Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Mixed Up

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

We keep getting mixed up in this world. A pure soul is taken from the world above and shoved, against it's will, into the physical world and a physical body. A body that has constant needs (air, water, food, warmth, protection) and wants (good food, nice clothing, nice home, etc). In the midst of this constant need and constant want, the pure soul years to connect, to reconnect, to reach towards Hashem. And all that physicality just gets in the way.

So the Torah gave us mitzvot, a way to elevate and connect to Hashem utilizing those needs and (some of) those wants in a holy way. But still, that pure soul has to strive from within a physical container, a container that has it's own life (the nefesh habahamious - the animal soul) and an intense desire to continue that life and serve...itself. If one reaches the level of a tzaddik, one may harness that intense desire somewhat as one harnesses a horse, and use it's strength to reach higher and farther.

But for the rest of us, even our mitzvot are often shaded by those physical desires. Are you buying a nice esrog (for the holiday of Succot) for the mitzvah, or for the status? Is your yom tov meal in honor of the yom tov, or because you really like a good meal? Lets be honest, even if it's properly for the former there's a touch of the latter involved as well. It's not a shock, "the tzaddikim are few in every generation". The rest of us are just trying our best (at least occasionally).

Fortunately as we strive towards mitzvot we gradually refine the physical container, at least a bit. It becomes more used to kedushah and a bit less sensitized to the grossed bits of physicality, which allows us to strive a bit more.

Most people think the descriptions above apply just to the individual. However, they also apply to communities and to organizations. Each is made up of individuals, striving to do mitzvot and also fulfilling the needs and (some of) the desires of the physical. Sometimes these drive organizations into negative paths, and parts of the community impacted by negative drives.

Even the best organizations and best communities have negative aspects. This is not an indictment, just something to be aware of. For like every Jew is filled with mitzvot but slips now and again (G-d protect us), those slips and negative desires impact at the community level as well.

Because it's a mixed up world. The reach for holiness have to be forced through the physical. And that leads to...some negative impact. We may not like it, but that's the way it's supposed to be.

...So we all have a chance to do even better, with Hashem's help, tomorrow.
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A Little Bit of Uman 5770

(h/t Yaakov)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

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Light a Candle of Truth

A line not included in the video but quoted in the news... "And then something happened I'll never forget till the end of my life," continued Netanyahu. "The Rebbe and his brother-in-law … took the Torah scroll and they went into the center of this hall … and I see [them] dancing in a circle of light with a Torah. I felt the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, our faith, our people."
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Let’s Say…

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Let’s say that you did something wrong (G-d forbid). Well, now that you think about it, there were a few things that you did that were probably improper. They didn’t seem so bad when you did them. Maybe you were just a little careless. But now that you go over what happened, well, you see that it could be that you needlessly hurt a few people. You also said some things that were not so kind. You know what? You really damaged someone. Wow, now that you really think about what happened, and you add up all of those things, well, they weigh a lot heavier than you thought they would when you did them.

And now guess what? You got caught. The security cameras were running, and every single thing that you did was recorded. Uh oh!

Now there is a knock on the door. The police have come, and are they are taking you to stand before the judge. Oy!

As you are going up to trial, you think about what you can possibly say. You can not lie about what you did because the judge has seen the videos. It’s hard to make up an excuse because you know that you really did those things that you are accused of having done. What are you going to say to the judge?

Here you are now, standing before the judge. As you can imagine, you’re scared. Your legs are shaking. You are biting your lower lip. Your entire future is in his hands. Will he let you live? How can you possibly make amends for what you did? The judge looks down at you and asks just two questions.

“Are you sorry for what you did?”

You answer honestly, with all your heart. “Yes, yes sir, I am. I am ashamed of what I did. I should not have done those things. I was wrong.” You fight to hold back your tears of shame.

The judge looks deeply into your eyes and sees that you are sincere.

He asks the next question. “Do you promise that you will not do these things again?”

“Yes, yes, and I really mean it. I feel so wrong for what I did. I am so embarrassed. I will pay the damages, and I will never, never do them again.”

The judge looks into your eyes again. You feel his gaze piercing your very heart. Then he says, “I see that you truly mean what you are saying, so I am going to forgive you for everything that you did.”

How would you feel? I’ll tell you how you would feel. HOORAY! WHOPEE! I’m free. You would feel happy from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. Indeed, this would be the happiest day of your life.

Have a happy Yom Kippur.

Friday, September 25, 2009

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Movie for the 10 Days: Reb Aryeh Levine, zt"l


Thursday, September 24, 2009

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by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Most people have some idea of what they are looking for in the physical world. At least they think that they do, and they spend most of their days running after these things. True, that when they find them, they often realize that they did not really want them in the first place, but at least they have some physical goals to run after.

But the spiritual search is not like this. Most people do not run after the spiritual goal at all. Strange, how the most important things are so well hidden.

The spiritual searcher reaches in three directions.

First, he reaches in. The most important, and most basic question that a spiritual seeker must try to answer is, “Who, or what am I?” Is there anything more important to know than this? If you do not know what you are, how can you possibly know what you were created to accomplish? How will you be able to fulfill your purpose?

You might answer that you are a person, an American, or a businessman. Maybe you would say that you are a musician, an athlete, an intellectual, a student, shopper, or what? But these only describe your body, or your deeds, not you. You have to ask: Whose body is doing all these things? After you pass from this world, you are going to go on into the Next World, but all the things that you listed are going to cease. So, they cannot be “you.” Then, what are you? Searching inside for the one who is the real “I” is called reaching in. Is there anything more essential to know than what you are?

After you have had some success reaching in, you will automatically reach up. You will begin to realize that you are a spiritual entity. You will understand that this spiritual entity is allowed to exist in a body only because of the will of the One Who wills it. You will then reach up to search for the nature, and will, of this One Who wills all. Who is the One Who wills all? What does He want?

After you have worked for some time reaching up, and have had some success, you are going to find yourself reaching out. When you realize just Who is the Master of all creation, you are going to happily tend His garden. You are going to reach out to help others in His creation discover their purpose, too.
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Review: Aliyah Revolution, the Album

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Kumah, founders of the Aliyah Revolution campaign and associated videos has now put out The Aliyah Revolution Album. 16 tracks from various Jewish artists on the theme of aliyah (returning to Israel). Artists include The Moshav Band, Neshama Carlebach, Shlock Rock, and Naftali Abramson among others (each one of the 16 tracks is a different artist).

This is a massive charity project on their part. The disk is not for sale but to be offered on US college campuses and to Nefesh b'Nefesh aliyah prospects. The bands have donated their music to this project, and Kumah has invested tens of thousands of shekels in putting this professional compilation together.

Besides the music, the disc includes an insert with lyrics and an Aliyah Revolution poster.

I received the album from Yishai Fleisher of Kumah for review.

I listened to the album as I traveled from Beit Shemesh, filled with Jews who returned to Israel from the U.S., England, South Africa, and France, through the Judean hills, past Beitar Illit - an ultra-orthodox Jewish city sprung from an empty rocky hillside in the Judean mountains, to Efrat - the central city of the revived Gush Etzion which was slaughtered by the Arab League in 1948 and repopulated by the rabbi and his congregation from the Lincoln Park Synogogue in Manhattan, then on to Kever Rochel by Bethlehem - a holy site for Jews for over 2,500 years, and afterwards into Jerusalem. So not only did I listen to the album, I literally experienced it's message at the same time.

It's an impressive compilation, finding and joining the many positive musical messages about aliyah. The mix is good, the transitions from one song to another well done.

It's an eclectic mix of music from a variety of immigrant and native Israeli bands in Israel. It has songs based on U.S. 80's and 90's pop tunes (redone with Jewish aliyah lyrics), reggae style (with aliyah lyrics), new age style (again with Jewish aliyah lyrics), and even Indian style - which appeals to many an Israeli who's traveled to India (again with Jewish aliyah lyrics).

Different parts of the intended audience, that being Western aliyah prospects, are sure to be touched by the variety of music and aliyah messages. The bands have put their hearts into it, and so have the people from Kumah that put it together.

We wish Kumah much success with their aliyah efforts and the album, and do so while saying hello to two new neighbors from Montreal, one of which was hosting another family from Montreal for Shabbat who's also considering aliyah.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


A Tree Grows The Way You Direct It

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

(The photo, from the Kotel in Jerusalem, speaks for itself.)

Monday, September 21, 2009


Sneaking Up On Us

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

The world events to take special notice of are those that "sneak up on us". These are the divine changes that no man can fathom and that are hinted to in the holy words of the navi'im (biblical prophets).

In less than a year since a "new king arose who did not know Yosef", sudden unplanned change has come upon the world. America is brought low financially, is suddenly losing a war, China pulls her financial strings and Russia her political ones as she abandons allies in Eastern Europe.

And of course, "Because you oppressed your brother Yaakov, you will be covered in shame and you will be cut off forever. When you stood aside on the day that strangers confiscated his possessions (Gush Katif) and foreigners entered into his gates (West Bank), and cast lots over Jerusalem. You too are like one of them." (Ovadiah 1:16)... America not only turns it's back on Israel but specifically moves to weaken Israel.

To whom do we have to turn???

The Prime Minister of Israel goes to Russia and ask them not to sell missile technology to Iran. Israel is told...no.

To whom do we have to turn???

The promise of America to build a "missile shield", a protection for Israel in the future, is shut down. Oh, it's not a move against Israel, it's a political favor for Russia to not base missiles in Europe.

To whom do we have to turn???

The Jewish people are comfortable in every echelon of American society. Not just the assimilated Jew or the cultural Jew, but even the religious Jew. Jewish life in the West has been pretty comfortable - no discrimination allowed.

Until famous Jews started major financial scandals. And religious Jews started being arrested for money laundering. Very suddenly, very unexpected, no history of such things. You might call it...change.

To whom do we have to turn???

The Israeli Jew wanted a Western national like all others, just another in the family of nations. In many ways he succeeded in creating such a nation...almost. The beaches and hotels and discos, agriculture and industry.

Except he kept getting attacked, and now delegitimized even for defending himself. When he was dying in the street from suicide bombs he was pathetic and tolerated. Now that he's reasonably defending himself (with great blessings from Hashem), he's a pariah, an anathema. A rather sudden change leaving even the Israeli leftist shaking his head in wonder.

To whom do we have to turn?

Our "friends" are turning their backs on us (no, not all of them - suddenly followers of truth are also coming awake and turning towards us). The world would have us out of the way.

There is no one left upon who we can rely...

Except Hashem. Exactly as the navi'im have told us.

No, we don't know what will happen tomorrow. ALL predictions have been inaccurate so far. But circumstances seem that it just might be sneaking up on us.
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Rosh Hashanah Rain in the Land

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

In the middle of kriyas haTorah on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah, 5770 (the Jewish year), rain fell across Israel.

The children ran from shul (synagogue) and danced in the rain. The olim (new immigrants) among us wondered "why is everyone laughing and smiling and letting their kids get soaked in the rain?"

Why indeed. This past year was hard on the Holy Land. The land has been dry, very very dry. Some fields are not being planted, public lawns are dead, and numerous brush fires with blackened ground cover the hills...

As we prayed for a good year and a good judgment, as we crowned the King of kings, rains of blessing fell upon the land. It drizzled, then poured for a little while, then cleared up. 30 minutes later the same cycle repeated.

As we headed to mincha with Rosh Hashanah nearing it's end, the western sky literally glowed orange and pink and purple, with clouds and sunlight intermingling and reflecting off the sea in the distance - perhaps the most beautiful sky I have ever seen.

Yes, there's what to worry about in this new year. My dear brothers and sisters, we do not live in a time of navi'im (prophets), nor perhaps even in a time of great and wise leaders of our nation (whether speaking of the religious or the secular). But some messages are loud and clear and do not require deep interpretation.

In the aseres yemay tshuva, the ten days of repentance, it is indeed a time for teshuva. A time to return, a time to reconnect with Hashem. A time to regret the past and make a better tomorrow...

But here's the thing. A better tomorrow doesn't just happen all by itself. WE must take the steps to improve it. WE must do things just a little bit better tomorrow, and a little more the day after. NOT better in our own best logical guessing, but in the ways of the Torah and of G-d. A good deed, a mitzvah, avoidance of negative actions, charity, helping others. And in our day and time, standing up proudly for G-d, His Torah, and the Holy Land.

The message is clear my friends. There are no sidelines in this one. And we have NO ONE upon whom to rely EXCEPT our Father in Heaven.

(Photos courtesy of IsraelNationalNews and Sultan Knish.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

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One More Blow

Hirshel Tzig of Circus Tent shares a poignant Rosh Hashanah story from Munchatch...

This story was told by Rabbi Baruch Rabinovitch of Munkacs, father of the present Munkacser Rebbe, about his late father-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira (1871-1937), known as the "Minchat Elazar."

When the Minchat Elazar became ill, Reb Baruch moved back to Munkacs, in Czechoslovakia, which they did.

Rabbi Baruch had a son named Tzvi Nosson Dovid. Baruch would often recall that his father-in-law loved this boy —the Minchat Elazar's dear grandchild— in an "exaggerated way," in part due to the fact that they had waited a long time to have that first child. He would play with and "spoil" the child, and Tzvi would sit on his grandfather's lap at the Shabbat gatherings.

In the final year of his life, the Minchat Elazar took the shofar on the first day of the month of Elul and tested it to see whether it was in good condition. Tzvi was in the room and was visibly excited by the shofar and its sounds.

He asked his zeide (grandfather) for one more blast, and his zeide gladly obliged. From then on, for the remainder of the month, this became a ritual; the Rebbe blowing the shofar once each day for little Tzvi. On the day before Rosh Hashanah, Tzvi was there, awaiting his daily blast, but he was disappointed.

"Today is the day before Rosh Hashanah," his grandfather explained. "Today we do not blow the shofar. Tomorrow morning, we will blow the shofar in the synagogue."

The child did not comprehend reasons. He knew no reason. He kicked and screamed, "Just one blast! Just one blast!"

After a while, the grandfather softened at the sound of his favorite grandchild crying, and he took the shofar and blew one blast.

On Rosh Hashanah, the custom in Munkacs was that the Rebbe spoke before blowing the shofar. That year, the Rebbe went up before the ark, opened it and said: "Master of the Universe, I have to repent. It's written that on the day before Rosh Hashanah one mustn't blow shofar, yet I did."

He began to sob uncontrollably and called out: "Master of the Universe, do you know why I transgressed this custom? It was because my young grandchild lay on the floor begging and crying that I should only blow one blast of the shofar for him. My heart melted, I couldn't bear to watch him cry like that, so I blew once for him, though I shouldn't have.

"Tatte (Father), how can you stand by and see how millions of Your children are down on the floor, and crying out to You, 'Tatte, just one blast! Sound the blast of the great shofar which will herald the final Redemption!'? Even if the time is not right for it yet, even if the time for Moshiach has yet to arrive, Your children cry out to You: how can You stand by idly?!"

Rabbi Baruch cried as he recounted the story, and recalled how at that time the entire crowd cried along with the Rebbe. The sounding of the shofar was delayed, and for a long time "they could not regain their composure... loud wailing was heard throughout the synagogue..."

Friday, September 18, 2009


A Cow Pee'd On My Car

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

As we prepare to enter a new year, as the blessings of Hashem of the past year leave us, and the blessings of the new year come upon us, I share some thoughts with you my friends as we stand before our Creator in a few brief hours to be judged for a new year.

A few days ago, a cow pee'd on my car. Now if you think about that for a second, you've got to wonder 'how in the world did that happen?' It was a beautiful morning as I drove up the highway to Haifa for a business meeting. My windows were open to enjoy the clean cool air of the morning.

As I made good time up the highway, I came upon an open backed cow transport truck. The cows looked clean and reasonably happy was they were doing 60mph (100kph) up the highway. As I pulled closer and prepared to pass the truck, I saw they even had a running water supply... As the splatter and smell hit my car as that water supply was not water, I had a choice to make.

Do I scream and curse, bemoan my fate, or laugh and say "thanks Hashem for the wake up call this morning" - and run the windshield washer and be on my way? I could not control events, I don't run the world. My choice was in how I dealt with it.

Sunset in Beit Shemesh, Eretz Yisroel

My son called up from yeshiva. He was lightly trimming his beard and he slipped, creating a major hair disaster. He had no choice but to trim the whole beard tight, not the way he likes it. His rosh yeshiva (the yeshiva head rabbi) liked it even less, a whole lot less. He let him know he liked it less, that it was inappropriate, that right before Rosh Hashanah it was a serious thing to practically cut off your beard, and more and more.

My son called me up extremely upset. He never gets such treatment from the rosh yeshiva. He was ready to just walk out.

I told him that he didn't have any choice in getting yelled at. Accidents happen throughout life, and some are going to bring unpleasant responses. There would be future occasions when he'll (G-d forbid) get yelled at by teachers, bosses, hey even your spouse. Sometimes those occasions won't be deserved or directly under his control.

What is under his control is how he responds. Does he accept it quietly and say "Hashem's plan said today I'd get rebuked", or does he throw a fit at the perceived unfairness of the world - from his limited perspective?

The Old City of Jerusalem seen from the South looking North. Notice the NEW white dome on the left! That's the newly rebuilt Ramban synagogue destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948.

What is a Good and Sweet New Year? One in which everyone works out the way we want? Are we really smart enough to get it right? One in which only obviously good things happen? Have not some of your greatest strengths (if not all of them) come through dealing with challenges? A year in which things stay the same, stable and steady? Have not some of your greatest opportunities come unplanned?

I wish all of Klal Yisroel, and the bnei Noach, and all the well wishers of Israel, a good and sweet year - one where Hashem brings the right blessings, the right opportunities, and challenges, and changes. And may we merit the ultimate blessing and ultimate change, the coming of Moshiach Tzidkaynu and the Geulah, mamosh now!

Ksiva v'Chatima Tovah,
Reb Akiva

(Friday evening starts Shabbos and Rosh Hashanah, a two day Jewish holy day. Blogging will resume, G-d willing, Monday.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Before the New Year

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

We are standing here today, right before the New Year. This is truly an awesome moment. What will be? What will my judgment be? I know that I am on trial for my very life, and I know what I have done. Oy!

A chasid never prays to get what he “deserves,” because he knows very well what he deserves. What to do?

Well, this is what I am going to do. As I am preparing to go up before the King, I am asking Him to pour out His mercy and give each of you a favorable judgment.

May you have a year filled with joy, health, love, and prosperity. May you grow spiritually, and also see your loved ones grow spiritually. May the King of kings bless you to actually see His loving hand helping you in all areas of your life, and in the lives of everyone you love, especially your children. May those of you who are single find wonderful partners this year, and those of you who long to have children, may your house soon be filled with the laughter of your own children. May all of your money worries disappear as you see the King’s coffers open to you. May you discover your purpose in having been created the person you are, and may you succeed in fulfilling that purpose. Please G-d, may you come to understand what the Zohar means when it writes that this world is actually the Garden of Eden.[i] May you move up the spiritual ladder. May you find joy in reaching out to others, and in seeing the fruit of your labors bear fruit. May you realize how G-d loves you, and may you live long years basking in the radiance of His revealed Presence.

May these blessings come true to you this New Year.

(Hashem, You could really save Yourself a lot of trouble by just bringing the Redemption now. Please…)

[i] Genesis 27:a

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Violating Yom Kippur as Publicly As Possible

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

In the past, there were those Jews who felt a need to violate their religion. On the holiest days of the year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, such Jews generally did so quietly in their own homes.

Even in Israel, where 60% of Jews consider themselves religious or traditional (meaning 40% are basically completely non-practicing / non-believing), and some 15% consider themselves seriously anti-religious, over 80% will visit a synagogue, eat traditional foods and a family meal, celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and fast on Yom Kippur.

But in America, one "rabbi" and one "Jewish" TV network are PROUD to announce their intention to VIOLATE the holiest day of the year as PUBLICLY and WIDELY as possible...

(Press Release) An Unnamed Online Jewish Network - Outside of the biblical gathering at Mt. Sinai, the annual televised Kol Nidre service that streamed online to more than 220,000 people last year may be the world’s largest single Jewish service ever.

On the evening of September 27, (censored).com, a vibrant global broadband community connecting Jews around the world, will stream its third annual Kol Nidre service, which marks the beginning of Yom Kippur. In its first year, (censored) streamed the service to about 30,000 online viewers. Last year, the live service originated from a leading Jewish organization – Nashuva – led by Rabbi Naomi Levy and more than 220,000 online viewers in North America and around the world tuned in.

“Our experience last year, of reaching so many people through (censored), was exceptionally rewarding,” said Wabbi Levy. “I have made it my life’s work to violate both the letter and spirit of Judaism as widely and publicly as possible. And the best way to do this and share it with a global audience is through the Web. This was not possible just 10 years ago, but now through this medium, we can influence people to violate Judaism most anywhere and that is both humbling and exhilarating.”

[ It's possible I may have slightly misquoted Wabbi Levy and used some creative license. This is called parody and sarcasm for a dramatic point, as is thereby protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution both as free use and free expression without specific intent to libel. ]

UPDATE: I've been asked to clarify the statement above. It is NOT the literal words from the press release but rewritten by me for dramatic license. Ms. Levy never said a word about "violating" anything, rather she speaks enthusiastically about using the Internet to share Yom Kippur live with Jews and non-Jews around the world. While reaching out and sharing Judaism is a very laudable goal, on the holiest day of the year the Torah of God specifically writes about a series of activities that are PROHIBITED. The point I am making is one cannot share the holy while violating it at the same time. One cannot redefine the holy to one's own definition, and then share it as the holy way of _God_. As the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe once said, 'Question: isn't it better to learn something over nothing, isn't the glass half full or a quarter full? Answer: if the glass is filled with water, yes, but if it's filled with kerosene...".

Listen, its self understood that there's people calling themselves rabbis who have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret and rewrite Judaism to whatever they feel it should be this week. They don't believe they're out to hurt Judaism, they probably feel they're sharing and spreading it far and wide.

Yet like a gutted carcass, it's just hollow in the middle. And that hollowness (rather than holiness) condemns their efforts to long term failure. Specifically failure to transmit to the next generation. Historical statistics of their path bears this out.

This Yom Kippur, take a walk over to the nearest Chabad House or orthodox synagogue for a real taste of Judaism. Torah, it's the real thing. New Torah, the flavor is just a failure.

Monday, September 14, 2009

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Why King?

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths


On Rosh Hashanah, we crown G-d as our King. All year long He is called “our G-d” and now we are saying that He is “our King.” But the Name “G-d” is much greater than the Name “King.” So why make such a big thing out of calling Him “King”? Isn’t this a step down for Him?


Each Holiday comes to emphasize a certain aspect of Jewish life. All year long Hashem is G-d. This does not change. But on Rosh Hashanah we stress our role as His servants. This is best done by acting out the analogy of G-d being a King. We inaugurate Him to be our King, and we happily agree to be His faithful servants. This does not change G-d at all. It merely addresses our service to G-d. Our service to Hashem does not affect Him in the least. It only affects us. When we call Him “King,” He has not changed into a king. What changes is the way we think about Him. When we conceive of G-d simply as G-d, we do not learn anything about serving Him. If the Name “G-d” were His only Name, we might think that our only service was to worship Him as the Creator. But G-d wants more than just that from us. He wants us to obey His every command. So we call Him our King and we act as His loyal servants.

Pesach is different. We do not stress G-d’s Kingship on Pesach. All year long we call out to and listen to Hashem. Doing this brings us out of bondage. This bondage is our slavish attachment to the material world. On Pesach we stress that G-d takes us out of slavery when we follow His word. We emphasize this process by recalling our first Exodus from slavery, the Egyptian slavery thousands of years ago. This is the purpose of the Pesach Seder.

On Rosh Hashanah we crown G-d as our King. When we do this, we naturally think how a subject of a king behaves, and we act accordingly. We also stress the King’s role as a Judge so that we act as one who stands before a judge, and we examine our every deed to be sure that we have not transgressed even a minor decree.

When we call Hashem “our Father,” we can imagine running up to Him and kissing Him on His cheek. When we consider Him to be “our King,” we would never think of doing such a thing. When we call Hashem “G-d,” we conceive of Him as the Omnipresent Being Who fills and surrounds all. All of these attitudes are proper services to Hashem. Each has its time and place, and we are to serve G-d in all these ways.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

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Jewish Bloggers Convention Recap

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

I'm home from the 2nd Annual Jewish Bloggers convention in Jerusalem, and here's my impressions and a recap...

Batya the ShilohMuse made a comment to me, "it doesn't seem like it did last year". Indeed not. Much more crowded, much more press, much more professional. Blogging is a big deal and as an aggregate having a big impact. Last year it still was a hobby and the main stream media could (try) to ignore it.

The panels and the high profile bloggers were more or less liberal and not-religiously-observant. But the crowd was 60% kippah wearers or women with head coverings. (Further, the crowd was 60% female.) A decent amount of ultra-orthodox bloggers, and an even higher number of "settler" bloggers were in attendance.

The crowd was spiked with non-bloggers but operators of Jewish web sites of various types. (Jewish news, community news, a charity site, Jewish dating site, Jeiwsh classified ad site, etc.) Lots of main stream media present, print, radio, TV.

Panel session "experts" for the most part weren't. Most of the experts selected where the either high profile or high success bloggers (high by traffic, not by making a living). A few of the experts were selected simply due to their Nefesh b'Nefesh relationship. One thing is clear, generally those who have been highly successful don't really know why or rather don't know how to teach it to others.

A few exceptions were the Muqata, who understands exactly the kind of posts that drive him big traffic and what doesn't and how to explain it, Jacob Richman who understands how to manipulate the Web 2.0 tools to drive traffic and how to explain it, and Tova Serkin from JGooders who presented a thorough picture of online tzedakah patterns. Tova was a particularly good surprise as a Web 2.0 panelist who actually had a coherent picture to deliver.

Israeli PR approaches continue to be a joke. The government people were almost begging the bloggers to suddenly self-coordinate and solve their hasbara (Israel PR) problems for them, while stating the current situation is very severe and very dangerous. They'd like this to happen while offering no support, no background info or PR feeds, and disowning the process if it doesn't perfectly match their message. The fact their current PR efforts aren't working is "the media's fault for reporting the wrong message". Ahh, yeah right.

The conference was run most professionally, just like a conference for software or real estate or insurance. But what's lacking are experts demonstrating methods and repeatable processes that one can use to develop or improve one's blog.

For me, the truly valuable speakers where those in tangential fields which provided insights that may apply...David Horovitz of the Jerusalem Post speaking on the online impact to their bottom line, Yonasan Rosenblum speaking on responses to his articles from the charedi community, Tova Serkin speaking on online charity use patterns and where those patterns are relative to the Jewish community (outside of Israel versus inside Israel).

With all of the speeches and talks, not a single word of Torah or Rosh Hashanah was shared. Blogs are impacting communities, including communal relationships with the rabbis and thoughts toward Torah, avodah, Hashem, and Moshiach. Some for the positive, some unfortunately for the negative, and some who's future impact is yet to be understood.

Bloggers need to understand the power of the medium to do good or (G-d forbid) the opposite. That's an issue worth discussing.

Perhaps next time.

Video from the convention...


Jewish Bloggers Convention - Live

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

I attended the 2nd Annual Jewish Bloggers convention today in Jerusalem. Here's my live-blog / tweet / twoozes while there (most recent first)...

- Tova Serkin speaks as the ONLY expert on the Jewish 2.0 panel. You go girl! Serious info for online charities.

- OMG, "the wing-girl method", Orit is running dating advice at the panel. AAAAAAAHHHHHH I paid for this? Gag me with spoon.

- "To stay in Israel, a better constitution, a high paying job, and a wonderful guy". Not sure NBN, or Moshiach, can provide that.

- Shidduch in progress between Orit and Tom at the Jewish 2.0 panel????

- Yonasan Rosenblum, Jerusalem Post, Mishpacha, Cross-Currents talks about writing for the frum community. Basically, it's hard!

- @gldmeier: is his whole strategy that bloggers should do the pr? //Must be, because I can't find the Israeli govt doing any, or helping.

- Orit Afra of the LA Jewish Journal tells us about developing a social life in LA through Facebook. OMG, fur sher. Totally. oy.

- David Horovitz from the Jerusalem Post mentions while they get tremendous online traffic, it has not translated to much $$$.

- Interesting back and forth on "Ok, we need some info from the government, where do we turn." Basically no solid answer.

- Govt spokesman, "We do more Jewish stuff, especially under new govt! But news doesn't report it at all! Only shows extreme negatives!"

- Israpundit says, "What Israel PR? Can't PR their way out of a wet paper bag. Do some Jewish PR!"

- Panel mentions a number banned from Little Green Footballs, seems to have changed ideology since Obama election.

- Israel Govt Spokeman, "the next few months are major major for Israel, in an existential way."

- Muqata, "be clear, be compelling, link for sources and background." Don't be boring. Am I boring you with this today?

- Muqata, "yes, both left and right wing bloggers think they are defending Israel." Viewpoint & care are not the same thing.

- Bias presented, "Yes, Human Rights Watch is out to get us." (proof presented by Israel Matzav).

- Israeli govt spokesman, "We have the info but we must reach far out to contact people and educate". Oook.

- In the Defending Israel through Social Media session. Israeli govt spokesperson, 'We're losing the PR battle.'

- Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem, nice building and free parking (big plus!) Nice conference rooms, but common areas are crowded.

Yishai Fleicher of Israel National News opens the session...

JBloggers 2009

Bloggers listen to the panel on Using Social Media to Get The (Israel) Word Out...

JBloggers 2009

The news media takes a group of "pretty" bloggers for a set up photo op...

JBloggers Conf 2009

The main session...

JBloggers Conf 2009

David Horovitz from The Jerusalem Post speaks to the conference...

JBloggers Conf 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

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Music for Selichos

Adon HaSelichot by Erez Yecheil...


The Threat of the Moment

by Rabbi Bar Tzadok of KosherTorah.com

...The greatest threat I see today facing Torah Judaism is not the threat of the radical secular, but rather the radical religious!

The internet is full of stories, websites, philosophies and beliefs that scream out radicalism and polarization. Loud voices screaming out, "only I (we) are right, everyone else is dead wrong!" These voices insult other groups, individuals and Rabbis by name, condemn sacred legitimate Torah beliefs, offend the memories of holy Sages and condemn and outright curse complete segments of the Torah religious community simply because "they are not right, like we are!"

This type of radicalism and division is evil! It is more than wrong, it is outright dangerous!

It is the reincarnation of the spirit of the evil "biryonim" spoken of in the Gemara whose radicalism and defiance of Heaven led to the destruction of the Holy Temple and the holocaust of over a million fellow Jews under the hands of the Romans.

Look around! This same ugly face has risen again and it is threatening to destroy our communities and to again make Jews and Judaism a pariah in the eyes of the world. We have enough enemies in this world who hate us and want to kill us for no cause; we do not need to make matters worse and give our enemies good reasons to hate us!

The nation of Israel today seethes with such extreme religious radicalization. Hatred abounds towards other religious individuals, Sages and even entire communities. How on earth does one expect Mashiah to come and magically make all the hate go away?

Torah teaches us that there is no greater blessing than unity and no greater curse than division!

Look around! See with your own eyes! Are we soliciting the blessings of Heaven or are we soliciting the curse?

When will this end? When will we rise up and yell out with a loud voice, "enough insanity." We have to make things rights...

There is a time and place for conflict and fighting, but I do not believe that Torah is the right place and certainly, with all the dangers facing us, now is not the right time! ...

Torah is about HaShem; the Torah Way is about connecting to HaShem.

Therefore, I believe the great solution to all the divisiveness going on around us and destroying our very core is that we must stop placing emphasis on divisions and start placing emphasis on unity. Unity awareness can only be achieved when we stop looking at each other and instead start looking again to Heaven, directly and personally.

We need to revitalize individual personal relationships with G-d.

Each of us as individuals need to stop paying so much attention to what is going on outside and start focusing on what is going on inside. We must stop the radicalization of those claiming to speak for G-d and instead we ourselves must approach G-d as individuals and silently contemplate and listen to what Divine insight we might individually glean.

No one is going to be able to "hear" anything from G-d if their spiritual ears are clogged up with all the nonsense and noise coming out of from every corner of the religious communities.

The politics and the infighting have got to stop. Radicalism and extremism must be confronted and marginalized. If we do not take these necessary steps, then we are destined to face the outcome of our lack of action. This is not a prediction; this is rather the natural outcome. ...

We may not be able to change the world, but maybe, just maybe, we can change some of the people in it for the better. And if we can better the lives of those we can reach, then as far as I am concerned we will have accomplished something big.

Friday, September 11, 2009

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Hashem, Hashem

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Now we are in the month of Elul. Elul is the time when we prepare for the New Year. On the New Year we will stand before the King of the Universe, and our portions for the coming year will be set aside according to the judgment that we receive. How well we prepare during Elul may very well affect the judgment that we will receive. Will it be favorable, abundant? Will we find success this year in those areas where we need so much help? This makes Elul one of the most serious and important times in the entire year.

Without doubt, the highlight of Elul comes early in the morning, when we say the Selichot prayers. And the highlight of these prayers comes when we recite G-d’s 13 Attributes of Mercy, beginning with, "Hashem, Hashem ..."

Doubling G-d’s Name is a very unusual thing to do. If the man who was leading the communal prayers would repeat the central prayer, “Hear, O Israel, the L-ord our G-d, the L-ord is One,” thereby saying it twice, we must take him down from his position at once. The problem is that someone might think we are addressing two gods! But here, during these prayers, we all call out “Hashem, Hashem,” actually doubling His very Name!

Not only this, but when we call out, some people scream loudly, some actually cry and yearn with all their heart. What is going on here? What are we really doing? How are we to call out? What should our intentions be?

We can learn the answer to these questions from Hashem Himself. When Hashem tested Avraham, He told him to sacrifice his only beloved son, Yitzchak. Avraham picked up the knife and actually put it to his son’s throat, prepared to carry out G-d’s command. What an awesome moment in the history of the universe this was! It was then that Hashem called out to Avraham saying, “Avraham, Avraham. Do not lay your hand upon the lad….”[i]

Why did G-d double Avraham’s name? How did He call out to him? It is well known that Hashem doubled Avraham’s name because He loved him. He doubled his name as a sign of endearment. He was expressing just how beloved Avraham was to Him, especially at that moment when Avraham showed that he was willing to sacrifice whatever he had for G-d. Hashem called out to Avraham with all the love that a father could possibly have for a son.

It is with this depth of love that we are to call out to Hashem when we double His Name. “Hashem, Hashem, we love You, and thank you for all that You have done for us, and for all that You will bestow upon us throughout our lives. Thank You. Thank You.”

When we will call out like this, not only will our prayers be meaningful and pleasant to us, but they will actually cause our judgment and portion for the coming year to be one of love.

[i] Genesis 22:11

Thursday, September 10, 2009

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For 9/11 - Watch the Third Jihad for free...

In remembrance of 9/11, watch The Third Jihad free at WeJew (large picture), or right here (below) as a somewhat smaller picture...


Authentic Judaism Argument

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Rabbi Student at Hirhurim wrote the following, specifically written with "permission to copy". He subsequently took it down "on rabbinical advice" but without explanation.

(Originally at Hirhurim) There is an obnoxious new blog called Authentic Judaism whose author keeps e-mailing me and offering to educate me on how his particular version of right wing Orthodox Judaism is the only authentic type of Judaism. I have been ignoring him but in today's e-mail he bragged about his high Google ranking. In response, I would like to request the help of fellow bloggers in driving down his Google ranking.

As I write this post, the second result for a Google search on "Authentic Judaism" is a post of his titled "JB Soloveitchik, The Authentic Impostor" (the first result is to a Secular Humanist Temple!). Yes, that is the kind of hateful things he writes. He is spending Elul this year writing about "the idiot Natan Slifkin", which is incredibly offensive. What he might not realize is that by insulting people like Rav Soloveitchik and Rabbi Slifkin, he is opening the door for others to insult his mentors, both in public and in private. It is practically guaranteed to happen (although I ask readers to please refrain from doing so).

[ On an aside, I'd note that the Internet teaches us a lesson for Rosh Hashanah. Like we learn about our deeds in Heaven and say on Rosh Hashana, the book of our is opened and it reads itself - and there's an eye that sees and an ear that years, on the Internet there's always a site that records and saves. ]

Rabbi Student subsequently took down this post and wrote, "On the advice of rabbinic counsel, and against my own judgment, I have taken down my post from the other day attempting to manipulate search results and will no longer engage in such attempts. Thank you for those who assisted. I apologize for involving you in the effort."

I don't know Rabbi Student or his rabbinical adviser. And I certainly understand in Chodesh Elul (the Hebrew month of Elul, right before Rosh Hashanah) it's a poor time to start confrontations. Yet shall we sit quietly when one with the title of Rabbi starts attacks against gedolim and honest members of the community trying to address tough questions???

Personally I say NO. If we do not stand against such approaches, well...finding our women in burka's and our teenagers laughing at us as flat-earthers while walking away from Judaism will be no surprise.

There are zealots for truth, and zealots for zealotry. In Judaism we respect zealots for truth - those who cry as they take action to protect the community. Zealots for zealotry, who take pleasure in their actions and revel in their holy zeal - they are just dangerous and to be avoided.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

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Authentic Judaism Dogma

R. Gil at Hirhurim writes on the same dogma issue, and authentic Judaism.

Google hits being what they are, authentic Judaism is an issue.

UPDATE: Unfortunately R. Gil pulled his post offline. For my response, see my next post.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

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Hashgacha Pratis

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Hashgocha Protis = Divine Providence

We were sitting by the Kotel waiting for Mincha (afternoon prayers), late Friday afternoon. One of the regulars in the minyan (quorum) took his place next to me. His face was really red from working outside.

“You better get a better hat for the sun,” I told him. “Your face is all red.”

“I can’t. They don’t make one like I need. I have to have a soft, all-cotton hat with a wide brim, and they just don’t have them like that.”

“That’s not true.” I argued. “I’ve seen them.”

“No, not around here you haven’t. They all have some plastic in the lining or somewhere, and I am just too sensitive to it. I can’t wear them,” he insisted.

Just as he was finishing his words, another regular walked up to the minyan wearing the exact hat that I was referring to!

“Look at that! That’s the exact hat I was talking about,” I said, smiling widely as I spoke.

“The brim’s too small,” he objected.

The fellow with the hat realized what we were talking about. “They make one with a larger brim, too,” he said.

The man who needed the hat argued, “But it’s not all cotton.”

“Yeah, it is. It’s 100% cotton, and you can get them online from America,” the fellow with the hat said.

“Online! That means that I would have to pay $30 just for the shipping.”

The man sitting right in front of us turned around and said, “I’m going to America next week. I can pick one up for you.”

Laughing out loud, I blurted. “Look at that. You barely got the words out of your mouth when just what you needed walked right up to you!”

This is called Hashgocha Protis (Divine Providence). Hashgocha Protis is not G-d intervening and doing something for you, as most people think. G-d does that all the time. Hashgocha Protis is when you see that G-d is stepping in and doing something for you.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

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Shock and Fury

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Today we read the news that the US is shocked (SHOCKED I TELL YA) that Israel has the nerve (NERVE I TELL YA) to allow Jews to build homes in parts of Israel. The US is ... "furious". I take a moment to interview a religious IDF recruit, reporting to the IDF Air Force next week...

Reb Akiva: What do you think of the US being furious with Israel for authorizing building of Jewish homes in areas the US disputes as part of Israel?

Recruit: The American's think they can fix everything and get upset, like the kings of old, when anyone 'defies' them. They don't want terrorism, they're fighting a war because of an attack in their country. And here they support the terrorists, give them guns and training, and tell the Jews to just take it? They operate without wisdom.

Reb Akiva: What do you think of PM Netanyahu's response?

I think he's starting to understand. He was PM before and made some mistakes. But this time I think he's a bit older and more experienced. I'd love for him to tell the US to blow off, but I understand that's not the way of politics. I feel he wants too, but needs more reassurance from the people that they'll stand with him.

Reb Akiva: What do you think of US President Obama?

Recruit: I think he's dangerous. He clearly has a large ego and huge goals, but is showing his lack of experience combined with ego and hubris. I'd say "before going to try to fix the world, try fixing your own country first", but clearly he can't handle even that.

Akiva: So how do you answer the Americans and the world that the Palestinians have been discriminated against by Israel since 1948 (or 1967 depending on who you ask)?

Recruit: I don't think they've been discriminated against. Israel doesn't go out of our way to kill civilians or kick people out of their homes. After the war of independence, Israel invited them back! As far as "occupied territory", to be occupied it has to have been part of a country. The Land of Israel has been part of NO country since the last Jewish republic was destroyed by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago.

However, they've been crying this message of discrimination for many years. And after so many years of it the world is just accepting it.

We're the ones who've been discriminated against! Every time we try to defend ourselves we're stopped and threatened by those "wise big powers", setting up the next war.

We give up so much because of them. The UN gives them whatever they want. What would the world & the US think of the UN setting up medical clinics, schools, and food distribution centers at Al Queida camps in Afghanistan?

Reb Akiva: You're a religious Jew who's entering the IDF. How do you reconcile being religious and being a soldier?

Recruit: This is a country of Jews. I'm going to defend my people, which is a tremendous mitzvah. As yidden, we have a responsibility to stand up and do something. If someone holds a gun to your head (G-d forbid), you can pray - and that's a good thing to do. But you can also shoot back.

I wish I could just daven some more, say the whole book of tehillim (psalms), and it would all be ok. But it's not so. In the (biblical) past when the Jewish people came from the midbar (desert) to conquer Eretz Yisroel (the Land of Israel) with Yehoshua (Joshua), they prayed. And then they went to war.

We learn from chassidus that to receive a bracha (blessing), there has to be a kayli (a vessel worthy of the blessing to capture it). I think there's a bracha, I really do. We have to make the kayli.

Hashem gave us a gift of a return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisroel (the Land of Israel). Now we have to stand up and do our part, to protect it and to be worthy of it. Together, as one people, b'achut (with unity).
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Dogma Demonstrated

In reply to your email reply to me asking for a blog link...

I read your reply. You are gravely mistaken. You do not understand torah, nor science. You just believe what you read in the newspapers and textbooks. Listen to Rabbi Avigdor Miller tapes for a year and maybe you will be able to do tshuvah.

Rabbi (censored for privacy)

Kovod l'Rav,

One of the definitions of the dogmatic approach of religions such as Xianity is an unwavering belief without foundation, questioning, argument, or explanation of any kind. I am surprised a rav of your caliber would use methods of another religion.

You did not respond to my arguments. You did not bring quotes from the Torah, Mishnah, Gemorah, Mishneh Torah, Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Aruch HaShulchan, or Mishneh Brura. You did not demonstrate a single Torah support for your position.

Your blog makes bold statements against much of the Jewish people, and attacks those who raise legitimate questions and issues that need attention in the context of our time. Further, it does it with no presented foundation or basis.

If your positions have merit according to the Torah, prove it the Torah way! If you would be zealous for Hashem, be sure your heart is pure, your hands are clear, and there is no joy in what you are doing.

Respectfully, this is an argument for the sake of Torah. B'ahavat yisroel, and wishes for you, your family and all of klal yisroel to have a kesivah v'chatima tova.

Thursday, September 03, 2009



by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Dear Rabbi (Censored):

Unfortunately I strongly disagree with the content of your site and therefore won't be linking to it. I was taught the Torah has 72 facets, and the Beis HaMikdash had 13 gates - all paths and understandings to fill different peoples needs, insights and approaches to Torah and Derek Hashem.

Frankly I consider a strictly dogmatic approach and literal interpretations of every pasuk to be the antithesis of the derek halimud set down by generations of our holy gedolim, all the way back to the amoraim and tanoim. They questioned and searched and dug for understanding, and never shied from making sure the truth of Torah was brought into focus for the people and the times. When we have pshat, derush, remez, and sod, why would you get stuck in pshat?

Almost humorously, the Gemorah Bavli was censored in the past by the Xian Church for statements that didn't align with the dogma of the Church. Today you would censor the world for not aligning with Midrash and Aggadah???

You may feel you can build a high enough wall around your neighborhood to block out the world and it's influences. My experiences say that's an impossibility. Rather, I try to learn how the truth of Torah applies in every situation. When there's an apparent conflict, we must learn deeper to understand how Hashem's wisdom applies, how there's a deeper truth and understanding to found - both in the Torah and in the aspect of the world.

The world is not flat, blood does circulate, lice don't auto-generate from sweat, nor mice from mud. Illnesses do come only from Hashem but doctors have been gifted with the wisdom to understand the agents of bacteria and viruses, there's no type of sheep that grows from the ground. Jews and gentiles have the same number of teeth. The earth does orbit the sun. The age of the universe has NO simple answer when time itself is relative across the universe.

No where is there a science belief test as a basis of yiddishkeit. The Ramban's 13 principles of faith do NOT include literal belief in every science statement of every gadol Torah over the last 3,000 years. I am not a kofer for believing these science principles, nor for failing to believe those science statements made in the distant past (nor can you quote a single statement from those gedolim of the past to that effect).

I assume you use a computer (after a you have a web site), a cell phone, and a microwave oven, and when sick take antibiotics. ALL of these contradict scientific or medical principles expounded by gedolim of the distant past. For me none of that causes a problem with their Torah and their wisdom from Hashem. Nor does it cause a problem with applying Torah principles to the use of these devices that never existed in the past - no pritzut, no lashon hara, kashrus of a device that cooks without heating the chamber, and taking refuot made from various substances (and/or on Shabbat).

For you, how do you deal with it?

We should be dogmatic in adhering to Torah and halacha. But when we are solid in our principles, in the Torah, and in our kesher to Hashem, we have nothing to fear from new understandings of the physical aspects of creation. Yes, there are dogmatic scientists who follow the 'religion of science' who try to bring their latest discovery of an aspect of creation as proof that they know better and there is no god. They and their ideas pass on their way, while Torah is still here.

And those who explain the incredible wonders of Hashem's creation and how it relates to Hashem's Torah are not to be reviled, they are to be lauded.

What Is Your Intention?

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

There is a tremendous Talmud Chacham (Torah Scholar) living here in the Old City. He is also the rav (rabbi) of the Old City. Actually, he recently semi- retired, and now his oldest son has taken over most of his communal duties. His name is Avigdor Nebenzahl. Almost every day, I would see him walking from his house to the synagogue, or to the yeshiva where he taught. Over the many years, I never once saw him walking in the street without an open sefer (holy book) in his hands, learning while he walked. He has a tremendous reputation amongst the learned Jews for being a truly learned man.

Recently, a newcomer to the Old City watched with great interest when Rabbi Nebenzahl backed away from the Kotel. Almost everyone turns to face the Kotel when they leave the immediate area. When you are at the Kotel, it is as if you are talking to the King. Certainly, if you were talking to an earthly king, you would not turn your back to him when you were dismissed. All the more so, we do not want to show disrespect to the King of kings.

Some back away for only a few steps as they leave the entrance, while some are strict to walk backwards all the way from the Kotel until they leave the entrance. Rabbi Nebenzahl follows the stricter custom.

The newcomer watched with great interest as Rabbi Nebenzahl backed away. He knows of the Rav’s excellent reputation and has quickly come to respect his opinions on all spiritual matters. When he saw the Rav backing away so intently, he could not restrain himself. He had to know, “What was the Rav’s kavanah as he backed away?”

Kavanah literally means “intention,” or “purpose.” But in the spiritual sense, its meaning has more to do with spiritual concentration, mindset, hope, or focus.

He went right over and asked the Rav what was his kavanah when he backed away. What he really wanted to know was what he himself should concentrate on when he backed away? He wanted to learn from this scholar’s vast experience. Was he supposed to be thinking of a certain Gemara? (section of Talmud) Maybe he should have one of G-d’s Holy Names in mind? What were the Rav’s deep, personal thoughts?

The Rav answered, “When you are backing away, it is most important to watch that you do not bump into anyone.”

Now you know why he is so highly respected.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

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Elul Thoughts

A winter's night and a summer day is a year...

-- HaRav Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe

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Reb Simcha Bunim

Thoughts on the Yaretzheit of the Rebbe, Reb Simcha Bunim.

Over at Heichal HaNegina - link here.
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