Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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Have a Happy Purim!


Did you see this short video yet?
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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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Adar - Increasing Joy

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

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Merciful Righteousness

   
   by Reb Gutman Locks   
      

Merciful Righteousness

 

     Before the order of morning prayers one of the things we ask is for Hashem to bestow upon us forever His merciful righteousness.[i] But there seems to be a contradiction here. Mercy comes to take away judgement and instead shows compassion, forgiveness, and not what we actually deserve. Judgment, is on the other side of the scale. Judgement is accurate, fair, exactly what we deserve.

     So how can there be both mercy and judgement at the same time? When man judges, mercy and righteous judgement conflict. But when the Judge is called "The Merciful One," then even His strictest judgements are filled with mercy… or else who could survive?



[i] Ana bekoach

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

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Hashem’s Wondrous Creation

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Hashem's Wondrous Creation

 

     Outside my door this morning…the original motor-home...this RV is not merely a Recreational Vehicle, it's a Residential Vehicle. The snail takes his house with him wherever he goes. How fast can it go? The Garden snail has been clocked as fast as 50 yards an hour. Pretty good for such a small RV.

 


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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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What Do the Words Mean?

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
    

What Do the Words Mean?

 

     We say certain blessings many times a day throughout our entire lives, but often many of us do not understand what the words mean! If we do not know what the words mean there is no way we can get the practical benefit of saying them. The blessings were given to us so we can elevate our consciousness, but if we do not even know the literal, simple meaning of the words then there is no way for us to receive that elevation.

     This blessing, in particular, is misunderstood by most who say it. In fact, until some thirty years ago the Hebrew-English prayer books had it translated wrong!  

     See how you translate the ending before you read its correct translation. It is the ending of the after-blessing for consuming certain foods and drinks.

    "…borei nefashot rabot v'chesronan al kol ma she'barata l'hachayot bahem nefesh kol chai baruch chei ha'olamim."

 

    It does not mean, Blessed is the One Who lives forever. Nor does it mean, Blessed is the One Who gives life to the world.

     The proper translation is, "Blessed is the (One) Life in all the Worlds".

     We live as if there is one world and many lives. The Torah teaches us that there are many Worlds, such as This World and The World to Come, but in all the worlds there is only One Life. Hashem is the Life that is living in all of us… and He is One.   

     Now try to see how this concept relates to you in your daily life.

 

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

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Prayer…Talking to G-d

  
   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Prayer…Talking to G-d

 

     Directing your heart to Heaven is an essential aspect of all service to Hashem. The Temple sacrifices were considered a pleasant aroma to Hashem only when the one offering the sacrifice directed his heart to Heaven.

     How should we do this? We should speak to Hashem knowing that He is everywhere… He is even in our very breath. We should remember that His essence fills and surrounds all of us… that He is our G-d, and He is our loving Father.

     Talk to Him with all the love and devotion you have for Him. Speak softly, lovingly, thanking Him and praising Him. Tell Him that you want your life to be pleasing to Him. Then list the individual things that you request of Him… say, "Thank You," and then go fulfill your words...live a life that is pleasing to Hashem.

 


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

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Getting Drunk on Purim



by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths


On Purim we have two customs that we do not have on any other day of
the year; we wear costumes and the men get drunk. What do these customs have to
do with the Holiday of Purim? Can getting drunk have a spiritual purpose?
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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More on Screaming Out Loud


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

More on Screaming Out Loud

 

     My article on screaming at the Kotel drew many negative comments. It seems to me that those who disagree with me do so because they do not understand what is happening. But rather than have me try to convince you that prayer should be personal and not disturbing, here is part of an article quoting Breslov sources. Breslov Chassidim are known to pray loudly yet see what they say here.

    "Why do you cry out to Me?" (Shemot 14:15)

"The apparent meaning of the above passage is that Hashem is telling Moshe that this is not the time for prayer, but a time for action and dedication. In other words, it's the time to plunge into the Red Sea.

    On a deeper level, Hashem is teaching an additional lesson to Moshe and the Children of Israel: It's as if Hashem is saying, "You don't need to cry out to Me within earshot of others; a silent scream from the depts of your heart is enough!"

    "Rav Shalom Arush, shlit'a, warns that although one must scream out to Hashem in personal prayer, his or her voice should not be herd by anyone else. When the silent scream is devoid of vanity and externality, it is solely for Hashem. Such prayers ascend immediately and avoid obstruction from evil elements. If during hitbodedut in the field a person shouts like a wild animal and the voice is heard by others, it creates a defamation of Hashem's Name, Heaven forbid, and is lost to the kelipot, the elements of evil."

-
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Monday, February 12, 2018

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Terumah

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
      

Terumah

 

    This week's Torah portion is Terumah. Terumah means a gift offering. It was the portion we set aside for the Tabernacle or for the Temple. Terumah was also one of the gifts we gave to the kohanim (the priests).     

     In Hebrew, the word for trumah has the word "to lift up", or "raise," in it and this is what happened to our gifts when we gave them to the Temple or to the priests. The gifts were elevated as they went from our hands up into the hands of the Temple or to the kohen.

     Not only are physical gifts given for holy purposes elevated, but so are the ones who give them. This is also true for the deeds we do to help spread Torah. These are holy deeds and not only do such holy deeds elevate the people being helped, they also elevate those who do them.

     When you want to become holy, as we are commanded to be, do something holy for someone. Pick him up and it is guaranteed to pick you up, too.

 

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

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Screaming at the Kotel!

   by Reb Gutman Locks
     

Screaming at the Kotel!

 

     Early this morning there was a young, religious Jew sitting a few feet away from me. He was sitting very close to the Kotel. He had a large towel draped over his head and shoulders, was swaying side to side, and every minute or two he would scream really loud.

     It was the quiet time of the morning… the time when, if it is quiet, you can feel the stillness. I love it. I called out to him, "That's idolatry!"

     He ignored me.

     A fine religious man who just lost his father was sitting by me. He criticized my comment, "Why? He is praying from his heart."

     I answered, "When a Jew screams loudly to G-d he is saying that G-d is not right here… that He is far away."

     He argued, "Why? His heart is hurting, and he wants G-d to listen to him."

     I answered, "Hashem is everywhere, right here, too. He is in our very breath. You don't have to yell at G-d. Did you ever once in your life yell at your father like that?"

     He shook his head, "No way!" He understood what I was saying.   

    The face we show Hashem when we pray is the face that Hashem shows us.     No one wants Hashem to scream, "Why don't you listen to me?" as the screamers seem to screaming to G-d…especially when we are the ones who are not listening.

 

(Footnote) Anyone who wants to scream when praying can do whatever they like… unless they are in a public prayer area and are bothering others who are also praying there. As R' Nachman Kahana says about the screamers at the Kotel, "You never get to Heaven by putting others in Hell."

 

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Thursday, February 08, 2018

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Mid-Night

    by Reb Gutman Locks  
     

Mid-Night

 

     From mid-night until mid-day Hashem looks at us and at our prayers with

kindness. From mid-day until mid-night judgement is predominant.

 

 
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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

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Why Push Away Potential Converts?


   by Reb Gutman Locks    
      

Why Push Away Potential Converts?

 

       When we came out of Egyptian slavery a large number of insincere converts came with us. They are called the Erev Rav, the mixed multitude. The reason they were insincere is because they converted not for love and fear of Hashem, but merely to join the best trip going. The Ari says that the mixed multitude goes back way before these insincere converts. According to the Ari, the Erev Rav are unfinished Jews in need of at least one more reincarnation to complete their journey into the Jewish people.

      It might seem that the rule to push away potential converts three times comes from our terrible experience with these insincere, troublemaking converts, but it doesn't. The gemora tells us that the rule to push away non-Jews who wish to convert actually comes from the story of Ruth. Ruth's mother-in-law tried to dissuade her from converting three times, but she insisted and went on to become the prime example of a sincere convert. A sign of her greatness is that King David, the beloved of Hashem, is a descendant of Ruth.

     Today no one knows who among us is of the mixed multitude, not even they themselves know that they are of these troublesome people. But there is a way we can tell with almost certainty, or at least strongly suspect, who among us are continuing descendants of this contentious people.

     Look and see which Jews are causing us troubles from within. Who among us is causing strife between Jews? Who is known for spreading evil gossip, or even worse, evil lies against other Jews? We can assume that they, or their ancestors were from that original Erev Rav, the troublesome mixed multitude.

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Sunday, February 04, 2018

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The Name

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

יי


The Name

 


Dear Rabbi,

     I am interesting to know exact pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton Y-k-W-k-. I have heard and read many versions such as Yah-H-weh, Ye-ho-vah, Ya-Hu-Wah, Yeh-Wah and so on. Please enlighten me on this matter. Also, I believe I have got Jewish origins however I am not 100% sure about that.

Emil

Gutman's reply:

    That Name is never pronounced except by the High Priest on Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies

Emil insists:

    Dear Rabbi,

The Bible says that's whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered! 

    What is His name? 

Gutman replies:

     Then call on; "The Name", as Jews do, "HaShem."

Emil insists again:

     Well, that's what I do... but is it not worst to use an alternative name instead the original one, in terms of taking the name in vain?

Gutman says:

     You don't call a King by His first Name.

Emil hears:

     I've got your point. Thanks! 

 


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Thursday, February 01, 2018

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So Special

   by Reb Gutman Locks
     

So Special

 

     Whenever the Special Needs yeshiva comes for breakfast it always reminds me of just how special each of us really is.

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