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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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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

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How to Wave the Luluv



How to Wave the Luluv

      by Reb Gutman Locks


     If you haven't seen this video, you most likely have not been fulfilling the mitzvah of waving the Luluv and Esrog properly.

 

G-d Said, "Be Happy"

(link)

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

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Jewish Meditations for Succos

by Reb Aharon Rubin, author of Eye to the Infinite

We are told that Sukkos is the greatest of all three Regolim.

What is Sukkos? What does it commemorate?

Pesach commemorates G-d taking us out from slavery in Egypt, Shovuos commemorates G-d giving us the Decalogue and His Law, Sukkos commemorates … our being enveloped in the Clouds of Glory ..?

Ask yourself which event appears the greater: surely the Exodus or the giving of the Torah? Why is Sukkos considered the climax of our Yomim Tovim?

The Zohar and Arizal explain that the period from Rosh HaShonoh till Simchas Torah is one long Divine embrace of G-d with His People. The embrace starts with G-d placing His left hand (the attribute of King-justice) under our head, as it were, that being the first ten days from Rosh HaShonnoh till Yom Kippur. It culminates with His embracing us with His Right Arm (the attribute of Father-love and compassion), from Yom Kippur till Simchas Torah.

The Sukkah is all about that embrace. The minimum requirement for a kosher Sukkoh is two walls and a handbreadth of a third wall; that, says the Ari, is reminiscent of the Divine Right-arm embrace, the two parts of the arm [forearm and lower arm] and the hand.

In fact, the Sukkoh is a chupoh – a wedding canopy. This is the culmination of the three festivals. First we need to go out of Egypt, to leave their ideologies and step into G-d’s Realm. He shows us His Presence; we reciprocate through the Paschal offering and the mesiras nefesh that entailed. Next is the giving of the Torah. We reciprocate by receiving it.

But that receiving wasn’t whole. There was a lot of fear. The element of love was missing. After picking up the pieces of a broken relationship through Rosh HaShonoh and Yom Kippur, crowning the Creator of the world ex nihilo King and Father over us, we now stand (once again) under the wedding-canopy with G-d, as it were. But this time the fear is mitigated with love. We dance in joy. The wedding is consummated on Shmini Atseres/SimchasTorah, when we dance with the Torah and G-d is alone with His People. This is why Sukkos is זמן שמחתינו – the Time of our Rejoicing.

Chazal tell us that G-d created this world with the letter heh, as it were, and the World-to-Come with the letter yud. The World-to-Come is the tsuroh – the inner soul and form, this world is the chomer – the outer material.

This is reflected in the first 15 days of Tishrei. The first ten days, Rosh HaShonoh, Ten Days of Tshuvoh, Yom Kippur, are the letter yud, the inner soul (yud is gematriah – numerical value – of ten). After Yom Kippur, we work on bringing down that inner soul and giving it a body, by being busy with Mitsvos in the material world - building a Sukkoh, attaining the four species and the necessities for Yom Tuv – till the fifteenth: the five days corresponding to the letter heh (gematrioh of). Then is the ultimate Yichud, unification, the letter yud coming together with the letter heh, G-d and His Presence (Shechinoh) on this earthly plane united, all barriers broken, symbolised by the Sukkoh. The two and a half walls (minimum requirement) is the shape of the letter heh. On top we have the see-through-the-lattices ‘roof’ of the schach symbolising the now permeable barrier between this world and the next; it is the yud on top of the heh, the זיו השכינה – Glory of G-d – over His People.

The ‘waiving’ of the Lulov [the four types] is similar: we recognise G-d’s Presence all around us and bring It close to our heart.

The four types correspond both to all Israel (4 types within them) and to G-d (4 letters of His Name)(source: Midrash). As we move the Lulov away from ourselves, we dance and reach out to G-d; as we bring it near, G-d, as it were, dances and comes close to us.

These Mitsvos express the ultimate unification of G-d with His People.

May we all merit to have a simchadige Yom Tov, to feel and rejoice in G-d’s Love and Presence.

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Thank You, Yasher Koach

by my wife…

BS”D

Dear Beloved Readers,

It is with great pleasure that I extend to each of you a hearty Yasher Koach on our annual Yom Tov Appeal. We, Baruch Hashem, Thank G-D, raised money to help many families. Your contributions helped make their Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur a joyous one.

All the individuals asked me to extend on their behalf blessings for a Shannah Tovah, a Good Year.

They bless each of you with health, livelihood, joy and pride from your children and families.

As Hashem, G-D said to Avraham Avinu, Our Patriarch Abraham, those who bless you will be blessed.

From myself I wish to thank you for giving me the privilege to act as your emissary in distributing charity to needy families and individuals to bringing simcha (joy) to them. Each person received the money and cried blessing you. They were so happy that they would have provisions for the holiday.

מי כעמך ישראל?

Who is like your Nation of Israel? Your care and concern for these individuals was shown.

On behalf of myself and Reb Akiva, we extend a !גמר כתיבה וחתימה טובה & מועדים בשמחה

A Complete writing and sealing of a Good Year and Best Wishes for a Happy Sukkot!

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School?

School?

    by Reb Gutman Locks


     Late Shabbos afternoon a young man and his mother stopped me on my way to the Kotel. He told me that he had read, "Coming Back to Earth." Coming Back to Earth is the story of my personal spiritual journey, what I went through, and how I ended up where I am today. You can hear a brief version of it at;

Been There, Done That, Thank G-d I'm Here Now

     I asked him what he was doing with his life. He said that he was learning Torah. I asked him what he wants to do with his life.

     He answered that he wanted "to become determined."

     I asked, "Determined in what?"

     He said that he did not know yet.

     I said, "You should learn Torah half the day, and go to engineering school half the day, so you can get a skill in order to make a living."

     His mother clapped her hands, gave a huge smile, and said, "Yea!"

     I went on to the Kotel, and the young man came up to me again.

     He asked; "Why did you tell me to become an engineer? Do you tell everyone you meet to become engineers?"

     I answered; "Maybe, I've told one other young man to become an engineer."

     He asked, "Then, why did you tell me?"

     I explained, "When I asked you what you wanted to do with your life you didn't answer that you wanted to become a Torah scholar, or a great rabbi, so you should not force yourself to learn all day if this is not your goal. You should go to school and learn a profession so you can get married and support your family. You need a skill that the world needs, something that you can do that we need to have done.

     "We don't need philosophers, historians, or cooks. There are too many lawyers in Israel now and they cannot find work. But there is a great need for engineers. There are mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, computer engineers, all kinds of engineers, and they all make a living.

     "You need to have a skill so the person looking to hire someone doesn't have to say, 'I like the way you look.' But instead, asks, 'Can you do this?' If you can, you get the job. You should learn Torah half a day, and learn a profession half a day so you will be able to get married and support your family."

     He said, "That makes sense," and he went back to his mother.

     What do we learn from all this? We learn some good information about planning a young person's life, and we learn that many times young people cannot hear the advice that their parents give them, no matter how many times they hear it. His parents had surely told him about making a living. Yet sometimes someone they do not really know can get it across to them in a way that will change their life in a minute.

 

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

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Jews in Holland Warned not to Celebrate Succot

We previously wrote about Jews being attacked in Amsterdam.  And while some administrators within the community wished to deny it, the story was verified.

Today we have another example of Jews at risk in Holland…

The Hague, Netherlands:  The Hague is the 3rd largest city in Holland, as well as being home of the (UN) International Court of Justice, the (UN) International Criminal Court, and the (EU) European Court of Justice.  Rather an important place, and one which should be focusing on fairness and justice.’

The Jewish community in The Hague neighborhood of Schilderswijk applied to the city to build a Sukkah (a traditional religious hut), used for the week long holiday of Succot, which begins this Wednesday night.

The Dutch police warned the city to DENY the permit because “the Dutch police fear the sukkah would be considered a Jewish symbol, attracting violence and vandalism towards Jews in the area. Police were against the idea following a series of riots in and around the Jewish section of Schilderswijk over the summer, several of which included an appearance of the ISIS flag and shouts of “kill the Jews.””

To the city’s credit, they approved the application but passed along the warning.  The applicant has not yet stated whether he intends to put up his sukkah following the police warning.

Readers in Europe, please examine your local situation with an unbiased eye.  Wise planning and alternative options would seem to be appropriate.

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Unusual in Israel

20140916_101922

Israel HEATLH POLICE!  Wash your hands and blow your nose or the Health Police will get you!  Or maybe they patrol hospitals?  Look for improper health insurance claims?

Look at their symbol…

20140916_101949

The Mem in the 3d star is the standard Israeli police symbol.  Just add health snake!

In reality, they are "trained to deal with police oriented health situations from rape victims to prisoners requiring an escort to hospital to administering first aid in a riot situation."

20140930_200833

This is an elevator in my office building.  Currently wrapped in wood to protect it during construction, someone added decorations and a Happy Succos sign!

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A Good Time

 

A Good Time

    by Reb Gutman Locks


     One of the main objectives we should have in mind when helping a Jew to do a mitzvah is that they should have a good time when they do it. Whether they come back again or not is almost entirely dependent on this.

     When you do a mitzvah, whatever it is, you are satisfying your Creator's wish for you. Let those you help know this. This in of itself is enough reason to enjoy the mitzvah, but there are even more reasons when you think about it. Holiness is spreading into your life. You are detaching somewhat from an entirely material perspective. Your account in Heaven just increased. G-d is more likely to answer your prayers favorably because you did what He said to do, which makes the moment you fulfill a mitzvah a great time to ask for what they need. When you stop and think about it… "Wow, I wish I had more of them to do." 

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