Thursday, February 16, 2017


Wandering & Blogging

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

imageReb Gutman Locks wrote to me, “The Rebbe said you shouldn’t retire….(too busy for the blog?)” 

After over 10 years of blogging, and the loss of my learning partner Reb Nati (who’s loss is departing Israel, not loss from this world thank G-d) who often brought spiritual Jewish points on which we would battle from our different perspectives, together with being beset with a series of health issues and scares (including a very serious one brought on by weight loss exercise), my interest and focus on blogging waned.

Yet life moves on, and I feel a missing component in not having a voice in the Jewish world.  At the same time I should mention I moved neighborhoods and gave up a position as a shul gabbai.  So while that took a load of responsibility off my shoulders, I also moved from a strong voice in front of the synagogue to one of the grey bearded guys quietly davening (praying) in the back. 

I’ve also considered retiring the blog, as readership is down and many have moved to newer platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, with which I have little experience and on which a lengthy written conversation isn’t the pattern.

However the growth of FAKE NEWS, anti-semitism, world instability, Jewish Moshiach theories which have moved from alignment with biblical scripture to WTF? plus that prodding by the special yid Reb Gutman, I’m going to see if I can find some inspiration and a voice…

I have been blessed to be in Eretz Yisroel – the Land of Israel, the Holy Land, G-d’s gift to the Jewish people, for the past 9+ years.  I have not stepped foot outside the Land, and fortunately my parents have been healthy and able to visit.  For the first years it was difficult, we missed many things from The Old Country.  Foods we were used to (Israeli ketchup is sweeter), products we were used to (I detest Israeli bar soap versus Dial), even clothes and brands we were used to.  And of course many products are taxed much higher in Israel, leading to significantly higher prices.  So having things brought in from “over there” was an important life line in our family comfort level.

Over the years we’ve gotten used to the local products, even come to prefer many, and for my children it’s the norm.

In a little over a week I have to travel to the U.S. for business.  And on asking what they want brought back the answer basically is nothing.  Oh, my daughters want some inexpensive U.S. makeup.  But that’s about it.

I’m surprised.  I didn’t even realize we completely settled in…while we came home as Jews to the Land of the Jews, we’ve grown home as Jews living in the Holy Land.

So I’m coming to visit to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave…and Lives Matter protests…and a travel system that abuses the travels…and bathrooms that any species may use…and where religious ideals are no longer respectable but choices opposite reality and biology are…where health care is covered but unavailable and extremely expensive.  Are my remote impressions valid or out of line?

If you’d like to join me for a journey, I’ll let you know.


  1. Shalom Reb Akiva, I'm glad to read you new post here, and also to know you'll keep on contributing to this blog, which is one of my favorites. Every day I look forward to learning new things from you and from Reb Gutman. I take the opportunity to wish you Refuah Shelemah and the best of all blessings for you and your family (same for R. Gutman also!). Many thanks for sharing your Torah insights and Ahavat Israel.
    Shabbat Shalom!
    R. Hurovich (from P. Tikvah)

  2. Oh, Reb Akiva, you must keep giving us your succinct observations on life in Israel. Have not seen some of your beautiful photos lately. Get out that camera and shoot up the US (ahem) while you are there. Some of us might have forgotten what grey bldgs look like:-). Wishing you a Refuah Shleima always. We are all getting older and there is wisdom in years. My husband has also been grumbling, but I keep pointing out the blessings of being in Hashem's garden to lift him up. It works.

  3. I like Reb Gutman's commentary but I miss yours, Reb Akiva! Both of you together.

    And good health to all of you. May Reb Nati be able to come back soon as well.

  4. Now more than ever, we need voices of sanity. Keep yours at the table! D'norah

  5. Please keep blogging Reb Akiva, even if only now and then.


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