Our view of the Galile

Friday, July 28, 2017

Working from Home- Devarim Chazon 2017 / 5777

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

July 28th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 38 5th Av 5777
Parshat Devarim/ Chazon
Working from Home

So how’re we doing so far? It’s been close to 70 years since Hashem returned us to our own Jewish country. 50 years since we got back Yerushalayim. The Kotel. The Temple Mount? I did think I remember hearing once that it was B’Yadeinu- in our hands. But it seems I must have been mistaken. Or we must have had very slippery hands. But anyways. We seemed to have built up in a large part a growing Torah country as well. 10’s of thousands of Jews have returned to Torah, mitzvos despite many of the early founders’ best efforts and trying to create a new secular Sabra Jew and their certainty that traditional Torah Judaism would disappear in this new/old country of ours. They also thought that the world would finally respect, love, admire and support us once we got here. Yeah… that didn’t really work out either.
The truth is the return to Israel, the final and last coming that had been prophesied from ancient times throughout our 2000 year exile and even in modern times where both the Chafetz Chaim and Rav Chaim Volozhin suggested that America was and will be the last stop before the final redemption, has been truly miraculous. What this country has done, what our people have done and accomplished in the mere 70 years that we have been back is more than extraordinary. It is a testimony to the blessing Hashem showers upon the entire world when we are back where we need to be. I tried to explain it to one of my tourists once. I told him that you know how when you are on vacation and at the same time you are trying to run your business. It's hard. You’re not in your office, you don’t have your computer, your files, your staff isn’t getting the messages properly and you’re phone keeps dropping calls because it’s not your usual service. Forget about your data plan, that they told you would be just fine over here. Uh Huh.. You’re not really sleeping well because you’re not in your own bed. The food isn’t really agreeing with you. The water is doing funny things to your stomach. My tourists all related and understood right away. So I continued and explained. That experience is in fact the world and it’s functioning when the Jews are not home. See we are meant to be the CO’s to the one big divine CEO of this corporation called Earth. And when we’re away nothing is functioning the way it should. Not us and not the rest of the world.
Now once our tourists land back in the States. Right away things start to function better. Even though they have not yet arrived in their office yet. Their cell phone service is normal again. They are on the same time zone, the food, water and even night’s sleep is even better. Already things start to pick up. Sure it is not the same as when they actually get back into the office. But there is an already dramatic and palpable difference in their productivity, in the companies and thus all the other industries that they impact. I believe that really best describes our experience here for the past 70 years. We have returned to our airspace. We are functioning much higher and better than ever before. At least those of us that have actually crossed the ocean and come home. It seems that those that have extended their vacation seem to be suffering from a lot of extra baggage issues and increasing disfunction, but that’s what usually happens when you forget where you belong and start to think you should stay on vacation forever and are a native in a place that will always know you’re merely a tourist. But that’s because galut is not really a vacation. It’s exile. And generally we realize that when we come and ultimately we realize it when Hashem feels we have extended our stay. But in regards to our functioning and productivity level the comparison is certainly the same.

But we have not yet returned to our office yet. Yet we certainly our getting closer and closer, and that can be seen in the evidence of all that we have accomplished, that Hashem has granted us as we get closer and closer. This is despite the hardships, the relentless wars, terror, intifadas and seemingly never-ending obstacles the world keeps throwing at us to prevent us from finally realizing that dream. That is not withstanding our own self-destructive efforts to undermine and subvert the fruition of that final return. Our lashon hara, our baseless hatred, our divisiveness, our petty fighting and our distortion of our Torah values; looking to the world for their distorted ideals of morality, societal values, and spirituality rather than shining our own light out to them.  Yes we have still persevered. Netzah Yisrael Lo Yishaker. Ultimately the Jewish people, returned to their land of Israel, as a whole will always persevere. Will always come out complete on the other end. Our eternality is guaranteed. There is no other choice or option. Ain Breira.
I was speaking to a military expert once and he taught me an important lesson. He asked me if I know how I know that Israel has won all of its wars. He said we know that because we’re still around. Meaning that every war that we fought was for existence. We’re not like the US where we are fighting battles and wars around the world; Germany, Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and the like. In Israel all our wars were because our enemies wanted to wipe us off the face of the earth. Into the sea. So if we are still around, it’s because we won all of our wars. Then he continued and told me that the reason why we won the wars is because of a secret Israeli code. It’s called Alef Beis. What is Alef Beis? It’s an acronym he told me for ain breirah- we have no other choice. If we didn’t we would be dead. And there you have it. Life runs differently when you have no other choice. When you know that there is nothing else you can do. That to a large degree is the Divine secret of our existence.
In this week’s Torah portion which is the beginning of Moshe Rabbeinu’s final lecture and rebuke to the Jewish people he shares that secret with us. He reminds this generation whose parents had all died in the 40 year sojourn in the wilderness of all of the mistakes, sins and follies that their parents made. So that they should not make them as well. He transmits to them the skills, the outlooks and primarily the essentials of faith that they will need to conquer and more importantly to settle and develop this holy land which is meant to be the center of the Universe and the bridge between heaven and earth. At one point in this speech he recalls to them the sin that led to their parent’s demise; the sin of the spies and their faithless report and the mourning that took place on Tisha B’Av that led to it always being a day of mourning of the opportunities lost for our people.
Devarim (1:29) Then I said to you ‘do not break down and do not fear them’. Hashem, your God, Who goes before you. He shall do battle for you, like everything He did for you in Egypt before your eyes. And in the wilderness as you have seen that Hashem you God carried you as a man carries his son, on the entire way that you traveled, until you arrived in this place.
Think about it, Moshe tells them. What is more difficult to conquer this foreign land of Canaan or to destroy the entire world empire of Egypt? Contemplate how for forty years in the wilderness without food, without water, Hashem provided everything you need. You had clouds of glory, you had pillars of fire. You’ve got the greatest nuclear weapon in your arsenal. Yet with all of that Moshe sadly concludes
Ibid (1:32) Yet in this matter you did not believe in Hashem, your God
And Rashi ruefully notes
 “Yet in this matter- That He promises to bring you to this land, you do not believe in Him.
We, they failed in that we did not have faith and believe that we would actually ever be able to do it.

This lack of faith is not in the fact that we went sent out the spies in the first place. In fact Moshe himself a few verses before states that he thought it was a good idea. The failure that we had is because we believed that the victory, the coming to the land of Israel was in our hands. If it is up to us, then it certainly can and will fail.
I believe that it is precisely that which Moshe is pointing out to them. You know what the difference between Egypt and the spies were? In Egypt we stood by the Red Sea. We knew we couldn’t do anything. What are we going to send out spies to see how high the waves were? Or to quote a disgraced comedian once on his routine on Noah- “How long we can tread water for?” So we believed in Hashem and His servant Moshe. Hashem fought for us and we were silent. Ain Breira. When we were in the wilderness. There is no food. There is not water. We are a few million people. There is no physical or natural way we could ever survive. Ain Breiera. We turn to Hashem and like a father carrying his invalid child who can’t walk, Hashem carried us. This is the lesson and message Moshe imparts to our nation. The most important message when we come to a land where there is no visible clouds of glory or pillars of fire. Where the manna is certainly not falling from the heaven. Where we have to work, we have farm, we have to pick up swords, guns, and tanks and fight and defend. We have to appreciate and internalize that it is all alef beis. It is the only option we have because it is the place and home that Hashem has commanded us and structured the entire universe upon us settling and shining His light forth from.
We are not back in the office yet. There are still many of us that think that we have other breirot- other choices or options. Some that want to stay on ‘vacation’ in America or other places-seemingly oblivious to how the Jewish exiles is closing up shop and ending in other places around the world; Europe, Africa, South America and the former Soviet Union. There are some that feel we can land in the right country and create a “Jewish” country that is bereft of God and the Torah. The right place, but just an office-less existence. There are even those that think that we can tele-commute or manage our business without even having the main office and headquarters for the actual business to take place. We can live here, we can learn we can do mitzvos. Who needs the home office? Who needs the Beit Hamikdash? We can’t get it or own it anyways. We have a choice.
U’Badavar Hazeh Einchem Ma’aminim Ba’Hashem- Yet in this matter you do not believe in Hashem.
That Hashem promises us that we can and will. We just need to realize ein breira. Alef beis it’s as easy as that.
No matter the year this is the Torah portion that we read the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av. Each year we sit on the floor, we mourn, we cry, we recall all of the times and places that our illusory ‘choices’ have left us. We ask ourselves how are we doing so far, and it is the one day that we are meant to come to the ultimate conclusion that we’re still not doing that well. Not that well at all. We’re not functioning. Our business is really not accomplishing the mission statement that we have set for ourselves. There is no breira. We need our Home. We need our office. We need that bridge to bring Hashem’s glory back to the world. The pain must stop, the suffering and hatred must end. Every single one of our brothers and sisters need to be part of the company. The time has finally come when we realize there is no other option, just as there wasn’t by the Red Sea and there wasn’t for our forty years in the wilderness. Ain Breira.
May this year Tisha B’Av be the holiday that our prophets foretold would be a day of rejoicing and feasting. There really is no other options.

Have a inspiring Shabbos and hopefully a celebratory Ninth of Av,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“Er draytzik arum vi a shoichet in di nayn teg” He wanders around like a butcher in the nine days”


https://youtu.be/4-hqfZJtUho  The Billionaire buried with his socks. Inspiring

https://youtu.be/tAZ8zdMCiuQ  – Happy Ninth of Av?

https://youtu.be/ForS09KA29o     My Avinu Malkeinu composition in memory of the Kedoshim that were murdered last Shabbos in Chalamish and all of the martyrs murdered by the animals that roam the streets and that occupy Hashem’s holiest place. May Hashem avenge their blood.

https://vimeo.com/214051105 - Words once spoken Tisha B’av for children Chafetz Chayim trailer

answer below at end of Email

Q.  A time of day that a Muslim does not pray:
a. Dawn
b. Mid-day
c. Sunrise
d. All of the above


Devarim- There is nothing extraneous in Rashi. If he mentions something that seems like an elaboration on what he’s explaining in the pshat but doesn’t seem relevant. Read it again. Think about it. It’s relevant. You might even see a nice insight that can explain an obscure Jewish behavior like the Chidushie HaRim does in this week’s Torah portion.
In Moshe’s rebuke to the people this week when gets to the story of the spies Moshe tells them
Devarim (1:23) “You approached me, all of you, and said ‘Let us send men ahead of us and let them spy out the land…”
Rashi seemingly noting the extra description of “all of you” writes
As a rabble, but further on it says ‘And you approached me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders’ And you said ‘Behold Hashem has shown us…’. That approach was proper the young honored the elders and sent then ahead of them. And the elders honored the heads to go ahead of them. But here “you approached me all of you” as a rabble, the young pushing the elders and the elders pushing the heads.
The question is why did Rashi have to mention and contrast the entire story of the spies with the response of the Jewish people upon receiving the Torah where they came ‘properly’ and said that it was too much to hear the Torah directly from Hashem. It’s a nice contrast. But it really isn’t necessary in explaining the pshat here, in the fact that they came a rabble. Which he seemingly does already.
The Chidushei Ha’Rim of Ger, thus notes that Moshe in his rebuke over here that they came as a rabble, is also rebuking them with the contrast in how they came properly was also wrong. Meaning that when they came to hear the words of the Torah, the word of Hashem all of a sudden they became all proper. Suddenly they didn’t feel the need to push to get into “shiur” to hear the words of Hashem. They were very proper. No rush, no pressure, no thirst… no passion… But when it came to their agenda of spending spies all of a sudden its pushing and shoving time; like getting into a ball game or black Friday into Walmarts. But when it comes to sitting by the “Rebbe’s tish” or going to a Torah event…ahhh I don’t like the pushing and shoving….WRONG! Moshe’s telling the Jewish people that if you are pushing and shoving for your won agenda then the Torah should be certainly no less. And the opposite if you are all prim and proper when don’t like crowds when it comes to Torah then just remember that the next time you go to a concert, ball game or other event.
So you going to Tish this Friday night?

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Rothenberg –Chidushei HaRim (1799-1866) – Rabbi Yitzchak Meir was the founder and first rebbe of the Ger dynasty, which at one time counted more than 100,000 Chasidim, and to this day remains one of the largest Chasidic groups. He was a child prodigy who was sought after by all the great Polish Hasidic leaders. The Rim’s mother Chaya Sara, was an orphan who was raised by the Koznitzer Maggid, and the Maggid played a great role in Yitzchak Meir’s early development. The Rim became a disciple of Rabbi Simcha Bunem of Pshischa and Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk. He once said that “according to Pshischa Chasidus a person does nothing with his external limbs, the main thing is the inner self, from which one is inspired to act.”
Ger emphasized the centrality of Torah and self-development, the externals of Chasidus were minimized or disdained. Though Pshischa and Kotzk were elitist, Rabbi Yitzchak Meir showed how their principles could be embraced by all Jews. From Pshischa and Kotzk Ger absorbed a healthy skepticism of human motivation and the demands of the ego.
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir was a true leader and was deeply involved in all political events affecting his flock. His halachic writings are characterized by scintillating brilliance and his non-halachic thought by great depth and warmth. The custom to make siyyumim during the nine days was seen by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir as motivated by a desire to bring Jews together in a harmonious spirit and thus rectify the sin of sinas chinam which had caused the destruction of the Temple.
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir’s personal life was filled with tragedy. Many of his thirteen children died in his lifetime. When he finally consented to assume leadership after the death of the Kotzker he remarked: “I am not a rebbe. I do not want money. I do not care for honor. All I want is to spend my years bringing the children of Israel nearer to their Father in Heaven”.

Funeral Arangement and Chevra Kadisha Guys I live in Karmiel so I don’t have to meet or deal with these guys. But if your in any religious neighborhood certainly Chariedi neighborhood you will regularly throughout the day and many times in the early morning or late night hear a car driving through the streets blasting information about the tragic passing of Yankel Chaim son of Moshe And Chani Shmerelsberg at the young age of 105.  All of Israel mourns this great calamity. The funeral will be held on Mount of Olives at 10:00 PM. Shiva will be by the home of his 15 children and the mourning widow. And again and again. I don’t know who started this thing. But it’s been going on for a long time. As  well there are those guys that literally hours after someone is dead have people on the streets plastering them with signs. I wonder if they pre-print them. In fact the joke was that the walls of Meah Shearim are actually held together by these pahskivilim/posters. You of course have your chevra Kadisha guys as well that are truly heroes many of them working on a volunteer basis to be on call at all times to prepare someone for burial. See unlike in America, where burials and cemeteries have to work with non-Jewish business hours and teams and many times burial is delayed. In Israel, out of concern for the pan that the soul endures as long as it is not buried we bury as soon as possible many times a few hours after someone passes, he can already be interred, even if it is in middle of the night. But perhaps the most incredible are members of Zaaka that are involved in the way too many tragedies that insure that every bit of blood or body parts that was part of the person would be collected and brought to burial. Tragically death is a big part of life in Israel as paradoxical as that sounds. But these guys are there to always to remind us that adage of our sages “to remember the day of our death”. May we merit the day when Hashem will wipe all death and mourning from the world.

It’s the 9 days this week. sorry no jokes!

Answer is D– I once had someone in my shul that undergoing conversion and the Beit Din asked him why he wanted to convert. He responded that Judaism connected him by God at all times, he prayed three times a day, he made blessings before he ate, after, throughout the year, even when he went to the bathroom. They told him if he liked prayer so much he should just convert to Islam as they do it 5 times a day…. The truth is although one of their five “mitzvos” (as opposed to our 613) is salah-which is a very similar word to our Aramaic of tzalaach which means prayer. But their entire prayer which is recited 5 times a day consists of basically one sentence and a sura or two that Allah is great and that murdering psychopathic delusional false prophet Muhammed is “his” prophet. The five times for prayer are 1) Dawn to sunrise, 2) noon until about a half hour to sunset, 3) from after the 2nd prayer until sunset, 4) after sunset until nightfall, nightfall until midnight or dawn. Now there are “machlokesim”/ differences of opinions between Sunni, Shi’ites and all the other breakoffs. But that’s the basic idea. I don’t mind their prayer so much, but why do they feel they need to blast it out from their minarets all the time. We know your “frum” just bow down on your carpet and be down with it already. OK!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Where Are You Coming From? - Matos / Maasei 2017 / 5777

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

July 21st 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 37 27th Tamuz 5777
Parshat Matos/ Maasei
Where are you coming from?

“There is so little bureaucracy in this country” my friend who was a new Oleh was telling me. “You go to the government offices, or the banks and it only takes a few times until everything you need gets taken care of”.

 “Actually what I like best here is the weather” my other Oleh friend told me- as I was wiping the 90 degree heat off of my brow-“I find it very pleasant here”.

Chaim, our newest Oleh, though had the best take- he couldn’t believe how wonderful the roads were and the lack of traffic, that he was so accustomed to fighting in his old home, made driving here in Israel just a Mechaya- a true pleasure.

Are we talking about the same country I’m living in?” I thought. But then I remembered. You see, Chaim was from San Paolo, Brazil- home of the world record of 166 miles of backed up traffic out of 522 total miles. Nati, my heat loving friend from India was used to regular 105 degree months of summer. Boruch- or Boris, as he used to be called back in the former Soviet Union, never thought that he would live in a country where he didn’t have to wait in line for 2 weeks and then wait for another few months until he received a response. For him the Misrad Ha’Pnim-Israel’s infamous red tape capital was just a walk in the park. Isn’t it fascinating how much your point of departure reflects on how you see the world.

I had a Rebbe that once asked us, if we could change places with the wealthy Baron Rothchild if we would be willing to do it. He then proceeded to show us how the great Baron lived without running water, without air conditioning, he traveled by a bumpy horse driven wagon- without music. He lived without electricity, television, internet and would you believe cell-phones. Not even the poorest Kollel Rabbi lives in such conditions. If he were living today like that, we would probably start a collection for him. Yet we still feel we’re lacking and still find no shortage of things to complain about.

This week’s Torah portion, Ma’asei is the final one of the Book of Bamidbar. In truth it is really the final Parsha of the story of the Jewish people before they enter the land of Israel. The Book of Devarim for the large part is Moshe’s last sermon to the Jewish people before he dies. It is with that understanding that we can appreciate the first part of the Parsha that recounts for us a review of all of the travels of the Jewish people for the past 40 years. The traveled from…and they camped …. Over and over… 42 times the Torah tells us the names and hints of the various things that occurred along the way. Some places we had highs and some places unfortunately we sinned and were places of tragedy. The commentaries all struggle to understand the point of this list of names. Yet perhaps the reason is to give us the most important lesson of all before coming to Israel. Know where you’re coming from. Understand from where your perspective is built upon and it is important to take that in to consideration for it will affect your outlook on the country you are approaching and are charged to make holy.

Reb Moshe Feinstien elaborates on this point. He explains how it was, that this great nation that witnessed all the miracles of Egypt, the splitting of the Sea, The Revelation on Sinai, the Manna and the clouds of glory could have sinned so many times repeatedly. He explains that it is precisely because they were so accustomed to seeing so many miracles and the open hand of Hashem in the world, that they were challenged to see it when it wasn’t so revealed. Like a child whose parent is always there and then one day isn’t. Ma’asei, the review for the next generation before they will come into the land of Israel is to recognize that their previous experiences are the baggage and at the same time the tools for growth that they come into Israel with. If they want to have a successful Aliyah they have to consistently recall from where they came and be cognizant of the things that will influence their views as they approach a new life; one where Hashem’s hand will most certainly be more hidden than it was in the wilderness. Yet at the same time know that it is always there for them.

We enter the month of Av this week as we increase our level of mourning as we approach Tish’ah B’Av the day when our temple has been destroyed and even more tragically not yet been rebuilt. The increased mourning for men entails no shaving- so our face and beards scratch a little more. For others (who’s gender shall remain nameless.. JJ) it is the prohibition on shopping for new clothing or significant purchases that shakes us out of our regular existence. For some, like my teenage daughter, unplugging their I-Pod and not listening to music for three weeks has been a life changing experience. The point is that we are meant to pause and think about our lives. There is meant to be something different here that is missing. Hashem’s Temple, his presence in our country…our people… our world, is meant to be here with us and it’s not. Why aren’t we mourning more? What are we doing to change it? Has our 2000 year “temple-less” existence made us so cold that we can’t even appreciate how lacking our existence is? This is meant to be a time to reflect and to review. To think. As we scratch our chins, sit music-less in our cars and homes and we are meant to contemplate about what has caused us to be so cold and so distant. We need to think about how as distant as we are, it is even more painful for the Shechina to be distant from us. How it must feel for the Father who goes away and how the children didn’t even notice he was gone. Didn’t cry… Didn’t mourn... Didn’t miss Him.

May Hashem help us as we try to get closer to Him during this time. May he see our efforts as minimal as we can muster up to be sufficient to return once again to us. To return to our Home and once again may we finally merit to complete that journey our ancestors began so long ago in building an Eternal home for us and Hashem forever.

Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“Vibald du farshtaist dein narishkeit, bistu a kluger.” As long as you understand your foolishness, you are smart.

https://youtu.be/fHuzLmbcobo?list=PLTOCZ-DLMausvvU5Ba-8C1INQUSED6Jre    Dovid Dachs I am ancient wall ahavs chinam beautiful!

answer below at end of Email

Q.  The 19th century Templers originated from:
a. Alsace
b. Russia
c. Wurttemberg
d. Austro-Hungary


Matos- The problem with Rashi is that its sometimes so easy to read what he writes and continue and move on without actually thinking about what he writes and one then misses the perplexing questions tht need to be asked and that once answered reveals a powerful insight into a Torah teaching.
In this weeks Torah portion the verse tells us that (Bamidbar 31:5) a thousand from each tribe were given over to fight in battle. Rashi notes that the Torah uses a term that seems to mean they were given over against their will
“In order to teach you the praise of the shepherds of Israel how dear they are to Israel. Until they heard that Moshe would die (as part of the aftermath of the battle with Midian) what did he (Moshe- say about them) ‘A little more and they will stone me”. Once they heard that Moshe’s death would be connected to the vengeance of Midian they did not want to go and they had to be forced.”
If one thinks about this Rashi for even a second, the question is why did Rashi have to bring up the dirty past to tell us that we love our leaders and Moshe? Just say that we didn’t want to be given over if we knew that Moshe would die. Why does Rashi have to tell us that previously we wanted to stone him?
The Steipler Gaon, explains based on a concept of Rabbi Yisrael Salant explains that the love Israel has for its leader is so deep that even when we are holding externally by stoning him deep down the true love will come out ultimately. He brings an example of a parent of a difficult child who he constantly fights with, at the same time that parent might be a teacher who has a student who he loves and always treats with pride and praise. However in time of danger, the parent’s internal love for his child would come out and if given a choice he would save the child first, despite all of the trouble he gives him. It is almost unexplainable. It is just a deep-seated natural love he has for his child. That is what Rashi is trying to convey about our connection with Moshe. This can only be shown this internal love by contrasting it with the external strife. That is the depth of the love and connection we have to Moshe.
If that is true about us and Moshe- the shepherd of Israel, how much more so is that true about our love for Hashem who is our shepherd. Despite how much we might rebel, under it all we are faithful and would give our lives for Him and our belief in Him. That is the history of the Jewish people from even the least observant of our people, when given a choice or threat of life they will martyr themselves before denying God.
What an amazing Rashi and lesson.

Temple Mount Faithful – I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that during the week that we are meant to be thinking about life without the Beit Hamikdash, our Temple, that has been destroyed that the entire world is talking about who’s sovereignty it really falls. Since the times of the earliest pilgrims some of our greatest sages describe having gone up to the Temple Mount to pray and worship before Hashem. Obviously these great Rabbi took necessary halachic precautions and only entered into places that were permitted to walk, immersed themselves in a Mikva or better yet a fresh water spring, and did not wear leather shoes or bring anything with them besides their awe of Hashem and his Home and their heartfelt prayers. Upon the miraculous return of the Temple Mount to the Jewish people in the 6 Day war in 1967. Rabbi Goren, the chief Rabbi led Jews up there to pray as well. That all ended on Tisha B’Av that first year when they tried to bring up an Ark and blew Shofars after which the Jordanians and the Waqf whom we had handed over the keys to the administration over to, protested and forbade Jewish worship over there, making it ironically and tragically the only place in the world where Jews are forbidden by law to pray. Yet each years thousands of Jews go up to the Temple Mount. This past year over 14,000 and last week over 600 Jews went alone. The Jews that go up there really range the gamut from radical right wing religious Zionists that wish to show our sovereignty over it. Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews that wear black hats and affiliate with Chareidi Judaism, despite the overwhelming rulings from Chareidi Rabbis and accepted halachic authorities that for various reasons object. There are secular Jews and tourists as well that go up just to see the place where the Shechina once resided.  It is interesting as well that many of those that are in the forefront of this Temple Mount faithful group are American Olim that having made the bold ideological move to the Land of Israel want to be part of the next stage of our redemption by being part of the Jewish presence returning to Har HaBayit as well. Personally I do not go up to the Temple Mount. I avoid what I call dangerous places, both to my life and to my soul as many of my Rabbis oppose going up there. I do however feel that the big golden pimple up there should probably be taken down if we truly we believe we are a Jewish State. Because just because we can’t pray there doesn’t mean we should be participants in the greatest sacrilege to our holiest place. But I feel the same way about churches in Jerusalem as well-maybe even more so… So don’t pay much attention to me.

It’s the 9 days this week. sorry no jokes!

Answer is C– The Templer- not to be confused with the knights Templar of the Crusaders that guarded the Temple Mount…Hmmm wonder if they had metal detectors back then…- Were German Protestants from Wurtenberg that were pretty much seemed to be too radical and Messianic for even the Protestants and they moved to Israel to realize the coming of Messiah and the rebirth of Palestine. They pretty much get the credit for building the “German Colonies” all over Israel. In Haifa primarily and initially but also Jaffa and Emek Refaim in Jerusalem. With the advent of Nazism after WWI many of them were rounded up by the British and some were even traded with the Nazis in exchange for Jews.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Passing View- Pinchas 5777 / 2017

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

July 14th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 36 20th Tamuz 5777
Parshat Pinchas
A Passing View

I love lookout points. Eretz Yisrael has the most magnificent mountains where you can look out and see fantastic overlooks of this beautiful and incredible country that Hashem has given us. Whether it’s on Mt/ Carmel looking over the entire Jezreel valley, Mitzpeh Yericho overlooking the Dead Sea and the Judean desert, places in the Golan, the Negev, and even Jerusalem and Chevron it’s just awe-inspiring. What makes a lookout even more amazing, particularly when I bring tourists there is when I show them the sites and I GPS them as to our surroundings and then while they sit down and take it all in I open up my trusty pocket Tanach and read them the stories, the descriptions of the area as delineated there, the battles that took place, the people that stood there. They feel it. They’re experiencing it. The past, the land, our people, our history. It all clicks. There’s really nothing like it. And then we can go for ice cream and go to the next great place. With a stop at the bathrooms of course along the way.
Ooops! I forgot something. The pictures, of course. Or more recently of course the selfies. Now frankly I’m not a selfie type of person. I still haven’t mastered the art of fitting myself into a picture and holding the I-phone at the right angle to get me and the view I want int. So usually I just get like one eye and half of my smile and the pole in background. But as a tour-guide it is my responsibility to take the family picture by the overlook. To get 6 year old Moishy who’s had enough already on top of this mountain while the Rabbi has been rambling on for the past 10 minutes to stay another minute and even smile. Forget about to stop fighting with Estie who’s been teasing him the whole time. I’ve pretty much mastered the technique of reverse-psychology though where I tell him to stop smiling and to make angry faces already. That usually gets a grin. I learned that a few years ago when my photographer at one of our family simchos did that to me after I‘ve had enough already and wanted to go into the smorgasbord next door and start eating already and pictures seemed to go on forever. Also Rivky, my sister was bothering me and teasing me the whole time J. Anyways, once I get them all together I tell them that they should just know that really this whole picture thing is really a waste. Although it is certainly necessary because if there’s no picture than you can’t really prove you were there. Although I still haven’t figured out why that is something that needs to be proven. But either way, it really is a waste because ultimately the picture will never truly capture the incredible view and feeling that they experienced. They haven’t created such a camera yet. The sense of awe and wonder is just something that they will have to capture in their hearts and souls and embed it in their memory. Or come back and see it again, hopefully. Because somethings are just too awesome to be limited by a little blip on a screen. Most people seem fine with that. They concur and agree. Somethings are just too amazing to for even the newest iphones with even 50 million pixels to capture. I tell them it is called Hashem.
This week’s Torah portion seems to tell us that Hashem is also a big fan of overlooks. There are quite a few times in the Torah that Hashem looks down and even has his faithful servants do the same. Hashem looks down on Creation- what an awesome view that must have been! He sees all that He has made and it is very good and blesses the world. He looks down at the sins of the world just a millennia later and sees the destruction man has wrought upon that perfect Creation and He decides to wash it clean and start again. He calls Avraham out and tells him to count the stars in heaven and promises him his children will be like those stars. Avraham looks out at Sodom after its destruction, He sees the mountain from a distance where he is told to sacrifice his son. Hashem looks down upon our pain and persecution in Egypt. We have that amazing view Hashem tells Moshe as we stand by the Red Sea to stand back and watch the great salvation he will perform us and it splits. How cool was that? On the other hand not long after Hashem calls Moshe”le and tells him to look down from the mountain as we were dancing by the golden calf a few thousand years ago this past week on the 17th of Tamuz. Yup there is certainly a lot of overlooks in the Torah. But this week’s Torah portion definitely tells us of the most famous one.
 It is right after the Torah tells us the story of the daughters of Tzlafachad who were nervous that they would not be able to inherit a portion in the land of Israel as their father died without sons and the law didn’t seem to address the issue of whether women inherited land until that point. Right after Hashem commands Moshe to tell them that they would inherit their father, yet they should marry within their own tribes in order that it would at least for the first generation remain as part of their tribal portion. Moshe turns to Hashem and wonders if he himself will be able to have his children inherit him. It is then that Hashem tells him to come on up for an incredible view.
Bamdbar (27:12-14) And Hashem said to Moshe Go up to the Mountain of Avarim and see the land that I have given to the children of Israel And you shall see it and you shall be brought in to your people, you too as Aharon your brother was brought in., because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Tzin in the strife of the aseembly, to sanctify Me at the water before their eyes.
How sad and how tragic. Moshe the faithful servant of Hashem who gave his life and soul for this nation is told to come on up to the mountain where he will ultimately die and look down on the land that he will never be able to enter because of his sin of hitting the rock to bring forth water rather than speaking to it.
Moshe the always faithful shepherd asks Hashem who then will lead the people. Who will be able to shepherd this wayward flock. Hashem tells him that he should take Yehoshua/Joshua his faithful servant and place his hand on him and in doing so pass his splendor on to him so that the people will heed him.
Many of the commentaries note the odd placement of this story. After-all Moshe still has some time until he will die. The battles against Midian still hast to take place. He kills Bilaam he writes and speaks the entire Book of Devarim. Why here and why now? Perhaps even more perplexing is, what is the point of this view that Hashem wants him to see? Is it just a tease? Is Moshe supposed to take a selfie over here or something? What is this all about?
Perhaps a clue might be in the name of the Mountain Hashem tells us that he should go up to; Mount. Avarim. It’s an interesting name because we find in other places the Mountain that Moshe dies on is called Har Nevo. What is Avarim- which literally translated means the mountain of passing over, or transference. The word ta’avor or to transfer is in fact in the portion right before this one which seemingly doesn’t have much connection to this one; the portion of the laws of inheritance of the daughters of tzlafchad and of Jewish women. There the Torah tells us
Bamidbar (27:6-9) The Daughters of Tzlafchad speak properly. You shall surely give them an inheritance among the brothers of their father-v’ha’avarta- and you shall cause the inheritance of their father to transfer over to them. And to the Children of Israel you shall speak saying; If a man will die and he has no son, -vh’a’varta- you shall cause his inheritance to transfer over to his daughter.
Hmmm…. Ha’varta-transfer over to the daughters. Hmmm… Moshe go up to Mount Avarim. Is there a connection? Rav Motti Elon notes that there it is an interesting law this law of inheritance. For the truth is that the law of inheritance for women is different and unique then men. By a son or a brother inheriting the Torah uses the term and you shall give inheritance. Seemingly that is a more appropriate term. A person dies his son takes his inheritance of land. Yet by a daughter something else happens it gets transferred. You see when she marries someone else and if that someone else is from a different tribe than ultimately that portion will become part of the other tribe’s portion. So if a woman from the tribe of Benjamin who received property from her father who passed away without sons, for example, marries a handsome young stud from the tribe of Naftali. Then her children are all Nafalites and when they inherit her it will become part of the tribe of Naftali. She is in reality passing over and transferring her portion to another tribe. Guys can’t do that kind of thing if I’m a Naftali then my property and sons and grandsons after me will all keep it within the tribe. Now I’m sure that there are some Benjaminites that might be kvetching about this, but in truth it’s an amazing thing the power of women is to be able to break out of their own tribe and be the catalyst of uniting us all on one land, as property and land rights become exchanged and the nation of Israel becomes closer and closer together. She is in reality passing and transferring her father’s power to inherit over to another tribe entirely. There it will continue. One tribe’s inheritance will mingle and become renewed within another. The people and the land will ultimately become one
It is on that note that Hashem tells Moshe to come up onto the Mountain of Avararim. Moshe is concerned, as Rashi tells us. Perhaps I will also be able to inherit the land. Hashem tells him to come up for a looksee and see that in fact his power will be an even greater one than just merely inheriting a portion of land. In fact Moshe will be the one to be able to be the catalyst to transfer over his power, his splendor to the entire people of Israel. “Look at the land” Hashem tells him. We have a rule that look doesn’t mean merely “Hey check it out” Rather “look” means to put your eyes upon it. As My Heavenly eyes are upon it daily. To watch over it, to make sure it is there protected safe and forever. Hashem is telling Moshe that you, Moshe, have something far more significant than just handing down a piece of property or land to your children. You will be passing forward your soul, your spirit, your leadership, your Torah to the nation that will transcend any tribe, and land and the entire nation. You will pass it to Yehoshua and he will bring that light forward into the land. It is that which will be the soul of the entire country. That is the Mountain of Avarim.
The Jewish people are known as Ivrim. We speak Hebrew which is the same root as that word. We got that name and it defines us because Avraham our forefather tells us was on one side as he spread the word of one true God to a world on the other side that were pagans and idolaters. But it is deeper than just being on one side, one ever, from the other. We are Hebrews/Ivrim because we were charged to transfer that word of Hashem and shine it out to the rest of the world. To be ma’avir it. To pass it on and over. We can see beyond this world. We see the eternity. We are Hebrews because Moshe looked down from Mount Avarim and transferred that power to inherit that to the rest of world. We are told that when Moshe looked down from that Mountain he saw all the generations that would come. He saw the land, the wars, the leaders and he saw his Torah being passed on and on throughout millennia, no matter where we were, what we went through. He infused us with that Divine light. That’s a view that certainly can’t be captured by any I-phone or selfie. Yet it’s a view that stirs within each and every one of us as we stare out in awe and glory at the beautiful land Hashem has given us, the incredible nation that we have become, the challenges that we endured and the light that we continue to shine. May we merit to see that ultimate view as we look out to the that little mountain top in Yerushalayim and we see our Holy Temple once again restored to it’s place.
Have an zealously ecstatic Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“Az du kukst oif hoichen zachen halt tsu dos hitl.”- When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat.


https://youtu.be/X5kBeo1e-pU   Shabbas Acapella

https://youtu.be/gYF5A6UtPw0  - Amazing video of footage of 17th of Tamuz fast for the Temple in Jerusalem… If it doesn’t bring tears to your eyes and a longing for Geula there’s something broken…

https://youtu.be/1nNo1RQUgRw   Great interview with Moroccan Jews in Israel of what it means to be Moroccan in Israel

answer below at end of Email

Q. “Stand up, take your mat and walk. At once the man was made well…” is connected to:
a. The Siloam Pool
b. The Pools of Bethesda
c. El-Azariya
d. Bethsaida

The Torah is a book  like no other. It is not a story book, it’s not a law book, it’s not even an ethical work. It’s the word of Hashem. Each word, each narrative, each phrase was given precisely by Hashem because there is an eternal message in it. Something that we should draw insight and inspiration and to utilize as the light that shines our lives. We don’t always see that when we read the text. Which is why Rashi is there. To show us that the simple meaning of every word should be pondered and examined and taken seriously. If we read Rashi with that light we can truly tap into important life-messages.
In this week’s portion when Moshe asks Hashem for a leader that will replace him Hashem tells him that he should take Yehosua for he is a man
Bamidbar (27:18)  Asher Ruach Bo- who has spirit in him
Rashi on these words explains this strange term that Hashem was responding to Moshe’s request and directing him to Yehoshua for
He is able to go according to the spirit of each individual.
Now seemingly one might assume that this means that he is a leader that can “work” the crowd. He can relate to everyone on their own level. Yet the Shoe’el U’Meishiv has a deeper understanding. He notes that Rashi utilizes the word k’neged- opposite each person. Which would be even more perplexing, Is a leader supposed to go against the flock that he is meant to lead? He explains that a real leader neve will judge anyone based on their prespective and world-view. To truly lead, to guide, to inspire and to connect. You have to understand where everyone is coming from. See and understand their spirit. Only then can you properly adjust, direct and personally address and lift up each person.  The Jewish people particularly can never be lead by cookie-cutter leaders. Each soul is different and each soul needs a leader that can appreciate and understand them, only then can they and will they be able to be uplifted. Only then can you oppose them because you are mirroring them that you understand them and hey can see the higher places that they can rise to.
Think this is a timely message?

Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathonson-The Shaul UMeishiv - (1810-1875) -- The gaon Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathanson Zatzal was among the great figures of his generation and one of the outstanding Poskim of the last centuries. He could fully explain the Halachah with his great insight, and people from every corner of the globe came to see him for G-d’s word, meaning the Halachah. In his youth he studied with his father the gaon Rabbi Aryeh Leibush (the author of Sefer Beit E-L), and following his marriage to the daughter of the gaon Rabbi Aharon Halevi Ettinger, he went to study with his brother-in-law Rabbi Mordechai Ettinger Zatzal. The two brothers-in-law studied together for a long time, and they both wrote a number of well-known books, works such as Magen Giborim (on the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim), Me’irat Enayim (on the Halachot of Treifot), Ma’ase Alfas (on the Rif), Ner Ma’aravi (on the Jerusalem Talmud), and many others. However Rabbi Yosef Shaul is best known for his great work Shoel U’Meishiv, a book of responsa covering all areas of Torah. It also became the name by which he was known. After the death of his uncle Rabbi Yaakov Meshulam Orenstein (the author of Yeshuot Yaakov), Rabbi Yosef Shaul was appointed as the Av Beit Din of Lvov. Although he accepted the position, he refused to take a salary because he was very wealthy. He gave his approbation for the book Sidrei Taharot by Rabbi Gershon Chanoch, the Rebbe of Rozhin, saying that not in 300 years had the likes of such a book been published. Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathanson left this world on Adar 17, 5635, having had no children. May the memory of the tzaddik be blessed.
Moroccans – The 2nd largest Jewish community in Israel-after the Russians are the Moroccan Jews. At least that’s what wikpedia claims and who am I to argue with them, numbering them at about 1,000,000. Certainly Morrocans are very recognizable in Israel and probably the largest sefardic kehilla here. Although arguably they are not really sefardic as they come from North Africa. But they they are definitely very visible here. The chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rav Amar is Moroccan, the leader of the sefardic party Aryeh Deri is as well. Morocco is one of the oldest and most important Jewish communities which dates itself back to the times of Shlomo Hamelech in the first Temple. Some of the greatest Jewish halachists like the R”IF Rav Yitzchak Alfasi is from there. And much of our Jesih songs and poetry come from there. The songs of Reb Yisrael Najara that we sing on Shabbat, the tune of Bar Yochai that is sung by Jews each Lag BaOmer were all composed there. In addition many of the customs have become widespread in Israel The Mimuna party on Pesach and the Hinna before Sefardic weddings are two festive and favorite ones.
Moroccans came to Israel legally with establishment of the State of Israel over 28,000 came over the first few years to realize the messianic dream of living in the Holy Land however once it became independent from France in the 50’s it became more difficult to emigrate as the Arab countries put pressure on them not to allow the Jews to come here. The Mossad worked very hard smuggling Jew quietly out, paying $250 per Jew to secure his release from Morocco to leave. By the 70’s hundreds of thousands had already come over. The integration for the Moroccans here was very difficult though. The State brought them in here to help settle the land and moved many of them into agricultural areas. The Moroccans were not interested in being farmers though as many of them came from cities. They were also known for their very quick and strong tempers and more aggressive nature. It led to them falling on public assistance and much discrimination in the work place until ultimately a revolution of the people against the mostly ashkenazic elitist leadership led to the election Menachem Begin as the Prime Minister who championed their rights. Today Moroccans have certainly established themselves well into the country and their rise to leadership and influential positions have secured them an everlasting place in their role as being the banners of Sefardic Jewry here in Israel.
(Continuing on the theme from last week with my disclaimer and a bit of an explanation to get the jokes here I’m not a stereotyping type of guy but from what I grasp Moroccans are stereotyped as a hot-headed, aggressive and a little more than slightly over-bearing or abusive husbands with a love for good food and lots of salads.I got these Jokes fromHebrew websites- the only place where you’ll find them of course. So the translation may not always do them justice. )

How can you tell a Moroccan faucet? It heats up very fast….
How does a Moroccan cookbook begin? First of all cool off…

The Moroccan young man took his University acceptance exams (psychometric-in Hebrew) they showed him a table with three legs and asked him what was missing. He looked hard and answered “The salatim –salad dips…”

A Christian a Muslim and a Morrocan go into their holy place to pray. The Christian enters first  and all of a sudden a ghost jumps out and screams “I am a spirit with one eye…..”
The Christian hears and runs away. The Muslim goes in to pray and all of sudden a ghost jumps out and says “I am a spirit with one eye….”The Muslim picks up his robe and runs out as well. Finally the Moroccan comes into pray. The ghost jumps out ans days “I am a spirit with one eye….”The Moroccan responds “Quiet already or I”ll poke out your other one soon…”. And the ghost runs away.

The Moroccan calls the police and says that he found his wife passed out in their apartment. The police asks him where he lives.
Chernikovsky 15” he responds.
Can you tell me how to get there?” the police asks.
 “I’ll tell you what I”ll shlep her over to Herzl and you can pick her up there…”

A Moroccan couple were arguing and fighting with one another. It led to screams and shouts and finally the man runs away and hides under the bed. His wife comes after and screams at him to get out from under the bed. Moshe says loudly no. His wife yells again “get out from under the bed right now before I hit you with my broom. Moshe takes a deep breath and announces in a strong voice. “I am the man in this family and if I say no that means NO!

Answer is B– I confess Christianity was not my favorite subject in my tour guiding course. I didn’t really see that as my client base. I didn’t move to Israel to inspire chritsians about their “holy” sites here in Israel. And although tour guides have a reputation for making up “bubbeh maaisehs”- (grandma’s tales) but I don’t even think grandma could sell the baloney that the “New” testament tries to make up. So I basically just googled “yoshka –J-Man” stories that entire part of the course. I mean do I really need to know every where the man went to the bathroom in this country or everyone he supposedly healed.  He was a renegade Jew that was the cause of more deaths than anyone in the history of our people who were martyred in his name. So anyways the answer to this question is Beit Saida- google it if you want to know more. Because I deleted all the information from my brain the second I passed my exam.