Our view of the Galile

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Only in Israel- Tazria / Metzora / Yom Ha'atzmaut- 5777/2017

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

April 28th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 27 2nd Iyar 5777
Parshat Tazria / Metzora
Only in Israel
So he called me up for a tour this summer. He was a really nice guy. He was coming with his family for the first time. He was excited. He had heard wonderful things about my guiding skills. I was funny, inspiring, flexible and most importantly I knew where all the good restaurants were. He had one hesitation though, before he agreed to expose his family to a week of an Ephraim Schwartz tour in the Holy Land. He wanted to know if I would try to convince him and his family to make Aliya, as that was clearly not their objective on this trip… if ever. I reassured him that I certainly did not feel it was my place to ever convince anyone to make Aliya. I believe that is a personal decision that each person, who knows and understands their family best should make for themselves, or perhaps in consultation with someone that they respected to advise them. I did however tell them that one thing I can guarantee them… They will certainly feel miserable about living in the States and not being privileged to be able to be live here. J What they choose to do with that information is up to them. But they certainly will never again feel that they really should have a home or live anywhere else besides in the land that Hashem has promised us is the only place we should ever call home. Whadaya know? I still got the job.
Israel is different than the States. For many Americans the concept of Eretz Yisrael is either a biblical one or a Messianic one. Many recognize that they are in Galus still in the States, just as we in Eretz Yisrael recognize that we are in Exile still as long as that ugly golden pimple still sits where Hashem’s palace should be sitting. Yet, I find that many of them don’t get that there is still a fulfillment of a biblical mitzva by living in Eretz Yisrael even today without the Temple; every single minute, every single step, every single breath we take and every single falafel we eat here. When I talk to people and extol the incredible spiritual nature of the country, they look at me puzzled. What does that mean that the land is holy and that it is the best place in the world to tap into spirituality and one’s soul? They don’t seem to be able to comprehend the concept of a holy land, although, they seem to believe in the concept of a holy place when it comes to going to visit some Rabbi’s graves in the Ukraine, Uman, or anywhere in god forsaken Eastern Europe.
Sure there are challenges in Eretz Yisrael. Yeah it’s not America. But really? Doesn’t being a religious Jew concerned with growing spiritually and living a life that affords me the best opportunity to follow the mitzvos that Hashem commanded us, mean living a life that is not the same as everyone else.  A Life that will entail challenges? We don’t eat wherever or whatever we want, we don’t work on Shabbos, on holidays despite the inconvenience and even financial hardships that entails. We stretch ourselves to make sure we have a nice Etrog for Sukkot, a plentiful Shabbat and holiday meals, we take out time each day to daven three times a day and put on a not so cheap pair of teffilin. We understand how important a Jewish education is so people literally put themselves in hock to pay tuition, when public school would make our lives so much easier and affordable. So why is the concept of Israel so scary, so foreign?
I recently saw a list of things that were “Only in Israel”. Some are funny some are inspiring and of course the list is not nearly complete. Here’s a shortened version of that list. {The rest are down below in the Jokes section)
1. Israel is the only country in the world where anyone can read the Torah in its original and understand it.
2. Israel is the only country in the world where, if someone calls you a "dirty Jew", it means you need a bath.
3. Israel is the only country where you cannot buy Pizza and Falafel in the same stores, usually not even Pizza and French fries.
4. Israel is a country where the same drivers who cuss you will immediately pull over and offer you all forms of help if you look like you need it.
5. Israel is the only country in the world with bus drivers and taxi drivers who read Spinoza and Maimonides.
6. Israel is the only country in the world where you dare not gossip about other people on the bus in Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Polish or Romanian, lest others on the bus understand what you are saying.
7. Memorial Day in Israel is actually a day for remembering and not for buying pool furniture at the mall.
Now I don’t think any of the above reasons would inspire anyone to get on a plane and move here, yet this week’s Torah portion shares with us another significant thing that only happens in Israel. Maybe that will do the trick.
The Torah portion this week mostly discusses the laws of tzara’as, a spiritual malady that befalls a person as a result of some type of spiritual failing on his part. A person can break out with what looks like a form of leprosy. It can show itself on one’s clothing or even on the walls of one’s house. The remedy would be approaching the Kohein who would identify it, and then one would be secluded if it fell on one’s body and bring a series of offerings when he was purified. If it fell on one’s clothing or house they would have to be destroyed.  In fact our sages tells us that when they came into the land of Israel, all the non- Jewish homes that they conquered had this tzara’as and the houses were destroyed revealing treasures that the Canaanites hid in the walls.
Now this concept of having a warning sign from Hashem actually reflect itself in the physical world based on our need to improve something we may be failing in is definitely amazing. Can you imagine what life would be like? A person who is a little too stingy, too much of a gossiper, maybe a little too full of himself. Now we don’t recognize our own faults too easily. Maybe we don’t even pay attention to the tell-tale signs that are effecting our relationships. We schmooze in the back of the shul or doze during the Rabbi’s sermon, believing that he certainly isn’t speaking to meeee... But imagine, no let me correct that, think back to the time, when Hashem would just let you know Himself via a little white tell-tale growth on your house or clothes that you needed a bit of a wake-up call. I would have to leave my house, my family, my community and reflect. Pretty awesome isn’t it? Not a bad trick to have for someone who’s life goal is becoming a better, holier, more-godly person. But there’s one catch. It only works here.
The Torah introduces the law of Metzora as it relates to the tzara’as of ones house with the verse
Vayikra (14:35) When you will come to the land of Canaan which I give you as an inheritance and I will place a tzara’as blemish in the house in the land of your heritage.
The Ibn Ezra notes over here that this law is only in the land of Israel because of the superiority of the land as the Temple is in it and the glory is in the Temple. The Ramban (ibid. 13:47) as well notes by the laws of the tzara’as on clothing that this will only happen in the land of Israel because it is Hashem’s chosen portion. Shouldn’t everyone have this wake-up call? Why is it only in Israel?
The Ramban later on in Vayikra (18:25- worthwhile to see the whole thing there it’s truly amazing) notes the difference between Israel and every other country. When Hashem created the world and the nations, each one had its own specific place and its own heavenly sar or angel that would be the method with which Hashem interacts with it. It is why, he explains, that the nations strayed and worshiped idols, stars and alternate forces. Eretz Yisrael which is the special portion of Hashem is directly controlled by Him. It is His home. It’s all he has on his screen 24/7. It is completely pure. The other countries and place in the world “their purity can never be complete, as the angels and intermediaries create a barrier.”  It is for this reason seemingly why tzara’as which is a blemish as a result of one’s spiritual failings only shows up in Eretz Yisrael. It’s like someone who is a painter and he comes home with stains all over his clothing. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s not even noticeable. On the other hand if someone is off to a wedding and is dressed up in their very finest and some coffee spills on their white shirt or even worse, if some wine spills on the brides gown. Man, is someone in trouble. That’s the difference. In one place your spirituality really makes a difference, in the other place your wearing a dirty shirt anyways. Ouch!
We are living in historic times. We are living in a period that our ancestors only dreamed of. This week marks 69 years since the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael. Three years prior to that our people were on the cusp of destruction and annihilation in the Shoah. Yet from those ashes Hashem has returned his people to His land. Over 6.5 million Jews live here, over 200,000 babies were born making this the youngest country in the world. If one thinks that in 1946 there were less than 600,000 that’s even more mind-blowing. There are more Jews living here than there were the entire 2nd Temple. Torah study has flourished, agriculture, jobs, hi-tech, breakthroughs in medicine and technology, all of this was as unfathomable a mere 50 years ago. It’s wild, it’s amazing, dare I say it’s absolutely Messianic. The only thing we are missing is Hashem, our Temple and those of you that haven’t come home yet. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling anyone to make Aliya. That’s not my place. It’s a personal decision that each person, who knows and understands their family best should make for themselves. But have I succeeded in making you feel miserable yet?
Have a uplifting Shabbos wherever you are and a festive Israel Independence Day
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz



“Di ergsteh rechiles iz der emess.”- The worst libel is the truth


https://youtu.be/wq0ChEGkdFs    - Ari Goldwag V’Ahavta Acapella

https://youtu.be/b86cGVa8HME   – Simcha Leiner VHinei Nishama car wash acapella

https://youtu.be/nEp_-FN4SSQ  Jeff Seidel A Time for Israel Waka Waka

answer below at end of Email
Q Settlements in the Binyamin Region:
a. Elazar and Itamar
b. Efrat and Kedumim
c. Shiloh and Psagot
d. Ariel and Shoresh

Particularly when Rashi choses to share with us a Mussar teaching it is worthwhile to think about precisely what he is saying. How he sees it in the text and what greater lesson we can take from that. In this week’s Torah portion in regards to the purification process of the Metzora the Torah tells us
Vayikra (14:3-4) And the Kohen shall go to the outside of the camp. And the Kohen shall see him and behold the tzara’as has healed from the afflicted one. And the Kohen shall command and he shall take for the one being purified two live pure birds and a cedar branch and tola’at (crimson) dyed wool and hyssop.
Rashi on the latter part of the verse notes-
Tola’at (crimson) dyed wool and hyssop- What is his remedy that he should be cured? He should lower himself from his arrogance like a tola’at (literally a) worm and like hyssop.
The Shem MiShmuel of Sochatchov asks why does this man need to be healed seemingly the Kohen already saw him by this point and as the previous verse seems to say “Behold the tzara’as was healed”. Additionally one can ask where Rashi sees this in pshat and why he feels it necessary to share with us the symbolism of these items- as profound as it may seem.
He suggests a very deep insight into human behavior and our ability to rectify something. There are two ways or factors that may humble a person. One is if one ponders and recognizes the awesomeness of Hashem and how little one can and has accomplished as Hashem is the one that allows and gives us the ability to do anything. The other is when a person suffers from illness or tragedy or is at a point of danger or threat. Then one realizes that everything is in the hands of Hashem. That we truly do not have any power without Him. Both ways will inspire and humble a person and remove any semblance of arrogance. The difference is when the sickness or danger passes, generally people will return to their old ways.
He points out that the first verse merely says that the tzora’as was healed. Not the person, as Rashi here says. Merely the malady and any remnant of arrogance has been removed by the trauma and awakening the experience of being afflicted and being sent out of the camp has caused. But that is not permanent. Thus the Kohen comes to him and he brings these items for the ritual of purification. Rashi therefore explains this is so that he, the metzora, will have a permanent tikkun. He should lower himself always like the worm and the hyssop. He should always reflect and thing about how small he is in creation. That way not only will the tzora’as be healed, but he will as well.

Rabbi Shmuel Bornstain –Shem MiShmuel (1855-1926) – Reb Shmuel Bornsztain or the Shem Mishmuel as he was known by his monumental work, was the second Rebbe of the Sochatchov Hasidic dynasty. His work Shem Mishmuel is a nine-volume work of Torah and Hasidic thought. He was a leading Hasidic thinker in early 20th-century Europe and a Rebbe to thousands of Hasidim in the Polish cities of Sochatchov and Łódź. Reb Shmuel was the only son of Rabbi Avrohom Bornsztain, author of Avnei Nezer and the first Sochatchover Rebbe. Through his father's line, he was a descendent of the Rema and the Shach. His mother, Sara Tzina Morgenstern, was the daughter of the Kotzker Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgenstern. Shmuel was born in the home of his maternal grandfather, the Kotzker Rebbe, in Kotzk during the time that his father was being supported by his father-in-law, as was the custom in those days. He spent his childhood in the towns of Parczew and Krośniewice, where his father held positions as Rav. His Father was his primary Torah teacher throughout his childhood, and a close and long-lasting bond developed between the two. Even later in life, as the father of a large family, Shmuel regarded himself as his father's talmid (student) and learned with him every day. In his writings, Shmuel synthesized the values and insights of Kotzker Hasidut—as taught by his grandfather, the Kotzker Rebbe—and Peshischa Hasidut, synthesizing them into the unique style that became Sochatchover Hasidut. He was crowned second Sochatchover Rebbe following the death of his father in 1910 and was accepted by all the elder Hasidim of his father's court.
At the outbreak of World War I, he was visiting a spa in Germany and was arrested as a Russian citizen. Only after much effort did he succeed in returning to Poland with other Rebbes who had been similarly detained. Due to persecution of Jews by the Tsarist government, he could not return to Sochaczew, but resettled in Łódź with his family. Here he acted as a guide and advisor to his own Hasidim as well as Hasidim of other dynasties and non-Hasidim seeking encouragement and support. In 1919, Bornsztain chose to leave the tumult of the big city, which was taking its toll on his health as well as his ability to concentrate on his holy work, and relocated to Zgierz, a small town near Łódź . Here he established his yeshiva and led his Hasidic court. His health worsened in 1926 and, upon the advice of his doctors, he moved to Otwock, a resort near Warsaw. There he died at the age of 70 on 8 January. He was brought to burial in the same ohel (covered grave) as his father, the Avnei Nezer, in Sochaczew

Daati LiUmi/ Mizrachi/ Srugim – The largest representatives of orthodox Jews in Israel are probably the Daati Liumi- religious Zionists. Certainly they are the most influential. Numbering close to 800,000 today they make up almost 10% of the Jewish population of Israel. The religious Zionist movements which is really the evolution of what was the former Mizrachi movement are defined by their two primary ideals. One that the State of Israel is the beginning of the ultimate redemption and it is the obligation of its constituents to participate fully in bringing that to its ultimate goal. The second is that the Torah and it’s laws should be observed and through the democratic process ultimately be implemented into bringing Israel to the point of a Jewish state that is ruled by Torah law. This ideology is generally reflected in the view that it is a privilege and obligation amongst the DL’s to serve in the army, to recite the prayers on behalf of the State and to establish schools and programs that will imbue the next generation and even those that are unaffiliated with a love and passion for Eretz Yisrael as well as for the Torah and it’s study and mitzvos.
Reffered to as Srugim because of the knitted kippas that they generally wear, the DL are certainly inspiring in the way they transmit their passion of Eretz Yisrael to their children. There are hundreds of them that learn in Hesder Yeshivos where they study a few years while training and serving in the army. In fact almost 40% of the officers in the army are religious Zionists. As well many of them have very high birthrates, certainly more than their modern orthodox American counterparts, as they see and understand the need to populate the land. In recent years as well, many programs have opened for outreach to secular communities in Israel and many of them as well go on shlichut abroad with bnai Akiva and camps to share their love of Israel with Jews in the Diaspora. Yom Ha’Atzmaut this week is certainly the highlight of the year for many of them with parades and fireworks but as well special prayers and Hallel is recited as unlike both their secular and Chareidi counterparts, for the Srugim this is a religious as well as a national holiday.

An Israeli man's life was saved when he was given a Palestinian man's heart in a heart transplant operation. The guy is doing fine, but the bad news is, he can't stop throwing rocks at himself.
On the sixth day, God turned to the Angels and said:  "Today I am going to create a land called Israel, it will be a land of mountains full of snow, sparkly lakes, forests full of all kind of trees, high cliffs overlooking sandy beaches with an abundance of sea life."
God continued, "I shall make the land rich so to make the inhabitants prosper, I shall call these inhabitants Israeli, and they shall be known to the most people on earth."
"But Lord, asked the Angels, don't you think you are being too generous to these Israeli's?"
"Not really, God replied, just wait and see the neighbors I am going to give them."

Benny from Haifa passed away and was sent ‘below’. He was amazed, however, to discover lush vegetation, running streams, waterfalls and beautiful lakes everywhere. Everyone seemed happy.
“You look surprised,” said a resident.
“Yes, I am,” replied Benny, “I expected hell to be very dry and exceedingly hot. Like a desert. But all I can see are trees full of all kinds of fruit, beautiful flowers, lots of vegetables, lush grass and water everywhere. This is not hell”
“Well,” said the resident, “it used to be like you thought, but then the Israelis started to arrive and they irrigated the hell out of the place!”
Israel is the only country where in addition to the signs telling you not to play loud music or smoke on a bus it also asks you not spit sunflower seeds.
Israel is the only country in the world where formal dress means a new clean T-shirt, sandals and jeans.
Israel is the only country in the world where one need not check the ingredients on the products in the supermarket to avoid ending up with things containing pork.
Israel is the only country in the world where reservists are bossed around and commanded by officers, male and female, younger than their own children.
Israel is the only country in the world where "small talk" consists of loud, angry debate over politics and religion.
Israel is the only country in the world where the mothers learn their mother tongue from their children
Israel is the only country in the world where the news is broadcast over the loudspeakers on buses, where people listen to news updates every half hour.
Israel is the only country in the world where, when people say the "modern later era", they are referring to the time of the 2nd Temple.
Israel is the only country in the world whose people eat three salads a day, none of which contain any lettuce, and where olives are a food and even a main course in a meal, rather than something one tosses into a martini.
Israel is the only country in the world where one is unlikely to be able to dig a cellar without hitting ancient archeological artifacts.
Israel is the only country in the world where the graffiti is in Hebrew.
Israel is the only country in the world where the "black folks" walking around all wear yarmulkes.
Israel is the only country in the world where the ultra-Orthodox Jews beat up the police and not the other way around.
Israel is the only country in the world where inviting someone "out for a drink" means drinking cola or coffee.
Israel is the only country in the world where bank robbers kiss the mezuzah as they leave with their loot.
Israel is the only country in the world where everyone on a flight gets to know one another before the plane lands. In many cases, they also get to know the pilot and all about his health or marital problems.
Israel is the only country in the world where no one has a foreign accent because everyone has a foreign accent.
Israel is the only country in the world where people cuss using dirty words in Russian or Arabic because Hebrew has never developed them.
Israel is the only country in the world where patients visiting physicians end up giving the doctor advice.
Israel is the only country in the world where everyone strikes up conversations while waiting in lines.
 Israel is the only country in the world where hot water is an event and not a condition ("in" joke; you have to live in Israel to figure it out).
Israel is the only country in the world where people call an attache case a "James Bond" and the "@" sign is called a "strudel".
Israel is the only country in the world where kids read Harry Potter in Hebrew.
Israel is the only country in the world where there is the most mysterious and mystical calm ambience in the streets on Yom Kippur, which cannot be explained unless you have experienced it.
Israel is the only country in the world where making a call to God is a local call.
Answer is C – This one is pretty easy. At least I thought so. Truth is anyone that drives around this country or even follows the news a bit should be able to use process of deduction for a lot of these. Elazar is in the Gush Etzion area, where my uncle David lives and Itamar is in the Shomron-for those that remember the tragedy of the Fogel family massacre a few years ago there. Kedumim as well is in the Shomron and Efrat is the largest city in Gush. Ariel is the center and largest city in the Shomron and Shoresh the only city on this list that is not in “occupied territory” or pre-67 Israel borders. So of course the right answer is Psagot and the yishuv of Shiloh built right next to the biblical city of Shiloh where the Mishkan.

No comments:

Post a Comment