Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Three Ways of Righteousness

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

image001 (5)Those of you who read my book, Coming Back to Earth, might recall the time when the neighboring Arabs charged a group of Jews, wielding pool cues as clubs. I heard the noise from my window and ran outside to help. I ended up with my hand in a cast.

     Like all things, the cast gave me a unique opportunity to learn something. When I went to the Kotel, three outstanding men asked me the obvious question, “What happened?” When they heard my answer, each of them reacted in an entirely different way.

    Of course, what I am writing here is a generalization. I am not implying that it is an across the board, absolute description of these three kinds of Jews. But still, we can see how each path leads its followers.

     The first to ask was a rabbi who typified the Litvak, (Lithuanian), yeshivish (yeshiva) type lifestyle. This generally means anAshkenazi (European Jew) who spends most of his time involved in the intellectual, analytical aspects of learning, and living, Torah.

     It went like this; the Litvak rabbi saw me and asked, “What happened?”

     I answered, “Oh, the Arabs broke my thumb with a club.”

     He looked at me and most sincerely said, “May Hashem heal you completely.”

     I said, “Thank you.”

     Next, a Sephardi rabbi came up to me. Sephardim generally exemplify the emotional side of life, much more than the intellectual aspects.

     It went like this; He asked, “What happened?”

     I answered, “Oh, the Arabs broke my thumb with a club.”

     He looked at me, and with a genuine look of compassion, he put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me toward him. He was sincerely trying to comfort me. As he hugged me, he said, “Aw!”

     I looked at him with a big smile on my face.

     Next, a Chassidic rabbi came up. Chassidim usually dwell in the more mystical, reaching out to G-d aspects of Torah. It went like this; “What happened?”

     I answered, “Oh, the Arabs broke my thumb with a club.”

     A truly painful expression came over his face. He winced and cried out, “Ow! Oye! Hashem heal you.” He seemed to be in actual pain.

     I looked at him, and I remembered some of the other great Chassidim I have met.

     These three men were all righteous Jews. No one would dare say that one of them was more righteous than the next. None of them stopped and thought, “How should I react to Gutman’s answer?” They reacted automatically, as a product of their learning. Each reaction typified that particular derech Hashem (way of knowing G-d).

     We all study the same books, but each school of thought stresses a different perspective -- the intellectual-- the emotional-- and the Chassidic.


  1. how do you dare say any man is rightous in hashems eyes so easily ? do you know there reincarnations ? israel is in a spirituasl holocaust have they moved to stop it ? did they listen to kahane tzedek or there rebbes 30 yeears ago when he warned us like a prophet of yore all that would befall us AND IT HAS !

  2. A man has good things happen to him and thanks his fellow for ahavas yisroel...and you condemn it? You are the one with the problem, not the author!

  3. We are commanded over and over and over again to judge our brother favorably. The way we judge our brother is the way we are inviting Hashem to judge us - mida kneged mida. You want to scrutinize a fellow Jew for fault before you can say a kind thing about him and blame him for Israel being in a spiritual Holocaust? That's quite a leap, and a dangerous one at that.

  4. Rabbi, I feel terrible that you had to endure a beating from an Arab. Lo' aleinu, v'lo aleichem. I am inspired by your courage to use this negative experience to encourage others to feel compassion for their fellow Jew. Kol HaKavod!

  5. Get well soon, Rabbi!


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