Our view of the Galile

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cigar Wars- Kit Teitzei 2015/5775

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

August 28th 2015 -Volume 5, Issue 41 13th Elul 5775
Parshat Ki Teitzei
Cigar Wars
Yankel was a good Chasid. He loved his Rebbe the Imrei Emes of Ger, with all of his heart. When he was younger he studied the pearls of Torah his rebbe taught him so lovingly. As he grew older the Rebbe married him off and was the Sandak (godfather) for all his children’s circumcision. Each year along with 10’s of thousands of Chasidim from around Europe, Yankel would go to his Rebbe’s court for Rosh Hashanah. It was said that on the special train lines that the Polish government added for the high holidays, there were over ten thousand chasidim that came who ate on Yom Kippur and didn’t wear Tefillin…all boys under the age of Bar Mitzvah. Yet even with the thousands that came Yankel looked forward to his precious few private minutes with the Rebbe. He would get the Rebbe’s blessing for his family, his health and business. Yet, most important to Yankel was the blessing he would recieve for his continued spiritual growth.  He was enough of a Gerrer Chasid to know, that more than anything else, his relationship with Hashem and the inspiration to lead a vibrant Jewish life was the greatest gift one can have.
This Rosh Hashana though, the Rebbe surprised Yankel as he began to ask him about his business. Yankel shared with the Rebbe that his business was expanding and in fact in a few weeks he would be traveling for a few days to Paris to purchase more materials and to create new networks of supply. The Rebbe then made a request of Yankel.
“I heard that they sell very good cigars in Paris, would you be able to pick me up a box?”
Yankel was a bit taken aback. Was the Rebbe really thinking about cigars on the holiest of days?
Yet, he knew better then to question the Rebbe. He quickly assured the Rebbe that he would bring him two boxes of the very best he could find and would return within a month with the Rebbe’s cigars.
Sure enough two weeks later Yankel returned from his trip with the two boxes of cigars. The Rebbe after examining them closely though asked him if they were indeed purchased in Paris. Yankel blushed a little and apologized to the Rebbe. He explained that while he was in Paris he was so caught up in business that it totally slipped his mind. On the way home however, when he remembered, he made a stop in Belgium and bought the cigars over there.

“But don’t worry Rebbe” Yankel said “the cigars in Belgium are much better and I made sure to purchase the best of the best for the Rebbe’s pleasure”.
“Oy Yankeleh… Yankeleh”, the Rebbe sighed,
“Did you really think that I needed or had any interest in Cigars from either Paris or Belgium? It wasn’t the cigars I wanted it was the chasid that I wanted. I wanted you to remember that even though you may be in Paris you still have a Rebbe back in Ger that is waiting for you. A chasid in Paris is what I was hoping you would be and feel like. Not a business man without a Rebbe.”
This week’s Torah portion contains a unique mitzvah of war.
Ki Teitzei LiMmachaneh Al Oivecha V’Nishmartem mikol Davar Rah-When you go to camp against your enemy you should guard yourself from all bad things.
The bad things that the Torah is referring to here are in areas of licentiousness, impure thoughts and all matters that will distance oneself from God.
The Slonimer Rebbe notes how it is interesting that this mitzvah as opposed to the two other commandments of war preciously mentioned does not refer to it as a war rather as when one camps against the enemy. In addition both the commandment and the enemy are referred to in the singular form rather than the plural. He therefore suggests a deeper more meaningful understanding of the Parsha. What the Torah is hinting to us a here is not merely the global biblical warfare battles and its commandments, rather it is teaching us about our personal internal battles that we each are challenged by. And the enemy- the greatest enemy we have- is our Yetzer Harah the evil inclination that is there relentlessly to tempt us.
The previous Parshiyot describe and allude to how one must go out and engage that force whether it is in areas of observance, where we must know the places to avoid and the things that bring us down and actively battle those temptations. Or as the latter Parsha suggests there are even battles in matters of a permissible nature such as excesses where one must reign oneself (like the case of the captive women) or in our worship of God where we must offensively strategize how to win those battles. How we can put more energy into our prayers, our studies, our faith and our acts of kindness and even limit our exposure to the baser although permitted physical pleasures that come our way. In “times of war” changes have to be made
 Yet there are times when there is no ‘war” and this is what this final mitzvah is talking about. It is when one goes out in to the world to do his or her regular things. Shopping, Business, Teaching, Learning, Touring. It is here the Torah tells you that we are also vulnerable. Ki teitzei Machaneh- when we go out from our “camp”.  It could be vacation; it could be your workplace. Maybe Paris. You’re not in Shul you’re just doing your everyday thing. Vnishmartem Mikol Davar Rah- watch out. Protect yourself. Why?

Ki Hashem Elokecha Mit’Halech B’Kerev Machanecha - Because Hashem is always found within your camp. L’Hatzilcha- to save you and to place your enemy before you. When you leave home base,  to a place that may seem so innocent and so necessary, however if it is not part of your camp; if you feel that you are chutz la’Macheneh- outside of the camp than the extra protection we so need to inspire us to sanctify Hashem’s name is much harder to achieve. For His presence is found amongst the camp. And to paraphrase a US president who just a little over ten years ago said-You are either with us or against us- you’re either part of His camp or you’re not.
We read these Torah portions as we get closer and closer to Rosh Hashanah; the end of the year and the beginning of the year. There are so many battles, struggles and challenges each of us have gone through and may still yet face and yet the greatest battles are sages teach us are within ourselves. Yet perhaps the strongest weapon we have in our arsenal is knowing that we have a camp that we can always be attached to. We may not all have a Rebbe in Poland, as Yankel did, but we have a loving Father in heaven who is always amongst the Jewish people waiting and watching for us to reattach ourselves to our community. Imagine the nachas and pleasure He has as His children all gather in synagogues around the world as they join together and crown Him annually as our King. But once or twice a year is not enough. Neither is once a week, neither is even each day. We have to feel that we are part of His camp wherever we go and whatever we do. He’s not looking for cigars either or even for Chasidim. He’s looking for his children and for His soldiers to be standing tall at His side

Have an inspirational Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz



http://www.humansofjudaism.com/humansofjudaism/kimmelvid   Yeshiva save SpongeBob on Kimmel Late night TV!

https://youtu.be/RVksB8Pqi5Y  - For the Yiddish speakers pretty ummmm interesting video Rebbe Nachman Uman Rosh Hashana..what do you think?

https://youtu.be/fi90dhz4Ou8 - Another pretty wild Yiddish music video…one really has to wonder what Rabbi Nachman must be thinking…? Gevald new …hit ? or not?

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!!

Gutskeit iz besser fun frumkeit”-  Kindness is better than piety.

"I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time.” Mark Twain
. Smoking is indispensable if one has nothing to kiss.” Sigmund Freud
“The end of a good smoke is a little saddening. In some regard, it's a bit like losing a best friend who had time to sit and listen.” ~ Zen Warrior
(New exam this week these questions are from the most recent tour guide exam-let’s see how I do)
answer below at end of Email
Baybars conquered from the Crusaders
A.    Akko and Akziv
B.     Ashkelon and Jerusalem
C.     Ein Jalut and Gaza
D.    Arsuf and Tzefat
The weeks Portion tells us about the mitzvah to for one to put a fence around his roof so that no-one will fall off- “And blood not be in ones house”-The Midrash derives from here that it is not specifically the fence but anything that is dangerous shall not be in ones house. The Talmud says this refers specifically to “bad” dogs. It even tells a story about a woman who was pregnant whose baby aborted when she was frightened by a dog. When the owner told her not to worry because the dog has not teeth-“It’s all bark and no bite”. The Talmud tells us that it was to late… Lesson, the Maharsha says, even a dangerous looking dog is something one should not have in one’s house…. I just wish that Midrash would have said bunny rabbits as well…J
That Yonah doesn’t think I can come up with each week…
Randomly bump into herds of animals on the roads – I don’t literally mean ‘bump’ into them of course, rather happen on to them. This week alone we had a herd of horses just running along by Mt. Bental in middle of the road, sheep and goats along the Judean wilderness trails and camels as well. The galilee has cows all over the place and in the evening hours on many roads one can see deer, fox and even wild boar. Israel is a country that raises wildlife and cattle and prides itself on its and they have full reign of the roads. Sure there’s other places you can see that. But I challenge you to find me anywhere else in the world that has a such a great variety as they do in Israel. It’s really an awesomely cool experience just driving down the road and just seeing these herds. Just very very cool!

 A Russian, a Cuban, an American and a lawyer are riding on a train.
The Russian takes out a bottle of the best vodka out of his pack; pours some into a glass, drinks it, and says:
"In USSR, we have the best vodka of the world, nowhere in the world you can find vodka as good as the one we produce in Ukrainia. And we have so much of it, that we can just throw it away..."
Saying that, he goes to a window and throw the rest of the bottle through it. T he others are quite impressed.
The Cuban then pulls out a pack of Havanas, takes one of them, lights it and begins to smoke it saying: "In Cuba, we have the best cigars of the world: Havanas, nowhere in the world are there such good cigars and we have so many of them, that we can just throw them away..."
Saying that, he throws the pack of cigars through the window as the Conductor approaches. One more time, everybody is quite impressed.
Slowly, the American just stands up, with a superior smile.
He opens the window, and throws the lawyer through it...
A guy traveling through the prairies of the USA stopped at a small town and went to a bar. He stood at the end of the bar, ordered a drink, and lit up a cigar.
As he sipped his drink, he stood there quietly blowing smoke rings.
After he blew nine or ten smoke rings into the air, an angry American Indian stomped up to him and said, "One more remark like that and I'll smash your face in!"

Yankel was in a lawsuit involving large sums of money and he was talking to his lawyer. "If I lose this case, I'll be ruined."
"It's in the judge's hands now," said the lawyer.
"Would it help if I sent the judge a box of cigars?"
"Oh no! This judge is a stickler or ethical behavior. A stunt like that would prejudice him against you. He might even hold you in contempt of court. In fact, you shouldn't even smile at the judge."
Within the course of time, the judge rendered a decision in favor of Yankel. As the he left the courthouse, he said to his lawyer, "Thanks for the tip about the cigars. It worked!"
His Lawyer responded "I'm sure we would have lost the case if you'd sent them."
"But, I did send them."
"What? You did?" said the lawyer, incredulously.
"Yes. That's how we won the case."
"I don't understand," said the lawyer.
"It's easy. I sent the cigars to the judge, but signed the plaintiff's name.

Answer is D: OK So this Baibars guy was a former slave in Egypt who rebelled and pretty much cleaned the Crusaders out of Israel. He was a fierce warriaor proving himself first by getting rid of Ghengi Khan and the Mongolians in the battle of Ein Jalut. I knew that so therefore I knew that Ein Jalut was not the right answer as it wasn’t a Crusader Battle. I also tour Akko A lot and know that he didn’t  conquer Akko rather he sieged it and then left it. Knocked out two answers. Jerusalem was already conquered by the arabs before Baibars- that’s kind of the reason why they were based out of Akko. Which of course leaves Tzfat and Arsuf  apoliana as the correct answer. In Arsuf he used tremendous sieges engines and then they surrendered and he raazed it and in Tzfat he fortified the Crusader fortress and because it was so strategic. PS  If you ever have a tour guide that that is busy talking about Baibars in Tzfat for more than thirty seconds or so…you’ve got the wrong guide.

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