Karmiel

Karmiel
Our view of the Galile

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Oh Say Can't You See- Vayechi 5777/2017

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
from
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"

January 12th 2017!! -Volume 7 Issue 12 15th Tevet  5777
Parshat Vayechi
Oh Say Can’t You See

So how do you feel about the situation in America today? Are you scared? Are you hopeful? Nervous? Optimistic? All of the above? Then you’re probably like most Americans…confused. I find it very telling that the platform for the current president was to “Make America Great Again”. Was it great before? I don’t know let’s take a look at the last few decades of American presidential slogans.
2008- “Change We Need”- Barack Obama- Ummm. That worked out pretty good.
2004- “Let America be America Again:”- John Kerry- Ahhhh sooo that’s where Trump got it from
2000- “A Reformer with Results “George W Bush- and he even spelled the word reformer right.
George Bush Sr. campaigned on a “Kinder Gentler America” and then killed about 35,000 people in Iraq. Mondale in 1984 said “America Needs Change” which seems to be ongoing theme. Ronald Reagan’s question of “Are we were better off than we were four years ago?” usurped Jimmy Carter’s claim that “It’s Not Just Peanuts”, and the first president since Ephraim Schwartz came into the world Gerald Ford campaigned under the slogan “Making us Proud Again”….Hmmmm it seems like we haven’t been happy for a long time in this country. Maybe that’s the one thing that hasn’t changed.
What were the good old days that people are longing for, tell me? If presidential slogans are any sign of the sentiments of the spirit of the times then let’s look back at perhaps those good old day slogans that people are nostalgic about. Was it Hoovers “Chicken in every pot” promise?  Harding’s “Cox and Cocktails” campaign-whatever that means. In 1896 William McKinley inspired the masses with his profound “Good Money Never Made Time Hard” campaign. I think Trump was originally gonna use that one. Maybe people are longing for the election of 1884 when James Blaine’s campaign slogan was “Ma, Ma, Where’s my Pa, Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha”, while his opponent Grover Cleveland countered with the truly prolific “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine”. And people think Trump is a baby….He’s merely making America great again like it used to be when all these other great men led our nation. Our nation…our nation…?
Do you feel America is our nation? Do you care a lot about it? Enough to put signs on your lawns? To argue and fight for the future of this country with anyone that disagrees with you. You were born in America. They took in our hungry, our homeless, our weary and war-torn. They let us into their schools, their universities, Hollywood. We became doctors, lawyers, musicians- or rock stars (those are very different things) Supreme court justices, vice-presidential candidates and hey today from what I understand the White House may even be having a full time Kosher kitchen for all the religious Kosher eating Jews in the higher echelons of the incoming administration. We have religious freedoms, the likes of which we didn’t’ have in many of our other long bitter places of exile…. Exile? Are we in Exile?
Europe was Exile, Babylonia was Exile. Spain was Exile. This is America. Ohhhho Say Can You See? (continue humming –you know you’re feeling patriotic right now) But really, is America really different? One thing Jews have learned throughout our history is that no place ever turns out to be different. But c’mon, it’s the 21st century. We live in a civilized world. Uh huh…Than why are we longing for the old one?  
I just want you to hold on to those words ‘Oh Say Can You See’ for a second. You see as we examine this week’s Torah portion those words should have profound import. The parsha we read this week, Vayechi, is unique in the entire Torah. Unlike other Torah portions that begin with a break of space in between its start and the next parsha, either a line or a new paragraph, Vayechi immediately follows the conclusion of Vayigash, with the space of just one letter. I noticed that when I was Bar Mitzva’d and read and it wasn’t obvious where to end. Maybe it was a forewarning for me that I would be the type of guy that would never know where or when to end his Torah drashot… Rashi notes this anomaly and quotes our sages as saying
Why is this parsha “closed”? Because once our forefather Yaakov passed away, the eyes and hearts of the Israel became closed from the troubles/suffering of the enslavement, for the Egyptians began to enslave them.”
Their eyes were closed from the troubles and suffering. Ohoy, Vay, couldn’t see by the dawn’s early light…. It seems was their anthem. But many of the commentaries note that something is wrong with this Rashi. For the suffering and the slavery didn’t really start after the death of Yaakov, in fact Rashi later tells us that it didn’t start until the passing of the last of Yaakov’s children Levi. In fact it really didn’t escalate until the last 80 years that they were in Egypt, when the new pharaoh came and “didn’t know Yosef”, in the next book. So why is this parsha closed now? And why particularly here in the beginning of this parsha is it closed, when even according to what Rashi says, Yaakov doesn’t die until the very end of the parsha.
Perhaps one may suggest, that the Torah in “closing” this parsha called Vayechi-And he lived, not so ironically for the parsha that talks about his death, is connecting it very closely to the words that last week’s Torah portion concludes with that immediately precede it. The Torah tells us that the brothers of Yosef had all been set up nicely by Yosef. They settled in Goshen, they were the ministers of the sheep of Pharaoh, nice cushy government jobs provided by their brother; their man in the White House. The parsha concludes with these words
And Israel settled in Egypt, in the land of Goshen; they took holdings, and they were fruitful and they multiplied there.
Rashi on the words ‘and they took holdings’ elaborates- ‘and they bought houses and estates and formed landholdings.’
Listen, what are we gonna be shepherds forever? We got into the Real Estate business. We became moguls. We settled the land. We became more Egyptian than the Egyptians. We had our little paradise there in Boro Park… I mean Goshen. Kosher pizza, shwarma, wedding halls, Yeshivot, Egypt was our new home. Israel was becoming a distant memory. I mean it’s dangerous there in the Middle East, remember that whole fight and kidnapping of Dina in Shechem. Egypt is civilized. It’s the new world. This after-all the 15th Century BC. The Torah begins the idyllic era in great malchus shel chesed- kingdom of graciousness of Egypt with the national anthem that we didn’t realize we should have been singing.
Oho Say can’t we see… our eyes and hearts have been closed… for the suhhh uffering… and troubles of Egypt are coming…For this was not going to be the land of the free…it would be the home…of the…. slaves…
If one looks carefully at Rashi he doesn’t say that the suffering started. It didn’t. But with Yaakov’s death, our eyes and hearts became closed to seeing that this was not meant to be our home. We were in Exile. The troubles of the enslavement of the Egyptian began with our self-delusional assimilation into their society and the belief that we had made it. We were where we belonged. The word Vayechi- and we lived, is the word that is closed. We thought we were living the life. But we know how the story ended. How it always always ends. There is no life when we are not home. There is no life when the shechina is not where it’s meant to be. It’s all just another step, another wandering place, another respite in our long bitter Exile.
Maybe it’s time to start focusing our efforts on Making Israel Great Again. Maybe we should be putting even half as much energy into our own spiritual campaigns, as we put into a country that is merely a temporary resting place for us that really hasn’t been great in seemingly a long time, and that will only really be great if and when we get out of there and raise the entire world up with the light of Hashem from His holy palace in Yerushalayim. We don’t need an embassy there as much as we need a Temple there. That’s where our focus needs to be. I speak not only to my brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, I speak to myself and all of those privileged to live here in Israel as well. This is not the Israel we are praying for. It hasn’t arrived yet. We are still in Exile despite at least living in our own land. We too have not arrived. Od Lo Avda Tikvateinu- our hope has not yet been fulfilled and has never been to be merely a free nation in our land. Rather it is to be Hashem’s nation in His Land. That is our true anthem. That is the day that we still long to see.

 Have a fantabulous Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
 **********************
RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

https://youtu.be/19EVMHFbGwI   -Ani Yisrael by my great friend Gershon Veroba from his awesome new CD cool video

https://youtu.be/BCh-yxlcEY8 Gad Elbaz & Nissim Black great new video and song L’Chaim

https://youtu.be/ieBhINqUAyQ Pretty funny Avraham Fried Jewish Siri with Mendy Pellin


RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK

“A nogid a nar iz oich a har” -A foolish rich man is still a lord.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email
Q. According to Josephus Flavius during the Great Revolt a massacre did not occur in:
a. Tiberias
b. Migdal
c. Yodefat
d. Jerusalem

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ILLUMINATING RASHI OF THE WEEK
There are many interpretations and explanations that are given for various verses in the Torah. The genius of Rashi is that he chose the one that best explains the simple understanding of the pshat. If Rashi gives more than one explanation then it is because each one on its own doesn’t fully explain the problem in understanding the text. So pay attention when there is more than one explanation brought down by Rashi it can truly reveal pearls.
In this week’s Torah portion there is a great example of this. When Yaakov makes his request of Yosef to bury him, he tells him
Bereshit (47:29-30) “Please do not bury me in Egypt, and I will ie down with my fathers and you shall transport me out of Egypt and bury me in their grave”
Rashi in explaining Yaakov’s request not to be buried in Egypt notes three things
1)      It’s land will be turned into lice (during the 10 plagues)
2)      The dead of the lands outside of Israel will only be resurrected with the pain of rolling through tunnels (to come to the land of Israel where they will be resurrected.
3)      So that the Egyptians shall not make a deity out of him.
The Klei Yakar explains that the three reasons given by Rashi are all necessary to understand the pshat. For if the land of Egypt was going to be turned to lice, seemingly Yaakov could have been spared that pain, for we have a tradition that Yaakov and our holy people who’s bodies have become totally purified don’t even have any deterioration of their bodies after death, so for sure lice wouldn’t have power over them. It is therefore that Rashi tells us that they would make him into a deity. For having seen that the land is turned to lice and Yaakov’s grave remains untouched they would deify him. Yet both of these reasons are not sufficient to explain why Yaakov asked Yosef to bury him in Israel, as he did. Seemingly anywhere that’s not Egypt that wouldn’t be struck with plagues would be enough? Rashi therefore tells us that Yaakov also did not want to suffer the dead-man tunnel resurrection roll, that would take place outside of Israel. Yet this in itself was not alone a reason as well. For he wanted Yosef to know and be sure that if he couldn’t for whatever reason bury him in Israel to take care of this problem, but at least he should make sure that he should not bury him in Egypt because of the lice and his fear of them deifying him.
Now that’s how you learn a Rashi!

Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz (1550 –1619) Rabbi Ephraim son of Aaron was born in the city of Luntschitz in what is today central Poland around the year 1550. He studied under the famed Maharshal (Rabbi Shlomo Luriah) and became Rabbi of the city of Lvov where he served for 25 years.
From an early age he was recognized as a star orator and was renowned for his fiery sermons. In 1601, Rabbi Ephraim became deathly ill. During the course of his illness he added the name Shlomo to his name and thereafter signed his name Shlomo Ephraim. He also vowed that if he survived his illness he would compose a commentary to the Pentateuch.
Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim survived his illness and the very next year wrote and published his commentary, named Kli Yakar. The commentary became immediately popular throughout the Jewish world and was his most famous publication, to the point, as with many other great Rabbis, that he is now known simply as the Kli Yakar. More than 400 years later, the Kli Yakar remains popular and is printed alongside the commentary of Rashi and others in many Chumashim.
The year after the Kli Yakar’s publication, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the great city of Prague, where he also served as Rosh Yeshiva and the Head of the Beit Din. Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim passed away in 1619. His son and other descendants followed in his footsteps, also holding the esteemed position of Chief Rabbi of Prague. Amongst his most famous students was Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller, also known as Tosfot Yom Tov.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TYPES OF JEWS IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK

Cowboys – Yeah we have our Texas here in Israel as well. Up in the Golan Heights a few miles from the mess that’s going on in Syria is where our buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. OK so we don’t really have buffalo over there, although we did try introducing some in the Hula valley. Not many antelope either.  But we have cow. Thousands of them up in the Golan Heights probably one of the only places where you’ll see cows roaming around tanks. Israeli cowboys, there are about a 100 of them or so just in the Golan, have to deal with cows wandering into old Syrian minefields, avoiding army firing ranges or them ending up in some army base.Israeli cowboys face their unique set of challenges. For starters, they operate on a relatively small patch of land mostly made up of nature reserves and military grounds, so everything they do has to be coordinated with authorities. In summer, their primary role is that of firefighters, putting out blazes caused by negligent hikers and military maneuvers. They've had to euthanize cows that had limbs blown off by stepping on mines, and in last spring's cattle drive one cowboy had to physically block a gap in a military base's busted fence to prevent cows from roaming inside. The cowboys are mostly in charge of the cows that are raised for beef in this country. 95% of the country’s meat comes from import as there is not a lot of grazing land that is not used for planting and agriculture a much larger industry in Israel. The largest grazing land is in the Golan, yet the majority of cattle farmers are located in the Galil area although one can find cowboys all over the country.
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S REALLY TERRIBLE COWBOY JOKES OF THE WEEK
If a cowboy rides into town on Friday and three days later leaves on Friday, how does he do it? The horse's
name is Friday!

So Shaindy from Boro Park went out West and was all ready for her first horseback ride. She said to the cowboy, "Can you get me a nice gentle pony?"
 "Shore," said the cowboy. "What kind of a saddle do you want, English or western?"
"What's the difference?" asked the lady.
"The western saddle has a horn on it," said the cowboy.
"If the traffic is so thick here in the mountains that I need a horn on my saddle, I don't believe I want
to ride." Said Shaindy…

Shaindy’s next stop was to the cowshed where she saw a whole herd of cows out in the barn.
“Wow, you have a lot of flies buzzing round your horses and cows. Do you ever shoo them?”
Cowboy answered her “No we just let them go barefoot.”

Back in the cowboy days, a westbound wagon train was lost and low on food. No other humans had been seen for days and then they saw an old Jewish cowboy sitting beneath a tree. The leader rushed to him and said, "We're lost and running out of food. Is there someplace ahead where we can get food?
"Vell," the old Jewish cowboy said, "I vouldn't go up dat hill und down da other side. Somevun told me you'll run into a big bacon tree."
"A bacon tree?" asked the wagon train leader.
"Yah, ah bacon tree. Trust me. For nuttin vud I lie."
The leader goes back and tells his people that if nothing else, they might be able to find food on the other side of the next ridge. "So why did he say not to go there?" some pioneers asked "Oh, you know the Jewish -- they don't eat bacon."
So the wagon train goes up the hill and down the other side. Suddenly, Indians attack and massacre everyone except the leader, who manages to escape back to the old Jewish cowboy, who's enjoying a "glassel tea." The near-dead man starts shouting. "You fool. You sent us to our deaths! We followed your instructions, but there was no bacon tree. Just hundreds of Indians, who killed everyone."
The old Jewish cowboy holds up his hand and says "Oy! vait a minute." He then gets out an English-Yiddish dictionary, and begins thumbing through it. "Gevalt, I made myself ah big mistake. It vuz not a bacon tree. It vuz a ham bush."

One Sunday a cowboy went to Shul. When he entered, he saw that he and the Rabbi were the only ones present. The Rabbi asked the cowboy if he wanted him to go ahead and give his weekly Drasha/ sermon. The cowboy said, "Im not too smart, but if I went to feed my cattle and only one showed up, Id feed him." So the Rabbi began his sermon. One hour passed, then two hours, then two-and-a-half hours. The Rabbi finally finished and came down to ask the cowboy how he liked the speech. The cowboy answered slowly, "Well, Im not very smart, but if I went to feed my cattle and only one showed up, I sure wouldnt feed him all the hay..." 
  
  **************
Answer is A – Back in the period of the end of the second Temple the North was where the radicals lived. It was kind of like the Gush and Chevron area is today. The rebellion against Rome started in the North. Migdal was destroyed, Yodefat was where Josephus was based and was also destroyed although his fighters all pulled a Masada by his urging and commited suicide and then he chickened out and joined the Romans. Jerusalem obviously was a slaughter which leaves Tiverya as being the correct answer and which Josephus tells us was spared by the Romans because they did not join the revolt.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Great Speech- Vayigash- 5777/2017

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
from
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"

January 6th 2017!! -Volume 7 Issue 11 8th Tevet  5777
Parshat Vayigash
Great Speech

I am a speaker. I talk for a living. I always liked to talk, much to many of my teacher’s consternation. The Rabbis in the shul where I davened in the back of weren’t big fans of me either, particularly when I thought that my classmates or fellow congregants would find what I had to tell them to be far more important interesting and certainly funny than whatever messages they were trying to convey from the front of the classroom or the pulpit. I kind of still think I do. Except now it’s the guys in the back of my shul, my classrooms or the hanging at the back of my tours that don’t seem to understand to appreciate how life-changing what I’m telling will be. But at least I have you guys that are reading my E-Mail that are there for me. Don’t you feel blessed?
Upon moving to Israel, I found it challenging initially to have to give weekly sermons in Hebrew. I spoke Hebrew, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a big difference between communicating in Hebrew- Like please pass the chulent, or how much does that shwarma cost, or where is the bathroom and giving a speech in a language that is not your mother tongue. The nuances count, the varying phrases, the slangs those are the instruments, the tools, the apparatuses, the mechanisms in the toolbox, the kit, the cornucopia of the palaver of gifted orator. See what I did there? I don’t even know what a lot of those words mean but they sound good together. They flow. They convey an idea and give me a chance to think about what I’m going to say, as I had a busy week and had no time to prepare my drasha. I didn’t have that in Hebrew. So I learned. I have a few great Hebrew lecturers that I enjoyed listening to. And I would listen to a few of their classes a week and slowly but surely I picked it up. Now I can really say a lot of words that mean pretty much the same thing over and over and sound intelligent until I figure out what ife-changing message I want to say. Or at least what joke I want to share.
But jokes aside I have always been fascinated by oratory. Recently I googled the greatest speeches of all time. Whadaya know Kerry’s recent one didn’t make it to the list. Must have been the Israeli’s faults and the settlements that prevented him from getting that distinction. It was an interesting list. There were the obvious ones of course. Lincoln’s Gettysburgh ‘Fourscore and seven years’ King’s “I had a dream” Churchills “We shall fight on the beaches” and Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death”. There were some that I was surprised I had even heard of Ghandi’s “quit India”, Socrates “ A life unexamined not worth living” speech and FDR’s “Day that will live in infamy”. And there were some that I really didn’t care about much Pericle’s funeral oratory, Chief Josephs surrender address and Lou Gherig’s farewell to baseball. I was kind of surprised that they left out “You can’t handle the truth” by my good friend Jack Nicholson and I am your father by Darth Vader- but what do I know. The most famous one of course on the few lists I perused was of course the “sermon on the mount”- and they weren’t referring to Hashem’s to the Jewish people on Sinai… I wasn’t a fan of that one either. Wasn’t a fan of much what that renegade Rabbi had to say, to be honest, but anyways…
One speech however that didn’t show up on any list which in mine opinion was pretty amazing and certainly should have been added to the list is the longest speech in the entire Torah, given in this week’s Torah portion. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my Bar Mitzva Parsha-although maybe the fact that my BM parsha had the longest speech in the Torah is quite appropriate for me.
The parsha begins with Yehudah approaching Yosef. This was the brother he didn’t recognize that was now the viceroy of Egypt. This was the man before the fate of his brother Binyamin’s life would now hang as he was caught in Yosef’s frame-up with the planted ‘stolen’ goblet. If Yehudah did not succeed in persuading Yosef, the ruler of Egypt, then not only would this leave his father brokenhearted with this last child of his beloved Rachel also being taken from him. But Yehudah had guaranteed and put not only his own guarantee to Yaakov that he would return him on the line, but he promised that if he would not succeed he would lose his life in the eternal world as well. There was a lot on the line. Everything was on the line. The entire future of the children of Israel stood on whether Yehudah could convince, inspire or cajole Yosef into allowing the obviously guilty of high-crimes and misdemeanors Binyamin to be granted a pardon. He was caught red-handed. He had repaid the kindness they had been shown with treachery. It was the impossible speech. And yet it worked.
What did he say? What turned the tide? It’s interesting if one reads the 225 word speech that extends of 16 pesukim/verses, that there doesn’t seem to be much that is new. He shmears him up a bit and tells him that he respects him like my Pharaoh. He spends an inordinate amount of time and ink reviewing the entire story how they came down and were asked about their father and brother. We tried not to convince you that it would be difficult on our Dad and you didn’t give us much choice. Our father was not a fan of the idea, after all he had already lost one son. If we return without my brother my father would be devastated and die and we would be responsible for having brought him down to his grave in sorrow. So far this speech doesn’t seem particularly convincing to Yosef. Would it to you? If I were Yosef I would have said, well it’s your problem. Why should I feel bad that you will feel guilty about bringing your father to his grave.
Yehuda continues and then makes it even more clear his problem. He explains how ultimately it was he who convinced and guaranteed that he would bring him back promising that I would be sinning against him for eternity. He therefore offers himself up in place of Binyamin. That seemingly doesn’t work as well for Yosef. In fact just at the end of last week’s portion they had all offered to be servants and Yosef said only the guilty Binyamin would be held. So why would this make any difference? Seemingly this speech is not going so well.
Yet finally Yehuda pulls out the final card. When he makes this statement the game is over. Yosef can’t control himself. He stops him and sends everyone out and reveals himself. For 22 years Yosef had not ever told anyone his secret. For the past year he has been playing this game with his brothers. He has been longing for his father, his home, his family. He has never broken. But what Yehuda says next changes it all. The house of cards falls.
Bereshit (44:34) “How can I go up to my father and the boy is not with me, lest I will see the evil that will befall my father
That’s it the next verse said when Yosef hears that he could no longer endure it. What is it about that statement that makes it all happen? The Shemen HaTov ( a great work written by Rabbi Bernard Weinberger who was the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Williamsburgh- who incidentally I took classes from in public speaking and sermons in my Rabbinic training program from the Young Israel-thank you Rabbi Lerner J) suggests that what touched Yosef was when he saw that Yehuda put everything that he personally had at stake to the side. His entire eternity, his olam haba, his own feelings of guilt and he said how can I see the pain that my father will have. That was what turned Yosef’s heart. When a Jew puts their own feelings aside and are able to entirely focus on the pain of another, there is nothing that can stand before that emotion. In truth the Sfat Emet suggests that Yosef perhaps wanted to wait a bit longer before revealing himself. If the brothers would have had a little bit more time to worry, pray , reflect than perhaps the entire sin of selling their brother Yosef down to Egypt would have been entirely atoned for. He even explains that it is for this reason after Yosef reveals himself to his brothers that the Torah tells us he cried on the shoulders of Binyamin and Binyamin cries on his shoulders. Rashi notes that they were each crying about the Temples that would be destroyed and the Mishkan in Shilo that would be destroyed that were in each other’s portion. They were crying over that because it was only because had Yosef held out a little bit longer perhaps they would not have had to have been destroyed. The atonement would have been over. But he couldn’t hold himself back. He saw Yehuda crying over Yaakov’s pain and he himself thus cried over Binyamins future pain and Binyamin cried over his. Perhaps the exile and destruction would be avoided if we could each cry and hurt over each other’s pain. What a speech. What a story.
We live in an era of soundbites, of speechwriters of lots of fake rhetoric that is all about how one can get their own agenda, their own platform and their own mission accomplished. It has left the masses so cynical of the packaged same old-same old that we have reached a point where there is almost no faith in anything that anyone says anymore. Anything we read and even anything we watch or see. We have become deadened and information overloaded. We need a good speech. The world needs a real speech. One that is spoken by someone who can put aside all of their personal aspirations and be focused entirely on the tremendous pain that is out there. The suffering the world has without the light of Hashem. It’s not about us. It’s not even what it is that we say or how we say it. It’s what we feel. If we truly feel enough to daven for it. To cry for the other, to plead on their behalf. That is what will bring the Geula- the redemption. That is the speech from us that Hashem is waiting to hear.

 Have an inspirational Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

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RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FRwSQmlBHc  -Ani Yosef by Rabbi Mordechai Dubin and a childrens depiction

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRhX7Jvm3xc   Eli Shwebel Ani yosef

https://youtu.be/e2SAtnKFyHQ  Amazing story about Israeli soldiers!


RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK

“Verter zol men vegn un nit tseyln.”  -Words should be weighed, not counted..

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email
Q.   An amphitheater was discovered in:
A. Caesarea
B. Jerusalem
C. Tsippori
D. Beit Shearim

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ILLUMINATING RASHI OF THE WEEK
If Rashi seems too simple, you have to stop and ask yourself what is he trying to tell me. What am I missing? Rashi is certainly explaining the simple pshat- but at the same time he is explaining something you may have difficulty seeing unless he underlines it and tells you it. In the end of this week’s Torah portion the Torah tells us that people came to Yosef who was in charge of the food and they brought him money the verse says
Beresishit (47:14) And Yosef gathered all the money that was found in Egypt and the land of Canaan with the grain that they were buying and Yosef brought it to the house of Pharaoh
The verse seems simple enough yet Rashi for some reason felt it necessary to clarify and comment.
The grain that they were buying-they would give him the money
What does Rashi want with this comment? What’s bothering him? Who would I think they would be giving the money to? The Minchas Yitzchak, Dayan Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss, suggests an interesting powerful insight. He suggests that the people not only brought money to buy the grain but as well they gave him, Yosef, personally money. You know, a little under the table, some bakshish as is traditional in the Middle East when you want and need to get something done. Yet Yosef turns that money over to Pharaoh as well. Despite the fact that the money was given, as Rashi says and points out- to him” for his personal use which by right he could have kept. Yet Yosef went above and beyond because he understood that government official and particularly a Jewish one has to always be above any repute or suspicion. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of our politicians today learned from him?

Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss (1902 –1989), known as the Minchat Yitzchak (the name of the responsa he authored), was born in Galicia in 1902. He headed of the court of Jewish law, the Beit Din, in Grosswardein, Romania before WWII, and after miraculously surviving the war he assumed the same position in Manchester, England.
In the aftermath of the Holocaust he worked diligently on aiding the many women whose husbands disappeared, and presumably perished, during the war; finding halachic "loopholes" which allowed them to remarry according to Jewish law.
He authored a nine-volume set of responsa. In this widely-used work, he addresses many modern-day halachic issues which resulted from the technological explosion, as well as many medical ethics issues.
In 1979, he assumed the position of Av Beit Din (Head of Court) in the Edah Hachareidit, one of the most prominent rabbinical bodies in Israel, filling the seat of leadership that was left upon the passing of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum who had appointed him to the Beis Din and urged him to move to Israel. He served in this capacity for the remainder of his life.
He passed away on the 11th of Sivan. An estimated 30,000 people attended his funeral.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TYPES OF JEWS IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK

Bar/Bat Mitzva people – Sure you can have your Bar mitzva in America or where ever else you might live, but c’mon we all know as the Ramban/Nachmanides tells us, that the function of all of the mitzvos are really only meant to be performed in Israel. Sure you have to keep them even in the diaspora, as well, but Hashem gave them to us in order to live and create a Torah observant society in Israel that would shine out to the rest of the world from our holy land. So what better place to have a Bar Mitzva. In recent years the Bar Mitzva in Israel has become an entire industry. Every Monday and Thursday when we read the Torah the Kotel is packed with young boys getting escorted to the Kotel with music, fanafare, shofar blowing for their rite of passage into Jewish adulthood. The last few years this has started in Tzfat as well for people who don’t want to shlep to Jerusalem. Wherever you travel around the country you can find tour buses with big signs on them that say something like Michael Greenblatgoldbergowitzes Bar Mitzva or Samantha Rosenstienbaumenthal Bat Mitzva trip. Most of those are usually our Conservative or Reform brothers and sisters who admirably enough want to give their children perhaps the most important and significant lesson that they may ever get in all of their years of schooling; our connection to Eretz Yisrael and its supreme significance to their Jewish identity. I was privileged for many years to offer students that were coming on Birthright trips to Israel an opportunity to have their Bnai Mitzva here for those that have never had one before. Generally we would do this on the top of Masada, which was always a powerful inspiring moment, being that we were standing on the mountain top where the Romans 2000 years prior had thought they had wiped us off the face of the earth. I would of course inform that they for those that were Jewish ( I had to make this disclaimer of course) they were all already Bnai Mitzvahed already. As every Jew upon reaching the age of 12 for girls and 13 for boys become Bnai Mitzva-obligated in all the commandments automatically. However for many of them they have never celebrated or embraced or even tragically been aware of our special heritage and their unique role in it. We therefore would offer them the chance to celebrate and commit themselves to their place amongst the Jewish people. They would do this by taking a Jewish name-their identity card for themselves, or for those that had one to explore it and discuss what inspires them about being part of the Jewish people. We would throw candies, the boys would be given a Kiddush cup, the girls Shabbat candles. It was truly inspiring and amazing with singing and dancing and life changing for many of them. I have also had the privilege and am proud of the many in the Orthodox and even chareidi world that are giving up on the big meaningless and expensive parties in America for the childrens Bnai Mitzva celebrations and instead bringing their families to Israel for a much more meaningful experience. Particularly when they hire a great tour guide to arrange it for them J.
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S RABBI JOKES OF THE WEEK
An atheist complained to a Christian friend, “You Christians have special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Jews celebrate their national holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur. But we atheists have no recognized national holidays, It’s unfair discrimination.”  His friend replied, “Why don’t you celebrate April first?”

Three boys in the schoolyard were bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, “My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he then calls it a poem, they give him $50.00.”  
The second boy says, “That’s nothing, My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100.00.” 
The third boy says, “I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!”

A teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and give all the money to the church, would I get into heaven?”
 “No!” The children all answered.
 “If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I then get into heaven?”  
Again, the answer was “NO!”
 “Well,” she continued, “then how can I get into heaven? In the back of the room, a five year-old boy shouted, “You gotta be dead!”

Yankel was coming out of Shul one day, and the Rabbi was standing at the door as he always did to shake hands. He grabbed my Yankel by the hand and pulled him aside. 
Then the Rabbi said to him, “You need to join the army of the Hashem!” 
Yankel replied, “I’m already in the army of the Hashem, Rabbi.” 
The Rabbi questioned him, “How come I don’t see you except at Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur?”
 He whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”

So my son was watching me write my weekly sermon. “How do you know what to say?”  He asked me
“Why,Hashem tells me.” I humbly responded

“Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out….?”

  **************
Answer is A – Theater was a big thing for the Romans. When you have a big empire of lots of murdering, drunk restless barbarians its important to keep them entertained at all times, if you want to keep the peace. They did not have cable TV back then. The next best thing was theater. An amphitheater as opposed to a theater was a full circle theater with seats all around, kind of like our stadiums today. In amphitheaters they would have gladiator fights, executions of criminals, fights against wild and exotic animals, y’know late night TV. The Talmud tells us repeatedly that one should not go to theaters where there would be plays and entertainment, which pretty much tells us that people went-which is why they were warning us not to go. Interestingly enough when it came to executions though there were Rabbis that felt it was important and perhaps even a mitzva to go. One reason to go would be because the fate of the prisoner would often be determined by the jeering crowds and people would be able to cheer to save some of the prisoners. (Personally I think that this would not be a bad idea to implement here in Israel- a much better system than the pathetic court system which seems to sympathize with terrorists and punish Jews-but I digress). Another reason to go would be to identify the executed prisoner in order to permit the wife to remarry. In Israel we have two fully excavated amphitheater which is in Beit Guvrin and Beit Shean. But those are not one of the choices-although maybe they were trying to fool you with the Beit Shearim. There are two more that have been identified in Israel one is in Shechem which despite any UN resolutions is Israel and always has been and should be and of course in Caesarea.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Virtual Rea-Lighty- Mikeitz Chanuka 2016/ 5777

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
from
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"

December 30th  2016 -Volume 7 Issue 10 1st  Tevet  5777
Parshat Mikeitz/ Chanukah
Virtual Rea-Lighty

Do you know what’s cool about living in Israel? Here the various things that you read about, learn about, the religious practices that we have, and the mitzvot we do they actually become real. They happened here. They’re happening here. It’s not make believe. It’s the real deal. For example I tell my tourists that when they bentch after eating in this country. They will thanks Hashem for bequeathing us the eretz chemda tova urichava- the land that its good and expansive. In America they say that and what are you thinking about- if you are even thinking when you say it- Brooklyn? Lakewood? The Rocky Mountains? Definitely not Washington DC. Here it’s for real. It’s amazing, I tell my tourists, for thousands of years our ancestors have ben thanking Hashem for this land that He gave us and now we are actually here and can appreciate it. Cool!
Another example last year we had shemitta/sabbatical year. Until we came back to Israel it was just boring stuff that was irrelevant. Similarly the laws of tithes of teruma, who doesn’t fall asleep when you learn those laws? Here in Israel it’s every time we walk in the grocery store that we are reminded that the fruits of Eretz Yisrael are different, special, holy. Tisha B’Av in America is a day when you fast, you think about the exile, you watch a sad holocaust video or two and perhaps see some inspiring videos that tell you not speak Lashon Hara or hate anyone. In the holy land we are actually looking at the brunt remains of our Beit Hamikdash. When we ask Hashem to rebuild the Temple it’s not an abstract idea. We wake up each morning to the sight of this big golden pimple sitting on the Mountain top where Hashem’s home and the light of the world once shone out. That’s mourning. That’s longing. We walk where Avraham walked, where Rabbi Akiva did, we study where the Mishna was written and where the Sanhedrin once sat. We daven at the tomb of our Patriarchs where the spies that first came into the land prayed and at the foot of the wall of the mountain where the Temple once stood and every Jew came to bring their offerings. It doesn’t get more awesome than that.
In Israel they started by the Kotel a new virtual reality exhibit, there is one as well by the Kikar Hamusica by Zion square. It is perhaps one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had here. You put on these goggle thingy’s and you literally feel you are being transported and walking through the Beit Hamikdash. You look towards your right and there is a kohen sacrificing a lamb, to the left they are putting the show-bread in the shulchan/table. You hear some singing and look around the corner of this glorious heichal and there is a choir of the Levites singing with their musical instruments. Beautiful! There is another kohen lighting the Menora and others giving the blessings to the people. I have been transported to another world. I don’t want to take these goggles off… ever. But the film comes to an end. It was just a dream.  A cool hi-tech Hollywood gimmick. A game. The Beit Hamikdash is still destroyed. The pimple is still up there while we are down below. There are no offerings, no smoke rising from the altar, no heavenly singing choir. I feel as bereft as a Jew in America should feel every day that they are still stuck there where everything is just fake Judaism. I want to do it again. I want it back.
The truth this year I did get it back though. Not only did I get it back but even, you guys living out in the Diaspora got it back as well. Well, maybe you didn’t because you didn’t even realize it. But now I’ll give it back to you. I will share with you a mind-blowing insight that I saw this year that truly inspired me like no other year. The great Reb Yehoshua Kutna notes an interesting thing about the holiday of Chanuka. When the Talmud discusses the question of what Chanuka is all about it discusses the miracle of the lights and says (Shabbos 21:B)
What is Chanuka? The Sages taught: On the twenty-fifth day of (the month of) Kislev there are eight days of Chanuka... for when the Greeks entered the Temple they defiled all the oil in the Temple. When the kingdom of the Chasmonai dynasty (the Maccabees) arose and defeated them, they searched but could only find one flask of oil that was set aside with the seal of the high priest. However, it contained only enough to burn for one day. A miracle took place and they lit from it for eight days. The following year they established them as festival days with praise (of God) and thanks.
He notes that the Talmud tells us that they established it as days of praise and thanks, but the Talmud does not make mention of what seemingly is the most basic symbol, ritual and mitzvah of Chanuka- eating Jelly doughnuts and Latkas- just joking… I mean lighting the chanukiya/menora each night. In fact the prayer we recite each time we bench and daven of al hanissim also does not mention the mitzva to light candles. It merely says “They lit in the courtyards of our holy city”. Even Maimonides who brings down the mitzva to light which he calls a mitzva like the reading of Esther on Purim, in discussing the establishment and reason for the holiday writes “and they lit candles” not that one is obligated to light candles initially? What’s going on? Isn’t the menora the central part of the holiday?
Rav Shialeh, explains with an incredible insight that is truly revolutionary. He writes that the conclusion of Torah portion of Naso where the Torah discusses the inauguration of the Mishkan/Tabernacle and the offerings that each tribe brought. The following Torah portion of Beha’aloscha, though, which begins with the commandment to Aharon to light the Menora seems to be unrelated and misplaced, as the commandments of the job of the Menora lighting is mentioned already and should rightly be in Vayikra where it discusses all of the jobs of the Kohen. Rashi, therefore noting this perplexing placement of the command notes that is was juxtaposed to the previous chapter for a reason. For it was then that Aharon was given this commandment.
Bamidbar (8:1)  For when Aharon saw the inauguration he felt bad for he neither was he or his tribe with them {They did not bring any offerings}Hashem therefore said to him ‘By your life, that your role is greater than theirs for you kindle and prepare the lights of the Menora.
The Ramban asks on Rashi though that the truth is that there are a lot of things that Aharon and the Kohanim do that no one else does. Services that are even greater than the Menora lighting. After-all he actually brings the offerings. He is the guy that goes into the Holy of Holies. He achieves atonement on Yom Kippur. He brings the incense and recites
Hashem’s explicit name. Why is the Menora the thing that is singled out as the greatest thing that would console Aharon? He answers by quoting another Midrash that says that the sacrifices are only while the Temple is in place, however the Menora will be continue to be lit forever as the verse says “the lights will shine”. Rabbi Daniel Glatstien (a descendant of Reb Yehoshua Kutna- and a great lecturer that my brother Gedalia loves and is on my case to quote more often-in fact if you want to hear his classes Email my brother he’ll stick you his weekly whatsapp group of Rabbi Glatstien classes from Torahanytime gandjo914@aol.com) suggests how many of the customs and laws about lighting the Menora that we do are because our lighting is in place of the one that was in the Temple. We can’t benefit from the lights, we light it in the south part of the shul, the blessing we make on the lighting is more similar to a biblical mitzva, all of these is because our lighting is a virtual reality continuation of the lighting that was done in the Temple.
Rav Kutna thus suggests that it is for this reason that the Gemara and the Rambam don’t mention that originally they established the mitzva for the lighting of the Menora. For while the Temple was still around and the Menora was still be lit during the period of the Chashmonaim there was no mitzva to light your own chanukiya. There was no reason to the real thing was still being lit in the Beit Hamikdash. It was only 200 years later when the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed that they established the mitzva to light…or better yet to continue lighting. Sure there were people that lit candles during the Temple as well, as the Talmud says and the Rambam says but the days themselves originally were only established for hallel and hoda’ah praise and thanksgiving. Later on the mitzva to light was made while we were exiled just as the mitzva to read Megilla was established in exile from the first Temple. Wow! Wow! Wow!
Do you get this? What Reb Shialeh is suggesting based on this Ramban is that when we light our menoras we are actually still virtual rea- lighting the Kohein’s Menorah in the Temple. It’s the real deal. We can’t bring sacrifices anymore. We can’t bring go to our Beit Hamikdash. We can’t see the Shechina. But there is one thing that is still around. One thing that every Jew can still do and feel as if we still have it. We can still light our menora. We can still light up the world with that holy eternal light that despite the world’s best efforts to repeatedly try to extinguish will never be vanquished.
Last night I walked around the old city of Jerusalem. From every window those little candles burned strong. I had just prayed and said the words written two thousand years ago of my ancestors who had lit candles in the “courtyards of your holy city” and I had been returned to there. Not just virtually. Not just in my dream. But for real. In each house was another little replacement Kohen lighting the same holy flame. Each one was a real Maccabee. I thought about the parsha we read each year on Chanuka, Parshat Mikeitz-(You know that I had to stick that in here somewhere). It’s a Torah portion of dreams coming true. The dreams that Yosef had last week of his brothers coming and bowing before him to get wheat literally. The celestial beings of the stars and moon which represent a spiritual dominion he has over them the kingship literally as well comes true as they view him as the ruler. The dreams of Pharaoh of the famine the years of plenty. All of them become realized. It is a parsha of dreams coming true. The opposite is true as well. The realities that we sometimes think are just facades. Yosef appears like a prisoner a slave to the Egyptian hierarchy until his greatness is revealed. The brother’s think he is a Ruler, a Goy and the truth is he is the holy Yosef. Yaakov believes Yosef is dead and he is alive. The world is not as it seems is the message our Parsha keeps telling us. The real world is sometimes hidden beneath the surface. The light is just waiting to shine forth. We just need to reveal and believe that we can actually do it. It’s hard when we are in Exile to get that feeling. But once a year on Chanuka Hashem gives us that taste of what it once was like. We experience that Divine. We are back home and the flames we stare into are the exact ones that were up there on the mountain. We have really really come home.

 Have spectacular Shabbos and amazing  Chanukah!
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

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RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

https://soundcloud.com/ephraim-schwartz/haneiros-halalu  -Check out my latest composition in honor of Chanuka Haneiros Halalu- the words recited when we light our menora

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2ZZ4W47GbQ one of my favorite childhood songs Colored candles by destiny with a great video

https://youtu.be/XWuG7bW1P88 How many ptoatoes can you peel while talking on the phone= Shelo Asani Isha!

https://youtu.be/sDR8jDw0sc0 A Bharain Chanuka lighting…

https://youtu.be/ldMZVXPmLxc - Times Square what is Chanuka question?

RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK

“Dos lebn iz nit mer vi a chulem—ober vek mikh nit oyf”  -Life is no more than a dream—but don't wake me up.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email
Q.  The verse: “and you counted the houses of Jerusalem and you pulled houses down to fortify the wall” is usually read to tourists:
A. At the house of Ahiel
B. Near the Broad Wall
C. At the Burnt House
D. In the Davidson Center

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ILLUMINATING RASHI OF THE WEEK
Another type of diyuk-or specific examination of Rashi’s interpretation that he wrote is to look closely   when he writes a translation or definition of a word. See Rashi is not a translation of the Torah. He left that for Artscroll. He only translates words that are troubling. This principle can be appreciated best when a word has already been mentioned in the Torah previously. If Rashi didn’t translate it the first few times and waited until a later point to explain the word, it must be because he understood that you knew what the word meant. The problem he is resolving is how it fits in over here. So take this week’s Torah portion for example.
The portion called Mikeitz is a continuation seemingly of last week’s Torah portion when Yosef, still languishing in his Egyptian prison, asked the butler to remember him to Pharaoh when he was released. This parsha starts off and it was mikeitz- at the end of the two years and Pharoah had a dream.
The first Rashi in the parsha notes that And it was Mikeitz- the end- as the targum translation renders itmisof- at the end” and all words related to keitz means end.
Rabbi Yakov Kaminetzky notes that the Torah has used the word Mikeitz numerous times already why has Rashi waited until here to translate it for us and to give that rule that all words related to keitz means end.
He brings examples from previously in Bereshit
(16:3) and Sarah the wife of Avraham took Hagar the Egyptian maidservant mikeitz-at the end of 10 years of Avraham dwelling in the Land of Cannan- Rashi there notes that it means at the end of the 10 years that if a woman is with a man and unable to produce children he is obligated to take another wife (to fulfill his commandment to have children)
(4:3) And it was Mikeitz Yamim- the end of days and Kayin/Cain brought an offering to Hashem from the fruits of the earth.- There Reb Yaakov explains that it was the end of the planting year for farmers.
(8:6) And it was at Mikeitz 40 days (of the flood) and Noach opened the window to send out the bird- as well this is the end of the forty days that was previously established for the flood.
So what’s going on over here? What two years were previously established? Seemingly Yosef told the butler to free him immediately. So Reb Yaakov notes that it is precisely that which is troubling Rashi. And why he notes that over here as well this is the conclusion of a period of time, despite the fact that no time is mentioned. He suggests that the time is in fact explained in the previous Parsha. For the Torah tells us that the Butler was released in honor of Pharaohs birthday. Seemingly the following birthday a yar later is when he should have mentioned Yosef, for that’s when the King goes over his servants- as Rashi noted there, and assumingly would offer pardons. Yet he didn't mention him. So Yosef waited the entire year until the next birthday and when he wasn’t mentioned there as well Yosef realized as Rashi noted then he realized that he can’t count on anyone but Hashem. That is when the salvation of Hashem, at the end of the two years that Yosef in his mind had been counting on the butler to free him. The first year after the butler was released until the following birthday.
I just mention this idea this week because it’s my birthday. Let’s see who reads this and sends me a happy birthday J.

Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky (1891 –1986) was a prominent rosh yeshiva, posek and Talmudist in the post-World War II American Jewish community. He was renowned as the "Chakima D'Yehudai", the wise man of the Jews. His incereible insigh, wisdom is truly something that gave direction to an entire generation in leadership in the new young post holocaust world.
He was born in the hamlet of Kalushkove, Lithuania, in 1891. Shortly afterwards his family moved to the village of Dolhinov where he grew up. He studied in Minsk and then for 21 years in Slabodka yeshiva under Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel. It was there that he met his lifelong friend Rabbi Aharon Kotler, who later founded the Lakewood yeshiva. His younger cousin, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, also grew up in Dolhinov.
Rabbi Kamenetsky was appointed rabbi of Tzitavyan in 1926 and moved to North America in 1937, where he initially took rabbinical positions in my former home of Seattle and then Toronto. From 1948 to 1968 he headed Mesivta Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, New York. Along with Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, he led American Jewry in issues of halachic and spiritual guidance until 1986, when both men died. It was a terrible year for the Jewish people losing those two great leaders one after the other
Aside from his extensive Torah scholarship, he was known for his ever-present warm smile and his expertise in Hebrew grammar. His children are leaders in their own right all taking the great mantle of Torah leadership to fill the void that his loss left.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TYPES OF JEWS IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK

Gedolim/ Sages– So they say that everyone in Israel is a Rabbi. Maybe that’s why they don’t get paid too much… But the truth is although since the building of the second Temple when the Jews returned to Israel while many if not the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, there was always this struggle or competition for where the greater scholarship of the Jewish people would be. Certainly with the return to Israel in the last few centuries and certainly in the last few decades since the founding of the State of Israel, it is I believe undeniable that Torah and Rabbinates largest base has returned to its home Ki Mitziyon Teitzei Torah U’Dvar Hashem MiYerushalayim-Torah from Zion will sprout forth and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem. I’m not knocking the great Yeshivot in America, but the ultimate final word for Torah Judaism for the past 30 years truly is with the centenarian leaders who reside in Israel to whom America turns their eyes to. I believe this true across all segments of Orthodox Judaism interestingly enough. Hareidi-ultra orthodox who turn to the great leaders in Bnai Brak and Jerusalem. The modern orthodox who to a large degree accept and respect the authority of the Israeli Rabbanut (at least until many of them felt that it was hijacked by the ultra’s, but certainly conceptually. And of course the Sefardic world as well. What distinguishes these great men from the rest of the “influential” people in other societies, cultures and religions is their humility, their accessibility to the simple people, the simplicity of the small little one bedroom bare apartments that they live in. There are people that come from all over the world to seek their advice, their guidance and their blessings. Literally hours each day are consumed with meeting, greeting and counseling people. In addition they give classes, teach students, author works of scholarship. Yet their ultimate greatest and perhaps most enjoyable hours are generally 4:00 Am when most of the rise after a minimum amount of sleep or late at night when they can be alone with their Talmud, their Torah and study. Read and learn the word of Hashem, the teachings of our sages from the last two millennia. These are our holiest people. These are the men that are what our sages called the “eyes of the nation”. Although I personally don’t do the “Rabbi-tour” with my tourists- I feel bad for these Rabbis to bother and disturb them with everyone’s photo-ops, I certainly appreciate those that come here to see them to be inspired by the visage of these great holy men. And hey a blessing from people like that can never hurt.

RABBI SCHWARTZ’S TERRIBLLY OFFENSIVE JOKES OF THE WEEK

Top eight suggested UN Slogans
8) You can’t spell unethical without UN
7) Genocidal Dictators- beware of our non-binding resolutions
6) The UN bringing peace to our world (actual results may vary)
5) Tommorows corruption Today
4) We take bribes so you don’t have to.
3) If troubles abound, we’ll be nearby. Doing nothing
2) If this an Emergency please hang up and dial America
1) Allah Akbar!

A Native American Indian comes back to the Reservation to visit with his parents after spending some time in New York. He says to his father that he's fallen in love with a nice Jewish girl. His father is mortified and says, "You're betraying your heritage and you'll break your mother's heart that you're not marrying a nice Indian girl. You know how Jews are, they'll feel the same way and you'll be ostracized in both camps."
The son reassures his father, "Don't worry. They must have already accepted the situation because they have already given their daughter an Indian name."
"Really?" says the father. "What name?"
The son answers, "Sitting Shiva."

3 men in Miami were discussing how they had ended up there.
The first person says, "well, there was a fire in old home back in New York, and my insurance company paid for me to move here".
The second person says, "I had a similar story. There was a flood in my home back in New Jersey, and my insurance company paid for me to move here".
The third person says, "I also had a similar story. There was a tornado that destroyed my home back in California, and my insurance company also paid for me to move here".
The other 2 people turn to him and say "how do you make a tornado??".

Herman Cohen was horrible with birthdays and anniversaries. He couldn’t remember them for the life of him so he decided to compile a list so that every time he turned on his computer the dates would be highlighted on screen. Even this didn’t work well enough so Herman went to a computer store to find a software program that would do the job.
He approached one of the sales clerks who looked more senior. "Can you recommend something that will remind me of birthdays and anniversaries?" Herman asked.
"Have you tried a wife?" he replied.

A woman is standing, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible, I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.
The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's near perfect.'
It was the last thing he ever said…
  **************
Answer is B – OK who took a tour of Jerusalem with me? You should know this answer. What are all these sites? Ahiel’s house is in the city of David a house where we found a pottery shard with the name Ahiel on it this is from the end of the first temple period. The burnt house is in the Jewish quarter and is pretty much a movie in a house that was burnt from the second Temple period. Tour guides don’t quote verses there. The Davidson center which is down by the Kotel and southern wall deals mostly with the second Temple period as well. The correct answer is though is the broad wall also in Jewish quarter which is the site of the wall that was expanded by Chizkiya the king during the first Temple in which they fortified the wall in preparation for the army of Sancheirev they Assyrian king who had wiped out the northern 10 tribes and camped outside of the walls. It was Pesach night and the great miracle occurred and the army was wiped out by the plague. Pretty awesome!