Sunday, November 27, 2011


Do It In Pencil

real stories from the Kotel by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths


     Here is a lesson that we try to teach over and over again: If a Jew will not transgress what seems to be a minor commandment, he surely will not transgress a “major” one.

     Pictured here is a very nice Jewish guy from America. When I put tefillin on him, I saw his foolish tattoo. I didn’t say anything until he finished with the prayers, but as I was about to take off the tefillin, I told him my “joke” about a prayer that he should say every day.

     “Dear G-d, if I have to make any mistakes today, let me make them in pencil.”

     He understood, and he laughed. I asked him if he was married… did he have any children? He said yes, and that he did. I told him that his sons are going to see his tattoo, and then they will want one, too. He shrugged a little, as if to say that it was already done and there was nothing that he could do about it. I asked if his children were Jewish. He said that they were not. Ouch!

     The sad truth is that since his kids are not Jewish, they can get tattoos (if they are stupid enough), but what hurt was that this very nice Jewish guy has, at least up until now, thrown away his Jewish inheritance. What a treasure to lose!

     If someone would have cared enough, he would have been told that tattooing was not something that a Jew should ever do. Had this been taught to him from his early youth, he would never have married a non-Jewish girl. What a shame that someone did not tell him.

     Whenever a young Jew from outside Israel strongly refuses to put on tefillin, I ask him if he would marry a non-Jewish girl. Almost all of them say that they would! The Torah says that the mitzvahs guard our lives. This is one example of how.


  1. keep up your great job Rabbi.
    And please don't ever stop!

  2. Rav Gutman: What can we do? This is a Churban by choice. Before the Jewish guy goes off and marries a non-Jewish girl, he should ask himself why didn't 110 generations of his ancestors do what he is doing and marry a non-Jewish girl? I cannot buy this idea that people who marry out do not know what they are doing. A simple investigation of their identity would tell them that Abraham lived 3700 years ago, and that since Sinai at least, a Jew is a Jew if he has a Jewish mother. Therefore a rational Yid even if he is cut off from Torah and Mitzvot, has an obligation to make an informed choice of whom he should marry. I realize that rationally a Jew might come to a conclusion that he can marry a Reform convert to keep his ancestral destiny alive. In this case his choice really is an honest mistake. Yet, the vast majority of Jewish men marrying outside of the faith are not marrying Reform converts. So their self-perpetuated Churban is upon them and them alone.

    From Zecharia 13 we learn that up to 2/3rds of the Jewish people will be wiped out at the End of Days. There were 18 million Jews in the world before the Shoah. So Hitler, yemach shmo, took out the first third. Because they were killed al Kiddush HaShem, the 6 million have a spiritual legacy here in Eretz Yisrael. Well, what do you know there are now 5.875 million Jews in EY as of this moment. Baruch HaShem that he keeps his promises with the faithful. So nu how about the remaining 6 million? Well apparently it is their choice. They can make their own spiritual bed by marrying out, or they can stick with G-d's chosen nation. And if they choose to marry out, then they have chosen to cut themselves off from their spiritual legacy. Yes, even for a tinok shenishba, it is their choice. G-d bless Aish HaTorah and Chabad for being the two primary engines for scooping up the lost and confused. But ultimately for the remaining 6 million, they can make the rational choice, or they can live a life of emotion and cut themselves off from the previous 110 generations that are breathing down their necks.

  3. Dear Non Observant friend,
    first of all don't feel bad about the tattoos. There are countless very holy and very observant rabbis with tattoos, out there. Every year, I am sorry to say, there are fewer, but this is no good reason to forget their memory. You don't have to worry, as you did not get tattoos for idolatry worship but only for aestethic reasons, and even so, you were not aware they are forbidden. Please give, to a rabbi you trust, the names and contact info of your children you brought into the world. Any serious rabbi will take care of them and their descendants, whether they wish to become jewish or not. (If they do, they will be encouraged.) And don't worry about tefillin either. Many fine people (and I mean FINE PEOPLE) only wore them at their Bar Mitzvah.

  4. I usually love reading your Kotel stories but this one is more personal to me as I have many tattoos.

    They see them in the mikveh, they them when i pray, they see them and they judge me, they see them everyday. But my tattos are teshuvah that brought me to this path, their judgement are averos but I will never laugh. So please send me a check for tattoo removal, I still remember my FRUM parents looking with more than disapproval. Maybe you would like to come and flay my ink stained skin, for I have returned and your judgement lets you begin.

    If I never got a tattoo at that rave from a fried out Chassidic Jew with Torah tattooed on his arms, I would have never come back to Hashems who was waiting with open arms.

    Seems you accidentally transgressed a big one.

  5. The issue of the tattoo reminds me of a story from the 1980s when I was here in Israel for the first time. A Ba'al teshuva walked into a mikvah in Me'ah She'arim. He had a tattoo from his more secular years. He tried to hide it, but he knew that in the mikvah he could not have his hand blocking a part of his body. So he removed his hand, but he had shame written all over his face. And sadly some of the other mikvah patrons looked at him askance. So as he got out with tears in his eyes, an elderly gentleman came up to him and showed him the number on his forearm from the Camps. And he said, "See I have one of those too."

    Truth is that the Jewish people have been through H-ll for the last 2000 years. Yet eternally cutting your progeny off from G-d by not marrying a Jewish girl is a different issue than the fact that one missed out on one of our Chukim. The tattoo is 100% forgivable. The choice to shmad your children from the womb of your gentile wife is not unless sometime during this life sin one can leave that wife to find a proper Jewish wife. This happened at the beginning of the 2nd Temple period, but all those who had taken on gentile wives instantly divorced them. How many Jewish men with non-Jewish wives are ready to do that now?

  6. Can a gentile man under any circumstances marry a Jewish woman? I am not a Jew by Torah law, but my entire paternal family is. I absolutely will never want to convert to be obligated under the 613 mitzvot, but I have no attachment to other religious doctrines and am a noachide. Would I be allowed to marry any woman who's truly Jewish by law (meaning her mother is Jewish and her mother etc. or any woman who had an orthodox conversion), or would this be equal to a Jewish man marrying a gentile woman?

  7. Funny thing is if you look at the written Torah many men took non-Jewish wives, it always went via the fathers side of who is Jewish. How it was so simple for the rabbinical side to wipe out the lineage of David by going to the mother's line. You want MBD, good luck finding one who's lineage is from him.

    So according to the written Torah those Jews with a Jewish father are really Jews while those with only a Jewish mother are not, hence have to convert. That's the real Torah law. Not the laws of men.


Welcome to Mystical Paths comments. Have your say here, but please keep the tone reasonably civil and avoid lashon hara. Due to past commenting problems, all comments are moderated (this may take a few hours.)

Your comments are governed by our Terms of Use, Privacy, and Comments policies. We reserve the right to delete or edit your comments for any reason, or use them in a future article. That said, YOU are responsible for YOUR comments - not us.

Related Posts with Thumbnails