Our view of the Galile

Friday, July 18, 2014

The IDF!- Matos 2014/5774

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

July 18th  2014 -Volume 4, Issue 37 -20th  of Tamuz 5774
Parshat Matos
The IDF!

It's a wimpy name for an army if you ask me; The Israel Defense Force. It kind of sets ourselves up for the notion that we are on the defense and that we will always need an army to defend ourselves. There were other options when we started. There were in fact three different forces in pre-state Israel. The Irgun or Etzel (Irgun Tzva Liumi) which was the Organized National Army and the LeCHi (Lochamei Herut Israel) The Israel Freedom Fighters. But Ben Gurion and the Hagana were the strongest of the three so we are left with an army that is named peacefully the Israel Defense Force. If only the world would see us that way as well…

But the truth is what we might lose in our pacifist sounding name we make up for, thank God , in our unbelievable determination, dedication and sense of self-sacrifice to go to the end of the world to do what we have to do to protect our country and our people. I don't necessarily speak about our various governments and politicians who have sometimes let us down in their decisions that sometimes are too often influenced by that seemingly endless Jewish desire and fruitless pursuit to be loved by the world or at least not to be so hated and condemned. I speak rather about our brave young men and women who are willing and even to a large degree feel honored to be able to run into the firing line in order to save and defend our people without any sense of self. The wars of Israel are filled with stories soldiers who have jumped out of one burning tank to only get into another and continue the fight, soldiers who have braved all odds and left their families to collect intelligence that will protect us by living as Arabs in their countries and gaining precious intel from those that seek to destroy us. Perhaps even most amazing to the world is how Israeli soldiers and our emergency services are the first responders in many other countries who need our help in times of crises and natural disasters.  So there we are the IDF-Israelis Don't Fear, Israel's Dedicated Friends, Israel Dislikes Fighting, Israel Defends Freedom, Israel Desires Friends, but perhaps most significantly and yet to be fully achieved The Israeli Divine Forces.

This week's Torah portion tells us the story of one of the final battles of the Jewish people; the fight and the destruction of the nation of Midian, who at the scheming of the Bilaam and the Moabite king Balak who had been unsuccessful at cursing the Jewish people (remember the talking donkey trick) succeeded in their plan B against us. Bila'am realized that the way to get the Jewish people is not by trying to kill us or curse us, rather the greatest way to get to us  is by pretending to be our friends. They sent their daughters to seduce us and lo and behold it worked. Next thing we knew it as soon as we saw they didn’t want to kill us wadda boom wadda bing we were in their tents and worshipping their idols… Hashem of course did not like that plan. In general He has a problem with His children trying to disappear and shirk their special mandate to bring light to the world. 24,000 dead Jews in a plague later, which is only brought to an end by Pinchas and his heroic zealotry, Hashem commands Moshe to avenge those deaths by wiping out Midian. Jewish blood is not cheap.

I know this story seems so long ago. I don't just mean historically which actually and sadly does not feel so long ago, but rather I mean textually. It actually started over two parshiyot ago and the command to fight against Midian was the beginning of last week's Parsha almost 5 chapters before the actual battle. It seems that the Torah for some reason separated the command for the battle with a long seemingly misplaced cut and paste job of narratives, laws and sacrifices until we get back to this "jew"cy battle. We know by now that everything in the Torah including its placements and the form in which it tells us its narratives has a reason. Let's see what the significance of these pre-war instructions and stories as prerequisites to the actual battle are.

The lists of instructions from the command until the battle are actually quite fascinating. First we are told of the counting once again of the Jewish people post-plague according to the tribes. Now although one might assume this was just a head count to figure out who will go to battle or not and how many available troops we have, the Torah tells us something else. "And Hashem said to Moshe to these will the land be divided as an inheritance according to the counting of their names…each man according to their numbers  shall be given their portion". This wasn't an army count, it was a pre-inherit the land count. The narrative therefore continues with the story of the daughters of Tzlafachad and their desire and ultimately successful bid and plea to also inherit the land. This of course than leads to Hashem's denial of Moshe's bid to enter the land and the setting up of the leader that will bring them into the land, none other than Yehoshua.  Seemingly before we wage war against Midian it was critical to count, explain and clarify to them, that this is not just a battle against an enemy this is the beginning of a war in which they have a larger vested interest and goal; The acquisition of our divinely promised homeland in which every single surviving Jew would have a portion.
The truth is the Torah in fact tell us specifically that this group are really if one thinks about it survivors. Right after the count the Torah tells us

"And this counting of Moshe and Elazar   there were none who were in the previous count of moshe and Aharon at Mount Sinai for Hashem had said they would all die in the wilderness."
This was the generation that had been under twenty and that were born afterwards. The dramatic plague at the Midian debacle wiped out the remaining Jews left. This was the new generation. There are no more sins in the wilderness, no more deaths, no more plagues. The new world awaits them and they need to understand what they are fighting for. They need to know that they must succeed where there parents failed. The land will be theirs. Their leader will no longer be Moshe, once they get there, so don't get all hung up on the Moshe golden calf replacement thing again. You can do it. This land will be yours. Avenge their deaths by eradicating the evil and assimilationist temptations that will distract you from your mission. You have to build me a special different country.

And what type of country will that be? The Torah than tells us the next two narratives and laws. It will be a place where there will be sacrifices twice daily sacrifice being offered up in the Temple for him  Every Jew will have a part of that daily  sacrifice. There will be Kohens and shifts and his annual half shekel donation  makes sure he's a part of it. It will be a place where you will meet with me regularly. Where we will have holidays together.Where the mere words and vows that you make and take have the power to create sanctity and holiness and will transform the world. Don't make the mistake of your forefathers of Lashon Hara on the land and of despair and crying. Your words and your oaths will be fulfilled. You will bring their offerings to me in our Temple. You will have wives and husbands and fathers and daughters each one of them offering up gifts and promise to Hashem. We will be a family…a holy family. We will be one in our home.

It is then and only then that the Torah can tell us about the battle with Midian. For us to succeed at war we have to know what we are fighting for. We were not meant to have a nation and country like any other nation or country. We're not just another member of United Nations. We are a family that is meant to live in on its divinely granted and inherited homeland that is our family heritage. You fight differently when you're fighting outside of your own personal backyard. We are not merely just fighting for our backyard. We are fighting for the world. For the world will only fulfill its destiny when we can show them what it feels like to have Hashem's presence shine forth from our country. We're fighting for Him. I know that the monsters on the other side feel they are also fighting a Jihad and they are Allah's army. It's what makes them so dangerous. It's why they will stop at nothing. For us to succeed we need to know that they have it wrong. It is not them who are meant to fight the battle of Hashem. It is us. There is perhaps no greater evil than that false sense of Godliness that they cloak themselves in. It is interesting to note that the name Midian is the same letters as the word Dimyon-Imagination, illusory reality, make believe, falsehood. We need to know that our battle is for truth.

For us to win the war and give our family the home we have been promised to give Hashem the home he is so longing to return to. We need to remember the training narratives that were given to our first army before they began conquering the land. The land is ours- all of it, we can conquer it, and we have been granted it and we will one day soon once again see and bring the miraculous sacrifices in our service to our Father in heaven on behalf of all mankind. Watch out the Israel Divine Forces are on the way…
 Have a quiet restful and miraculous Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz 

"Before Israel dies it must be humiliated and degraded – Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal

"“We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of Palestinian land that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine.” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

“This is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and suicide operations.”- Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

“I am heartbroken by the violence, especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza – men,women, and children who were caught in the crossfire. We are going to continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire, and we support Egypt’s continued efforts to bring this about”-President Barak Obama

What would've been nice for him to say
“The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.
“Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensibleactions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that theseterrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.
“Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.
“Canada reiterates its call for the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the Iranian proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”- Canadian PM Stephen Harper

(answer below at end of Email)
Which of the following was an ancient dryland farming (haklaut baal) crop?
  1. Eggplant
  2. Pomegranate
  3. Onion
  4. Garlic

Here are some cool "Protective edge" Gematriot- Tzuk Eitan the name of this battle which was given the name after the verse in parshat balak "Eitan moshaveicha vsim b'Sela Kinecha"- strong is your dwelling and set in rock is your nest.  Our sages tell us is also a reference to our strength being our forefathers Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov. Interestingly enough the gematria of Avraham Yitzchak V'Yaakov (with the Kollel meaning plus 3 for the three words) is the same as Tzuk Eitan protective edge. In who's merit we should win this war. In addition the iron dome called Kipat Barzel the word Barzel our sages tell us is also an acronym for the four wives of Yakov the mothers of the Jewish people Bilha Rachel Zilpa and Leah. Who are certainly protecting us as well.


Gush Katif- I know I know…but with Israeli troops on the ground who knows maybe once again it can be ours again. I visited this beautiful city back in 1990 for an Avraham Freed concert and it was truly magnificent; beautiful beaches, clean streets and shops and incredible fields and fields of orchards, flowers and vegetables that were bug free miraculously grown in the sand that seemed to produce only for the Jewish people. As once we left nothing the Arabs tried could get them to grow again. Just some small statistics to realize what we had there- The agricultural produce of Gush Katif represented some 10% of all agricultural produce raised in Israel; it accounted for 65% of Israel's organic export industry; 90% of Israel's bug-free leafy vegetables; 45% of tomato exports and 95% of Israel's cherry tomato exports; 60% of Israel's herb exports; 60% of Israel's geranium exports came solely from Ganei Tal in Gush Katif. WOW and we gave it all to Gaza and Hamas. I remember as well that sad 10th of Av day in 2006 when the "disengagement/or expulsion of Jewish families from the Gush took place. Perhaps the blackest and saddest day in our States history. A day that we are still paying for today as our boys head back there. Mey one day soon all of Israel be returned to our home.

Great song sung by Israeli soldiers getting ready for battle and the return to Gush Katif
(lyrics included if your don’t understand them throw em in to google translate)


  After the death of four Gaza children in today's attack Hamas has threatened to set up more of their children for death by shooting missiles from their schools if Israel does not admit defeat.

Hamas's solution for solving the population explosion that they cant afford to support because of their corruption...shoot missiles at israel from their maternity wards.

Israel has iron dome to deflect missiles being shot at it...Hamas is not worried they have still have some six year olds that they can hide behind

Obama has offered to negotiate a peace agreement between israel and hamas. Bibi has agreed on condition that he can negotiate a peace agreement between al Quaida and the US

Israel has been devastating Hamas by destroying the empty houses of its military leaders. This hasn't worried them much because each one of them has another few wives and daughters whose houses they can still steal.

How many Hamas terrorists does it take to change a lightbulb? one to shoot a missile at the electric wires 3 to hold guns on the women and children to use as a shield as you shoot it and then wait for the Israelis to come in and change it for you...

Why did the Hamas terrorist cross the road? he saw an old woman that he could hide behind while he shot off a missile

What's the difference between a hamas terrorist and a weasel? the weasel hides its children in an underground tunnel while it protects it...

And last of all HAMAS  acronym: Hiding Among Mosques And Schools

Answer is B:  Pomegranate. Fairly easy I guess because it is one of the 7 species of fruits of Israel all of which are irrigated by rain not man. In Hebrew the term is Sadeh Baal a field with a husband. The Talmud explains that just a woman with a husband is settled and has no need to worry for here needs also a field that is fully irrigated from rain and requires no human irrigation is settled. Now I'm not sure about the other things as well. But I did know that rule about the 7 species so it helped me out. See, it always helps to know a little Talmud.:)

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