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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Thursday, January 23, 2020

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How Can We Change the Past?


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

How Can We Change the Past?

 

     Our past can drive us nuts and there is no way we can change what happened back then…. So, what can we do about it? How can we pick ourselves up?

     We may not be able to change what we did way back then, but we can surely change what our past is going to do to our future.

     We do this by changing what our past is doing to us right now.  

     How do we do this? For one thing; we change the way we act now. We are all judged by our deeds, and whatever we do comes back to us. So, in order to remove the negative effect of the improper deeds we did back then, we do lots of proper deeds right now.    

     Another thing we can do to remove the effect of our improper past is to have lots of proper thoughts now. "Think good and it will be good."

     When we do good deeds, and we have good thoughts, we live longer, healthier, and happier lives… and these are things that we can easily do right now.

 

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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Tzedakah (Charity)


   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     Tzedakah (Charity)

 

     This young boy came up to the tefillin stand and put a small coin in the charity box. He smiled so nicely when he put the coin in the box… happy that he could do the mitzvah… that he could help those who are helping others…. 

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

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Egyptian Slavery


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     Without doubt, the most important lesson to be learned from the enslavement of the Jewish people thousands of years ago in Egypt is the ongoing enslavement of the Jewish people today. This happens to us when we make the same mistake that we made way back then.

     There was a famine. We were almost out of food. We had to go down into Egypt to make a living. What else could we do?

     Just like today…. We have to go to work, and just like way back then, our work today ends up enslaving…. We can't let go!

     We go to work to make a living, but then, even when we have enough to provide for all of our needs, we have to make even more money so we can buy even more than we need. You have one million dollars? Guess what? Now you need two. You have two million dollars? Guess what? Now you need three. Seemingly without end, we work for things that we don't even need.

     But the tribe of Levi also went into Egypt yet they did not become enslaved. They did not become enslaved because they went into Egypt keeping the Torah as their goal.

     The same thing will happen to us today if we go to work not for the money itself but for the mitzvas that we want to do with that money. Obviously, it is a mitzvah to provide necessities for our family. When the mitzvahs are the goal, when serving Hashem is the reason we go to work, then that same work that was enslaving us before, now becomes holy work.

     The Torah is not simply a history book. It is the story of the unfolding of our lives in the world today.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

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Jewish Meditation Questions


   by Reb Gutman Locks  

 

PJ Asked;

     After I completed the meditation, I felt as if within a safety bubble through which no darkness could enter. It was just me and God inside that canopy. At which time I became aware that reality was condensing on the outside of my hands, so that I could have an inner sanctum there inside the bubble. I saw that this energy flowed through everything, and that if I would focus, I would probably be able to move things in the room with my mind by directing the inner-energy inside any given object.

     Is it Kosher to experiment with this further? Or is it a distraction and a corruption of how this world is supposed to be interacted with?

     And, what do you think is the number one easiest beginner's meditation method? Just sit and focus the mind on the Oneness of God for 10 min every day?

     Also, what do you think is the minimum age to begin meditation? Some encourage children to do so.

Thanks

 

Gutman's reply:  

     Meditation can magnify our thoughts in such a way that we see them as visions. All this should be ignored and simply return to focusing on your meditation subject.

    The question is; after meditating, do you want to serve Hashem better? After meditation, and you do a mitzvah, does the mitzvah bring you more spiritual awareness and joy? These are the goals we should seek when we use meditation as a tool. If your experiences are bringing you to greater service of Hashem, then they are working fine.

     It depends on the child, but the best, simplest method for children and for adults is to remember that Hashem is everywhere at all times, and to speak to Him softly, and lovingly, as you go through your day.

     There are two overall goals to Jewish meditation; to become more spiritually sensitive, i.e. aware of Hashem's Presence, and to direct your heart to Heaven. A loving conversation with Hashem can do both of these.

     
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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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FAKE NEWS!



by Gutman Locks  
    FAKE NEWS!

 

     The Jerusalem Post, among many other news outlets, reported on the filling in of one of the final letters in a new Torah Scroll here in Jerusalem by the famous Haredi woman who is a civil court judge in New York. They wrote:

     "The New York Haredi judge also wrote a letter in the Book of the Torah of the People of Israel: Haredi judge from the United States Ruhi Freer and her husband Rabbi David Freer were honored to write a letter in the Book of the Torah of the People of Israel, initiated by Rabbi David Avraham Pressman, as part of the desire to create a connection and union with the people of Israel."

    This is just not true! If a woman, no matter how famous and righteous she might be, would write a letter in a Torah scroll, that Torah scroll would be posul (invalid). Her husband filled in the letter, but the news outlets would not have had a news item by reporting that a rabbi filled in a letter, so they included the lady judge too.

     How do I know? Her son-in-law, Josh, helps out at the tefillin stand and he was there when it happened. He told me.

     A religious Jewish woman knows not to write a letter in a Sefer Torah (scroll). To report that she did is motzi shem ra (slander) and if she wanted, she could sue them for defamation.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

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Signs--- The Times They Are A Changin’

     


 


by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     For the first time in Israel's History, Jewish fertility rate surpasses that of Arabs.    

Redemption is happening right now.

     Hashem is doing it slowly to so we will have time to do teshuva (repent) before His actual Presence is revealed. Once that happens (may it be right now) there will be no more basic freewill. Who would cheat if they saw Hashem revealed right there? Now is when we can greatly improve our future. Now is when we can reserve a better seat for the time of the Mashiach and in the World to Come. 

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Thursday, January 09, 2020

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It All Comes Back


   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

      An older Israeli man came up to me at my tefillin cart and said, "They told me that you could answer my question…. Why is it that my niece buried her daughter… and my cousin buried his young child … and …?"  He went on to list another three or four other relatives who outlived their children. "Why is G-d doing this to my family?" and he started to cry.

    I told him, "I do not know why Hashem is doing this, but I do know that whenever we want to receive more kindness from Hashem, if we will go do many more kind deeds for others then Hashem will look at us with greater kindness."

    It's the rule… Whatever we do comes back to us.

 

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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

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Letters, Crowns, Punctuations, Cantillations

by Lazar at Mystical Paths
 

Letters, Crowns, Punctuations, Cantillations 

The four levels of Divine Light


Even though the Essence of the Creator of All can never be reached, ancient Divine wisdom teaches us that man has the ability to reach higher levels of spiritual consciousness by climbing the ladder of the four levels of thought. This advanced meditation guides the listener through these four levels.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2020

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Hashem’s Lost and Found


   by Reb Gutman Locks   

 

     When I first asked Daniel if he was Jewish, he answered that his mother was Jewish, but he was raised a christian all of his life.

     He has his own business and he was traveling to China and Indian to be there for some time for business. He did not know why, but he stopped in Israel on his way to the Far East, just for one day.

     I put tefillin on him… he had no idea what they are… had him read the Shema in English, pray for his family and for the things that he wanted, and then we talked for quite a while.

     Obviously, the first thing was to knock off the idolatry of yashka. Daniel was able to see why yashka is not G-d, and why not to worship him. Usually xians refuse to let go of that myth, but Daniel was open to the logic of Hashem being everywhere, and that man/god not being everywhere. One of their most cherished beliefs is that after three days in the grave yashka went to Heaven and was no longer in the grave. "Well, if he is not in the grave, he is not everywhere. Don't worship him. Worship only the G-d Who is everywhere."

     We spent a lot of time on the importance of marrying only a Jewish girl,… having a Jewish family. He liked the idea very much.

      He had lots of questions about such things as, what happens after we leave the world, and, thank G-d, I had lots of answers.

     After maybe a half an hour of talking and arranging for email follow up, Danial left truly a changed man. He got rid of his lifelong idolatry, he was interested in finding out how a Jew serves G-d, and he wanted to marry only a Jewish girl so he could have a Jewish family.

     Why, on his way to China, did Daniel suddenly decide to visit Israel? … to come to the Kotel? and to be stopped by me to talk? He asked me, "Why?", and I told him, "You decided to visit Israel and to come to the Kotel today so you could talk with me."

     It's true. Hashem, in His kindness sometimes arranges things to happen to save us from a ton of trouble, and to give us the proper insight so, if we want, we will be able to turn and fulfill our life's purpose.

     When you see G-d's hand working in your life it is called; Hashgaha Peratit, (lit. divine supervision of the individual.

     Let's see if within a year or two, Daniel sends me an invitation to his beautiful Jewish wedding.

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Sunday, January 05, 2020

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A Hole In Your Ear



by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths



     Is there anything really wrong with a Jewish
guy putting a hole in his ear? What’s the problem? A lot of guys are doing it these
days. Some even put huge holes in their ears!
- type article here -
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Thursday, January 02, 2020

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It’s All Inside…


   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     He is a physician from America visiting Jerusalem with his son. His son's mother is not Jewish. He is 69 years old and had no idea what tefillin are. He had never even seen them before.

     "What are these? What are you doing to me?"

      I explained they are in fulfilment of the commandment to Jewish men to take G-d's words and bind them for a sign upon our arms and as a reminder between our eyes. "It means that we will do what G-d told us to do and we will think about what G-d told us to think about."

     I said, "Say, Barouch…" He said, Barouch… and he went on and said almost all of the barucha! I was amazed. I helped him with the ending of the barucha and had him read the Shema in English. He read it slowly and clearly, out loud.

     Then I told him, "What you are going to do now is what you came all the way from America to do."

     "When you fulfil a commandment, especially here in this holy place, and especially today being the first time you have ever fulfilled this mitzvah, Hashem is going to open the door to Heaven for you. Go stand by the Kotel, close your eyes, picture everyone you love one at a time with light on their faces and smiling and ask G-d to bless them. Pray for the Jews in danger, say thank You. Go take a couple of minutes and talk to G-d in your heart."

     He stood there next to the Kotel talking to Hashem for well over ten minutes. When he came back I asked him, "How was the experience?"

     He said, "It was an amazing experience."

     When I was taking the tefillin off, I asked, "How is it possible that you have never even seen tefillin before and yet you were able to say almost all of the blessing?"

     He said, "I don't know. I haven't said anything like that since I was 7 years old. It just came out."

     Everything we see or learn throughout our entire lives is somewhere inside of us. All it takes is the right thing to bring to the surface again.  

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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Fighting Anti-Semitism


   by Reb Gutman Locks  

 

     There are three things that we should do to fight this current worldwide rise in hatred of Jews without reason.

     Number 1: Jews must increase our love of our fellow Jews without reason.

     Hashem sends everything for a reason. One reason He sends our enemies to fight against us is so we will come together and not fight with each other. It is that simple. Each of us in our own way must increase our love for our fellow Jews in order to protect all of us from these evil people. Do even the smallest kindness to a fellow Jew, even a smile, and you will be fighting this evil antisemitism.

     Number 2: Get a gun. When we are armed, they do not attack us. We cannot depend on others to defend us. We must be prepared to protect ourselves.

    Number 3: There is another reason Hashem sends hatred of Jews in certain parts of the world. He is telling those Jews to leave that land and to come home to our Home Land now.

     Ideally, all of us should be living in our Holy Land, the Land that Hashem gave to us.

     Jews loving Jews without reason, carry a weapon, and move to Israel; these are the three things we can do to stop the recent rise in attacks against Jews without reason.

 


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Sunday, December 29, 2019

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7th Night, 12 Years

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

This 7th night of Chanukah is my 12th year anniversary of making Aliyah (moving up) to Eretz Yisroel (the Land of Israel).

My wife was recently with her friend and her friend's grandson, who is a rabbinical student studying in Israel, and she asked him if he intends to stay or move to Israel after he finishes his studies.  He responded, "no way, I like my comforts too much".

My youngest son, who does like to tweet his dad's chain, asked me last night "nu, wouldn't it have been better to wait until we were all 18 (or older)?"

My answer: absolutely not. It's beautiful and wonderful to say living in the Land of Israel, G-d's gift to the Jews, is a blessing, a special gift and an opportunity not to be missed.  But let's get practical as well:


  • Jewish private education in the U.S. is impossibly expensive.  If you have more than a couple of children and make less than several hundred thousand dollars a year, you have to beg, borrow, take charity and yes, cheat, to get a U.S. based religious education for your children. And if you have a child who needs special help or is special needs, it's college level prices. The alternative... U.S. does still have some decent public schools, but good look finding them and good luck with the current cultural indoctrination and clash with Jewish family values.  In Israel your children will get a good solid Jewish religious education -- and if you make the right choices, maybe a decent secular education as well (but that is harder to find with the Jewish one, so unfortunately in some ways the problem is reversed.)
  • Safety as a Jew.  8 serious anti-semitic attacks this Chanukah in the New York area, 2 of them deadly and 2 of them threatening mass murder.  While Israel has had periods of serious terrorism, currently Israel is significantly safer than the U.S. in violent crime, in anti-semitic attacks, in gun attacks, and yes in terrorism.  This is a trend we wrote about here on the blog over the last 15 years, and it has - unfortunately - reached a tipping point where Jews have become a clear threatened target in the U.S.  
  • Health care (especially with a large family).  When I left the U.S., health care was quickly becoming a major cost issue for me, and having had a serious family medical issue while I was between jobs (and didn't know to take COBRA coverage) had cost me everything once.  Obamacare made it worse, increasing costs while reducing coverage.  In the meantime, Israel's health system upgraded to a world class system where today Israel takes referrals from around the world and receives medical tourism.  It's not perfect, and it has gaps especially for those with chronic and unique conditions, but overall you'll get good care and it doesn't cost you out of pocket.  In Israel, I'm not afraid to run to the Emergency Room because it might bankrupt me - and in the U.S. there were occasions where I was deciding whether to take a child for emergency care or not based on whether deductibles had been met or if I could cover the out-of-pocket.
  • Jewish Life is...Readily Available and part of daily existence.  The U.S. is a great country, but it has it's primary culture such as the Thanksgiving season and the Xmas season.  But I want to immerse myself and especially my children in the Rosh Hashana season, the Chanukah season, the Passover season.  In Israel, companies have Rosh Hashana and Chanukah parties, the bakeries come out with their Chanukah fancy donut collections, companies give a Passover and Rosh Hashana bonus, ads for Sukkah supplies are on the back of every bus, the dairy companies have big sales for Shavuos... my family and I can enjoy being part of a national culture instead of avoiding the national culture.
  • Longer life expectancy, higher happiness index.  Surprisingly, Israel has a longer life expectancy average and a higher happiness index than the U.S.  Lifestyles in Israel are healthier, and the people are happier (even if they have less stuff).
  • They got my back.  While the Jews of New York are now begging the authorities to provide additional security coverage for Jewish neighbourhoods, stores, institutions, in Israel everyone "got my back".  We're all in it together.  4 of my children have done Israeli army service.  And while we trust in Hashem and only He is the ultimate safety, we are obligated to do our part.  And in Israel, people do stand together. 
  • Yes, you can get it in Israel.  While in the past Israel's economy was weaker than the U.S., in the past 25 years it has grown into a powerhouse and has salaries at a first world average.  And if you want it, it's probably sold here.  And if it's not, you can order it from Amazon.com (free shipping to Israel right now!) or from AliExpress.  (Currently 12% of Israel's economy is arriving in small packages from overseas.) 
I am pleased and blessed to be living in the Land of Israel, and thank G-d for the opportunity to do so for the past 12 years.
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Monsey Synagogue Attack - Monsey Background

by Rob Akiva at Mystical Paths

We were horrified to hear of the stabbing attack at the Rabbi Rottenberg Shul (synagogue) in Forshay (Monsey), New York (State) last night.  And we understand the rush of news media and politicians to report and respond.

But there's bit quite a bit of misunderstanding and misreporting of what/where a Monsey is, what type of community it is, and even what a shul is.  Here's some background to help:

Monsey is a village in the State of New York.  It's in Rockland County, is officially part of the town of Ramapo (so Monsey doesn't have it's own police or mayor).

Somewhere around 30 years ago, ultra-orthodox Jewish families started moving out of New York City and buying homes in this suburban semi-rural area, creating a concentration of orthodox families.  Being the homes were on rural sized big-lots (1/4 acre?), there was some desire to increase the density and some homes or groups of homes were turned into row homes or attached homes.

This continuing trend also grew into neighbouring towns of Westley Hills and Spring Valley, and continue growing throughout the area.  This has caused a fair bit of political conflict as the neighbourhoods have changed the type of residents, the new residents have exercised their vote and taken positions in school boards and so forth, and changed funding for this such as public school programs (which the majority of the orthodox Jewish residents don't use).

The overall area has limited commercial space, and limited non-residential land use space.  Therefore, almost ALL the synagogues of the area are actually either converted homes, a converted garage or rooms in someone's home, or an add on extension to a home.  And there are probably 1-3 of these on every street in this suburban layout village

Neighborhood synagogues of this type usually have 15-50 worshippers.

The community is majority chassidic Jews.  Many work in New York City, which is a 1 1/2 hour commute and is heavily serviced by private buses, including the famous shul buses - meaning a bus with morning synagogue services on the bus on the way.

Due to the small size of the synagogues, and their attachment (and being provided by) personal homes, serious security spread across many small facilities may not be a reasonably viable option (though basic measures such as locking the door and checking through a peep hole probably are).  That said, I don't see any reason such an attacker could not have moved to the local shopping strip or kosher grocery store and attacked there.

May G-d offer a complete healing to the injured, and avenge the blood.
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What?


   By Reb Gutman Locks

What?

 

     Sometimes, you have to have a wider view in order to see what is really going on. For instance, this picture. What is so special about this pigeon that I stopped to take it? You can't tell from the first picture, but this bird is doing something that you and I could never do.

     It is not standing on the floor as it seems. It is very comfortably standing on the side of the wall!

    Look at side of the second picture and you will see a chair and a stender (stand) on the floor.

    The lesson? Make sure you have all the facts before you make up your mind.


 


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