Insights and Inspiration
From Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
“Your friend in Karmiel”
September 7th 2010 -Volume I, Issue 1– 27th of Elul 5770
Our lift is supposed to come tomorrow… Or so they tell me for the tenth time. It has been over two months now since we have last seen our “stuff” from the States. Over two months since we’ve slept in our beds, used our china and silverware, had access to my Jewish Torah book collection. Over two months since I have tasted my wife’s chulent. (I’m backJ). But tomorrow our 40 foot hi cube container with all our worldly belongings is supposed to finally arrive in
. And the day after is Rosh Hashana… Israel
The truth is it is truly an amazing experience going without all the clutter and things that we have picked up over all these years. I kind of enjoy the empty (ish) house and the living day by day existence that many over here do all the time. There is no Costco in
, no buying in Bulk and no stocking up. The houses and apartments don’t have room and many of the people live with daily grocery shopping for their needs which incidentally are a lot less then our American counterparts. To a certain degree as much as I miss my things and would love to see them again, I’m envious of those who think we’re crazy for bringing so much. Besides the fact, that I don’t know where it’s all going to go. Israel
One of my highpoints here so far was having the ability to listen to the local Rav HaRoshi (the city’s chief Rabbi) Rav Margalit speak. It’s been quite a while since I have had the privilege to hear a”Mussar Shmooze- (badly translated as an inspirational ethical lecture) directed to Kollel Rabbis. He made a fascinating point about the function and prayers of Rosh Hashana. As you know, on that day,we sit before the Almighty when we know the books of judgment are opened up before Him and we have the opportunity to ask for the things that are important to us. We ask for life. “But what is life for?” he posed to us. What do we want to do with that life? What are we trying to accomplish? Do we have a game plan or do we just want to be the last ones alive on the island at the end of the game?
For many of us, we will pray for Parnassa- a good livelihood this year- or at least a better one. For others we will pray for health, for our children, for our spouses and perhaps even for forgiveness and more spirituality and meaning. But ultimately we need to ask ourselves that question again; what do we want all of those things for? When he was asked by someone in the lecture what he was thinking about when he was asking for life. The Rav responded quite poignantly, to live long enough to rectify all his mistakes and return his soul to Hashem in the pure state he received it.
It was a powerful answer that struck me. The whole year round we get so caught up in life. We try to make ends meet, we try to do our best with our families and many of us even think about Hashem and our personal growth. But once a year on Rosh Hashana we have to step back and look at the big picture of our lives. We have the special opportunity to take all our “stuff” and to put it on a lift and focus on the core purpose of our existence. It’s a powerful moment. And in truth it is one that should change our lives or at least inspire us to want to change them. To think about our precious neshoma/soul that is eternal and will have to go back to Hashem and live forever with the decisions, mistakes and choices that we lead our life with. On Rosh Hashana we have the opportunity to start fresh, to raise our lives to a whole new level.
It is really a great time for us to make Aliya. It has given my family the chance to reexamine our lives at the time of the year that we were meant to do precisely that. The word Aliyah means to go up. On Rosh Hashana as we hear the Shofar blow we read the verses that Hashem goes up with that sound.
Oloh Elokim Bitruah -Hashem Bikol Shofar- God rises up with the Teruah (broken sound of the Shofar) Hashem with the voice of the Shofar.
When we close our eyes and listen to those blasts and feel our soul stirring. It is the sound of Hashem making Aliyah. It is Hashem and our souls soaring up above all that holds us back. It is the sound of us coming home.
May each and every one of you be blessed this year with a year full of meaning. May you be inspired this Rosh Hashana at the moment of your judgment, to let your soul fly; To daven for the right things, to be granted all that is important, and to be signed and sealed for a year of life.
Have a spectacularly sweet Rosh Hashana,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
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I leave you with an interesting
RABBI SCHWARTZ IMPORTANT ISRAELI TIP AND NEW WORD OF THE WEEK
PA’ARUSH- FLEA OR TICK-
IF YOU MOVE INTO A NEW HOUSE THAT HASN’T BEEN LIVE IN FOR WHILE AND YOUR FAMILY GETS BITTEN UP BY WHAT SEEMS TO BE MOSQUITOS. DON’T IGNORE THIS PROBLEM AND DON’T NECCESARILY SPEND 400 SHEKEL ON A BUG KILLER. ASK SOMEONE IF THE BITES LOOK LIKE A PA’ARUSH AND THEN CALL AN EXTERMINATOR QUICK.