Our view of the Galile

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hasbara- korach 2014/5774

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

June 20th  2014 -Volume 4, Issue 34-22nd of Sivan 5774
Parshat Korach
Yaakov sits on top of a mountain that overlooks the Lebanese border in the small village Misgav Am. It is a glorious lookout. He is a hero and a special person who made Aliyah here in the 50's and fought in many battles in Israel. He may not be the most observant person, but he is certainly holy. And one thing about him is that he tells the truth. The whole truth. The real truth. Whether the "politically correct" student groups that I am fortunate  to bring to visit him there like it or not. It's important for them to hear the truth and form the mouth of Yakov it couldn’t be any clearer.

"Hi Kids",  Yaakov begins. Welcome to Misgav Am. You are here today to hear me speak. I'm not here to hear you guys speak…I'm old enough to be most of your grandfather and perhaps even great grandfather. I will be sharing with you the truth today. It is my world the bubble I live in…that we live in here in Israel. You may have heard other things on campus, you may have heard terms, like settlers, peace process, two state solutions, BDS. Its all baloney. I really don't care what lies they spread about us over there. I'm here and you’re here and today is your chance to hear the truth. If you have something to say keep it to yourself. If you have any difficulty understanding what im saying feel free to ask and I will explain. But don't come here preaching to me. You don't live here and you don’t' understand as of yet the truth."

And with that Yakov begins. And I've got a smile pasted on my face from ear to ear as some students begin to squirm. They don't even know what's coming.

"I hate arabs. They want to kill me. They want to kill my family. They've tried many times. They refuse to recognize my right to live in my country in peace. Anyone that wants to kill me or my children or my family- and that includes all of you. I will kill them first. If anyone will tell me I don't have a right to live in my house, or in my country or if they tell my brother or sister that they do not have right to live in their house or country are my enemy. I am not Christian. I will not turn the other cheek. I will shoot their cheek before they can shoot mine. 

Are there Arabs that don't want to kill me or are not terrorists- a word which by definition means someone who attacks innocent civilians-men women, children, babies and 16 year old boys? Yes. I won't kill them if they are not interested in killing me. But do they recognize my right to live here at all? Do they support the violent uprising and terrorist attacks and celebrate and disburse candies when we are in mourning or in pain after one of their murderous attacks? If they do, than I hate them. If they are willing to accept the fact that we are here to stay and will truly respect that and wish to live side by side as two people who are connected with an ancient tie to this land who hopefully love their children, the betterment of their lives and society, than I welcome them with open arms. I don't like to kill. I don’t' like to hate. Just say the words that you will be my friend and that we can live together and I will be the first to join you. But I haven't heard it, although I dream and hope and fantasize-but never fool myself that there are many of them that do want that. As Benjamin Netanyahu once said 'The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.' It's as simple as that. Now you have the truth.

It is amazing to see what the truth can do to people. All of the propaganda and mishegas disappears. It's a simple as that. But yet, but yet, the world doesn’t' seem to get it. They never really have. Perhaps it's because we don’t get it. We're scared to say it. We don't like the looks that we get. The cold shoulder they might give us. The labels they may place upon us. So we let them take us for a ride. Take our children, bomb our cities and manipulate the press and world opinion. We need an office of Hasbara or propaganda. Israel in fact had one from 1974-1975 when it was dismantled because we felt it was too communist or Nazi. (it was restablished under the foreign ministry in 2009, but not as independent office). We need to tell the truth. That’s what we are here for. When we don’t' we end up 6 feet under.

Talking about 6 feet under... Welcome to this weeks Torah portion. This week we read about Korach and his camp. They are perhaps the greatest threat that the Jewish people faced in our forty years in the wilderness. One great Jewish leader with many of the members of Israels leadership and two trouble makers publicly challenge Moshe And Aharon. So what's the big deal, you ask? I mean haven’t Jews always been challenging our leadership? This is not the first time Moshe is challenged. Even Hashem has been challenged. Need I remind you of the golden calf, the spies of last week, idolatry and licentiousness by story of Balak and Bilam.  What makes this fight so significant. Why is this the only time, the only time, Moshe who is willing to do anything for this people and repeatedly goes to bat for them comes up with the punishment and challenge for them. The land swallows them hole…I mean wholeJ. In fact this is the only incident in the entire Torah where there is a negative commandment- 'thou shall not be like Korach and his congregation' that is attached directly as a result of the story. Theres no negative commandment not to violate Shabbos like those that did, or to commit adultery like those that did or desire food and complain against god or even worship golden calves. Yes those are all prohibitions but they are not connected to the story. Not fighting and loving your neighbor is also a commandment, Yet the great classic work of the Sefer Mitzvot HaGadol counts being like Korach as a separate independent mitzvah. What makes what seems to be merely a political fight about spiritual appointments (who would serve in the temple) so dramatic.
The answer, is that this was a fight about the truth. If you examine the verses one can see the deterioration of the fight from a mere political fight to the spreading of disinformation and lies that become the core of what is truly the greatest threat to our people. It begins with a questioning of Moshe and his prophetic appointments to the positions of leadership of the Levi and Kohein. Moshe after attempting to reason with them offers a divine solution placing in Hashems hands the revelation for the people of whose incense Hashem will accept.  That's fine an easy peaceful solution. Things deteriorate however when Datan and Aviram get involved. The false propaganda begins to take wings.

 "Is it not enough that you took us out of land flowing with milk and honey (Egypt) to kill us in the wilderness, you wish to rule over us as well. We have not been brought to a Land of milk and honey and you have not given us a portion of fields and vineyards. Even as you will poke out our eyes we will not go up to the land."

And there you have it. We have no right to the land of Israel. Egypt is the land flowing of milk and honey. They are willing to die for their "self-righteous" but truly evil principles. They pretend that they are out for the moral good, with statements of the entire people are holy and we do not need leadership and in the process their venom threatens us to destroy the most important thing that we have as Jews; Our belief that Hashem revealed himself to us and our forefathers and promised us the land of Israel as our ONLY and rightful heritage and that all that Moshe has told us, the entire Torah is truth and directly commanded by our Creator, our Father in Heaven, who took us out of Egypt and gave us a Divine mandate to share his glory and love with the world. We can survive sins; be they sins of the flesh, of desire, of gossip, of idolatry even and even questions of faith that come from fear as we saw by the spies or by the golden calf. We can't survive though as a nation if we allow ourselves to buy into the propaganda that Moshe is not true, the Torah is not true and that Israel is not our land. Without those truths we are not a people. We are not a nation of God, Hashem's Divine mandate can't be completed. We can't continue to be our worst enemies.

Imagine a country of Israel, where the prime minister would get up and say. There is a creator of this world who promised our forefathers this land in order to build a world and society that would recognize and bask in his Divine glory, so that the whole world may know His greatness and in the process their own greatness. This Land was always meant to be that place for us. It is meant to be a land where Shabbos is celebrated, where the Sabbatical year no one will work their fields. It's meant to be a land where idolatry and false gods have no place whatsoever. False gods are wrong a mistake, because we haven't shined long enough. We've allowed it to flourish. It's good for tourism. This is a land dedicated to Hashem where evil is eradicated and murderers, terrorists and spreaders of hate are destroyed. It's a land where Hashem's laws are supreme because it is the Divine reason why we are even here. We don't look to the UN or other "democratic" societies from where to take our values, ethics and laws. We are here to build a society to that will teach them how they can achieve the ultimate goodness and self-fulfillment. We believe that all men have the potential for greatness and were created in Hashems image and are loved by Him as a Father to His son. We believe the Torah way is the only way to best achieve that human dignity and that it is our responsibility to bring that vision to the world. All that challenge that view are either uninformed because we have failed in our mission or because there are evil people that are determined and even willing to sacrifice themselves so that our mission, Hashem's mission, will not come to fruition. If they are uninformed or uninspired we need a Ministry of Hasbara to explain that to them, if they are evil they must be destroyed.

I write this week in pain. I write in anger. I write after a sleepless week worrying about our children. I write with fear and trepidation. I write with disappointment. So many questions unanswered. How? Why? Where is the world? Where are us? Where is our faith, our sense of responsibility to our people, to our Father in heaven. Why have we let evil flourish for so long. When will finally get it? When we will stop looking to the world for permission, for our values, for what we are permitted to do to build this country. When will our own Jewish brothers and sisters stop pointing fingers at one another in accusation and instead start pointing our fingers up above to show the world the reason why we are here. For how long will we fail in our mission to inspire those that do not appreciate the truth of the Torah the beauty of our connection to Hashem and our intrinsic spiritual and divine connection to this special land? How much more pain must we suffer through until we hear the call…the cry from above? When will we be able to hug our children once again? When will our Father be able to hug all of us once again?

I don't have answers. I have hopes. I have prayers. I have tears and I have you and everyone else I love and I meet. We each can make a difference. We are all ministers of Hasbara. We are all Yaakov on top of mountain. We all have one truth we can share. May  Hashem watch over all of young boys, our soldiers and bring us to that great day soon as we say in our Rosh Hashanah service when the righteous will see and rejoice and those of straight hearts will sing and the pious with song will celebrate and the depths will open and all evil will be consumed like smoke. May it happen this week.

Have a Shabbos that brings all of us salvations and our prayers answered.
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz 
The land of Israel is not some external entity.
It is not merely an external acquisition for the Jewish people.
It is not merely a means of uniting the populace.
It is not merely a means of strengthening our physical existence.
It is not even merely a means of strengthening our spiritual existence.
Rather, the land of Israel has an intrinsic meaning.
It is connected to the Jewish people with the knot of life.
Its very being is suffused with extraordinary qualities.
The extraordinary qualities of the land of Israel and the extraordinary qualities of the Jewish people are two halves of a whole-
Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook

(answer below at end of Email)
The El Amarna letters were
a)  written in  hieroglyphics in Canaan and sent to the king of Egypt
b)  written in hieroglyphics in Egypt and sent to Eretz Yisrael
c)  have words of praise written upon them
d)  were written in Cuneiform in Canaan and sent ot the king of Egypt

OK what is the word in this weeks Torah portion that has the highest value Gematria of any single word in the Torah? Hint the Gematria is 1500.
In listing Korach lineage it traces him back to Levi. The Medrash says that Yaakov requested that his name be left off the list and it should not be traced back to him. The fight according the Ibn Ezra was when the first borns/bechor job in the temple was given over to the Levis (as a result of  their sin by the golden calf. The gematria of Bechor is 228 Levi is gematria 46 228-46= 182 which is the gematria of the name of Yaakov. The commandment as well thous shall not be like Korach and his congregation the words Lo tihyeh-it shall not be as well equals the gematria of 182 once again Yaakov who requested that he should not be part of that dispute.
Answer to largest gematria value= tishtarerr you shall rule over us.


Lavi forest- I'm sure many of you have stayed or at least heard of kibbutz Lavie a wonderful hotel on the kibbutz in the lower Galilee not far from Tiberias. The religious Kibbutz is most famous for making exquisite Synagogue furniture that they ship all over the country. But did you know that in the forest right outside of the kibbutz you can have the opportunity to "plant-a tree" in Israel. The forest is a KKL/JNF forest and it is currently being forested (nice word to make up). By planting a tree you have the opportunity to fulfill a mitzvah of settling the land of Israel by showing that it is ours, also the trees help the environment and demarcate Jewish owned land. But most of all it is really a great experience for the family to really to connect with Israel in a meaningful way. You can contact the JNF who really have done a tremendous job of caring for our beautiful country.

A song composed by my good friend SY Rechnitz upon hearing of our kidnapped boys
Shomer Yisrael Guardian of Israel, Guard the nation of Yisrael and do not destroy the remnant of Israel who recite Shema Yisrael

10.   League wouldn’t accept Iranian or Syrian strikers on their team
9.    Firing katusha missiles aimlessly into stands didn’t technically count as scoring goals
8.     Thought the league would, as usual, make it so that Israel was the only team who couldn’t use their hands
7.     Confused headbutting with just being buttheads
6.     Every time the team was being demolished, they thought calling it a tie would be considered a win
5.     Terrorist tunnels screwed up all the decent practice fields
4.     Their tagline: “Bend it like Bin Laden”
3.     Major defense was to line up innocent civilians in front of their goal
2.     Coach is hiding somewhere in Iran
1.     No one from the UN was on the Referee staff  

Answer is D:  Borrrrring.. ancient inscriptions found in Egypt from Canaan. This is from about the time of the Jews coming to Israel the 14th-13th century BC. It's jewish significance is that it has one of the earliest mentions of a people called the Habiru's-maybe us and also mentions early cities of  Israel Jerusalem, Shechem, Meggido and Ashkelon. Yipee!

No comments:

Post a Comment