Our view of the Galile

Friday, November 6, 2015

Time is a Ciggerette- Chayei Sarah 2015/5776

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

November 6th 2015 -Volume 6, Issue 5 23rd Cheshvan 5776!
Parshat Chayei Sara
Time is a Cigarette

The modern day Hebrew language spoken in Israel has many words that, interestingly enough, have different translations and meaning as a result of distortions from their English- somewhat imitated- sources. I'll never forget when a friend of mine went to the mechanic, and in broken Hebrew explained how he had a problem with his tire mounting. The mechanic quickly and of course knowingly explained, "Ohh .. your "Bek –Eksel" . When my friend tried explaining that it was actually the front Axle of his car. The mechanic once against "translated" in Hebrew "Ahhhh you mean your "Bek Eksel- Kadimah" (your front- back axle). Needless to say they did not always get it right.
As Americans in a yeshiva with many Israelis there was a running joke we had about translations. I think it happened when an American running late for an appointment once asked an Israeli in broken Hebrew "Ten Li Time BVakashah" meaning to say "please give me the time". The Israeli responded as most Israelis would by sticking his hand into his pocket pulling out a cigarette; in fact the most popular brand in Israel called TIME, and would then proceed to offer to light it up for the rather taken aback inquirer. I don't know why in Israel cigarettes are called TIME. For that matter I'm not really sure in America why they're called Marlboro (maybe after the cowboy). But from that point on whenever anyone would ask what time it was we would answer "Time is a cigarette".

As I think about it now in retrospect I note how ironic it was. What a ridiculous name for perhaps one of the greatest killers of time on this world. Is there a cigarette called LIFE or HEALTH? Why Time? The story is told of how once the great Sage, the Chafetz Chaim, heard someone discussing what he was going to do until his train arrived, as it seemed it would be delayed for a few hours. Upon hearing the young man says (inYiddish of course) that he was going to "kill a little time walking around the city". The Chafetz Chaim turned to him in a strong voice and said "Killing Time is the right word to use- because to kill time it is in fact murder". Yet how many of us can say we haven't done that with our time? How many of us in fact have seen their time as if it was nothing more meaningful than a cigarette; to be enjoyed and smoked till there's nothing but ash left. What is our perspective on time?

This week’s Torah portion tells us of one person (actually two… extra bowl of chulent if you can find the second) that did not feel that life or time was a cigarette. As our forefather Avraham ages, the Torah tells us a description of its view of his "golden years"

Vavraham Zakein Bah Bayomim -And Avraham was old, coming in days.

The late 16th century Torah Commentary Klei Yakar notes the strange terminology of coming in days. Doesn't it already say he was old? What is the extra "with days" mean?

His suggestion written in the 16th century, and even more relevant in today's world, reveals a unique perspective on time. Many people become old from their days. They are weary of their lives. They feel they have had enough. Even in their youth and their young and healthy years, their days are always viewed as empty, as time that needs to be killed as a life that is just waiting to be over. When they finally reach those years when time perhaps ticks the fastest and loudest, they have become so attuned to wasting it that they can't hear its toll.

Avraham, our forefather, was different though, he came with his days. As the Medrash tells us, he was old. But each day that he had lived had been full… had been dedicated… had been real. They were with him and they were his driving energy. He was still coming. He was still living.

There is a very powerful story of the Gaon of Vilna who upon his death bed turned to his students and began to break out in sobbing and tears as he grasped his Tzitzit fringes. When his students asked him what was wrong. He lifted his voice and said "Woe is me that I am leaving this world. A world where one can find eternity for a few kopecks, purchasing a few strings, and performing  a mitzvah with them properly. Woe is me that I am leaving such an incredible world with such incredible potential."

For many of us we long for this image of a peaceful death, surrounded by family and friends expressing gratitude for life. The Gaon of Vilna however saw something else. Life and Time are meant to be treasured and utilized. Even those last minutes. For each minute is a lifetime, and each act can and should be treasured. Death is always tragic for he who is still coming. Life is tragic for he who is not or has never come.  May each of us use and appreciate each of those precious moments and never be guilty of taking our time for granted.
Have a peaceful Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

https://soundcloud.com/ephraim-schwartz/avinu-malkeinu  –song I composed in memory of the Kedoshim of Har Nof

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ForS09KA29o – accompanying video to my song-WARNING GRAPHIC SCENES
https://youtu.be/PSX7uqJdrPg   Nekom MBD singing Eli Klein composition in memory of the HarNof Kedoshim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y0kBb4ENFs – Ben Gurion on Rav Gorens Appointment this Shabbos is his yartzeit


Shpeiz kocht men in top un koved krigt der teller.”-  The food is cooked in a pot and the plate gets the honor

. The Jewish People is a nation to the extent that it is dedicated to its Torah ... . The Jewish People did not create the Torah of Israel, but is rather the product of the fulfillment of the Torah, of the metaphysical imperative to realize the values that are embodied in the ethical pronouncements of the Prophets, in the vision of the Torah and in the vision of mankind. For me, Jewish education is education in order to practice, for Judaism is manifested in the fulfillment of commandments. There is no Judaism that is just embedded in the heart. I don’t believe in Judaism that is only felt in the heart  Rabbi Shlomo Goren
Yartzeit-24th of Cheshvan this Shabbos
Rabbi Shlomo Goren-Third Chief Rabbi of Israel (1917-1994)- Rav Goren is certainly one of the most significant figures in defining the modern State of Israel for better and for worse. A decorated paratrooper in the War of Independence he was known for his dedication to collecting of the bodies and giving proper burial to soldiers whose remains had been left in the field. He was made General and the first Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Army defining the army and giving it the vision of a Army that is governed by Torah laws. In his position he established that the army should have Kosher and was a strong believer in integrating religious and non-religious soldiers together in order to offer religious and knowledgeable role models to those that did not have the benefit of that education. Hew rote numerous works on halacha and Jewish thought outlining is Messianic fulfillment vision of the State of Israel.
In 1967 he fought in the 6 Day war and is most famous for the pictures of him conquering the Kotel and the Temple Mount and blowing Shofar. Although, it was not on the military agenda of the army (shockingly enough), he insisted that they go for it as “it is better to sit in prison and know tha Jerusalem and the temple Mount are liberated than to be liberated and know that Jerusalem and The Temple Mount remained imprisoned. He is also know for singlehandedly conquering the city of Hebron, having arrived there mistakenly before the army had where he received the surrender of the city and the Cave of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
He served from 1972-1982 as the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel (opposite Rav Ovadia Yosef). His term though was full of controversy as he took many positions that alienated him from the Hariedi world particularly in the famous Langer Brother and Sister case, where her permitted two children that were born to a woman who had been previously married and divorced without a Get thus renedering them Mamzeirim to be permissible to marry by invalidating the conversion of the first husband. This ruling was against the common ruling of  Ovadia Yosef and many of the Halachic leaders of his time. In addition he was known to be outspoken in regards to the right and obligation for Jews to go up to the Temple Mount he even held services there on Yom Kippur. These rulings distanced the Hariedi world from the Chief Rabbinate and from that time on they would make sure that the chief Rabbis would only be one that would “tow the party line”.
After his retirement from the Chief Rabbinate as well he continued to be outspoken in regards to  the Oslo agreements which he opposed claiming that the greatest tragedy is that it is Israel that is giving the non-entity deceptive non-nation called Palestine any legitimacy by engaging with them. He urged Soldiers to disobey their officers if it they were ordered to expel settlers from their homes. And called for the death of Yasser Arafat and the enemies of Israel. He wrote 10’s of books on Jewish thought on the laws of Israel and response for soldiers and the army. His work on the Structure of the Temple and the Temple mount are classics as well as his insights into the Jerusalem Talmud. He passed away the 24th of Cheshvan in Tel Aviv and is buried on Mount of Olives. Yihe Zichro Baruch..
(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
Sources of water for the State of Israel include
A.    Mountain and Shoreline aquifers
B.     Desalinization of sea water and purification of sewage water
C.     The Kinneret and local wells
D.    All of the above
Eliezer the faithful servant of Avraham is sent to find a spouse for Yitzchak in this weeks Parsha. Avraham has one request that Eliezer not take him a wife from the Cananite daughters and only from his own family. Eliezer however asks Ulai Lo Soaveh HaIsha Lalachet Achari El Ha’Aretz Hazot- Perhaps the girl will not wish to return with me to this land. Avraham then responds that he should marry Yitzchak instead to the daughters of the local people (Aner Eshkol-Rashi suggests). What’s interesting is that Eliezer repeats this entire conversation to Lavan when he comes to convince him to marry off Rivka to Yitzchak. There however the world Ulai-Perhaps is spelled without the Vav and Rashi notes that it could be read Eilai which means to me. Rashi thus explains
‘Eliezer had a daughter that he wished would marry Yitzchak and tried to find an excuse that he would marry him. Avraham however said my son is blessed and you come from a cursed lineage (Eliezer was a descendant of Cham the son of Noah, who was cursed) and a cursed one cannot cleave to a blessed one.”
The commentaries note that Rashi is not merely quoting a Midrash nor is he even interpreting the missing letter. As Rashi’s style as we noted is to explain the simple understanding of the text. There are two words for maybe there is Pen-which mean lest as in Shema we say Hishamer Lachem Pen Yifteh Livavchem- Be careful lest your hearts turn astray that is when one does not want the results. Then there is Ulai- maybe which is when wants the result. Like the word Halevai-If only. Here Eliezer uses the word Ulai- thus Rashi notes he must have wanted that she not return with him. Thus Rashi explains that the reason for this is because he had a daughter of his own.
See a short a little Rashi and an incredible lesson in the nuances of Hebrew Grammar. Amazing!
Operation Moses – The establishment of the State of Israel was in part meant to serve the function of a national homeland and refuge for Jews from anywhere on the globe. In the early years of the State refugees came from Yemen and Syria and many immigrants from Europe and Russia. In the late 70’s and early 80’s close to 7000 Jews were smuggled out of Ethiopia to Sudan and brought to Israel. 4000 more however died in terrible conditions in the refugee camps and Red Cross hospitals there. Recognizing the danger in the Jews remaining there Operation Moses was initiated on this date in 1984 bringing close to 7000 Jews to Israel in a mere 2 months’ time.
The Operation carried out as a joint effort between the Mossad, the CIA and the Sudanese secret Service (in exchange for money) ended when word was leaked to the media by then Shimon Peres, upon which the Sudanese Government called it quits fearing retaliation from their arab neighbors. The next wave of Ethiopian Olim came with Operation Sheba a few years later when then vice president and former CIA head George H Bush flew to Sudan personally to overlook the airlift of 800 remaining Falasha Ethiopian Jews. The next wave took place in the early 90’s when there was a regime change in Ethiopia and 14,0000 additional Falashas were brought in Operation Solomon.
It has taken less than 40 years of wandering in the desert to bring these fellow Jews home. Now we’re just waiting for the rest of our brothers to return as well.


The problem with Translation…
The following quotes were taken from actual medical records from Israeli hospitals...
  • Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.
  • She is numb from her toes down.
  • By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped and he was feeling better.
  • Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  • On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.
  • The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1983.
  • Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing.
  • I have suggested that he loosen his pants before standing and then, when he stands with the help of his wife, they should fall to the floor.
  • The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
  • Discharge status: Alive but without permission.
  • The patient refused an autopsy.
  • The patient has no past history of suicides.
  • Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.
  • The patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.
  • She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.
  • The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
  • The patient was in his usual state of good health until his aeroplane ran out of gas and crashed.
  • When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

A Tel Aviv college professor of IT knew that ships are addressed as "she" and "her." But what gender, he thought, should computers be addressed? So he decided to ask his class.
He set up two groups of computer experts, one comprised of women and the other of men. Each group was asked to recommend whether computers should be referred to in the feminine or masculine gender and give 4 reasons for the choice.
The women said that computers should be referred to in the masculine gender.
  • In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
  • Although they have a lot of data, they are still clueless.
  • They are supposed to help solve problems but most of the time they are the problem.
  • As soon as you commit to one, you realise that had you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.
The men, on the other hand, said that computers should be referred to in the feminine gender.
  • No one but God understands their internal logic.
  • The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
  • Even smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.
  • As soon as you commit to one, you start spending money on accessories for it.
Gary was having a good time in Tel Aviv and was invited to a party. Unfortunately, during the evening, he lost his wallet. So Gary, not being of the shy kind, stood on a chair and shouted,
“Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I’ve just lost my wallet with over £500 in cash in it. To the person that finds my wallet, I will give £50.”
A voice from the back of the hall shouted, “I will give £75.”

Answer is D-This is an easy giveaway question. Israel is the leading country in alternative water sources. Two years ago was the smallest rainfall in Israels history and as opposed to years ago when there were all types of warnings and limitations on water usage, we were fine. The only ones that felt
the rain shortage were tour guides who scraped their backside on the floor of the Jordan river all summer long rafting down the Jordan River. I know you are probably queasy about the sewage purification. But don’t worry although the water comes out after the process, which consists of parasites eating up all the gunk, is fully drinking water quality. It is used for agriculture only. So you can drink gesundheit.

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