Friday, April 30, 2010


Lag B'Omer Live !!! We're Live from Meron and Tzfat!

Mystical Paths is proud to present, Live from Meron for Lag B'Omer 5770 - May 2010. We've got video, high quality photos, live cell phone clips, and text updates.

If you appreciate our efforts, please consider giving a tip. Hey, we're not charging pay-per-view rates, or any rates for that matter. Help offset our costs and efforts of charging through the crowds with a pile of electronic equipment and a laptop to post it live!

Our final updates are up. Lag B'Omer has ended, but the fire will last throughout the year.

UPDATES...(in reverse time order)

Cell Phone Clips - Low quality, but lots of interesting views as I streamed live from Meron...

3:00 PM Lag B'Omer Day - The band that never quites (while Lag B'Omer is still going) is...still going! Actually there's a band in the kever (on a special balcony), and one behind the kever. I assume they rotate members in and out, either that or they're incredibly dedicated.
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2:45 PM Lag B'Omer Day - The old men are out dancing as well. No, they're not as fast as the youngsters, but they've got a lifetime of chassidic dance moves to show off.
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2:30 PM Lag B'Omer Day - 3 year olds waiting for their first haircut are dancing with their father's in the middle of the dance circles. It's unbelievably cute.
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2:00 PM Lag B'Omer Day - The dancing is still going on at the back stadium, though the back bonfire has gone out. It's not as crowded as last night, and the bleachers are only 1/2 full. But the dancing is still just as lively.
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1:00 PM Lag B'Omer Day - People are STILL arriving, the kever is STILL busy.
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11:30 AM Lag B'Omer - Another short high quality clip of the dancing at the back stadium. Unbelievable achdus and simcha, and dancing that continued till daybreak.

11:00 AM Lag B'Omer - Heading back to Meron. Had some time to process some initial video clips from last night. Here's a high quality short clip of dancing by the stadium in back, Gan Eden b'olam hazeh.

5:00 AM Lag B'Omer - Missing offspring found safe and sound. Awesome dancing, music, ahavas yisroel, simcha. It's another world! People who wouldn't talk to each other on the streets are smiling and dancing arm in arm. I leave you with one high quality video clip (just uploaded, may take Youtube a bit to process it) after returning on the bus. Can barely walk (Baruch Hashem), feed worn out, body demanding attention. G-d willing, maybe we return to walk as angels briefly again before we depart.

4:00 AM Lag B'Omer - The dancing is still GROWING! The circles are larger! I am in awe. (very low quality cellphone video - sound overload)
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3:45 AM Lag B'Omer - I stand in awe, dancing beyond Simchas Torah with thousands and thousands of Jews of all stripes. Did Moshiach come and they didn't tell me? Because the celebration couldn't be any greater than this! Oh, I lost my son in the crowd. Worry? No concerns with this spirit. (see associated cell video)
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3:30 AM Lag B'Omer - Still behind the kever in the stadium area. It's Gan Eden and Simchas Torah combined! The dancing is intensifying, more people and more serious coordinated dancing. A guy just walked up to me with a bottle of Irish Scotch whiskey and demanded I drink l'chaim! The ahavas yisroel is palpable! (see asscoiated cellphone video clip)
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2:30 AM Lag B'Omer - We head behind the kever to the stadium area. This is where the serious dancing is. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THIS IN THE WORLD! The achdus (unity) here as Jews of all stripes, ultra-orthodox charedi, sephardi, mizrachi, hippie, non-religious, are dancing in escasty! I expect it won't be a new thing when Moshiach comes, because we see it right here in Meron! (see associated cell phone clip)
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1:40 AM Lag B'Omer - Finally able to break out of the crowd and find a place to post. The kever is unbelievably crowded. Davened, put in the kvittel, took some pictures and was squeezed, crushed, and turned like laundry in the machine. Pushed through to behind the kever where it was another world.

11:50 PM Lag B'Omer - The head of the Shas party in Israel, MK Eli Yishai, is seen departing from the kever.
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11:45 PM Lag B'Omer - The Rishon L'Ziyon Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Shlomo Amar, shlita, arrives to the kever.
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11:30 PM Lag B'Omer - Younger Boyaner chassidim dancing by their Rebbe.
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11:30 PM Lag B'Omer - The Boyaner chassidim dancing opposite their Rebbe. There were 2 bleachers like this.
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11:30 PM Lag B'Omer - The Boyaner Rebbe dances by the main fire on the roof of kever Rashbi...
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11:15 PM Lag B'Omer - Dancing in the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, entrance side...
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11:00 PM Lag B'Omer - Dancing in the kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, inner courtyard...
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11:00 PM Lag B'Omer - Dancing in the outer courtyard of Kever Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Loud, crowded, boisterous! (see cell phone clip)

10:45 PM Lag B'Omer - Heavy security, but once you're through the barrier the bus run becomes fast. It's a dark video, and it's not busy yet, but here's the entrance to Meron. (see cell phone clip)

10:30 PM Lag B'Omer - We're on the bus to Meron from Tzfat. The crowd is large and traffic is crazy. So far what's supposed to be a 15 minute ride is already double that and we're not even 1/3 of the way. Oy. Last year it was smooth and well handled. Oh well. (see boring cell phone clip)

9:00 PM after Shabbos - Shabbos is Tzfat was awesome. Friday night we ran across an outdoor Carlebach minyan with 500 people in a town square. Unbelievable.

6pm Friday - GOOD SHABBOS! We're offline until the end of Shabbos Kodesh here in Israel. Keep the holy Shabbos and she'll keep you! Shabbat Shalom!

4:00pm Friday - A davener by the kever Ari HaKodesh in Tzfat. I don't know who this is, but he presents a striking image of one preparing for Shabbos and Lag B'Omer in the holy mystical city of Tzfat.
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4:00pm Friday - Kvittels delivered to our first stop, the Ari HaKodesh in Tzfat, a bonus on top of Rashbi in Meron...
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3:00pm Friday - Davening that the merit of the (spiritually) mighty Ari'zl HaKodesh the gates of heaven will be open to our prayers...
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12:00 Friday - On the road up north. As we enter the mountains, traffic is heavy with cars full of people going for Shabbos. We come to the Meron turn-off, the road is already blocked by police - public transportation only. It's ok, we're turning to Tzfat for Shabbos.
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Video: Secrets and Insights into Lag B-Omer

Yesh Ma L'asot presents Rabbi Tal Zwecker, author/translator of Mipeninei Noam Elimelech, discussing why we celebrate Lag B'Omer. After all, the circumstances of Lag B'Omer are rather tragic. Why is it so special?

If you like it, consider helping them out. Starting up a new Yeshiva is tough, give them a hand!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

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Getting Ready for Lag B'Omer

All over Israel children are getting ready for Lag B'Omer (see picture below from Reb Gutman Locks of girls getting ready in the Old City, Jerusalem).

We're getting ready also to, G-d willing, provide you an excellent on-the-site live from Meron experience. Live from Meron here at Mystical Paths!

We'll be, G-d willing, uploading photos every hour (or so), live-casting for an hour or so, and uploading video (more delay for processing)!!!

Please support our efforts (help offset our costs) and/or have us carry your kvittel (prayer request) to Rashbi in Meron and the Ari'zal in Tzfat, do so right here: (all profits will support Yesh Ma L'asot and Yeshiva Nishmat Shlomo.)


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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Life's Challenges


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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If We Are Supposed to Forget…

Tefilot in Meron by kever Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Lag B'Omer? We can carry yours, here.

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths


The Talmud[i] tells us that G-d sends an angel to the womb to teach the baby "the entire Torah, all of it." Then, just before the baby is born, the angel taps it on its upper lip, and the baby forgets all that was learned. If we are made to forget everything, what was the purpose in teaching it to us?


This forgetting is not a complete forgetting. We keep that information deep inside our souls. This helps us to relearn it later.

This is like having had a dear friend when you were a small child. He moved away and you completely forgot him. Many years later, you meet him again, and although he does not look the same, there is something familiar about him. After you talk for a while, you begin to recognize him. Soon the sweet memories that are buried in your subconscious float up to the surface and you say, "Ah! Now, I remember you."

Not only is the entire Torah buried deep within our souls. Before G-d first apportions a "ray" of Himself into the entity that is to become the "soul," that portion of G-d on High is entirely aware of Its holy nature. It is only when the soul is in the body, and closely related to the body does it forget who it actually is. This allows the person to have free will.

Just as the child will remember the Torah when he meets it again later in life, so will the soul remember its holy beginnings when it is exposed to holiness later in life. It is our job to bring holiness into our lives, so we can remind our soul who it actually is. Then the light of the true holy nature of the soul will radiate throughout and around that person.

Be careful, though. The soul also has an animal aspect, and when we bring animal behavior into our lives, we remind our animal soul of its identity, too. Then the animal nature of the soul will radiate throughout and around that person!

[i] Gemora Niddah 30b

Monday, April 26, 2010


US National Security Advisor - Greedy Jews

Take your kvittel to Rashi in Meron for Lag B'Omer? Yes we can.

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths- type article here -

Draw your own conclusion. The speaker is the National Security Advisor of the United States of America. See comments UNDER the video.

I note the news report on this had these choice comments, among others...

Terry April 25th, 2010 - 11:47 pm

Actually, making light of what J3ws do to countries is no laughing matter. Look at Bernanke or Goldman Sachs. They were destroying Germany in much the same way until they simply said “no” and quickly turned Germany in to a world superpower. We could do the same here if you would get over your perception Jews are somehow above reproach. Sounds like most already have. Just think how quickly we could turn things around if we weren’t paying “tribute” to Israel (for no good reason) and stopped fighting their wars for them in the Middle East! Gas prices would go down again and our economy would correct itself. Then we reject the J3w merchant’s BS of “Free Trade” and stop importing everything from elsewhere. All you have to do is stand up with your neighbors and say “no more!”

racerx April 26th, 2010 - 12:38 am

Oh my goodness.
How many more billions in
extortion will Israel
demand from us now because
of this joke?!

The Talmud itself teaches
Jews to steal from gentiles,
in no uncertain terms.

If someone is offended by the joke, first the person should
condemn the Talmudic teaching that appears to be the justification for some rather unsavory and bigoted behavior toward goyim by many Jews – then we can discuss the joke.

Jews don’t get to teach their children racial supremacy and that stealing from gentiles is ok – only to turnaround and accuse gentiles of being bigoted for objecting to being targeted as a goy and subsequently ripped off.

Brush up on your Talmud.

Sanhedrin 57a . A Jew need not pay a gentile the wages owed him for work.

Baba Mezia 24a . If a Jew finds an object lost by a gentile (“heathen”) it does not have to be returned.

Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile, there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.

Baba Kamma 37b. The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has “exposed their money to Israel.”

I've been asked to clarify - the Talmudic quotes are taken out of context and/or inaccurate.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Your Prayer Request to Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai on Lag B'Omer

b'Chasdei Hashem, with the kindness of Hashem, I'll be travelling to Meron and Tzfat (Safed) for Lag B'Omer.

It is a tremendous merit to send a kvittel, a prayer request, to the kever of Rashbi, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, on Lag B'Omer. If you'd like us to carry your kvittal (prayer request), pidyon nefesh (soul request), we'd be glad to do so.

Of course, charity is required to open the gates of prayer. Yet we will not judge what a worthy amount is, that's between you and heaven. We will accept ANY amount, $1.00 or $100.00, whatever you think is appropriate and you can afford. 100% of the profits will benefit Torah and Yeshiva learning.

We promise, G-d willing, to personally take and read your kivttal or pidyon at:

- The Kever of the Ari HaKodesh in Tzfat (Safed)
- The Kever of Rashbi, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron on Lag B'Omer
- and possibly others if they are accessible (given the traffic of the holiday)

Whatever our limited merit may be, we will rely on the merit of the special day to open the gates of heaven to your prayers and personally daven for you at the holy site on the holy day of Lag B'Omer.

We also will be providing pictures, video, and (possibly) live coverage (if people are interested given the time difference and donations are sufficient to motivate us to haul around the necessary equipment - please say if you're interested in comments below or in the comment on your donation - noting Lag B'Omer starts right after Shabbos putting live coverage of the night not a viewing option for religious Jews in the U.S.).

Donations will be supporting Yeshiva Yesh Ma L'asot and Yeshiva Nishmat Shlomo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Yes, There is Something To Do

Mystical Paths is VERY pleased to note our own Rabbi Nati opening his own yeshiva, synagogue, and charitable institution modeled after his mentor, HaRav Shalom Arush, shlita, targeted at the English speaking community in Israel and worldwide (by soon bringing the content of his yeshiva online).

If you're outside of Israel, check it out online at

If you're in Israel, check it out in (Ramat) Beit Shemesh (Alef), corner of Micha and Sorek.

Rabbi Nati, we wish you great success. We're supporting you and hope others will too!

Stop by and check it out!


The Past

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Questions on the Infinite:

We are told that no one can change his past. But, if, as you say, G-d is infinite, couldn't He make it so we could change our past? And wouldn't it be better if everyone could design their own 'World to Come' instead of each of us only just sitting in G-d's Presence wearing crowns on our heads?


Both of these questions really have the same answer.

G-d makes things so we can get the best out of life. But this comes only according to our effort. At first He made angels. But angels are rather boring. They do exactly as they are told. Sort of like spiritual machines. They do not have free will so they cannot earn rewards. We, on the other hand, do have free will, so we can determine our futures.

It is true that we cannot change the past. But we can change the results of the past. When we return to the ways of righteousness, not only out of lower-level fear, but with higher-level love, our past transgressions actually turn into merit.

Lower-level fear comes when we are afraid that someone or something is going to hurt us. Repenting at this level of fear is still at a very low, even selfish level.

Repenting with higher love means that we turn from our transgressions because we love G-d with all our hearts and we do not want to do anything that He does not like. While lower-level love says, "I love you. I want you to be mine." Higher-level love says, "I love you. What can I do to make you happy?" When we repent with this love our world turns upside down and the holes that our sins dug turn around and become mountains that we stand on.

As for an individually designed "World to Come," the analogy of us sitting with crowns on our heads is not as passive as you think. Those crowns mean that we are enjoying the revealed holiness of Hashem's presence in our "heads." That will be our experience. There can be no greater joy, not in this world, nor in the next. If man would be free to design his own World to Come, he would end up trying to get the same things in Heaven that he tried to find while he was here on Earth.

The Zionists or The Exile? - Part 2

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

(Part 2)

Israel has been tough on the Jewish people. Not Eretz Yisroel (G-d forbid), but Medinat Yisroel (the State of Israel). Every gadol b'Torah of 100 years ago opposed the zionists and the return to Israel because of the zionists.

The question is why, and has that changed?

This past Shabbos I sat next to a fellow chossid in shul. We were talking about Chabad mivtzoyim (where Chabad chassidim go out to a (in Israel) secular area (or outside Israel to a Jewish but not religious area) and offer a mitzvah, commonly to put on tefillin or something from the upcoming or current holiday (like going in a Succah during chol hamoed Succos).

He told me a little of his background..."I was a soccer player in (southern Israeli town). I grew up not only non-religious but anti-religious. My father was an ardent communist. Now his family from the old country was generations of chassidim. But the zionists (he spits the word as he says it) took him when he arrived alone as a teenager, put him on a secular zionist kibbutz (communist collective community) and sucked the yiddishkeit (Judaism) out of him."

The zionism of the founders of the State of Israel was anti-Judaism. They were out to create the new-Jew, who worked the land, defended himself with the strength of his arm, and built up his own country through his own efforts. The dusty tomes of the past were to be put away as history, the cowering in fear of the diaspora Jew an unpleasant memory of the past to be stepped beyond. Torah was obsolete and a reminder of a time of weakness, though perhaps of some limited cultural historical value.

The religious Jews that came to Israel in the 50's, 60's and even 70's had their yiddishkeit forcibly stripped from them. It was an active program (if not official certainly condoned) to place immigrants in isolated secular situations and force the children into anti-religious educational scenarios. And it worked. Unless an immigrant was arriving with a prepared religious destination (such as going to family in Jerusalem), they were in trouble.

Naturally the religious communities of Israel were not unaware of this. But they were small, poor, and had no political clout. They were struggling to keep schools within their communities functioning and without the secular influence that was doing so much damage to immigrants. They often snuck into the camps and aliyah areas where religious immigrants were being kept, and managed to extract a few children (to yeshiva) here and there - and occasionally a whole family. But it was a drop in the bucket.

While the new-Jew zionism didn't destroy the small religious communities of Israel, a few small yeshiva's in Tel Aviv (that later moved to Bnei Brak), a few chassidic groups in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the ancient religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem, the effectively ended Torah and Judaism in Israel except for perhaps some thousands in the tiny religious communities who spiritually walled themselves in.

But now we're a few generations later. What's the situation today?

The kibbutzim, the epitome and center of the socialistic communal new philosophy, failed as financial concerns. Their ideals did not translate to the 3rd generation, without the bald idealism the collective couldn't survive as such. The secular zionism of Israel also failed to transmit to the 3rd generation. The heavy communism and secular zionism of Israel faded away, leaving a vaguely defined hollowness (with many Israelis searching for meaning in the East after army service) and an anti-religious sentiment as it's legacy (anti-religious with no foundation or ideals behind it, just a general "we don't like them and their silly beliefs").

The religious sector has grown to a significant portion of the population (20% ultra-orthodox, 15% Israeli style modern orthodox [mizrachi]), and with it has come political influence. Religious environments, kashrut, eruvin, synagogues and yeshivot are in abundance.

In the past to come as a religious Jew to Israel was spiritually dangerous. The zionists really were out to get you. Today the religious community in the US sends their children to learn in Israel to save them.

But the memories of the past haven't faded. Just as the anti-religious sentiment (without a basis anymore) exists in some secular communities, in the religious communities the attitudes are embedded in those that saw what the zionists would do.

When the world changes, some people don't adjust. Some communities have long memories and the past heavily tinges their perception of the present. Communal memory is something Jews specialize in.

Israel still suffers from this cultural divide. And some groups outside Israel, such as the Satmar chassidim who's Rebbe warned of what the secular zionists were going to do, carry their past Rebbe's warning and the result as strong communal advice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The Zionists or The Exile? - Part 1

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A wonderful reader and commentor Neshama send me this question...

A comment was written to Rabbi Lazer Brody in response to an interview of him on Israel National Radio / Arutz Sheva...

Rabbi Lazer, I respectively disagree with your Torah and assesments on the Middle East. According to my beloved teachers - the 2 greatest students of the arizl: Mashiach ben Yosef will lead Israel out of golut after his wounds are healed (Isiah). Then the war of Gog u Magog will take place.

I am a non zionist and I believe the zionists are erev rav and worse than idolaters - as my beloved teacher the Gra (the Vilna Gaon) warns. Edom is the issue, not Ishmael! Islam is monotheistic, Ishmael did tshuvah while Edom won't according to some.

The Jewish soul has been destroyed in Israel and the West by Xtianity and it's values! The erev rav walks hand in hand with Xtianity and its values. We need Mashiach HaRishon, not the erev rav and Edom and Amalek.

I respect you as a man of trust but I can't agree with you. I'm worried about the words of Achmedenijad and fear for Tel Aviv. I beg Hashem to return us to him, at least a little bit, and to have mercy on us!"

Is this what the majority of the frum & chassidishe yidden believe? I believe they are selectively quoting the Gra to support their beliefs. The Gaon was very much for yidden to make their way back to our homeland, as he desperately wanted to be there.

When the Gra wrote about the erev rav, I believe he intimated that some of them will be wearing frum clothing, building shuls, making a name for themselves, etc. Yet the Gedolim for many generations were were for our returning to Eretz HaKodesh. Today we find some of the present Rabbis that are reinforcing their constituents questions of insecurity, using the 'parnassa' issue to keep them in their current communities outside of Israel.

It reminds me (without real verifiable evidence, only hearsay) of all the yidden being told to "stay put" in Europe and not to go with the "zionists" to Israel (even if it meant saving lives). Similarly when some chassidim were 'kept in Russia' and warned about going along with the Napolean-freedom movement where they ended up mostly losing their yiddishkeit, dulling their sense of spirituality, dying and assimilating into the Russian winters; while the leftover French Jews are making aliya in droves, have kept a relationship with Judaism, and have thrived in France.

The fear of the challenges of the unknown are holding back so many; is it the "original Tisha B'Av" all over again?

How could anyone fail to understand that Eretz HaKodesh is breathing, growing flowers, children, homes, and food for Hashem's children ......... and she is in the headlines every day, and as you say, prophecies unfolding before our very eyes.

Do you hear what I'm saying?

--- My response in the forthcoming Part 2.

Know Your Personal Rights (in the US)

Off topic from this blog, but very valuable information. Know your rights when interacting with authorities in the US...


Monday, April 19, 2010

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Israel Memorial Day at the Kotel

Photo by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

In memory of those who gave their lives to defend the Jewish people and the Land of Israel...


Can You Ignore It?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

If I choose to march through the streets of my U.S. city next week with a sign that says...

STERILIZE ALL ( Black or Hispanic or Asian or Catholics or Same-Gender Folks)

I'd go to jail. I'd be investigated for hate crimes. My racism would be FRONT PAGE NEWS. My family would be impinged, my community would carry a stain upon it. America of this time has done a good job decreasing racisim, sexism, ethnicity bias to a small wacko-edge.

Yet somehow the following is OK in America. Today it's become acceptable to (Los Angeles, March 2010)

Draw your own conclusions.

(Photo's from Ringo's Pictures. NOT ALL PHOTOS modest on this link.)

Just Boom

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

We are so jaded and disconnected we don't even realize it. We are surrounded by a circle of man made supports, flimsy and highly dependent on their interconnected structure. But we've grown up this way, we don't see it for what it is.

Children know where food comes from...the grocery store. Oh, they learn in some abstract way there's a farm behind the process somewhere. But rain is not an issue, there's irrigation. Seasons are not an issue, ship fresh tomatoes from Israel into northern Europe in the winter (or from Chile into the United States in winter). We don't meet our meat anymore, it's slaughtered, butchered, sanitized, sterilized, and packaged in plastic.

We even have the nerve to think that we're personally warming the planet.

In the past 2 months the world has seen MAJOR EARTHQUAKE, major earthquake, Major Earthquake. But let's face it, we're not shocked by buildings collapsing in the 3rd world. Or in South America or remote areas of China. Certainly if they built like modern people they wouldn't have a problem. {intentional demonstration of chutzpah / ego}

But a volcano...simply wow. And a volcano that has paralyzed Europe (at least most air travel in and out of Europe). Well, Europe is like the 1st world. Mankind has been laid low by the forces of nature. Just the finger of Hashem, and disruption like we haven't seen in our lifetimes.

Yet even then it takes a bit of an adult understanding to break through. My children want to know "why can't we just turn it off (or depending on the age and gender of the child, bomb it, change the wind direction, or filter the bad stuff out of the air over Europe). So jaded by books, movies, stories of the modern age that they probably don't quite understand why a Jedi can't take care of it for us.

The awesome power of nature, the finger of G-d, shuts down a major function of modern society IN A DAY...and most of us are like "oh, yeah, wow, umm this news is getting boring could you change the channel already?"

Just boom, no warning, no planning, yesterday we could travel in a few hours around the part of the world is behind a curtain of ash and can only be accessed in days or even weeks.

There are two messages in this event. The first and most important, G-d still runs the world. We may in our chutzpah think otherwise, but then we think wrong.

The second is, things can and do change literally overnight. Big things. Huge things. This week we learned fast travel can disappear in a few hours, and be blocked for days to weeks to months or even years.

Lessons to keep in mind as we inch closer to the Geulah (may it be today!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The One and Only

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

There is a lot of confusion regarding the concept of "infinite." For instance, most people believe that numbers are infinite. But numbers are endless in only two directions. They increase and decrease "forever," without end, but their endlessness only goes up and down. If "infinite" really means "endless," or "boundless," then numbers do not fit this definition.

The common symbol for "infinite" has the same problem. It goes on and on, even forever, but only on its one track.

The definition of infinite that we want is truly boundless. For something to be truly boundless, it must be endless in all directions, not just up and down or just on a single track. If something is really endless in all directions, then it is the true infinite. To qualify as boundless, It has to be all. There can be only one such infinite. If there were two of them, neither one would be really boundless.

This subject came up the other day with a professor of mathematics. When I tried to explain why numbers are not really infinite, it rubbed his scientific principles the wrong way.

"Well, if you want to say that, then no single aspect of G-d is infinite, either," he countered. He meant, when you address G-d as the Creator, you are addressing only one aspect of G-d. Therefore, this aspect is not infinite. So, according to him, "G-d the Creator" is not infinite.

Do you understand his argument? We say that G-d has many aspects. For instance, He is the Creator, the Father, the King, the Judge, and on and on. The professor was suggesting that since none of these aspects include all of His other aspects, none of these are truly infinite.

Here is his mistake. When we address an aspect of G-d, we are not affecting a distinction in G-d. G-d is unchanged whether we call Him Father or Creator. The only change is in the way that we are considering Him. G-d is still entirely Infinite, no matter what aspect we address. The limitation that we are addressing is only in our mind, i.e. from our point of view.

If I call you a person, an American, or a male, you have not divided yourself into 3 entities. You are still the one you are. I am merely addressing your different characteristics. When I identify different aspects or characteristics of you the changes happen in my mind, not in you.

There are tremendous benefits that come from truly understanding this concept and taking it to heart. For instance, when you really know that G-d is boundless, you can whisper as softly as you like, and you have no doubt that He hears you.

What a comfort it brings to know that you can never separate yourself from G-d. When the Sages suggest that our sins separate us from G-d, they mean that sins put a barrier between us and our awareness of G-d. It is impossible to separate from the Infinite. Where could you possibly go and be away from It?

Friday, April 16, 2010


Counting - Part 1

by Reb Nati at Mystical Paths

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev taught, the 49 days of Sefirat Ha'Omer correspond to the 49 gates of teshuvah. These 49 Gates, in turn, correspond to the 49 letters which make up the names of the 12 tribes of Am Israel. Thus, each tribe has individual gates for each of it's members, so that everyone can return to Hashem through his own gate.

Then there is the 50th Gate, the highest gate: SHAVOUT. This gate is, as it were, the TESHVUAH, "The Return", of Hashem.

The way for a person to come to his individual gate is through the Tehillim. Thus, during the 49 days of Sefirah as well as on all other days of repentance i.e. the month of Elul, Rosh Hashannah, etc, we should recite Psalms. This will bring us to our gate of repentance. And by achieving this, we will merit purity and coming back to Hashem.

That these days are a most amenable time for reciting Psalms and repenting can be learned from the begining of the book of Shemos. The verse reads, "these are the names of the children of Israel who went down to Egypt; each man and his wife, they came." In Hebrew the last letters of these words make up the words Tehillim and Teshuvah. The verses which follow then list the names of the Tribes (their 49 letters). They correspond to the 49 days of Sefirah, corresponding to the 49 Gates of Teshuvah. (Likutey Moharan II, 73).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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Things Do Not Always Go The Way You Think They Should

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

When we see something in the Torah that doesn't seem to make sense, it is a sign that we must look deeper. Indeed, there are a lot of things in the world that do not seem to make sense, but then, when we search, we find a very good reason for them.

The Torah explains how, early in the morning, the on-duty kohen (priest) would unlock the gate to the Sanctuary. Next to the locked gate there was a small hole in the wall. With the key in his hand, he would reach into that hole, all the way up to his armpit. He would then unlock the lock that was on the other side of the gate! [i]

Now, that doesn't seem to make any sense at all. It's backwards! Why in the world would the Designer of All have made such an apparent mistake? You do not design a lock that has to be opened by reaching through a hole in a wall to get to the lock that opens from the other side. But since G-d told us to make it that way, there must be a good reason for it.

Here we have the explanation to one of the greatest mystical questions of all. How do I open the upper gate to holiness? Here, in the Temple, we see that the Gate of Holiness opens from the inside. It opens from the upper to the lower. We have to do all that we can in order to open that door, but it is only G-d's kindness from the Inside that finally unlocks the lock. We have to take the proper actions in order to come to it, but that wonderful gate to the innermost spiritual world opens from the Higher to the lower.

[i] Gemora Tamid 30b
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Free Acapella CD from Avraham Fried

Not really to my taste (and normally I love Avraham Fried), but hey something to listen to on Sefiras HaOmer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Why Is It So Hard???

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A commentor wrote, "I'm not sure why HaShem gives people wings and then clips them, so they can't fly. I suppose there's some greater lesson to be learned in that, but it sure is frustrating to have dreams and ZERO means and wherewithal to make them come true."

The Lubavticher Rebbe speaks of this extensively in the sicha of yud-alef Nissan, 5732. I cannot do justice to a 10 page talk in a brief blog post, but maybe I can get a bit of the point across...

We want to give our children everything. With full parental goodness, we want to fill their lives with everything wonderful. A beautiful place to live, toys and games, experts to care for them, places to go and things to do, wonderful food to eat, money in their pockets to buy what they wish. And friends, friends to fill their lives. And purpose, important meaning to fill their lives. And a sense of self and value.

But wait, we can't give those last three. We can't buy them, we can't gift them. Not only that, to give them we must take away much of the other things!

To stand before Hashem without burning in shame for having no value - for having been given everything we have no independent value of our own. We were created and given life. How can we 'bask in the presence of the Shechina' in the next world and receive any benefit rather than just shame???

Hashem gives us a way, a path to be a partner in the dynamic of creation...

We must struggle. Struggle to survive, struggle to earn resources by the sweat of our brow. And then, we're expected to give some of it away! To help others! To give, as Hashem gives. But if we give what we haven't earned, there's no value! No effort! No, we must give what we worked hard for. Money, time, Torah.

To stand in the next world we must struggle to earn it, then give it away. Then we are partners with Hashem.

Why is it so hard? Because then it's truly of value. We truly earn it, and truly feel it when we give it.

Further, many capabilities and attributes are only developed through pressure. As they say in the gym, no pain no gain. Skills take time and effort to develop. The paths, or rather the blockages in life, give us the reason to develop them. Sometimes intense events, really hard life events, lead us to develop abilities, traits, and skills that we never would have developed otherwise. These HARD WON and HARD WORKED skills take us much farther that we would ever have developed under normal circumstances.

For a bird, clipped wings are the end - never to be a whole bird again. For a person, it can be a wall blocking the way or a wall to be struggled to climb over and pass beyond.

Very hard, yes. But ZERO possibility, no. And further, in struggling to do so we may also be lead by the Divine hand in new and better directions for us as well.

There may be no Breslev shtetl garden community, but there are pockets of Breslevers throughout Israel spreading the tools of Rebbe Nachman in reaching towards Hashem. Similarly the Lubavitcher Rebbe send his chassidim out from their shtetl to reach out and bring every Jewish community throughout the world closer to Hashem and Torah.

As an individual (chossid), a shtetl is more supportive for personal development. But spreading out is much better for the Jewish people.

Do I focus only on my personal development, or do I give and become a (very very minor) partner with the Creator?

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe giving the talk of Yud-Alef Nissan, 5732, starting by announcing that with turning 70 instead of considering retiring he intends to do even more, starting by demanding the chassidim build 71 new Chabad centers!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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Hitchazkut for Sefirat HaOmer

Guest Post by Reb Meir of Yeshivat Yesh Ma L'asot

There is a story told of a village in Hungary before the end of World War II where the Nazi (y"m) officers were more concerned with winning the war against the Russians and the Allies than with killing Jews. The Nazis approached the Rav of the village with an offer to save the lives of the Jewish community from extermination in exchange for money to buy ammunition. They gave him one week to come up with the money (an enormous sum). The rav, with superhuman efforts made contact with Jewish agencies outside of Hungary who miraculously came up with the sum and secretly smuggled it into Hungary reaching the rav's hands before the deadline set by the Nazis.

Before they came back the rav found out that these specific Nazi officers were extremely corrupt and were planning to take the money and still exterminate the Jewish community. When they arrived at the rav's house the rav was standing next to the home-fire (it was winter time) with the whole bundle of cash in his hands burning it. He then said to the Nazis: "Not only do you want to kill us, but you want us to pay you for it???!!!"

One point that comes out of this story is that the yetzer hara (the evil inclination) tells us - convinces us - in the same way. He literally wants to "kill us" and have us agree to his doing so. He convinces a person to begin slacking in his Avodat Hashem, his holy desire and yearning, with all types of rationalizations. This is the acceptable norm, or "you're getting older now" or "just be like everybody else, why must you stick out" and the like.

No!!! Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says "don't give in to the yetzer hara! Not even an inch!" You are entitled and worthy of fulfilling your potential and yearning to be a better Jew. Why must you bend and settle for anything less. Why should the difficulties of life have the upper hand in determining your spiritual development? If there is free will at every level in life then you ARE entitled to choose which direction you would like to, and will, follow.

The Rebbe says "daven!" Keep it up and don't stop. To this Reb Noson of Breslev adds that the person didn't daven at all or not enough. Nothing else. You just have to be stubborn and consistent in your search for revealing the real truth of your reality and daven with all your heart.

With the sefirah count we make a statement to Hashem that "every day counts!" Every day is a day and it makes a difference in our spiritual growth no matter how dead or low or meaningless. It is still a day in the countdown to receiving the Torah.

So keep up the countdown and hatzlacha rabba (great success!)

Monday, April 12, 2010


All About the State of Israel

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

We received this really interesting comment...

Okay, and today I read about the issue of the planned desalination plant in Ashdod. I really don't understand this whole socialist water company thing. Is that sort of infrastructure industry keep out of the hands of private companies? I really don't understand how anything works in Israel. The technology is there to terraform the desert into Gan Eden. So, why is the desert still a desert in so many places? Are there Orthodox kibbutzim? Do the Breslov have farmers and ranchers? Do they have communities out in the country or is everyone forced to find homes and jobs where they can here-and-there in various cities? Can one own land and/or a house? Are there even plans to build a self-sufficient Breslover community or does such a thing already exist? Is it a lack of funds or government red-tape or is there a bias against letting the Orthodox do anything except study? If the Breslov had the funds and wanted to settle the Uvda Valley and farm it, could they? Clue us in, okay? I'd really like to understand how things work there, especially among the Breslov and other Hasidim.

So here it is, all about Israel while standing on one leg...

A. Water company. Israel has one national water company, Mekorot. They've done amazing things in creating a national water infrastructure, and continue to work to fulfill Israel's growing water needs. Given that they are a government company, efficiency is not their keyword. Yet, water network is one of those services that tends to be a money loser and require central planning - meaning it fits government control pretty well.

B. Desert a desert. First, not so many people want to live in a desert environment. Even if there's some (watered) green, it's still very hot and dusty. Second, it takes a LOT of water to turn the desert green. Israel does NOT have plentiful natural water supplies. It's a semi-arid country with seasonal (only) rainfall.

C. Orthodox kibbutzim. This is somewhat of an oxymoron. Kibbutzim started with a firm communist ideology, both in collective work and socialization. The kibbutzim were extremely anti-religious environments. Most kibbutzim have collapsed as collective concerns and sold off their property. Others turned into small towns. A few remain as communal corporations with shares.

D. Breslov farms/ranchers. Historically Jews in Eastern Europe were forbidden from working the land, leaving the Jewish people with no farming or ranching skills. Religious Jews arriving in Israel that went to kibbutzim had their religiosity removed. Those that didn't go to kibbutzim congregated in Jerusalem or other cities. Hence, there are no Breslov farmers or ranchers. Exception: in more recent times a few special guys here or there in the Tzfat (Safed) area and/or the Golan area may have a couple of private (often organic) farm or ranch situations.

E. Communities. Many small towns in Israel have a particular ethnic and religious flavor (with many original immigrants from the same country). Cities tend to have religious neighborhoods of various types (chassidic, not chassidic, different types of chassidic, etc). There are some religious cities and towns that are majority or almost exclusively religious. Similarly Israel has richer cities and towns, and poorer cities and towns.

F. Land ownership. In Israel there is private land, State land, and Fund land. Private land is private and subject to buying and selling like property anywhere, but is a small percentage of available land/property. State land (land previously owned or controlled by the Ottoman Empire/Sultan, taken by the British after World War I, and taken control of by Israel after the War of Independence) may be "rented" for 99 years (with perpetual renewal) for a purchase-equivalent price. Fund land is the Jewish National Fund, where Jewish people around the world donated money for the last 200 years or so to buy up the Land of Israel (and is around 30% of the land). Fund land is released for public works projects and sometimes regional development, is subjected to being "rented" like State land, and may be subject to additional restrictions.

G. Self-sufficient Breslover community. What's a self sufficient community in this day and age? That said, there are some communities that are rather new-agey organic gardening music playing close to nature religious with some Breslov-ness (Bat Ayin comes to mind).

H. Lack of funds. Breslov chassidim have a history of being the poorest of chassidic groups. Speaking of which, our own Rabbi Nati is starting a special Breslov oriented yeshiva in Ramat Beit Shemesh and could use some support. You can support him here or learn more about it on the Facebook page.

I. Uvda Valley. Desert, NO WATER, almost no rainfall, out of range of the national water carrier. You'd have to build a desalinization plant and pipe it up from Eilat. Not feasible.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Holocaust Memorial Day 2010 - "Please Forgive Me"

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

I was standing by the entrance to the Kotel yesterday when a non-Jewish man and his young son walked up to me. I asked him where he was from. He said, "Germany."

I can't help it. Whenever someone tells me that they are from Germany, my blood goes cold. I feel my face drop and my jaw stiffen. I want to be civil, and rarely do I ever meet a German who is old enough to have participated in that unspeakable torture and mass murder of millions of innocent people, but still, when I hear that word, I have to hide my feelings.

He took a step closer. He said, "Please forgive me for the horrible things that my people did." He started to cry. His son looked up at him and showed sincere sadness.

"I can't forgive you for something that you did to someone else. You have to ask them. But how old are you?"

"Fifty-eight," he answered.

"You weren't even there. You weren't even in the world then! What did you do?" I asked.

"It was my people who did it." His bottom lip was shaking.

I said, "I cannot forgive you, but if you want forgiveness for your people, then at least work to reverse what that evil nation tried to do. They tried to destroy the Jewish People. You should try to help Jews to increase. You can work to prevent Jewish intermarriage. You can help any Jewish survivor you find. You can speak out against anti-Semitism. These things won't change what happened, but they will show that you are sincere and that you really want to help."

I couldn't bring myself to feel sorry for the man. He wasn't even in the world when it happened, and he seemed totally honest, but that dark hell, what they did, is still vivid, etched in my mind.

The Lubavacher Rebbe said, "There is no sign that those people [the German people] have changed."

Maybe… maybe, some of them are starting to change, now?

Gasp Gag Cough

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Recently the IDF announced they're re-distributing the Gas Mask / Chemical Warfare protection kits (updated model) that they had distributed to all citizens in Israel around 12 years ago. Today I know why...

Tel Aviv, today.

No, that's not fog. It's not smog, though the effects on breathing are similar. It's a desert dust storm blown up from the Sinai desert...

I wish I had a gas mask with me. Choke. Cough. Gasp.

A loud HINT

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

We've learned a few hard lessons about Moshiach hype here at Mystical Paths. There's been lots of hints, world events that could possibly line up with words of the navi'im (biblical prophets), midrashim, prophetic entries in the Gemora, Zohar, Yalkut Shimoni (a book of compiled prophecies from many sources), and words of modern day mekubalim. Yet with all those hints Hashem has shown a special kindness.

Things are moving slowly and quickly. (The long shorter way?) There's a little detectable build up, a major shift...and then things stabilize in the situation for a while. This is a big chesed min HaShamayim (a kindness from Heaven) as it gives us time to adjust, react and (most important) act.

We will have been like dreamers. The world of the near past, barely yesterday, is already a dream. I try to describe to my children the Soviet Union and the United States with the Cold War and they can't relate. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the (relatively) bloodless crumbling of the Soviet Empire, doesn't mean much to them. 9/11, they were young school children who could see the smoke rising in the distance - a childhood memory they don't understand the impact thereof. Israel leaving Gaza, the World Financial Crisis, the election of Obama and the complete shift of America.

We await that great day, the coming of Moshiach Tzidkaynu and the complete Geulah. The prophecies are our roadmap, indicators of events to happen and for which to prepare. We are not the wise to know exactly which have occurred, whether they will occur at once or be spread over 3 generations, occur in a bloodless (but nonetheless painful) fashion. But we can sometimes notice events that are EXACTLY on prophetic target.

Today we found one... (Pulled from several sources by Daled Amos)

Reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times this week said former U.S. national security advisers Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Sandy Berger met with Jones in the White House last month and recommended that the U.S. advance stalled peace talks by proposing its own peace proposal. President Barack Obama attended part of the meeting and listened to the proposal, the reports said.

Only a bold and dramatic gesture in a historically significant setting can generate the political and psychological momentum needed for a major breakthrough. Anwar Sadat's courageous journey to Jerusalem three decades ago accomplished just that, paving the way for the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt.

Similarly, President Obama should travel to the Knesset in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah to call upon both sides to negotiate a final status agreement based on a specific framework for peace. He should do so in the company of Arab leaders and members of the Quartet, the diplomatic grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations that is involved in the peace process. A subsequent speech by Obama in Jerusalem's Old City, addressed to all the people in the region and evocative of his Cairo speech to the Muslim world in June 2009, could be the culminating event in this journey for peace.

Finally, for Obama himself, such a move would be a diplomatic and political triumph. Bringing Arab leaders and the Quartet with him to Jerusalem and Ramallah to endorse his plan would be seen as a powerful example of leadership in coping with the protracted conflict. Since it is inconceivable that the Israeli government would refuse Obama's offer to bring Arab leaders and the Quartet to its capital, most of the American friends of Israel could be expected to welcome the move as well.

This is a senior policy recommendation to President Obama. It's not an event (yet), just a proposal. But this is a proposal that reads RIGHT OUT OF THE NAVI'IM. Keep your eyes on this one. It's the kind of thing that plays to Obama's preferences and fits a large SERIES of prophecies.

That this is even being put on the table is ONE LOUD HINT. It (that great day) may not be tomorrow (G-d forbid), but we seem to be living times right out of the navi'im - so it must (please G-d!) be close.

Friday, April 09, 2010


Email Chain: Remember

I received this by email. Whether the quote is true or not, the sentiment is...

Growing up after World War II, when I was a kid I couldn't understand why Eisenhower was so popular. Maybe this will explain why...

General Eisenhower warned us. It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect:

'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses -because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.'

This week, the UK debated whether to remove the Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the,6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated while the German people looked the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran among others claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.


Thursday, April 08, 2010


You Better Be Happy…Or Else!

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

When a person dies their soul leaves their body. It is a liberating experience. The soul is no longer limited to the body. Actually, the soul does not die, the body dies.

When the soul travels back up to the entirely spiritual realm, one of the first things that happens is that it hears a bas kol (a voice from the Higher Heaven.) The Heavenly voice asks the soul, "Did you enjoy My world while you were there?"

If the soul answers, as many do, "What, are you nuts? That place is a madhouse. Why it's filled with murder, wars, cruelty ... how could you even ask such a question?"

That soul will have to come back to this lower world again, back to the same place (emotionally) that it was when it left its body. It will have to do this again and again until it figures out what its Creator wants from it.

Yes, the Torah teaches reincarnation, and yes, G-d wants us to have a good time.

Not only do the mystical books of Torah, the Kabalah and such, teach reincarnation, even the books of the literal law discuss it. Look in the explanations of the Torah's laws outlined in the Mishna Brurah. There, where it discusses the laws of Yom Kippur afternoon, there is a story of a man who refuses to repent. Everyone else is trying to repent before the gate of acceptance closes, but this man says, "I am so used to sinning that I am going to keep on sinning, and worse comes to worse, G-d will come and kill me."[i] The commentator there explains, "This man must repent, or he will have to come back to this world again and again until he does repent."

From this we learn that what we did in the past made us into what we are today. It also shows that our actions today will determine who and what we will be in the future.

All fathers, (and all the more so, our Heavenly Father), want their children to be happy. That is the very reason He put us here in the first place. He created a world of choice. He gives us a gorgeous world of opportunity, a Garden, and He also gives us a world of hell. We choose which world we live in.

When we count our blessings, we move into the Garden. When we dwell on the things that are wrong, we move out of the Garden and into the world of hard and sweaty work.[ii] Either way, it is the one world. We just live in it the way we choose.

[i] See Be'er Hateyv
[ii] Gensisis 3:19

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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We Will Do

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Na'a'se v'Nishma, we will do and we will understand. The significance of this declaration (made at Har Sinai) was that the Jewish people put "we will do" before "we will understand", implying that hey were committed to the Torah on a level independent of whether they understood or agreed with it. They would make every effort to understand it, as that too is what G-d wants.

But under no circumstances would "we will do" be dependent on "we will understand".

--Maamar Chayav Inash Livsumei, Torah Or/Likkutei Torah, The Baal HaTanya / Alter Rebbe of Chabad
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Have You Thought About Israel or Jerusalem Today?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

(OMG, another pro-Israel pro-Aliyah article, argh. ...Maybe not, read on.)

Have you thought about Israel or Jerusalem today? "Why would I" you ask?

You have a choice. You can strive for the connection to Israel, the increased holiness of Israel and even more so of Jerusalem. This is a daily part of Judaism, in the thrice daily prayers, in the blessings after a meal, what we remember at every wedding and (try to) include at every funeral. What we point out (physically) as we dedicate every new home (or should per the Shulchan Aruch).

Perhaps you think it's too distant, it's not part of your life, not part of your goals. The words are there in your tefilot (prayers), but how can you - born and raised in the US, or England, or France, South Africa, Australia, etc, how can you be expected to relate to a foreign land, a foreign culture, a foreign people?

Yet it seems we're not being given much choice. If you're Jewish, you ARE going to be involved with Israel. The choice that remains is how.

Will your involvement be listening to world leaders attack Israel weekly? Will your involvement be almost daily HEADLINE anti-Israel reports? Will you wonder what's the big deal about Israel where reports of the action of one lone soldier or one single house foundation rate above war reports, genocide reports, revolutions, protests, natural and environmental disasters?

You have a choice. Be involved with Israel, or join the protest against Israel. But ignore Israel? If Judaism isn't enough, and if the bible isn't enough, the headline news seems determined to make sure it will be in your face.

...And that's not an accident.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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Classes Announcement

by Rabbi Nati at Mystical Paths

Chasdei Hashem, I am pleased to announce the start of an English speaking Yeshiva program for men in Ramat Beit Shemesh (Alef), Israel. G-d willing, we'll be able to integrate this into an online experience as well.

This coming Rosh Chodesh we are making a seudah and starting our program.

We'll start on Wednesday, April 14 with an open house, seudah, davening, and our first shiur with Rav Don Chananen.

The is will be, G-d willing, as follows:

9:00 - 1:00 Shiur Halacha Issur V'Cheter, Chalav V'Basar
1:00 Mincha (Gedolah) and lunch.
2:00 - 4:00 Shiur Gemora Makos.

Evening shiurim to be announced, but G-d willing including Shalom Beit, Chassidut, an the Emunah Life Style.

To join us or for more info, email me at

Sunday, April 04, 2010

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My Family Subject to a War Crime

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

On Thursday, April 1, 2010 my family, comprised of a group of unarmed civilians (including women and children), was attacked by a war event launched from Gaza. We were located in Israel, in the Ashkelon beach area, visiting the Caananite Fortress of Ashkelon - the oldest arched city gate in the world (a site of World Heritage).

We were not within 5 kilometers of any military site, nor within 3 kilometers of any major industrial site. We were in a purely civilian area, a park. During this time a Kassam rocket was launched from the Gaza strip that struck this area.

The intentional targeting of civilians during a war is a war crime. The intentional targeting of civilians during a non-war is a causus belli for the legal imposition of war.

On behalf of myself and my family, I am requesting the United Nations, UNESCO (the United Nations Word Heritage Centre), and the UN Security Council, to immediately investigate this war crime, issue a report and then warrants for the arrest of the perpetrators.

If such an investigation were to find that there is not a "state of war" situation, then I am asking that the United Nations Security Council acknowledge the State of Israel has a causus belli for declaring war upon the acting regime of the Gaza Strip.

I await the involvement of prominent international jurists to undertake the investigation.

This is not a joke. I have attempted to find how to file such a war crimes report to the United Nations, but so far have not found a facility for doing so.

I mentioned this to someone on Shabbos, who responded "You must have been terrified." No, I am angry. Angry as there was NO military purpose in their attack. This was a DIRECT attempt to kill innocent civilians, men, women, and children. It was not targeting military infrastructure, or soldiers, or economic / manufacturing infrastructure. It was targeting Jewish children.

Well United Nations, will you stand up and listen?

Below are pictures from the site during our visit, showing the purely civilian area and heritage site.

Ashkelon beach state park.

The Caanite mud-brick city gate, oldest such in the world. (Supporting structures added as it was uncovered.)

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