Insights and Inspiration
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
May 3rd 2013 -Volume 3, Issue 28 –23rd of Iyar 5773
Back to the (near) Future
The year is 2014 or 5775 from the Creation of the world. You as well as all of the Jewish people are living in Israel. Mashiach has arrived. You sold your diamond business, your neighbor gave up his accounting practice and pretty much everyone you know had to find some new trade to get into, except of course that falafel guy down the block. We were back home again, and now it was time to find a job.
You had thought about being a tour guide, particularly because there was a huge influx of tourists from around the world who wanted to see the new Messianic kingdom and Temple. But you heard that there was this guy out of Karmiel, that pretty much had cornered the market on tourism J. So, being an entrepreneur most of your life you checked out the market and realized that the two major upcoming industries were cattle raising and agriculture. See, lots of people had a lot of sacrifices that they had to bring for all of those years in exile; sin offerings, peace offerings, thanksgiving offerings and the like. Being that you really can't stand the smell of cows and you've always had this funny nightmare about sheep attacking you (perhaps too many years of counting them before you went to sleep), you decided that you were going to be a farmer. You always liked gardening and being from the biblical portion and tribe of Issachar, the Jezre'el valley where you received your allotted land was just perfect to start your wheat field. Things were good. This year in fact you received a bumper double crop. Your wife couldn't be happier. You might even be able to add on the extra room of the kitchen that she had been hoping for. And than you went to class last night and everything changed.
You like your Rabbi. He's a good guy and very knowledgeable. Tribe of Yisachar people kind of pride ourselves on our Torah scholars. But last night the Rabbbi announced that this coming year, our business was to be shut down. No planting, plowing, or reaping. In fact he said we pretty much had to open up our gates and let whoever wants to come in and take whatever they wanted. Something about this year being the Shemitta year. Now don't get me wrong, I love these Yissachar Kollel Rabbis as much as the next. I always support them, have contributed whenever asked and have been meticulous about my annual tithes. But a full year free-for-all with everyone and their 10 kids trampling through my beautiful, hard worked fields and cleaning me out is getting a bit carried away, don't you think? If that wasn't enough, the next thing he said really through me for a doozy. All those loans that I had so generously made over the past few years to various individuals were all to be called off…nada…gornisht…bupkas. It kind of feels like one of those old Ponzi schemes back in the States. The Rabbi informed us that, sure in the period of Exile or even the second temple the great Hillel was able to work out some type of Prozbol loophole where the debts were handed over to the courts and were collected afterwards. But that was because back then not all of the Jewish people lived in Israel and the nature of the prohibition was only Rabbinical. But today Baruch Hashem- he said with a big grin- we are blessed to have all of the Jews living here, just as the Torah predicted and Hashem wanted it to be. Therefore no more Prozbol…no more debts... no more money…no more crops…no more extra room off the kitchen. Maybe we can send a few Jews back to America… Russia… Ethiopia… India… My wife is not going to be a happy camper. "I told you that you should just have gotten over your meshigas and gone into the sheep business"- I can just hear her already.
The year is 5825 from creation (no one knows what 2064 anymore). Over fifty years ago your grandfather moved to Israel with the coming of Mashiach. This past year was the shemitta year and it was an amazing year. As in the years past the crops that you had from the 6th year carried over and lasted for the whole year. It was exciting to experience that incredible miracle. It was fantastic in the beginning of the summer to read Parshat Behar/Bechukosai and hear about that promise and guarantee Hashem makes and watch it actually occur. The Sabbatical year is perhaps the most essential one of your family's life. It was nice being able to tell all those people that owed you money and were not able to pay you back not to worry about. Their slates were cleared. Hashem was in control and you had no doubt that you wouldn't lose out and would probably see some miraculous return. You were able to take off from work, pray at a later minyan in the morning (you really never got used to that getting up at sunrise work ethic that your grandfather had established) attend classes, visit Jerusalem more often with the kids, enjoy some fantastic tours around the country from this really special tour guide in Karmiel and just luxuriate in that extra time growing spiritually…in that extra room off the kitchen.
You felt kind of bad for your buddy in the sheep industry who worked all year and could never enjoy the beauty of the Shemitta year. For you it was like trying to imagine a week without Shabbos. You could never do it. You had heard that there were people in the "old days" that would work 7 days a week and you could never understand it. I mean like...why? It was obvious that Hashem provided for everything and all that you would have was decreed on Rosh Hashana each year. I mean, here you were taking off a whole year and were doing even better than ever. Why would people miss out on the beauty of Shabbos? How could they really ever focus on God and their family if they were working all week long. You barely can imagine how life life would be without this year off. This year for yourself…your family…for Hashem.
This coming year 5826 was even more exciting for your family. It was the 50th year, the Yovel jubilee. The first one since the times of the 1st Temple, when all Jews lived in Israel. This year would be able to give back all those lands that your family had purchased over the past decades to the original owners. You might even get back a few yourself. It was going to be another year off and you were looking forward to seeing the great miracles from your crops and sharing them once again with all who wanted. Maybe you would final fulfill that lifelong dream of finishing that semicha/rabbinic ordination you were thinking of doing years ago. The highlight of course was Sukkot when millions of Jews, men, women, children and even infants would all converge on the holy city to hear the king read from the Torah in the Temple court. Although we did this every Sabbatical year, this year was bound to be even more spectacular. You're getting shivers down your spine, just thinking about this amazing gathering, the festivities and just being together with the entire Jewish people as a whole, just like we were by Sinai so many millennia ago.
Somebody told me on the way to shul today that the word Yovel/Jubilee comes from the word Hovala- to transport. Each Jubilee year we fulfill what the verse tells us- "It is a Yovel, and it shall be so unto you. You shall return each man to his ancestral heritage, and you shall return each man to his family." If on the Shemitta year we remove ourselves from any sense of ownership of the land of Israel, recognizing that it is all from Hashem. During Yovel we are transported back to that experience of Sinai. In the times of our ancestors all slaves would also be freed in the Yovel year. It is a time when we truly experience our freedom in its entirety. You think about all those poor generations before you, that were slaves in Egypt, slaves to the Babylonians and Romans, and most significantly and tragically slaves to their jobs, their silly and mundane pursuits and slaves to the various pre-occupations, temptations and distractions of those last societies of our Exile in the USA, Europe and even in the pre-Messianic State of Israel. You can't imagine how people lived in those days. How much they must have longed to be where you are today. What they would have given to finally be free. You raise your eyes up to Hashem, who you are so familiar and close to, and you thank your Father in heaven. It is so good to be home…
Have an absolutely amazing Shabbos
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz****************************
RABBI SCHWARTZ FUNNY TOP TEN LIST OF THE WEEK
A Texan is visiting Israel, and feeling thirsty, he stops at a house along the road. "Can you give me a drink of water?" asks the Texan.
"Of course," says the Israeli, and invites the Texan to come in.
"What do you do?" says the Texan."I grow wheat," says the Israeli.
"Really?" says the Texan. "I'm also a farmer. How much land do you have?"
"Well", says the Israeli, "out front it's fifty meters, as you can see, and in the back we have close to a hundred meters of property. And what about your place?"
"Well", says the Texan, "on my ranch, I have breakfast and get into the car, and I drive and drive...and I don't reach the end of the ranch until dinnertime."
"Really," replies the Israeli. "I used to have a car like that."
RABBI SCHWARTZES QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem for the sake of other peoples' holy places, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity" -Moshe Dayan June 7th 1967
"Har Ha'Bayis Bi'yadeinu, Ani Chozeir, Har Habayit biYadeinu(The Temple mount is in our hands, I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands)"-Mota Gur Israeli Paratrooper
RABBI SCHWARTZ YOUTUBE LINK OF THE WEEK
Reb Shlomo carlebach on when mashiach comes..
An in honor of Yom Yerushalayim
The return of the kotel
RABBI SCHWARTZES TOUR GUIDE COURSE QUESTION OF THE WEEK
The Jacotin Map refers to?
(a) The Crusader Period
(b) Claremont-Ganneau's survey
(c) The map prepared by Raymond Weill's assistant in the city of David
(d) Napolean's travels in the land of Israel***************************************************
RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL PLACES IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK-
Lion's Gate-Jerusalem 1967on the 7th of June or more appropriately the 28th of Iyar (this Wednesday) it was through these North Eastern Gates that the paratroopers entered the old city to restore the Temple Mount and kotel to our nation. The gates were built by Suliman (who modestly called himself the Magnificent) in 1517. According to legend he dreamed that he was being attacked by lions as a punishment for not fortifying Jerusalem properly and he installed the stones that were remnants of Beibars the Maluk ruler in the 13th century that had the lions engraved upon them (his symbol). Truth is if you look carefully the symbol is really a Cheetah, But we won't pay much attention to the small details. The lion is the symbol of the tribe of Judah and therefore Jerusalem being the capital calls it a lion… so it’s a lion.
Answer is D- Naploean's entry into Israel is one of the more colorful asides of the history of our country. In his world conquest vision Naploean wanted came up from Egypt on his way to India in order to establish a coalition against the British. After conquering Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa Naploean was unable to conquer the city of Akko that was ruled by the Ottaman/Druze Leader El Jazzar "the butcher". So he headed back down the coast slaughtering all his prisoners and his own soliders that were going to make the travel difficult. Thousands were lined up by the coast of Jaffa men women and children and killed by bayonets or drowning in order to save on ammunition. He was just that kind of environmentally concerned person. The map of Jacotin is one of the first of its kind of Israel using modern measuring instruments… not that I care… or that you can see it anywhere in this country… I got this question wrongL…and I really do not understand why anyone should have to know this to be a tour guide…