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Friday, April 19, 2019

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Seder Night

by Aharon Rubin at Mystical Paths
Excerpt from Eye to the Infinite © 

Seder Night

Seder night, the first night (two nights in the diaspora) of Pesach, is possibly the greatest night in the Jewish calendar. The word ‘seder’ means order. The order dictating the various customs and mitsvoth surrounding the recounting of the exodus from Egypt on Pesach night correspond to the order of the spiritual worlds, their influx and influences. By following the seder, we resonate with and act as a conduit to their energies. 

This night is the revelation of the zro'ah yemin, G-d's right hand, the supernal attribute of Chessed.1 Thus, we garb ourselves in white, the colour of pure, altruistic chessed, and place silver vessels on the white tablecloth.2 This night, the Divine Presence is revealed within the lower realms.3

The three matsoth correspond to the three forefathers, Avrohom, Yitschoq and Ya'aqov, the pillars of the Jewish People (thus, they're placed under the plate, which corresponds to the Congregation of Israel), and to the three hidden moichin of the ten sefiroth, chochmoh, binoh and da'ath.4

The six items on the plate (the qa'aroh) at the head of the table correspond to the six sefiroth chessed until yesoid the revealed attributes of G-d.5 As they are placed on the table, contemplate G-d's Presence before you.

According to tradition, tonight is the night that Yitschoq, our forefather, gave the blessings to Yaaqov.
6 Tonight, the doors of Gan Eden are open.7 Influx of holy Dew comes down.8 A person may enter the Holy of Holies, like the Kohein Godol (High Priest) on Yom Qippur.9

Use the qa'aroh plate and its items to meditate on each of G-d's sefiroth. Use the Hagoddoh text as a springboard for visualisations of us being taken out of Egypt. Picture and feel the slavery and the stages of redemption. Allow yourself to go out of Egypt, on seder night, together with all your ancestors.
From Eye to the Infinite (© 5779) 

1 Zohar III, 96a, 302b; Tola'ath Ya'aqov, p. 105.
2 Pardes Rimonim (Remaq), 10.3. 
3 Pri Eits Chaïm, Chag HaMatsoth; Machbereth HaQodesh, Chag HaMatsoth.
4 Pri Eits Chaïm, ibid.
5 Pri Eits Chaïm, ibid. 
6 Targum Yonothon, Bereishith 27:28.
7 See ibid.; Kithvei Arizal.
8 Targum Yonothon, ibid.
9 MaHaRal,
Peirush Negidim on the Haggodoh; see also, Rivevoth Efraïm Respona, vol. 5, §313

 
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

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Pesach- What’s the Most Important Thing?


  By Reb Gutman Locks   

 

      Although the holiday of Passover is by far the most memorable and beloved holiday of the entire Jewish calendar, it also brings the greatest number of details, requirements, and restrictions. Observing each of these elements is crucial during this week of preparation and especially for the Seder itself. To list them all would (and does) fill an entire book.

 

     There are the Torah commandments and there are the rabbinical commandments. There are also the customs that, surprisingly, vary tremendously between the Sephardim and Ashkenazim. There are the unique customs that have developed around the Diaspora. For example, Indian Jews eat different foods on Passover than Temanni Jews, and some Jews will dip their matzah in their soup, while others would be aghast at such a move! Some will eat beans, and some would never do such a thing. There are strict requirements as to the minimum amounts of matzah, bitter herb and wine that must be consumed, and only within a specific period of time. And perhaps most important of all are the amazingly strict requirements not to have any leavening or related products in our possession for the entire week. Confusing this even more is that some authorities say certain foods are leavened while others swear that they are not.

 

     On and on, the list of requirements that ensure a successful Seder can certainly seem overwhelming. It is no wonder that the favorite question a sharp student will ask his rebbe right before the Seder is, "What is the most important thing that I must watch out for?"

 

   Last Pesach, right before leaving the Kotel to rush home for the Seder, a rabbi friend of mine asked me that very question. To his great surprise, I immediately answered, "Make sure that the children have a good time." He looked at me as if I might be joking; his face was all twisted up. He wanted to know some great Kabbalah about the four cups of wine, or maybe how to lean to the side when drinking them. Or maybe I could give him some great Chassidic teaching on how to do teshuva (repentance) while trying to gulp down that impossibly hot horseradish. AAGHHHH! But, no, I simply said, "Make sure that the children have a good time."

 

    The next afternoon, he came up to me, smiling. He's a smart guy and he took my words to heart. He said, "It was the best Seder ever. The kids were great. Everyone was laughing. We all enjoyed ourselves tremendously. But tell me, how can you really say that keeping the kids happy was the most important thing to watch out for? After all, this is a very serious holiday."

 

   I explained, "There is only one reason we have the Seder at all: to remember the Exodus from Egypt. And there is only one reason why we must remember the Exodus from Egypt: so we will remain Jews. If we forget our past, there will be no reason to go on as a people. There is only one way for us to remain Jews, and that is to raise Jewish families. Without the children coming back next year, there won't be any Jewish families. It's for the kids' sake that we go through all this each year and, God willing, we will get to do it for them again next year, too. And if they have a good enough time, then surely someday we will even get to do it for their kids."

 

     Have a happy Pesach. It's essential.

Passover-What's the Most Important Thing?

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Pesach: The search for chomeits

by Aharon Rubin at Mystical Paths
Excerpt from Eye to the Infinite © 

Pesach

The three Pilgrimage Festivals work through and purify the senses: taste on Pesach, hearing on Shovu'oth, seeing on Sukkoth. As you eat matsoh on Pesach, meditate on G-d's hiding in the world (His attribute of ayin nothingness). G-d is hidden; when He reveals His Presence, all become as ayin. This is the secret of matsoh and the prohibition of chomeits (leaven).
 

The Search for Chomeits

The preparatory acts to the festival of Pesach have profound meaning and meditative content. Chomeits represents the presence of evil in the world, the yetser hora.1 The actual festival of Pesach alludes to the time of complete redemption, when evil will no longer be able to exist, due to the Glory of G-d filling the world.2 Thus, on Pesach, chomeits has no intrinsic worth.3 It is considered non-existent. However, before the Final Redemption, each person must do their part to purify themselves from their own character-dregs and shadows.

Thus, on the night preceding
Pesach, we search the house for chomeits by the light of a single candle flame.4 The light alludes to the light of the soul.5 As you search the nooks and crannies with that light in your hand, realise that ‘a lamp of G-d is man's soul’ (Mishlei 20.27). G-d holds your neshomoh in His loving Hand.6 The neshomoh fills your innermost thoughts and feelings.7 Wherever you have consciousness, G-d is there with you.8

The prevalent custom is to place ten small pieces of chomeits in various places around the house, prior to the search.9 According to the kabbalists, the ten pieces correspond to the shadow side of the ten sefiroth.10 As you discover them during your search for chomeits, meditate on each of the ten sefiroth's character attributes' associated flaws, starting from malchuth, working upwards until kether. Have in mind that you are now introducing G-d's light - through the light of your soul - into those places, so that the darkness and shadows disappear, as where there is G-d's light, evil cannot exist.11 
The following are suggestions of shortcomings associated with each sefiroh:


Malchuth – Unawareness of G-d
Yesod – Relying on something other than G-d
Hod – Subordinance to elements outside the realms of holiness
Netsach – Trying to win a debate for your own aggrandisement
Tif'ereth – Projecting yourself not for the sake of Heaven
Gevuroh – Anger not for the sake of heaven; cruelty; stinginess
Chessed – Love of something for your own pleasure
Binoh – Use of imagination, reasoning or cognition, for something
outside the realms of holiness
Chochmoh – Absorbing wisdom for your own aggrandisement
Kether – Attaching mentally to realms outside holiness

On the morrow, the morning of the fourteenth of Nisson, as you burn the remaining chomeits, contemplate again the ten sefiroth, this time dwelling on their positive, holy attributes:

Malchuth – Awareness of G-d
Yesod – Reliance on G-d
Hod – Subordinance to G-d
Netsach – Perseverance for holiness and the sake of G-d
Tif'ereth – Projection of yourself for the sake of Heaven
Gevuroh – Restraint and firmness for the sake of Heaven
Chessed – Altruistic love
Binoh – Use of your mental faculties for holiness
Chochmoh – Absorbing wisdom to draw closer to G-d
Kether – Attaching and subsuming yourself entirely in G-d.

As the
chomeits burns, and you ritually annul all leaven, proclaiming it to be worthless,12 meditate on the time when all evil will disappear, when
all the glitter and tinsel of the material world, the lies and illusions of the yetser hora, will melt away before the Light of G-d, when G-d's Glory fills the earth, truth and harmony reigning supreme. 

See the fire burning the yetser hora within and the evil without. Experience the light of Moshiach, everyone recognising and knowing G-d, His Glory filling the world. The (letters of) חמץ chomeits will have become צמח Tsemach (lit. ‘sprouting’, alluding to the sprouting of the Davidic line), the name of Moshiach (also gematrioh of מנחם Menachem).13
With this mindset, aura and ambience, the time of the revelation of the Divine Presence, the pre-Pesach matsoth are now baked, whilst hallel is recited, and one prepares for the holy festival.14
 From Eye to the Infinite (© 5779) 

 
1 See Zohar II, 40b, 182b; R. Dovid ben Zimro, Radvaz Responsa, vol. 5, §546; Rabeinu Bachye, Kad HaQemach; see also, Brochoth, 17a; Ramchal, Derech HaShem, 4:1; R. Azaryoh Piccio, Binoh Lo'Ittim, Derush 27.
2 Tola'ath Yaaqov, p. 102.
3 See Pesochim 6b.
4 Pesochim 2a.
5 See Pesochim 7b; Tosefta (ibid.) 1:1.
6 Vayiqroh Rabboh, 31:4
7 Mishlei 20:27. See also, Brochoth 10a; Midrash Shochar Tov, Tehillim 104.
8 Brochoth 10a.
9 See Orach Chaïm, 432:2, Remo, ad loc.; Mishnoh Beruroh, §13.
10 R. Refo'el E. C. Raiqi, Mishnath Chassidim, Nisson 1:1; Pri Eits Chaïm, Section Chag HaMatsoth.
11 ‘A little light pushes away much darkness’: R. Bechaye, Chovoth HaLevovoth, Sha'ar Yichud HaMa'aseh, Chapter 5. 
12 Orach Chaïm, 434:2.
13 Yerushalmi, Brochoth 17a; Eichoh Raboh, 51:1.
14 See Orach Chaïm, 458; R. Chaïm Yosef Dovid Azulo'i, Avodath HaQodesh, Moreh Bo'Etsbah, §7. ( ערב פסח Erev Pesach (‘the Eve of Passover’) – with the letters and its entirety – is gematrioh משיח בן דוד Moshiach ben Dovid (with the words).
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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Their First Seder


    by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     The boys are Jewish…their father is not.

     We are faced with reality. How can we preserve the Jewish People? What can we do to help? When we will be sitting down to our Passover Seder they will be flying back to America! Do we say, "It's too late!" or "Good bye!", or do we try to save whatever we can?

     I told the boys, "Be smart like your father. Marry a Jewish girl." The father loved it. He said to them, "Absolutely!" and they all laughed.

     I explained to the boys that we are Jews because our mothers are Jews, so in order for their children to be Jews they had to marry only a Jewish girl. They understood.

     Shmuli gave the boys a small box of Matzahs to take with them and told them to eat them Friday night after dark, and they walked away, very happy … but did we really change anything?

     They enjoyed their visit to the Kotel…They liked that their father was shown respect… they heard how important it is for them to continue the Jewish people, and Friday night on the plane, when everyone else is enjoying their airline dinner, the boys are going to be excited to put out their box of matzah from the Kotel and celebrate their first Passover Seder.

      Did we do enough? We did what we could considering what we had to work with. Did it help? Time will tell.

     One thing is for sure, every Jew is precious, and every one of us has to help.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

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Re: The Rebbe's Vodka

Sorry sent it to the wrong address
have a great Pesach

On Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 10:42 AM Gutman Locks <locks.gutman@gmail.com> wrote:
Everything comes for a reason, especially if the Rebbe sends it.

did your son give you 200sk before Shabbos?
 
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The Rebbe's Vodka

Everything comes for a reason, especially if the Rebbe sends it.

did your son give you 200sk before Shabbos?
 
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The Rebbe's Vodka



by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths


The Rebbe's Vodka. Everything comes for a reason, especially if the Rebbe sends it.


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Thursday, April 11, 2019

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What Happens When You Eat a Matzah?


by Reb Gutman Locks

What Happens When You Eat a Matzah?

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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

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Kindness



   by Reb Gutman Locks

Kindness

 

     I was on my way to daven when I saw a rabbi telling two Chinese women with two small children that they should ask me their question.      

     They were standing in front of the local medical clinic.

     They asked, "Do you speak English?"

     I said, "What do you need?"

     She, pointing to the clinic, asked, "Is this a hospital?"

     I said, "It's a medical clinic. It's like a hospital."

     She asked, "Is it only for Jewish people?"

     I asked, "What's the problem?"

     She brought her little girl close, maybe 5 or 6 years old, and pointed to the girl's eye. It had what looked like a serious infection, a large bump right on the eyelid touching her eye, and her eye had a couple of small red streaks.

     I looked into the clinic and saw a doctor sitting there whom I did not know.

     I walked into his office and told him that the Chinese tourist's daughter had an infection in her eye but, obviously, they do not belong to the clinic.

     He stood up and walked outside. I told the woman to show the doctor the problem. He looked at it for a second, turned back to his office and loudly said something I am sure disappointed the tourists. In English, it sounded either like, "No!" or "Go!". What he actually said was in Hebrew, "Bo" (Come)

     I told the women, "Go with him."

     Their faces lit up. They put their palms together. bowed slightly, and said, "Thank you, Thank you."

     I went on to daven. I was so thankful that he helped them. It made tears come to my eyes. It was such an important thing for him to do. He could have justified saying no since they did not belong to the clinic, but instead, he brought them in. He certainly set their opinion of Jews and Israel forever. It struck me so strongly to see the child helped…I was so thankful that he showed them that kindness.

     On my way back, I walked by and he was still sitting there. I went in and thanked him warmly saying, "I do not know those people at all, but thank you so much for helping them." I said, "Kindness is so important. Be strengthened."

     He was very happy that he helped them, and he was happy that I thanked him.

 

 

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Sunday, April 07, 2019

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Jews Be Happy


   by Reb Gutman Locks  

 

Move to Israel.

     The World happiness report was just released. It ranked 156 countries by happiness. Israel came in 13th and America came in 19th. If the study would have reported on the Israeli Jewish population alone and not the combined Jewish and Arab population together, we would have been ranked even higher.

     Also, a major study at the University of Washington just published in "The Lancet" found that Israel has the lowest rate of diet-related deaths in the world.

     Jews living in American may have more money than those of us who live in the Holy Land, but here, in Israel, we are healthier, happier, live longer lives, and we eat better, too! Baruch Hashem.

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Thursday, April 04, 2019

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Make Things Holy


   by Reb Gutman Locks  

Make Things Holy

 

     First off: What is holy? The fact is, only Hashem is holy, and whatever we call holy, be it a Sefer Torah, tefillin, a sage, or such, points us toward Hashem's ways. And the things that we call unholy, lead away from His ways.

     A Jew is to elevate the world… this is our job. And how do we elevate it? We use it for holy purposes.

     For instance, what is one of the most dreaded jobs we face each spring? Spring cleaning! Yuck! We haven't really cleaned the house very well all winter long, and some of it is pretty dirty. We skipped on lots of places thinking to leave them until it warmed up a little. But now it is Spring time, and we have no more excuses. We have to really clean the house. Yuck!

     Wait a minute. Why are we cleaning the house right now? Passover. Hooray. The wonderful holiday of Passover is coming, and we want to fulfill the commandment of not having any leavening in our possession. So, we clean the entire house looking for that little stuff that G-d told us not to have during the Holiday.     

     See what we did? We elevated the yucky job of spring cleaning and turned it into the mitzvah of preparing the house for Passover. Now our "spring cleaning" has become holy work.

     This is what we are to do with all our needs. We are to utilize the physical world to fulfill the commandments of Hashem. Then our physical world becomes holy.

     Have a kosher and happy Passover.

 

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Tuesday, April 02, 2019

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Torah Vs. Islam


   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     An Arab Muslim girl, Sadia Nadeem, left two comments on my video;

Is The World Real?

     In the video I quote Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian teachings about this world, and then compare them to the Torah's teachings.

     In her first comment, referring to me, she wrote: "He has a beard, why don't you call him terrorist too?"

    In the second comment, referring to the content of the video, she wrote: "You skipped what Islam says, because Islam exactly said the same thing but you can't face it." 

My reply to the girl:

     What is the reward a Muslim suicide bomber is promised in Heaven? "72 virgins with ample breasts."

     What is the reward a Jew who risks his life to protect other Jews will receive in Heaven? He will "bask in the radiance of G-d's Presence." Thank G-d I am a Jew.

    The Torah and Islam do not say the same thing.

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Sunday, March 31, 2019

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His Mother Said


   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     He was visiting Jerusalem from London. He told me that his mother recently passed away at the age of 100. She was a holocaust survivor who was blessed to have found a sponsor in England, so she was able to leave Germany in the late thirties. This, obviously, saved her life.

     I asked him what was his mother's advice?

     He told me, his mother always said, "Be happy with what you have."

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

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The Priestly Blessing


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     One of the additional benefits we receive by living in the Holy Land is that here the Kohanim (Priests) bless the congregation every morning. Outside the Land it is our custom to do this only on the holidays.

     Regarding this blessing, Hashem said to Moshe, "Speak to Aaron and his sons saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel say to them: "Hashem bless you and keep you; Hashem make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; Hashem lift up His countenance upon you and grant you peace."[i]

     How can we get the most out of this blessing? Some think it is best to stand directly in front of the Kohanim when they say the blessing. This is not necessary.    

     When Hashem gave this commandment, He said for Aaron and his sons to say these words to the Children of Israel. So, to get the most from this blessing the Kohanim say these words and we are to listen carefully to them. These are the words that Hashem wants us to hear so we will understand the blessing He is giving us. And, we are to say amen (so be it) in the pauses after each of the three sentences of blessings.

     And this is what happens: "Let them place My Name upon the Children of Israel, and I will bless them."[ii]



[i] Numbers 6:23

[ii] Numbers 6:27

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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Thank G-d


   by Reb Gutman Locks

Thank G-d

 

     This has been the most wonderful year for rain in many years. Thank G-d for His kindness.

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