Our view of the Galile

Friday, March 27, 2015

Kid-ding Around- Tzav HaGadol 2015/5775

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

March 27th 13th 2015 -Volume 5, Issue 21 -29th Adar 5775
Parshas Tzav/ HaGadol
Kid-ding Around
"Will you just grow up already!"

 "Why don't you act your age?"
"You want to be treated like an adult? Start acting like one!"
There are perhaps no words more annoying or frustrating for a kid to hear. I should know. I'm still hearing it... and it still hasn't worked. I don't understand. I see all these advertisements about recapturing your youth, all types of anti-aging pills so one can feel like a kid once again, and therapists preaching about finding your "inner child". It seems that I was ahead of the game. Why act like an adult when you’re a kid, only to become an adult looking for his lost childhood? This is a troubling question and you know what we do with troubling questions at this time of year? We save them for the Pesach Seder; the night of questions. And do you know what they answer us inevitably by the Pesach Seder? The reason is…so the children will ask…sigh…they cycle goes on.

Now the reason behind this custom is NOT because the Pesach sacrifice-a goat- is also referred to as a kid. Even though this might be confusing particularly since the last song at the Seder is about this one little kid/goat that a father bought for 2 zuzim. My kids always thought I was the father that sold them for 2 zuzim. I reassured them that I wouldn't sell them for anything less than 20 zuzim and maybe even a Dinar (or a good dinner). They seemed relieved…or maybe not. Thank God for their mother. Back to our E-Mail. Although those are not references to Seder night being "kids night". The rest of the Seder is pretty much all about the kids. In fact the Torah itself seems to revolve the commandments of this very special and important night all about children.

The code of Jewish law discusses the preparations for the Seder as revolving around utilizing all types of tricks to keep the kids up. Hand out nuts and sweets (translate pump them up on sugar and lay off the melatonin), wear a kittel- so children will ask, wash without blessing- so children will ask. The seder pretty much begins all types of strange activities that would usually get us kicked out of the dinner table, leaning while drinking wine over a white tablecloth (not for long), dipping vegetables in salt water and making all types of whiny faces, and stealing the Afikoman and running an hiding it. It continues with each kid getting up and asking their hopefully well-rehearsed four Ma Nishtana questions, which of course then leads into the description of the 4 sons and from there it's the ten plagues with all their appropriate accoutrements. Singing Dayeinu and hallel, dipping marror, fressing matzah while leaning on pillows and then all types of fun songs at the end, it is a night that kids dream of. It's all about them. So to pre-empt the Seder this year I dare to ask the question. Why?

Why is this night different? Shouldn't the most important night of the year be one where we as adults focus on the deep questions and miracles that took place? I understand that kids should know the traditions but why is it so important that it comes in the form of such strange child-like behavior so that they ask questions just to ask them? Why must we do all these strange things-almost behaving like children ourselves- to get them to ask them? Why are we going down to their level shouldn't we bringing them up to ours.

The answer my friends, the Sefas Emes of Ger suggests, is that is precisely the point of Pesach; to see-rather- to experience the Exodus of Egypt on this night with the wonder, awe and amazement of the innocent eyes of children. Perhaps the most next most essential mitzvah of the night, after the telling/re-enacting of the story, is the eating of Matzah and the prohibition of chametz. The difference between Matzah and Chametz is essentially time; time to rise, time to get bloated, time to mature, time to achieve that perfect state of man-developed food chockfull of wholesome nutrients, preservatives and minerals and vitamins-like my cheerios box says. Matzah on the other hand is cut short in that process. It's stuck in that first state of development. Why is that the main staple? Because we are meant to get away for a few days from all our man-made world with all the answers and envelope ourselves in a world of Hashem. A world in which questions don't need answers, the wonder and amazement of those miracles and that redemption are awesome enough. We ask out of awe. We ask because we just want to be heard and we know that our Father is listening to our voice and basking in our awe. We are all His children and the Seder night is the night that we get back to that moment…through the eyes and questions of our children.

The Sefas Emes suggests that it is for this reason that this Shabbos before Pessach is referred to as Shabbas Ha'Gadol the great or big Shabbos. He suggests that until this Shabbos when we were in Egypt we observed Shabbos in some way but it was entrenched in slavery. It was a day-off from hard work. It was in an un-commanded state like the observances of a minor. This Shabbos when Hashem commanded us in Egypt to prepare for our Exodus and prepare our Pesach offering was the first time we observed Shabbos as a "Gadol" an adult. Our Bar Mitzvah Shabbos so to say. What changed on this Shabbos? We were still in Egypt. The redemption had not yet come? But we were able to see it. For the first time we moved beyond the 210 year realities of our day-to day life of slaves and experienced the Exodus and Shabbos before it had even arrived as a Bar Mitzvah boy on his first Shabbos. We became that youthful, starry eyed young man and we jumped into the commandment to forget about time and place and move above it with the faith and dedication to Hashem and our new exciting reality. It is no coincidence that our first mitzvah Ha'Chodesh Ha'Zeh Lachem- to count the Jewish months is the introduction to all of the mitzvahs of Pesach. Like a child we don't have to think or worry about time. Time revolves around us. Not us around it.

I think about the life through the eyes of a child. The incredible places their tour guide father takes them. There is nothing more precious than the wonder in their eyes as they look out at the world. Sure they ask questions, how did this form this way? Why is it that shaped like that? What type of tree, rock, castle is that?  What's the name of that mountain, that lake, that star? They really don't care about the answer. They just want me to know that they're here with me. That I'm sharing the experience with them. All the other nights of the year we are perhaps slaves to time. Slaves to our responsibilities, slaves to our questions. But on this night of Pesach we are free to return to ourselves and to that wonder. It's a hard thing to do in one night. But that's what kids are for. To help us and guide us into that world of what we once were. Into that beloved child we are to Hashem. It's not about the kids tonight. It's about us. The kids in us. The kids we may have forgotten about. As we say in the Haggada even if we are all wise, knowledgeable like the greatest sages that were sitting in Bnai Brak. Tonight we go back to that simple childlike wonder and simply re-live and tell that story again like the first time. If we could do that seder right and we make it until the end. Who knows maybe Eliyahu might be at the door to sing L'shana Ha'Baah Bi'Yerushalayim with us. Sounds crazy? Sounds like a child –like fantasy that he might be there? Then stop growing up. Don't act your age for a night and you might be surprised. Greater miracles have happened…and will once again.
Have a big Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
Really cool Pesach Seder from Technion

AKA Pella Pesach cleaning medley
New feature of the WEEK!!

While in the states I picked up a great book with yiidsh quotes and wisdom and I have always wanted to teach my kids Yiddish so here we go each week another great proverb in yiddish maybe you guys will learn it too!!

Kleyn Shlufn Lozn Nit Shlofn, Groyse Kinder Lozn Nit Ru’in.
Small children don’t let you sleep, Big children don’t let you relax.

“But it’s your barmitzvah photo. Couldn’t you do something about your hair?”,”-Albert Einstein’s Mother on his Bar mitzvah day J
A bar mitzvah is defined as the day when a Jewish boy comes to realize that he is more likely to own a professional sports team than he is to play for one.” –Billy Crystal
(answer below at end of Email)
 The first stop Wilhelm II made on his visit to the Land of Israel was at:
A.    Jaffa
B.     Haifa
C.     Akko
D.    The Nahal Taninim delta
The Parsha begins with the mitzvah of the daily burnt offering in which the Kohanim do not get a portion and he urged them with the word Tzav/command them knowing that since there is financial loss for them they need extra encouragement, as people would be lax about it when it hits the pocket. The Midrash tells us the story of the righteous King Munbaz who when there was a drought in Jerusalem opened up his vaults to the people to distribute his treasures to assist them. When his family protested he responded.
“My forefathers gathered a treasure on this earth, I am storing a treasure in heaven. My fathers stored their treasure in an insecure place. I store it securely. My fathers stored it without profit and I am investing it beneficially. My fathers accumulated treasures of money and I am accumulating treasures of souls. My father’s put aside for others, I am putting aside for myself. My fathers stored for this world I am storing for the world to come.”
Did you donate money for Maot Chittim/ to help needy families for Pesach yet. If not you can contribute at the following link to Yad Eliezer.
 And once you wallet is out why not click on my link and sponsor a weekly E-Mail J
Celebrating a Family Simcha – Whatever your Jewish occasion is Israel is the place where the celebration of the event will be most meaningful.  A Bar or Bat Mitzva in Jerusalem with prayers by the Kosel, or at Kever Rachel, or maybe even on top of Masada or in Tzfat. How meaningful is that? Getting your start as a young man or woman in Hashems country, fulfilling your first mitzvas as an adult in the country where they were meant to be kept the most ideally. Combine that with a tour of your homeland with the right guide (hint, hint) and you have a trip and an experience that will remain with our newest adult members off the tribe that will last them forever. Weddings are also an amazing place occasion to have here in the holy land. Starting your Jewish home in your Jewish home. Besides they are a lot cheaper here from what I understand. A Jewish joyous occasion is only one when you include the entire Jewish people in it. Here in Israel the whole country will celebrate your simcha with you. And that is cool!
Bob, not a real practicing Jew, is invited to his nephew's bar mitzvah. The invitation also says that they would like him to do an aliyah. Not being a regular shul goer, he learns how to do it. Every day he practices, "barachu et hashem hamevorach... baruch hashem hamevorach leolam vaed."
On the day before the bar mitzvah, he practices it one more time and when he went to sleep that night, he was confident that he knew it well.
The day of the bar mitzvah arrives and soon it was his turn in the shul. He goes up and says, "barachu et hashem hamevorach."
Everyone behind him then said, "barach hashem hamevorach leolam vaed."
"Be quiet” he shouts, "I can do it myself!"
Rivkah wakes up one morning and utters a loud "Oy Vay" She has a nagging pain in her left shoulder. She immediately goes to see her doctor.
After examining her, her doctor says, "Do you own a full length mink coat?"
"Yes doctor, mine Hymie bought me one for our silver wedding."
"Good," he says, "you must wear it for 3 weeks, then book to see me again."
Rivkah returns after three weeks and says, "Well doctor, my shoulder has cleared, but I now have a pain in my left index finger."
After examining her, he says, "Do you own a 3 or 4 carat diamond ring?"
"Yes doctor, mine Hymie bought me a 4 carat ring to celebrate the barmitzvah of Moshe, our first grandson."
"Good," he says, "you must wear it for 3 weeks, then book to see me again."
Rivkah returns after three weeks and says, "Well doctor, my finger is OK but I'm now getting terrible headaches behind my eyes."
After examining her, he says, "Do you own a platinum and diamond tiara?"
"Yes doctor, mine Hymie bought me one to wear under the chuppah at our Sarah's wedding."
"Good," he says, "you must wear it for 3 weeks, then book to see me again"
Rivkah returns after three weeks and says, "Well doctor, it’s a miracle. My shoulder feels great, my finger feels great and I'm not getting any further headaches. Thank you very, very much. But I have one question to ask you."
"What is it Rivkah?" asks her doctor.
"Doctor, how do you treat your non Jewish patients?"
Avrahom is a 12year old known for his total lack of religious study, so when his bar mitzvah day arrives, Rabbi Bloom is not about to let this go without comment. Avrahom performs his bar mitzvah as best he can with his minimal preparation and when it comes time to receive his presents, Avrahom gets what most bar mitzvah boys are given - a daily prayer book; a set of Jewish Festivals prayer books; a kiddush cup from the congregation’s ladies guild; an encyclopedia - “The History of the Jewish People from Bible Times to the Present”; a humor book called, “The Ultimate Book of Jewish jokes”; and a bible (old testament).
Rabbi Bloom then addresses the bar mitzvah boy, "My dear Avrahom. You have received today a number of treasures of Judaism in book form that will surely enrich your life and make it holy in the eyes of God. I also have a gift for you."
With that, Rabbi Bloom pulls out an umbrella from behind the lectern and says to Avrahom, "I present you with this umbrella because I want to give you something that at least I know for certain you will open."

Answer is D:  1898 Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany visited Eretz Yisrael in what was one of the most heralded visits in Israel’s history. With over a year of preparation, new roads paved, garbage cleaned off the city streets that had all been going to pot under the Turks this trip to fortify Germany’s hold and relationship with the Turks in Palestine against the imperialistic Russians, and British. Israel ahd many German residents amongst them many patriotic Jews as well as the Chritisan Templers. The occasion was officially to dedicate the Lutheran church in the old city of Jerusalem. The first stop was in Haifa where he landed and a special port was built for him. As Haifa was German owned land and they didn’t want him to land in Yaffo the main port of Israel on Turkish land. Form there a special bridge was built for him by Nachal Taninim that he crossed over on his way to Jerusalem where they had broken down the gate of Yaffo which used to be sealed with a moat in his honor. And the legend goes so that he would not have to bend down with his tall pointy hat upon entering the gate. He did make a top at Mikve Yisrael where Theodore Herzl ran to meet with him while he was on his horse leaving and tried to take a picture with him, to bolster his own position for his Zionist dream. The picture didn’t come out, they only got Herzl’s feet so they doctored it up and cut and pasted it in. and there you have it.

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