Our view of the Galile

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Last Siren- Shmini/Tazria/Metzora/Yom HaShoah 2015

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

April 16th 2015 -Volume 5, Issue 23 -28th Nisan 5775
Parshas Shmini/Tazria/Metzora/Yom Hashoah (whewww…rough job J this week)

The Last Siren
It wasn’t a shofar blast. There was no man with a white beard riding on a donkey. It was just the guy driving in front of me in some beaten up French make car with his T-Shirt with some English words scrawled on it stopping in middle of the road and getting out of his car as the siren sounded. I have heard sirens here before. They were going off regularly in the war this summer, as I toured around the South and in Jerusalem. They went off in the previous Gaza War as well that we were here for. Before we moved here I remember hearing and watching those blasts, as many of my family now does-my family being any Jew that cares about is brothers and sisters that reside here in the Holy Land- from the comfortable distance of the States. We heard and watched those blasts and saw the missiles fall with Tehillim, words of prayer, on our lips, that Hashem should protect His children, His land. His country. The sirens warned us of impending danger, and eventually they also became the sound of the subsequent miracles and salvation that followed, when the reports of no casualties soon came to follow. But this was a different siren. It is Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day. The bullets and missiles have fallen. The millions have been massacred…gassed…decimated. There were certainly miracles. The Jewish “People” survived, lived on, and rebuilt. But the siren blasts each year and we remember. We stop our cars and stand in silence and we reflect. My reflection is that it is still not a shofar blast. It’s not yet over.

We had a discussion in Shul this morning after the siren about the importance of “Holocaust Education”. Quite a few of my co-religionists suggested that every child learns and hears about it from home. The plethora of religious books, novels and stories that religious kids read are about stories of survival, heroism, and Jewish martyrdom in the sanctification of Hashem’s name during that period of time. They are not reading Harry Potter or watching pet tricks on YouTube or fantasy TV shows. They don’t need a “Holocaust curriculum”. It is already an essential part of their extra-curricular past time. For many it is the bread and butter that they are raised on. The truth is, one of colleagues said, every Jewish child that has had a religious Pesach Seder understands the notion of “B’Chol Dor VaDor Omdim Aleinu L’Chaloteinu”-That in every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. Every child in Israel, even non-religious understands that we live in a world where there are nations that seek to destroy us. There has not been a decade in this country that has not been threatened with annihilation. 1948, The Sinai Campaign, Six Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur, 1st Lebanon War, First Intifada, Gulf War, 2nd Intifada, 2nd Lebanon War, and in  the past decade alone three wars in Gaza after we expelled our own brothers and sisters from our own land. There isn’t a 10 year old and perhaps even a seven year old that hasn’t sat in a bunker or ran from a siren. We cannot forget, because it hasn’t ended. We’re still fighting for our lives.

Yet, I don’t believe that Holocaust Remembrance Day is merely about not forgetting those that perished or that there are those that still will seek to destroy us. Nor do I feel that it is about strengthening our resolve of “Never Again” or patting ourselves on the shoulder that we have a State of Israel now to protect us and to remind that the world that we earned with the blood of our ancestors. Quite the contrary, actually. I believe that it is the second part of that phrase that we recite by our Pesach Seder, that we need to reflect upon. That we need to remind ourselves and then the world of. “V’HaKadosh Baruch Matzileinu MiYadam”- And the Holy One blessed be He-Hashem, saves us from their hands” Or as the song profoundly adds in “Rak Hakadosh Baruch Hu”-Only Hashem saves us. Not the United Nations, not the United States, Not the US Congress or our Christian friends-God Bless them. Not even the Israeli army, our drones, our brave young soliders and certainly not our politicians. Dare I even say, not even the Kollel Rabbis and the young children studying Torah. or even our holy women’s prayers all of which our sages tell us are our strength and power. At the end of the day it is only Hashem that saves us. His mercy and His love for His children, no matter how far they have fallen. And ultimately it is His desire for His revelation to the whole world that will only come through us that will ultimately come through in the end. It is our faith and acknowledgement of principle, that I think about when I close my eyes during the siren. That I will not forget.

This week we in Israel read a different Torah reading than that of those in the States. We are a step ahead of you here. While they are reading about the dedication of the original Tabernacle and the tragedy that occurred with the death of the children of Aharon upon its dedication in Parshat Shmini. We will be reading about the birth of children boys and girls and the preparation of the purification process to raise that new generation in the Temple to be rebuilt. As they will read about the laws of the Kosher animals and the impurity associated that comes with the internalizing of the animals that are impure. We in Israel will be reading about the external blemishes of Tzora’as that come as a result of the sins of Lashon Hara, fighting, stinginess and arrogance. External blemishes that our sages teach only come here in the land of Israel and only on a people whose internal is already pure. Hashem commands, explains the Rebbe of Lubavitch, that one who is afflicted with this malady to go off into isolation. This is to recognize that our camp is pure. Even more than that, that he himself is internally pure. The blemishes are merely external shackles that he still has to remove. He must remove his pride, his fighting his divisiveness from his fellow man and his separation from his Creator so he can rejoin his camp. Hashem’s camp. Where the external matches the purity of the internal. A world without blemish. A world where Hakadosh Baruch Hu and only Hakadosh Baruch Hu saves us from our enemy’s hands.

There are no coincidences in the weekly Torah reading. We are meant to read each Torah portion as if it is our daily commentary of our lives to today. It’s like Hashem’s weekly Talk Radio Show about the daily and weekly news to us. We just have to scratch the surface a bit and find the meaning He is meaning to convey to us in His weekly show. It’s not just global issues either. It is the personal message to each and every Jew in their own personal lives; the challenges we face, the tragedies that beset us and the victories that we achieve. This week there are two different readings and thus two different messages for what is so sadly and tragically two separated parts of our nation. The message of Shmini is that of the remembering the joy and tragedy of the coronation Mishkan of old and the focus and emphasis upon the non-internalization of impurity, the breaking and koshering of vessels that have come in contact with the impure. In the words of the Torah “To separate between Holy and profane and between pure and impure”. Parshat Shmini is the midway point of the Torah both in letters and words. It concludes I am Hashem who raises you (present tense) up from the land of Egypt to be a God for you. And you shall be holy for I am Holy. It is the Parsha that is the turning point. When we have left the past.

Tazria and Metzora, though are about the future. The new generation. The ones not born in tragedy but in purity, in the land of our Fathers that we have waited so long to come home to. To this new generation Hashem directs us to focus on preserving that purity. In the land of Israel we will never be allowed to forget the consequences when we begin to contaminate our innate purity or the purity of the land with our seeds of dissent and with the afflictions of our lapses in faith that Hashem and only Hashem is running everything. Our fate is only in His hand. The redemption will come when we can finally remove those last external vestiges that 2000 years of Exile amongst the nations have left upon our souls.

As I close my eyes for the siren, I think about my ancestors as they marched to the gas chambers. I recall the stories and testimonies of survivors about how they sang Ani Maamin-I believe with total faith in the coming of Mashiach. How millions of them died with the words Shema Yisrael- Hashem is our God Hashem is One on their lips. They understood more clearly than any of us today that there is no one else that will bring that redemption. They understood we were put here on this earth for only one purpose to sanctify Hashem’s name and to bring His glory to this world. In their deaths they did so. It is now up to us to herald in the Final Days, Hashem’s “Final Solution” that we will soon here that Shofar sing its call.
Have a meaningful blessed Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

Rabbi Lau Holocaust Memorial day

Shlomo Carlebach Yom Hashoa holding on to shoes

 the six millions last will

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!!

Az men ken nit iberharn dos shlechteh, ken men dos guteh nit derleben..
If you can’t endure the bad, you’ll not live to witness the good.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.",”- Martin Niemöller
“Many people abandoned Judaism because of the Holocaust. I did just the opposite,” he said. “We have no alternative but to attach ourselves to Torah and mitzvot. Why? Because we want to defeat the Nazis. The Nazis didn’t only attack the Jews physically, but also spiritually. What’s the proof? The very first thing they did before the war even started was Kristallnacht. They destroyed over 1000 shuls in a single night. Ten months before the war began, they were already fighting against synagogues and sifrei kodesh, our holy books. This shows what their real intention was. They attacked our soul before our body. If we abandon the Torah, we are helping them win the battle. We must be victorious by clinging to the Torah. Our eternity, our continuity depends on it.” –Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
(answer below at end of Email)
 The Dead Sea Works were founded by:
A.    Pinhas Sapir
B.     Pinhas Rotenberg
C.     Simha Blass
D.    Moshe Novomeiski
Parshat Tazria begins with the mitzvah of a boy being born and circumcising him after 8 days. The Midrash explains why Hashem decreed that one must wait 8 days before circumcising the child with a parable. On the occasion of the visit of the kings friend to his palace the King arranged a big banquet in his honor. However on the way to the banquet the King asked his friend if he had yet the opportunity to see the queen. When the friend replied that he hadn’t the King exclaimed “How can you come to the Palace without having first met the King. For she is more beautiful than words and the entire palace is in her merit.”
Similarly Hashem rules that unless a child has first met the Shabbos Queen and absorbed its holiness and beauty than he cannot yet undergo his circumcision.
Being moved by a siren – As a kid growing up in Detroit they would have sirens blare every month to prepare for tornados. They were fun. My father would open his mouth and pretend that the sound was coming from there. (remember that Dad?). In Israel though Sirens have more meaning. On Yom Hashoa and on Yom HaZikaron Israel’s memorial days for the holocaust and it’s fallen soldiers the siren is a call for a moment of silence and reflection. People stop their cars, their shopping, their activities and all schools pause in middle of their learning to reflect upon our past and our martyrs. In times of war as well when sirens go off even those that are not in the “war zone” pause and offer their prayers for one another. The siren is our modern day Shofar that unites our people. May we soon hear the real one of Mashiach
Stalin dies and goes to hell. Satan meets him at the gate. "Welcome to hell!" he says, "let me show your punishment". He takes Stalin over to a pile of boulders at the bottom of a hill and says "your job is to push these up to the top of the hill for all eternity... now get started"
He pushes the first rock up to the top and spots Hitler sitting at a desk writing. A little while later Satan comes back. "How's it going?" he asks "Not too well actually" replies Stalin, "how come I have to push endless rocks up a hill and all Hitler has to do is write?" 
"Don't worry about that" laughs Satan. "He's translating The Communist Manifesto into Hebrew
A man looks down the bar and sees a man that looks like Adolph Hitler he walks up to him and says are you Hitler? The man stands up and says real loud “Yes I am Adolph Hitler I killed 6 million Jews and 3 clowns. The man says why did you kill 3 clowns? Hitler says “See what I mean, no one cares about the Jews”.
Aaron meets Moshe in Berlin and asks him what he has done the whole day long.
"I was at the funeral of Hitler!" he replies.
"And how was it, what happened there"
"Oh.it was surprising" says Moshe "First they let the coffin down in the hole, but then pulled it out, then let it down again, pulled it out again and so on. About ten or twelve times!"
"But why?" askes Aaron astonished.
"Oh, thats no wonder, with this enormous applause he had!!!"

Answer is D:  All of the choices for this question have something in common. Can any of you guess what they are? Hey! How about that? You figured it out? Yes, all of them have to with Israel. Good. J. Now what about Israel? O.K. I’ll tell you. Water. Each of the above were all involved with something to do with water. Pinchas Sapir was in charge of the Movil Artzi Israel’s national water system. The Kinneret pumping station which pumps out water around the whole country is named after him. Ruttenberg developed Israel’s first Electric power plant in Gesher that utilized the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers to power it. Simcha Blass developed water systems in the Negev including drip irrigation. And the correct answer Novometzkey started the development of the Dead Sea works and extraction of minerals from it.

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