Our view of the Galile

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Purim 2015- To Jew or not to Jew that is the..Top Ten List

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 4th 2015 -Volume 5, Issue 18 -13th of Adar 5774

To Jew or not to Jew that is the….Top Ten List

So I was in the States a few weeks ago, for those of you who have been bored enough to be following the life and times of Ephraim Schwartz which are covertly hidden in what a purports to be a weekly Torah E-Mail, in case your boss or wife-which in some cases is one and the same- is looking over your shoulder asking you why you’re not doing the jobs they asked you. “Oh I’m learning the Parsha” you say. Some of you even fool yourselves into thinking that the reading of my jokes and stories absolves you of your obligation to review the weekly portion. That only works if you read it twice with targum translation though. Anyways you faithful know that I was in the States, the rest of you shame on you!
While I was there it struck me how American everyone is there. Not the goyim, they were mostly Mexican and Russians, I mean the Jews. Everyone had their nice big comfortable American cars, or mini-vans and gas guzzling Suburbans with not a care that some of us here suffer with French made cars and American knockoffs that still have to pay 7 dollars a gallon for gas. There were like a million restaurants all American of course I mean Mexican, Italian, and Israeli American and of course your good old Kosher fast food BBQ joints all packed. Bagels, Bialys, Danishes and real doughnuts. Papers were all in English-although some of the chareidi ones could work on their English a bit (as if I’m one to talk...). There was American flags on people’s doors and bumper stickers, people were talking about American sports and politics shows and music. It was strange coming from our very Jewish country to see how acclimated and assimilated everyone seemed to be. It made me think about our history. The glatt kosher restaurants and newspapers our people had in Germany before the war, in Spain before the Inquisition in France before the Crusades. How French, Spanish and German our people must have felt. Like it was paradise to go on forever.

Truth is the same thing even happened before medieval times the times of the Temple, there were Jews felt more Greek than the Greeks and more Roman than the Romans. Till they started to burn our Temple and kill us that is. That always seems to put a damper on our attempts at assimilation. Each new society mind-bogglingly enough failed to learn from their predecessors and though that “this time it will be different”, “this place is better” and the always popular “Never Again!” 60-70 years of no one trying to kill us generally does that to us. Now Hashem knows that history was never our strong subject, he chose us for our good looks our chulent making skills and for some reason our chiropractically incurable stiff-necked-ness. He also knew about our proclivity for liking to eat big meals regularly. So instead of making us sit through history classes regularly he gave us holidays so that we would hopefully remember some of the fun events that happened over our 3000 year existence. Hey its spring time eat some cracker like substance over a big meal without bread and remember something about Egypt and slaves. Hey its winter let’s eat some oily pancakes and doughnuts and remember something about Greeks. It’s the heat of the summer let’s not eat and remember a Temple or two burnt by the Romans and Babylonians. This time of year we are told to eat a lot of candy and cake and drink ourselves into a stupor to remember the last established holiday while we were in exile in pre-nuclear Iran (thank you very much Mr. Netanyahu for reminding the US congress and boosting yourself in the polls too bad you’re not running in American elections. It sounds like you would be a shoo-in). We had a big party while we were assimilating there and then we were saved and most Jews decided that’s not too bad and decided to stay there for the entire second Temple period. Sadly they disappeared as most of our people have if the goyim don’t kill us and exile us fast enough. Sighhh…
I know, I know you’re sick of these anti-living-outside-of-Israel rants. As if Israel was like the only place Hashem promised the Jews should live or something. C’mon get a life. Where would Israel be without Jews in AIPAC paying off people in congress to clap when Netanyahu speaks? I know it’s getting old already. I mean I would probably hate reading me by now when I lived in America. Mashiach is not here yet. Israel is not perfect…not even close. So stay in America…enjoy the bagels. Just use me as tour guide when you come visit and bring some bags of clothing for my wife as well. But in order to help you exist in the United States of America and not assimilate I decided out of the goodness of my heart and burning in my chest (I just had meatballs for supper) to dedicate this year’s annual Top Ten List to give you a nice handy list to keep in your pocket at all times to remind you why it’s better to be a Jew than a Non-Jew. Now many of you, my precious readers, I know are very religious, despite the fact that many of you would find it easier to sacrifice your son on altar to Baal rather than move to Israel. Some of you go to the Mikva regularly and fool yourself that you’re now pure enough to last a lifetime albeit in what the Talmud calls the land of impurity. You’re not too worried about your children assimilating and leaving the path of Torah tradition because your Rabbi told you that that only happens to people who move to Israel when their kids are “the wrong ages” never in Lakewood, Boro Park or any other religious community in “God’s other promised land”. But who knows maybe they’re wrong. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have something worthwhile that you can hand to your children as you try to explain to them why it is worth giving up all the “wonderful things a true blue goyishe life can afford them, although it is not enough to that they should pick up their family ever and move to Israel for. So here it is my dear readers who have not yet unsubscribed…


10) Chulent. Yes, that wonderful food that no goy has ever been able to make and that most can’t even imagine eating. They can try making some type of bean stew, but they could never leave it cooking over night or over two nights as we in the Schwartz house like to put ours up on Thursday already so we can have chulent for breakfast Erev Shabbos. It is truly the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving until you have it again the next week. Yes chulent alone is a good enough reason to be Jewish

9) Jewish music- especially since I started composingJ. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy some goyishe music here and there. But there’s nothing like a good Jewish niggun to raise your soul. Or a kumzitz when twenty yeshiva guys who have had way too much chulent sit around in a small room with candle singing their hearts aflame like coyotes crooning to the moonlight. It’s really beautiful, goyim don’t do that. They just have the Karaoke thing and you have to be pretty drunk to do that.

8) Jewish dancing- kind of a continuation of the above. But goyim have all these complicated dances and moves and they’re pretty much trying to impress and feel up the opposing gender as much as possible in the process. It’s kind of like a mating call for them. Jewish dancing is all about the opposite of that, its about getting sweaty while shuffling around in a circle squished together next to someone who smells worse than you and then running around faster and faster until you have a cardiac arrest. Its really quite fun. The best is the guys that break loose from that tight death clamp of a circle to get to the middle and they flap and flail they’re hands and feet around as they look like they are having some type of horizontal epileptic attack. This is fun Jewish style. A non-Jew will never get too experience this.

7) Shnorrers/Jewish beggars- Non- Jews that can’t or won’t work go homeless. They sleep on street corners outside subway stations and heat themselves by the steam coming up from the manholes. Jews, even the ones that can work are never homeless, they just run around town in the morning from synagogue to synagogue harass people enough while they are praying until they pay them to go away and then they go back to their fancy homes and live another day. Along the way they enjoy some nice hot coffee and snacks that many synagogues provide. It’s a wonderful way of life for many. Gentiles don’t have that luxury. The nice part as well is that the Jews that give the charity feel good about it as well, because it’s a mitzvah in fact one that promises a return by Hashem Himself. So it’s a win-win all around.

6)  Jewish Geography-Two goyim meet in an airport one does not turn to the next one and say “Shalom Aleichem my name is Bob. What’s yours? Where are you from? Oh Atlanta, do you know Frank?” They each read their own newspapers and much on their trayf sandwiches. Not so our family. Every Jew knows someone, who knows someone that you must know. They want to tell you about that connection. And another one and another one. Jews never get stranded anywhere. Everyone knows someone somewhere that would have no problem putting him up for Shabbos. And worse comes to worst there’s always Chabad. Motel 6 is for gentiles. We always have the Shabbos lights on for you.

5) Israel- whether you live here or not, only Jews can experience the sense of coming home that occurs when one comes to the Holy Land surrounded by your people, your army, your holy and historic places. Greeks can go visit their “old country” Germans can enjoy a good knockwurst at their old German hangouts, but only Jews no matter where they’re from will feel their souls uplifted even as they are being ripped off at the shuk, or yelled at by a taxi driver. Just to have that sense even once in your life that your ancestors longed for for thousands of years is something that someone who is not a MOT will ever get.

4) Kosher- not that it tastes any better than non-kosher food. In fact many people that were not raised on kosher and then started a kosher lifestyle have told me that they still miss some of those creepy crawly bottom feeders or some good “other white meat”. I don’t mean kosher cuisine as well or Jewsuine I should say like Gefilte Fish, Kugel, Matzah Ball soup, lukshen, or schmaltz herring. Goyim can get that as well, although they probably won’t appreciate it much more than chulent. I mean the joy of knowing that everything you put in your mouth is GOD approved. It’s right for your soul. There is also nothing more exciting and exhilarating than being stuck out in some fardurbeneh place and as you look from aisle to aisle all of a sudden you come upon a jar of Manishevitz something or other or some Empire chicken or even a kosher restaurant. That is a pleasure that a non-Jew can never appreciate.
* true story- the Schwartz family was camping out in Zig Zag (that’s really its name) Oregon one summer and sure enough in the local grocery in this little hick town under the ethnic food section they had not only cans and jars of every imaginable kosher food from soup croutons to borsht but they even had boxes and boxes of hand made shmura matza, for a dollar a box! We’re probably the only family that came home with more food than we left with…J

3) Shabbos-Goyim have Sunday, they mow the lawn and fix their cars and go to the mall. Whoopee doo… We have Shabbos. We eat, pray, sleep eat some more, sleep some more and we sing with the family around the table a lot. We do this every single week. It’s heavenly. The truth is I really don’t do the sleep thing that much or very well anymore, certainly not during the week. I think I used up all my sleeping points in my high school and yeshiva years. But Shabbos comes around and I’m out like a light on the couch after our multi-course meal of a million salads, fish, soup, chicken, kugels leafy salads my wife always puts on my plate, for decoration I think, and of course sunflower seeds a bissele cake and tea for desert. Goyim only get to exercise their stomach muscles like that on thanksgiving. We do it every week. But it’s also so incredibly holy. No phones, no computers, no business or work except for Rabbis like me that have to prepare and give their sermons- but that’s a labor of love for me at least- although some of my congregants might feel otherwise. It’s a day of bliss. One that non-Jews are even prohibited by Jewish law from fully observing. If you could only be Jewish for one day a week. Pick Shabbos

2) Torah study- now until recently this had an added benefit of getting one out of Israeli military service. All you had to do was register in a yeshiva attend classes and live in poverty for the rest of your life. From what some of my parents friends told me it helped quite a few get out of active service in Vietnam as well in the US. Talk about shared traditions and values Mister Netanyahu. But the truth is for anyone that has ever engaged in serious Torah study it is perhaps one of the most fantastic experiences one can ever have. We’re not just reading some silly novels about changing thrones or witches that play some silly English ball games on brooms, nor are we studying laws, history or Bible. Jewish Torah study is literally like listening to a tape recording of works on thought, history, spirituality, ethics, and morality with all kinds of neat stories, parables and hidden messages from thousands of years of Jewish sages. All incidentally passing down traditions and ideas that we’re given to us by God Himself on Sinai. When we pray, a Rabbi once told me, we are talking to God, but when we study Hashem is talking to us. Now how awesome is that! Even more awesome though is that if you get really good at the Torah study thing, you can eventually become a teacher yourself. In fact you’re meant to become. All Jews were given the mandate to teach the world that wisdom. The really good ones even figure out a way to make a living out of it. Maybe become a rabbi that doesn’t have to be a tour guide as well to pay his bills or beg each week in his weekly E-Mails. Who knows? The sky is the limit. But once again this is an opportunity that is only open to the people of the Book. 
1)        And the number one reason why its better to be a Jew than not is... drumroll....
Miracles- yup. Miracles. Goyim have miracles too, don’t get me wrong. Not any of the baloney made-up yoshki or muchamed stuff, but Hashem breaking the laws of nature to take care of his children; and all mankind is His children. But the Jewish people are like the kings of miracles. Our entire existence after 3000 years of everyone and his horse trying to kill us is nothing short of pure unadulterated extraordinary Divine manipulation. It doesn’t make any sense otherwise. The fact that we haven’t assimilated and disappeared despite our various really try-hard-to-dump this chosen-people-thing time and time again and generation after generation, but have been unsuccessful is only because Hashem inevitably steps in and somehow finds a way to protect us from ourselves. Being Jewish means that one is connected to Hashem and to the Master Plan of Creation. We are the world’s miracles, because the world needs to see miracles to appreciate the Divine, to tap into the ultimate goodness of a God-filled life. So being Jewish means being part of a miraculous existence and that my friends truly rocks!

So there you have it our Top Ten list of the year. I know there were many things that I left out that were equally important. Jewish wives, Jewish Mothers, Jewish children and of course Rabbi’s sermons, kiddushes, Jewish politics, the joys of Yiddish, Teshuva/repentance. But hey God had a lot of commandments and yet only shared Ten as well to start off with as we stood on Mt. Sinai. The rest of course we are meant to study and find for ourselves. Much of the other reasons can actually be found in this E-Mail’s numerological Gematria values and its Midrashic accompaniment. Much more can be discovered if you read this by your Purim feast and finish off the bottle sitting in front of you. Regardless Perhaps the last and greatest reason to appreciate our yiddishkeit is because god-willing very soon Mashiach will be here. It will be quite embarrassing if you threw it away like the day before he comes. Almost as embarrassing as the fact that you chose bagels and customer service over living in God’s chosen land. Sorry I couldn’t resist one last line. But really drink a LChaim- Cheers to being Jewish and God willing very soon the whole world will be drinking together with us as we welcome Hashem and you back forever to Our Home.

Have an exuberantly joyous Purim,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

(PS For previous years funny Purim Rabbi Schwartz's Top Ten List click on the link below
(Top ten reasons to use Rabbi Schwartz as a tour guide)
(Top ten symbols suggestions for israel's government ministries)

(Top Ten reasons to read Rabbi Schwartzes weekly E-Mail)
This weeks Insights and Inspiration has not been sponsored by you. Why not? Maybe you're hoping I will stop sending you these already. I won't. Maybe you think we have enough money and plenty of extra time on our hands to write these for you. We don't. Maybe you think I wouldn't notice or appreciate it if you just sent me an E-mail or clicked on our paypal link and dropped us a few bucks. I would. I will even send you a personalized autograph first copy of my book. When I decide to write it....sponsor... sponsor... sponsor...

"Odem yesodo meofer vesofo leofr,” beyno—lveyno iz gut a trink bronfn.."- A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end”—and in the meantime it is good to drink whiskey
 And one more
“Az men krigt zikh miten rov, muz men sholem zein miten shainker”- If you’re in a fight with your rabbi, make peace with your bartender

The megilla tells us the story of Purim but the midrash Ephraim shares with us the reasons behind the story. Why were the Jews punished so our Parsley Sages (Rose married Time) explained it was because the Jews ate from the feast of Achashveirosh. Now the problem with eating at the feast and the diabolical plot all revolved around the fact that Haman knew the Jews could never turn down a free meal. Especially a kosher one. Some Jews actually came just for the photo-op on the Persian Rose Garden. They would actually sell their grandmothers down the tubes for that opportunity. Those Jews eventually ran for the Israeli Knesset. But anyways back to our story. The Jews ate for free. They got so accustomed to that when the vessels of the Temple were brought out they got used to attending Temple for free as well and not paying Synagogue dues. Even worse than that when Haman bribed the king with 10,000 shekels to kill the Jews. The Jews didn’t’ even try counter-bribing. I mean c’mon 10,000 sheks is only about $3000. My shul costs more to run than that. But the Jews sadly had become accustomed to a free ride. They couldn’t even save themselves. Maybe they figured if they had a Jew from the tribe of Binyamin (also known as Bibi) go speak in front of congress or the UN and a lot of gentiles clapped that would be enough and they wouldn’t have to pay anything. But it didn’t work. Finally Esther decrees a fast. Now when Jews don’t eat we realize it must be serious. When it’s for three days it’s really serious. So We did Teshuva. We contributed to needy families in Israel/particularly those in the North and Hashem saved us. The conclusion of the story is that Hashem put into place a new system in Persia and for all of Jewish life. He had the King declare taxes. Those taxes would of course have exemptions for charitable giving kind of like the 401c3 that we enjoy here for all checks made payable to American Friends of Young Israel and mailed to me. The Jews thus realized that they should always give tzedaka because if not the tax man will take it away. The End of the Megilla with its Midrashic interpertation

COOL-Get out of your car and pray on the side of the road
UNCOOL- doing it next to someone who also stopped to take a leak

COOL- burying your head into the Wailing Wall and praying to Hashem after putting in a letter
UNCOOL- sticking in a piece of gum your chewing into the crack so that the cool guy’s hair gets stuck

COOL- Stopping your car in the middle of the highway to get out and dance with some wacky breslaver chasidim
UNCOOL- letting the air out of their tires while they’re not looking

COOL- taking out an Uzi and blasting the heck out of some stupid terrorists that have just thrown rocks at your car that are trying to kill you and your family.
UNCOOL-driving off sighing and calling the police to help out the situation.

COOL-voting in Israeli elections and arguing with everyone you meet about why their particular party stinks.
UNCOOL-actually believing that anyone that is running for office in this country will not rob you blind and can be counted on to offer any type of protection or security from arabs or nations that will try to destroy us.

COOL- having a talented Rabbi, Author, composer, Kiruv professional, restaurant and wine connoisseur with the first name Ephraim and the last name Schwartz be your tour guide in Israel.
UNCOOL- having anyone else or at least the people that don’t give me a commission for recommending me J

Vnahapoch Hu New tune

coolest IDF megilla reading!

cool Chabad Purim invitation

shlomo carlebach purim kumzitz


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...)

 So Yankel turns to his friend and tells him about his visit to the doctor this past week.
“The doctor said he has to limit my drinking. I can only drink one shot a day”
“So how are you doing with it”
“Not bad, I’m already about July 7th 2055!”

So the Israeli Knesset member turns to his fellow Knesset member and asked him if he fasted Yom Kippur this past year. The Jew answers no, why should he fast he hasn’t stolen all year around.
“What a freyer you are?” He tells him “In order not to fast one day, you don’t steal all year!”

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.

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