Our view of the Galile

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bible Rules- Kedoshim/Yom HaShoah 2016/5776

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

May 6th 2016 -Volume 6, Issue 31 28th Nisan 5776
Parshat Kedoshim

Bible Rules
It seems like one of those biblical things. You know, like the thou shalleth notteth doeth sacramentous, Levitucusally Dueteronemistien. I always hated all those words in those old fashioned Hertz-rent a chumash- they used to have in my synagogue; pre-Artscroll days of course. The words in there just made my eyes glaze over as I began to doze off after the first few verses. The stories and laws as well never felt that they had any possible meaning or relevance to my millennia let alone my century or decade. It’s one of the benefits a child growing up in Israel has. The language for the most post part in the original is pretty much similar to the one they hear in the street-minus the peetza, pelephone and autobooz. But that’s not what Torah’s about. Each word each lesson, each mitzva all are eternal, all are meant to have meaning and a lesson for me today. Here in 2016. Wherever you may be living. Whatever you maybe going through. The answer is in the words of the holy Torah. It’s Hashem’s lesson to us. His constant daily instructions and road map for our lives.
So this week’s Torah portion, perhaps the most packed with Mitzvot in the book of Vayikra (I will not call it the “L” word), contains a whole plethora of Mitzvot that cover the entire spectrum. Idolatry, Sacrifices, loving your fellow man, kosher laws, agricultural laws, tattoos, beards, charity, honesty. Amazing each mitzva, each principle gets its own little note a verse here a verse there and a whole world opens up. The first Rashi on the Parsha tells us that this portion was recited in front of the entire Jewish people, men women and children together. It’s no wonder, as Rashi notes, for most of the principles of the Torah can be found here. Yet there’s one mitzva that gets’ the most footage. One mitzva that if you asks me seems like the strangest and least relevant of all of the other ones. Perhaps the most “biblical” of all. Yet the Torah goes out of its way to make sure that everyone is commanded and understands it. It is the introduction to all of the laws of the forbidden relationships and it is alluded to it again at the conclusion of those laws. You tell me if this has meaning to you today or not? (Vayikra 20:1-5)
And Hashem spoke to Moshe to say. And to the children of Israel say every man from the children of Israel and from the convert who dwells in Israel who shall give from his seed to Molech he shall surely die the Am Ha’Aretz shall stone him with rocks. And I will set my face on that man and I will cut him off from his nation for his seed he has given to Molech in order to defile my Temple and to desecrate my holy name. And if the Am Ha’Aretz shall hide their eyes from that man when he gives his seed to Molech and refrain from putting to him to death. I shall palce my face on that man and his family and I shall cut him off and all those that stray after him or after the Molech from amongst their nations.
Wow, this seems pretty serious. Rashi notes that Hashem says I will turn away from everything else that I am doing and deal with only this person. What is this Molech. It must be significant if the Torah is going to such lengths to deal with it and warn us about it.
Our sages tell us that the idolatry of Molech was one of child sacrifice. Right outside of Temple Mount there is a valley that was called Gei- Ben Hinom- or Gehennom as we know it. There a father would bring his child to the Molech priest and while the entire nation was gathered he would be forced to walk across a bridge in between two rows of torches that would ultimately burn down and kill the child. This would be done amongst much music dancing and fanfare. If the child survived it was his lucky day. But more often than not of course the child would die and the sacrifice would be complete. That’s it. That’s the Molech. I know it’s probably a rough commandment for you to keep. But hey, Hashem seems to be pretty strong about this one. No cheating. He will get you. And your family. No Molech.
What’s going on? Is there anyone in their right mind that would ever consider doing anything like this? If Hashem wanted to warn us about the future problems or danger zones for the Jewish people He should have spent more time on the laws of Lashon Hara- gossip, the laws of Shabbos, financial dealings, hatred and fighting amongst each other, but child sacrifice?! Even idolatry I can get as we see that it was a major problem and it seems that Jewish people are always searching and looking for false alternate ‘gods’. But what Jewish father would ever consider doing that to a child. Even non-Jewish people. This seems to be the most inhuman thing possible. What are we missing? Why is this not just merely biblical? What is it meant to mean to me.
Today was Yom Ha’Shoah in Israel. The day when the holocaust is commemorated in the State of Israel. I spent much of the day listening on the radio to story after story to horror after horror to atrocity after atrocity. Seemingly sane, civilized, ‘normal’ people murdered, killed, tortured, molested, and terrorized our nation. They shot babies, they gassed us, and they burned us. And then they went home to their houses and had a nice dinner, played some beautiful Wagner on their record players and petted their dogs. They raised their kids to this lifestyle. They praised it. It was all done in the name of the Reich. The Molech. And what of the rest of the world? They hid their eyes from this. They pretended not to see. The good old civilized US of A couldn’t even spare one bomb to blow up the trains that were shuttling us like cattle to our deaths. You tell me is the message of Molech an ancient biblical one? If it is then you have a very short memory.
If it is then you haven’t read the daily newspapers about a nation that is sending their kids up in bombs and shooting missiles from kindergartens. And that are raising a generation that only knows a life of fire and hatred that relishes death and washes in its blood. It’s not biblical. It has always been the world’s response to the Jewish people’s presence wherever we go. The word Molech means rule. It’s not about who rules. It’s that there is no melech-no King. Just the world being ruled by a world without that conscience; without that Divine presence. It is Hashem’s people and Name that is found amongst us that they are trying to wipe out. And Hashem tells us that the Jewish people have to know that the most important lesson that we need to know about all of our history is that we should never be drawn in and underestimate and certainly not hide our eyes or try to explain away this Molech. We should wipe it out. Even if there is no court the simplest Am Ha-Aretz the simplest layman, the simple Jewish farmer or falafel maker should appreciate this. This is evil. Don’t ever ever sympathize and don’t ever think you have moved away or ‘advanced’ so much that this cannot and will not come back.
But the lesson, the eternal message from Hashem, is much more than that. The world needs to know that there is a Melech- A King. It is not a world of Molech- a world that just runs that is ruled without any ruler. A world like that will ultimately fall to the lowest depths that are almost humanly unimaginable. Anyone that thinks that a system that is developed that can function and raise up this world without a recognition and appreciation of its Creator are on the track of the Molech. It is the Jewish people’s role to share that knowledge and light with the world. We can’t hide from that. The Molech will never give up its battle and the world can be counted upon to complacently turn its blind eye it if we do not do our part. Hashem will turn aside from all his other things to focus on seeing that we never forget that. 
The portion of Molech is not only the introduction to the commandments about the sacredness of a Jewish home and marriage, but it is also the conclusion of last week’s Torah portion about the prohibitions and illicit relationships. It seems to be intrinsically connected not as much with idolatry rather to the Jewish relationship. The family. Molech is the destruction of the family unit. In our Torah portion the commandment following Molech is that of a child that curses his parents and then the laws of the various descriptions of inappropriate incestuous relationships that are an affront to the sacred home of the Jewish family where that Shechina is meant to shine forth. The Jewish home is the place where the name of Hashem is meant to reign supreme. It is why the Molech has always been focused on destroying it. Murdering our children. Separating our women and men in their independent death camps. Hashem promises he will destroy that Molech and interestingly enough the families as well of those that are connected or hide their eyes from eradicating it. It is a battle for the Jewish family. It is the eternal war of our Nation.

From Yom HaShoah this week we move to Yom HaZikaron Israel’s Memorial Day for our fallen soldiers this week and then immediately following to Yom Ha’Atzamaut the day the State of was declared. The redemption and the true ultimate fulfillment of that return of not only the Jewish people to our land but rather as well to Hashem returning to His home can only come after we remember what we are meant to do here. How we must build our family here. How we must share with the world the emptiness of a world bereft of its King, without Hashem. We should never restrain ourselves from decrying the false godlessness of an existence without Him. Vhitkadishtem Vhiyitem Kedoshim- Sanctify yourself and your will be Holy Hashem concludes the command with. We can do it. It’s not biblical. It’s us.
Have an awesomely holy Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2CIUtt97hU   – My Rosh Yeshiva Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro singing seuda Shel Mashiach

https://youtu.be/ezZm0RXG1ss   –Ari Goldwag great new Acapella Me’ein Olam Haba I’ve been listening to all week

http://www.gruntig.net/2016/05/rabbi-lau-song-of-hope.html   Incredible story and song Rabbi Lau

“Oyb di bobe volt gehat reder, volt zi geven a vogn.” “If grandma had wheels, she would be a wagon.”


“Rebbetzin your Ziburis is like the Idiyis of the rest of the world..”- to his Rebbetzin on the week that chulent burnt- the terms being Talmudic references of a field that is Ziburis the wrost quality and Idiyis being the best quality- Rebbetizin your worst is like everyone elses best

“‘What is the difference between a Chasid and a Litvak Mitnagid today? They drink a L’Chaim and make a Tish Friday night and the Litvaks don’t. So far a little Tish and L’Chaim is it worth making a big deal”- In explaining to his students why they should not turn down a Shidduch from one another and why he started to institute a weekly Tish in Yeshiva

"The Torah was not given to the Rabbis as a possession with ownership over it rather it is a Pikadon a security object thata we are meant to watch and preserve. We therefore cannot make compromises or god forbid use it for our personal advancement”

Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, zt”l, 1st of Iyar this Monday (1914 -2006), Rosh Yeshiva Be’er Yaakov. 
It has been ten years since my Rosh Yeshiva left this world. I miss him still. I was privileged to learn by Rav moshe Shmuel for two years when I was a yeshiva Bachur in Israel. He changed my life. He was myconnection to a world that I had only read about. His way of life, his warmth, his caring for every Jew, his love and passion for Torah study and the joy that he exuded from its study inspire me forever. He was truly the embodiment of the verses Ki Heim Chayeinu Vorech Yamelnu, that Torah is our life and the length of our days. He taught us how its ways are that of pleasentness. He brought the intellectual joy of studying each word of our sages, our commentaries of the greatest Lithuanian worlds and Yeshivot of Brish and intertwind it with the warmth, songs and soul of the chasidic world. I miss him.
From a illustrious family of great Rabbis Reb Moshe Shmuel was born  to Rav Aryeh, the dayan of Bialystok and grandson of Rav Refael (the Torat Refael) of Volozhin, who himself was a grandson of the Netziv the father of the Yeshiva world. As he was born during WW I, his family had fled from Bialystok to Minsk, where his uncle, Rav Chaim of Brisk, lived at the time. In 5693/1932 Rav Moshe Shmuel left home and set out for Yeshivat Ohel Torah of Baranovitch headed by Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Hy"d, and was considered the most outstanding in his breadth of knowledge, diligence in study, and exemplary behavior. In the summer 1936, he became a dedicated student of Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz of Kaminetz. In 1938 he fled to Eretz Yisrael. His father eventually joined him. His mother and two brothers remained behind and perished in the Holocaust. His cousin, the Brisker Rav, arrived in Eretz Yisrael around the same time. Rav Moshe Shmuel became one of his closest students. In 1946, he married the daughter of Harav Aharon Weinstein, author of Darkei Aharon and Rosh Yeshivat Beit Yosef (in Mezeritch and later in Tel Aviv).He then learned in Kollel Chazon Ish for a year and then served as a maggid shiur in Yeshivat Kol Torah in Yerushalayim for three years. During this period, he was given semichah by Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l.
The Chazon Ish, to whom he became very close,  requested him to open a yeshiva in Beer Yaakov together with the renowned mashgiach, Rav Shlomo Wolbe. In 1963 Rav Moshe Shmuel published the first volume of his sefer "Kuntrus HaBiurim". It included his shiurim on Gittin, Kiddushin and Nedarim. He printed ten additional volumes over the years. He also wrote the seforim, Shaarei Shemu'ot and Zahav Misheva. Most of his voluminous writings are, however, still unpublished. I remember when I came to the yeshiva fro my interview with him and he asked me why I wanted to come to his yeshiva rather than Brisk or the Mir, I told him that I wanted to understand his sefarim. That was all he needed to hear. “Oib Azey Muz min Kummin”-he told me. If so you must come here. The yeshiva during my years was located in Har Nof Jerusalem yet the Rosh Yeshivas heart was always back on the farm in Be’er Yackov where he had started and ultimtly returned to. His personal connection with each student was legendary. His weekly Tish and Shalosh Seudos were full of his beautiful musical compositions, his stories of the leaders of the last generation and his insights into how we can grow, how we should learn, how the Torah is the embodiment and most worthwhile of all pursuits in life.
 Rav Moshe Shmuel was a member of the Vaad HaYeshivot for fifty years. And in his later years he was seen as one of the last links to the previous generation that carried out the transmission of Daas Torah, a world that could and only be seen through the glasses of one whohas been immersed in the study of Torah.
The Rosh Yeshiva is buried in Bnei Brak, near the kever of Rav Shach,, yet his words and his soul will live on eternally in all of his students.

answer below at end of Email
Q. Names of “Azarot” (sections/courts) in the Second Temple were:
A.     Ezrat Nashim and Ezrat Gvarim (women’s court and men’s court)
  1. Ezrat Nashim and Ezrat Yisrael
  2. Ezrat Cohanim and Ezrat Leviyim (the priestly court and the Levites court)
  3. Ezrat Hagazit and Ezrat Haetsim

It’s a simple mitzva and one of the famous ones- thou shall not place a stumbling block before a blind person. With all our experience learning Rashi how would you think that Rashi would explain the simple understanding of this text? Literally not put something in front of a blind man? No. Of course not. Why wouldn’t that be the simple understanding? Perhaps because the Torah already warns us about putting pits in public, the significance of watching out so we don’t damage someone. How about the way our sages explain it, perhaps Rashi takes their approach which is that one should not try to trip someone up in a spiritual way that one should not place some wine in front of someone that took a vow not to drink any or some forbidden food in front od someone who is not aware of it. Interestingly enough also not. The Maharal of Prague explains because Rashi is concerned that pshat does not really explain the conclusion of the commandment that one should fear God and as Rashi explains this is talking about something that nobody else could know or see besides Hashem. For otherwise one would fear man as well as Hashem. This commandment in its simplest understanding must be referring to something “that is only in his heart” that he could tell people that he meant for good. Only Hashem knows his ill intent. So then what is it talking about? Rashi suggests that it is talking about an interesting scenario when one convinces his friend to sell his field in order to buy a donkey and in turn he twists the situation in order that he may take the field from him. In this case although it seems like he may be giving his friend advice that might even make sense, however since it is mixed with his ulterior motives, from what Rashi seems to be saying, it is considered as if he is placing a stumbling block before someone who does not see or appreciate the entire picture of your personal agenda in this advice. It’s not an eitza haguna LO- advice that is right and tailor-made specifically for him. It is for you and him and that’s taking advantage.
On a more spiritual level though it is interesting to note that a donkey is something that has benefits over a field it is immediately viable, a quick source of income, something that the benefits are visible right away. A field on the other hand is a long term investment. It takes work, it takes, years sometimes, it is dependent on the rains and it is very labor intensive. Yet at the same time it is something that has the potential to be forever. To become a family legacy and heritage. When giving advice to a friend about taking the quick and temporal over the long term and the eternal. Particularly when it comes to buying a field in Israel J…think twice. Make sure your giving the right advice and that none of your personal baggage or agenda is tied in. And as we say in yeshiva v’ha’mavin yavin-he who understands…understands.


1st of Iyar- the beginning of the construction of the first and 2nd Temple-Most of us are familiar with the days that the Temple was destroyed. The 9th of Av is the historical day of mourning for the Jewish people. It is when many of the Jewish tragedies take place. But did you know that the 1st of Iyar is the date when King Shlomo began building the first Temple in the 2929 from our Creation or 832 BC according to the calculation of the Seder Olam. The Beis Hamikdash took 7 years to build and had 150,000 people working on it. Cedar wood was imported from Lebanon it had gold, silver and was magnificent. The Bais Hamikdash stood for 410 years until it was destroyed by the Babylonians.
Fifty three years following the destruction of the First Beit Hamikdash, in the year 3390 - 370 B.C.E. The grandson of a Jewish king,Zerubavel, led the first band of Jews back from the Babylonian exile. Zerubavel and Yehoshua the Kohain Gadol / High Priest began construction of the Beit Hamikdash, with permission from King Cyrus of Persia. Zerubavel helped clear away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the Second Beit Hamikdash, and the foundation was laid amid public excitement and rejoicing.
The offering of sacrifices had actually commenced a few months earlier, on the vacant lot where the First Beit Hamikdash stood, however it was only after the construction started on the 1st of Iyar that the Leviyim / Levites began accompanying the service with song and music. The construction was later halted after the hostile Samaritans supplied false slanderous information to Cyrus about the Jews' intentions. The construction was resumed many years later, and completed 21 years later under the reign of King Daryavaish / Darius. This Second Beit Hamikdash would become the center of Jewish worship for 420 years, before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Today, the Kotel HaMaravi / Western Wall is a remnant of the Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temple complex, the focal point of Jewish prayers for millennia.
May we soon see it built who knows maybe even by that same fortuitous day of the 1st of Iyar once again.


Answer is B – OK Let’s see how many of you know this answer. I’m betting not a lot. And that’s pretty sad. We pray for the Temple so many times a day, a year and yet we don’t even know the different sections of what it looked like and were called. Can we really be claiming to longing for something and not even bothering to check out and learn everything about it. When it comes to longing for the newest smartphone, car or whatever your favorite toy of the week is we check out everything about it but the Bais Hamikdash not so much. Anyways back to the question at hand. The Temple had two main Azarot  or “courts” areas of gathering there were enclosed by the walls of the Temple Mount. The Ezrat Kohanim and Ezrat Nashim-the Kohen section and the women section. The women section was actually also a place where the men would gather as well it was just called that because that was as far as women could go without a specific purpose. The Ezrat Yisrael was a small section between the two, where the men could go although they also required a sacrifice for their purity as well as dip in a mikva. The Ezrat Kohanim was for Kohanim and plain Jews men and women were allowed there only when they were obligated to bring a sacrifice. There was no azara of Levi’im and the eitzim and gazit were halls or lishkot were they kept the wood for the altars and where the Sanhedrin sat. Incidentally the name azara comes from the word ezra-or help as our sages say that from there help will come to the world as the verse in Psalms says Yishlach Ezrecha Mikodesh – Hashem sends his help from the holy place.

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