Our view of the Galile

Friday, January 27, 2017

Savlanut- Parshat Vaeira-5777/2017

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

January 27th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 14 29th Tevet 5777
Parshat Vaeira
I don’t understand how Goyim do it. How do they manage to live without Shabbos? How can they continue day after day, week after week without ever turning it all off? Without stopping, turning off the noise, the cars, the phones, the computer, the internet, the physical world and just keep going and going. It boggles my mind. I couldn’t imagine it. Besides that they don’t have chulent. As difficult as that alone is for me to comprehend. But not menucha…no rest…no time to focus on Hashem...on their own spirituality…on their families. How can they go one week without it?
Now I’m not an ignorant person. I know they have weekends. I know they have Sundays. I miss Sunday here in Israel. Sunday is a great day to sleep in, have a nice bagel breakfast, and lounge around in my PJ’s for a few hours. Maybe go to the Mall, maybe just hang with the kids. It was a nice perk of living in America. But Sunday ain’t Shabbos. Shabbos, I get dressed like a King. Shabbos our table is set for angels. White tablecloths, candles, silver goblets, challah board; once in a while they even remember to put the salt shaker on the table as well. Shabbos we have a feast. A few of them. Wine, meat, Shabbos songs to Hashem. The kids say their Torah, We bond with community. We have guests. We spend “real time” in shul- not the quick run in and say your prayers that we do during the week. Shabbos I have time to open up one of the many books on my shelf and learn for the sake of learning, for its pure enjoyment, to get close to Hashem, to find my heart, my brain, myself…
Shabbos I can appreciate my wife. Her hard work throughout the week. How much she put into making this day every weekend special, clean, orderly, aromatic and best of all delicious. The smells of Shabbos are holy. It’s like the incense in the Temple. I know it must have smelled like chulent there. Shabbos reminds me how disconnected the rest of my week is from what my real priorities have to be in life. What I’m really here for. What all my work and labor is all about. It’s the neshoma-soul to my weekly body. How can Goyim make it without it? How can they not implode?
I don’t understand how we did it. 210 years of slavery. Working backbreaking work, watching our children be captured and killed. Our babies drowned, our women abused, our lives and spirits removed from us. And yet we went on and on and on. Could we really never revolt? Could we not fight back? How did we let ourselves get suckered into this thing? How throughout our history have we repeatedly been persecuted? How were we sheep to the slaughter? We seem like such a smart, bright, intuitive, politically savvy, influential people, yet it never seems to help us. I know this is such a post-Holocaust, Zionistic, small-minded question. A question that any survivor would tell you- unless you were there you would not understand. You could not understand. You’ll never understand…
I think the early Zionists prided themselves on the concept that “We have finally arrived”. We will never again allow our nation or any Jew for that matter to be persecuted, to be enslaved, to be killed with no one to stand up for him. But somehow I don’t think that it has happened. It still feels like we are getting killed. On the streets of our Holy Land, in Europe, and yes in America- How many JCC’s got bomb threats the past few weeks? Is this the United States of America or is Kristallnacht USA right around the corner? And if there was god forbid such an outbreak, would the Jews of America leave? Or would they wait it out and see? Would they say those famous traditional Jewish last words “it couldn’t happen here?”. And in Israel has it changed, as well? Are Jews more secure with a Jewish army and country, or has that only increased the hatred of us, the jealousy, the murder and terror. Do we feel more emboldened to defend ourselves or are we still living under the worlds microscope and measuring every action that we take-based on what the rest of the world feels is the way that we need to be treated or persecuted? How can we keep doing this to ourselves? Why do we consistently allow ourselves to implode?
This week Hashem begins the Torah portion with his response to Moshe’s questions at the end of last week’s Torah portion-although question is kind of a polite term.
Shemos (5:22) “Hashem-Why have you done bad to this nation? Why have you sent me? From when I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name he has done evil to this nation, and You have not rescued Your people”
Ouch! That’s a rough question. Feels like a Donald Trump press conference J.
But Hashem doesn’t flinch.
“Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh for with a strong hand he will send them out and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land”
Now seemingly, although this is a very encouraging tiding for the Jewish people. But if one thinks about it Hashem really did not answer the questions. Which if this was a press conference I’m sure the reporter would have followed up with. But why? Why have You done bad? Why did you allow this to go on? Where were you until now? That’s why this week’s Torah portion picks up the conclusion. Hashem outlines the entire game-plan. But first one more associated follow-up question. Why would he need to drive the Jews out? Who asked for that? I can imagine that if the gates were opened we would head straight for the door? Or maybe not…
The Parsha begins with Hashem reminding Avraham about the covenant with our Patriarchs to bring us to the Land of Israel. He then continues and tells Moshe that He has heard the cries of the Jews whom Egypt enslaves and He has remembered his covenant.
Therefore say to the children of Israel that I am Hashem and I shall take them out from the under the sivlos-burdens of Egypt
He continues that He will save us from their slavery, He will redeem us, and He will take us to be His nation and He shall be our God-
And you shall know that I am Hashem your God who takes you out from under the sivlos-burdens of Egypt”
Hashem concludes this speech that he will bring us to the land and it will be our heritage…oh yeah and in case you forgot “I am Hashem”
The Chidushei HaRim of Ger as well as many other commentaries explain this dialogue and Hashem’s response to Moshe based on an alternate translation or understanding of what seems to be the key wordin Hashem’s response; sivlos- burdens. Li’sbol- as all Israeli’s know means to bear something. Savlanut, is a term that is used quiet often in this country, generally with the waving of two fingers touching the thumb and generally when you are trying to get somewhere to pick up your children or to an important meeting. That hand signal with the accompanying tskk tskk… is coming from the socialist government official, or supermarket teller, or annoying person in front of the line ahead of you decides that she wants to start rearranging her whole purse, or finish schmoozing with her friend on the phone about her dinner that she made last night. It’s usually pronounced slowly-in order to aggravate you even more. Each syllable is pronounced by itself. SAV…LA…NOOOOT…Patience. If it’s during a traffic jam and the guy in front of you can’t seem to understand why you would have a problem with the fact that he stopped in middle of the street to talk to someone he knows on the sidewalk-and why you felt that this was reason to engage your horn. He usually will say SAV-LA… NOOT…CHABIBI the warm endearing term of friendship that you seemed to have forgotten you must have for him. But Savlanut literally means patience. Similar to the root of bearing the burden. Patience, my friend, patience…
Patience means accustoming oneself to a situation. It means that you are not expecting things to change. You can bear it longer and longer and longer…It becomes your way of life eventually. As any honed Israeli can tell you the secret to success here is to just stop asking why and get used to the situation. You learn savlanut. It’s not a bad thing once you’re living in Israel. It’s a terrible thing though, when you’re living in Egypt. It’s a dangerous thing certainly if you have a mission in the world to fulfill and you’re wasting your time drudging along all day schlepping heavy bricks for pyramids. That was happened to the Jewish people in Mitzrayim. That is what Hashem answered Moshe.
“Moisheleh, you want to know why, what, and how this whole thing has happened. It’s because the Jewish people have ultimately reached a point where they will need to be chased out of Egypt. They have become savlanim- of Egypt. They’ve accepted this as their new reality. They cry out from the work, the pain, but they haven’t cried out for the redemption. They got used to it. They might just want a little less labor, a little less killing, They have lost touch with their soul. They have forgotten that I am Hashem.”
I don’t often quote Martin Luther King. But being that his bust is still in the White House from what I understand and being that this is the parsha that he spoke about I believe his words really hit the concept on the head.
“Oppressed people deal with their oppression in three characteristic ways. One way is acquiescence: the oppressed resign themselves to their doom. They tacitly adjust themselves to oppression and thereby become conditioned to it. In every movement toward freedom some of the oppressed prefer to remain oppressed. Almost 2800 years ago Moses set out to lead the children of Israel from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land. He soon discovered that slaves do not always welcome their deliverers. They become accustomed to being slaves. They would rather bear those ills they have, as Shakespeare pointed out, than flee to others that they know not of. They prefer the "fleshpots of Egypt" to the ordeals of emancipation.
There is such a thing as the freedom of exhaustion. Some people are so worn down by the yoke of oppression that they give up. A few years ago in the slum areas of Atlanta, a Negro guitarist used to sing almost daily: "Been down so long that down don't bother me." This is the type of negative freedom and resignation that often engulfs the life of the oppressed.”
That my friends is the description of the Jewish people for the past 2000 years. We’ve been down so long that down doesn’t bother us. When Moshe came to tell the Jewish people they would be redeemed they didn’t listen. They couldn’t listen. It was insane. “Leave Egypt?! Promised Land? Mashiach? Temple? Hashem?! What are you talking about?” And then our education began. Blood, Frogs, Lice…you know the rest. Pharaoh and his world of blind meaningless non-stop labor would become symbols ingrained in our minds and souls forever,-that life should never be just about building pyramids, sky scrapers, bank accounts and corporate palaces. It’s not about getting our candidate in office and our politicians and ‘important’ issues and platforms and bills passed by whatever country we happened to be living in. It’s not even about the 6 days a week that we have to earn a living. It’s about bringing the world to a Shabbos. It’s about the entire planet recognizing how holy we all are. How much joy, life and inspiration there is in elevating this world and connecting it and us to our Creator. How have we tolerated it for so long? Why are we waiting for the world to implode, when it is in our hands to redeem it?
Every Shabbos when we sit down at our Shabbos table and we recite the Kiddush we mention that it is zecher l’yitiziyas Mitzrayim- It is a remembrance of when we left Egypt. For the Exodus from Egypt was truly the moment that most connects us to the concept beauty and essence of what Shabbos is all about. It is the day when we realize and bask in the knowledge that we live here in this world but we do not control it. We are merely here to elevate it. We can stop everything and the world runs even better. We can be holy. We can transcend. We can be one with the Divine. May we soon see the Yom SheKulo Shabbos- the day when the whole world will be filled with Shabbos.
 Have an elevating Shabbos and a fruity Chodesh Tov of Shevat,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


https://youtu.be/esvKmfr9vuY  -Pretty funny Netherlands welcome Trump in his own words J

https://youtu.be/XaxvBH2z6Fghttps://youtu.be/XaxvBH2z6Fg  Cool Africa Music with Kippalive

https://youtu.be/2Ha4SUJkTvg   Nigun Habaal Shem Tov in Medizubzh

https://youtu.be/87XlDRjmPME Rare footage of Chafetz Chaim


“Kolzman es rirt zikh an aiver, klert men nit fun kaiver.”- As long as one limb stirs, one does not think of the grave

answer below at end of Email
Q.  Alexander the Great arrived in the Land of Israel as a result of his wars with:
a. The Romans
b. The Persians
c. The Carthaginians
d. The Babylonians

Briskers- students of the Rav of Brisk utilize the methodology of  the meticulous study of each word and its precision in all of their studies be it in the Talmud, the Rambam and certainly in Rashi as well. The Chumash calls of the Rav of Brisk and his children and students were renown for taking a look at every word and deriving great halachic lessons out of the terms and nuances of the text. They are a great source for examining and appreciating the pshat according to Rashi.
In this week’s Torah portion when Moshe once again ties to tell Hashem that he is not the man for the job as the Jews and Pharaoh will not listen to him. Hashem tells Moshe
Shemos (7:1) “See, I have made you elokim- a master to Pharaoh”
Rashi on those words comments –“ A judge and ruler; to rule over him with plagues and tribulations”
Seemingly Rashi is translating and explaining that the word elokim- over here is not a term that is meant to be a Divine term as it is usually used as a term for Hashem, but rather as a judge as it used later on in Mishpatim. The Rav of Brisk however asks why is this the response Hashem gives over here? What does judge and justice have to do with anything? Isn’t the function of all of this just to get Pharaoh to release the Jews from slavery? He therefore notes that we see from this terminology that the agenda here was in order to punish Pharaoh for his persecution of the Jewish people. Moshe would serve as the judge of Hashem. This was meant to be a fulfillment of the promise Hashem gave to Avraham by the Brit Bein Habesarim- the covenant between the pieces that he made where he said Bereishis (15:14)  “And also the nation which will enslave them I will judge and afterwards they will leave with great bounty.” It is for this reason he suggests that the mishna tells us the judgement of Egypt was for 12 months. This wasn’t in order to send the Jews out rather this was the judgement of Egypt. With this he also explains that back when Moshe hesitated to be the one to take out the Jews he told Hashem Shemos (3:11) “Who am I to go to Pharaoh, and can I take the Jews out of Egypt?” Seemingly this would be extraneous. All he needed to say that he cannot take the Jews. But with this new understanding he explains that there was two things going on. One, the judgement and punishment of Egypt and the second the taking of the Jews out.
He utilizes this concept to explain many of the different statements in the Hagadda and the songs of praise of Tehillim where it seems to separate the plague of the First Borns which he suggests was to get Pharaoh to realease the Jews as opposed to the other plagues which were punishment. See that’s what Briskers do. One word, one idea in a Rashi and with a little bit of understanding light can be shed in so many different areas. Classic Brisk.
HaRav Yitzchak Ze'ev Halevi Soloveitchik-The Brisker Rav (1886 - 1959). Son and most prominent disciple of Rav Chaim Soleveitchik, he succeeded his father in Brisk, survived WWII after fleeing from Brisk, where his wife and four of his children were murdered, and moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1941. He was never a Rosh HaYeshiva in the usual sense of the word, and never stood at the head of any institution, rather he gave shiurim (classes) to chosen students in his Study Hall. He continued educating students as his father did, in what would come to be known as the Brisker derech (Yiddish: the "Brisk method”) of analyzing the Talmud. This form of analysis stressed conceptual understanding combined with strict adherence to the text; it is also characterized by its emphasis on Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah. After his death, the yeshiva split, each son taking part of the following of the yeshiva.
The Rav as he as fondly and respectfully reffered to by his students was a leader of the Haredi community in Israel and advocated complete withdrawal of participation with the Israeli government, the secular ideals and values of which were, in his view, antithetical to the principles of Orthodox Judaism. He went as far as opposing the reliance on government funding in support of yeshivas and other Torah institutions.In fact he was particular that all the money to his yeshiva would only come from “Kosher-Shabbat observant sources”. He refused to appear in public and was completely removed from worldly affairs. After the Chazon Ish passed away he assumed the mantle of leadership of the Yeshiva world.
He wrote a Sefer on the Rambam’s Mishna Torah, which is known as the “Chidushei HaGri’z HaLevi,” and also Chidushim (insights) on the Torah. Among his descendants are Rav Dovid and Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik. 


Egyptian Jews – Probably one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, today the country of Egypt is virtually judnerein. Despite the Torah’s prohibition on returning to Egypt, it seems that even during the first Temple Jews were living in Egypt. During the 2nd Temple under the Greeks and Romans Alexandria became home to one of the largest Jewish communities and congregations in the world. The community was ultimately wiped out by Hadrian. But later on flourished again during various Arab dynasties. There was a large Karaite community when the Rambam- Maimonides arrived there and he pretty much was successful in restoring them to the traditional Jewish faith. It is estimated that in 1948 there were close to 75,000 Jews living in Egypt. By 1950 40% had already left with about 14,000 making Aliya to Israel. After the 1956 Suez invasion by Israel, Britain and France 25,000 more had left and their properties were confiscated and after the 6 Day War the rest of the Jewish community cleared out with another 35,000 moving to Israel. Like most Sefardim in Israel they are a very traditional group devout in their prayers, their respect for their Rabbis and leaders although not necessarily as Torah educated as many of them became assimilated into the general Israeli secular society upon moving here. Yet fascinatingly enough many of them feel a tremendous pride and connection with their Egyptian heritage, following the news there closely and going back and visiting there. Perhaps one of the most famous Egyptian Jews to impact the state of Israel in modern times was our great spy Eli Cohen who infiltrated the Syrian intelligence and military community providing us with the necessary intelligence and strategies to win the 6 Day War.
What Do We Want? – PATIENCE!!>>When Do We Want It? – NOW!!.- Protest Sign…
Patience: The quality you admire in the driver behind you but can’t stand in the driver who’s in front of you.
Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet service to see who they really are.-Will Ferrell
I'm a patient man; and when I say I'm a patient man, I mean I'm a patient man-George W. Bush

Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put his boots on? He asked for help and she could see why. With her pulling and him pushing, the boots still didn't want to go on. By the time she got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.
She almost whimpered when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet." She looked and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as they worked together to get the boots back on -- this time on the right feet.
He then announced, "These aren't my boots." She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, "Why didn't you say so?" like she wanted to. Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.
He then said, "They're my brother's boots. My Mom made me wear them." She didn't know if she should laugh or cry. She mustered up the grace to wrestle the boots on his feet again.
She said, "Now, where are your mittens?" He said, "I stuffed them in the toes of my boots ..."
Ever have one of those days?

A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three year old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the child asked for cookies and her mother told her "no." The little girl immediately began to whine and fuss, and the mother said quietly, "Now Ellen, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don't be upset. It won't be long."He passed the Mother again in the candy aisle. Of course, the little girl began to shout for candy. When she was told she couldn't have any, she began to cry. The mother said, "There, there, Ellen, don't cry. Only two more aisles to go, and then we'll be checking out."The man again happened to be behind the pair at the check-out, where the little girl immediately began to clamor for gum and burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering there would be no gum purchased today. The mother patiently said, "Ellen, we'll be through this check out stand in five minutes, and then you can go home and have a nice nap."The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. "I couldn't help noticing how patient you were with little Ellen..."The mother broke in, "My little girl's name is Tammy... I'm Ellen."
Answer is B – Ever hear the Jewish name sender. Our Talmud tells us that when Alexander-who modestly referred to himself as “the Great” arrived in Israel he got off his great white horse and prostrated hmself before the High Priest Shimon Hatzadik who cae, out to greet him. When he was asked why, he responded that he always saw the face of this Rabbi before he went to battle in a dream. So as opposed to everywhere else he conquered he allowed Israel to maintain it’s autonomy in the Greek Empire. To thank him the jews adopted the name Alexander or Sender as a Jewish name. Just ot go over a brief second Temple timeline the first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. They were quickly replaced by the Persians where the whole story of Purim takes place. Ultimatly Darius- the grandson of Queen Esther and Achashveirosh allows the Jews to return to Israel, this is reinstated later on as well by Cyrus. The Jews return rebuild the Temple and then Persia is wiped out by the Greeks and Alexander. He is knocked out by the Romans who have some wars against the Carthaginians..and there you have it.

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