’ll refund 20%). 

288 PAGES in clear type-set, with over a dozen diagrams and tables. Fully annotated with over 600 footnotes.

This is 100% kosher appropriate Jewish Meditation. Check it out!

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This Is What G-d Wants


This Is What G-d Wants

 by Reb Gutman Locks


     It was 2:30 in the morning, a few hours after Rosh Hashanah (New Years) and Shabbos had ended. There were many hundreds of Jews at the Kotel saying the special prayers for the Ten Days of Awe…hundreds of 'Charedim still dressed in their Shabbos finery, long black coats and fur hats, and hundreds of "knitted kipah" youth dressed in their usual casual dress.

     Even though they follow the same Torah, their lifestyles are so vastly different that they rarely mix in their religious or social lives. But when it comes to dancing and singing thanks to Hashem they easily join together and make beautiful music.

     This is what G-d wants from us. Come together in love and sing His praises and the Redemption will be bursting at its gate.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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The 5775th New Year

The 5775th New Year

by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     The Hebrew letters that stand for the number 775 are Tav-Shin-Ayin-Hey. This is also a word that, when followed by aleph lamed (toward) means; shall turn to, look at with favor, or regard graciously.

 

     May Hashem look toward us this year graciously, and give us a favorable judgment, a wonderful New Year filled with peace and joy, a year of only goodness, of health, prosperity, and very happy children, a year when we see the Redemption actually happening and Hashem's Presence fully revealed throughout the entire world.

 


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Monday, September 22, 2014

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Living Jewish for Haazinu–Rosh Hashana

It’s the wonderful incredible fantastic Living Jewish chassidic Torah sheet for Parshat Haazinu and Rosh Hashana.

Get it NOW, get it QUICK, get it freeeeeeee!

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A New Year without Miracles

BY Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok of KosherTorah.com – Copyright, All rights reserved (edits by Reb Akiva)

What do you expect? Magic? A miracle, perhaps? What do you think this New Year will bring to us?

If I cook up a recipe for Chicken Soup, why would anyone expect that I would end up with pancakes? The ingredients dictate the recipe. What we cook, and how we cook it, defines what it is that we eat.

With food for the body, this is common logic that everyone knows. No ones expects, or would accept any alteration to this simple and plain fact. Yet, with regards to food for the soul and mind, for some bizarre reasons, we think that the relationship between that which we cook and that which we eat is somehow magically, or miraculously different….

What one sews is what one reaps. According to the effort invested, are the just rewards received. If we create bad times, then bad times, they be a comin'…

Since Biblical times, the Hebrew seventh month, Tishrei, is the time of blowing the Rams Horn (shofar). It is the time of new beginnings. It is the time, in Jewish tradition, to focus on repentance, and returning to God. Yet,…exactly what it means to repent and return to God has been …lost…....

Emphasis, … needs to be placed on our interpersonal behaviors, and how we must improve the ways in which we treat one another.

The Biblical prophetic message is clear that what God wants from humanity is for humanity to act humanely one towards the other. It is this code of righteous behavior that defines the highest worship of God. As such, it is the observance of the Biblical code of moral righteousness that draws us close to God. This then is how one repents, and returns to God, by repenting of the poor ways that we treat one another. As we turn towards each other, we are essentially returning to God.

We live in the world of reality. And in the world of reality, it is God that waits for us to act. It should never be us waiting for God to act.

We need to make every effort to join together and support our mutual efforts to make our world a better place, by making ourselves better, and by improving the way we treat others.

If we dream of apocalypse, doom and gloom, then we will be bringing it upon our own heads. It will not be God at fault, but us. Think negative, and experience the negative. Think good and experience good. Be good and do good.

If we can bring hell to earth, so too can we bring heaven to earth. The power is all in our hands, and God is indeed watching and waiting for us, to sincerely repent, to return to Him, and to shine His Divine light by simply being the best human being that we can be!

As the New Year dawns upon us, pray not, and ask not, for magic or miracles. Rather, work hard! Make life better! Change everything! Change the way you live, change the way you behave…

Do not rely upon miracles or wait for magic, rather trust in God above to bless the hard work of our hands. In this, we are seldom disappointed.

May we bring upon ourselves the resolve and resolution to work hard to make our New Year, the best we can make it.

And may God bless the righteous works of our hands. Amen!

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How Do You Do Teshuva?

Some Torah from Rav Shalom Arush, shlita, is being made available to us to share.  We’ll be publishing, with some edits as appropriate for our audience.

on Mystical Paths, Torah by Rav Shalom Arush, shlita

How do you do tshuvah (repent – reconnectc with G-d)? Many think that tshuvah is something very difficult, but really it’s not true. Tshuvah is something very easy… for someone with emuna, that is. All of tshuva involves speaking with Hashem. Like the prophet says: “take with you things and return to Hashem”. ‘Things’ are words [in Hebrew come from the same root word], simple words. Like the midrash says: ‘Words is what I request and I will forgive all of your sins’. For a person without emuna, repentance really is very hard. For anyone who has emuna, it’s very easy – just open your mouth and talk with Hashem, ask Him to help you and bring you to repentance. Tell him what you did and ask forgiveness. That’s it! This is what the Gamara says – that Hashem, may He be blessed, caused King David to sin, because He knew that he’d do tshuva and teach the whole world the proper way of repentance. What is this way of repentance of Dovid HaMelech? Just to speak with Hashem. The whole book of Tehilim is a tiny sample of the conversations of King David with Hashem. This is the way of tshuvah that King Dovid showed the whole world.

If so, tshuva depends on simple emuna. The big “gift” of Rosh HaShana is that we receive the power to start to repent, and the way of repentance – prayer and emuna, is opened up to us. This is what Rebbe Natan of Breslev writes in Likutei Halachot: “The main start of all of the rectifications is through Rosh Hashana – specifically Rosh (head), because Rosh Hashana is the first of the ten days of tshuva. Really the start of tshuva and rectification is very hard. It’s very hard to find the ‘head’ – where to begin, because, in general, all of the rectifications and bits of advice depend one on another and because of this it’s hard to find where to begin… Because of our many sins we lost the advice, even the advice itself is very difficult for us to fulfill. This is explained in the words of the Rebbe (Rebbe Nachman of Breslev) in another place. Therefore the main beginning (rosh –head) of all of the rectifications in the world is through Rosh Hashana. This is why it’s called Rosh Hashana, because from it is comes the essential ‘head’ – the power to begin, to enter into the service Hashem. It’s the first day of the 10 days of tshuva, the beginning of tshuva and rectification”.

A lot of people want to return to Hashem in tshuva and their main difficulty is where to begin. It looks to them that to start repentance is so hard, because “all beginnings are hard”. In the end they see that a lot of things depend one on another and they don’t know how to begin. On Rosh Hashana, however we’re given the rosh, the head, we’re given the understanding of how to get started.

According to this, we can understand the words of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev in Likutei Moharan that on Rosh Hashana three heads are brought together: Rosh Hashana – the head of time, the tzadik – the head of the Jewish people (Rebbe Nachman), and the head of each individual. On Rosh Hashana shines a very wonderful mentality, through which a person can receive “head” – the wisdom, understanding and knowledge to know how to enter into the ways of repentance.

Prepare Yourself

Every person can merit this – to clean the slate and start a new page, to receive a “head” of repentance, of holiness and purity. It’s all according to your preparation. This is true for every Holiday or Shabbat . If you want to draw on yourself the light of the holiday and its wondrous rectifications, then you need to prepare yourself ahead of time. This is especially true before this holiday, Rosh Hashana, on which shines the wonderful understanding of how to begin in the ways of repentance. Every one of us needs to prepare himself for the holiday to receive the wondrous knowledge that is given forth, the mindset of beginnings – how to return to Hashem in repentance.

The question is how can we prepare ourselves for such a big day? We understand the preparations of the Jewish people as a whole in prayers and slichot. Beyond this, however, each person needs to prepare himself individually with hitbodedut (personal prayer in his own words) everyday, starting already from now, to receive Rosh Hashana with total emuna, with tremendous joy, with holiness and purity, and that he should really believe that this is the beginning of his repentance like Rebbe Natan explained.

“The wise man’s eyes are in his head” to know that these days before Rosh Hashana are days that are especially conducive for this purpose, particularly the last day of the year on which everything stands. If he’ll merit to fully utilize the last day of the year for tshuva, then he’ll merit to come to Rosh Hahana as a tzadik gamor – completely righteous and certainly start his judgment from a good place. Therefore everyone needs to free his time on the day before Rosh Hashana to use this time for prayer and repentance. Prepare yourself the day before the holiday – don’t wait until the last minute. Prepare everything in advance. The shopping and all of the arrangements, cut your nails, get a haircut, get some rest. Do all if this before hand – don’t wait until the day before Rosh Hashana. Do everything possible to free up the time on the last day of the year, because everything goes after the finish. If you’ll merit finishing the year in repentance, you’ll have a good start for a good sweet year…

…may all of the judgments be sweetened and may all of the Jewish people merit a truly sweet new year.

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Meditations for the Shofar

Once again, the time of Judgment is swiftly approaching. A time we will be reunited with G-d, our Father. A time of sweetness, of joy and of trepidation. How do I appear before my Father in heaven? I know I don't reach the target He expects of me but all I need is a sincere heart, a pure longing to crown Him, the Creator of the worlds, over me, for me to speak to Him, as a son to his father.

The Shofar provides me with that opportunity.

The Shofar is the most important Mitsvoh on the day of Rosh HaShonnoh. Through it, we enter the Kodesh Kodoshim, of ourselves, of all Israel and of the holy Shechinoh.

What are we to think of when he hear the pure sounds of the Shofar?  Here are a few kavannoth:

  • I was given a pure neshomoh [soul]. This is symbolised by the Teqioh - the long, unbroken sound. I have spoilt that purity - symbolised by the Shevorim - the broken-up-into-three sound. I regret that impurity - i cry from the depths - symbolised by the stacatto sounds of the Teruoh note. G-d makes me pure again- symbolised by the final Teqioh. (Shelo"h Hakodosh)

  • We are sounding the trumpets. The King is arriving. Then comes the still prayer of the Amidoh. We stand before the King. The judgement is on. From time to time, within the stillness in the Court-room, we sound the Shofar, our advocate. The Teqioh symbolises Avrohom; the Shevorim, Yitschok; the Teruoh, Yaakov and the Shevorim-Teruoh, Dovid HaMelech. (Zohar and Ari HaKodosh)

  • The Shofar we blow is a 'part' of the Shofar of Moshiach. Though we may not discern clearly, every year the world comes closer and closer to its final tiqqun-correction; through every year's Rosh-HaShonoh, there is another element of tiqqun - the Shofar blowing is that of Moshiach! (Ramchal)

May we all have a qesivoh uchasimoh toivoh!

Rabbi Rubin of Eye to the Infinite - www.Jewish-meditation.weebly.com

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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The Gift of Repentence

Some Torah from Rav Shalom Arush, shlita, is being made available to us to share.  We’ll be publishing, with some edits as appropriate for our audience.

on Mystical Paths, Torah by Rav Shalom Arush, shlita

Precious Jewish people, let’s think deeply about the love Hashem has for us. He wants to find merit in the Jewish people and therefore gave us the awesome gift of Rosh Hashanah, the day of judgment, every year, along with the holy days of Elul, the ten days of repentance, the holy day of Yom Kipur - the day of forgiveness from sin and after this the holy days of Succot. These are wonderful days in which we can seal for ourselves a good sweet year.

Really we want to ask, what’s such a great gift with Rosh Hashana? It’s the day of Judgment. Hashem judges us on everything from the past year. We need to realize that if it were not for this holy day and the days of tshuva (repentance) that accompany it, then a person would come to the heavenly court after 120 years in the world and he would be judged on his whole life from the time he became bar mitzvah. Now, however, we have the opportunity every year to go over our deeds and fix them. A person that merits to utilize this time properly, as we’ll explain, merits every year to “a clean slate”, to start a new page, clean and refreshed. Like the Holy Torah says on Succot “and take for yourselves on the first day”. On this our sages ask: why is Succot called the ‘first day’? It’s the first day that sins are counted, because all of the sins of the previous year were erased and forgiven. As a result of the repentance of the Yomim Noraim – the days from Rosh Hashana until Succot, all of the old “files” were closed and now we start a new page. We find that a person that passes away needs to give an accounting just from the first day of his last Succot until the day he passes away.

If he merited …an hour of tshuva everyday which is the ‘hour of hitbodedut’, then after his 120 years in the world there is nothing to judge him on at all. He’s all clean. At the most he’ll be judged on a few hours, from the time of his last hitbodedut. Every day he cleaned his slate of everything on that day and started a new day on a new blank page. Anyone who has this hour of hitbodedut and does a daily self assessment, cleans his slate every day and has a nice sweet life. There are no judgments on him, no problems.

Is there a greater kindness than this? Is there any gift as wonderful as this? Imagine to yourself a person that has debts hundreds of thousands of dollars to the government and creditors, each of which have their own teams of repo men coming his way. For him to pay back his dept would take all of his earnings for years and years. If you’d say to a person like this, listen we decided to give you the opportunity to wipe away all of your debt with just a minimal amount of work on your part… is this not the good news? Anyone who understands what a wonderful gift this is really needs to wake up to utilize these days to the fullest and to be filled with joy that Hashem gives us the opportunity to wipe clean everything from the past. Full of joy that Hashem allows us to start a new year on a new clean page. Everyone needs to see to it that they use this time to the fullest in repentance.

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Back Away

Back Away

 by Reb Gutman Locks


     There is a custom when leaving the Kotel not to turn our backs directly to the Kotel. Some just turn around and face the Kotel by the entrance when they leave, while others are strict to walk backwards all the way away from the Kotel, and even past the entrance. Why?

     First, it is interesting how this custom became popular. Some 25 years ago very few men paid attention to it. Then, for some reason, it caught on, and now most religious men turn back and face the Kotel before leaving.

     I like to think that this extra sensitivity to the Holiness there is another sign that the Redemption is unfolding, but Hashem is keeping it hidden. Once it becomes obvious that it is actually happening as prophesied thousands of years ago, everyone is going to rush home. But the reward for those who come home while the Redemption is hidden will be greater than the reward for those who come home after the Redemption has become obvious to all.

     This goes along with the important teaching that Hashem rewards us according to our effort, and coming home after the world wakes up is going to be almost automatic. So Hashem is hiding the fact that the Redemption has actually started to let us earn a greater reward.

     Back to the reason for the custom: The Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world. It is called the place where Hashem reveals Himself. It is said of the Kotel that His revealed Presence has never left. So when we are praying at the Kotel we are standing before the King. When the conversation with a King is over, no subject would ever be so rude as to turn his back to the King, but rather would slowly back away keeping his eyes turned toward the King just in case the King might say something more. Thus, those who are sensitive to the holiness that permeates the Kotel show their great respect for the King and their reluctance to be leaving His Presence.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

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Tikunei Zohar, Elul and Moshiach

A 30 minute video, in (somewhat broken) English by Rebbe Sholom Yehuda Gross, shlita.

Direct link here.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

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Living Jewish for Nitzavim and Rosh Hashana

It’s the wonderful incredible Living Jewish chassidic Torah sheet for Nitzvavim-Vayalech and ROSH HASHANA!

Get it free HERE.

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Israpundit–new address

A few weeks ago one of the oldest stalwarts of pro-Israel blogging had a problem with his site. Hackers managed to take over Ted Belman’s Israpundit domain name and steal it from him. So :

Israpundit is asking for your help  By Ted Belman

A few weeks ago Israpundit, my blog for over 13 years, got HACKED and my domain name, israpundit.com, was stolen.

I bought a new domain, namely israpundit.org and connected it to my most recent backup. Hardly skipped a beat.

Except that my traffic took an enormous hit as there was no way to inform my potential readers that the url for israpundit was changed to israpundit.org

Could you do a post to spread the word. Also notify your FB friends.

Take note. Hackers are constantly trying to disrupt any who tell the truth about Israel. It’s a never ending fight to keep them out.

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100% CHARITY DIRECT for the POOR for Rosh Hashana

This year my wonderful wife is running our annual charity campaign to help the poor of Israel for the Jewish High Holidays…


WHEN YOU DONATE TO A CHARITY, HOW MUCH OF THE MONEY ACTUALLY GOES TO HELP THOSE IN NEED?  50%?  25%???
 
Via our private charity campaign, all the money - that's 100% of your donation (except for transaction fees, ~4%) goes DIRECT to the needy families!  No advertising costs, no offices rented, no salaries (our time is donated), no overhead expenses - 100% charity direct to those in need!

Thank those that have already donated to our Yom Tov (holiday) Charity campaign! Every day I receive phone calls or am stopped by those whom YOU have helped in the past.  Once again, they are LITERALLY COUNTING ON YOU for Yom Tov!



I humbly request that you donate to our Holiday Campaign. Not only will you feel good because you did and get another mitzva that will help you on The Day of Judgement, but you will bring a smile and happiness to families in Israel. They will be able to celebrate Yom Tov with dignity. 



Wishing you and your families a Shannah Tovah U'Metukah and May we all be Inscribed and Sealed for a Good and Sweet Year.
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The “Spark”

The "Spark"


David from Sweden wrote:

 

Dear Reb Gutman,

     The "spark" in me, sometimes grows into a little fire, I grow wings and feel the connection. Sometimes it almost disappears completely, leaving me in that hopeless dark place again and all my "understandings" of the past looks like nonsense. My soul keeps me looking on, and I'm so tired...

David W

Gothenburg, Sweden

 

Gutman's reply:

 

     What you describe is the natural way of spiritual growth. You should be used to it by now, and not be fooled by the lows, nor too swept away with the highs.     

     When the ultimate experience comes - the revelation of G-d's Presence - you will experience the fulfillment you are seeking, but that too will pass. All this is to encourage you to continue doing the things that bring goodness into the world so you will be fitting to receive the reward that Hashem wants to give you.

Shalom

Gutman


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