Insights and Inspiration
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
October 16th 2015 -Volume 6, Issue 2 3rd Cheshvan 5776!
Go in to the Teiva
I’m not in the mood to write this E-Mail this week. It’s been too rough a week. Truth is it’s been too rough the past few weeks. People are being hunted and murdered in the streets of Israel. Old, young, men women, Ashkenazi Sefardi, religious secular, Hareidi, Daati Leumi, Sabras (native Israelis) and even American Olim. The common denominator is they’re all Jewish. They’re all innocent. They all just want to live in peace and raise their families and have “normal lives”. And the World is silent….Once again. It’s unreal. One would think that there would be an outcry. This is Islamic terrorism. The whole world is fighting this battle. Yet Israel, which is on the frontlines, are being marginalized, condemned, hounded, maligned and excoriated in the press and the world. Where is everyone? Has the World gone mad? Blind? Ca n they not see our suffering? Can they not see the rage and wrath and the faces of the animals that terrorize us. That will be heading their way as soon as they are done with us. Do they need another Pearl Harbor or 9-11 before they realize the global threat that Israel is so struggling to defend ourselves against, with our hands tied (although, personally I feel that the only ones tying our hands are ourselves and our self—perception that it is somehow moral the pathetic way that we are dealing with this and we will get more condemnation and be less loved or get less support if we upped the ante-but I digress, you have to go to my Facebook rants to really know what I think politically) is a threat that will swallow the entire world. I’m just not in the mood. Not this week. Not when everything is going on. Maybe next week. I don’t know…
But… I have to review the Torah portion each week, it’s a mitzva, and what can I tell you? It screamed at me. The Baal HaTanya was known as saying that the portion each week should be our “newspaper” as to what is really going on in the world in our times. The lessons, messages and narratives that we read is like Hashem’s editorial to us. And so I opened my morning “Divine” Paper and read.
“And Hashem said to Noah “The end of all flesh has come before Me and the world was full of Hamas and I will destroy them from the earth”
Now Hamas in Hebrew Torah language means robbery, but not just robbery but a legally communally accepted one. The Midrash and Rashi notes that it is robbery of less than a Peruta- a miniscule amount. A penny, 10 Agurot, Money that no one cares about. Kind of like Jewish blood. Maybe that’s why they called their organization that. For that’s what the Jewish people are to the world it seems. Less than a Shava Peruta. Our sages note as well that the Torah points out that they entire world worshipped idols, engaged in licentious and incestuous relations, even engaged in murder. But it wasn’t until they went for the Perutahs the amount that no one cares about that Hashem decreed that the world must come to an end. This seems to be a bizarre justice system? The three cardinal sins do not bring heavenly wrath and yet the peruta theft does? Where was the flood before this took place?
The answer one of my teachers once shared with me, is perhaps in the message that Hashem gives after the flood for why He will never again bring a flood to destroy the earth.
“I will no longer curse the land because of the Man because the design of man’s heart is evil from his youth, nor will I continue to smite every living being as I have done”.
Man is born with a Yetzer Hara- an evil inclination. Each one of us has a drive towards evil. A desire to commit sin. Our job is to conquer that and to lift up the world and to see our Yetzer Tov –our good inclination conquer that force. But we are programmed for the capacity and the drive for evil as equally as for good. Fascinatingly enough before the flood Hashem uses almost the exact words to why he must destroy the world at the conclusion of last week’s Torah portion
“And Hashem saw that the wickedness of Man was great upon the earth and that all the thoughts of his heart was evil always.”. What changed?
Desire for sin is natural. It is human. We are created from Earth and and we are drawn to our more animalistic urges. That alone is not reason to destroy and reboot the universe. Hamas however was something different. Stealing less than a Peruta is creating a society that sins without any personal benefit or enjoyment. It is the legalization of chaos for the sake of chaos. It is evil for evils sake and even if it means that I myself will suffer because it will be done to me as well, so be it. It is the legalization of such a system by the world as well. The creation of “unpunishable crimes” for they are too cheap and petty to be dealt with that Hashem stepped in and destroyed the world. A world that has crimes that are not considered criminal is a world that will delude itself into thinking that nothing they do truly matters.
There was one man that stood up against the world. They mocked him, they scorned him, they threatened to kill him. He was Noach. The tzadik and perfect man in his generation. He lived in a world that didn’t want him and that would eventually try to kill him. For 120 years he built his Ark and warned the world. He was the last hope. The force was with him J. They refused to see. They fell more and more until they reached a point when even when the first drops began to fall on them, they thought that they would persevere. It could never happen to them. They didn’t even see that they were doing anything wrong anymore. They were just like the animals that they were drowned with. They had achieved the level from where there was no return it was all evil...always.
The new post-flood world was different. Man would always have evil designs. From his youth. But it wouldn’t be always. The world would never be allowed to fall that low. Rather than one man, Noach, that would be up against civilization. There would be a family, a nation that would lead them back. There would be a country from whence the Divine light of goodness and righteousness would shine out from. A nation that would teach the world that every action we do has meaning. There are crimes, there is a Judge, there will be retribution, and it is up to us to unabashedly show that to the world. We are the new Noachs. Israel, is the Ark that we are meant to be building. It must have a window from which to shine out to the world. And it will cast light out to the tidal waves of terror that are destroying the world. Within that Ark there is a dove of peace waiting to be sent out to achieve that olive branch of peace. There is an offering to be made on the place of the Temple Mount when it will finally be over. But first evil must be destroyed. The wicked must be identified as such and must perish. Hashem will take care of the rest. He will tell us when to leave that Ark and when the time for that sacrifice is meant to be. We just need to do our job. We must build that Ark. The holy Ark of truth and salvation.
The Baal Shem Tov, would tell his students that when there is a flood in the world one must go into the Teiva, the Ark. But the word Teiva in Hebrew is also the word for word. One must find refuge he said in the word. The word of the Torah, the words of our prayer. This does not mean that we must merely study and pray harder than ever before but that we must “enter the Teiva”. We have to go into the word. We have to become enveloped in it. It has to surround us and define us. Just as an Ark is something to hold something in. So to our words must not merely be words that are external that have to be internalized. They have to become who we are. We are the people of Torah and light, we are people of prayer and Godliness. Within each holy word of prayer and study there is infinite light that we are meant to release. There is a flood outside and it is time for us to get serious. To stop apologizing and defending ourselves but condemning and calling evil what it is as we teach the world about Hashem. It’s time to stop being a democratic country and start becoming a Godly country. It’s time to start worrying about what others will think and start teaching them how Hashem has taught us to teach.
God’s name has been hijacked by lunatics, “religious” fundamentalists, idolaters and terrorists. It has gotten so bad that any sane person is looked down upon if he invokes the name of Hashem, the Holy One Blessed Be He, The King of All Kings, The Creator of heaven and Earth, Our Holy Father. Admit that sentence made you nervous. It made you feel weird. That my friends is the greatest casualty of all of the insanity that surrounds us. That we the nation of Hashem, the Noahs of the new world and the descendants of Avraham, cannot and will not proclaim the truth to the world. Geneva Convention’s and the United Nations definition of evil and most of the world media will never accept any other moral system that we will try to suggest to them. There will be a double standard for our people until we get up and show the world the only True Standard. There is a flood outside and we need to start building that Teiva, the Ark and word of Truth.
I am not a politician. I don’t think we were meant to be a nation of politicians. We are a people of the Book, of truth. We are priests and we are meant to be teachers. Yet if someone saw fit to give me 10 minutes in the United Nations. This is what my speech would be.
“Hashem created the world. He gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people. He chose us from all nations and gave us His Torah. By living that Torah and observing its commandments and sharing it’s light with the world. We are connected to the Divine. We will achieve the ultimate fulfillment of Creation. Any and every other religion is false. All of their prophets are liars and distortions of the Truth. Following and praying to them will distract you from the ultimate True God. One does not have to kill other people to connect with God. One does not need to create children crucified to connect with him. Hashem loves all of mankind and wishes that they choose goodness and not evil. Jews more than anyone else need to connect to one another to achieve that harmony of creation. We need to join in Shabbos, to join prayer, to join the building of Hashem’s country. The United Nations did not give us the Land Of Israel. The Almighty has. We do not live here by the grace of the world and we do not want a country like any other country. We are here with a mission. We are here to build an ark. We are to live and shine out the word. There is a flood coming. Its waves are already encompassing your countries. It is time to join us in building our Ark. For if not you will all drown. Our dove of peace is waiting. But first we must destroy the evil that is born out of falsehoods.”
I don’t think I will ever be able to give that speech. But maybe you can. The world needs it before we are all engulfed.
Have a peaceful Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S VIDEO OF THEWEEK
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQwksf6ZslY –Carlebach on Rav Kloynomous Kalman and the “Holy Hunchback”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AdE5yzMsOw – and in Hebrew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r41nuUEmRc – The last Simchas Torah in Warsaw Ghetto with the holy Piatzneh and Shlomo Carlebach in Hebrew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNDFKCMVMlk – and for those with more time and more interest into this great man here is a lecture about his life.
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB 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!!
“Unzereh Oivim zol Migulgl vern in a henglayhter; by tog zol er hengen, un bay nakht zol er brenen..”- Our enemies should be reincarnated as chandeliers; they should hang by day and burn by night
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S JEWISH PERSONALITY AND HIS QUOTES IN HONOR OF THE YARTZEIT OF THE WEEK
Another new feature of the week. Decided to feature not just a quote but a important Jewish personality whose yartzeit falls out each week
.“A person should make ladders for himself by which he can sometimes go up to heaven. Song/Niggun is one of those ladders, especially when sung after doing a mitzva and with a humble heart. Every person has a portion in the “World of Song. So when singing turn up the sound of your personal song. If you do not tune in to that personal melody, but rather just sing someone else’s song it is like tasting someone else’s saliva” Rav Kloynomous Kalman Shapira-The Piatzner
Yartzeit-4th of Cheshvan this Shabbos
Rav Kloynomous Kalman Shapira-The Piacetzna Rebbe (1889-1943)- One of the greatest and most inspirational leaders of the Polish community during WWII. A scion of great Chasidic families including the Maor V’Shemesh, Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and the Magid of Koshnitz, The Rebbe led one of the largest yeshivos between the two wars. His works Chovos Hatalmidim (a Students Obligation ) Hachsharat Avreichim (preparation of young men) became classic works on the his revolutionary and now standard way of educating young men and the development of each students personal path to greatness.
His family was killed during the war and he was interned in the Ghetto of Warsaw, where he continued to teach, study write and lead giving hope and faith to his many followers. Within the Ghetto he wrote his personal moving diary and speeches that he gave in the darkest of times. After the uprising when he was being transferred to the concentration camps he buried in the wall in his home and it was eventually found after the war and published in Israel under the title Aish Kodesh- Holy fire. Although he was offered to leave and escape the concentration camp he remained there with his students until the very end. In November of 1943 the entire Trawniki camp was taken out to be shot and killed by the Nazi’s out of fear of an uprising.
Today there has be a rebirth of his teachings and even many synagogues that have sprung up from Beit Shemesh to New York to Baltimore and even a yeshiva in Norfolk, Virginia that is dedicated to his teachings and his path of inspiration. May his memory be blessed.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
(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
Abed El Khader El Husseini was killed in the battle of
C. Shaar Hagai
D. Nebi Samuel
(Each year we’ve focused on a different aspect of torah two years ago we did the gematria/remez of the week, the past year midrash. This year i decided to focus on the simple pshat/understanding-which of course is best understood with rashi who defines his classic commentary as “only coming to explain the simple understanding.-pshuto shel mikra- so this year, i hope to bring you each week a fascinating ….
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL RASHI OF THE WEEK
The Torah tells us in this weeks portion of the command of Hashem to Noach to build the ark. “The end of all flesh has come before Me, the land is filled with robbery, and I will destroy them from the earth.” Hashem then tells Noach of his plan for the flood and how he should build the Ark. The Torah however also mentions the words “And I will establish my covenant with you and you shall enter the Ark” even prior to him entering the Ark. Rashi notes this and explains what type of covenant is necessary before him entering it. “Noah required a covenant that the fruits that he brought would not spoil and that the wicked of that generation should not kill him”.
The Brisker Rav notes a powerful lesson from this Rashi- That the fact that Noach was bringing wild animals into the Ark, lions tigers and bears and that he would be feeding them and taking care of them. For that he did not require any special protection or covenant. Animals are not so scary, perhaps if one is taking care of them. The wicked on the other hand are always a danger to the righteous. You can give them anything and everything, medical care, employment, electricity, education even their own land and they will still try to wipe out the righteous. This is as inevitable as fruits spoiling over time. (OK maybe I’m paraphrasing a bit here).
The Rav’s son Reb Dovid Solevetchik points out another important lesson here that the Midrash tells us here that the time when the wicked planned to kill Noach and his family and when Hashem promises him protection is when he is entering into the Ark. At that time the rain already had begun to fall. The end was near. One would think that the wicked would be more absorbed with trying to save themselves. Maybe building boats escaping to high places or evacuating the area. But that is not the way of the wicked. It is more important for them to destroy the righteous than even to save themselves.
May Hashem establish his covenant with us as well.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL HISTORICAL EVENT THAT HAPPENED ON THIS DATE IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK-
Two years ago we did cool places in Israel, last year we did cool things to do in Israel, this year we will try to cover cool things that happened on this date in Israel.
Aliya of Rabbi Yehudah Hachasid – This Sunday is the date that the largest Aliya to Israel in the 17th and 18th Century took place. Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid one of the great leaders of Ashkenazic Jewry was born in 1660 11 years after the Chimlinzki Revolution which decimated the Jewish population of Europe. In 1697 he envisioned a return to Israel one of the first major ones in our then 1600 year exile in advent of Mashiach. He left with 31 families and as he made his way through Europe in what became a three year journey close to 1500 people joined him, seeing in him the promise of redemption. Along the way many died and dropped out and when they arrived in Israel this week 315 years ago they doubled the entire Jewish population of Jerusalem. Tragically Rabbi Yehudah died three days after his arrival. However before he died, he and his followers purchased the land for the Churva Shul which they eventually built. However with his death the movement very shortly came to an end and many left and it fell apart. The Jews left many debts to the local Arabs behind and they were eventually thrown out and banned from living in Jerusalem until the mid 1800’s when it was rebuilt with the students of the Gaon of Vilna and the help of the Barons Rothchild and Montifiore. The Shul was destroyed in the war of independence and was rededicated finally a few years ago. Becoming the highest building in the Old city of Jerusalem that rises even above the Temple Mount and the Dome there. Which our cousins were not too happy about. Can’t wait to see how they will feel about the Beis HaMikdash.:)
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S OVERHEARD IN ISRAEL TERRORIST JOKES OF THE WEEK
Whilst strolling round the Harbour this morning about 11 am., I noticed a terrorist slip from the dock and fall into the water. He was struggling to stay afloat because of all the explosives he was carrying. If he didn't get help he'd surely drown. Being a responsible citizen, and abiding by the law of the land that requires you to help those in distress, I informed the Police, the Coastguard, the Immigration Office and even the Fire Dept. It is now 4 p.m., he has drowned, and none of the authorities have yet responded. I'm starting to think I wasted four stamps.
Q: What is the most popular kids show in the Middle East? A: Dora the Exploder!
Q: What do you call a Muslim woman with an opinion? A: Anything you want she's already been stoned to death.
Q: Why did the radical Muslim go to the airport and blow himself up? A: He wanted to go everywhere.
Q: What's the difference between a microwave and an Islamic extremist? A: A microwave doesn't blow up every time the timer goes off.
A muslim, a socialist, and a communist walk into a bar. The bartender says hello Mr. President.
I called up Bezek this week and told them that I was unhappy with their service and that I wanted to cancel. They said no problem and that they would send over a technician to disconnect me from them. I quickly backed off and told them it was alright and fine they didn't need to do that I promised to stay with them.
(The most recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem was commited by a Bezek employee)
I called Hot, the other Israeli phone company to connect with them. They told me their employee was on the way. Thank God that was two weeks ago and I quickly canceled that as well...
Answer is A-I like to use the Yimach Shemo/may his name be erased for this enemy and murderer of Israel who the early Israeli army arranged a meeting with his Creator with in 1948 in the battle of Castel. All of the answers were places of fierce battles in the “war of the roads” to Jerusalem in the War of the Independence. As the Arabs sieged the old city of Jerusalem. The battle of Castel which turned hands back and forth between the Jews and the Arabs numerous times as they fought over this strategic overlook on the road to Jerusalem that would control passage to there. Husseini was killed as he tried taking the position. After he was killed the Arabs recaptured the Castel. The Israeli army retreating with the officers giving the famous orders that “the recruits should retreat and the officers will cover them”. Husseini was buried on Har HaBayit- the Temple Mount where his son the murderer Faisel the head of Fatah eventually joined him there in death. May all the enemies of Israel be thus reunited with their Creator.