Our view of the Galile

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Very Good Day-Yom Kippur /Shabbat Shuva 2015/5776

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

September 17th 2015 -Volume 5, Issue 44 3rd Tishrei 5776!
Parshat Vayelech/ Yom Kippur

A Very Good Day

Have you ever have a really bad day? You know the day that nothing seems to go right. Your alarm went off late, you slip in the shower, there was of course no hot water, can’t find your keys, car won’t start, you get pulled over by a cop, splashed on by a passing car, miss your meeting, lose money in the stock market, find out someone close to you died or is sick and then come home to a screaming house, fighting children and a wife that looks frazzled because the fuse kept blowing and the drain you were supposed to fix exploded. Supper is of course not ready, you burn yourself boiling some water and then you finally lie down to sleep and forget the day ever happened and the baby starts crying… Ever have one of those? I can’t remember if I did or didn’t, I certainly blocked it from my memory if I did though. I can think of some bad things that have happened on some days. Not on any tour days of course. Days that I wish I could take back some not great things have happened, some not great things that I might have done or said. Just lousy regrettable things.

How about really fantastic days. The alarm went off just on time, boiling hot water in the shower, your wife was waiting downstairs with a surprise breakfast and your coffee was ready by the time you came down, the keys were right where you left them. You put on your seatbelt a minute before you passed by a police officer that was pulling people over for not wearing them. Your stocks went up, you just heard some great mazal tov’s from some friends and family of yours. Your boss congratulates you on closing some fantastic deals and gives you a promotion, you win a free trip to Israel with a complimentary great tour guide. Finally you come home and the kids are all in their pajamas, their homework is all done, they were just waiting at the door for you to give you a Layla tov kiss and hug. Dinner is ready, it’s your favorite and you and your wife can spend some quality time sharing in the delight of a truly excellent day….Nahhhh, I can’t remember one of those either. But one can hope and pray right?

Most of my days are pretty much the same. Usually some great things happen, sometimes lousy things happen but most of the time thank god they’re not too dramatic. Although some people have told me that the best days of their life is touring with me, I really believe that any day exploring Hashem’s country is a good day, if not an excellent one. How about Hashem’s days? How do you think His days have been? His year? This past Rosh Hashana was the commemoration of certainly one of the most siginificant days in all of His history. It’s the day that His-story and ours began. How would you describe that first Friday of Creation 5776 years ago?

It is interesting when one goes back to the beginning- a very good place to start- that after each day of Creation, Hashem looks at what He Created and “saw that it was good”. Day One, Light and Dark-Good. Day Two, heavenly waters and earthly water are separated-doesn’t say it was good and our sages tell us that it was because nothing was really created there was just a division. I’ve been saying since fifth grade that division is not good. Multiplication I could handle, forget about fractionsJ. But jokes aside, a day that nothing is created is not called good. Day Three- whadaya know the earth is revealed and oceans are formed and the plant life starts growing- two times good. We’ve got beaches and palm trees! Fourth Day- Sun, Stars, Moon, Celestial orbits- also good. Fifth day- Birds and Fish- good again. And then we come to Friday, Rosh Hashana. How would you rate that day?

The first part of the day seemed to be going pretty good. Lions and Tigers and Bears OM-H (Oh My Hashem), rabbits, cows, deers and camels too. Hashem sees all that and says…good. The Talmud then gives us the hour to hour of the rest of the day
First hour- Hashem gathers all the dust from the world and forms man
Second hour- He’s a Golem- a soul-less being, maybe a Neanderthal, I don’t know? Interesting that man is the only creature created in stages like this without a soul
Third hour-he forms his limbs, eyes, ears, nose
Fourth hour- He blows into him a soul
Fifth hour- He stands up on his feet-now you know why it isn’t easy to get up in the morning.
Sixth hour- Man gets to work, naming all of the animals- giving meaning to the world, bringing the name of Hashem down here.
 Seventh hour- Hashem creates woman Chava- unlike her husband who was created pretty much as the lowest species without a soul initially, She was created from the highest species in Creation, man. And she hasn’t forgotten where we come from and she comes from sinceJ
Eighth hour- They have twins! Mazal Tov! Kayin and his twin sister.
Ninth Hour- Hashem commands us not to eat from “The Tree”
Tenth Hour- We do…oops
Eleventh Hour- They were judged
Twelfth hour- Man and his wife and their cute little twins- the purpose of the entire Creation are chucked out of the garden, Death comes to the world, Painful Child birth- no more just popping out twins and going out for some fruit tastings an hour later. What a day…What a day.

How would you describe that day? Good?! Imagine you spent a whole week planning this perfect universe and it all comes crashing down. Truth is everything was going great until Hashem gave us that one commandment. Sure it was only one commandment but still, Adam was pretty much running around doing what he was supposed to before that. So how would you describe that day.

Here’s how Hashem describes it- after all is said and done “And Hashem saw all that he had made and behold it was….drumroll…. VERY GOOD- TOV MEOD! Really, very good. Can you imagine that? If a day like that happened to me or you we might consider it the worst day of our lives. But here we have the first time in the entire Creation where Hashem says something is very good. Not only that but that is the day that Hashem we should commemorate each year. It is the New Year.

Rav Mordechai Alon shared a beautiful insight that we see from here. Hashem could create everything and it is all Good. Hashem can create only Tov. But Man has the power to create something even more powerful- Teshuva. The ability to sin and then to return to Hashem is Tov Meod. That is what was created at the end of the sixth day. That is what made it into the most amazing day of Creation and of His-story. The Midrash gives many interpretations of what the Meod, the very is. Good is the good inclination- Meod is the evil inclination, Good is Gan Eden-Meod is Gehenom, Good is good is the angel of life- Meod is the Angel of Death. The first six days of Creation Hashem created a good world, a perfect world. Yet it was lacking in one thing. The capacity for man to sin, the free choice that has with it significant eternal consequences, the ability for Man to bring the world to it’s lowest level and yet at the same time to raise it to an even higher level than the perfection that it was created as. The Baal Ha’Tanya used to tell his Chasidim That Tov is Tzadikim/the righteous-Tov Meod- is Baalei Teshuva- those that return to Hashem after having sinned. That is why Rosh Hashana is such a special day. That is why Yom Kippur the week following, was considered the happiest day on the Jewish calendar. It is our chance to elevate the world to the highest levels. Its why right after Yom Kippur, we enter into the holiday of our happiness, Sukkot, when we enter with Hashem in this mini-world that we have built to spend it together with Him, just as we were together in the Garden of Eden. It is all very good days.

Last week in the Torah portion, we read about the mitzva of Teshuva. For this Mitzvah which I have commanded you today is not hidden from you. It is not up in the heavens…not on the other side of the sea… Ki Karov Elecha Hadavar Meod- For it is close to you-yes that’s right Meod- very much. It is what we were created to do, to bring the Meod, into the world, to raise it up with our return to Hashem. It’s a simple process. Come to Shul on Yom Kippur think about your life, think about the mistakes you’ve made this year, think about the bad days you had- the ones that you made bad. The ones that you don’t ever want to have or make again. Say you’re sorry. Resolve that you will make this year better. Make a plan to make it a better year-not just lip service- remember we can do it. It’s why we’re here. Our mistakes and sins are not meant to hold us back they are meant to be the building blocks of the a very good world. They will lead us to that Sukkah of King David that awaits her children to return to her. We can make this year, “The Year”. It is very very close to us.

Have an inspiring first Shabbos of the year- Shabbat Shuva- the Shabbos when we return to the beginning and may we all be sealed for a very good and sweet year,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


https://youtu.be/A_6F34CodeA  –A cute and funny? Yom Kippur video what do you think?

https://vimeo.com/2811238     A beautiful golden oldie song and moving video “It happened Yom Kippur” about the Yom Kippur war

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rMRHHh8hm-c#t=114    Kol Nidrei with MBD 25 years ago and Yaron Gershovsky on Piano

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!!

Der mentsh lernt fri tzu redn un shpet tzu shvaygn..”-  A Man learns to speak early and to keep silent late.

.Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.  Mark Twain
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” - Lewis B. Smedes

 “When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me”- Emo Philips

(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
An Israeli author that was murdered in the pogroms of 1921
A.    Yosef Chaim Brenner
B.     Chaim Hazaz
C.     Chaim Arlozoroff
D.    Chaim Nachman Bialik
We think of Yom Kippur as an intense serious day of introspection. In the times of the Temple the Mishna tells us it was quite a different day. It was a day of rejoicing, a day when the girls would go out dressed in white and try to “solve the Shidduch crisis J” each pitching their own benefits. Here is the text of this fascinating Midrash.
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: Israel had no greater days of joy than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Israel would go out dressed in white which were all borrowed in order not to shame anyone who didn’t have [a suitable white dress]. … The sons/daughters of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards. And what would they say? Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Don’t set your eyes upon beauty; rather, set your eyes upon family. [For] grace is false and beauty is vain; a woman who fears the Lord she will be praised. And the verse further states: “Give her from the fruit of her hands and let her deeds praise her in the gates” ….
The Mishna also notes the significance of the day as being the day that the Torah (the second time around was given-
So too, Scripture says: “Go forth O you daughters of Zion and gaze upon King Shlomoh [i.e., the Holy One, the King of Peace] crowned with the crown His nation made for Him on the day of His wedding and on the day of the gladness of His heart” (Songs 3:11). On the day of His wedding refers to [Yom Kippur] the [day of the] giving of the Torah [i.e., the second Tablets], and on the day of the gladness of His heart, refers to the building of the Holy Temple [inaugurated on Yom Kippur], may it be built speedily in our days 

Even more fascinating is that Rashi notes that it is for that reason that Yom Kippur was chosen to be the day of forgiveness for Hashem had forgiven us for the sin of the Golden Calf on that day.
So he will forgive us for all generations on that day.
That Yonah doesn’t think I can come up with each week…
Yom Kippur in Israel – For those that have never been here it is truly amazing. This is a day that one can truly feel the holiness and sanctity of the day. Most Israelis are not necessarily fully observant. Although the majority consider themselves traditional. Yet on Yom Kippur a wopping 65-75% of the population attend a synagogue and fast. Wow! The highways are empty. Little kids can be seen riding bikes on them. Each year prior to Yom Kippur the newspapers are full of talk about asking forgiveness and making amends. The television talk shows have Rabbis and Jewish leaders on them to talk about the upcoming days of awe. And even billboards sneak in something about Yom Kippur  and the New Year as well.To a large degree the sense of the specialness of the most holy holiday of the year on the Jewish calendar if I had to describe it in a bad analogy that is pretty much the opposite experience it’s the “winter season atmosphere” in all the streets of America. Yeah, just the opposite. Israel’s in no way in the perfect shape that it is meant to be. And Yom Kippur here is still not that amazing day it will be God willing when the Temple is rebuilt and all of Hashems’s children are here. But it is certainly an incredible taste and a merit for the State of Israel that unlike the Diaspora counterparts which sadly is hemmoraging so many of our brothers and sisters to assimilation and intermarriage. Here that pinteleh yid- that Jewish spark is still burning bright.

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him. 
 The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost." 
God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this?
Let's say we have a man-making contest." To which the scientist replied, "Okay, great!" 
 But God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam."
The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.
God looked at him and said, "No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!"
One day, Eve was walking in the garden with the Lord. She said, "Lord, the garden is wonderful, and the animals and birds provide such joy, but I am still lonely sometimes." 
"No problem!" the Lord replied. "I will make you a man for a companion. He will desire to please you and to be with you. But I have to warn you, he won't be perfect. He'll have a difficult time understanding your feelings, will tend to think only of himself, and will stay out late with his bowling buddies." 
 "What's bowling?" Eve asked.
 "Oh... never mind. I was just getting ahead of myself, sorry." 
 "That's OK. I think I can handle this 'man'," Eve replied.
 "Great, I'll get right to it!" God said, and started grabbing some mud and shaping it.
 Suddenly, the Lord stopped and said to Eve, "Oh, there's one other thing about this man I'm making for you." 
"What's that?" asked Eve.
"You'll have to tell him he was here first."
Teacher: "Who were the first human beings?"
Kibbutznik Student: "Adam and Eve."
Teacher: "And what religion was this Adam and Eve?"
Student: "Socialist, of course."
Teacher: "And how do you know that they were Socialist?"
Student: "Easy, they had no roof over their heads, no clothes to wear, and only one apple between them, yet they still called it paradise!"
A doctor, a civil engineer, and a Politician were arguing about what was the oldest profession in the world. The doctor remarked, 'Well, in the Bible it says that God created Eve from a rib taken from Adam. This clearly required surgery, so I can rightly claim that mine is the oldest profession in the world.'
The civil engineer interrupted and said, 'But even earlier in the book of Genesis, it states that God created the order of the heavens and the earth from out of the chaos. This was the first and certainly the most spectacular application of civil engineering. Therefore, fair doctor, you are wrong; mine is the oldest profession in the world.'
The Politician leaned back in his chair, smiled and said confidently, 'Ah, but who do you think created the chaos?'
Answer is A-So which is the Chaim that was murdered. Interesting isn’t it how they do this thing all with the name Chaim. OK, So I guessed this one correctly. Bialik I knew wasn’t killed. Truth is he didn’t even come to Israel until the mid 1920’s. Hazaz I had never even heard of, he died of old age anyways in 1973. Which leaves Brenner and Arlozoroff, both who were murdered. Arlozoroff though was more likely assassinated by Jews and he really wasn’t an author. He was the controversial Zionist leader that negotiated the ha’varah agreement with the Nazi’s during the war that brought many Jews- and their money to Palestine during the beginning of the war. He was fiercly opposed by many of the Zionists for various reasons as well as some of his other political views and he was assassinated in 1933. Brenner, was killed along with 7 others in the riots and pogroms that took place in Yaffo where he lived in 1921. The animals hung their bodies from the gates of the cemetery there. May Hashem avenge their deaths.

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