Our view of the Galile

Friday, March 28, 2014

Primordial Mars and Venus- Tazria /Chodesh 2014/5774

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

March 28th 2014 -Volume 4, Issue 24-26th of Adar II 5774
Parshat Tazriah- Chodesh
The Primordial Mars and Venus
One of the most challenging experiences of my rabbinic career was while I was still living in Brooklyn and my Rosh Yeshiva (dean of the yeshiva) prevailed upon me to begin offering personal one-on-one premarital counseling to fresh, young, newly engaged yeshiva students. The age old tradition in which a young man would be initiated into the “ways of marriage” encompassed more than just the Halachic (legal) aspects of Jewish family life. I was being charged with taking these young men, who for the majority of their lives had primarily interacted with members of the same gender, and introducing them to the delicate and intricate world of male-female relationships. Having been newly initiated myself (and actually still trying to figure it out) I generally tried to present sample challenges to the young men (of which I had learned firsthand), asking them how they would respond in each scenario and then I would promptly show them how wrong they were. They were inclined to approach their relationship with their brides- to- be as an extension of all that they had experienced thus far in their interactions amongst themselves.
So, whereas in the Study Hall if someone would present a critique of your analysis of a piece of Talmud (or actually about anything) it would be understood that this was an invitation to engage in a heated debate in pursuit of achieving the ultimate truth of the concept in question with no intention of slighting the other party personally, in marriage it’s a very different universe. Here, as much as an opinion may be well-conceived and accurate, that’s not the point. The focus is more on listening and empathizing than on launching a spellbinding display of logic that would all but flatten the other party.
In a similar vein the concept in the yeshiva world of respecting another’s feelings meant, paradoxically, that one wouldn’t become all mushy and expressive of the “inner self” when addressing an issue. That was a “no-go” area, unless you really wanted to humiliate the other guy! If one ever approached someone with something that was emotionally troubling them, the greatest relief would come from a one-liner of casual dismissal like “It’s alright” or “it’s no problem”, immediately diffusing the issue. The typical yeshiva male would thereby feel satisfied and reassured, and actually quite thankful that he did not have to be emotional for too long. The female world was obviously going to be very different for them. For, in my experience the two most dangerous phrases that one can say to a woman (and possibly to a man after being exposed to the beauties of this approach long enough) is “it’s not a big deal” or “there’s nothing wrong”. For in that simple statement of misguided innocent reassurance lays an incredible amount of insensitivity and invalidation. Although many of the young men were quite skeptical of my presentation and each one thought that their bride was different, that “she is really one of the boys”, the grateful thank you letters that arrived (usually at least 5 months later) bore testimony to a newfound appreciation of the fundamental concepts that I had imparted to them.
These significant differences between men and women are not newly discovered, even if they are freshly minted in the form of Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus and other such reincarnations. Rather, that ancient work of Jewish wisdom, The Torah, in this week’s portion of Tazriah, describes from the earliest moments the diversion of paths and processes that the genders will have.
" When a woman conceives and gives birth to a male then she will be Tamei (unpure) for seven days …and on the eighth day he shall be circumcised
And if she gives birth to a Female she shall be Tamei for two weeks
And at the end of the days of her purity for a son or a daughter. sacrifices are brought and she becomes purified".
The great Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, the leader of German Jewry in the early 1800’s, noted the significance in the process of spiritual rejuvenation for a woman after undergoing one of the most incredibly grueling physical experiences, that of giving birth. The process, he suggests, is one of establishing her role of motherhood in spiritual terms by focusing on creating in her children the prerequisites for their own Jewish development. Incredibly the process is different for the little boys than the little girls. Whereas the male is mandated to be circumcised after one seven day period, in the case of the female, the mother is mandated to resolve the impurity by waiting through the extra seven days, bringing the process to its fulfillment. The path for the boys, (as is typical of all male energy) requires action in the most physical of ways (and I’m sure you agree that circumcision is the cutting edge of real action). In contrast, in keeping with the intrinsic feminine character, regaining equanimity for a girl requires patience and introspection.
To put this concept to practice in modern relevant terms, I will share an obviously imaginary example of the difference of approach to problem resolution: Pesach cleaning in the Schwartz house. If it were left to the good (very male-like) Rabbi, a blitz of energy akin to a bomb strike would descend on the Schwartz household just before Pesach when the realization would dawn that chametz must follow emergency evacuation procedures. My wife, on the other hand has had the tremendous wherewithal to recognize that lists should be made, jobs should be assigned, schedules should be set up (starting 3 weeks ago) and then the problem can be resolved in the least hectic of ways. Action vs. patience and thoughtfulness. We are different. Equal, sincere, devoted but very, very different
 We live in a world where unfortunately, the chances of finding a marriage partner with whom one can establish a stable happily married are very bleak. I was recently shown a frightening statistic that said that 20% of marriages will be happy ones. The estimate is based on a 55%- 60% divorce rate, with only half of all those that remain responding that they would consider their marriages happy and fulfilling. There are many books that have been written and solutions that have been offered and there is probably much wisdom in all of them. Yet the fundamental precept that the Torah makes us aware of is that for a man and woman to truly come together and create an environment that will be successful there has to be a basic appreciation of the differences that we have. When we are able to recognize the innate nature and strengths that God, the Divine Matchmaker, gave each of us and to utilize each others strengths to complement and complete our own, then we will be on the track to creating the home where the Divine presence and the aura of all that is pure will eternally reside.
Have a terrific Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz 

"Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them."- Ogden Nash.

"Love is blind and marriage is the Institution for the Blind"- James Graham

"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me"-Winston Churchill


John Stewart pesach yiddishisms pretty funny joke-will never look at seder plate the same way
I thought this was pretty funny and clever- the funniest Purim video for 2014 I've seen yet

Stuff people say at the Seder (you have to be frum and slightly yehshivish to appreciate this one

(answer below at end of Email)
 The "polish cave" is located in-
a) Maresha
b)  Midbar Yehudah
c)  Lower Galile
d)  Golan


In this weeks Torah portion in describing the spiritual phenomena of tzora'as the Torah prohibits shaving it off and and says one must shave around it. The word V'Hisgalach has a large GIMMMEL in it. (Leviticus, 13:33. Also see Rashi’s commentary). Many of the Chasidic masters connect this large Gimmel who's gematrai is 3, of course with the Jewish custom of Upsherin; waiting until the 3rd birthday for a Jewish boy to have his first haircut, which similar to the process of metzora is cutting the hair and in the process leaving over the payot/sidelocks and not cutting them thereby introducing the boy to the mitzvah of not shaving the corners of his head. Three is also the age of stability our sages tell us where a table with two legs is not balanced but a three legged one achieves that balance and can begin to have things placed upon it. The letter Gimmel also means to bequeath and the child can now start being bequeathed his beautiful heritage. Finally it is interesting that this is verse 33 and that the custom for the upsherin according to the Ari'zl (whose son was the first to have his haircut and from where the custom developed) took place on the 33rd day of Omer/Lag Ba'Omer, of course in Meron!


Maresha/ Beit Guvrin- a fantastic excavated city in the foothills of Judea Maresha/ Beit Guvrin is a city that was given to Caleb in biblical times this was his reward (like Joshua's last week cool place of the week) for not speaking evil by the sin of the spies. The city was eventually destroyed by the destruction of the first temple. Yet it was later relocated on a neighboring hill and built up as an Edomite city (Idumeans). They were eventually conquered by the Chashmonaim kings and forcibly converted to Judaism-(the only time in Jewish history this occurred which led to tragic results-which culminated in the descendants of one of these converts becoming the king of Israel-Herod- who was not such a nice guy…
Today Beit Guvrin is a fantastic site where one can explore ancient underground caves, quarries and columbariums-which are pigeon raising nesting areas underground where they were used to help fertilize the land for planting. There's also a great amphitheater where gladiators fought (and many people were killed) as well as oil and wine presses and the former great city ruins.

1.      The timer on the coffee pot isn't set right, and there is no coffee.
2.      You try to fix the clock on the microwave and set the timer instead – you wonder why a microwave needs a clock anyhow?
3.      You decide this is really all a secret plot by "morning people" to get "night people" out of bed earlier.
4.      The clock in your car has the right time for the first time since last October.
5.      You arrive for Shul an hour late - just as everyone else is leaving.
6.      Your computer clock sets itself ahead, but you forget and set it ahead again.
7.      Half the office arrives an hour late, saying they forgot to change the clock. You secretly wonder why they did not arrive an hour early in October.
8.      You take a two hour lunch break and say you forgot to change your wristwatch. ("getting even time.")
9.      You go to bed at your regular time, but you’re not sleepy yet, so you stay up an extra hour.
10.  You wonder where all the energy is that we are conserving because you sure could use some of it.

Answer is A:            Here's an interesting piece of history. After Stalin broke his deal with Hitler he freed the Polish prisoners and Ander's army was formed to fight against the Nazi's. As they trecked from the Southern Border of Russia through Iran, Iraq to Palestine and eventually fighting the Germans in Italy and North Africa they picked up Jewish orphans and refugees and brought them to Palestine where 4000 of them remained. One of those soldiers was none other than Menachem Begin, who founded the Irgun fighting forces against the British that led to the founding of the Jewish State and ultimately becoming the prime minister of Israel. The cave located in Maresha is an ancient water cistern that they camped at and carved a Polish eagle and the words Warsaw in that can still be seen today.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Post Purim Parah Pictures- Shmini/Parah 2014/5774

Insights and Inspiration

from the

Holy Land

Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

"Your friend in Karmiel"
March 20th 2014 -Volume 4, Issue 23-19th of Adar II 5774

Post Purim Parah Pictures

'Twas the night after Purim, when all thro' the house, 
 not a father was stirring, as he was out cold on the couch. 
The bottles were empty the liquor cabinet was bare,  
I hoped that all the s'nickers would now longer be there."

So much for trying to parody Clement Clarkes "holiday" poem, I thought as I drifted off to sleep. I awoke to the morning paper. I opened to the section with all of the Purim pictures from around the world. "Wow! They got these out pretty quick", I thought. But imagine my surprise as I started to peruse the pictures one by one. It seems that I had entered into an incredible world.

 The first one that caught my eye, was of the great leader of the Hareidi world from Bnai Brak, Rav Chaim Kanievsky. It seems that he and Rav Shteinman, as well as Rav Shmuel Aurbach all got together and brought Shalach Manot to none other than Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennet, the two leaders of the parties that had instituted what has been described as "draconian" decrees against the Yeshiva world and its students. "It's Purim", they said "and at least for a day let's put our differences behind us". I turned the page and saw another incredible display. This time it was of secular Israeli soldiers and their parents. They were coming to all of the Yeshivot and even Kollels and they were also bearing little baskets full of Purim treats. "We may not agree and certainly having difficulty appreciating that your Torah study has any value to us or do we see it as any reason why we should be serving as you study. But on Purim we just want to be together, to remember we are a family. Happy Purim".

I continued turning pages in awe. There were pictures of the Agudas Yisrael bringing Shalach Manot to the heads of the Reform movement. The Jewish Theological Seminary of the Conservative movement brought a bus to Lakewood Yeshiva to sing and dance together by the Purim feast. The Women of the Wall were dancing together with the Women for the Wall in the ladies section of the Kotel and in Robinson's Arch. Satmar (both of them), Chabad, Belz  and Hesder Yeshiva boys were all joined in one big circle clasping hands, sharing Purim baskets, and passing the bottle around. Left wing "Peace Now" Tel Aviv university students were embracing settlers from the West Bank and carrying their children on their shoulders. Russians, Ethiopians, Ashkenazim, Sefardim all dressed up as one another could been seen in the various pictures exchanging their own special ethnic foods as they sat down to the Purim feast at one another's homes.

The pictures seemed to be unreal, but they did not look photo shopped at all. Was I dreaming? Was I so drunk that I missed this unbelievable event? I pinched myself….and then I woke up. I was still on my couch. Bottles and costumes were still strewn over the floor. I went to Shul to look at the paper. Sadly, there were no pictures. It kind of made me want to start drinking again…start dreaming again…it would be worth the hangover. But I think that I would have to get more than just me drunk to make that dream real. To ever see that day.

But then I thought.-always a dangerous thing-if this is the way I feel, the way that you feel, imagine how Hashem must feel. Imagine how He must feel for over 3000 years, Purim after Purim, with us never really giving Him the Shalach Manot He is waiting for. I'm a parent-at least once in a while- and I pretty much know that there is nothing more upsetting, frustrating, aggravating and depressing than when your children don't get along with one another. When they fight, when they yell at one another, when they don't realize how painful it is for a father or mother to see how petty they are being. True, there are sometimes real issues that have to be dealt with and rectified. But c'mon, one day a year…one day a year can't we at least pretend that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. Is there not even one day that we can at least give our Abba a little bit of nachas. Just smile for the picture…

This week we read Parshat Parah, the third of the four supplementary Parshiyot that we add in this season surrounding the holiday of Purim and preceding Pesach. It is kind of a downer Parshah, and seemingly does not have much to do with either Purim or Pesach. It discusses the Red Heifer that would be brought in order to purify the people from their tumah/impurity that comes as a result from coming in contact with the dead. Our sages tell us that we would read it in order to warn the people, who would be obligated to partake in the Pessach offering, that they would have to purify themselves first, by means of the sprinkling of the ashes of the cow mixed with hyssop, cedar and red wool.

It's certainly a strange mysterious mitzvah that we are told is a Chok- a law who's deepest reasons are beyond our understanding. Yet our sages do note that there is a connection between the mother cow coming to clean up after the excrement of its child; the golden calf (Note how it does not say the father cow does this-just pointing this out J). It's a downer of a Parsha because we just celebrated Purim a few days ago and here we are remembering that we are still Tamei-un-pure. There is still death. There is still the sin of Golden calf. Why couldn't we wait a bit before bringing this back on? In fact if we truly wanted to remind the Jewish people practically to purify themselves before Passover why not read it the week before Pesach? Why do we first we read this parsha (which always follows Purim) before the Parsha we read next week; the parsha of Chodesh? Chronologically the burning of the calf took place on the 2nd of Nissan whereas Rosh Chodesh was the establishing of the Mishkan. Shouldn't the Chodesh reading be first? The Jerusalem Talmud in fact asks this question and it answers rather cryptically because "It is the purity of the Jewish people". Huh?

It is interesting that this year the Torah reading of this week's Torah portion  begins by telling us about the final day of the establishment of the Mishkan (the Yom Ha'Shmini- the eighth day). We are told about what should have been a celebratory day was in fact marred by the tragic death of Nadav and Avihu, the two sons of Aharon. When the leap year falls out this way bringing these two parshas together we have the benefit of this extra insight, and we can appreciate how quickly a day of rejoicing can turn into a day of tragedy and mourning. It seems that whenever we get so close to that time of redemption, we are quickly thrust back to a profound wake-up call that we are not there yet. The message I believe being that  we haven't begun our purification. Just being saved from Pharaoh in Egypt, from Achashveirosh in Persia is not the end of the story. We need to get ready for that final day. We have to begin to work on taking that salvation and moving it to the next level. Only then can Pesach come. Only then can we read about the Parsha of Chodesh, the power Hashem has given us to establish His holidays.

We are meant to be partners with Hashem. When we were leaving Egypt the first Mitzvah we were told was that it would be us that would establish the Jewish months, the times when the holidays would fall out. Yet, we failed our Partner. We forgot that all the miracles we had experienced were for us to sanctify Hashem's name. We looked for a replacement leader for Moshe- as if it was he who took us out of Egypt. And we made a calf of gold, of our own making. A false god that would distract us from our purpose. The moment when we stood together as one man with one heart and heard Hashem speak the words "I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt" was lost.

Hashem forgave us for this sin, yet on the day of the building of the Mishkan that tragedy came back to haunt us once again. Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, who himself had been involved in the building of the calf, brought a "foreign fire" to the Mishkan. Once again the opportunity of finally doing it right failed. Hashem's name would be sanctified only in their death. "With my close ones I will be sanctified and I will be honored before the entire people". That impurity, which is really just a term that describes distance from Hashem, a blocking of our connection, of our ability to connect to His holiness that is within us, is the outcome of our failure to achieve the greatness that we are so close to realizing. If we do not see Hashem in our moments of redemption and exultation,n than his name will only be seen in the tragedy and aftermath.

Purim was the next time when we experienced that opportunity. We had not only been saved from near genocide, we even had a queen in the palace. The truth though that is not told in the Megilla is even greater. Following the great victory and the nullification of the plot of Haman, the Jews were given an opportunity once again to return to Israel, to rebuild the Mikdash. This is it; the moment after the salvation when we could finally sanctify Hashem's name. When we could all get together, when we could finally go home. But the megilla ends with a different story. Achashveirosh raises taxes. The Jews pretty much decline the opportunity to leave. The great Ezra goes with a few thousand of his shleppers and rebuilds the Mikdash and in 127 countries of the Persian Empire the Jews pretty much decide that they would honor the great salvation with a holiday instead. "And the Megilla will be read in each and every city and in each and  every country; any place where the word and  law of the king applies". The Jews remained divided amongst 127 countries and cities and oblivious to their ultimate mission. We chose to remain servants of Achashveirosh.
It is for that reason that our sages tell us we do not recite Hallel on Purim-we decided to remain servants of Achashveirosh. Yes, we should drink and we should celebrate and have fun…but remember it's not about Purim in England, America, Johannesburg, Canada and Persia. It's not just about celebrating that the Jewish people will always be eternal and that Hashem will always be there for us. It is about purity. It is about getting back together with one another, with our Father in Heaven…in our home Yerushalayim.

It was only a dream. But it doesn't have to be one. It wasn't meant to be one. We are so close to the redemption. So close to becoming pure. There are so many tragedies and crazy things going on the world. People dying, children… decrees, wars. Hashem is sadly being sanctified with tragedies. He wants us to stop dreaming. To wake up from our drunken stupor. The party is over, the purity can begin. Let's all smile for the picture..
Have a terrific Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz 

This week's Holyland Insights and Inspiration is sponsored by our dear friend from Virginia Irene Ullman. It is so good to have you back on our list! May the merit of th Torah study and inspiration from our weekly insights bring you much blessings and merits…hopefully enough to bring you here to Israel so we can see you soon…

Thank You!


"You cannot make puns about kleptomaniacs. They take everything. Literally."-Anonynomous


 Just in case you thought my dreams can't come true. Take a look at this link for someone who is not just dreaming but who is working on bringing us all together

Pretty amazing and inspiring-the Shabbat project

I thought this was pretty funny and clever- the funniest Purim video for 2014 I've seen yet

Purim Safety Rules


(answer below at end of Email)

 Nimrod's fortress is-

a) A fortress in the lower Galile that was built by the Crusaders

b)  A fortress in the upper Galile that was built during the early Arab Era

c)  A fortress on the foothills of Mt. Hermon that was built during the Ayubi period

d)  A fortress in Jerusalem built in the Ottaman period


King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said in Koheles (7:23) "I thought I could become wise; and it is far from me." What is 'it' referring to? Our Sages say the only thing in the world that was beyond the grasp of King Solomon was the parah adumah/ the red heifer. Paralleling that oral tradition, the Ba'al HaTurim points out that the gematria of "v'he rechoka"- and it is far = 341 = parah adumah.


Nimrod's Fortress- I generally don't like to go to many non-Jewish related spots in Israel. But Nimrod, the nemesis of Avraham who through him in the fiery furnace (who interestingly enough according to the medrash was the father of his servant Eliezer) they tell me is actually much to my consternation being used as a Jewish warrior name. Kind of sad if you ask me. But regardless he has nothing to do with this fortress which was built several thousand years later in the 13th century by Saladins nephew, the Druze just decided to name it after him because it was just so big and hey why not.... But the truth is this is really a fun place for kids to run around.  There are towers and dungeons and water cisterns and you can peek out the Keeps and pretend you are the fierce Mamaluk Bilik 2nd in command to Beibers who was fortified and built up this fortress and then of course was murdered by Beibers son. They had a habit of doing these things. The views though from this great fortress over the Banias and the Hermon where it is located are truly breathtaking. So if your in the hood anyways and the kids are getting a little antsy this is really a great place to see something a little off the beaten track.


1)      Q: Why don't cows have any money? A: Because farmers milk them dry

2)      Q: What do you get if you cross an angry sheep and a moody cow? A: An animal that's in a baaaaaaaad moooooood.

3)      Q: Why did the cow cross the road? A: To get to the udder side. Q

4)      Q: Where do cows go for lunch? A: The calf-eteria.

5)      Q: What kind of milk comes from a forgetful cow? A: Milk of Amnesia

6)      Q: Where do Russians get their milk? A: From Mos-cows

7)      Q: What do call a cow that has just had a calf? A: Decalfenated

8)      Q: What do you call a sleeping bull? A: A bull-dozer.

9)      Q: What do you call a grumpy cow? A: Moo-dy

10)  . Q: What is it when one cow spies on another cow? A: A steak out. Q:

11)  Q: What do you call an arab next to a cow? A: Milk Sheikh!



Answer is C:              OK here's some geographical information The Galile is the center north of Israel. The upper and lower are divided by route 85 which runs right by Karmiel. The Hermon is up on top of the Golan by the Syrian border. Now some Arab information. The Ayubis were the family Salaadin who conquered the Crusaders also known as the later Arab era. Saladin incidentally had a very good doctor (The Rambam). Now although when Mark Twain came to Israel he thought this was a Crusader Fortress. He was wrong it was built by the Ayubis and later fortified by the Mamluks to protect Damascus from any Crusader attacks. So the answer is C Ayubi and Hermon. Whoever answered Jerusalem should be ashamed of themselves.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spam the World-Rabbi Schwartz Top Ten List- Purim 5774/2014

Inslights and Perspiration
from the
 Holy Gland
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your tour-guide, Rabbi, mortgage broker, clothing sales shlepper and most importantly your friend in Karmiel"
March 3rd 2014 -Volume 2, Issue 21 -11th of Adar 5774
Tzav/ Zachor/Purim

Rabbi Schwartz's annual Top Ten List
Spam the World!

It has become an annual tradition already. The Rabbi Schwartz Purim Top Ten List  is finally here! For many this is the highlight of the entire year, for lesser people it is their children's wedding or Bar Mitzvah or the end of the election season in Israel. In past years we dedicated our Purim E-mail to very important Top Ten lists "Top Ten symbols suggestions for Israel's Government ministries" and "Top Ten reasons to use rabbi schwartz as your tour guide in Israel". Both of these E-mails incidentally received high accolades and awards from my wife, mother and teen-age daughter as well as other International Critics organizations. (You can and should click on those links below to read them and have fun-don't be scared just because you will be forwarded to my blog does not mean that you will have to give a donation. It's not a trick. I know how much you are scared of god forbid using our very easy paypal system to contribute and show your appreciation for our weekly inspiration that goes out to thousands maybe even millions of people and that would help support poor starving families that suffer from chulent withdrawal each week. So no worries we will not ask you for any money. Although the link will be right there… Just in case…you want to make someone-ahem ahem- happy this purim…) Back to our E-Mail.

 Anyways, it has been rough deciding what our Top ten list should be this year. Some of the choices were, the Top Ten reasons why Rabbi Schwartz should be  Mayor of Beit Shemesh, or the Top Ten New Mitzvos I learned about this year (demonstrations, elections, kosher phones, bus seats…), Top Ten reasons the Israeli Army is scared of me serving in it and finally the Top Ten things that The Israeli Kneset and the Purim characters have in common. Unfortunately I could not narrow down any of the above lists of Top Ten to only ten things, as there were way too many choices. Instead I felt that I would dedicate this year's Top Ten list to a topic unrelated to politics-as un-Israeli as that may seem-, rather to one of more of an educational nature.

It has come to my attention that there are many people out there that do not as of yet receive my weekly E-Mail. I found this to be quite shocking. I mean I knew that there were starving people in Ethiopia (that's how my mother used to get me to finish my food- thanks a lot Mom, not that this was ever a frequent problem, and not that I ever understood the logic, why my licking my plate would help them. But OK, never disregard the mussar of your mother our sages tell us.) I also knew that there are some places that they do not have free wireless service as incomprehensible as that may be. My years in Jewish outreach work as well has opened my eyes to the tragic realities of our 21st century Jewish world, where there are Jews that have never heard of God, Shabbos, dare I say even chulent! But the fact that there are people that have still not read my weekly Insights and Inspiration, now that is truly an inexcusable tragedy of nuclear proportions.

 Now I can understand that some of the above listed tragedies in the world may seem too great for simple every day "yankels" like me and you to solve. We can't always finish all our food, nor can we share internet with the world everywhere without being put into excommunication being the cause of major demonstrations in Jerusalem and Manhattan, or editorial columns in some Jewish newspapers. We may even feel inadequate with sharing our chulent with the so many starving Jews out there who think sushi is actually a hearty meal and that Chinese is a Jewish dish-when really of course it is just left over Sukkah decoration, bamboo and all that when ingested fills you with lots of air holes that require a good plate of chulent or at least a shwarma to smash down and truly satisfy and nourish a holy Jewish soul. But the weekly Schwartz E-Mail deficiency syndrome is certainly something that each and every one of us can do something about. We all have friends, neighbors, mother-in-laws, people we owe money to, and others whose cars we sometimes just bump into when we are backing out of a tight parking spot. Don't you think those people deserve some inspiration and a smile each week as well? There is a whole industry out there of hallmark cards and even E-Cards that are dedicated to sending out warm and fuzzy communications on special occasions to people that you love, care for, or that you want to give you a raise in salary. How about forwarding them a weekly E-Mail instead? Better yet just send me their E-Mail addresses and I will subscribe them without them ever knowing. It would be kind of like a Matan B'Seter for you; an anonymous gift that Maimonides describes as being the highest form of charity-although not specifically referring to my E-Mail.

I know that this may seem like a daunting task for you. I know how hard it is for you to click on a link. Our Shul bank account can testify to that as well. But think about the great Purim story. Queen Esther also felt that she was not up to the task. Yet Mordechai in his moving eternal words of inspiration to her encouraged her. "Who knows maybe it is for this reason that you were chosen for royalty… And if you do not do it you and your fathers house will perish" Isn't that touching? It is one of those beautiful moments in the Book of Esther. But really think about it. Everyone in the story has a role to play. Had Vashti not been having a bad tail day, or if Haman had just worked things out with Mordechai, or had the Jews not eaten from the feast of Rechnitz, I mean Achashveirosh, there would never have been a Purim story. We would have no excuse to get drunk and eat till we puke, get cute little baskets and have Yeshiva students banging on our door asking us for money to support their parents and grandparents in Kollel (which incidentally holds up the entire world and the Israeli army and even the United States Marines). But everyone played their part. The Jews were almost killed and then saved (for like the millionth time in history). All because we knew what we had to do.

Now I know it may not be easy to convince you to share this great little secret that we have with the world. It's our little private thrill. But think of yourself like a JehoXXXva's witness. Don't be selfish. Share the light and the love. Knock on doors. Print up little cards and stick it on people's windshields. Put links and other annoying things that scroll down on peoples E-Mails, google searches or websites. Spam the world…make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race… there are people…OK enough (even Rebbetzin Michaela Yankelson is singing about this). So to make this easier for you I have dedicated this year's long awaited Rabbi Schwartz Top Ten List to…..drumroll…


10) It's Free. Do Jews need a better reason that? Now I know that there are some non-Jews that are receiving this as well. But after a while of reading this you are pretty much Jewish already according to some new guidelines of the Rabbinic council of Reconservastructionformadox Judaism and according to the Yated Open Orthodoxy as well. To be safe though, if you fall in love with a Jewish woman and want to marry her according to all opinions one should immerse themselves in the mikva (preferably the Ari'Zl's, that a good tour guide can take you to- I happen to know one), circumcise yourself and accept all the mitzvas in the Torah. Although we are told Purim was like a second receiving of the Torah- so just get drunk on Purim and donate here and that’s good enough as well.

9) You need a good excuse to surf the internet at home. Currently there are many religious schools that forbid this. They permit one to surf only for the purposes of earning a living to support your children in Kollel, to attend demonstrations and to hang signs on the wall.  You are uncomfortable lying about this unlike the rest of the parent body of the school. This is your way out. "You need the internet in order to read Rabbi Schwartz's Weekly E-Mail". This is a matter of life and death and it outweighs all the mitzvos in the Torah and even some school Takanon rules as well.

8) You have a pretty boring life. Your children listen to you and you have no favorites. You do not have a shul to run, no tourist or Israeli stories and your toenails all grow straight. You have a need to learn and live vicariously and experience the life and times of "your friend in Karmiel". Just in order to appreciate your simple existence in even more. You are also nervous that your children will ever amount to much. This E-Mail gives you hope that even those guys that sit in the back of the room and pretty much spent more time inside the principals office then out can also one day turn out to be a rabbi our in some hicktown traveling around the States until he finally ends up in Israel in a place no one has ever heard of nudging people for money every week or for tours. OK maybe don't think about that. It's nice just living it vicariously. See what I do for you…

7) I have a daughter to marry off IY”H soon. This coming year I will be promoting her and our famous family shamelessly in order to help solve the Shidduch crisis problem in Klal Yisrael, by insuring that there will be at least one less girl on the market as we search for her true Bashert-someone who will support her father in Kollel and help his mother-in-law shlep luggage for sales across the country. Think like the Bachelorette show and Achashveirosh's pageant minus the eunochs and with some diveri torah in them as well. The more people that get this E-Mail the wider exposure she will have-which they tell me is very important. So think of this as fulfilling the mitzvah of Hachnasat Kallah as well.

6)  You always wanted to tour Israel with Rabbi Schwartz yet you cannot afford his exorbitant prices. You could barely afford to donate or sponsor a weekly E-Mail. Yet why should you miss out on experiencing some of that inspiration of the Holyland? Why shouldn’t you know the “cool places in Israel”? Why shouldn’t you also get a chance to quiz (or torture) your family on all the trivial questions that the ministry of tourism forces its tour guides to learn (where did Jexsux go to the bathroom? What tree is found in the sewers of Beit Guvrin? What did the Nabateans eat for breakfast etc… ad nasueum). This weekly E-Mail gives you all of those deep insights and more into the land of your heritage without ever having to step foot in it and deal with those pushy Israelis and you won’t even have to buy Rabbi Schwartz dinner at the end of the day at Decks. It's almost like fulfilling Yishuv Eretz Yisrael while you still can have someone bag your groceries and not turn on a switch 4 hours before you take a shower.

5) You are a Rabbi and need a weekly sermon or an inspiring quote. You want your congregation to think you have a sense of humor, are insightful and inspirational and that you actually looked at the Torah portion before you got up to the podium. You are a Yeshiva student and need a Dvar Torah for your Shabbos table to impress your parents that you are learning something while in reality you were sleeping all week. You have a Bar Mitzvah, Sheva Brachot a funeral or your aunt Tilly’s dogs third yartzeit and they asked you to speak and you have no clue what to say. You are the Prime Minister of Israel, the chief Rabbi or Supreme Court chief Justice or for that matter even the President of the United States and you want to impress the Jewish people that you actually care about them. Regularly reading this E-Mail will train you and give you the necessary skills to adapt any silly thing that happened in your life into some meaningful earth shattering anecdote that somehow ties into the Torah portion. Especially if you throw in the words “Divine” and “loving Father in heaven” a lot. If it doesn’t you could just steal one of these and pass them off as your own. “Ha’Goneiv Min Ha’Ganav Patur” (I’m not translating that)

4) You like to see cool videos on YouTube, yet you certainly don’t want to waste your time surfing and searching for them all day. You also have heard terrible things that are out there on the internet and you don’t trust yourself to go through the cesspool of human waste that it is posted out there on the World Wide Web. Rabbi Schwartz, just like Nachshon Ben Avinadav that first Jew who jumped into the Red Sea in order for it to split, has offered his soul up as a sacrifice for his faithful readers spending hours upon end-ignoring his wife's many calls to help with the children- scraping the bottom of the internet in order to find the one or two kosher videos for you to watch with a clean conscience and a holy soul. How awesome is that!

3) You are sitting in a doctor’s office in what seems to be an endless line. You are at some shiur or class that your wife made you go to and the speaker is just boring like heck and you know it will not be polite to start snoring. Your stomach has the runs and you have already read everything in the bathroom including YaMishpachAmiBinOdia Press, and you have already checked your E-Mails, and have no interest in checking out those silly newsblogs anymore and you know you’ve got another 20 minutes at least before Asher Yatzar. Aren’t you glad you subscribe to the 50 page weekly Insights to keep you occupied.

2) You enjoy Jewish mysticism and Kabbala and you know that each letter in the weekly Insights are actually acronyms for the deepest secrets in the universe (besides the jokes-they’re just jokes). In fact if you read the E-Mail and record it and then play it backwards one can hear the words “The Rebbe is dead and he is not Mashiach either” played repeatedly as well as the Rebbetzins famous chulent recipe. Hidden between the simple inspiring words are in fact concepts and principles that when read and meditated upon can bring all types of salvations. There are countless stories of miracles that have occurred from readers of this weekly E-Mail. Barren women who have had children, singles finding their Bashert, poor people suddenly finding a pot of gold buried under the homes, Israeli ministers developing a conscience and Shani Schwartz passing her driver’s test, all as a result of reading this E-Mail. Some have even reported receiving E-Mails that have informed them of bank accounts they never knew about in Nigeria and lotto winnings in the UK in their spam folders. Check it out. You may be amongst them.

1)        And the number one reason to read Rabbi Schwartz’s weekly Insights and Inspiration is… drumroll….
Guilt; that most powerful of all Jewish motivators. You know that I check each week to see who is reading this. You know my mother is also very interested in this as well and she is a nice lady. You haven’t donated to any of my myriad of organizations that I have founded over the years (until they fire me). You don’t really feel guilty about much else in your life on a regular basis and you miss that warm fuzzy sense of Jewish guilt and shame that all of your teachers, Rabbis and parents have embedded in you in your most formative years. The weekly Inspiration from Rabbi Schwartz is guaranteed to make you feel guilty each week. Guilty about not living in Israel, guilty about not being high on God, Guilty about not loving Shabbos or chulent, guilty about not being the perfect parent and spouse, guilty about being a vegetarian, a liberal, a communist, a chariedi Jew, a religious Zionist, an American, a tea party conservative, about being too religious or not religious enough. Guilty about having once studied with me or taught me, having once hired or fired me, or guilty about being related or even knowing me. We are dedicated and committed to providing you with all the necessary guilt that not even a million Yom Kippurs would ever atone for. Thank God there is Purim which is holier than Yom Kippur and you can absolve that guilt with one great Purim Seuda. But until next Purim subscribing to the weekly E-Mail is really the only means available to make sure that you will have enough guilt to get drunk for in order to celebrate the holiday properly.

So there you have it our Top Ten list of the year and the secret to achieving world peace, inner tranquility and a portion in the World to Come. I know that you, my faithful readers, do not require any additional reasons to bear with me and read each week. It is really great to have you all on board and meaningful (and surprising!) that you take your time out each week to spend a few minutes or more with me. My Simcha/Joy is your simcha and may it be Hashem’s will (our Divine Father in heavenJ) that all of our Simcha together will bring the day that we have waited so long for with the coming of Mashiach and the final return of the Shechina to Yerushalayim once again rebuilt.

Have an exuberantly joyous Purim,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

"Revach V'Hatzalah ya'amod la'Yehudim Mimakom Acher."- A local volunteer paramedic when asked how he could drink on Purim-

So these are a few of the funnier meaningless gematriot that are out there that I felt its important to share with you
As long time readers of this weekly E-Mail might remember or just douglas adams hitchikers guide fans may know the answer to life the universe and everything is of course the number 42 which is of course the travels of the Jewish people but did you know that it is also the gematria of Google 3+6+3+30=43

Now for those more knowledgeable of you , you may have heard that Amalek the evil nation that Haman was from and that we remember to destroy this Shabbos is the same Gematria of  Safek/doubt Amalek= 70+40+30+ 100=240 Safek=60+80+100=240 but did you know that Amalek is also the Gematria of  Dollar= 4+6+30+200 as well as Mas Hachnasa (Israel income Tax authority) 40+60+5+20+50+60+5.

And finally for those of you cannabis lovers that find getting drunk on alcohol to be challenging and that try other forms of “highs” (not that there is any halachic basis for it)
420 is gematria of  ashan/smoke non coincidentally of course.

The best place in Israel to be on Purim is really where the best food, wine, music and dancing is. The benefit of Israel is that we can do this twice! Once outside of Jerusalem and other walled cities and once after we recover from our hangover in the cities with walls around them. The reason for this custom with walls from the times of Joshua is because after the first day of reveling people could barely walk in a straight line. Then Joshua turned to Moshe after the first Purim that they celebrated together and said "Moshe, this was fun let's do it again!" Moshe said in words that Jews in Jerusalem celebrate until today "ARE YOU OFF THE WALL?!" Joshua who always interpreted everything Moshe said quite seriously-understanding that this was the word of Hashem derived that only those that were off the wall-meaning from the top of the walls and without celebrated Purim on the 14th. Those within the walls would celebrate on the 15th and could have two days of Purim if they came off and within the walls" And that's the other side of the story….

Lipa Shmeltzer "Charlie Chaplin the reveal"

The Muppets- "the haman remembrance"

AKA PELLA "What does Haman say"

Israel purim street survey (in Hebrew)

And last but not least kinderlach chagiga (see if you can figure out where this is by the cameo appearances) free hamantash to those that guess right!


1) How soon is it to the next bathroom stop? A: being as the last one was 10 minutes ago and I repeatedly asked if anyone needs to go then…soon J

2) When can we eat? A: Being that the last food break was 10 minutes ago and you are still chewing and haven’t stopped noshing since we have gotten back in the car…soon J

3) What type of tree is that? A: an avocado tree (all trees I do not know are avocado trees) Follow up question- Why are there oranges growing from the avocado tree?

4) Is that really true? A: No, after years in the Rabbinate and being involved in Jewish outreach work as well as being a highly experienced tour guide I have become adept at making up stories and sources at random intervals in order to pique your interest and inspire you.

5) Are we supposed to tip? A: Of course, especially the tour guide J

6) Is this dangerous? A: No of course not, I wouldn’t knowingly take you anywhere dangerous. (Now only if I knew where we are…where was that turn I was supposed to make again…)


1)      Did you hear about the cross eyed teacher? she got fired cause she couldn't control her pupils!
2)      During the war, my grandfather refused to fight in windy countries. He was a draft dodger.
3)      A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
4)      When I backed into the meat grinder yesterday at my butcher shop, I got a little behind in my work!
5)      When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
6)      All the toilets in New York's police stations have been stolen. As of now, it appears the police have nothing to go on.
7)      When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
8)      Jokes about German sausages are the wurst.
9)      There was a sign on the lawn at a drug re-hab center that said 'Keep off the Grass'
10)  There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

 Note: Inslights & Perspiration  is sent to e-mail addresses that have been submitted to Rabbi Schwartz by your worst enemies. To unsubscribe at any time thereby insulting us, shaming your parents and all that Jews have perished for thousand of years in wars for, send an e-mail to rabbschwartzwillignorethis@shushanhabira.com with the words "unsubscribe insights" in the Subject line and/or the first line of text. We will probably not unsubscribe you and will send you tons of spam offering you all types of Mortgage opportunities and pills at discounted prices that you should never have to take. All of the above is obviously a spoof and Mazel Tov on making it to the bottom of this email.