Our view of the Galile

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shleppers- Re'eh 2014/5774

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

August 21st 2014 -Volume 4, Issue 42 -19th  of Av 5774
Parshat Re'eh

“Stop Shlepping your feet!” my mother used to say to me. “Can you please shlep up those tables for Shabbos” my wife says to me. “Where did you did you shlep your tourists to this week?” My fellow tour guides asked. (My tourists never feel like they're schlepping anywhere-it's more like a soaring experienceJ)  “Daddy, can you help me shlep out my bike from the garage” my daughter Elka asks me. I guess there’s no running from it. I’m a shlepper and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Shleppers-R-Us that’s me.
 I met a Rabbi who once told me the origin of the word Shlep. He claimed it came from the Hebrew word Shalaf which means to remove. Interestingly it is used when describing a levirate marriage describing the process of when a man who refuses to take his sister-in-law of his deceased brother as his wife. He is told to take off -V’Sholaf- his shoe and she spits in it. Sounds fun doesn’t it? That’s what you get for shlepping around and not doing what you really should be doing Kinda like Shlepping tables and bikes. Maybe that’s why I used to shlep my feet.
I saw a beautiful homiletic insight in this weeks Torah portion from Rav Moshe Alshich a great 16th century sage and Torah commentator who live in the city of Tzefat that might give inspiration to all us Shleppers and a perspective that might make those schleps a little easier.
The Torah when teaching us about the mitzvah of bringing up our Maaser Sheni tithe to the land of Israel to be consumed there in year 1,2,4 and 5, of the seven year Sabbatical cycle (year 3 and 6 the tithe was given to the poor). The Torah tells us-
"And if the road shall be too long for you, so that you cannot carry it (your tithe), because the place that Hashem your God will choose to place His name there is far from you, for Hashem your God has blessed you (with lots of  grain).
Then you may exchange it for money…go to the place Hashem your God has chosen and spend the money there on all that your soul desires there… and it eat it before Hashem."
 A wonderful Mitzvah indeed. Who wants to haul grain up to Jerusalem when you can just use the cash instead and buy a delicious falafel or Shwarma when you get there on your annual pilgrimage? Yet, the Alshich notes, that there is something redundant about the way the Torah goes to length to describe why he can’t get his grains there. And as we know there is nothing redundant in the Torah; every word is a lesson every verse a teaching.
If the road shall be too long for you, you are not able to carry it “Why is it too long” the Alshich asks? Why does the road always feel too long to travel, the burdens that we all carry too heavy and difficult for us to bear? It is because the place Hashem has chosen is far from you he answers. Hashem has blessed you and yet in your heart he has remained distant; A place to shlep to, rather than a home to return to. If we had the wherewithal within ourselves to look at our incredible blessings and understand the tremendous gifts we have than nothing should seem like a shlep. Shlepping only happens when we’re doing things that we don’t feel motivated to do. Nobody schleps to a Shwarma store or to come taste the Rebbetzin’s chulent on Shabbos. It’s a labor of love. The place we want to get to is not far from us, it's right around the corner. The burden is not too heavy if we feel we are carrying diamonds on our shoulders. We just have to truly appreciate that all the challenges we have are exactly that-custom made diamonds from our loving Father- to make us into the perfect people we were meant to become.
 The Dubno Magid gave a tremendous parable about a straw salesman whose packages got mixed up with the stone salesman. When he hired a porter to carry his packages for him up the flight of stairs from the market place and he tipped a small amount of money, the porter protested.
 “This is what you give me for schlepping these heavy packages of what feels like stones up the stairs!!”
 The salesman realizing that an error must have taken place cried out-
“OY! If the boxes are too heavy then you are not carrying my packages. The packages I gave you were light and easy to carry!”
The Magid concludes that the straw salesman in the parable is Hashem. Hashem, our loving Father, who never gives us a package that is too hard for us to carry. We don’t have to be shleppers in life if we go about our challenges with the enthusiasm that they are all gifts from Him. They were meant just for us. And if that doesn’t get us to stop schlepping our feet than I don’t know what will, but I’ll have my mother call you soon.
Have a fantabulous shabbos
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz 

"We don't have to keep davening for Parnassa/Livlihood..Hashem has given the Torah community ample funds to address our financial challenges. What we DO need to daven for is that those blessed with the money to know what it's for…
The currency in heaven- the way to buy nice things and get good service there- is only with canceled checks."- Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz

(answer below at end of Email)
 Q. The site of Izbet Sarta is usually identified with:
1.      Even HaEzer
2.      Kiryat Ye’arim
3.      Bet El
4.      Philistine Gath

There is a great Chasidic saying that is one should be " A gantz yovhr fraylach" a whole year happy. As in all good jewish things one can find a hint to the concept in the Torah. This week we are told once again about the mitzvah of the holidays and the mitzvah to rejoice upon them. It says by the holiday of sukkot vsamachta bchageicha and you shall rejoice on your holiday which is 7 days and then it says vahyisa ach Samayach and you should only be happy the gematria of samayach is 348 if you add the seven days of the holiday to 348 you get 355 which is the amount of days (generally) of a jewish year which is a blend between the solar and lunar calendars. Interestingly enough on the same subject it does not say to be happy on pesach because the crops have not yet grown yet shavuout it says it once because we are cutting them already. But sukkot after the harvest it mentions three times the mitzvah to be happy!


Achziv Beachs– It’s the last week of vacation and I get phone calls from people asking me about  beaches to take there family to. Many of the people that call me are looking for alternatives to the regular beaches that are either packed and "mixed" men and women together or the "separate" beaches  which along the coastline are usually only one day men and one day women which for people that want to go with their family isn't the right choice as well. Well Achziv which is the coast line north of naharyia up to Rosh Hanikra has some really awesome beach inlets that are along about a 8 mile stretch of coastline that are really great. I haven’t found it too hard to find a nice quiet spot along that stretch and its really a nice peaceful place. There is also a great place to tornado speedboating along the way there as well. So enjoy your family vacation together…

I really "dig"this song and like the whole jewish rock n roll concert scene..-but that’s just me

The real inside scoop of the "peace talks" and why they are not working- with the bobbleheads

Benny’s dog has died and he goes to see his rabbi. "Rabbi, I wonder whether you could find the time to say a special blessing at my dog's grave?"
The rabbi replies, "I'm afraid it isn't possible, Benny. In fact the rules don't really make any allowance for animals."
Benny says, "But I'm really upset, rabbi."
"So maybe you should go to see the Reform rabbi over the road," says the rabbi.
As Benny walks away dejectedly, he turns to the rabbi and says, "What a shame. I was willing to donate £1,000 for such a service."
At which point the rabbi shouts, "Come back, come back."
Benny turns round and says, "I thought you couldn't help me."
"Ah," says the rabbi, "but you didn't tell me your dog was Orthodox."
A reform Rabbi was having an argument with an orthodox Rabbi.
He asked him, “Why don’t you let the men and women of your congregation sit together as they do in my congregation?”
The orthodox Rabbi (who had a mischievous sense of humour) replied, “If you want to know the truth, I don’t really mind them sitting together at all. The trouble is, however, that I give sermons and I can’t have them sleeping together.”


Answer is A:  I skipped this question on the exam because frankly this place sounded like something in a galaxy far far away like on the planet endor out of the Star Wars movies. But as a good guide if we don't know the answer we have to look it up afterwards and it turns out that it is Even Ezer which is incidentally the place as are all of the answers I believe that has to do with the Ark of the Covenant (see I got the Han Solo/Indiana Jones movies mixed up J) in Even Ezer the ark was lost in battle to the Philistines. It was returned and rested in Kiryat Yearim (Telshe Stone today- not far from my mother in laws house J) It was also mentioned to be in Beit El by the story of the Pilegesh BGivah and it was taken by the philistines who lived in Gat. So there you go…

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