Our view of the Galile

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Our Life is Strawberries- Haazinu / Sukkot 2016/5777

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

October 14th 2016 -Volume 6, Issue 55 12th Tishrei 5777
Parshat Haazinu / Sukkot

Our Life is Strawberries

Yom Kippur is over. It’s time for the next holiday. Our Sukka is a permanent one and Yonah got the schach on it already. It’s time for the decorations. As I pull out our big plastic box from the shed, nostalgia starts to set in. The box is teeming with decorations. The decorations represent much of the history of the Schwartz family. Each year the box gets fuller with new decorations. And each year some of those that are pulled out won’t make it back in the box at the end of the year. It’s my job to pass judgement on each of them. Who will live and who will die. Who will hang and who will be recycled. I am particularly qualified for this monumental task. I am bit sentimental yet at the same time, I really want our Sukka to be the nicest one around. Not everything is gonna fit. Some are too torn, too frayed and too wrinkled. Yet others seem like they might be able to make it through for another year. There are some decorations though that are just so sentimental that I think if I laminate them just one more time, or if I scotch taped them back together, or maybe even if I just stuck it somewhere in the corner nobody would notice how ugly and how old and how tattered it might be. Those are the ones that I made in kindergarten. Oh and the ones that Elka made. She’s my favorite for those that haven’t read my annual update this year -or any of them since she was born. So I sit down for this annual task. I have my coffee. I have my scotch tape. Hinei Yom Hadin- Judgment day has arrived. I turn up the music and the song start to play and I find myself humming along. It’s a good song. It’s the song of the year.
The song that is playing seems to have swept not only this country but the entire world by a storm. With close to 10 million hits on you tube alone Hanan Ben Ari’s single Hayim Shelanu Tutim has won awards and has every kid driving their parents crazy with. I like it. It’s catchy and funny. It describes our country our situation. It is as Israeli as a song can be. I have enclosed the link below you can skip down and listen to it, but come right back here afterwards and finish reading OK...
The title of the song is “Our life is strawberries” Tutim. That’s kind of the Israeli equivalent of life is a bowl of cherries. Or Forrest Gump’s a box of chocolates if I’m dating myself here already. I’ll enclose the lyrics in English but for those of you living in the Diaspora sorry... You won’t get all of it. For that you have to make Aliya. Another incentive in case this year’s presidential candidate selections isn’t enough for you.
Our life is strawberries
We have no right to complain
Everything is tfu tfu Chamsa
And thank God (against the evil eye)
Because our life is like Strawberries

Hours in the line at the Post Office,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
It’s hard to get a degree here,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
The problem with the youth, Kasheh-(It’s hard)
It’s hard to sing like Zohar (Argov).
Wake up in the morning,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Go to the gym to keep in shape- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Fuel is expensive- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And the Muze? It's under curfew
Corruption every two weeks,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Terrorist attacks every couple of days- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Rates are sky-high,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And car registration is in Jerusalem.
The landlord is asking for money, Kasheh-(It’s hard)
The Boss is tough- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
So I became an authorised person,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
not everything is Ferrero Rocher

We have no right to complain.....

The kid keeps on waking at night,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
The wife hasn’t got enough- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
She buys what she feels like;- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
It’s hard to get ahead
It’s hard to have enough money,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
To keep the faith­ Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Whole life with no root,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
No Arak (alcoholic drink), it’s dry
The battery is low,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
The ceiling leaks- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
The state robs,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And the government? Looks away
A few bank accounts,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
The heavy traffic- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
It’s hard with taxes,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And we are all oblivious

We have no right to complain...

Ok, so we opened our mouth
We complained enough,
We've been ungrateful
Now, let’s go back to basics
Time to say thanks- toda (thanks)
Thanks for the spirit,-toda (thanks)
For no time to rest- toda (thanks)
Thanks for the Shabbat,- toda (thanks)
For two boys and one girl- toda (thanks)
Thanks for all the beauty- toda (thanks)
The privilege to see Messi- toda (thanks)
The corrections, the essence- toda (thanks)
Thanks for the childhood- toda (thanks)
And everything you created for us- toda (thanks)

We have no right to complain...
You know what? I changed my mind. Everybody just stop reading this E-mail and scroll down and listen to this song. It’s just too good to read this E-mail and not hear this song first.
 Ok you're back, let’s continue.
Yes there’s a lot to complain about here in Israel. But you know what. We have no right to complain. HaChayim Shelanu Tutim- Our life is strawberries. Strawberries are really delicious. Yeah I know that there are these little black dots all over the juicy red luscious strawberries, but that’s really what makes them delicious. Mmmmm... sweet..... It’s kind of like the Sukka decorations that I’m leafing through. They may be all ripped and torn, but they’re so beautiful. They have so many good memories. They can last another year. They can adorn our sukka once more. In fact together with everything else, the shiny new sparkly ones that we picked up from the shuk they even shine nicer. That’s the Schwartz Sukka. The old, the new, the tattered and ripped and the sparkly and the holy.
This week most of our Parsha is a song as well. It’s also a kind of Tutim song. It’s the ancient song that Moshe told taught the Jewish people. It’s one of heaven and earth. It’s the one that we are meant to always sing; in our hearts, in our minds, forever. It’s Hashem’s Tutim song.
He has a lot to complain about as He pulled out our decorations from His box this year. Here are some of His lyrics. It’s not a song that I would think any of us would enjoy reading or singing. It’s harsh. There’s a lot to complain about. But I’m going to make one minor change that I think brings it to a whole new light. I’m going to ask you to read it and sing it to the tune of Tutim. It is after all the ‘song of the year’. I’ll even make it easier for you. I’ll add in the ‘kasheh’- the ‘it’s hard’ after each line and the points where Hashem says that He can’t complain.. And I believe you’ll have a whole new appreciation of the song.
Corruption is not His-The blemish is His children,- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
 a crooked and twisted generation -Kasheh-(It’s hard))
It is to Hashem that you repay this, O people who are vile and unwise- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Remember the days of old, understand the year’s generation after generation. Ask you Father and He will tell you, your elders and they will say to you...For Hashem’s share is His peole Yaakov the portion of His possession... He guards them like the pupil of His eye Like an eagle arousing His nest hovering over His young. He spreads his wing He takes it his back.-We have no right to complain.....

Yeshurn became fat and kicked- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
You became fat and thick... -Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And He desereted Hashem His Maker- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And degraded the Rock of his Salvation- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
They would provoke His fury with strangers- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
They would anger Him with abominations...- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
You ignored the Rock who gave birth to you- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And forgot Hashem who brought you forth- Kasheh-(It’s hard)

For they are a nation that is bereft of counsel and there is not understanding in them. Were they wise they would have comprehended this they would have understood from their end- For not like our Rock is their Rock- We have no right to complain.....

For their wine is from from Sodom and the fields of Gommora- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Their grapes are grapes of all, bitter clusters unto them- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Serpents venom is their wine- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
And a cruel poison of vipers...- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Who would eat the fat of their offerings- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Who would drink the wine of their libations- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Let them stand and Help you- Kasheh-(It’s hard)
Let them be a shelter for you- Kasheh-(It’s hard)

See now that I am He- and no god is with Me-toda (thanks)
I put to death and I bring life. I struck down and I will heal...-toda (thanks)
For I shall raise My Hand to Heaven and I shall say As I live forever-toda (thanks)
I shall return vengeance upon My enemies-toda (thanks)
For He will avenge the blood of his servants-toda (thanks)
He will bring retribution upon his enemies-toda (thanks)
And His land will atone His nation- toda (thanks)
We have no right to complain.....
It’s almost Sukkos. Yom Kippur is over. All of our aveiros, our sins, our mistakes, they’re all gone. They’ve been turned into merits. They are our Sukka decorations that we will adorn that holy place where we are about to spend a week together with our Father in. We have been granted new life.
 In our prayers on Yom Kippur there is a song that is sung where we compare our songs, our decorations, our praise to that of the angels. Hashem’s glorious angels sing the highest and most perceptive praises to Him. Vavisa Tehila- Yet for some reason He treasures our songs, our praise, our filthy wrinkled, scarred, crumpled, dog-eared decorations. They are more than just sentimental to Him. They are the reason why we are here. The Ari’Zl notes that the attraction that we have to sin and to the forbidden is the sparks of teshuva that are hidden inside of them. It is of course better not to sin, to make a beautiful decoration without any mistakes or slip-ups. But Hashem treasures even more so the ones that we messed up and didn’t just throw out in the recycling. Rather we re-taped them. We glued them back together again. We presented them to Him as our simple offering. For Hashem to hang. Those are even more special than the brand new ones that we picked up in the shuk.
Rabbi Yaackov Addes suggests a beautiful thought. The verse tells us that Yaakov is the rope of His inheritance. The Jewish people’s connection with Hashem is like a rope. When we sin that ropes is cut. We have created a disconnect. Yet when we do teshuva Hashem reties that rope. You ever have that with your colorful chains that the children make in the Sukka? They rip, the chain breaks, that colorful paper got stretched too far. When you paste them back together something special happens. The chain, the rope is even shorter. We knocked out a few rungs. We are closer to Hashem. That is the rope we have after Yom Kippur. Those old chains have been reattached and we are even close to Hashem than ever before. Our life is not Tutim- strawberries. It iszechutim- it is delicious merits. All those little black dots are all juicy and succulent. It is the song of the year. The song of our generations. It is the song of connection between heaven and earth. I can’t wait until Hashem finally, may it be this year, rebuilds that fallen sukkah of King David that is awaiting His ultimate return where we can sing it all together.
Have a fantastic Shabbat and super happy Sukkot
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfLHAJrNnsMChayim Shelanu Tutim-The song of the year…

https://soundcloud.com/ephraim-schwartz/ushpizin-2 - In honor of Sukkos the world famous Ephraim Schwartz  composition Ushpizin arranged by Yitzy Berry- the perfect song to learn for Sukkos!! ( you can find the rest of my compositions here as well!! For those that requested to hear them

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvd7LsVN-zE   - Lipa sings Rebbe Nachman ben Feiga yartzeit This week
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=setHqHJLUtw  – Uman Rosh Hashana this year


“Varf nit arois di shmutsikeh aider du host di raineh”– Don’t throw away the soiled until you have the clean.

“If you believe it is possible to destroy,  then you must believe it is possible to repair.”

Get into the habit of singing a tune. It will give you new life and fill you with joy. Get into the habit of dancing. It will displace depression and dispel hardship.

“Worldly riches are like nuts; many a tooth is broke in cracking them, but never is the stomach filled with eating them.”

“Whoever is able to write a book and does not, it is as if he has lost a child.”

“You are wherever your thoughts are, make sure your thoughts are where you want to be.”

“If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?”

Reb' Nachman of Breslov, zt"l, (1772 –1810) This Thursday, the 18th of Tishrei- founder of the Breslov chasidic movement. Born to Feige, grand-daughter of the Ba’al Shem Tov, and Simcha, son of R'Nachman of Horodenka, the Ba’al Shem Tov’s close friend, in Mezhbizh. During his youth he acquired expertise in all the holy works and was accustomed to meditate in solitude. At the age of six he authored one of his major works, the  Sefer HaMidot. His Torah was very powerful but he faced many Rabbis who opposed him. Reb' Nachman lived in Poland and the Ukraine, where he inspired thousands of Jews to greater love of G-d.
In the spring of 5558 (1798 C.E.), Rebbe Nachman traveled to Eretz Yisrael with only a single follower. He traveled in the thick of the Napoleonic wars in the East, making his trip even more fraught with danger than it normally would have been. They landed at Haifa on the day before Rosh Hashanah of 5559, and after taking four steps in the Holy Land, Rebbe Nachman announced that he had accomplished his goal, and was ready to return home. He ended up staying in Israel for nearly six months, and he praised the qualities of the land very highly and encouraged everyone to make their own pilgrimage. He would say, “My place is only in Eretz Yisrael, and wherever I go I’m going to Eretz Yisrael. It’s just that, in the meanwhile, I’m stopping in Breslov.” 
In Elul of 1802 , Rebbe Nachman moved to Breslov, finding an allusion in the town’s name to the future redemption. The verse says, “And I will remove the heart of stone from within you, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” The words, “A heart of flesh” (“lev basar”) have the same Hebrew letters as the word “Breslov.” Rebbe Nachman also said that his followers would always be known as “Breslov Chassidim,” despite the fact that he lived in many different places during his lifetime. This move marked a turning point in Rebbe Nachman’s life, since it was in Breslov that he attracted his prime disciple and publisher of his works, Reb Nosson of Nemirov. Rebbe Nachman himself attested, “If not for my Nosson, no memory of my teachings would have survived.” He also said, “If I had come to Breslov for no other reason than to draw Reb Nosson close to me, it would have been sufficient!”
    From the very beginning of their relationship, Rebbe Nachman encouraged Reb Nosson to make a practice of copying down all of his teachings. Reb Nosson went further and even recorded Rebbe Nachman’s informal discourses, since he realized that all the Rebbe’s holy words required much study. Early in 1805 , Rebbe Nachman instructed Reb Nosson to begin arranging his lessons in order, compiling them into the book that would be entitled “Likutei Moharan,” “The anthology of our Master, Rebbe Nachman.” Rebbe Nachman saw the publication of his magnum opus as a sign of the impending redemption and said, “Now that my book has gone out into the world, I very much want people to learn it until they are fluent in its contents, for it is full of ethical instruction and inspiration to serve G-d that is great beyond reckoning.” 
Though he contracted tuberculosis at some point between 1806 and 1810, and suffered the loss of his son, daughter, and wife, Reb' Nachman said: "You may fall to the lowest depths, heaven forbid, but no matter how low you have fallen, it is still forbidden to give up hope." 
 Rebbe Nachman would tell amazing stories, almost fairytale like in their construction, filled with the most esoteric Kabalistic symbolism. Rebbe Nachman was explicit about his purpose in telling these stories: to arouse people from their spiritual slumber. Reb Nosson discusses this in his introduction to the volume of stories that he published and says that Rebbe Nachman made it clear that the stories were a crucial part of his effort to arouse his followers to a fitting level of Divine service. The hidden nature of the mysticism woven into the stories allows their moral lessons to penetrate a person’s heart where explicit instruction cannot. The stories are richly woven tapestries with multi-layered meanings whose ultimate meanings are beyond us. Rebbe Nachman valued these tales very highly and greatly desired that they should be widely disseminated, so much so, that he encouraged Reb Nosson to have them published in Hebrew-Yiddish editions, to allow women and the unlearned to read them on their own.
A few of his most famous teachings are: "It's a great mitzvah to always be happy," and "All the world is a narrow bridge -- but the main thing is not to be afraid" (now a popular Hebrew song, Kol Ha-Olam Kulo).
He moved from Breslav to Uman on May 9, 1810, and died there October 16.
His works include: Likutei Moharan, Sefer HaMidot, and the Sippurei Ma’asiyot. He revealed the Tikkun Klali - General Remedy to rectify the blemish of the Covenant and made many miraculous deliverances. He promised his followers: “My fire will burn until the coming of the Messiah.” 
 Reb Nosson was present, and later described his passing: 
    “I came to his room and found him seated, not lying down. He was wrapped in his tallis sitting on the bed, and the Ari’s siddur was resting on his holy knees. He finished reciting Hallel with the four species, and said the Hoshanos in a slightly raised voice. Everyone in the house could hear his words. Fortunate are the eyes that were privileged to see him then and hear his voice when he held the four species and said Hallel and Hoshanos on the last day of his holy life.” Their eyes met, and it was then that Reb Nosson realized that Rebbe Nachman was going to take his leave of them.
Every year on Rosh Hashana, tens of thousands of Jews travel to Uman (Ukraine) to pray at the gravesite of Reb' Nachman.
answer below at end of Email
Q. The town of the “Bahadim” (army training camps) is being built in:
A.    The Judean Desert
  1. The Negev Heights (Ramat haNegev)
  2. The Arad desert
  3. Mitzpe Ramon

There is no place perhaps where Rashi is more helpful than in places where the Torah is speaking more esoterically and metaphorically. The prose is truly beautiful but what is it really saying. This week’s Torah portion the song of Haazinu is full of Rashi’s that gives much of the hidden depth and meaning behind the beautiful words of this final song that Moshe teaches the Jewish people. It’s really worthwhile to read the whole Parsha with Rashi to appreciate it. I’ll just share with you one quick insight.
The second verse of the Parsha Devarim (32:2)
May my teaching drip like rain, may my utterance flow like dew; like storm winds on the vegetation and like raindrops upon the grass..
Nice isn’t it? It sounds so poetic. Yet Rashi tells us quite a few things first he notes that dew is something that all are happy with unlike people that travel (or tour guides for that matter) that don’t appreciate rain so much.
Yet it’s interesting that the Torah also says it should fall like rain. Hmmm is it rain or dew?
The Toras Moshe notes that the following Rashi tells us the difference between the last two parts of the verse. deshe- vegetation is a generally term for all growing things, esev- grass is very specific. As Rashi notes even a single blade is called esev- grass as it is as well interestingly enough even English.
The Toras Moshe thus suggests that tal- dew which is good for everyone is soft and gentle and draws one near. When one speaks to individuals one should always you the pathway of dew. He even notes that the word Tal is an acronym of the words Tov Lakol- good for everyone. On the other hand when one talks in public there are times that one needs to be harsh. He suggests Moshe did this when he admonished the people for Masacheim Torcheichem Rivchem- your burdens, your troubles, and your disputes. The first letters of each of that seplls MaTaR- or rain. In public one can speak harsh. That is for the general vegetation at the end of the verse. But to the individual the words should always be that of dew that is warm and embracing.
Pretty amazing. Now that’s a song you should always remember.

Arrest of Alfred Dreyfuss- 15 Tishrei 5655 - October 15, 1894: Alfred Dreyfus was first arrested for treason. A French army officer, Dreyfus was the victim of a frame-up; falsified documents were exposed in a famous open letter entitled J'accuse! (I Accuse!). This scandal, which came to be known as the Dreyfus Affair, bitterly divided French society for many years. Dreyfus was stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. (Five years later, he was released and later pardoned.) Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist reporting on the trial, was so affected by the anti-Semitism and injustice, that he committed his life to vigorously pursuing the cause of Zionism.

Q: What is a scarecrow's favorite fruit? A: Straw-berries!
Q: What do you call a sad strawberry? A: A blueberry.
Q: What did one strawberry say to the other strawberry? A: If you weren't so sweet, we wouldn't be in this jam!
Patient: Doctor, there is a strawberry growing out of my head.
 Doctor: Oh, that's easy. Just put some cream on it!
What do you call strawberries playing the guitar? A jam session. 

A stockboy is stacking fruit on a display, when a lady asks "Do you have any strawberries?"
The stockboy replies "Sorry ma'am, we are out of strawberries, but we will be getting a shipment tomorrow morning"
 The lady looks around some more. A few mins later she runs back to him asking where the strawberries are. The stockboy confused about her mental state simply tells her "Sorry ma'am, we are out of strawberries, but we will be getting a shipment tomorrow morning"
The lady looks around some more then goes back to the same stockboy and asks "Where in the world do you keep the strawberries, I need some strawberries right now!"
The stockboy, getting frustated with his inability to explain the situation, tells the lady "Answer a couple of questions and I will get you your strawberries from the back."
The lady agrees and the man starts the questions. "Spell cat for me, as in catastrophe " she says
 Ok, "C A T".
"Very good!" the stockboy says, "now spell dog, as in dogmatic. "
The lady getting frustrated spells it correct.
Now the employee finally asks "now spell, stink, as in strawberries." She replies "There is no stink in strawberries?"
 To which the stockboy replies "THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU THE WHOLE TIME!"
Answer is B – This will be the largest officer base in Israel with plans for it to be about 250 thousand square meters large, 5000 living facilities and over 90,000 soldiers will make their way through this officers training base located in the Negev. Which will open industry all over this still rather desolate part of the country. The base is named after Ariel Sharon. This exam question was from last year I believe that as of this year it is pretty much up and functioning already

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