Sunday, February 22, 2015


Upping the Game

by Reb Gutman Locks   

Upping the Game


     My name is Ari (Aharon). I am 32 years old, I am blessed, thank G-d, with a wife and two beautiful children. I work as a mental health counselor. I have always been frum (religious) more or less, and have been struggling for years with spirituality and Judaism.

     I hit some harsh lows over the past few days and was thinking last night about the following irony. I care so much yet I do so little. I feel like I care more than the average person about these matters but seem to do less about it, at least consistently, then the average person. I am also preparing to "up my game" being that it is the new moon of the month of Adar and I have been mostly down for so long.

     I just stumbled across some videos of yours on YouTube and your words and energy really resonate with me. I am basically trying to reach out to you, as a fellow Jew to make a connection. I have many questions and issues but am, at this point, primarily saying "Sholom Aleichem" and introducing myself. I would love to hear back from you, even just for some one-time, brief words of encouragement.



Gutman's response:

Shalom Ari,

    You are indeed very fortunate, even blessed. Most people when they are down do not know enough to do something right to pick themselves up. They usually just stay there and complain.

     Here is how I suggest you "up your game." If you will do this consistently you will not only pick yourself up, but you will put yourself in an entirely different world of spiritual awareness. Try it and see.

     Whenever you make a braucha (say the blessing), as you say "…asher kiddishanu b'mitzvahtav" (…Who has made us holy with His commandments) stop there in the middle of the blessing for a moment, look at the tefillin, or the candles, or whatever you are using to do the mitzvah, and think, "When I put these tefillin on I become holy."

     Do you know what it means to become holy? Who could even dream of such a lofty thing, but here we are saying that doing this mitzvah actually makes us holy!

     The fact is only Hashem is holy and everything that we call holy, be it a mitzvah, or a Sefer Torah (scroll), or a righteous person, simply points to Hashem's holiness. This is why He commanded us to be holy and why He has given us these precious mitzvahs.

     Stop and think what is happening when you fulfill the will of Hashem, and if it does not bring you spiritual joy when you do it, you didn't do it right.   

     After you have done it a few times, and you see how it works, if you really want to get high, show another Jew how to do it, too. You'll see. It's guaranteed!

   Stay in touch

   Warm regards





  1. Reb Gutman - a yasher koach! Also, there are videos on Torah inspiration and classes which he can take. The world is very confusing now before the coming of Moshiach T'zdkeinu.

  2. Good advice! A few more thoughts:

    1) Don't compare yourself to other people, since you don't really know what level they're at (they might seem full of emuna but who knows if they're always yelling at their spouse and kids), and since everyone has their own unique challenges and tikkun to accomplish, so we should be happy with our lot. Yet if we do see people with exemplary traits or accomplishments we should this to fill ourselves with motivation and yearning for better accomplishments ourselves.

    2) Breslov chassidus has a ton of interesting material on how we should not get discouraged at our spiritual level and should instead always be striving to do more and always stay happy and optimistic. See an English translation of Likutei Eitzos here:


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