A conversation about G-d, mysteries of the universe and soul, Israel... and speculation about biblical prophecies and the end of days.

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Friday, December 13, 2019

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It Doesn’t Seem Fair


   by Reb gutman Locks   

 

     Shechem, the prince of his city, kidnaped Dinah and he defiled her, so obviously he deserved the punishment he received. But why were the residents of his city also killed? They did not defile Dinah?

     Actually, the citizens of that city were also guilty of defiling Dinah! The Torah testifies to this clearly; "The sons of Yacov came upon the slain and they plundered the city which had defiled their sister."[i]

     Why were those residents obligated for defiling Dinah, and why did they have to suffer circumcision, too?   

      As an example; when the Japanese air force bombed the US Navy in Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on the Japanese Nation, not just on the pilots who dropped the bombs or the generals who sent them. The citizens are obligated for what their leaders do. Likewise, the residents of Shechem were guilty for not forcing their prince to release Dinah. Had they done that, then only Shechem the prince would have been killed.

     And also, why was part of their punishment the pain of circumcision? Wasn't their death penalty enough?

     It is called mida keneged mida (This portion across from that portion) i.e. the first act brings about the following act. It was with that member of his body that the prince defiled Dinah.  

    But, if they were obligated for the death penalty, why was Yacov angry with the two brothers for having killed them? Yacov wasn't angry with the brothers for killing them. He was angry with them for having put him and his family in danger as the surrounding cities might have attacked them.



[i] Genesis 34:27 

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Aggressive Missionaries



   by Reb Gutman Locks
   

 

     This aggressive missionary with his idolatry written all over his shirt was just told to leave the Kotel area. He was inside handing out brochures saying why to believe in yashka!

     I asked him, "Would you like me to come to your church…" He quickly interrupted me and said, "Yes", and I continued, "… and tell your people why not to believe in yashka?"

     He said, "No!"

    "Then don't come to our places and handout your lies trying to get us to follow your idolatry"

      Did my talk to him help at all? I doubt it.

      I went to the supervisor there and he told me that he was the one who told the man to leave. I told him we should try to stop them before them come in.

     What is the solution to these rude aggressive x-ians? I do not know, but I do know they are making themselves and their religion even more repulsive than it was before.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Has the West become unsafe for Jews?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths


- Jewish store targeted in New Jersey, at least 2 Jews killed (a young wife and a young man).

- Jew targeted in Paris, beaten unconscious.

When I made Aliyah (moved to Israel) over 10 years ago, little did I dream that I'd be living in an Israel generally considered safe (violent crime, even with terrorism, 18x lower than New York City, life expectancy higher than the U.S. even with war) while watching Jews being attacked and killed weekly in the U.S., France, England, etc.

A young rabbinical student, the grandson of a good friend of our family, said after Shabbat this week, "no, I would never consider moving to Israel - I like my comforts too much".

Israel of the past had developed a reputation for lack of safety due to terrorism, and lack of life comfort and convenience due to the high prices of some products due to taxes and import fees.

Right now Amazon.com is shipping free to Israel, most everything was already available in Israel (12% of the Israeli consumer economy is now being serviced by private imports via sites like AliExpress [direct from China] and Amazon UK and Amazon US).  And a co-worker today told me his online whiskey club is getting product cheaper than the US.

Comforts and product familiarity problem solved.

BUT, as a Jew, it is quickly becoming SAFER to be in Israel - even if you are a front line combat soldier in the military! - than to be out of Israel.

May the families who were destroyed yesterday in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA by horrific anti-semitic murderers be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.

...here's a particularly relevant comment from Instapundit - "AMAZINGLY LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PERPETRATORS" (of the Jersey City attack)
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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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Bye Bye Babies - The West goes Extinct

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

-- "in no (Western) country have pro-birth policies sustained fertility above the replacement rate."

-- "The U.S. total fertility rate (TFR) has dropped to below 1.73 births per woman", now far below the 2.2 replacement rate (the rate at which the population stays the same).

-- "U.S. fertility rates appear to be following the downward below-replacement trend seen in other developed countries. For example, the overall rate for the 28 countries in the European Union is just under 1.6 births per woman; Japan's is at 1.4 births; Australia's is at 1.74 births, and Canada's is 1.5 births."

-- "modern people considering their options are voluntarily choosing to have fewer children."

-- An early example, Japan: "When a country's birth rate shrinks, it can face major challenges. When a country's population gets older, that causes problems too. But what if both happen at the same time? Japan knows, because it's facing this exact crisis right now. This may seem like a "Japan problem," but it will be affecting most developed nations in the next 30–50 years, including the United States. Japan's population is declining, but that doesn't mean the death rate is increasing. In fact, Japanese people are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. This is a good thing under normal circumstances, but pair it with a declining birth rate, and problems begin to emerge."

-- Japan is suffering abandoned towns, abandoned homes and apartments throughout the country, loss of labor pool, deflation due to change in spending habits as population ages and shrinks, empty schools, and a swing in politics as the elderly voters - an increasing segment of the population - demand that social spending focus on their needs.

With Western economies and living conditions being THE BEST IN HISTORY, the traditional reason for reducing family size of concern over support doesn't apply.

I put it down to 2 reasons:

1. Doomers.  The doomer generation is convinced by mass hysteria that world conditions are horrible and we're all going to die in 6 months or 5 years or 12 years (depending on the preacher of the moment).  Who would bring children into a world about to end due to climate disaster?  Particularly since Manhattan went underwater.

2. Lack of the Patriarchy.  By ending the patriarchy, women and society have made it near impossible for men to support their families through their wife's child bearing years.  And by continually penalizing men for...being men, they have dis-incentivized men from wanting to commit to doing so. While every woman can now achieve her best and take every professional position, what she can't achieve is motherhood with a spouse who can fund her doing so.

The exception to this Western civilization trend is Israel.  Israel is a little harder to understand, as there are (at least) 3 different distinct population segments with different birth rates - but net net Israel's birth rate is somewhere from 2.7 - 3.1.  (The segments are secular Israeli Jews, religious Israeli Jews, and Israeli Arabs.)  Here's a surprisingly good article on some of the reasons why.

While the West is at is zenith, and is going crazy indulging in every fantasy excess (when a society has time and money to focus on a micro-sub-population issue such as T - it's living in a no-threat no-real-concern time), it's actually sowing the seeds of it's disappearance by ignoring the balances necessary for normal survival.

The next 25 years should be really interesting.  It would be best, of course, if Moshiach arrives and returns optimism to the world.

Reference: Reason, Tofugu
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The Journey


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
      The Journey

 

Ahmad asks:

Shalom Rabbi Gutman,

     I hope you are doing very well. I am writing after going through your video on your life journey. Your journey has been one of the quest for truth, and that is why you have traveled from land to land, in search of true guidance, in hope of finding the greater and the subtle truth. Thank you for your journey because it inspires others.  It occurred to my mind that perhaps you could help me with healing. Is there a way or a prayer that can heal a person, and make them live a wholesome life? Can a person heal from his bodily illness? I don't know if it is called deliverance?

Thank you

Ahmad

 

Gutman's reply:

Shalom Ahmad,

     We are all judged according to our deeds. G-d looks at us and answers our prayers taking in consideration what we have done, and even more importantly, what we are doing with our lives.

    If you want a favorable judgement, do favorable deeds. For instance, give some charity to someone needy and then ask G-d to heal you. Do this many times.

     Turn from the inappropriate things that you are doing, and turn to the good, and G-d will show His Kindness to you.

Shalom,

Gutman

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Monday, December 09, 2019

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Currency Exchange in Israel

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

A friend wrote that they didn’t understand the currency conversion chart provided by an Israeli bank.  Since it is rather confusing, I thought I’d share it with everyone:

On this particular chart (different places write it different ways), if you are changing NIS (Israeli currency – New Israeli Shekels) to US $, you are "buying" dollars, so (again, the way they listed it on this chart), divide your NIS by the Buy rate to get how many dollars the bank will give you.

And the opposite, if you are changing US$ to NIS, you are "selling" dollars... so multiply the US$ amount by the Sell rate to get the number of shekels you will receive.

Note, and particularly annoying, they charge one rate if it is an account to account transfer or a changing of currency within your account, and another rate if actual physical money is involved.

Their rates are pretty bad.  It may be convenient to use a bank, and no doubt it's the safest method, but you may want to find an exchange service to use instead.  The savings can be significant and for monthly type expenses the risk is reasonable versus the savings - but that's just my personal opinion (never take financial advice from a religion blogger).

There are many authorized and licensed currency exchange companies in Israel – but they have occasionally gone bankrupt and people with transfers in progress are out of luck if that happens.  (I’ve known it to happen twice in 10 years – so it’s not a frequent problem but if moving serious money, such as a down payment for a house purchase – balance the risk versus the savings.
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Thank G-d for the Rain


   by Reb Gutman Locks

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Sunday, December 08, 2019

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Partnership & The Bnei Noach


   by Reb Gutman Locks

Partnership & The Bnei Noach

 

     There is a concept called, "Partnership with G-d" (shutafim). It was first discussed by the Torah commentators some 1000 years ago. The concept says that Hashem shared a small portion of His power with some other entities, such as an angel, or the stars. Some Jewish sources say that a non-Jew is allowed to believe in this concept, but all agree that even if he is allowed to believe in the idea of "partnership" he certainly is not allowed to worship such an entity. A Jew is not allowed to even believe in such an idea.

     The question came up as to whether or not a Bnei Noach (a non-Jew who keeps the 7 Commandments of Noah) is allowed to believe in shutafim. Apparently, there is a disagreement among Jewish sources on this.

     My answer is pretty obvious. If a Bnei Noach is fulfilling his 7 Commandments properly, he will not only keep the seven "Do Not Do" commandments by not doing them, he will understand them.  

     The First commandment is "No Idolatry." In order to properly fulfill this command, one has to know what an idol is. When you learn what an idol is you will be directed to learn that Hashem is Infinite, everywhere, all-knowing, all-powerful, and much, much more. Someone who knows that Hashem is all-powerful does not even entertain the thought that there might be any others wielding any power in His creation.

     My advice to the Bnei Noach is; learn and keep the 7 Commandments, fulfill them with joy being thankful that you are not an idolater, be aware of Hashem's Presence, and try to bring other non-Jews to this righteous path, too. Helping others to come to the 7 Commandments will give you an exciting way to serve G-d.

 

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Thursday, December 05, 2019

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The Crown of Torah



   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     These very proud boys came to the Kotel to say some Psalms to thank Hashem. They have just received their very first personal prayer books. They now begin to wear the Crown of Torah.

 

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Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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FamilyTime


   by Reb Gutman Locks
                                                    Family Time

 

     They are from Russia but have lived in Israel a long time. They rarely, if ever, put on tefillin. Two grandfathers, a son, and a grandson. I had the fathers bless their son, and the grandfathers their grandson, read the shema, go to the Kotel and pray for their loved ones. We took pictures and although they didn't smile for my picture, they smiled for the ones I took with their camera, and the family went away very happy.

     What happened different for them? They had an enjoyable Torah family time experience at the Kotel. And if I hadn't had brought them in? They would have been sightseers looking at the stones of a Wall.

     Wherever you are, you can help others have a more meaningful time, and that experience can very possibly change their lives forever. And what does it cost you? Not only does it not cost you anything, it adds to your life.

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Sunday, December 01, 2019

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Yaacov the First Born


   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     How do we know that Hashem agrees that Esau actually sold his birthright to be the first born of Yitzchak and Rivka to Yacov? Hashem said so!

     Later, when Yitzchak sent Yacov away to take a wife from his mother's family, the Torah says, "So Yitzchak sent away Yacov toward Paddan-aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Aramean, brother of Rivka, mother of Yacov and Esau."[i]   

     Hashem put Yacov first. The Torah states that Yacov became Yitzchak and Rivka's first born.

 



[i] Genesis 28:5 


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Friday, November 29, 2019

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Again!



   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     Again!

 

     I was just (yesterday) leaving the immediate area of the Kotel into the Kotel plaza and was greeted by this missionary's gall in English and Hebrew saying that he is a deputy of yoshke! They fold up their garments and hide them so they can come in and then they put them on.

     Let a Hindu or Buddhist go advertise their idols in a yoshke central prayer location and see what would happen.

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

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“My House…”




by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     "My House of prayer will be called a House of Prayer for all people."

      A number of readers tried to defend the x-ians bowing down and praying out loud at the Kotel when we are trying to pray. They said such things as, "What's wrong with bowing down? It's the proper way for Jews to pray." Another sent me the quote from Isaiah, "Hashem's House shall be a house of prayer for all people." One even said they are showing solidity with us!

     Yes, Hashem's House will be a house of prayer for all people… but not for all religions. The objection to their presence is not merely that they do not follow our customs such as bowing as they do, but the condemnation comes from their blatant worship of their idols in our Holy Place.

     The blurred picture that I crossed out is a card that was left on a stand an inch in front of the Kotel at 3:00 AM yesterday morning. A x-ian visitor who stood there for almost an hour silently praying left it there for us. It is a picture of their idol yushka as a baby in his "virgin" mother's arms!

     This morning there were a large number of us with tallis and tefillin on davening right before sunrise; and what do I hear even louder than our prayers? A guy from Fiji arms spread out on the Kotel standing right by our minyan mumbling out loud to his little god yushka! I went over and had to yell at him three times to "Be quiet!" before he shut up.

     Now, do any of you really think that we should have to tolerate such things?

     I suggest an ongoing class in the Seven Commandments of Noah at the Kotel entrance to explain to the visitors the acceptable practices in our Holy Place before they are allowed to enter.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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What If?


   by Reb Gutman Locks
     What If?

 

      What would happen if a Muslim walked into the place that x-ians say is the most holy place they have, or even into a local x-ian church and bowed down in front of all of them, and then started calling out to Allah? What do you think the x-ians would do? Stand there silently, trying to ignore the idiot like the Jews at the Kotel do when the x-ians come and worship yushka out loud there? I doubt it. They would probably try to baptize him, and if he wouldn't agree they would scream and holler and throw the jerk out.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

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“To You Silence is Praise”



   by Reb Gutman Locks   

"To You Silence is Praise" [i]

 

     At first it might seem that this means that even if we do not say anything about Hashem, it is still considered to be praising Him. The actual meaning is that no matter how much we try to praise Hashem, what is left unsaid is so much greater than anything we could possibly say.

     The practical lesson of silence is that the mystical moments are experienced in stillness, when we stand in awe, not when we are expressing our desires or praises. But first we have to look, yearn, to reach up inside, and then, please G-d, we will experience in silence the awe of His Glorious Presence.



[i] Psalms 65 

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