Our view of the Galile

Friday, February 12, 2016

Israeli Give and Take- Teruma 2016/5776

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

February 12th 2016 -Volume 6, Issue 19 3rd Adar I 5776
Parshat Teruma

Israeli Give and Take

So how do you know Hashem is Israeli? Well for one He definitely has a soft spot for Israel, although He isn’t that happy quite often with its political leaders, pretty much since its founding thousands of years ago. In addition like your typical Israeli He can pretty much do anything, although it’s generally on His own timetable. Perhaps most telling though He generally is misunderstood by the entire world, although they all seem to try to claim the things He does for their own and attribute it to their own cheap knockoffs of Him, and He pretty much blames the Jews for all those problems with that as well. After all we are the ones He charged with teaching the world about Him and we’ve kind of been shy about that. Perhaps the most tragic similarity though is that when the going got tough here and the Jews messed up everything, Hashem pretty much went to Exile with the Jewish people. He left His home. Most of us are coming back already, although it seems that the Israelis and their God seem to be waiting for Mashiach until the final return.

This week’s Parsha begins the story of the building of the Hashem’s first home. Although it seems He had it designed outside of Israel, in the wilderness. But of course He only used items that were Made in Israel. Our sages tell us for example that the wood that was used, were planted centuries before in Israel by Yaakov and brought down to Egypt with them. Now the gold, silver, and copper were Egyptian of course, but we never had a problem with non-Jewish money. Especially since it was kind of earmarked for us by Hashem when he told our forefather Avraham that we would be heading down that way in the first place. This house, known as the Mishkan or Tabernacle was meant to be the temporary dwelling place, yet at the same time model of what Hashem’s eventual home would look like in Jerusalem, when we would get there.

Now being a good Israeli, Hashem understands and sets the precedent for Jews that in order to build a house one has to raise money for its building. Maybe that’s the reason why we had to go down to Egypt.           Who has money in Israel for a house? I’m in the wedding business now, I know. So the Parsha begins this week with a collection, a shnorr. “And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take for Me a contribution, from each man who is of generous heart they shall take my contribution.” Now almost all of the commentaries note the difficulty with the wording of this verse. We understand that God is an Israeli and may not speekeeng Eenglessh dat goot, (although they may not ask the question precisely like that). But the proper wording grammar should probably be ‘And Hashem told Moshe to ask the people to give me a contribution’- not take for me. Take for me is Israeli speak, not proper English and the truth is not proper Hebrew as well.

There is a beautiful Chasidic story about the Rebbe of Spinka, known by his sefer the Chakal Yitzchak-incidentally my grandfather was very close with the Rebbe of Spinka. The Rebbe would visit various towns and shtetls and the Chassidim would flock to him for his blessings to share with him their troubles and worries and ask for the Rebbe’s prayers on their behalf. As was, and is, customary the Chassidim would leave a donation or Pidyon/redemption as they would call it, with the Rebbe. After the Rebbe would receive all of the Chassidim they would join together and have a Tish; a set table that they would join together with the Rebbe to eat, drink, the Rebbe would say words of Torah and they would sing together until the wee hours of the night.

At one of the Tish’s one of the Chassidim- a bit more cynical and skeptical than the rest, noticed that the Rebbe was spending an inordinate time when reciting the grace after meal “bentching” on the sentence of
ViNa al Tatzricheinu Hashem Elokeinu Lo Lidei Matnat Basar V’Dam V’Lo Lidei Halva’asam Ki Im L’Yadcha HaMilaeah HaPesucha V’Harchava-And please do not require us Hashem our God to fall into the hands of gifts from flesh and blood, and not in the hands of their loans, Only in your plentiful, open and generous hands.” The Rebbe repeated these words over and over with great fervor and concentration. The Chasid smirked to himself, thinking how nice that the Rebbe doesn’t want handouts after sitting for the past few hours just accepting all of these gifts and contribuitions from people. After the Tish the Rebbe called over the Chasid and in a few words he explained the quandary that was troubling him.

My dear Chasid” the Rebbe said. “When people come to me and pour their hearts out to me and share with me all their pain and beseech me to pray on their behalf. They give me money. If I am successful immediately, then the money that they give me is like a service fee for me having shed many tears and achieving all that they have asked me to do. I have earned their money honestly. We all have to make a living somehow right? If however Hashem does not answer me right away, then the money that they have given me remains in my hands as a loan. Until I can make good on my prayers for them. Until I can rock and shake the heavens and Hashem will answer their desperate pleas. However sometimes, despite all my prayers, my tears, my supplications, Hashem has other plans. For whatever reason, Hashem only knows, I am not worthy enough to change the heavenly decree. In those cases than the money that they give me becomes a gift; a present from flesh and blood. When I pray to Hashem, I ask him please, please accept my prayers, and don’t force me to receive the money that I have been given either as loans or gifts. Please allow my prayers to be heard and the only money I should have should come because you are kind open and generous. Those are my thoughts, when I recite those holy words. That is my deepest prayer.”

The Chasid was silent. He understood what the Rebbe was telling him. For the Rebbe the biggest sacrifice he was making was to take money from his Chassidim. For him to take money meant undertaking a tremendous responsibility. The Chassidim who were in fact ‘giving’ were forging a bond with their master, that would not end until their prayers hopes and fears were answered and resolved. They understood that they were taking far more than what they were giving. They were receiving in lieu of their donations the best investment of their lives. They were bringing his prayers and his connection into their lives and into all of their own prayers. They were bonded forever.

When Hashem goes about building His first home, the place that He will forever be bonded with the Jewish people, He wants to send us the message of what our contributions to this Home will always be. We are not giving, but rather we are the ones that are receiving we are taking the greatest gift of all, in the mere fact that Hashem will accept our few shekels, our gold, our silver, our sheep. We will forever be bonded with these simple donations. We will forever have a place to come to and transcend this world. We will always have a place where we can bring our worries our fears and our thanksgiving and our atonements. We are taking we are not giving. That is perhaps the most important principle of building a Jewish home. That is how you build a House of God.

It is no wonder, that the Mishkan/the Tabernacle is a truly a microcosm of what every Jewish home and marriage is meant to be built on. We received the Torah on Mt. Sinai and we were wedded to Hashem and our eternal bond was consecrated.  We accepted the laws with love and he chose us as his holy nation. Parshat Teruma which although chronologically happened after the sin of the golden calf occurs, which we do not read about for another two weeks, is mentioned here, right after the Torah was given because just as in every wedding. It isn’t over until we come back to our house. Until we contribute to our house. But we have to understand that our contribution, in reality is not a giving from us, rather in reality it is us taking and receiving from Him. That’s what marriage is truly about. One has to give and give and give, but the truth is all the giving is in reality taking. It’s us getting. Someone who feels that his is giving in marriage is missing the boat. Just as one who feels he is giving to God, or giving charity is not truly giving, rather they are receiving the greatest blessing, the greatest opportunity, the most fantastic connection that there is in this world. We are becoming one with our spouses, with the people, that we give to and with the Almighty who certainly does not need our gifts, gold and goats. That’s Israeli-speak for you I guess, giving is really getting. May Hashem finally answer all of our prayers and bless us with his eternal home that we are still awaiting.                                                                                                     

 Have an increasingly Happy Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qc8j1lIqJs   -Truly awesome clip of Menachem Begin saying it like it is…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRz7UsYhRg4  – Menachem Begin and Guess who? Shlomo Carlebach

“Es shtumeh di tsinger ven du host in kesheneh klinger” The tongue is silenced when in the pockets there is a jingle.

“We don't need legitimacy. We exist. Therefore we are legitimate”

“The Jew bows before no man, only God.”

“Goyim kill goyim and the Jews are blamed.”

“What kind of expression is this - "punishing Israel"? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we youths of fourteen who, if they don't behave properly, are slapped across the fingers? Let me tell you who this government is composed of. It is composed of people whose lives were spent in resistance, in fighting and in suffering. You will not frighten us with "punishments." He who threatens us will find us deaf to his threats. We are only prepared to listen to rational arguments. You have no right to "punish" Israel - and I protest at the very use of this term.”

 -Menachem Begin Yartzeit this Shabbos the 4th of Adar

Menachem Begin(1913-1992) – In my opinion he was the greatest of all Israel’s 12 Prime Ministers. Certainly the most traditional and the closest to truly creating a Jewish state that was unabashed about the reasons and purpose for which we have been given this land. Menachem Begin was born in Brest -Litovsk in 1913. As a child he was forced to flee with his family to escape the fighting between the German and Russian armies in World War I.A passionate Zionist from an early age, he joined Ze'ev Jabotinsky's Betar youth movement in his teens, rising quickly to important administrative and leadership positions.
By 1936 he was in charge of Betar Czechoslovakia, and in 1938 at age 25 he became the head of Betar Poland, an organization with 100,000 members which engaged in weapons training to defend Polish Jewry, preparation and transport of “illegal”immigrants to Israel, agricultural training, and communications. Not bad for a 25 year old.
In 1940, Begin was imprisoned in Siberian labor camps by Josef Stalin's NKVD (a forerunner of the KGB). After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, he was set free by dint of his Polish citizenship, and joined the Free Polish Army, which in 1943 made its way to British­ controlled Palestine for training.
Contacting the dormant Jewish underground, Irgun Zvai Leumi, Begin set about planning a Jewish uprising against the British authorities. Unlike the Hagana that sought to achieve the goal of an independent Jewish state through negotiation. Begin understood that the only way that it would happen is if the Jews took a stand and pretty much made it too difficult for the British to stay here. This began in 1944, but increased in pace and scope immediately after World War II and continued until late 1947. Begin ordered many of the Irgun's operations, including the Akko prison breakout and the destruction of the central British administrative offices in the King David Hotel. Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Begin disbanded the Irgun, after being shot at and having his men killed by members of the Hagana under orders from Ben Gurion who demanded he surrender and create on unified army.
From 1948 to 1977, Menachem Begin was the leader of Israel's opposition. In the 1950's, he led the movement against accepting German reparations for the Nazi Holocaust. He felt strongly that the Germans should never be allowed to feel as if they can make atonement and reparations for their crimes and murder of our people.
In 1965, Begin merged his Herut Party with the Liberals to form Gahal, which later served as the foundation of the Likud Party. The crisis atmosphere in 1967 saw the establishment of a National Unity Government, which finally brought Begin and other Gahal leaders to the Cabinet table. The National Unity Government continued until 1970, when Begin insisted that Israel condition Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser's extension of the cease-fire across the Suez Canal on the signing of a peace treaty recognizing Israel. When this demand was denied Begin left. He understood that successful peace can never be declared unilaterally it is only with the acceptance by our enemies of our right to exist.
In 1977, Begin was elected Prime Minister of Israel. As the new head of state, he helped initiate the peace process with Egypt, which resulted in the Camp David Accords and the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. As of a result of this effort to achieve peace with Egypt, Begin was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
In 1981, Begin ordered the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, where the Iraqi regime was developing nuclear weapons. Though Israel was roundly condemned by the international community at the time, it became apparent during the 1991 Gulf War that Israel's action had succeeded in hampering Baghdad's drive to acquire nuclear weapons.
In 1982, after repeated acts of PLO terror, Israel launched Operation Peace for Galilee to remove the terrorist threat from Israel's northern border.
Begin's decision to encourage Ethiopian Jews to immigrate to Israel later culminated in Operation Moses, which brought thousands en masse to Israel in the early 1980's.
Following the death of his wife, Aliza, in the winter of 1982, Begin resigned as Prime Minister. He spent the rest of his life in seclusion, glimpsed in public only at memorials for his wife or at the weddings of his grandchildren. He died March 9, 1992, and was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, declaring that he wished to be buried with the “true Gedolei HaUma-the great men of our nation- referring to the heroes of the Irgun who had died fighting the British. Rather than with the other prime ministers and leaders of Israel that are buried on Mt. Herzl who declared themselves as such although they were far from that title.
May his memory be blessed.

answer below at end of Email
Q. Graben is the opposite of:
  1. An endemic animal
  2. A horst
  3. Low barometric pressure
  4. A Tel

There are times that Rashi will quote a Midrash just to explain verse but in those words that he quotes there is so much depth so many lessons, that if you jump over it than you miss it. The first Rashi in this week’s Torah portion where Hashem tells the Moshe to command the Jewish people to ‘take for me a portion is a classic example. Rashi on the word  ‘Li’- for me’ rights for my Name. What is he trying to tell us? The commentaries on Rashi suggest that Rashi was troubled with the question that everything really belongs to Hashem in the first place. How can we take something and give Him something that He already possesses. So Rashi understands that it means rather that when we give our donation to Hashem it should be without any ulterior motives. It should be purely for the sake of Hashem’s name. The Netziv notes that Rashi derives this concept from other places in the Torah where it says that something should be done for him or for her. Such as the writing of a Get divorce document for a woman Vkatav Lah it shall be written for her the Torah says. Or when a Torah scroll is meant to be written for a King it says Vkatav Lo it shall be written for him. Both cases meaning specifically for that person. The Alshich notes that the law is that when one betroths a woman he must give her something of value and it must be unconditionally. When one gives something of value to a scholar or a great person though, there it is considered as if the receiving of that gift is truly a giving on behalf of the great person. For a person enjoys the fact that he was able and worthy of having his gift received by the great person. Like if the president accepted my beautiful song I composed or the picture that I drew and hung it up it-the picture that is. Then it is as if he gave me something when he received it. And we can get married as if he gave something to me. That only works though if I do not get anything it back in return. If however I only gave him the gift on loan then it doesn’t work. Thus Hashem tells the Jewish people, I wish to become betrothed eternally to you with the gift that you are giving. Now although usually when you give charity it is even notable to do so in order that Hashem will bless you for it and answer your prayers. In this case I want you to do so without any other expectation. Merely to give me pleasure for my name.
Finally the Zera Baruch explains the significance of term ‘for my name’ based on the concept that we cannot pronounce Hashem’s name fully outside of the Temple. Only in the Temple would Hashem’s name be mentioned explicitly. So he notes that we should give the charity in order to have a place to recite and glorify the name of Hashem as it is written and meant to be pronounced. Interestingly the Zohar notes that the Yud- Heh- Vav-Heh name of Hashem actually corresponds to the mitzva of charity the Yud being the smallest letter in the Aleph Bet which looks like and corresponds to a coin. The Heh which is the numerical value of five corresponds to the hand of the giver. The person who has the coin. The next letter of Vav, a straight letter is him stretching out his arm to another and the final Heh is the hand of the poor man who receives the charity. Give Charity for to make my name complete. What an amazing two words in Rashi.


Moshe Rabbeinu Born and Dies- 7th of Adar (1392 BCE &1272 BCE) – Although the Torah does not specifically tell us the date of Moshe’s death, our sages calculate themath and tell us that it was on the 7th of Adar. Even more significantly they tell us that he was born in a leap year on the first month of Adar. The Talmud tells us that the story of Purim and the plot by Haman to calculate when would be a fortuitous time to kill all of the Jews, which he determined by that tried and true fashion of throwing lots, fell out in the month of Adar. Haman was excited because he knew it was the month that Moshe died. Little did he know that it was also the month that he was born. Throughout history this special day has been celebrated as a day of fasting and prayer by Jews particularly those that are involved in the Chevra Kadisha, the Jewish burial societies. AS this was the day that Hashem buried Moshe personally, as described in the last portion of the Torah. Many gather in Meron and celebrate and pray, as the Ari”Zl noted that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who is buried there had the same essence of the soul of Moshe, Moshe revealing the written Torah and Rabbi Shimon revealing the hidden secrets of the Torah. Moshe died at 120 years old and the Torah tells us his burial place is not known by anyone until today. Although it is right across from where the Jews sinned with the idolatry of Pe’or. The Zohar tells us that each day the accusing angels rises from Pe’or to speak bad about the Jewish people and condemn them, and Moshe rises as well and puts him back in his place. The significance of the celebration of the birthday being the same as the day that he died, the Zohar tell us is that Moshe when he died left his spirit in each and everyone of us. We all hava little bit of Moshe and the power to rise up to the heavenly realms and connect with Hashem. The day that he died is the day that he was also not just born but reborn in each and every Jew. May we merit to see that  that holy spark in every Jew that we meet and may we reveal it within ourselves as well.

One morning a local Israeli building crew reached their job-site.and realized they had forgotten all their shovels. The crew’s foreman radioed the office and told his supervisor of the situation. The supervisor radioed back and said,“Don’t worry, we’ll send some shovels … just lean on each other until they arrive.””

An Israeli “Shiputznik” (Handyman)walks onto a job site of a large company and hands the foreman his application.
The foreman begins to scan the sheet, and notices that the applicant has been fired from every job
he has ever held. “I must say,” says the foreman, “your work history is terrible.
You’ve been fired from every job.” “Yes,” says the carpenter. “Well,” continues the foreman,
“there’s not much positive in that.” “Hey!” says the guy as he pokes the application. “At least I’m not a quitter.”

Why do builders have see-through Tupperware lunchboxes? So they know if they are going to work or going home. 

Three men are on a job site together. One is American, one is Mexican, and the third Asian. A man walks up and starts giving them instructions: he tells the American his job is to stack bricks to build a wall. He tells the Mexican his job is to cement the bricks as the American stacks them. And last but not least he tells the Asian man that he is in charge of the supplies.
An hour later the man comes back to check on the progress and sees the American and Mexican just sitting around. He furiously asks the men why they aren't working. They tell him that they never got any supplies. No bricks or cement or tools, nothing. After he calms down, he asks them where the Asian guy was. They said he walked around the trailer to get the supplies and still hasn't come back.
Now he's really mad. He storms off and heads for the trailer. As soon as he turns the corner the Asian man jumps out in front of him and yells "SUPPLIES!"
Answer is B – Another Geology question for you. Again not my favorite topic but actually one that I found quite easy. Just because grabben and Horst go together. When we learned these inclines and mountain ranges and valleys, I like the way the words sounded. Kond of like Grab a liverwurst. or horst. Anyways not exactly sure I remember which one was up and which one was down. And I think that some are formed by bends in the earth or something like that. I’m too bored by the subject to even look it up for you. You can google it yourself, or hire a tour guide that cares about this stuff. But I’ll still show you were the best liver worst is in Israel J.

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