Enitces and Palpitations
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your tour-guide, Rabbi, mortgage broker, clothing sales shlepper and most importantly your friend in Karmiel"
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your tour-guide, Rabbi, mortgage broker, clothing sales shlepper and most importantly your friend in Karmiel"
February 21st 2012 -Volume 2, Issue 20 -12th of Adar 5772
The Ministry of Purim
Rabbi Schwartzes annual Top Ten List...
So here we are again another year in Israel. One would think that the longer one is in this country, the easier it would be to make heads or tails of how this country works. After all I'm Jewish, and believe I have a Jewish head. I speak Hebrew fairly well, although as a friend of mine told me once, the longer he is here it's not that his Hebrew gets any better rather his English gets worse. Although he's not that bad off because Hebrew is very rapidly turning into English. He is me'od optimisti about this and he doesn't want to be negativiti but his diahloug with his fellow sabras is aktualli very amerikani. Yet still I remain perplexed.
I figured if I took a tour guiding course and becoming a licensed tour guide (shameless self-promotion http://ourholylandtours.com/ ) that I would than know more about this country and its culture. I don't. But I can share with you some great information about Christianity and all the places where "his" "miracles" took place or where Muhammed tied his magical horse and even why the Bahai like their gardens so much. Yet I remain clueless about so many things in this country. I was hoping that after the most recent elections I would understand things a little better. Instead I found myself even more confused. Who needs 47 parties including the 'pirate" party and the marijuana one, 3 arab parties, 5 religious ones and a bunch of left ones... all with Hebrew letters that are somehow supposed to represent those parties- we vote for letters. Why?
One of the primary platforms in the recent election, that I happen to agree upon, is the immense the amount of government ministries that there are in this country. This was an important issue in the elections until those who ran on that platform realized there may not be an open ministry for them for them to fill. We most certainly will see a few new ones open. It is certainly understandable how this developed, after all what else are you going to do with all those old retired army generals that are so used to shooting at people and barking orders. Why not put them in a position of authority, where their job is to serve the people and give them that special army sense of dedication and commitment and in your face "you can't handle the truth" service with smile. Kind of like how football developed in the States in order to keep big scary criminals who like to beat people up off the streets. Except here they drive around in tax-paid-for limousines. Yet in order to simplify all of these various ministries one can easily check out the government website which is sometimes working and learn to identify them by their symbols and logos. Except you really can't. It seems they all like the menorah and the star of David and pretty much like most Israeli signs they are more confusing than helpful.
Being that the holiday of Purim is about Jews turning around the government of Persia and coming up with all types of witty symbols to remember this festive holiday when we hung the government official who made our life miserable when we didn't bow to him on a gallows 50 feet high. We came up with Hamantash or Haman's ears (tash meaning pockets, Israelis being nervous about symbols that have to do with their pockets and the government, changed it to Oznei Haman). We wave Graggers to blot out decrees; kind of like what happens in the Knesset (with an occasional water fight thrown in for good measure), and we give money to the poor so they can eat (our jewish socialists are blushing). It is in that spirit that I have dedicated our annual top ten list this year to restructuring our governments symbols. So here we go... drumroll please...
Rabbi Schwartz's annual Top Ten list of the year-
THE TOP TEN SYMBOLS SUGGESTIONS FOR ISRAEL'S GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES
10) Ministry of Transport and Road Safety-
Your guess is as good as mine what this is supposed to symbolize. But I guess that is par for the course for the ministry in charge of Israel's transportation. Since I can never figure out who gives these guys licenses (and from me you know that has meaningJ) and who creates the roads and signage in this country. Perhaps more appropriately their logo should just have a bunch of Israel road signs like sefat, tsfat, zafed, safed or karmiel, carmiel, quarmiel, kiryat Araba, Quryat Arba Tiberya, Tiveryas, Tiberias, Bnai Brak, Bnei Braq. This symbol should of course be in a letter Q to explain this ministries inexplicable obsession with this letter.
9) Ministry of Foreign Affairs-
- So this is a strange one, a star of David with lines coming out of it. Being that they are involved in foreign affairs and we live in a world that pretty much hates us and condemns us maybe just a big UN with a slash through it like the ghost-busters symbol might be more appropriate.
9) Ministry of Education- they seemed to have wimped out on a symbol, nervous perhaps that not only can't their students read but perhaps they can't identify symbols as well. So they just used the basic government menorah/ olive branch symbol the message being that they children should aspire to become government officials perhaps. My recommendation is that they adopt as their symbol the Korean flag (which recently translated the Talmud) so that we might set a standard for our children that they might aspire to if we would forget about filling their heads with all types of shtuyot, political propaganda, divisionism (sounds like a good word maybe modern HebrewJ), and infighting. Also if you noticed this is number 9 the second time-they should working on teaching counting better also.
8) Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
- OK you've got that menorah again with wheat growing out of it for this ministry that seemingly no-one ever hears about. Maybe because most Israeli's (like their American counterparts) believe that fruits and veggies come from the "super"- another great Israeli word. How about making this one have a picture of some kibbutznik with a Kova Temble? To make it even more authentic, why not have him have a wad of government shekels hanging out of his back pocket which of course is paying for the failed kibbutz movement.
7) Ministry of Health-
This one's meaningless logo is a wavy green and white star of David lying flat on its back. hmmm what does that mean? As Israeli's are very concerned with their health and all. Perhaps picture of a typical Israeli with a greasy Shwarma in one hand and a cigarette in the other yelling at his Kupat Cholim while they send him out for his fourth referral might be more realistic as people will easily identify with it.
6) Ministry of Immigrant Absorption
This one is kind of shaped like a flag with our star in the middle surrounded by boxes with little colors. Perhaps to symbolize the overwhelming need for Israelis to put every Oleh in a colored box. Being that I was always too fat to fit in a box perhaps a symbol that would more represent the process of Aliyah- maybe a picture of a bunch of dollar bills, euros, sterlings and rubles (what do they use in Russia?) in a garbage bin with star of david on the outside underneath a big flashing sign that says "CHANGE- NO COMMISSION". They could also throw in the Nefesh b'Nefesh symbol which it seems olim are more familiar with anyways.
5) Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor
- Another one I'm not sure what it represents a blue, white and blackish/grey triangle pointing to the left. Maybe the symbolism is that Israel business is a little blue and white and a little black and grey and the half triangle/half star of David symbolizes that you really can only halfway make it, if you are planning on living solely on what you make here. Regardless since most people will not understand this. Perhaps a symbol that shows open hours Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8-11 and 14:00 -16:00 with a big red Socialist sickle and crescent on top might make it more understandable.
4) Ministry of Justice-
This one is perhaps the most appropriate with the scales of justice over the backdrop of the Israeli Flag. Perhaps they should switch the Israeli flag to the right and the scales to the left to be more accurate. Maybe they can also put in a picture of some Israeli citizens as well. Ashkenazi Secular in the front, Ashkenazi Daati Leumi after him, Russian next, Sefardi Secular, followed by Sefardi religious maybe Teimani, Ethiopians after that tied with Chareidim in the far background.
3) Ministry of Defense-
This one is a shield with an eight pronged menorah shape. Not sure why. Now this one is a big dilemma in what we want to emphasize do we put a big picture of a chariedi guy with payot and a Talmud with an X through the middle. Do we put a Daati Le'Umi Hesder boy there with an Uzi in one hand and Talmud in the other standing in the shomron with a sign that says the entire land is ours? Perhaps our defense symbol should be a group of left wing Tel Aviv elite with a map of the State of Israel on a silver platter with a carving knife being handed to ...anyone? Or maybe it just might be easiest to put the flag of the USA with 50 single dollar bills instead of stars.
2) Ministry without portfolio- What does this even mean? I always envision this open shirt hariy chest israeli in a chai necklace sitting at a desk with a full ashtray of half smoked time ciggarettes with a sign on his desk that says the buck never even came here. Maybe a symbol of a naked Israeli politician to symbolize lack of any real purpose or maybe one that t is cloaked in a bunch of shekels in a limousine?
1) Ministry of Tourism-
Why use a symbol of the spies that bad mouthed Israel? And what is it with this grapes on a stick thing? Do you really think tourists will come for grapes on a stick? Now if had some shishkabob or a lamb that might be something. But I have a better idea How about just a picture of a smiling Rabbi Schwartz holding a falafel on top of the banias. That would certainly bring more people to the holyland. Doesn't that make you want to come?
Well there you have it once again Rabbi Schwartzes top ten list to try to make this country a more user friendly place. I have of course left out the most important symbol and that is of course the office of the Prime Minister. But that symbol I believe that we should certainly merit to have filled by the one true leader of Am Yisrael. May Hashem soon once again this Purim bring a final redemption to his nation and may we all sing and dance with Moshiach Ben David in Jerusalem the capital of the world.
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
(PS For previous years funny Purim Rabbi Schwartz's Top Ten List click on the link below
(Top ten reasons to use Rabbi Schwartz as a tour guide)
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S PURIM PLACES IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK-
A Fellow Oleh once told me that the reason he moved to Israel was not because he wanted to keep only one day of Pesach Shavuot and Sukkot rather it was because he wanted to keep two days of Purim. As many of you know the holiday of purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar outside of Eretz Yisrael and in Israel in all cities that did not have a wall around it from the times of the original jewish settlement of Joshua which celebrate it on the 15th of Adar. Today in Israel besides in Jerusalem according to many authorities one can celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar in the cities of Tiverya, Tzefat, Akko, Chevron, Haifa, Yaffo, Lod, Ramle Beit Shea'an and according to some in Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva as well. (source Piskei Teshuvos)-most of these cities actually celebrate both days as it is a matter of doubt. For the more daring or seriously drunk one can also celebrate (according to the above source) in Gaza city and Shechem. Although this tour guide does not recommend it. Other cool places to hear the megilla is in some of the ancient 2nd temple synagogues in Gamla, Masada, or the city of David to name just a few.
One last place to check out is in the ancient city of Bar'am there is a 900 year old tradition that the graves of no other then Mordechai and Esther (originally Esther- Mordechai's tradition came later-why not). I believe there is a minyan there as well.
Finally if you really want to get in touch with your inner Purim spirit the Talmud tells us that the grandchildren of Haman are learning Torah in Bnai Brak. Let's see if you can find them J
RABBI SCHWARTZ PURIM YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK
NA NACH UMAN STYLE
RABBI SCHWARTZES ORAL EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK LAST WEEK
(I KID YOU NOT)
If you have a tourist who is coming from China, she is a woman and a vegetarian. She is also a religious Orthodox Jew who converted. Does she have to worry about anything here in Israel in regards to Kosher? Huh? Why Chinese? why woman? Why convert? My mind is still spinning...but I passed and that's all that counts J
RABBI SCHWARTZES PURIM PICTURE OF THE YEAR
In honor of the mitzvah to drink on purim I offer you this year...
RABBI SCHWARTZES TERRIBLE PURIM DRINKING JOKES
(Disclaimer-this is meant to be funny not any type of approval of drunkenness which of course I and my mother would frown upon-she would like you to know you can fulfill your obligation by going to sleep)
A cop pulled over a car and finds a couple in the front seat - Morris and Mindy Epstein.
"Where's your seat belt sir?" asked the cop.
"Oh, I just took if off now when you were walking up to the car," responded Morris.
"No you didn't!" exclaimed his wife, "You never wear your seat belt!"
A little taken aback, the cop asked to see his license.
"Aw darn!" cried Morris, "I must have left it home!"
"Yeah right!" screamed Mindy, "You know it expired 3 months ago!"
At a loss for words, the cop asked Mindy, "Are you always so tough on him?!"
"No" responded Mindy, "only when he's had too much to drink!"
Q: What do Russians get when mixing Holy Water with Vodka? A: The Holy Spirit!
Q: What did the man with slab of asphalt under his arm order? A: "A beer please, and one for the road."
. Q: How does a man show he's planning for the future? A: He buys two cases of Miller Lite instead of one.
Q: Why don't Jewish Mothers drink? A: It interferes with their suffering
Q: What does an alcoholic ghost drink? A: BOO'S
Boy: "I love you so much, I could never live without you." Girl: "Is that you or the beer talking?" Boy: "It's me talking to the beer."
If you drink too much alcohol you are an alcoholic. If you drink too much Fanta, does that make you Fantastic?
You say alcoholic, I'll say alcohol enthusiast
You lost me at "non-alcoholic" I'm a recovering alcoholic. Or as my mate describes me, hungover.
I only drink twice a year. When it's my birthday, and when it's not my birthday.
Bar One Liners
A hamburger walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve food in here."
A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, "So, why the long face?"
A soccer ball walks into a bar. The bartender kicked him out.
A magician walks down an alley and turns into a bar.
A man walks into a bar. OUCH! You would have thought he would have seen it!
A neutron walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender sets the beer down and says, "For you, no charge!"
An Irishman walks out of a bar. Hey, it COULD happen!
A man was walking through a rather seedy section of town, when a bum walked up to him and asked the man for two dollars. The man asked, "Will you buy booze?" The bum replied, "No." Then the man asked, "Will you gamble it away?" The bum said, "No." Then the man asked the bum, "Will you come home with me so my wife can see what happens to a man who doesn't drink or gamble?"
The drunken wino was stumbling down the street with one foot on the curb and one foot in the gutter. A cop pulled up and said, "I've got to take you in, sir. You're obviously drunk" The wasted wino asked, "Ociffer, are ya absolutely sure I'm drunk?" "Yeah, buddy, I'm sure," said the copper. "Let's go." Obviously relieved, the wino said "That's a relief - I thought I was a cripple."