Insights and Inspiration
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
November 20th 2015 -Volume 6, Issue 7 8th Kislev 5776
Schwartz, the Shepherd
"Your mission should you choose to accept it is…" and thus began my foray into my newest cool experience as a tour guide in Israel. So there I was in the heart of the Shomron, with my newest dear friend David at his farm. We were discussing the possibilities of expanding the educational activities he does there from working with teens at risk, school programs and even some army groups who he has hosted, and opening it up the larger tourist market. As we walked around and he showed me his "pet" camel and donkey as well as his modern day columbarium (a place where he raises doves), I became more and more enthralled by the potential of a great farming experience in the wonderful frontier in the heartland of our country. He showed me the flour mill around the corner, the modern oil press and the dairy farm up the hill. He explained to me how he generally will show people the process of making flour, olive-pressing fresh oil and then baking the pitas. To top it all off he has a chicken coop where he sends the kids in to get fresh eggs which he makes right there on the spot for them. And then came the mission.
We entered the barn and he stood poised in front of a herd of sheep corralled inside.
"Your job now is to take this herd of sheep right across the yard, 20 feet or so away, and let them graze for about 5 minutes or so, and then bring them back here into the corral".
Seems simple enough, right? I mean I see 6 year old Arab children all over the place doing this kind of stuff. And I'm a rabbi; after all, we're kind of like shepherds, right…? Wrong.
He opened up the gate door and faster than you could say "little bo peep" they were off. No matter what I tried to do, I couldn't get them to go where the grass was. They were running all over the place except for the one lawn I was supposed to get them to. I tried to perhaps find the leader and shlep him over there. But there was no leader. Each of them was just bolting away. I tried calling to them, singing to them. "Rabbi had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamd who's fleece was white as snow….". No go. I even started to threaten them with repeatedly using words like Shwarma, pita chumus. Which one of you wants to be supper? Nothing doing. I spoke to them about the significance of the Phascal lamb and sacrifices. Much like my congregants they weren't interested in sermons. It was party time on the farm. Finally after coaxing cajoling and schlepping I got most of them to the gate. But as soon as I opened the door to put them in… they bolted once again. Sigh… I gave up. If they want to run around like cattle, who am I to stop their fun?
Dovid'l my good friend, who I am sure will have a very successful career in this truly experience of a lifetime venture, picked up a pail and threw some rocks in it and started rattling it. And what do you know? All of a sudden like nuns to a church bell, like Arabs to the call of the muezzin and like Jews to a hot chulent Kiddush, they all came swarming. One by one they pranced through the gate, many of them turning their heads and sneering and baaaing at me as they entered. I went home and had some lambchops..so there.
This all kind of ties in to this week's Torah portion, which also seems to spend an inordinate amount of time and ink discussing the various sheep adventures of our forefather Yaakov. Yaakov, after working for 15 years for his really wonderful crook of a father-in-law Lavan, to pay for that special marry a wife and get 1 free (that eventually turned into 4 wives) deal that he cut with him, now decides that it is time to earn a little for himself as well. Lavan, figuring that he has a good thing going, cuts a deal in which the sheep that will be born that are speckled…I mean spotted…I really meant striped…I'm pretty sure I said striped and spotted and speckled… and on and on… 100X he changes the deal with Yaakov for the sheep that will belong to him. Little did Lavan know that Gregor Mendel, the great geneticist, had nothing on our grand-daddy. As the Torah tells us that Yaakov, utilizing visual enhancing sticks during the sheep-mating season, was able to produce whatever the new deal of the day was. It's a fun Parsha. Nice to know that we Jews could outsmart those that try to take advantage of us. But is it really necessary to have so much graphic detail (20 verses worth!) about sheep?
But the truth is sheep are actually quite important, it seems, to have on your Jewish resume for leadership. All of our forefathers raised sheep. Joseph and the twelve tribes, our greatest leader Moshe was a shepherd, King Saul and David as well. Even the women seemed to get into it as seen by our Matriarchs Rivkah and Rachel. This seems to not only have been a biblical requirement but in fact even a thousand years later the great Rabbi Akiva was shepherd. What's even more fascinating is that in most other cultures and societies around the world, the shepherds are generally on the lowest rung of society. Uncultured, illiterate, crass, pagans and perhaps even a little loony, yet for Jews this seems to be the "b-ewe-t camp" for leadership.
Rav Mordechai Kamenetsky tells the story about the great Tzadik of Jerusalem Rav Aryeh Levin who was standing outside his yeshiva in Jerusalem, with his son, who was a teacher there while the children were on a 15 minute recess break
"Tell me what you observe about the children playing?" said Reb Aryeh.
"Well," answered Reb Chaim, "Dovid is standing near the door of the school, with his hands in his pockets, he probably is no athlete. Moishie is playing wildly, he probably is undisciplined. Yankel is analyzing how the clouds are drifting. I guess he was not counted in the game. But all in all they are just a bunch of children playing."
Reb Aryeh turned to him and exclaimed, "No, my son. You don't know how to watch the children. Dovid is near the door with his hands in his pockets because he has no sweater. His parents can't afford winter clothes for him. Moishie is wild because his Rebbe scolded him and he is frustrated. And Yankel is moping because his mother is ill and he bears the responsibility to help with the entire household."
"In order to be a Rebbe you must know each boy's needs and make sure to give him the proper attention to fulfill those needs."
There is a beautiful Medrash about our great shepherd Moshe who chased after the sheep that ran away. When he finally caught the sheep that was drinking from a stream he exclaimed "I didn't know that you ran away because you were thirsty, you must be tired as well" and he carried the sheep back upon his shoulders. When Hashem saw this He said
"Moshe, because you are so compassionate to every animal in the flock. You shall also care for my flock, the children of Israel!"
The Jewish people are considered the sheep of Hashem. The Lubavitcher Rebbe notes that the root or base of the Hebrew word for sheep (tzon) is to go out (tzay as in this week's parsha Vayei-tzay). As the flock of Hashem it is our job to go out to wander, to spread the light of Torah unto the world. Yet we need a shepherd to help give us the direction, where to go, how to teach, when to come home, how we could truly succeed in our mission that we accepted. The shepherd we needed though had to recognize that each of is different, some are spotted, speckled, some are thirsty and some just want to run away. Yaakov our forefather who had to raise twelve tribes each on their own path each with their own role, first had to learn the ways of the sheep; the nuances and differences and how to create that one unified herd that would shine the way for the world. The tribes became experts in developing that sensitivity that being shepherds required and the tribes of Israel were born into a nation. But we wandered, we lost our leaders our shepherds. The corral is still waiting for us. We need that rattle perhaps to direct us all home. May we hear that call of the shepherd once again soon.
Have a spectatular Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S VIDEO OF THEWEEK
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbw9eHe9i-Q – Our Hachnasat Sefer Torah Dedication in Young Israel of Karmiel produce by Yonah Schwartz!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsQ0bikGkXg –Anwar Sadat’s speech in the Israeli Knesset on this day in 1977
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z799ivwsMFw – Song Hagomel Lchayavim Tovos in honor of Johnathan Pollards Release. The blessing is recited upon being released from prison.
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK
“Falen falt men alain, ober oiftsuhaiben zikh darf men a hant fun a freind.”- To fall down you manage alone but it takes a friendly hand to get up.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S JEWISH PERSONALITY AND HIS QUOTES IN HONOR OF THE YARTZEIT OF THE WEEK
.“ When two Jews get together and one tells the other what ails his heart, the result is two G‑dly souls taking on a single animal soul.”
“When a chassid enters into yechidut, he reveals to me the inner maladies of his soul, each on his own level, and seeks my assistance to cure his spiritual ills. To help him, I must first find the same failing—be it in the most subtle of forms—within my own self, and strive to correct it. For it is not possible to direct someone else in cleansing and perfecting his character unless one has himself experienced the same problem and undergone the same process of self-refinement.”- Reb Dov Ber of Lubavitch
Yartzeit-9th of Kislev this Shabbos (as well as his Birthday)
Rav Dov Ber of Lubavitch (The Mittler Rebbe-Son of Baal HaTanya) (1773-182)- Rabbi Dov Ber was the famous son of a very famous father-Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad. Rabbi Dov Ber was the oldest of three sons, and he succeeded his father as the head of the Chabad Chassidim. It was he who made Lubavitch-a small town in White Russia-his residence, and it continued to be the center of Chabad for over 100 years.
Rabbi Dov Ber was born on the 9th of Kislev, in the year 5534 (1773) , in Liozna, also in White Russia, where his father was the spiritual leader (Maggid) of the community, and of many Chassidim in White Russia and Lithuania, and other parts of Russia.His father named him after his own teacher, the famous Rabbi Dov Ber of Messeritch, the disciple and successor of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement.
As a boy, Dov Ber was a very eager student, with a brilliant mind and exceptional memory. Soon after he started to attend "Cheder," his teacher complained that the little boy plied him with so many questions and demanded so much attention, that it was difficult for the teacher to conduct the classes. Little Dov Ber was far advanced for his age, and had to be put together with older boys. He started learning Mishnah and Gemara before he was seven years old. Rabbi Dov Ber continued to study with great devotion and diligence. In addition to is Talmud studies, his father taught him the holy Zohar, and transmitted to him the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. At the age of sixteen, Rabbi Dov Ber had attained such scholarship and maturity, that his father appointed him to instruct the young men who were students in his Yeshivah. These were no ordinary students, for they had all been selected for their .piety and scholarship, and had been receiving instruction from Rabbi Schneur Zalman himself.
Those were critical times for the Chassidic movement, which was still fairly young. Although it was growing steadily under the leadership of Rabbi Schneur Zalman, and the number of followers increased rapidly, there were many Jews who opposed the new movement, and suspected, that it would lead Jews away from the Torah and tradition. Many prominent Rabbis opposed the movement. Twice, Rabbi Schneur Zalman was arrested on false charges. After Rabbi Schneur Zalman's second release, in 5561 (18 00) he moved to Liadi, which became the center of Chabad until the Napoleonic war twelve years later. It was a bitter Russian winter, and the weeks of wearisome journey in sleds, undermined the health of the aging Rabbi Schneur Zalman. and he passed away (on the 24th day of Teveth, S 573) . Rabbi Dov Ber, who was 39 years old, was now recognized as his successor.
The question arose as to where to make his residence. The war was over, with the defeat of Napoleon by Tzar Alexander 1. (It was Alexander, who upon ascending the throne in 1800, gave Rabbi Schneur Zalman his freedom after his second arrest.) However, Liadi lay in ruins. Prince Lubomirsky, to whom Liadi belonged, and who had been a great friend and admirer of Rabbi Schneur Zalman, offered to rebuild it for his successor. As a second choice, the prince offered the nearby town of Lubavitch, which belonged to his nephew. The prince was not unmindful of the great economic benefits for the town and its surroundings, if it be the residence of so famous a Rabbi, with hundreds of followers coming periodically to spend Shabbosim and festivals in that town. He was therefore delighted when Rabbi Dov Ber agreed to settle in Lubavitch, and the prince lost no time in erecting the necessary buildings for the Chabad headquarters, and other structures, such as a synagogue, classrooms, etc. Thus Lubavitch became the "capital" of the Chabad Chassidim, and remained so for 102 years, until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
Rabbi Dov Ber was a true and worthy successor to his great father. He continued to teach the Chabad Chassidic way of life, and to enrich its literature by many volumes. He established a Yeshivah in Lubavitch, which attracted exceptionally gifted young scholars. His son-in-law, who later became also his successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, the Tzemach Tzedek headed the Yeshivah. Like his father, Rabbi Dov Ber considered it his sacred task to help the Jews of Russia, whether Chassidim or not, not only spiritually but also economically. The position of the Jews under the Tzars was never easy, but it became much worse when Tzar Alexander I was succeeded by Tzar Nicholas I in the year 1825. The restrictions against the Jews increased in number and severity. The Jews were confined to a small area, called the Pale of Settlement. They had no right to live, work or do business outside this crowded Pale, where conditions had become very difficult in the wake of the Franco-Russian war.
Rabbi Dov Ber began a campaign to urge Jews to learn trades and skilled factory work. He urged Jewish communities to organize trade schools where Jewish boys, especially of the poorer classes, would be able to learn a trade. He also called on his fellow-Jews to learn agricultural work, dairy farming, and the like, reminding them that once upon a time, when the Jewish people lived in their own land, they were a people of farmers, fruit growers and herdsmen. He urged that boys who did not show promise of becoming Torah scholars, should, after the age of thirteen, devote part of their time to the learning of a trade, or work in the fields, to help support the family.
Not content with words alone, Rabbi Dov Ber himself began to organize colonies of Jewish farmers. The first colony was organized in the district of Kherson, with some fifty Jewish families. Others followed. Rabbi Dov Ber took to the road to raise funds for this purpose, and he personally visited the Jewish farmers and encouraged them in their pioneer work, also seeing that their spiritual needs and the education of the farmers' children should not be neglected.
The reign of Nicholas I was one of continued harassment of the Jewish population of Russia, with a view to force them into assimilation and conversion. One of the worst and most cruel decrees of Nicholas was the enforcement of child conscription into the Russian army. This decree, issued in 1827, made it compulsory upon every Jewish community to deliver a certain number of recruits, between the ages of twelve and twenty-five, for 25 year's service. Jewish children showed wonderful courage in resisting conversion, but the tragedy of their broken lives and the suffering of their families, broke Rabbi Dov Ber's heart and affected his health.
Like his father, he too was denounced by his enemies as a danger to the Russian government. He was arrested, but later released, and the day of his release, the 10th of Kislev, is remembered gratefully by Chabad Chassidim.
In addition to his many talents, Rabbi Dov Ber inherited from his father a great love for sacred music and Chassidic melody. His father had composed ten soul-stirring melodies (niggunim), and Rabbi Dov Ber knew their powerful effect to rouse the singers and listeners to great heights of ecstasy and attachment to G-d. He encouraged the singing of these and other melodies of his own composition at certain occasions of solemn and joyous gatherings. He even had an organized choir from among his Chassidim who led in the singing. '`
Rabbi Dov Ber wrote many works on Chabad and Kabbalah, including a commentary on the Zohar. He was a brilliant thinker and a fast writer. It was told that when he finished writing the bottom line on a sheet of paper, the ink of the top line has not yet dried. About twenty of his works have been published, a good many of them during his lifetime.
Rabbi Dov Ber .passed away on the 9th of Kislev, on the very day he was born 54 years earlier. He became known as the "Mitteler Rebbe,"-the "Middle" Rebbe, being the second of the first three generations of Chabad leaders, who are regarded as the "fathers" and builders of Chabad-Lubavitch, which, for the last two hundred years, has been one of the strongest forces in Jewish life, whose influence has been felt in almost every Jewish community throughout the world
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email
A tourist can get bitten by a Efaah (Echis) viper snake in the
A. Judean Desert
C. Upper Galile
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL RASHI OF THE WEEK
This week the Torah shares with us the birth of the tribes of Israel. The commentary of Rashi is fascinating as he explains the simple understanding, the Pshat, behind why each one is called what they are called. Certainly one of the most fascinating things to note is that almost of the children of Leah are named after her desire for a meaningful relationship with her husband Yaakov and as opposed to who she was meant to marry Esau. Starting with her first son who is named Reuven all the way to Zevulun who was named after the fact that now my husband’s permanent residence with me. Even when Yosef is born to Rachel Rashi explains that the simple Pshat is that she is named after Hashem taking away her shame, Rashi understands that as well to be a reference to even Rachel’s fear that she would have to marry Esau if she couldn’t produce children. Seemingly Rashi see Esau being the background of all that is going on.
Rashi that is most fascinating though is the one on Reuven where the text says “She called his name Reuven because she said Hashem has seen my affliction and now my husband will love me.” From the text it would seem that he was called Reuven because of this. Yet Rashi brings our Rabbi who explained that she said
“See the difference between my son and the son of my Father in Law (Yitzchak) whose son (Esau) sold his birthright to Yaakov. And my son did not sell it to Yosef ( who received the birthright and first born merits in his place) and he did not protest against him and not only didn’t he protest but he even pulled him out of the pit.”
Now don’t get me wrong. This is a very nice Midrash, but as we note each week Rashi explained his function is not to bring Midrash, rather it’s to explain simple Pshat and understanding of the verse. Why is this the simple understanding? Rashi doesn’t even quote this as Midrash as he usually does, rather he sees this as the “Rabbis explained”? The answer is that one has to look closely at the text. By all of the other tribes it says the reason first and then she called his name. “Hashem has heard that I am hated and he gave me this one and she called him Shimon. And she said this time my husband will accompany me because I birthed him three sons and she called is name Levi and so on by all the other tribes and births. Reuven is different first it says she called him Reuven and then it says the reason and she said because Hashem has seen my affliction. Seemingly Rashi is noting that the name calling which preceded the reason “she said” was for another reason and thus Rashi brings our sages explanation for the reason she called him that was to differentiate between him and Esau. Afterwards she gave the reason of Hashem seeing her affliction but Rashi understands that the simple Pshat in the Torah is that he was named first for another reason. As we not each week Each Rashi is amazing when you delve into it and how it explains the simple Pshat of the Torah.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL HISTORICAL EVENT THAT HAPPENED ON THIS DATE IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK-
Anwar Sadat, the first Arab leader recognizes Israel and speaks in Knesset – Perhaps the worst enemy of Israel since the founding of the State had been Egypt. Our southern neighbor certainly had the most powerful army and had attacked Israel numerous times. After the miraculous and decisive victory of the 6 day war and the death of their Prime Minister Nasser, Anwar Sadat came to power. Many assumed and called him the “puppy” of Nasser. And when he came to power his major objective was to recapture the power and honor of Egypt. In 1973 He started the Yom Kippur War and much to Israel’s surprise very quickly captured the Sinai Desert and was in control of the Straits of Tiran by the Suez Canal. Israel was successful in pushing Egypt back eventually. But that was a significant enough military victory, for him to be able to build support. His next mission was to see the Sinai and the Canal returned to his power and he then decided to make the brave move of moving towards peace. On November 17th 1977 Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially come to Israel and to recognize the State of Israel. Menachem Begin the Prime Minister even made sure that the new-at that time- highway 1 to Jerusalem would be completed in his honor as he was one of the first to ride on it. On his two day trip here he spoke before the Knesset and spoke about his wish for peace. It is truly amazing to hear and read what he said. I have enclosed some excerpts (but the full is above in the Youtube clip above)
“Peace and the mercy of God Almighty be upon you and may peace be for us all, God willing. Peace for us all on the Arab land, and in Israel as well, as in every part of this big world,”
“I come to you today on solid ground, to shape a new life, to establish peace. We all, on this land, the land of God; we all, Muslims, Christians and Jews, worship God and no one but God. God's teachings and commandments are love, sincerity, purity and peace.”
“But, to be absolutely frank with you, I took this decision after long thinking, knowing that it constitutes a grave risk for, if God Almighty has made it my fate to assume the responsibility on behalf of the Egyptian People and to share in the fate-determining responsibility of the Arab Nation and the Palestinian People, the main duty dictated by this responsibility is to exhaust all and every means in a bid to save my Egyptian Arab People and the entire Arab Nation the horrors of new, shocking and destructive wars, the dimensions of which are foreseen by no other than God himself”.
“If I said that I wanted to save all the Arab People the horrors of shocking and destructive wars, I most sincerely declare before you that I have the same feelings and bear the same responsibility towards all and every man on earth, and certainly towards the Israeli People. Any life lost in war is a human life, irrespective of its being that of an Israeli or an Arab. A wife who becomes a widow is a human being entitled to a happy family life, whether she be an Arab or an Israeli. Innocent children who are deprived of the care and compassion of their parents are ours, be they living on Arab or Israeli land. They command our top responsibility to afford them a comfortable life today and tomorrow.”For the sake of them all, for the safeguard of the lives of all our sons and brothers, for affording our communities the opportunity to work for the progress and happiness of man and his right to a dignified life, for our responsibilities before the generations to come, for a smile on the face of every child born on our land - for all that, I have taken my decision to come to you, despite all hazards, to deliver my address.
“It is so fated that my trip to you, the trip of peace, should coincide with the Islamic feast, the holy Feast of Courban Bairam, the Feast of Sacrifice when Abraham - peace be upon him - great-grandfather of the Arabs and Jews, submitted to God; I say when God Almighty ordered him, and to Him Abraham went, with dedicated sentiments, not out of weakness, but through a giant spiritual force and by a free will, to sacrifice his very own son, prompted by a firm and unshakable belief in ideals that lend life a profound significance.”
“I have come to you so that together we might build a durable peace based on justice, to avoid the shedding of one single drop of blood from an Arab or an Israeli. It is for this reason that I have proclaimed my readiness to go to the farthest corner of the world.
“Yet, today I tell you, and declare it to the whole world, that we accept to live with you in permanent peace based on justice. We do not want to encircle you or be encircled ourselves by destructive missiles ready for launching, nor by the shells of grudges and hatred. I have announced on more than one occasion that Israel has become a fait accompli, recognized by the world, and that the two super powers have undertaken the responsibility of its security and the defense of its existence. As we really and truly seek peace, we really and truly welcome you to live among us in peace and security.
Yet, there remained another wall. This wall constitutes a psychological barrier between us. A barrier of suspicion. A barrier of rejection. A barrier of fear of deception. A barrier of hallucinations around any action, deed or decision. A barrier of cautious and erroneous interpretations of all and every event or statement. Today, through my visit to you, I ask you: why don't we stretch our hands with faith and sincerity so that, together, we might destroy this barrier? Why shouldn't ours and your will meet with faith and sincerity, so that together we might remove all suspicion of fear, betrayal and ill intentions? Why don't we stand together with the bravery of men and the boldness of heroes who dedicate themselves to a sublime objective? Why don't we stand together with the same courage and boldness to erect a huge edifice of peace that builds and does not destroy? An edifice that is a beacon for generations to come - the human message for construction, development and the dignity of man? Why should we bequeath to the coming generations the plight of bloodshed, death, orphans, widowhood, family disintegration, and the wailing of victims?”
“Why don't we believe in the wisdom of God conveyed to us by the Proverbs of Solomon:"Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil; but to the counsellors of peace is joy. Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than a house full of sacrifices with strife.
Why don't we repeat together from the Psalms of David:"Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward they holy oracle. Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts. Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours."
“When I put forward this initiative, many asked what is it that I conceived as possible to achieve during this visit, and what my expectations were. And, as I answered the questioners, I announce before you that I have not thought of carrying out this initiative from the concept of what could be achieved during this visit, but I have come here to deliver a message. I have delivered the message, and may God be my witness.
I repeat with Zechariah, "Love right and justice”
I quote the following verses from the holy Koran:
"We believe in God and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes and in the books given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their lord. We make no distinction between one and another among them and to God we submit."
I wasn’t planning on including that much from his speech but its really too amazing to leave out. Can you imagine any arab leader today making that type of speech?. Two years later Israel reached its famous Camp David Accords and peace with Egypt was achieved with the return of Sinai and the famous handshake on the White House lawn. Sadat was awarded the Time Man of the Year and the Nobel Peace Prize that year as well. The Arab League and nations threw Egypt out, but they gained tremendous US support in their place. 2 years later though on October 6 1981 he was assassinated by the more radical elements of his government ironically during the annual victory parade for their crossing of the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War.
It would be nice to say that the date that Sadat arrived here was the day that everything changed for Israel. But sadly the arab world has yet to find leaders that have the courage to do what it takes for the betterment of their people, and the Israeli government has yet to have a leader like Menachem Begin that would be willing to settle for nothing less than that, understanding that only through true gestures of peace will it ever occur, never from weakness.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TERROR ALERT JOKES OF THE WEEK
From John Cleese of Monty Python fame…
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved."
Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from "Ticked Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.
Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout loudly and excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."
The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Three more escalation levels remain: “Crikey!”, “I think we’ll need to cancel the Barbie (Australian for BBQ) this weekend”, and “The Barbie is cancelled. The Barbie is canceled” has never been reached
Canada has responded by raising their alert status from “I’m sorry you bumped into me” to “Take off, eh!” Canada has two higher levels of alert status: “CAR!” and “Hockey Fight!”
And the Democrats in the USA have raised the threat level from “Be careful you don’t offend any particular favored group” to “The Tea Party members are a bunch of violent racists”.
There is some talk of moving the threat level all the way up to “Shutdown of all right-wing talk radio and conservative internet sites”.
Answer is A- This does not sound like a very optimistic question for your average tourist. But yes we did have to learn about all types of animal life in Israel including snakes. Not that I paid much attention to the particular species or really cared much about it. The general rule with me was that information that I didn’t think most tourists would be interested and wasn’t really Jewish in orientation, I didn’t’ bother trying to retain. I couldn’t think that a tourist would be interested in where I can get bitten by this particular species of snake so therefore I never absorbed it. That being said I was able to get this question right by process of elimination. The Galil and Carmel are pretty much the same topography so therefore they both couldn’t be right so therefore they were wrong. The Sharon is a coastal area and didn’t really sound like a place for poisonous snakes whereas the desert is full of them so there you have it the Judean Desert is the correct answer. That being said this snake is mentioned in tanach in Iyov (20:16) as the tongue of the Efaah shall kill you and Yeshaya as being a snake in the negev. The Talmud describes it as a snake that gives birth once every 70 years. If god forbid bitten by one, don’t suck out the venom, stabilize the hand and don’t move around and quickly get to a hospital.
Last week for some reason the Answer to the question of the week of which Operation was the turning point from defense to offense in the War of Independence was erased and the correct
Answer was B- Operation Nachshon. Another answer I get correct by a little knowledge and process of elimination. Hiram I knew because it was up here in the North and the end of the War of Independence not the turning point. It was named Hiram after the biblical king of Tyre Lebanon that donated wood to the Temple. Ovda also at the end of the war was easy to remember because it was a fun Operation as it was a race to conquer Eilat between the Golani and Negev Brigades. Which left Nachshon which was the Operation to save Jerusalem from the siege by opening up the road. It was the first Operation of Plan Daled which was basically Ben Gurions plan to go on the offense and clear out any arabs and villages that would be in the area that would become part of the Jewish State. I never heard of Aminadav and that;s because there wasn’t any it was just the name of the biblical figure Nachshon Ben Aminadav’ father who the Operation was named after. So there you go.