Our view of the Galile

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Parent Things- Shoftim 2017 / 5777

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

August 25th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 42 3rd Elul 5777
Parshat Shoftim
Parent Things
(A golden oldie this week from 5 years ago in honor of Mommy with a short memory leaving her children with me as she goes to the States- and it’s just been too busy of a week to put out an original one…sigh…)

The sun was too hot. It was too warm to play- So I sat in the house on that hot hot warm day.
 Elka is five. Tully is two.- Mom had left for the day. And today was Daddy's day with Thing one and Thing two.
I thought this was a mistake. I should not be about.-Children need a "real parent" when mother is out. There was no Cat in the Hat. (the DVD was broke too)-. No fish in the pot. Just me and my darling Things one and two.
I  call them that, you see- Because they take advantage of me. They knew I did not know the rules, without their mommy.

"Shabbos cereal for breakfast-mommy always lets"-. "She does not care- if we jump on the beds".
"Toilet paper is a fun toy-see how it roll roll rolls"- There is nothing wrong-with swinging from these stairwell poles."

There they stood in life jackets and with bicycle helmets on their heads.-They were wearing their sister’s makeup. When Mommy would come home I knew I would be dead.
"Let's learn a little Torah" said the Father in a hat-. I knew that wouldn't work. Maybe a story from the Parsha...something before they went splat.

So I gave them a little melatonin, a healthy little tranquilizer (that mommy sometimes uses). -And I sat down to my computer... As my adorable little things start their early morning snoozes.

And how has your day been, dear readers? Is there anything more than cute angelic (makeup-covered) faces of a five and two year old sleeping among streams of toilet paper with bicycle helmets snuggling next to each other? I hope their mother feels the same way. Or at least learns that it pays to take the little 'uns along with her next time.

So I open up my Chumash to this week's portion, Shoftim, which contains in it many of the basic laws of creating a society in Israel. The laws of judges and pursuing justice, the laws of kings, prophets, Kohanim (priests) and Levi'im, cities of refuge, war exemptions and responsibilities and finally the strange law of Egla Arufa- the decapitation of a young calf who never had a yoke put upon him by the elders of the city upon finding a murdered body near their city, with the statement that our hand has not spilled this blood. Snuck in between all of these exciting laws, is a short verse that you might miss if you blink but also a very important pieces of advice or more accurately a prohibition.

"There shall not be found amongst you one who passes their son or daughter through fire... (followed by a list of various magic practices, future tellers and practitioners of the "dark arts")....This is an abomination to Hashem all who do these things and because of these abominations Hashem is giving you their land to inherit from them. Be Tamim (complete, pure, blemish-less, faithful.) With Hashem your God."

Now I have only babysat (or parented- as my wife likes to tell me) for one day and I admit I have had certain not-good thoughts during this long exhausting morning. But fire? I think that's getting a little carried away. Maybe they didn't have melatonin back then. But this is definitely a strange commandment. Even more strange is that from the verse it seems that this is our merit and right to inherit the land of Israel. Two more quick points so that we could put the puzzle together, what is the connection between the prohibition of sacrificing your child in fire and the practice of magic or future-telling and why does this mitzvah conclude with the commandment to be pure before Hashem?

The great 13th century work on Jewish mitzvos, the Sefer Hachinuch, notes that the Talmud derives from a different verse that the strange qualification that this prohibition only applies when one sacrifices some of his children and not all of them. With this he explains the prohibition and gives us an insight into the idolatrous practice known as Molech. He suggests that the practice was that one would sacrifice one of their children in exchange for a promise from the priests of Molech that the rest of his surviving children or child would live long and have great wealth and blessing. It is for this reason that the prohibition is connected to trying to know or even "beat" the future. This explains as well why the commandment concludes with mitzvah to be faithful and complete with God.  For it is in parenting that we need the most faith.

There is no other area perhaps that causes greater concern or consternation for Jewish parents. Oy...what will be with my children? Will they be successful? Will they ever grow up and take responsibility? When will they start watching out for themselves and being more careful? Imagine if there was a secret pill that you could take that would guarantee your children’s success. Imagine if everybody in the society that you were assimilating in all did something that at first and maybe even second glance and thought didn't seem right, but "everyone is doing it" and "it's the only way your child will make it in this world". Don't you want your child to have the greatest opportunity that he or she could have? Are you really going to deprive him or her from that opportunity?  So it might come at the "burning" expense of some of the other children but at least the chosen, special child will make it...

Have faith in Hashem, the Torah tells us. Don't compromise His values, the Torah's values, our values because of society's promises of success. We only inherit the land because our nation is different in this regard. We will succeed because we can set the tone for what is right. We don't have to sacrifice our children for ideals that may harm their souls. We are not allowed to put one child's future above another’s as necessary as it may seem. We must do as much as we can for each of our kids, and Hashem our Father and third partner in our children's creation will do his part as well.

We have entered the month of Elul, the month when we begin to examine our deeds from the past year as we approach our High Holidays. It is a time when we are meant to get close to our Father. It is a time as well when we should pause and reflect as our children go back to schools and summer vacation is over of how important they are to us. What type of parents we need to be and what sacrifices we shouldn't be making to raise them into the types of people that deserve to inherit the land and that will bring them closer to Hashem. They are our most precious gifts. The angel faces we see when they are sleeping could and should be there all the time. Should be cherished all the time...just as our Father cherishes ours...

I hear them stirring now. Perfect timing. I think we'll go out to the park. Time to do some parenting.

Have a marvelous Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz



“Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel—kurts un bash.” Life is like a child’s undershirt—short and soiled

https://youtu.be/wxyfwxhFGkc This brought back memories for me as Yossi Piamenta OBM  played by my wedding with my good friend Gershon Veroba, this is his son Yehuda playing Yossie’s greatest hits. We miss you Yossie!

https://youtu.be/egEuk_lUR2o My kids favorite song of the week Machar by Mordechai  Shapiro

https://youtu.be/9V2-Ft9cpKk  In honor of the Klezmer festival in Tzfat this past week.

answer below at end of Email

Q.  The route of the “Land of Pursuit” is located (“eretz hamirdafim”):
a. East of Jerusalem, in the Jordan Valley area
b. East of the Gaza Strip
c. Adjacent to the Northern border
d. Between the volcanoes in the Golan Heights


Shoftim- There are many Midrashim and Talmudic debates about the interpretations and explanations of the text. Our sages tell us that there are “70 faces to the Torah”. Rashi always tries to bring the simplest explanation. It is not his job to bring all the different opinions. So when you come upon a Rashi that mentions a debate about a particular verse then one should examine the reason why he felt it necessary to bring the alternate pshat. This is certainly true when he clearly states that the first pshat is the simple basic one. The reason for the second interpretation therefore must be either because there was something lacking in the first one or there is some message that he feels is essential to appreciate before moving on to the next verse.
Towards the end of this week’s portion the Torah begins to teach us the laws of going out to war and it describes the prelude to battle with the officers calling the army together and handing out deferments to anyone who had just gotten engages, or had built a new house or field and not entered them and enjoyed them yet. They would then at the conclusion of this speech making the following declaration.
Devarim (20:8) And they say ‘Who is the man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, and let him not melt the heart of his brothers, like his heart.’
Rashi on this last deferment brings down two explanations.
Rabbi Akiva says that this means as it sounds, that he is unable to stand in the ranks of battle and see swords drawn. Rabbi Yosi HaGalile says that this refers to he who is fearful of sins that he has. This is why the Torah provides him with a pretext of returning to his house, vineyard or his wife to cover up for those who return because of sins that they have, s that people should not discern that they are sinners and one who sees them returning says “perhaps he built a house or planted a vineyard or betrothed a woman.
So this is a beautiful interpretation, certainly one that we would not see in the original text, yet there are many beautiful interpretations in the Torah. If Rashi is bringing it there must be something in the text that forces him to mention it. The Ohr Hachaim, HaKadosh understands that Rashi is teaching us that the essence of Jewish wars were always won with miracles. The Jewish people knew that and understood that and they saw it time and time again. Therefore it would not make sense that someone would be fearful of battle. It wasn’t them that was fighting it, Hashem had promised them that they would win. Rather the only thing that might make them hesitate would be that perhaps they would not merit victory because of their sins. Or maybe the Jewish people might merit victory but individually they might not make it out themselves. As a result of that Rashi explains that this disclaimer by the Officer was addressing those people. Yet even those people might be intimidated and embarrassed to leave the battle-field it is for that reason that Rashi explains that the Torah gave him cover to do that by mentioning the other deferments along with the fearful of his sins. What I find remarkable as well if you think about this is that those soldiers that remained in the army were all people that were confident that they had no sins that would jeopardize their safety and remove Hashem’s benevolence from them. Reb Eliyahu Meir Bloch suggests that this is also a secret for our spiritual battles as well. One should never give up hope and feel that they are not worthy of a miracle. No matter how far we may fall we can always rise up once again.

Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar- TheOhr Hachaim HaKadosh– (1696-1743) – Rabbi Chaim ben Atar, the Rabbi of Sale, called the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh after his popular commentary on the Pentateuch, was a Talmudist and kabbalist; born at Meknes, Morocco, in 1696 and He was one of the most prominent rabbis in Morocco.
R' Chaim's dream was to go to Israel. After receiving spiritual signs approving his desire, in 1733 he decided to leave his native country and settle in the Land of Israel, then under the Ottoman Empire. He was received with great honor wherever he traveled. This was due to his extensive knowledge, keen intellect and extraordinary piety. He stopped over in Livorno (Italy) where he raised large sums of money for publishing his books and establishing a yeshivah in Israel. With 30 followers he arrived in Israel, four days before Rosh HaShanah 1742 and settled in Acco. R' Chaim and his students spent Yom Kippur in the cave of Elijah the Prophet on Mount Carmel (Haifa), where they all felt a great sense of holiness and witnessed seeing a great Light at the spot where according to tradition Elijah used to pray. The holiday of Purim was spent in Tzfat and Miron, where a great deal of time was spent studying the holy Zohar . They later moved to live in Pki'in for a few months. On the 15th of Ellul 1742 R' Chaim finally arrived in Jerusalem with his group. He immediately established a yeshivah called 'Knesset Yisrael' and second secretive yeshivah for the study of Kabbalah. R' Chaim and his students were constantly going on many journeys (zia'rot)  around the land of  Israel visiting grave sites of the tzaddikim. They used the opportunity to pray for the welfare of Jews all over the world, the success of their yeshivah and its financial supporters.
One of his new students was Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (the Chida), who at that time was only 18 years old. The Chida wrote about his master's greatness: "His heart pulsated with Talmud; he uprooted mountains like a resistless torrent; his holiness was that of an angel of the Lord, ... having severed all connection with the affairs of this world ."His saintly way of life gained him the name Ohr HaCaim HaKadosh (the holy one).”

  The most famous of Rabbi Chaim's works is Ohr HaChaim , a commentary on the Torah. In this work he employes the four methods of exegesis: peshat-explaining the simple meaning; derash-homiletic interpretation; remez-allusion; and sod-the kabbalistic esoteric approach. This book was enthusiastically accepted by Sephardic and Ashkenazi rabbis alike. His book Chefetz Hashem was his first book, it was a commentary on tractates Shabbat, Horayot and Chulin. His second book was Pri Toar, a commentary on Yoreh De'a (one of the sections of Shulchan Aruch). Rishon Letzion was a book he wrote when living in Jerusalem, its a commentary on Prophets and Writings (NACH) and a few tractates of the Talmud

 The founder of the Chassidic movement, The Baal Shem Tov maintained that if he could join forces with Rabbi Chaim, together they could bring the Messiah. The Baal Shem Tov made several failed attempts to reach the Holy Land. In fact the Baal Shem Tov believed that R' Chaim was the Mashiach of that generation. On the day that R' Chaim came to Jerusalem, The Baal Shem Tov told his students: "Today Mashiach ben Yosef entered Yerushalayim". R' Chaim departed the world at the time of Mincha of shabbat Pinchas. At that exact moment the Baal Shem Tov was eating the 3rd meal of shabbat and uttered out: "the western candle has been extinguished". After shabbat he explained: "The tzaddik in the west, R' Chaim ben Atar left the world. The proof for that is: there is one secret about the washing of the hands (netilat yadayim) which is revealed to only one person in each generation. This secret was known to R' Chaim. When I washed my hands for the 3rd meal, that secret was revealed to me, and that was my sign that the "western candle' was extinguished."

Rabbi Chaim ben Atar was 47 when he departed the world. He was buried outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, on Mount Olives. Before the "Six Day War" in 1967, the Jordanians had control over the cemetery where R' Chaim was buried, they destroyed many tomb stones and paved a new road. When the tractor touched the grave site of R' Chaim, it turned upside down and the driver was killed. They tried a second time, and again the tractor turned upside down and the driver was killed. Someone tried to use a hammer, it turned on himself and he was killed too. The grave site was left intact. 
R' Chaim had two wives. His first wife Patzonia was unable to bear children for him and encouraged him to marry a second wife. His second wife Ester gave birth to a few daughters. Both of his wives passed away within a few years after R' Chaim's death, and were buried next to him.

Yeshiva Guys –They’re back. Elul Zman is here in Eretz Yisrael and the country once gain fills with Yeshiva bochrim. Although most of our “Types of Jews” are fairly easy to categorize, Yeshiva Guys, like the yeshivas they attend are also not easy to put into a box. To make it even more interesting is that I’m sure that anyone here who is reading this identifies the word Yeshiva guy with their own type of Yeshiva and assume the rest of them are in some other category. So we have the black hat yeshiva guys both American and Israeli, the Americans attend Mir which is the largest Yeshiva in Israel if not the world, as well as Brisk-of which there are quite a few although some don’t consider the other ones to be “real” and then there are many smaller yeshivas and Kollels where these young 19-22 year old Americans study before they go back and find their Shidduchim (Are you ready yet?-Ask your son- sponsored by the Nasi project) The Israel Yeshiva guys go to Chevron, Beit Mattis, Kol Torah, Ateret, Ponovizh, and other names. Israeli Yeshiva guys are also black hatters but an entirely different culture than Americans. Generally their style of learning is different. On one hand many of them are raised more that Torah will be their life-long occupation more than American boys are, at the same time as a result of that there are more of them that maybe in Yeshiva for the wrong reasons- to avoid army service although they may not be cut out for learning.
The next category are Sefardi Yeshiva guys, they are very similar to Israeli ones, certainly from an American perspective. Yet of course from the Israeli Yeshiva Guy perspective they are not in the same league as them, as many more of them ight not be in it for life as they are and many of them are more likely to be short term “learners”.  There are also the Chasidish YG’s. There are thousands of both Israeli and American Chasidish guys in Yeshiva in Israel. Generally they come at a much younger age then their black hat counterparts and they get married younger as well. In the Chasidic world though there isn’t as much difference or friction between the Israeli and American young men as they are all pretty much joined together and united by their Rebbe. There is also on the other end of the spectrum the Kippa Seruga and more Zionistic yeshiva guys. In Hebrew they call them “Benish”im Bnei Yeshiva. When one walks into some of their Yeshivas, like Hakotel in the old city or in the Gush or really any around Israel the Kol Torah is beautifully loud. Many of the young men are very intense and serious about their learning and as well as opposed to the other YG types their learning encompasses studies besides Talmud and law. Many of their yeshivas focus on the study of Tanach as well as Limudie Eretz Yisrael.
So as you see this is a complicated category. But Yeshiva Guys are complicated guys. On one hand we believe that it is their Torah that is holding up and defending the land of Israel and bringing it its divine protection. On the other hand sadly and tragically we tend to focus on the misbehavior and disregard that the small minority of them may have for the each other and for their surrounding environment as they swarm all over the land. Israel is a complicated country as we have noted and there is nothing more complicated than its Yeshiva guys.

Luke comes home from his first day of school, and his mother asks, “What did you learn today?”
“Not enough,” Luke replies. “They said I have to go back tomorrow.”

 What’s the king of all school supplies? The ruler.

Teacher: Class, we will have only half a day of school this morning.
Class: Hooray!
Teacher: We will have the other half this afternoon.

Stevie: Hey, Mom, I got a hundred in school today!
Mom: That’s great. What in?
Stevie: A 40 in Reading and a 60 in Spelling.

What kind of school do you go to if you’re…
…an ice cream man? Sundae school.
…a giant? High school.
…a surfer? Boarding school.
…a Crusader? Knight school.

Mom: What did you do at school today?
Mark: We did a guessing game.
Mom: But I thought you were having a math exam.
Mark: That’s right!

Teacher: Daniel, I’ve had to send you to the principal every day this week. What do you have to say for yourself?
Daniel: I’m glad it’s Friday!

What’s the difference between a teacher and a train?  A teacher says, “Spit out that gum!” and a train says, “Chew! Chew!”

Johnny: Teacher, would you punish me for something I didn’t do?
Teacher: Of course not.
Johnny: Good, because I didn’t do my homework.

Answer is A– A the 6 day war of 1967 the former Jordanian citizens that lived in Palestine-fled to Jordan which did not want to absorb them and kept them in refugee camps. They in turn, led by Yasser Arafat began what was called the war of attrition coming over across the Jordan river and valley which was the new border of Israel and Jordan and began launching terror attacks; hitting school buses, targeting farmers, settlements and other wonderful things that these animals do. This area for the next few years became called the Land of the pursuits as the Bika brigade of the paratroopers would go from cave to cave hunting them and many Israeli soldiers were lost. It is for this reason that many are nervous till today to drive along the Jordan valley although it really isn’t much of a problem. See in 1970 Jordan was pretty much given a choice by Israel to take care of business or we would and if we would we should set up shop on other side of Jordan River preventing them access to that. They also weren’t too fond of this newly formed race called the “Palestinians” as they were threatening the Hashemite kingdom and its sovereignty. So in Black September of 1970 the Jordanians pretty much went in and wiped out thousands of these refugees in their camps mostly civilians incidentally, not that many people cared and the problem was pretty much solved. It’s something to think about when they start passing moral judgement upon us. Maybe its even something to think about in how we should perhaps be reacting when these guys are attacking and launching terror attacks upon as well.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dream House- Parshat Re'eh 5777 / 2017

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

August 18th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 41 26th Av 5777
Parshat Re’eh
Dream House

He showed me around his brand new house and it was really unreal. There were like 14 bedrooms, ornate ceilings, stain glassed windows, kitchen and entertainment rooms with all the fanciest gadgets and toys. His wife had a dance studio built downstairs, and he had a pretty decent sized gym as well. As I said it was really not something to believe. He then took me outside to show me what he did with the three backyards he bought from all of his neighbors and combined into one huge lot. I stood there gawking at the beautiful basketball court-full sized of course, swimming pool- it wasn’t Olympic size (I pointed out to him this glaring oversight), and of course hot tub with a grilling area and little orchard surrounding it. This was not a house, I noted to him, this was an estate. “So what do you have to say”, my buddy Moishy asked me, “Whadaya think?” Not being someone who was ever at a loss of words, or one that could miss an opportunity for a good line I told him that what I really thought was that there was no way in the world that he really could ever say that he truly wants Mashiach to come. I mean, who wants to give up something like this, their “dream-house” and move to Israel. Nahhh, he can’t possibly ever really mean it when he says the words “Please, Hashem return us to Zion”. He was quite comfortable enough right here. He abashedly agreed… I believe, but as I’m not one to just leave my friend on a downer, I suggested that what he might do is open up a synagogue in his home. After-all our sages tell us that when Mashiach comes, all the shuls will fly up to Jerusalem so maybe if he has one in his house, then the house will come along. I don’t know about the basketball courts though.
It’s one of the problems I think that too many people complain that I consistently talk and write about when it comes to Jews in America. Jews there really, I don’t believe want to come home to Israel. “Enough with your Zionistic-come-live-in-Israel agenda”, they tell me. It’s very nice and even admirable that you live there, but it’s not for everyone. Just drop it already. Can’t you find anything else to write about?! Not long ago I had a potential client call me up and ask me if I was available to tour them in Israel. They had heard that I was a fantastic tour-guide and they wanted to use me to tour their family on a trip here. He just wanted to ask me in advance one question. Was I going to try to convince them to move to Israel? It didn’t sound like he was looking for that, from the way that he was asking. He wanted more of the come see the beautiful ancient country that Hashem once promised us would belong to us and Im Yirtzeh Hashem- God willing when Mashiach comes we will get to come back here to live, because than it will be much better, type of tour. I told him unequivocally that I did not feel it was my place to tell anyone to make Aliya. I felt that was personal decision that everyone had to make for their own families. Who was I to tell people what they should do and what was right for them? However I did caution him that one thing I would certainly do is make him and his family feel absolutely miserable about the fact that they don’t live here. That they are stuck in America. That they don’t have the zechut/merit to be fortunate enough to live in Hashem’s “chosen” country for His nation. That I felt was the minimuim  responsibility that I would have. What they chose to do with that information would be there problem. But I guaranteed them that they would never feel good about not-living here again. He took me as his guide J. And whadaya know they’re talking about Aliya… One more Jew, back where he’s supposed to be. Mission accomplished JJ
It’s an interesting thing that we find throughout the Torah and particularly in the book of Devarim. The land of Israel is always referred to as the chosen land, the land promised to our forefathers.  The Temple mount is called the makom hanivchar-the chosen place.
Devarim (12:5) rather only at the place Hahem your God will chose from all the tribes to place His name there, you shall seek out His resting place and come there.
ibid (12:11) Then it shall be that the place where Hashem, your God will choose to rest His name- there shall you bring everything I command you
(12:14) Only in the place that Hashem will choose, among your tribes, there shall you bring up your offerings
12:18) Rather you shall eat them before Hashem your God in the place that Hashem your God will choose, you your son, your daughter, your servant and maid and Levi in your cities.
(12:21) Because the place where Hashem your God will choose to place His name there shall be far from you, you may slaughter your cattle flock that Hashem has given you as I have commanded…
Are you getting the point yet? It’s the place- “the place” Hashem has chosen. It’s not called Israel, It’s not called the Temple Mount, despite the fact that Moshe and Hashem both know where it is. Despite the fact the world was created from there, the binding of Isaac was there, Abraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov all prayed there. But that’s not what it is called.  It is called “the place I will choose”. The Rebbe of Radomsk suggests a very powerful insight into this. He suggests that, although Hashem and everyone knew where the Temple was meant to be. The only way the country, the city, the Temple would ever happen is if Hashem chooses it. Hashem chooses it he tells us because we pray and long for His place. He reads the words of the verse homiletically. “The place Hashem chooses from all the tribe’s- meaning as a result of all the prayers, hopes, longings of all of the tribes, Hashem chooses this place. “you shall seek out His resting place” and then He “will come there.”.
The Rebbe than proceeds to give an incredible powerful parable. He says imagine if a father is sitting in prison-go forbid. He was thrown there unjustly.  His children come to visit him. When they see him there behind the bars, what do they do? They ask him for money, they ask him to pull some strings for them to better their lives, they complain to him about all the hardships they are having. Their brand new swimming pool broke, the air conditioning isn’t working well, and the weather is really hot outside. Y’know major tragedies. They kiss their father and then leave. This happens week after week, year after year. How tragic is it? How pathetic that none of those selfish ingrate children, will do anything to try to get their Father out, to return him home, to at least tell him that we need you, we want you back, we are longing each day and our lives are incomplete and we will never rest until we see back in your rightful place. That is our situation, suggests the Rebbe. That is what our main focus and primary desire should be for. It’s the real house we should be dreaming of.
I remember once talking to a very wealthy client of mine. He actually built himself a beautiful home or palace here in Jerusalem. He actually comes here in fact numerous times throughout the year. In fact he told me that he loves Israel so much he would move here tomorrow…There is just one problem, he said. There are Israelis that live there. If I could just do something about that he would make Aliya in a minute. I smiled and I think anyone that moves here could certainly relate. But Israel is not about Israelis. Israel is and always should be about one thing and one thing only. The Land that Hashem chooses and wants. Our prayers and hopes have to be for Him, for his pain and 2000 years exile. For His house that remains desecrated. For our loss of not being able to share it and live it together with Him, like we were meant to.
This week begins the month of Elul. It is the last month before the New Year 5778 years from creation. That is 5778 years that Hashem will be waiting for the final destiny of the world to be fulfilled. For His dream house to be built. Let us not get distracted in our prayers and ask for the small stuff. It’s time to move into His estate.

Have an amazing Shabbos and a chodesh Elul tov,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“Besser bay zikh krupnik, eyder bay yenem gebrotns.” Better barley soup at home than a roast at someone else’s home.

https://youtu.be/kpIJghyQknM      Love this video and song- pinny Shmeltzer tov lhodot looks like they had fun

https://youtu.be/o_kxWKB5vPM  – Nefeshe B’nefesh- the video that if doesn’t bring tears to your eyes your not Jewish

https://youtu.be/ar_aqBSGAtM 233 Olim this week Come back home highlights!

answer below at end of Email

Q. An altar in the shape of a boat is located in:
a. Kursi
b. Sussita
c. Magdala
d. Ginossar


Re’eh- OK I’m gonna read you a verse and then you tell me what the problem is with it, now that we have developed a feel for reading like Rashi. The verse in this week’s Torah portion is as follows
Devarim (15:11) For destitute people will not cease to exist within your land; because of this I command you, saying, “Open, you shall open your hand to your brother, to your poor one and to your destitute in the land.”
Now right away the open you shal open double terminology jumps out at you, and although Rashi doesn’t comment on it we know in the previous verse when it discusses that giv you shall give Rashi tells us it means even a hundred times and as we noted in the past Rashi doesn’t tell us the same thing twice.
What else that seems extraneous though is the words and I shall command you saying. It could have just said command you to open your hands. What does it mean when it says “saying”, asks Reb Eliyahu Mizrachi? He explains that this is why Rashi, seemingly troubled by this tells us an incredible insight if you ponder it.
Etizat litovatecha ani masiaeka- I am giving you advice for your benefit.
Wow! Ever got a good stock tip from someone who is in the “know”. Can you imagine how lucky you might feel if someone tells you that there is this opporotunity that no one else can imagine will be something big; penny stock. But it is gonna make it. Just drop in a few coins and walla you will see what will come of it. Imagine if that person was in fact the inside guy that knows that this company has an incredible innovation that they are about to launch. How grateful would you be? Here Hashem is going out of His way to tell us exactly that. Eitza Tova- good advice. See that poor person over there, help him out, it will be amazing, you can’t imagine the benefit you will reap by doing that. The Torah doesn’t have extra words. One word- Leimor-saying and you just got the biggest tip in the world from Hashem.

Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi– (1450-1526) – Rabbi Eliyahu ben Abraham Mizrachi, known as the ROM (or R'EM), is well known to anyone who studies the Rashi commentary on Chumash with any depth. For the ROM's major work is a commentary on Rashi..
Rabbi Eliyahu was born in Constantinople (Turkey), approximately in the year 1450. Before he became the Chief Rabbi of his native city, he headed a great Yeshiva. He attracted many students, whom be taught the Talmud and the Codes of Jewish Law. Certain pupils he also taught mathematics algebra and astronomy, in which he was proficient, for these sciences are useful aids in the understanding of certain laws of the Torah.
At that time, the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople was the famed Rabbi Moshe Kapsali, who was well known for his great scholarship and piety was unfortuantly had many enemies at that time as he was responsible for raising the taxes from the wealthy community members for the sultan. When they tried to depose him and replace him with Rav Mizrach he refused to get involved and remained out of the foray. When Rabbi Moshe Kapsali died, in the year 1494 Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi was chosen to succeed him as Chief Rabbi of Constantinople and of all Turkish jewry. He occupied this exalted position until his death.
Like his predecessor, Rabbi Eliyahu was the official Jewish representative at the Court of the Sultan. In his capacity as Chacham-Bashi (Chief Rabbi), Rabbi Eliyahu was a member of the Supreme Council, as were also the Mufti (the spiritual leader of the Moslems) and the Greek Patriarch, the leader of the Christians.
At that time many of the Karaites desired to come closer to Judaism. For hundreds of years the Karaites had been a separate sect, believing only in the Written Law (T'NaCH) but not the Oral Law (Talmud, etc.). Many of them had fought bitterly against their own people, in an effort to "justify" their beliefs. They formed their own communities, their own houses of worship, and their own religious way of life. At first, Rabbi Eliyahu, like most other Rabbis before him, would have nothing to do with them, since they had excluded themselves from the community of the Jewish people. Later, however, when he saw that some Karaites truly and sincerely wished to return to the fold, he was friendly to them and tried to help them come back.
The main work of Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi, as already mentioned, was his commentary on Rashi, entitled Sefer Mizrachi. It contains deep insights into Rashi's commentary on the Torah, and explanations of all difficult passages in Rashi. In this way he also removes many objections raised by Ramban in regard to Rashi's explanation of some passages of the Torah. This work was published soon after the author's death, by his son Rabbi Israel, in Venice, in the year 1526.
Other works by Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi included Responsa (Shaaloth uTeshuvoth), published in two parts (Constantinople, 1546, and Venice, 1647, respectively). He also wrote treatises on mathematics and astronomy.
Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi was regarded as one of the greatest Rabbis and scholars of his time. The Jewish community in Constantinople was one of the largest and most important in those days, especially after the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (in 1492), when it became a haven of refuge for many prominent Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Rabbi Eliyahu did his utmost to help these refugees. Moreover, many "marranos" (Jews who had been forced to declare their acceptance of the Christian religion, but remained Jews at heart) were able openly to return to the faith of their fathers in Constantinople, and other cities of the Sultan, where the Jews enjoyed a goodly measure of freedom.

Doctors –Welcome to the country of Kupat Cholim and socialized medicine. See in Israel there are two ways to go when you are sick. A) your medical clinic and B) Private practitioner or as they say in Hebrew Praiiiveht. Doctors in Israel do not make the money they make in America. They also don’t have the college bills and student loans to pay off as it is a much quicker process to become a doctor here as one doesn’t need to have an undergrad degree to being their medical school subjects. I think that’s just an American scam to make money. Here they go the army first instead of 4 years of fraternity parties. They also don’t have the huge malpractice insurance expenses that they have there. Because here if the mess you up it’s just your tough luck. That’s not to say they don’t rip you off here or mess up. The Kupah/clinics are really like a factory. It’s in and out and exaggerated fees sometimes, or unnecessary procedures so that they can bill insurance companies for their services. It’s why a lot of people when they need to go Priiveht.
Priiiveht doctors are generally cheaper than the clinics if you are on the regular insurance plans and for anything that requires more than a basic checkup or typical doctor work it usually pays. Certainly for more serious stuff, you want someone that has a vested interest in you and is not bound by “clinic protocols or agendas” that may not be in your best interest. I have found the doctors in Israel to be for the large part different than doctors in America as a result of the above. Here they are more down- to-earth, they dress in slacks and T-Shirts more often than not, they will call you themselves on your cellphone to find out how you are doing after the check-up randomly. Something I don’t think ever happened in the States. They are also pretty Israeli they’re tough with you and there is generally a sense that you are visiting a relative of yours that is a doctor, rather than just some gentile doctor who might have good bedside manner but it just feels fake. This is not the country to come to if you want to make a lot of money as a doctor, but if you really want a life of helping out your fellow Jews this is certainly a place where you can do that.

Bill Gates died and went to Heaven, the angel showed him to his house, a small cottage on a tiny plot in the woods. The closets were full of simple but serviceable clothing, and the kitchen was stocked with the basic needs. Bill slowly settled into a modest and quiet life in heaven. One day, Bill was walking in one of Heaven's many fine parks, when he ran into a man dressed in a fine tailored suit. “That is a nice suit, my friend," said Gates. "Where did you get it? “Actually," the man replied, "I was given a hundred of these when I got here. I've been treated really well. I got a mansion on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake. I have a huge five-hundred acre estate, a golf course, tennis courts and three Rolls Royces.""Were you a great Rabbi, or a doctor who healed the sick?" asked Gates. “No," said his new friend, "Actually, I was the captain of the Titanic. “Hearing this made Gates so angry that he immediately stalked off to find the angel. Cornering him Bill told him about the man he had just met, saying, "How could you give me a paltry new house, while you're showering new cars, a mansion, and fine suits on the Captain of the Titanic? I invented the Windows operating system! Why does he deserve better? “Yes, we use Windows here in heaven," replied the angel, "and the Titanic only crashed once."

A California Highway Patrolman pulls over a speeding motorist. He walks up to the window, and says
“Can I see your real estate license, please?”
The driver responds “Don’t you mean my driver’s license?”
“No,” says the patrolman. “Not everyone in California has one of those.”

A man's home is his castle..-In a manor of speaking….. Oyyyy…

The newly wealthy Bernsteins went on a vacation to England. While they were in London, they decided to hire a butler and bring him back home with them to their mansion in Westchester.
One Sunday morning they invited Mr. and Mrs. Cohen over for breakfast. As Mr. Bernstein left the house to go get some fresh bagels, he asked the butler to set the table for four. When Mr. Bernstein returned home he noticed that the table was set for six, so he asked the butler, "Why is the table set for six?" The butler replied, "While you were out the Cohens called and said they were bringing the Knishes."

Answer is C– I’ll be honest I didn’t’ know the answer to this one. At first I thought it was because it was one of the myriad of Yoshka stuff that I deleted from my brain. After three days of Christianity stuff around the Kinneret, during my course, I had lost total interest already. I was however still able to get the correct answer though via process of deduction. See I was in the ancient Roman city of Susita “shaped like a horse city, and Kursi- where the pigs drown in the Kinneret story takes place, and Ginnosar where the famous J-Man boat is found. And none of them had altars shaped like boats. So Midal being the one place I had not gone to must have been the correct answer. After googling it to be sure, I was relieved to know that my memory had not failed me. See the altar was built in 2014 by some church. After I completed my course. So I had not forgotten. It just wasn’t there when I was learning in my course. And I certainly wasn’t going to explore any churches after my course.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Treading Lightly- Eikev 2017 / 5777

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

August 11th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 40 19th Av 5777
Parshat Eikev

Treading Lightly

Coffee is an essential part of yeshiva boy’s existence. As a child I never drank coffee. It was a grown up drink. My mother told me that it would stunt my growth. Now that I am a towering 5”10.- stop smiling and winking Aliza and siblings of mine- 5’10 or almost 5”10 OK, I thank her for that. We did have coffee on Pesach with broken matzos for breakfast though. It seems that was alright. It was to get in the spirit of the Maxwell house Hagadda, I guess. But it really wasn’t until I went to High School in Long Beach that I really started drinking coffee. I was a grown-up. We needed it for the late hour learning sessions and early morning prayers. And even if we didn’t learn late or daven early, the coffee drinking ritual was still required. In fact I saw that the great Munkatcher Rebbe used to tell his chasidim that if they didn’t have a Mikva to go to before their early morning prayers than they should drink coffee with milk instead. Because milk or chalav as it is translated in Hebrew is the gematria/numerical value of 40, like the letter mem. And mem kaveh (coffee) spells mikva. And there you have it.
Now the coffee was always available in yeshiva. There was coffee, sugar, cups, spoons and hot water always available. Milk on the other hand, which needed to be refrigerated was only available when the kitchen was open. We had a separate fridge though by the coffee room, however that was for everyone’s private food. You know like the hot chopped peppers that we used to use a relish to drown out the flavor of most of the food, or people’s home-cooked food that their parents sent them. And of course people had their own special stash of milk for when there was no kitchen milk. Now generally one would hope or assume that in a yeshiva, where people studied Torah all day and were focused on becoming better Jews, that if someone left private food in the refrigerator it would be “safe”. Not so much. You see Yeshiva guys also assume that since their friends and the owner of aforementioned food was also studying Torah and trying to become a better Jew than he probably would be happy to share it with another. He also learned and studied Maimonides which suggests that the highest form of charity and kindness is when the benefactor does not know who the recipient is. So in order to further his friends spiritual growth many people would more often than not feel free to helping themselves to some of that fridge food in times of crisis- crises like I made a coffee already and I don’t have milk, and I would have to waste and pour this in the garbage which would of course be sinful unless I “borrowed” some of that milk sitting in the fridge. As well I’m sure my friend wants me to learn Torah and it is obvious that I couldn’t do that without a coffee- see above- so he probably won’t mind sharing some of that milk with me. See yeshiva guys are really clever about this kind of stuff. Our sages tell us that the greater a person is the greater his yetzer hara/ evil inclination is. And it seems that in yeshiva our yetzer hara was particularly skilled at justifying anything.

I remember once there was a yeshiva student who was getting annoyed that day after day his milk was being “borrowed”. It reached a point when he didn’t even have milk for himself and he was everyday having to buy a new carton. Finally he decided enough was enough and he wrote on the milk carton in large letters “PRIVATE MILK”, hoping that would dissuade anyone who assumed that they could just take it or that it belonged perhaps to the yeshiva. However sadly the next morning, the milk as gone. Oh well, he thought, maybe he wasn’t clear enough. Perhaps they assumed that I wanted them to know it was private and that they were free to take it. So the next day he wrote on the milk “PRIVATE MILK-BLI RESHUS (no one has permission to take this). Much to his disappointment though the milk was gone once again. So the next day he upped the ante a bit and wrote “THIS MILK IS PRIVATE, THE TORAH SAYS LO TIGZOL- (Thou shall not steal) HE WHO VIOLATES THIS WILL HAVE TO GIVE JUDGEMENT”. Certain that this would solve the problem, he was once again shocked to find that their must be some blatant thief in the yeshiva that didn’t care as the carton was empty once again. Still trying to find some excuse for this person, perhaps he thought that I was just writing this and would forgive him for it, the next day he put up a new sign. “THIS MILK IS PRIVATE IF SOMEONE STEALS IT I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HIM, EVEN ON YOM KIPPUR, EVEN IF HE DIES.” Yet sadly, lo and behold, he awoke the next morning looking forward to his cup of brew and whadaya know the jug was empty. Realizing there was no other solution he finally came up with the perfect plan. He had solved the problem. The next morning and from then after no one touched his milk. What did he do? He wrote two words on his carton- “CHALAV STAM” and no one had touched it.
{For those not familiar with the concept milk is kosher when the cow is observed to be milked by a Jew- that can insure that no other non-kosher milk was mixed in. Many people rely on a leniency that milk that has USDA supervision suffices. That milk is called chalav stam- or plain milk as opposed to the more stringent milk which many in yeshiva were strict to only drink called chalav yisrael-Jewish milk}
Yup, sadly one of the chronic maladies of the Jewish people is that we find ourselves being stricter and more diligent about keeping Jewish customs and stringencies than the actual law. The Kotzker Rebbe is said to have ruefully once remarked to one of his students that it’s a shame that Hashem wrote Thou shall not Steal in the Ten commandments if he would have just said it’s a minhag- a custom or a hanhaga tov- and extra-special act or even better yet a segula- a good omen than people might be stricter about it. One of the great signs and the best stories of some of our greatest leaders are when they ignore the less important custom or law in order to fulfill the more important and critical commandment.
I recently saw a story about one of the great Rabbis who would help and counsel a poor widow regularly. She was a holocaust survivor and he would always spend time comforting her and lifting her spirits. One year right before Yom Kippur she lost her son. She was grieving and she was mourning. Reb Zelig did his best to talk to her and console her as he wished her a good year before the holiday. Yet as he walked to shul and the services he led prayers for, he began to think that this woman would be all alone and it would be too much for her to be so. So after consulting with Rav Pam in middle of prayers he got onto a train and went uptown right over to her house to spend the rest of the day with her. Yom Kippur davening is at best a rabbinic commandment as is riding on a train. Taking care of widow, an orphan, making sure that they don’t god forbid feel dangerously forlorn is the greatest mitzva. That is sign of great Rabbi.
Another story is told about Reb Chaim Ozer Grodszenski who was once invited to a Shabbat meal by the Baron Rothchild. There was a tremendous feast with all of the fineries prepared. The meal was set up with elaborate candelabras. The Shabbat Tish was ready to go. Reb Chaim Ozer came in and set at the head and looked around for the seemingly missing Kiddush cup. All of a sudden with much fanfare the waiters came out and revealed on a golden tray a magnificent glistening Kiddush cup made out of…. challa. It was twisty windy, golden and in middle was a goblet filled with wine. Reb Chaim Ozer took the goblet and paused for a minute before making Kiddush as he had a troubled look on his face. He quickly wiped it off however and recited his Kiddush in his beautiful and melodious voice. He complimented the Baron on this beautiful and original goblet and proceeded to eat the meal.
It was only afterwards that he revealed to his students what his hesitation was. He explained that the law is that we always cover the challa when we make Kiddush in order not to “embarrass” the bread. The shame of the bread is that we are making a blessing on the wine, whose blessing generally is less important than the breads and follows it-except when we make Kiddush which pushes the wine to the front of the line. So, Reb Chaim continued, I wasn’t sure what to do here as the goblet was made out of bread and I couldn’t cover it up. But I quickly realized that the reason why I am meant to be “sensitive” to the bread is to ingrain in myself how much more so I should worry about the feelings of people. And the Baron would certainly be embarrassed if I didn’t make Kiddush, so obviously I then quickly preformed the greater mitzva of worrying about the sensitivities of others.
This week’s Torah portion, Eikev begins with the mitzvos Hashem commands us to fulfill and the great rewards that follow if we observe and guard them. The Torah utilizes this strange word Eikev- which means “because you will fulfill” to teach us this promise. Rashi notes that the mitzvos referred to in this mitzva are the “light mitzvos” that people tread on with their feet.  Rashi seemingly focuses on the double meaning of the word eikev which also means heel. Yet something doesn’t feel right, the Imrei Shefer asks. Aren’t we told that there is no real reward in this world for doing mitzvos and fulfilling the commandments of Hashem. “Schar mitzva b’hai alma leika- our reward is in the world to come.
He thus explains that the mitzvot the Torah is referring to are the ones that people tend to tread on.. It is so easy to fall into a system of “Jewish law” and “observance”. I’m shomer Shabbos. I keep kosher. I learn Torah. I’m a good person. I’m a kind person. You know the big picture stuff of Judaism. Sure nobody is perfect. Someone might get treaded upon here and there, some laws might be broken, and someone might miss a little milk. But in the big picture I can maintain my religious status.
There is something to be said for that. I’m not negating that tremendous work and dedication to live an observant lifestyle or the significance of the actions of these tremendous deeds. And there is reward in the world to come for all of that. But you know what, Hashem says in this Torah portion? If you will focus on the seemingly smaller sensitivities and mitzvos then you will be rewarded in this world as well. For it is these little acts that reveal how much we want to protect our mitzvos. We want to be doing them for the right reasons, not the social accepted norms that we were raised to just follow and to aspire to, but because we want to make sure our actions are truly divine and holy. If we pause in our regular mitzvos and watch for the moments within them that don’t just get treaded upon, that no one gets hurt because of my observances, then Hashem says He will as well make sure that anything that might prevent us from fulfilling His will, will also be removed from us. We won’t suffer poverty, sickness and tragedies. We will have blessing, prosperity and all we need as well in order fulfill our mitzvos in the ultimate fashion.  It is not a reward for the mitzva, it is quid pro quo for us showing and considering how important it is for our actions to be done at the upmost level.
Following this promise Moshe exhorts us to remember the sin of the golden calf. To never forget what led us to that fatal sin. It was the fact that we felt that we needed an intermediary to Hashem in order to fulfill our commandments and follow the Torah. We forgot about the Godliness of our actions and we just were occupied with doing the law, bringing a sacrifice and in the process we didn’t consider that perhaps we might be breaking the law and worshipping a false god; One that had lost connection with our Father in heaven. We drank coffee that wasn’t ours, we prayed fervently while widows and orphans needed us, we made blessings on bread perhaps in a halachically correct manner while someone was shamed. We tread on commandments because it was a false golden calf of “Torah observance” we thought we were fulfilling, when in fact it was just a god made in our own “cow”-ardly image.
It’s not easy to pay attention to these little nuances, but it is the little things that in fact reveal what the essence of our observance is truly about.  As we get close to the month when the King will soon enter the field and come greet us of Elul, let’s start to clean that field up a bit. Little weed by little weed that we have let grow over our observances, so that from now on we know it is His holy ground we are treading upon.

Have a enjoyable Shabbos vacation,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz



“Besser gut un a bissel aider shlechts un a fuleh shissel.” Better good and a little rather than bad and a lot of it.


https://youtu.be/H6OMnueH0QU     New Lev Tahor Halelu

https://youtu.be/ZaTlMPPWwdk    – Leiner Vachalta VSavata this weeks Torah portion

https://youtu.be/LxLbzolGxr4  Skinny Pinny

answer below at end of Email

Q. The Sakhnin Valley is located:
A Between the Nazareth and Tur’an ridges
B. Between the Tur’an and Yodefat ridges
C. Between the Shaghur ridge and the Tsurim escarpment (slopes)
D. Between the Yodefat and Shaghur ridges


Eikev- Rashi is not a translation of the Torah. Buy an Artscroll if you want that, or learn Aramaic and read the Unkelos-which isn’t a bad idea regardless. Rashi is a commentar. He’s explaining the simple pshat and pointing out things that you might miss if you just read the verses. So when you see him telling you something that seems like an obvious explanation, ponder it. There’s something he’s trying to tell you and it’s not necessarily the definition of a word.
In this week’s Toprah portion when Hashem promises us if we follow His commandments then we will be blessed and not cursed one of the things He tell us is
Devarim (7:14) And there shall not be amongst you an infertile man or an infertile woman.
Seems simple enough. We know what infertile man and woman means. Yet for some reason Rashi on this verse tells us
Infertile- she’eino molid -That cannot father children
As my kids might say Ummmmm Duhhhh?! I mean isn’t that obvious?
Reb Yonasan Eibishitz gives a beautiful interpretation He answers that we have a tradition that all of our Matriarchs were barren. The Talmud tells us this is because Hashem loves and desires the heartfelt prayers of the righteous. So the fact that someone is barren or infertile is itself not necessarily a bad thing. Those prayers, those heartfelt tears that the mother sheds can be the most powerful thing in the world. It is only if the barren or infertile person does not give birth in the hand, does not father children, than it is a tragedy and curse. Thus Rashi here is explaining that when it says akar-infertile it doesn’t mean someone who’s prayers Hashem’s desires and is in a temporary challenge of infertility. Rashi is saying it is referring to someone who ultimately does not give birth. The lesson, if you ponder what he is saying, is  that the challenges and difficulties are not a curse, it may even be a blessing. Rather the only curse is ultimately in the end if we are not able to produce and give birth to blessing. May we only see blessing in our lives.

Rabbi Yonasan Eibishutz – (1690-1764) – Rabbi Yehonosson was born in Cracow (Poland) in the year 1690. His father, Rabbi Nosson Nota, was Rabbi in Eibenschitz (Moravia), where he died, leaving Jonathan a young orphan. A wealthy Jew in Vienna took the young lad under his wing. However, the widow feared that the boy might be distracted from his Torah studies in his new surroundings. She took him back with her to Prossnitz, where she came to live. There, Yonasan studied Torah in the Yeshiva of Rabbi Meir Eisenstadt, author of Panim Meiroth. Soon also his mother died, and Jonathan found a foster-home with Rabbi Yitzchak Schapiro, chief rabbi of Prague and Bohemia. When he became of marriageable age, Rabbi Yonasan married the chief rabbi's daughter.
For several years, Rabb Yonasan lived in his father-in-law's house and concentrated on his studies quietly and peacefully. He became known as a brilliant Talmudic scholar. He was only eighteen years old when he was invited to become rabbi of Jungbunzlau, Czechoslovakia. Three years later he returned to Prague to head the famous Yeshiva there. He also excelled as a very impressive and inspiring preacher. He established his own Yeshiva then in Prague and attracted many young scholars, for his reputation as a Talmudic authority and excellent teacher had spread far and wide.
Rabbi Yonasan 's keen intellect sought knowledge in other fields as well, particularly in the inner mystical wisdom of the Torah, the Kabbala.. In 1741, he was elected rabbi of Metz. That was the time when war broke out between Prussia and Austria, and the French army, in support of Prussia, invaded Bohemia. Rabbi Yonasan found favor with the French and he received safe conduct to Metz. Rabbi Jonathan Eybescbutz was greatly esteemed in Metz and he could have led a peaceful and productive life there. But the trouble that befell his brethren in Bohemia and Moravia made him very unhappy. In 1745 the war between Prussia and Austro-Hungary broke out again, and the Austro-Hungarian troops who had overrun these provinces considered the Jews fair game to rob and pillage. To add to the Jews' misery, the Austrian government ordered the expulsion of the Jews from the said provinces.
At this time Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz tried all he could to ease the plight of his brethren. He enlisted the aid of the Jewish leaders in Rome to plead with the Pope to use his power in behalf of the persecuted, defenseless Jews. He appealed to the Empress of Austria to rescind the expulsion order, and he turned to various Jewish communities in the south of France and elsewhere to raise funds for the hungry and needy.
In the very first year of Rabbi Jonathan's taking up his position, there was a sudden rise in the number of deaths in childbirth. Having the reputation of a saintly kabbalist and miracle worker, many Jews turned to their rabbi for help. One of the ways to counteract the danger, which had often been practiced among cabalists and miracle men, was to write special amulets (kameoth), and Rabbi Jonathan wrote a number of them to be worn by expectant mothers, as he used to do also in Metz. An amulet which was supposed to have been written by Rabbi Jonathan was brought to the attention of Rabbi Jacob Emden, an outstanding Talmudist and kabbalist in Altona. The latter deciphered the mystical writing and found in it a hidden invocation to Shabbatai Tzevi. Rabbi Emden accused Rabbi Eybeschutz of being a follower of Shabbatai Tzevi. The leaders of the community rushed to the defense of their rabbi. They proclaimed a boycott of Rabbi Emden's synagogue and ordered Rabbi Emden to leave town within six months. In the meantime the controversy spread to other cities in Germany and Poland, as some of the most celebrated rabbis took part in support of one or the other of the two sides in the controversy. Rabbi Emden saw himself compelled to leave Altona, and he secretly went to his brother-in-law Rabbi Arye-Leib, rabbi of the Ashkenazic community in Amsterdam. From there be continued his fight, writing to the Council of Rabbis of the Four Lands meeting in Constantine, and pressed his charges.
Finally Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz decided to bring his case before the Council of the Four Lands which convened in Jaroslav for this purpose in 1753. Rabbi Jonathan's innocence was then established, and the dispute which had caused much disunity and disrespect in many a Jewish community and which had involved also the king of Denmark came to an end. Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz was again confirmed in his office by the Hamburg Senate in the month of Kislev, 1757) and he was not troubled any more.
Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz spent the rest of his life peacefully, concentrating on his books, which represent an outstanding contribution to Rabbinic literature. His main works on Halacha are his Urim Vetumim, a commentary on Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, and Keretbi Ufelethi, on Yore De'ah. Other works such as Binah Ittim, dealt with other sections and subjects of Halacha. Very highly regarded and popular are his works in drush(homiletics), especially his Yaaroth Devash, in two volumes, and Tifereth Yehonathan. Most of his works were published and reprinted many times. He also wrote several works on Kabbala, of which one, Shem Olam, was published (Vienna, 1891). In connection with the dispute with Rabbi Emden, Rabbi Jonathan wrote a special volume of defense, Luchoth Habrith (Tablets of Testimony), in which he describes the whole dispute and refutes the charges against him. It includes also the letters of recommendation which he had received from leading rabbis who came to his defense. It is a masterpiece of restrained and wise writing, which proves that he had been a victim of an overzealous, though well-meaning, defender of Judaism.

Musicians –From the early roots of the Jewish people’s return to our country music has always been the expression that was utilized to marshal the 2000 years old longing into the realization of that dream. The early settlers and kibbutzim would sit around a fire each night and sing and dance the hora. As immigrants came from all over the world they brought with them their songs with of course their countries of origins musical influence and “hebrew-ized” it they made it Jewish and thus Israeli, meshing the tunes and words with some of the middle eastern flavor and words that would reflect uniquely Jewish and Israeli experiences. You have Yemenite, Greek, European, African, Russian, German, South and North American Israeli music. What I find special about Israeli songs are that lots of them are about longing and love for Eretz Yisrael, family, and even for Hashem- and that’s even by “secular” singers. You also have many songs-too many if you ask me- about war and loss and tragedy. We are a musical people. One of the nice things about Israel is that throughout the summer there are concerts in most cities that are paid for by the city in the parks for people to come listen to and enjoy. As well a walk through tourist streets and popular hangouts will reveal lots of street singers and musicians. Many of them unlikely and beautiful scenes. Some of them playing unique ancient instruments, Rabbis with beards that can be found strumming “Stairway to Heaven”- and really meaning it. Random harp players in the gates of the Jerusalem and in the shuk late at night. Israelis love to sing, they love our music and in fact we have won many international awards for some of our songs and performers. We’re back home again and if music is an expression of the soul, than there certainly is no better country to express that soul.

As a young child, Yankel told his mother "When I grow up I'm going to be a musician." His mother responded "Well honey, you know you can't do both."

What do you call a musician with problems? a trebled man.

Q: What do you call a singing vegetable? A: Elvis Parsley.

Q: What do you call a successful musician? A: A guy whose wife has 2 jobs. 
What did Beethoven do when he died? He decomposed!

A guy walks into the doctor's office and says, "Doc, I haven't had a bowel movement in a week!"
The doctor gives him a prescription for a mild laxative and tells him, "If it doesn't work, let me know."
A week later the guy is back: "Doc, still no movement!"
The doctor says, "Hmm, guess you need something stronger," and prescribes a powerful laxative.
Still another week later the poor guy is back: "Doc, STILL nothing!"
The doctor, worried, says, "We'd better get some more information about you to try to figure out what's going on. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a musician." The doctor looks up and says, "Well, that's it! Here's $10.00. Go get something to eat!"

Answer is D– Come on, really?. I mean who needs to know the names of all these ridiculous hills and valleys. There’s just tons of them all over the country. So how am I supposed to remember them. Does anyone that I am taking on a tour really care? See Saknin I know. It’s an  arab village just south of Karmiel. My wife has to pick up our shower head over there one of these days. I probably could’ve figured it out because I live here. But I have a hard time believing someone from the Merkaz. Center would know the answer to this question. What we did to remember the names of these hills and valleys is create mnemonics. So Beit Kerem, Sajur, Saknin, Yodefat, Beit Netofa, Turan, Nazareth and Ksolot the hills of the lower valley stood for- Because Someone Said You Better Teach Nonsensical Knowledge. It’s an old high school trick, but you know what? It works.