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Thursday, October 30, 2014

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Living in the Old City

     by Reb Gutman Locks

     Living in the Old City

 

       I just came back from my pretty much daily trip to the two Rova mecholets (grocery stores). The narrow streets have become completely crowded… thousands of tourists…often in large groups, blocking the small areas. It's easy to get frustrated with it all.

     Okay, so I say, "Thank G-d for the Redemption that's happening," (and the crowds are a sure sign of this) but still, it's hard to get by them.

     Just now, after leaving the store by the top of the stairs to the Kotel, there was a group of some 50 young, Israeli soldiers filing by. They were moving along in a line, two by two. They were all carrying automatic weapons and all were wearing kipas (religious head covers). I was kind of stuck in the middle of them as we all moved toward a large group of middle-aged, American Jewish tourists who were almost completely blocking the walkway.

     "Oh boy, I will never get back in time," was my immediate reaction.

     Then, when the tourists saw the young Jewish soldiers filing by, they all began to applaud, and call out in English, "Thank you. Thank you."

     The soldiers turned red. They were embarrassed… and when the tourists saw that they were humble, they applauded even more.

     I couldn't handle it. I just cried.

 

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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Leah Asks a Great Question

    
 by Reb Gutman Locks    ​

   Leah Asks a Great Question

 

Question:  (Gutman, you wrote that all people are the children of G-d, but) "I thought that the Torah says that Jews are Hashem's children. All are creations of Hashem, but Jews are His children."

 

Gutman's response: The Torah is an amazing source of information. It says many things, but some things are not so entirely clear. That's why there is a saying, "When you have two Jews, you have at least three opinions."

     The Torah specifically writes that the Jews are G-d's children.[i] It says this only about the Jews.

     However, there is a gemora (Talmud)[ii] that tells a story about a time when the local gentile rulers made a harsh decree against the Jewish people. The Jews went to them to try to have the decree removed. They said, "Why are you decreeing against the Jewish people, don't we all have the same Father in Heaven?" So we see that the Jews there taught that not only the Jewish people are the children of G-d.

     But there is another gemora [iii] that tells the story of G-d telling the gentiles how good the Jews are and the gentiles responding, "You are saying that because the Jews are Your children! Obviously, a father defends his children." So we see here that the gentiles in this story say that only the Jews are G-d's children.

     One could argue that the Torah calls the Jewish people G-d's bechor (first-born), and obviously you cannot have a "firstborn," unless there are also other children in the family. But Chassidus teaches that indeed if you only have one son, he is your bechor.

     Rabbi Akiva points out that all mankind is blessed to be made in the image of Hashem, and the Jews are even more blessed to be the children of Hashem.[iv] Apparently, he holds that only the Jews are His children.

     On and on, we can find many sources that support the fact that only the Jews are His children, and we can find other sources to support the opinion that all people are His children, that He is the Father of all.

     To further complicate the issue, sometimes the creator of an object, be it an invention, a completely new style of music, or whatever, will be called the father of that creation. This is a common usage of the word "father." So, since Hashem is the Creator of all, often He is called the Father of all.

     But the fact is, the Torah (Five books of Moshe) only specifies that the Jewish people have the treasured title, the children of G-d. 

     In such cases, I usually ask at least two renowned Torah scholars what is the Torah's position on this matter. As often happens, one scholar told me that surely, "Only the Jewish people are G-d's children", and the other renowned scholar told me, "Surely, all people are G-d's children."

      Thanks for the great question, Leah.

     



[i] Exodus 4:21

[ii] Tanis

[iii] Avoda Zara

[iv] Ethics of the Fathers 3:14

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

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Ebola and Jewish Burial

Jewish burial, per Jewish religious law, follows a particular process for handling of the remains and the actual burial.  In very very brief, the approach is:

1. The body is a holy vessel and is to be treated with respect and care.

2. We return to the dust, and bodies are therefore to be buried in dirt, in the ground. 

3. The neshama (soul) has an attachment to the body, and in most cases cannot proceed on it’s way until the body is buried.  Being in the physical world but unable to interact is considered unpleasant, therefore burial should be as fast as possible – and in Israel is often within 24 hours (secular governmental procedures outside of Israel may make Jewish burials take 48-72 hours).

In practical procedures of Jewish burial…

- A special group with religious Jewish communities is responsible for burials and ritualistic body preparations.  It is called the “chevra kadisha”. -

A. The body is cleansed, meaning washed in a ritualistic fashion.  If facilities exist, it’s dipped in a ritual bath.  This is called a “tahara”.

B. It is dressed in a coarse white garment.

C. It is guarded until burial.

D. It is buried directly in the dirt.  In Israel this means no casket.  In the US, a plain wooden casket with holes to allow dirt to enter, or popping / misaligning the lid on placement in the grave, is the approach.

What about Ebola and Jewish burial?

A commentor asked, on my article about Ebola, “Though one hopes (heaven forbid) that Eloba doesn't effect us, what can Jews do if an outbreak prevents Jews from doing Tahara let alone forbid families of the deceased from burying the bodies as well as being unable to prevent authorities from cremating those who dead from in an outbreak?”

I responded, “A very interesting halachic question. I expanded the question: what are the halachic burial considerations if a guf has become physically dangerous to handle? Examples might be (G-d forbid) a guf with chemical exposure, significant deterioration or damage making a tahara not feasible (such as a death due to war), or as in the question where the guf may harbor an infectious agent?”

I sent a query to a few rabbonim who might have knowledge.  Rabbi Ari Enkin, a contributor to the Torah Musings site, replied…

“In such a case: human life takes precedence, and taharas would not be performed (if deemed dangerous). On a related note -- taharas are not performed on certain disaster/murder victims (Akiva adds, or on soldiers with significant body damage from war).  I can also make the argument that even cremation would be acceptable, but we do see that Ebola victims are buried as normal in Africa (Akiva adds, with the burial party in isolation suites and the body completely sealed layers of isolation bags). There has been no call to cremate.”

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Meditation vs. Contemplation



Meditation vs. Contemplation

 

Question from L.A.

     Our community Rabbi wants me to start a Jewish guided meditation group. So my question for you is, what meditation can I do with these people? Where do I start? I know how to do one on one; if this one wants or needs something; health, marital solutions, kids, work, friends, even where to live, it doesn't matter. This would be a group of 7-9 people. How do I do a guided meditation for a group? I hope you have an opinion which you will be willing to share with me.

 

Gutman's response:

     "Guided Meditation" is really contemplation, i.e. pleasant story-telling about nice scenes. It is relaxing, and can be quite enjoyable, but it is not meditation. Whereas "guided meditation" takes the listeners on a journey, actual meditation focuses the mind on a single subject, and then, as the mind moves off that subject, the meditator returns his or her focus back onto that subject again and again. The subject might be meaningless, such as a flame, or it might have deep content, such as a Torah concept.

     For a simple meditation exercise, you might introduce them to the practice of "watching their breath". They sit quietly and comfortably and simply feel the air moving in and out of their noses. Not pulling in their breath forcefully, nor exhaling deeply, but simply trying to be aware of the sensation of the air moving in and out of their noses as they breathe normally. If they are even the least bit successful, they will become very relaxed, both physically and mentally, within just one or two minutes.

     Then, after they are able to maintain their attention on that sensation for at least a few cycles of air moving in and out, have them silently remember the line from the Torah's story of creation; that Hashem breathes the breath of life into man. Just like did Hashem breathe the first breath into Adam, the first man, so does He breathe our breath in and out of our bodies all day long.

     This practice not only allows the meditator the great benefits of the completely passive 'watching of the breath,' but it also grounds them by reminding them of Hashem's ongoing Presence in their lives.

     If one would practice only the passive 'watching of the breath,' there is a danger that they might enjoy it so much that they would do it for hours a day, as do many Eastern meditators on mountain tops and in caves. Their hope is to use meditation as a tool to detach, while the Jewish goal in meditation is to learn the proper spiritual perspective so we can attach properly. They seek to "leave the world," while we seek to elevate the world.  

 See this short video;

Jewish vs. Buddhist Meditation 

    

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Questions from Venezuela

     by Reb Gutman Locks

     Questions from Venezuela

    

     Why is there disease, why do some die young, and why do the heathens prosper?   

       If Israel is Hashem's sons and daughters then I don't understand this; who are the heathen? Hashem made everyone, so isn't everyone his sons and daughters?

     Will we ever get to see Hashem?  Is it in this life or the next?

     Do only the Jewish people get an afterlife, does the rest of mankind cease to exist after death? 

 

Gutman's response;

     Everything that comes, comes for a reason. Nothing just falls out of the sky by accident.

     G-d wants man to have freewill. In order for there to be freewill there must be choices, i.e. good and evil. Man then chooses what he desires, and G-d then gives man the results (rewards or punishments) according to man's freely chosen deeds. This is why there is disease and early death, and why there is evil in this world. Had G-d not created the option of evil there would not be freewill. It is also why there are righteous people in the world…because they chose to be righteous.

     The Torah also teaches that there is reincarnation.[i] This means that most of us were here in a previous, yet completely forgotten, lifetime. This also explains why each of us was born with certain talents, and with certain disadvantages.

     As to why do evil people seem to prosper in this world, Hashem will sometimes allow an evil person to prosper in this world so he does not die with merit from the few good deeds that he did. The reward that he receives in this world pays him for his merit, so he will not deserve a reward for those deeds in the Next World. 

     All mankind are the children of G-d, but not all of His children behave like His children. The unique aspect of the Jew is that Jews have been given the extra job of spreading G-d's light in the world, and therefore have been given the extra tools that are available for the Jew in order to accomplish this task.

     The Jewish mystics teach that the very purpose of man being in this world is to reveal G-d's Presence. This means that it is possible to see that G-d is actually here. The experience is the most rewarding moment possible in one's entire life…fulfillment, bliss, awe, glory… indefinable. But man cannot actually see G-d and live. The bliss would drive him or her into the Next World.

     In the Next World the soul will experience as much of the Radiance of Hashem as that soul merits from its work while in this lower world. This is the real reward for doing good in this world. The more good deeds, the greater will be that soul's capacity to behold the holiness of the Creator.

    The righteous gentile, the non Jew who keeps the Seven Commandments of Noah, also earns a share in the World to Come. And the extent of that soul's share will also be determined by that person's accomplishments while in this lower world.

     As great as will be the reward for doing good in the Next World, that reward should not be the reason to live a righteous life. Living a righteous life also brings the greatest joy in this world. Living a righteous life means more than guarding your behavior. It also means helping others to live righteous lives.

   



[i] For instance: the bedtime prayer: "I hereby forgive anyone who harmed me…in this incarnation or in any other."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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A Conservative Convert


Ruth in the Fields, Huges, 1876

A Conservative Convert


     My husband and I and our 4 children converted a year and half ago to Judaism. At the time we didn't know there were many branches in Judaism. We went to many classes before the rabbi there approved us for conversion. It was at a Conservative synagogue. The men underwent brit mila and the women mikveh. Since the conversion we have lived a Jewish lifestyle.  We eat kosher we don't mix meat and dairy, we keep the Sabbath, our children attended Jewish religious school. However, when we moved from New Mexico to Utah we were told that our conversion is invalid. It was a very hurtful moment for us.  Rabbi, please tell me why is it invalid? We were sincere at the conversion. We pledged our allegiance to the God of Israel and no other deity. We accepted the written and the oral Torah. Our hearts were very sincere. Didn't Ruth convert too? And father Avraham? So then why are we pushed away and our conversion invalid?
Please help us find our way. We cannot go back to our previous life style.  Our children and we are suffering because we can't go to synagogue or to religious school.  They said we didn't meet halacha so we cannot attend services. We left our families and our beliefs to attach ourselves to the Hashem and his people and now we are abandoned not by God but by his people.

Please advise.

Thank you for your time

Gutman's response;

     When someone converts to Judaism they are converting to a people not to a religion, so they will want to join the entire people. If you would have converted Reform, the Conservative would not have accepted that conversion, and of course neither would have the Orthodox. When one tries to convert through the Conservative, then the Conservative and the Reform accept that conversion, but not the Orthodox. However, when one converts through the Orthodox, all streams of Judaism accept that conversion, and consider that person to be a Jew.

     With such a sincere background as you and your family have, I am sure that you will be able to find an Orthodox court that will help you to fulfill the requirements for an Orthodox conversion. Start by asking the Chabad rabbi in your city what to do. Do not be distressed. Just keep moving toward the goal. You and your family will succeed.

Have a wonderful New Year.

 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

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Living with Ebola

Two reports.  One from an American doctor in Liberia, in the core of the epidemic.  And one from the U.S…

LIBERIA

“You no longer see people dying in the streets… The riots have calmed down. There isn’t the panic there was at the beginning, but the cases continue to rise. The paradox is that everything on the surface feels normal, but in the neighborhoods this infection is still blazing away and people are still dying of it.

…By nature, Liberians are ebullient people. They like to laugh and hug and shake hands and touch. But there’s not as much laughter, and there’s no shaking hands. And there’s certainly no hugging.

“Everywhere you go, you have to wash your hands and disinfect your feet. At some of the larger buildings, they take your temperature. That’s the way business is conducted now. There aren’t many people going out and doing things like shopping or visiting restaurants. People just don’t want to be exposed to others.

“You can’t control the disease until you detect and isolate every single case… The patients are very sick. It’s a very painful disease. It can bring people to their knees with violent vomiting and diarrhea… We’re opening community care centers so that patients with a fever and who are presenting with symptoms can go to a smaller treatment unit close by, instead of going to some of the larger centers farther away. We believe a lot of people are still staying at home. They see the treatment units as a place you go to die.”

UNITED STATES

“Despite the fact that (the first Ebola patient in the U.S.) was a lone man under scrupulous, first-world care, with the eyes of the entire nation on him, his R0 – the average number of people someone with a disease will infect, was 2, just like that of your average Liberian Ebola victim. One carrier; two infections. He passed the virus to nurse Pham and to another hospital worker, Amber Joy Vinson, who flew from Cleveland to Dallas with a low-grade fever before being diagnosed.”

“At a deeper level, the Ebola outbreak is a crisis not for Obama and his administration, but for elite institutions. Because once more they have been exposed as either corrupt, incompetent, or both. And that’s the most panic-inducing part.

What normal people can see and imagine is that three Ebola cases have severely stressed the system. Washington is scrambling, the Centers for Disease Control is embarrassed, local hospitals are rushing to learn protocols and get in all necessary equipment. Nurses groups and unions have been enraged, the public alarmed—and all this after only three cases.

What would it look like if there were 300? That is not a big number in a nation of over 300 million. Yet it would leave the system hyperstressed, and hyperstressed things break down.

How many people and professionals have been involved in the treatment, transport, tracking, monitoring, isolation and public-information aspects of the three people who became sick? Again, what if it were 300—could we fully track, treat and handle all those cases? If scores of people begin over the next few weeks going to hospital emergency rooms with Ebola, how many of their doctors, nurses, orderlies, office staffers, communications workers and technicians would continue to report to their jobs? All of them at first, then most of them. But as things became more ragged, pressured and dangerous, would they continue?

This is why people are concerned. They can imagine how all this could turn south so fast, with only a few hundred cases. This is why the White House claims that we will not have a widespread breakout is fatuous: Even a limited breakout would take us into uncharted territory.

THREE BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT EBOLA

- There are no known good treatments to offer patients and their contacts–just supportive care, quarantine and isolation (for example to maintain hydration, but there’s no treatment that can make the disease go away. Antibiotics don’t work because it’s a virus; the antiviral treatment Ribavirin that works on some other hemorrhagic fevers isn’t effective against Ebola.)

- It is not known how this virus works in the human body. There are animal models that provide some glimpses, but to study humans you have to be able to do research in the middle of a raging outbreak of a rare disease. It was recently learned, for example, that it doesn’t always cause extensive bleeding. That’s why its name was changed from “Ebola hemorrhagic fever” to the simpler “Ebola virus disease.”

- It is not known how the virus spreads in the wild. Probably it circulates in bats and is occasionally transmitted to other animals, including humans, as a dead-end host–but the disease is so rare we don’t have a good way of studying it in the wild. Recently a group of ecologists started collecting bats from the local population in Guinea (where Ebola has started multiple times), but their results are not yet published.

- As a rare disease that has never killed more than thousands, it has not been a focus of vaccine or treatment development (and therefore there is NO vaccine or treatment that has passed the experimental stage – none in early human trials).  This is simple economics versus the level of safety and effectiveness testing required to get FDA or EU approval – where 5-10 years of testing and BILLIONS of dollars of results studies are necessary to get approval. 

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

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The Unripe Fruit

Rabbi Chaninah bar Yitzchak said: There are three unripe fruits: the unripe fruit of death is sleep; the unripe fruit of prophecy is the dream, the unripe fruit of the World to Come is Shabbos.  Rabbi Avin added two more: the unripe fruit of the Supernal Light is the orb of the Sun; the unripe fruit of the supernal wisdom is the Torah.”

Midrash Bereshis Rabbah 17:5

The body is the vessel of the soul, bridging the connection of the spiritual to the physical.  And the Torah is the vessel of Divine Wisdom, bridging the connection between G-d and man.  And since Hashem Elokaynu Hashem Echad – since G-d is one, the Knowledge and the Knower, Torah is the bridge for man to connect to G-d.

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Sara S. Wants to Know

    by Reb Gutman Locks     

Sara S. Wants to Know

 

Dear Rabbi,

     I watched one of your videos. It is so amazing. You have a wealth of knowledge. The confidence you have in God drew me even closer. Please tell me if every Jew is a part of Hashem then what about the rest of human kind? Where are they from? And the honest convert what kind of soul is he/she? Is it a Jewish soul? What happens to the non Jewish soul at death?

 

Thank you

Shalom

Sara S.

 

Gutman's response:

     Since G-d is Infinite, He is without limits, therefore He must be all, including even the lowest of the creation,[i] but G-d hides Himself in order for the creation to appear, and for there to be freewill in mankind.

     G-d is the life of all, but in some of His creation He hides Himself more than in others. This means that the life in a rock is much more limited than the life in an animal. G-d covers Himself more in a rock than in an animal, and He covers Himself even less in a human being. And when He formed the soul of a Jew He covered Himself even less than with the soul of a non Jew. He did this to allow the Jew a greater role in sharing His light with the entire world.

     When a righteous gentile undergoes a kosher (orthodox) conversion he or she acquires a Jewish soul.

    If the non Jew remains a non Jew, and observes the Seven Commandments of Noah, they enjoy a wonderful life in this world, and they acquire a share in the World to Come.

     It is easier to serve G-d than to serve one's animal inclination, which is what most people do.

Shalom

Gutman



[i] Deuteronomy 4:39  "…the L-rd is G-d, in the Heavens above and upon the earth below, there is nothing else."

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Friday, October 17, 2014

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Israel Derangement Syndrome

image

US Secretary of State John Kerry: "It is imperative that we find a way to get back to the negotiations," Kerry said at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.  Kerry has just returned from a tour of Europe and Egypt, where on Sunday he attended a conference on the reconstruction of Gaza. 

We need "to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected," Kerry added.

"I still believe that's possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it."

He said the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict was fueling recruitment for the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

"There wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation," Kerry said.

"People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity," he added.

So there you have it.  Israel is the cause of all street anger among all Muslims in the world, is the reason and cause of the formation of the Islamic State jihadis, their attacking of Iraq, Syria, the genocide against the Yazidis and enslavement of their women, their attacking of the Kurds and beheading of their children, and their attacking of the Shias, beheading of their fighters and destruction of their Shia Islamic holy sites, as well as the forced conversion of the Iraqi christians and enslavement of their women.

IT’S THE JEWS DAMMIT.   THE JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS.

How these seemingly intelligent educated politicians have bought a generational argument by the Arab tyrants that every bad thing dealing with Muslims and Arabs is the JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS is astounding.  Intelligence –10.

And further, WHY is it a problem?  “Humiliation and Dignity”.  Meaning, the problem is that the Arabs haven’t been able to crush, destroy and slaughter the Jews.  It’s HUMILATING for the victim to fight back and…. win!  It’s an affront to their Islamic Dignity that Israel survived, grew, and made the desert bloom.

So the obvious answer is…. SAVE THE ISLAMIC DIGNITY – KILL THE JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS (and the christians, and the westerners, and and and and…)

IT’S THE JEWS DAMMIT.   THE JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS.

Israel stands alone with HaKodesh Baruch Hu (G-d).  Will you be among the righteous among the nations that stands with her?

(Written from Israel – where the Jewish holy day of Shemini Atzeres is only celebrated for 1 day.  Outside of Israel today is a Jewish holy day where working on a computer is a prohibited activity.)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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The Meaning of the Luluv

    by Reb Gutman Locks

The Meaning of the Luluv

 

     Why is the mitzvah of waving the luluv the only mitzvah in the entire Torah that we are specifically commanded to do with joy? How can waving a luluv possibly bring joy?

Jewish Unity 

(link)

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The Time of Our Rejoicing

by Reb Aharon Rubin, author of Eye to the Infinite

The Time of Our Rejoicing - זמן שמחתינו

Why is Sukkos called the time of our rejoicing? We go into a hut with barely a roof and live there for a week, we shake four types of vegetation; why the rejoicing? What is the source of our happiness?

In the Western world, happiness is translated in terms of the amount of ‘stuff’ you own. If you can get all you want, you must be happy. You can fly to all four corners of the world, maybe own an island, you’ve got it made.

What a mirage of utter falsehood today’s culture has conjured.

What is the reality?

The reality is, if you’ve ‘got’ God, you’ve got everything. That’s what Yaakov Ovinu meant when he said ‘I’ve got everything’. During Sukkos, we rejoice with that reality.

It’s the reality the Jews enjoyed for forty years in the wilderness. They were provided for, constantly, by God: the Manna, the Water of Miriam’s Well and the Seven Clouds of the Shechinoh-Glory. This is what we enjoy too as we sit in the Sukkah.

It started Erev Yom Kippur, which is when the ‘energies’ of Sukkoth started pouring in.[1] Thus the Ari zal says that the meditations of eating on Erev Yom Kippur are the Kavvanoth of the Mannah.[2]

During Sukkoth, we are surrounded by the Clouds of Shechinoh-Glory.

And the Water of Miriam’s Well? That’s the secret of the Lulav and Esrog. The Gemoro tells us that the four types are specifically connected with water. Since God separated the waters on the second day of creation, forming the higher and the lower waters, the Midrash says that the lower waters cry out – מים תחתונים בכים – We want to be before our King. The ‘libation of waters’ on Sukkos is a rectification of that.

This means, God created [the illusion of] upper and lower revelation, the higher spheres of Godliness, and the lower spheres where the Divine soul cries out to come back to Its Creator. This the secret of the lower spiritual worlds (the Ophanim and Chayos HaKodesh) proclaiming: ברוך כבוד ד' ממקומו

The first letters form the word בכים.

בכים spelt out in full (בי"ת כ"ף יו"ד מ"ם) is gematriah ברית (gematriah ישרא"ל בכי"ם ע"ה). The dividing of the waters, as it were, formed an everlasting covenant. (That is why salt is called in the Torah ברית [מלח] עולם – because the salt is the ‘fire’ element of the water, the element that wants to reach back upwards.)

On Sukkos we take the four types that are connected with water. (They are also gematriah ד' - ברוך כבוד ד' ממקומו) We stretch them out to all the six extremities of the world and bring them back to our heart. We are stretching out to God (Who sealed the world with these six extremities). He is saying, I am here with you (- where God is, there are no limits; that is the centre of the sphere).

That is the source of our rejoicing.

This is why there was such rejoicing during the ceremony of the Water Libations. It is the completing of a circle, unifying the lower with the upper.


[1] שער הכוונות

[2] Ibid.

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Kosher Liquor Lists

imageIt’s almost Simchas Torah, and many stock up on and consume alcoholic drinks on the holiday during the celebration.  But which vodkas, whiskeys, gin, etc, are kosher?

The CRC maintains the most comprehensive liquor list, but their classifications can be a bit confusing for the more educated kosher consumer – being “recommended”, “not recommended”, “prohibited”, and “kosher certified”.  Their kosher certified or recommended can reliably be used by even the most discriminating kosher consumer (mehadrin).

The CRC list is here.

The Kosher Liquor List is less comprehensive, but for what they list they include the details of WHY it’s top-notch-kosher or otherwise (with a “rating scale” of 1-7 stars).  For example, scotch aged in a sherry wine cask is 1-star, because it’s only permitted by a weak opinion in Igros Moshe. 

The Kosher Liquor List is here.  Note there’s a link on the top right to switch to Hebrew or French, if those languages are better for you.

Have a Happy and Kosher and Safe Shemini Atzeres & Simchas Torah!

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Government Bureaucracy

imageHere's all you need to know about U.S. government bureaucracy:

Pythagorean Theorem - 24 words.

Archimedes Principle - 67 words.

Ten ‘Commandments’ (English translations)    - less than 200 words.

Gettysburg Address- 286 words.

Declaration of Independence - 1,300 words.

US Constitution with all twenty-seven amendments - 7,818 words.

US Government regulations on sale of cabbage - 26,911 words.

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) - 1,147,271 words

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

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Making People Cry

by Reb Gutman Locks

Making People Cry

 

     One of the things that I like to do is to make people cry. I put the father's right hand on his son's head and have him read (or repeat) the blessing that Hashem commanded the Kohanim (priests) to say when they bless the Jewish people. "Hashem bless you and guard you. Hashem make His countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. Hashem turn his countenance toward you and grant you peace."

     Often, when the father blesses his son, the love he feels for his son wells up so high in his chest that it overwhelms him and he breaks down crying. Sometimes we have to wait for a minute or more until he is able to continue. Also, often, when the son sees his beloved father crying, he too breaks down crying, and they stand there hugging and sobbing together. Their love for each other totally takes over.

     It's so nice to make people cry at the Kotel.

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