Insights and Inspiration
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
March 3rd 2011 -Volume I, Issue 22–27th of Adar 5771
The End of a Book
Are you the type to read the end of a book before you start? To fast forward to the end of the movie or to click on spoiler sites? I'm not and I never really understood that drive. Isn't the whole reason of engaging in those entertaining and relaxing pursuits to relish the anticipation of a fantastic ending? The twists, the justice meted out, or the romantic happily ever, can only be enjoyed if you've gone through the period of nail-biting anxiousness, or tear-jerking emotion that the process of being thoroughly engrossed in these engaging mediums can afford. I mean what fun would Star Wars have been if you know the "Luke…I am your Father" bit in the beginning?
This week we read the end of what had started off to be one of the more exciting Books of the Torah. The family of Jacob's descent to Egypt, the birth and rescue of Moshe, 10 Plagues, sea splitting, The Sinai revelation and the tragedy of the sin of the Golden Calf. You almost can't put the book down; it even might make you excited about coming back to Sunday school. Yet, the ending of the Book, unless you're architecturally inclined is not necessarily what I would describe as being the most gripping of Torah narratives. The past few Parshiyot have been replete with the seemingly repetitive description of the fundraising for and building of the Mishkan and the priestly garments and all the intricate details involved in the construction of what would be the resting place of the Divine presence, the Home of Hashem. What is the message of these details for us? What is the power of what might seem to be a somewhat un-dramatic ending?
It was 17 years ago this week that the Book of the Schwartz family began to be written. March 9th 1994 (27th of Adar) was the day that I wedded my bashert and soulmate. It was a day that was filled with much fanfare. Singing, dancing, love, glory, family and miracles, it was perhaps the greatest day of my life. The day was followed with the traditional seven days of feasting and celebration, those special moments of intimacy and closeness with the one you never want to be separated from, the one who you look forward to spending the rest of your life with. And then of course married life begins.
Maybe it was the first months or weeks when you have that first fight (my fault obviously), that silly argument that changes that almost too perfect imaginary world. You of course make-up, but it happens again (O.K. my fault againJ).You apologize. You atone, you forgive, you adjust, and you find your paths. You learn how to, at first, respect your differences and even begin to appreciate them. You have children, you build a family, a home and even a community or two (or three or four) along the way. There are those bumps, there are challenges, struggles, grief, and rejoicing. There are no more huge parties celebrating your relationship as there were 17 years ago. The band isn't playing, your friends aren't dancing on the tables anymore (most of them would probably break it if they tried). It would be kind of silly if they were. For there is no need for it anymore. You know you have the a by now really perfect world. You know you have the most perfect partner for you that Hashem could ever provide. That sense that you have built a house of Hashem is so present as you walk through that doorway and see her sometimes strained and stressed but always loving face, that the fanfare would only detract from the incredible reality that has been built. That eternal special relationship is the song within itself. It is that un-dramatic but incredibly miraculous ending that leads to many more new beginnings of a unit joined and a family forever.
The last words of our Parsha and of that glorious Book of Shemos are
"For the Cloud of Hashem would be on the Tabernacle by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys"
It has been an experience journeying through this Book. There was those moments of explosions of love and declarations of commitment; the song at the Sea, the fervor filled "we will do and we will hear" at Sinai. There was also the terror of Amalek, the whining and fighting by the bitter waters of Meriva, and the almost incomprehensible and seemingly unforgivable treachery of the Golden Calf. But nothing is un-forgivable before our loving Father in Heaven. Nothing can stand in the way of a repentant nation whose sole desire is to build a house for their Creator. And nothing can ever separate a lover from their beloved. The drama and trials, the celebrations and fanfare, that may be how the Book needs to start. It gives you that foundation for which to build upon. But ultimately the true happy ending is when all that passes. When the two can sit in bask together in that Divine presence. When the knowledge of that cloud of God is before their eyes in all their journeys. There is no happier conclusion. And it is on that note that we can then begin our next Book of Vayikra- The Book that begins with the calling of Hashem. The call that will some day soon restore us to the Service and temple where our own homes and family will eventually be joined by His home, once again in Jerusalem in peace.
Have a special Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
This weeks insights is dedicated in grateful appreciation to my Bashert and partner who has helped make my dreams a reality in honor of our 17 years and as we begin our chai year together here in the Holyland.. May Hashem bless you- us- with shalom, nachas, Simcha and may we continue to share in the best of times and life together. Thank you!!
RABBI SCHWARTZ “SILLY THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH A HALF SHEKEL VIDEO” IN HONOR OF PARSHAT SHEKALIM AND MY ANNIVERSARY
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL PLACES IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK
(OLD) GESHER-LOCATED IN THE NORTH OF ISRAEL IN THE BEIT SHEAN VALLEY UNDER THE KINNERET A TRIP TO GESHER WILL DELIGHT YOU WITH A FASCINATING JOURNEY INTO ONE OF THE EARLY PRE-STATE YISHUVIM OF ISRAEL. THE OLD YISHUV HAS DEVELOPED A TRULY ENTERTAINING AND MOVING TOURIST ATTRACTION COMPLETE WITH A 3D AUDIO VISUAL (ALMOST DISNEY LIKE) PRESENTATION OF THE 1932 POWER WATER PLANT THAT WAS DEVELOPED AGAINST ALL ODDS AND WILDEST EXPECTAIONS AT THE MEETING PLACE OF THE YARMUK AND JPRDAN RIVER THAT POWERED THE WHOLE COUNTRY AND JORDAN TOO IN A JOINT AGREEMENT WITH EMIR ABDALLAH OF TRANSJORDAN.
ONE CAN ALSO SEE THE OLD BRITISH MANDATE INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY ALONG THE OLD ROMAN PERIOD ROADS. BUT PERHAPS MOST MOVING IS THE STORY AND VIDEO OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE YISHUV IN THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS OF THE EVACUATION OF THE CHILDREN YOU CAN HEAR AS YOU WALK THROUGH THE OLD BUNKERS THEY HID IN AND THROUGH THE MUSUEM THAT WAS DEVELOPED THERE.