Karmiel

Karmiel
Our view of the Galile

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lions and Foxes and Wives...Oh my- Korach 2017/5777

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

June 23rd 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 33 29th Sivan 5777
Parshat Korach
Lions and foxes and wives… oh my!

 The lion was hungry. Not that it was anything new. Lions are generally hungry. Hungry and tired. But today the King of the jungle saw dinner out in the hedges; it was that pesky little fox that had been hanging around and today it was time for some tasty lean fox chops for supper. Our friend the sly little fox though had a different plan. He knew that hungry look in the lion’s eye and suggested he dine at a different locale, perhaps that nice juicy chulent filled Jewish peasant sitting beside that brush in the neighboring campground in front of the ditch. (The lion seemed a little hesitant, after-all even the lion knew that you don’t mess with the Jews, especially not those chulent-filled ones, regardless of how tasty they may seem. Everyone knew of the Jew’s extraordinary power of prayer and the God that watches over them. What self-respecting feline wants to get himself involved with something like that?
 
But the fox reassured him.
 “Don’t worry”, he said “their prayer can’t do anything against you. It can’t even affect your children. At worst maybe they are able to bring down some type of judgment against your grandchildren. But that shouldn’t be anything for a hungry lion like you… that hasn’t eaten for so long…that is rightfully the king of the jungle… that is soooo in the mood for a delicious kosher style meal…mmmmm.”
So the lion emboldened by this reassuring logic went to get his dinner. Five minutes later though he was lying in pain as a lightning bolt came down and struck a tree which fell on top of him trapping him in a ditch. Moaning in pain and cursing his fate he turned to the fox who had come over to visit and asked him how this could have happened. The fox responded in his most inimitable sly fox way. ”I guess your grandfather must have done something wrong”….
 
 This story was written in the 9th century by Rav Hai Gaon (with a little bit of updated Rabbi Schwartz editorial chulent latitude). He suggests this story contains a significant moral lesson (as most fox and lion stories do). In fact it was sent by Rav Eliyahu Dessler the great English Jewish leader to his students while he was on a boat to the US in the 1930’s  as he studied  this week’s Torah portion challenging them to take heed of its important message.
 
We read in the about the individual for whom the portion is named called Korach. He is described in the Medrash as someone who was obviously a great person. He was from the carriers of the Ark, and he was able to draw to his cause and rebellion to usurp Moshe and Aaron as leaders of the Jewish people- 250 of the greatest leaders including sages and members of Sanhedrin. He was almost the king of the jungle. In fact the Prophet Samuel who is compared to both Moshe and Aaron is his descendant. So where did he go wrong? The answer, our sages say, is that he was blinded by desire. He was envious for the position of the High Priesthood, he sought to “feed” on that which was never meant for him. And as smart or as learned as one might be when we are operating “under the influence” of envy, desire or lust, or self-aggrandizement then we lose our power of rationalization. We come up with excuses, reasons why our actions may not result in consequences, we become like hungry lions with a sly fox built into us that will give us just the right justification and exoneration to get that meal that will inevitably end us up in a ditch.
 
So what’s the solution when we’re hungry and not necessarily thinking straight? Well the first thing is to never listen to a fox. Avoid the people that try to convince you to ignore your spiritual “spidey sense”. The ones that tell you to just go for it and don’t worry about the consequences. Rather our sages shares with us the story of the one Our sages tell us in this week’s portion that we can learn individual who did not end up in Korach’s ditch; Ohn ben Pelet. Ohn was on his way over to the big Korach party when his wife pulled him aside and did some old fashioned splain’en to him. She showed him he had nothing to gain and was able to break him out of the moment and he was saved. See that’s why Hashem gave us wives and spouse. It’s a checks and balance. Check out what we are doing before doing it again, and balance out our desires and heat of the moment passion that may be tilting us to the ditch before we fall in. Not all of us are as fortunate to have spouses that can be as great as Ohn’s wife but we all should make sure we have someone. Someone who we can bounce our rationalizations off of. Someone who can be an objective antidote to our natural subjectivity. Someone whose advice we respect and value and someone whose guidance we ultimately will respect and adhere to. It can be a Rabbi a trusted friend or a parent but we each have to have someone.  Lions fall in ditches and people can too. But the ones who strive to be better make sure that we have someone around to keep our balance and on our toes rather than flat on our backs.
Have a marvelous Shabbos and an incredible new month of Tamuz that she bring us all many simchas,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

*************************
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK

“Az a leyb shloft, loz im shlofn..”- When a lion is sleeping, let him sleep

RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

https://youtu.be/tiItGCwtavw   Cool party song of the year in Israel Mahpecha Shel Simcha with the Syrian boys choir cool!

https://youtu.be/6HTDN0gYzNA   - What does the fox say in Ramat Beit Shemesh

https://youtu.be/au1CZeY6Xlc  Hakuna Matata in Hebrew JJJ!!

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email

Q. Shabbetai Tzvi was active during the following century:
A. 14th
B. 15th
C. 16th
D. 17th

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ILLUMINATING RASHI OF THE WEEK
Rashi doesn’t merely tell us stories. He’s not a magid, one of those wandering Rabbis that would tell parables. He’s there to tell us pshat in the Torah in the easisest and most concise way. If he tells us a story it is in order for us to better understand the text. So if you see a parable in Rashi ask yourself what is he trying to add to his commentary that I might have missed with this. You’ll probably find something interesting that makes you think twice. Which is exactly his point.
In this weeks portion when the Torah tells us about Moshe’s Response to the rebellion of Korach the verse tell us
Bamidbar (16:4) And Moshe heard and fell on his face
Rashi in a lengthy comment tell us
Because of the dispute, for this was already the fourth incident of foulness- they sinned by the golden calf- ‘Moshe pleaded’. By the complainers-‘Moshe prayed’. By the spies- ‘Moshe said and Egypt will hear..’. At the dispute of Korach Moshe’s hands became weakened.
This seems simple enough. Rashi is explaining why Moshe falls on his face here. He goes through the different responses and shows how the fourth time is just too much already for him. I got it. But Rashi then continues with a story.
This can be compared to a story of the son of a king who acted disgracefully toward his father. and his friend placated on his behalf. One time, two times, three times when the son acted improperly the fourth time the friend’s hands became weakened. He said ‘How long can I bother the King? Perhaps he won’t accept any more from me.”
What is this parable telling me more than I would’ve understood from the original statement, asks the CHiD”A? He explains brilliantly that Maimonides has a concept in the laws of Tshuva (3:5) That differentiates between a communal sin and an individual sin. That whereas an individual sin Hashem gives you three strikes before he takes into account all the three sins. By a community Hashem does not punish at all for the first three rather just from the fourth and on. So upon reading Rashi one might assume, and the Rav of Brisk, as brought down by the Shai La’Torah in fact does, that Rashi is telling us this rule. That the fourth Moshe backed off because he knew he couldn’t prevent it anymore. But that is incorrect. It’s why he brings the parable.
The parable tells us that the reason why Hashem didn’t punish the first three times is not because that is the general rule-rather it is because “his friend placated him”. It was Moshe that accomplished it. But why was Moshe necessary. Isn’t the rule that the first three times we get a free pass anyways? So the Chi”DA suggests that that rule applies for all sins except for idolatry and the golden calf which is considered as if they violated the entire Torah; as the verse says “they strayed fast from the path”. So technically speaking they should have been wiped out after the first time. Yet Moshe, even knowing this pleaded on their behalf. He went to bat for us. But here it was too much for him even. The game was up.
See one simple parable, but what an incredible insight.

HaRav Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai, zt"l, (1724 - 1806)- a great Sephardic sage known by the acronym "Chidah." Considered the Sephardic equivalent to the Vilna Gaon, he was born in  Jerusalem. His father was Harav Yitzchak Zerachiah Azulai. The Chidah’s piety and brilliance in Torah were already apparent in his youth. At 10 he began learning in the beit medrash of his rebbi and uncle, Harav Yonah Navon and; by the age of 12 he was already writing treatises on Hilchot Melichah- the difficult laws on salting meat.
When the Chidah was 18, Harav Chaim Ben Attar, the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, arrived in Yerushalayim. The Chidah immediately joined the holy Gaon’s yeshivah, Knesset Yisrael, for a short period until the Ohr Hachaim passed away. For many years he served as a roving emissary for Jews in Eretz Yisrael, traveling to hundreds of Jewish communities throughout Europe and North Africa to raise money. When the Chidah was 29 years old, he was sent as an emissary to collect funds for the community of Chevron, which was suffering from extreme poverty. Perhaps the greatest love and passion of the Chida was exploring ancient texts in museums and restoring an transcribing them.  He spent all available time in the libraries of the cities he visited, studying ancient manuscripts and books.
In 1764, the Chidah left Eretz Yisrael for the second time on a mission to benefit the community of Yerushalayim. Instead of returning to Eretz Yisrael, he became Chief Rabbi of Alexandria, where he served for five years. While in Egypt he unearthed many "Genizoth" (buried treasures of ancient manuscripts) and further added to his vast knowledge of books and authors. In 1769, he left his rabbinical post in Egypt, returned to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Chevron.
In 1772, he was sent on a third mission, his second on behalf of the city of Chevron. Once a
gain the ChIDA rummaged through dusty museums, libraries and private collections in search of centuries-old treasures of wisdom. Only a man like ChIDA, whose love for books was so great, could have the patience to devote all his spare time to this kind of work. Thus, for instance, he was grateful for the opportunity to visit Paris not for its beautiful boulevards and curiosities, but for the five thousand manuscripts he discovered in the Louvre and other collections.
The ChIDA's diary, which was later published under the name "Maagal Tov-the Good Circle records his observations and experiences in the course of his travels. They give us an insight into the political, economic, and religious life of those days. Rabbi Azulal became known as a great authority on books and manuscripts. His wonderful memory helped him to acquire a vast store of knowledge and facts. He used to buy all the books he could afford, but he could not afford to buy many. However, throughout his travels he gathered material, made notes, and planned his writings.
Despite his extensive travels, the Chidah wrote some 80 works, 60 of which were published. They covered topics in HalachahAggadah and Kabbalah. He wrote a collection of responsa known as Yosef Ometz, the Shem HaGedolim (a biographical work on 1300 authors and 1200 writing, dating back to the Gaonim), and the famous Birkei Yosef. He died in Livorno, Italy.and was interred there. In 1960, when the authorities were planning to desecrate his holy kever, his remains were brought to Eretz Yisrael for reburial on Har Hamenuchot. Many open miracles occurred for those who prayed by his gravesite, further attesting to the Chidah’s greatness and holiness.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TYPES OF JEWS IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK
Tel Avivnikim They call it medinat Tel Aviv- the State of Tel Aviv for a reason. The people that live there in many ways feel like they are living in their own country. They are many times living in la la land. Whether that’s on issues of security and the arab threat to the rest of the country, what religious jews or even the traditional Jewish religion is about, and certainly what the struggles and challenges of those that live on farms or out in the other parts of Israel may have. For many of them, who couldn’t picture themselves living outside of a 5 minute drive from a local cafĂ© where they can socialize, or a pub or bar that they can spend the night hanging out in, lifr outside of Tel Aviv is primitive and they look at the people outside of their medina as being such. Kind of like New Yorkers perhaps. But Israeli-liberal New Yorkers which is always a dangerous combination. Yet it is interesting to note that this city-the second largest in Israel with a population of 450 thousand, which is certainly the heart of finance, “culture” and secularism has a strong religious presence as well. In fact Rav Kook the first chief Rabb of Palestine was from Yaffo right before it moved into Tel Aviv and there were great Chasidic courts in the city as well. But they’re not called Tel Avivnikim. The classic Tel Aviv person is into culture, hip, villagey type of stuff and punkers. They are tolerant and accepting of every type of person-except orthodox Jews and  settlers, and right wing politicians and party voters. OK maybe I’m being too harsh. This is a divisive country and we are an opinionated people. They are on the other end of my spectrum. But you know what the truth is as much as we differ. They will fight for me and I for them. Because in Israel we are family. And Tel Avivnikim are certainly an important part of ours.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ADVISOR JOKES OF THE WEEK

When does a fox go "moo"? A: When it is learning a new language!
A man and his pet fox walk into a bar. It's about 5pm, but they're ready for a good night of drinking. They start off slowly, watching TV, drinking beer, eating peanuts. As the night goes on they move to mixed drinks, and then shooters, one after the other. Finally, the bartender says: "Last call." So, the man says, "One more for me... and one more for my fox." The bartender sets them up and they shoot them back. Suddenly, the fox falls over dead. The man throws some money on the bar, puts on his coat and starts to leave. The bartender, yells: "Hey buddy, you can't just leave that lyin' there." To which the man replies: "That's not a lion, that's a fox."
What's a lion running a copy machine called? A: A copycat!
Q. Why did the lion loose at poker? A. Because he was playing with a cheetah
Q: What do you call a lion with chicken pox? A: A dotted lion.
Q: What do you call a lion who chases camels across the desert? A: a chameleon.
 Q: What do you call a lion wearing a stylish hat? A: A dandy lion
Q! Q: Why are lions religious? A: Because they prey frequently, and prey as a family!
Q: What is lion's favorite food ? A: Baked beings !
Q: On which day do lions eat people ? A: Chewsday !
Q: What is a lions favorite state? A: Maine
 A student named Yankel was sitting in class one day and the teacher walked by and he asked her "How do you put an elephant in the fridge?" The teacher said "I don't know, how?" Yankel then said "You open the door and put it in there!" Then Jacob asked the teacher another question "How do you put a girraffe in the fridge?" The teacher then replied "Ohh I know this one, you open the door and put it in there?" Jacob said "No, you open the door, take the elephant out, and then you put it in there." Then he asked another question..."All the animals went to the lions birthday party, except one animal, which one was it?" The teacher a bit confused and said "The lion?" Then the student said "No,the girraffe because he's still in the fridge." then he asked her just one more question...."If there is a river full of crocodiles and you wanted to get across it,how would you" The teacher then says "You would walk over the bridge." Then Yankel says "No, you would swim across because all the crocodiles are at the lions birthday party!" She laughs and walks away.

 **************
Answer is D – Don’t get me wrong Shabetai Tzvi is certainly an important figure in Jewish history. Important not in a good way. Kind of like Korach of this week’s Torah portion. This 17th century false Messiah who swayed almost a third of the Jewish world that were devastated after the Cossacks and the Chmeliniski revolution and were ripe for the Messianic picking, traumatized the Jewish people till today and impacted much of the Jewish peoples approach when it came to other revolutionaries and charismatic people in the Jewish world. But I’m not sure why this is necessarily a topic that a tour guide in Israel would need to know. Although Shabetai certainly came to Israel and swayed some rabbis and was thrown out by others here as well as picking up his henchman Nathan of Gaza here I don’t know of any sites where we talk about the story. I mention it a bit when I talk about the Ramchal and why he was thrown out of communities because they suspected him of being a Sabbatean, or even to explain a bt of the debate and hesitation about the fight between the Chasidim and Mitnagdim. But any of my tour guide friends reading this speak about it anywhere else?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Eitza- Gebbers- Shelach 2017/5777

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

June 16th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 33 22nd Sivan 5777
Parshat Shelach
Eitza-Gebbers

“Zai nisht kehn eitza gebber” my saba would tell me. Don’t be an advice giver. If you want to do something do something. If you don’t, then don’t. But don’t stand on the sidelines and be the one that tells everyone else how they should be doing their job. How they could do it better.  How they should listen to you… It’s wasn’t easy advice to listen to. I like telling people what to do. To make matters worse, I really don’t like doing other people’s jobs for them. Hmmmm what to do?  So I became a Rabbi and figured that if I was good people might even ask me for advice. I might even get paid for it. I was right about the first thing, getting paid for it though…not so much.
But as time went on I learned an important lesson. Most people don’t really want to be told what they should do. They really prefer telling other people what to do.  There is a whole personal-coaching industry that has developed over the past few decades that is built on the concept that people are looking for guidance-but they don’t like being told what to do. So a personal coach is taught the skills of how to encourage and inspire people to accomplish and do the things that they should be doing and that will enhance their lives, but at the same time make them feel that they are the ones that are in control and are making their own goals and plans. It’s interesting to me that this field caters not only to the “lo yutzlachs, the guys and girls that can’t make it on their own. But in fact many wealthy, successful and powerful people have told me that they have a personal coach that keeps them on track and guides them to even greater heights. Now if the same coach would just tell them what to do, I don’t think they would listen. Despite the fact that it is the same advice. It seems it’s essential for people to think and believe and truly integrate the information as if they came to it on their own.
Now I don’t really work that way. I could never be a personal coach. I’m an ‘eitza gebber’. Probably wouldn’t make a good therapist either, because from what I understand it’s pretty much the same concept. Personally I don’t ask advice too much. My parents and wife would definitely concur. It’s one of the hazards of pretty much thinking that I’m smarter than anyone else. And despite the many proofs to the contrary that the above mentioned relatives might bring to the contrary- they just don’t really understand. I was really right, it’s just that….. Uh huh, they are saying… yeah. But there are times that I do need guidance, times when I’m not sure about which way to go with something, or how to proceed. Or when I have a really serious decision to make that would have tremendous impact on my spiritual existence. Like whether despite my weekly heartburn and Saturday night gastro-intestinally upheavals-emphasis on the first syllable to be delicate, I should continue to have beans in our Shabbos chulent or not. Just joking. Yeah… I cut out the beans already and didn’t even ask. It seems my family voted on that already. But really there are times that I have questions. That’s what my Rabbi is for. I speak to him regularly and he’s amazing at telling me what I can’t do figure out on my own. Come to think of it, he really does the personal coach thing amazing. Usually I walk out of there and feel like it is my own idea. Would I listen, or would he be my Rabbi if he just told me what to do? If he was my “eitza gebber”? I’m not sure. One thing I know is that I thank Hashem every day that I have someone like that in my life.
On the other side of the coin. Or maybe it’s the same side. I find that most people like it when you ask them for their advice or their opinion. I remember when I first moved to Norfolk Virginia and opened up the Kollel as a community outreach organization, the first of its kind, I wanted to meet with some of the influential people in town to get the word out and maybe even garner support. People were wary when we moved there, you know these orthodox Rabbis that come to town just mean trouble…right? Well the biggest players in town were these two billionaire brothers Art and Steve who had made their money by joining forces and ultimately selling their baked goods and fish business to Sarah Lee. They were influential and tremendous philanthropists. In a nutshell they were people I wanted to meet. It took me about 4 months of relentless weekly calling until they realized I wasn’t going away and that they should probably just meet with me and get it over with. I will never forget our first meeting.
When I sat down with them I told them that I was not here to ask them or meet with them for money. I had my funding set up already and that’s not what I was there for. That eased them up a bit. I continued and told them that I was really there more for their wisdom, advice and insight. They were after-all pillars of the community and knew the ins and outs. Whatever they could share with me, what pitfalls to avoid, how I might be able to serve as a resource to the community, how I could develop the necessary “community organization face would help me. To be honest I was hoping for a check as well, but hey, I figured the best way to develop a relationship with them would be asking for their advice. In retrospect, the advice was probably a lot more crucial than that young know-it-all Rabbi thought it was worth. But anyways, that certainly broke down any hesitations that they may have had. As I said everyone loves to share advice and be an “eitza-gebber” especially if they know it’s not gonna cost them anything. We had a great hour long conversation. They shared with me a lot of insights and we really bonded. We joked, we shared stories, it was really good.
I figured as we were finishing that it had gone so well that I may as well make a play. I told Steve as we were leaving and thanked him, that I really enjoyed our conversation and I would love to invite him to come to my weekly Sunday morning class. It would be fun, interesting and inspiring and we even had free bagels and lox each week. Steve looked at me and smiled and said the words I will never forget…
“You’re not gonna get me with bagels and lox, Rabbi!” Yeah I had forgotten that this was the man that sold his fish and baked goods business to Sarah Lee… Maybe I should’ve asked an eitza before I gave that invitation.
This week our Torah portion discusses that tragic story of people that were eitza gebbers. We are told the story of the spies that Moshe sent out to the land of Israel and their plot to dissuade the Jews from going there. The spies that were sent out were the Nasi- of every tribe, the princes, the leaders, good and holy people. Yet at the same time Moshe was concerned. He changed the name of his faithful student from Hoshea to Yehoshua-Joshua, adding on two letters yud and heh that represent Hashem’s name for Hashem to save him from the eitza of the spies. Later on the Torah tells us that the other good spy Calev goes to the pray in Chevron by the grave of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs that he shouldn’t be drawn into the eitza of the spies.
In previous years we discussed what the spies were thinking and what their scheme and plan was. What made such great men make such a great error? Many different commentaries offer suggestions. I want to focus on a different question. If Moshe, Yehoshua and Calev were wary already in the first place why send them? Why not try to prevent it? It’s also fascinating the word that is used here is the eitza- the advice of the spies. Not plot or scheme but advice. The Lubavitcher Rebbe even notes that the term eitza/ advice is used regularly as a good thing as well. In fact he suggests that the spies, who were chosen by Moshe and even Hashem were good god-fearing people, well-intentioned, the Torah tells us so and Moshe wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. They had good ideas, were smart and truly were the best people for the mission. The problem and fear was that they might misinterpret the mission and become eitza-gebbers. Not bad eitza-gebbers, but people that would inflect their own view-point, perspective and advice into a mission that didn’t required it.
See Moshe was very specific about what he wanted them to do in Israel- or better yet the land of Canaan. They were sent la’tour et ha’aretz-to travel through the land. The word for spy which is what Yosef accuses the brothers of when they came down to Egypt and what Yehoshua sends later on right before they come into the land is l’ragel.The word la’tour is from the same root as Torah. To study the land, to read it and learn it like a piece of Talmud, like a page of the Torah with Rashi. The difference is that spying is to check out what are the strong and weak points and how and even more significantly the feasibility of a particular strategy, mission or plan might be. Torah is an entirely different concept. When we study Torah the basic premise is that this is the word of God. It is true. Anything that seems incomprehensible, unfeasible, irrelevant or illogical is only because of the frailty of my finite mortal comprehension that hasn’t grasped the divine wisdom that is there. My brain is too full of chulent. I haven’t cleared it out and reached a level of appreciation of spiritual understanding of a world that is being run constantly by a God that sees and understands all and that is above time and space. The world is on one divinely steered trajectory and we as the Jewish people, the Divine chosen representatives, are in the front car of that train. So when we study, we ask we question we even challenge, yet at the same time we never question the veracity of the page we are studying, the mission that we have.
Moshe prays, he changes Yehoshua’s name, Kalev heads down to Hebron as well to daven that he shouldn’t fall into the danger of being an eitza-gebber. That they shouldn’t lose sight and confuse the role that they are meant to be playing over here. Their job was never to assess the land of Israel and certainly not feasibility of its already ordained conquest, but to study it, learn every tree, every city, every grape and pomegranate. Come back to tell the Jewish people about the 40 day “class”  they just had in “limudei Eretz Yisrael- the study of land of Israel”. You can even tell them how impossible it might seem to conquer it at first glance, and how there were parts of the shiur-class that they couldn’t wrap their brains around-like how the heck this was gonna happen. It’s a shverra gemara- as we would say in yeshiva- a difficult piece of Talmud. But every yeshiva guy knows that we never throw out the gemara if we don’t understand it. We just keep working at it. Because we know it is true. We know it is from Hashem, and we even know that ultimately if we keep plugging away at it and not just jump to the quickest and easiest advice, ultimately that ray of divine sunlight will shine down and it will all make sense.
The land of Israel is full of eitza-gebbers. I believe that it was Golda Meir that one time told President Nixon that he was the president of 250 million citizens were as she was the prime minister of 5 million presidents. The word president or nasi contains the words yeish and ayin- there is and there isn’t. In fact the word anashim- men of distinction is composed of the same letters yeish and mei’ayin- everything from nothing. The world we believe has a Creator that created this world out of nothing. Moshe by Hashem’s command chose people that would exemplify this concept. On one hand men that are yeish- that have everything that it takes to understand, explore and achieve insight and knowledge into the wonders of the land that awaits them. At the same time to not got sucked into that yeish and knowledge and role that they are given to forget that ultimately we all come from nothing. Hashem is the one that is running the show. If you read through the text Moshe uses the words in his mission to them.
Bamidbar (13:20) Hayeish bah eitz im ayin”- is there a tree or isn’t there?”
So yes, we are an opinionated people that feel the need more than any other nation in the world. We more than anyone else have seen the hand of Hashem in our very miraculous continued existence despite any rational and non-God oriented prediction. We live in the modern State of Israel that by any military and strategic forecast should’ve been wiped off the map decades ago. We know that there is a yeish and we are charged with sharing that Torah with the world. But we should never forget the ayin as well. We should never forget that ultimately despite whatever wisdom and knowledge that we may have achieved, ultimately we are but clay in the hands of the master potter. He is the one that will decide the shape and form that everything will take. That’s one eitza, one piece of advice, I believe even my saba wouldn’t mind me leaving you with.
Have a spectacular Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

This week's Insight and Inspiration is sponsored by my dear friend and weekly insights enthusiast Ezra Kohn in honor and appreciation of the weekly inspiration that Rabbi Schwartz provides as well in appreciation and honor of the “best tour guide” in Israel who’s passion, humor and love for the land of Israel is truly contagious and makes us want to come as much as possible, if not forever. May Hashem continue to give you strength to continue your holy work
Thank You!

***************************************
SHABBOS SCHEDULE
SHABBOS PARSHAT SHELACH
CANDLELIGHTING- 7:22 PM 
MINCHA & KABBALAT SHABBAT- 7:35 PM
SHACHARIS- 8:30 AM
MINCHA 7:05 PM
MAARIV 8:42 PM (10 MINUTES AFTER END OF SHABBOS)
*************************
RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK

“Der bester ferd darf hoben a baytsh, der klugster man an eytse, un di frumste mentch a frau.”- The best horse needs a whip, the wisest man advice, and the most chaste man a
woman.
RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

https://youtu.be/WH72VNFPDyE  8th day newest video- Got a bit of Moses in Me- although I have no clue what it has to do with basketball

https://youtu.be/MvM8VIS-Sjc  - 732-370-3600- don’t know what this number is from? It’s the new Lakewood jingle! Cute!

https://youtu.be/iRFXqxHyDAU What type of shopper are you? Pretty hilarious, the people you meet in the supermarket
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email

Q. The Piyyutim (musical poetry) for Selichot (penitential prayers) among the Sephardic Jews start:
A. At the beginning of the month of Tishrei
B. At the beginning of the month of Elul
C. On the Ninth of Av
D. On the seventeenth of Tammuz

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ILLUMINATING RASHI OF THE WEEK
Learn your Rashi’s every week, don’t just read them. Learn them and remember them. At least the ones that you just learned from the current parsha. If you keep them in mind then you can find connections, things that may seem at first glance like contradictions and remarkable insights once you start to ponder them. It’s worth it. His commentary deserves it and so do you.
In this week’s portion on Shelach in discussing the story and debacle of the spies that Moshe sent out to the Land of Israel that came back with their bad report that ultimately led to us wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and Tishah B’Av becoming an eternal day of tragedy and mourning, the Torah tells us of the return of the spies to Moshe
Bamidbar-(13:26) “And they went and they came to Moshe and to Aharon”
Rashi notes the seemingly extraneous term that they went and came. Obviously they went.  It already told us about their trip there, how they toured the land, went to chevron and even cut grapes. In fact the previous verse already says that they “returned from spying out the land”. So why is this verse seemingly repeating this information?
“To connect their going to their coming-just as their coming back to Moshe was with an evil scheme, so too their initial going was with an evil scheme”
Seems simple enough. A nice explanation. That is unless you remember the Rashi you just read just a few verses back that states in verse 3 that explains that when the Torah tells us that they were all anashim-men it is telling us that at that time they were all kishairim, kosher, honorable. So were they honorable when they left or were they hatchers of an evil scheme?
The Imrei Emes of Ger suggests a fascinating insight. The Talmud tells us good intentions that for some reason are not able to come to fruition, Hashem connects it and views it as if one fulfilled the intent. However an evil intent Hashem does not view it as if he did the action. Those are the merciful ways of Hashem. The Talmud however qualifies that rule that an intent that ultimately does come to fruition than Hashem punishes and holds one liable for the intent as well. With this understanding he explains our quandary and Rashi. Initially when the spies left all they had was an evil plot, to malign the land of Israel and dishearten the people. At that point the intent was not realized. They could’ve backed out. They aren’t held accountable and it doesn’t change their ‘Kosher” status. However when they returned to Moshe with their report- Rashi points out, Hashem connected their evil intent to their action. “Just as their coming was with an evil intent so too was their leaving”. Now the initial leaving is held against them as well.
What an amazing reading and understanding of Rashi! And what a powerful lesson and idea for us to have in our lives. Just because we may have bad thoughts or plans, they won’t be held against us. We can still straighten our way. Vice versa as well is true and inspiring. We shouldn’t get discouraged if we plan to do something good, a mitzva, a kindness or a good deed and it doesn’t work out. Hashem is looking out for all of us and will reward us for the intent as if we did the actual action.
I told you it pays to learn your Rashis.

Rav Avraham Mordechai Alter, the Imrei Emet of Ger, (1866- 1948). The son of Rav Yehuda Leib (Sefat Emet) and a great-grandson of the Chidushei Harim, he was the third Rebbe in the Gur dynasty, the leader of over 250,000 chassidim in pre-WW II Poland. During his leadership of Gur he established many rules that brought the Chasidic world and Lithuanian world closer together renouncing many of the customs of late morning prayer services and lack of serious Torah and Talmud study amongst the laypeople. To a large degree he can be credited with bringing these two worlds that fought bitterly for years back together. He was a staunch member of Agudath Yisrael and visited Eretz Yisrael 5 times before ultimately escaping Europe with his three of his sons to Eretz Yisrael from the fires of the Holocaust. There he began to rebuild the Ger community establishing schools and communities. He died during the siege of Yerushalayim in the middle of the War of Independence on Shavuot, 1948. He is buried in the courtyard of Ger as during the war his body couldn’t be moved to Mt. of Olives where he had purchased land.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TYPES OF JEWS IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK
Lameds – Huhhhh? You mean you never heard of lameds. Don’t feel bad it’s a Schwartz family made up name for all of those cars that you see driving around town with letter Lamed on the roof.  The lamed stands for lomeid- learner. They are student drivers. In America you see them occasionally. In Israel it seems like every 8th car is a lamed. The reason is because unlike America where getting your license is a very easy process, a few week summer course maybe 10 times or so and your good to go. Here in Israel it’s like a whole year program. It also costs a fortune. Then to get an exam, one has to be lucky enough that the transportation authority is not an strike and are not on their lunch break. I think they only do maybe 10 people or so a month. It’s annoying, it’s Israeli bureaucracy at its finest. Generally speaking they work under the assumption that it will make you a better driver if they fail you a few times first. As well, they get to charge you another exorbitant fee to do it again, and then find the day that they are open and available to retest yourself. This makes them feel powerful, which is important to many Israelis.
Lameds are all over the place. They wait like a ten minutes to enter into a traffic circle. They are always driving too slowly, and in general they are part of the frustrating Israeli driving experience. One would think with all this practice Israeli drivers would be the best drivers in the world…. Ummmm… yeah…. Not really. The one thing that I assuage myself with though is that in general most Israeli Chariedi yeshiva guys and girls are not lameds, because unlike their American counterparts who get theirs a soon as the law permits it. In their circles in Israel it’s not really encouraged until after their married and even then, why not take a bus? It’s cheaper, It’s more convenient. And it’s less lameds on the road.
Olim that move to Israel within the first year can just trade in their foreign license and take the exam without having become a lamed first.  Although it’s good to take a class or two just to familiarize yourself with the Israel laws and roads. But don’t miss the year, because then you have to go through the whole process. Incidentally, I’m sure you all are wondering, Yes, I passed the first time around.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ADVISOR JOKES OF THE WEEK
 'I have bad news and worse news ...' a financial adviser says to his client. 
"Which would you like to hear first?"
“The bad news,” the client says.
“All your money will be gone in 24 hours.”
“Oh my gosh,” the client says. “What’s the worse news?”
“I should have made this call yesterday.”

A doctor and a lawyer were attending a cocktail party when the doctor was approached by a man who asked advice on how to handle his ulcer. The doctor mumbled some medical advice, then turned to the lawyer and grumbled, "I hate it when people seek free advice from me at parties."
The lawyer replied, "I know just what you mean. It happens to me all the time."
"How do you handle it," asked the doctor. "It seems rude not to answer a question when you are asked for advice during a social function."
"I just send the person a bill for your time" replied the lawyer.
"That's good," said the doctor. "I'll have to remember that."
The doctor went home and thought about writing a bill to the man who asked about the ulcer, but when he woke up the next day it had already slipped his mind. The night's events came rushing back to him the next day, however, when he opened his mail. In it, he found a bill for $100 from the lawyer for "consultation services rendered."

Bernard goes to see his Rabbi. "Something terrible is happening to me, Rabbi. I must talk to you about it."
The Rabbi asks, "So what's wrong, Bernard?"
Bernard replies, "I’m sure that my wife Sarah is poisoning me."
The Rabbi is surprised by this and says to Bernard, "I'm sure you can’t be right."
But Bernard pleads, "I'm telling you, Rabbi, I'm certain Sarah’s poisoning me and I don’t know what to do."
The Rabbi shrugs his shoulders and says, "OK, if I can talk to Sarah, I might be able to find out what’s happening. I can then let you know what I’ve discovered."
Bernard says, "Thank you Rabbi. What would I have done without you?"
A week later, the Rabbi calls Bernard and says, "Well, I contacted Sarah – in fact I spoke to her on the phone for over three hours. Do you want my advice now?"
Bernard replies, "Yes, please, Rabbi."
"I think you should take the poison!"

Morris the Edgware tailor is worried because his wife Hetty is very ill and needs a good doctor. Everyone knows that Dr Myers is the best doctor in Edgware, so Morris rings him to say that he would like him to treat Hetty.
Dr Myers says, “OK, but can you afford me? What if I’m unable to save Hetty and you decide not to pay my bills?”
Morris replies, “I promise to pay you anything, no matter whether you cure Hetty or kill her.”
So Dr Myers agrees to treat Hetty. Unfortunately, Hetty dies soon after. When Dr Myers invoice arrives, Morris refuses to pay, despite his promise. After much arguing, they agree to take the issue to their Rabbi for a decision.
Dr Myers puts his side of the story to the Rabbi. “He promised to pay me, ‘no matter whether I cured his wife or killed her. “After a few minutes deliberation, the Rabbi says, “So did you cure her?” 
Dr Myers has to reply, “No.”
The Rabbi then asks, “So did you kill her?”
“No, I certainly did not,” replied Dr Myers.
“In that case,” says the Rabbi, “Morris owes you nothing – you fulfilled neither of the conditions on which you agreed that your fee should be paid.”
**************

Answer is B – Now why would a tour guide need to know this, you’re wondering? Or maybe you don’t even know what or when these Jewish months are or what piyutim mean or selichos mean. So quick explanation- before the high holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur(which is in the month of Tishrei) traditional ashkenazic and Sefardic Jews rise up early in the morning to say extra supplications and prayers. For those that are night birds though, in many places you can recite them after midnight instead. Ashkenazi Jews begin reciting these a week before RH and YK. Sefardic Jews, however get a headstart and say the month from the beginning of the preceding month Elul. The Ashkenazi Jews, jokingly of course, attribute this to them requiring extra atonement for the sin of eating kitniyot on Pesach (if you don’t know what that is look it up-too lengthy to explain…). Why do Tour guides need to know this info? Well it’s a big industry in Israel. Selichot tours-mostly for Israeli tourists where they do a late midnight tour around Jerusalem, Tzfat and other religious neighborhoods, usually going Synagogue to Synagogue. It’s actually pretty cool. Come here and try it. Elul is a slow season anyways, so I have some availabilityJ.

Friday, June 9, 2017

TMR, APH and other Frum-conyms- Beha'aloscha 2017/5777

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

June 9th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 32 15th Sivan 5777
Parshat Behaloscha

TMR, APH and other Frum-cronyms

So I'll admit I'm not up to date with all of the cool texting lingo. Just by the mere fact that I wrote the word 'lingo' just now should be sign of that. I don't think anyone says 'lingo' anymore. I know LOL and OMG of course. I'm not a Neanderthal like my parents are. I try to be 'hip' and 'with it', but once again I think using those terms again, kind of reveal that I am not. So I listen to my tourists and try to pick up the new words, phrases so that I can come off as the cool tour-guide that is 'in-the-know". And I'll even ask when I hear something I don't understand. Our sages tell us Ein Habayshan Lomeid- A shy person will not learn.  And so I overcome my naturally quiet and bashful personality and ask if I hear or catch something I'm not familiar with.  This is important of course. No one wants a tour guide, or a Rabbi for that matter, that is still talking like they did in the last millennia.
So there I was by Rosh Hanikra. One of the most beautiful and amazing sites in Israel, right there by the border of the Lebanon, magnificent grottos overlooking the magnificent coastline of Israel and the sparkling clear blue Mediterranean. I'm with Seminary girls. They are usually the best 'Rebbeim" of the newest 'catch-phrases'. They are snapping pictures right and left. And then my ears perk up There is a phrase being batted around that I have never heard before. "TMR...TMR...TMR" Huh? "It's like cool,  like check this out... TMR"   {By the way aren't you impressed that I inserted the word "like" randomly into the sentence above. I do that like when I like imitate seminary girls. They like the word "like" a lot. Why? I like will never know.} Now I am familiar with TMI- Too Much Information. That's what you say when someone writes about the after-effects of the chulent that his Rebbetzin makes has on himself. But what is "TMR"?

Now the truth is the "frum" world has its own acronymical language. Not sure it that's a word, but hey, we're creating new languages all the time it seems. I call them Frum-conyms. There are all types of abbreviations for the different types of frum (religious) Jews. There are FFB's Frum from Birth. BT's - Baal Teshuva's (those that have returned to observance. There are OTD's- off the Derech-those that have left the path. Those are pretty common ones. Then you have the ones for the more sophisticated ones. There's FFBWTO or FFBWSL- Frum from Birth with Time Out or With Some Lapses. There's FFH- Frum from habit and FFFB- farfrumt from birth.
New Yorkers have their own lingo as well. You have OT's which are out-of towners; basically anyone that lives outside of the Tri-state area, like in Chicago, Detroit, China or Venezuela. You have 5T Jews- five towns, BP and FB and WB- Boro Park, Flatbush and Williamsburgh although from what I understand if you are what is called a TB- a Tuna Biegel Jew then it is called VB- Villiamsburgh.
Now the truth is acronyms go back to ancient Jewish times. Ink was a premium back then and printing and publishing was expensive, so basic Jewish terms would always be abbreviated. Great Rabbi's names are frumcronymed; Rashi, Rambam, Ramban, Ritva and the Rashbi. Even the great Talmudic sage Abaya who was an orphan is an acronym of the verse (Hoshea 14:4) "Asher Becha Yerachem Yatom"- Which in You the orphan is granted mercy". Words that were repeated often, were often shortened. After all if you keep using the same phrase again and again why write it out? That is in fact the concept of the texting and the shortening world that we live in.  Therefore great rabbis named were followed with ShliT"A- Sheyichye LiChaim Tovim Aruchim- he should live for long good days. Dead ones were Z'TzL- Zecher Tzadik L'Vracha- A righteous person's memory should be blessed or for a blessing. If one visits Reb Chaim Kanievsky, one of the great Rabbis of our times who is engrossed in Torah study and has not time to give full blessings one would generally get a BooHa out of him. Which stands for Bracha V'Hatzlacha- blessing and success. I always said when I become a Gadol- Jewish leader I would just say Boo... 
There is as well the always common B"SD or B"H the B'Siyata Dishamaya- with the help of heaven or Baruch Hashem on the top of every page that was written to recall that Hashem was the one that helps us in all that we do. But what is TMR, I wondered? I'll let you ponder that while I get to the Dvar Torah that connects to this.

See in this week's portion there is what I believe should be a new text word; a word that according to the Shel"A Hakadosh we should all start adding to our lexicon. A frumconym if you will.
In the directions as to the traveling of the Jewish people in the wilderness the Torah tells us
Bamidbar 9:18- Al Pi Hashem yisu Bnai Yisrael V'Al Pi Hashem yachanu kol yimei asher yishkon h'anan al ha'mishkan- By the word of Hashem the Children of Israel shall travel and by the word of Hashem they shall camp., as many days as the cloud of glory rests upon the Tabernacle.
It then continues and tells us that sometimes the cloud would be there for many days and they shouldn't travel and then once again it tells us.
Bamidbar (9:20) Sometimes the Cloud would be there for a few days and then Al Pi Hashem Yisu And Al Pi Hashem Yachanu- By the word of Hashem they should travel and the word of Hashem they should camp
The verses continue and tell us that sometimes the cloud will be there for one night, sometimes it's for two days, sometimes for a month regardless they shouldn't move until the cloud goes up. And in conclusion if you didn't get the point the chapter concludes
Bamidbar (9:23) APH yachanu V'APH yisa'u es mishmeres Hashem shamaru and APH B'Yad Moshe- According to the word of Hashem they should camp and according to the word of Hashem they should travel, the charge of Hashem they should guard according to the word of Hashem through Moshe.
See what I did there? In the five verses the words Al Pi Hashem is repeated 7 times. So much easier to just write APH isn't it? Why is it so necessary to repeat that every travel, every journey that was done was based on the word of Hashem? 
The 16th century sage  the Shl"A Hakadosh or Reb Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz- (who's called the Sh"La- which is an acronym of his work the Shnei Luchot HaBrit), writes that this is the source for Jews that no matter where they go or wherever they arrive they should always say that they have arrived with Hashem's help. This is not merely a sign of humility or recognition of Hashem, but in fact it fights off the Yetzer Harah the evil inclination's power and challenge who tries to make us forget Hashem. In our evening prayer we ask Hashem to remove the Satan from in front of us or from behind us. The Shvilei Pinchas suggests that this is the same concept. Before we start a journey, an endeavor or are faced with any challenge the Satan comes to challenge us. If it's to do a mitzva he tells us that we can't do it.  It's too hard, it's too much, we don't need to. If it's a business, a trip, a journey, he tells us that we don't need to pray, we can handle it on our own. We need to remember that we only travel APH, by the word of Hashem. It is Hashem that commands us. He gives us strength. He gives us power. It is His will we are fulfilling. Similarly when we accomplish something, when have 'arrived' when we have overcome anything that we are faced with. Fight the Satan and the urge to rank it up to our own, skills, talents, charisma or fortitude. Remember it is APH. By Hashem's will that we camp, it is because of APH that we have arrived. That we made it.
I find it to be inspiring that the Torah spends so much ink on telling us about all of the different times and lengths of stay of the Jewish people. It is an eternal message for us. Sometimes we have struggles that are short-term, sometimes they are lifelong struggles and challenges. We may think we have made it and are settled and have nothing else to worry about in life and then all of sudden something can and will change that shakes it all up. Alternatively we may feel that are lives have no stability, everything is chaos and turmoil. It feels never-ending, it seems like its non-stop. The Torah is telling us that if you have APH than you have nothing to worry about. Guard this charge. We are all here because Hashem has a path and journey that all of us are meant to take. But we're in good hands. There is a protective cloud of Glory that surrounds our boat, our wanderings and our trail. That is the message of our journey.

So what is the "TMR" that the girls were referring to as they looked out from the cliffs of Rosh Hanikra? I finally asked one of the girls. "Totally Ma Rabu" She told me. Paraphrasing the verse of King David of Ma Rabu Masecha Hashem- How wondrous are your creations Hashem. Yes the ways of Hashem are truly TMR and if we looked at all of our daily journeys with those seminary eyes of APH the IYH we will ultimately merit to see the building of the BHMK readily in our days.
Have a GS
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

This week's Insight and Inspiration is sponsored by my parents in loving memory of Saba, Eliyahu Ben Yehoshua Bergman, whose Yartzeit is today. My Saba was definitely someone who exemplified a life of APH. As a holocaust survivor his journey took him to the worst places of the world and as someone who rebuilt and started anew with nothing in early America, he lived another journey and challenge. But Eretz Yisrael was always the goal and heart of his journey. His high pointing when he ultimately was able to buy an apartment here and retire and live here for half of every year. May his neshoma have an Aliya as I am sure he sheps much nachas knowing his grandchildren and great grandchildren are living here


RABBI SCHWARTZ’S FAVORITE YIDDISH PROVERB OF THE WEEK

“Az mir shmirt- furt min”- When you grease (the wheels of the axle) -you can travel.

RABBI SCHWARTZ COOL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiadgWV4YxI     Gorgeous new song by my dear friend SYR and Moishe Mendlowitz and Baruch Levine too! V’Hareinu BiVinyano

https://youtu.be/cD3A2PpmC7U     - Funny Yiddish “Kosher” Samsung Smartphone ad Hebrew subtitles

 https://player.vimeo.com/video/215607007 beautiful song wiht Abie Rottenberg and Shlomo Simcha and moving video V’Neeaman Ata Lhachayos Meisim- And Hashem is faithful to resurrect the dead

https://youtu.be/35eEljsSQfc  – UN Watch- great silencing of the Human rights Council Room by  Hillel Neuer- “Where are your Jews?”

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
answer below at end of Email

 The Prime Minister of Israel during the Six Days War:
a. Levi Eshkol
b. Menachem Begin
c. Yitzhak Rabin
d. David Ben-Gurion

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S ILLUMINATING RASHI OF THE WEEK
Many times the first Rashi of the Torah portion are not only a commentary or explanation of the particular verse that he writing about. Rather it is an introduction to the Parsha itself and a theme that can be followed through the entire portion. This is particularly true when Rashi is noting the specific placement of the opening verses of the parsha.
In this week’s Torah portion Beha’aloshcha the Torah begins with the commandment to Moshe to speak to Aharon and tell him about the mitzva of lighting the Menora in the Mishkan. Rashi notes the placement of this mitzva which is seemingly out of place here following the inauguration offerings that each leader of each tribe brought at the conclusion of last week’s portion with the question.
Bamidbar (8:2) Why is this parsha put next to the parsha of the princes? Because when Aharon saw the inauguration of the princes he felt badly for neither he nor his tribe (of Levi) were with them (in offering sacrifices). Hashem said to him ‘By your life that yours is greater than theirs for you will light and prepare the Menora.
Rabbi Yissachar Frand notes that Rashi seems to be making a point of the fact that Aharon felt badly because he felt left out of the mitzva. Can we relate to that? How often to we feel badly if we feel like we were left out of a mitzva, or we missed a mitzva opportunity? Some people get upset if you missed out on a sale- you know like one of those Dan’s Deals, or if you missed out on a good stock opportunity, or  got stuck in traffic and missed the first pitch of the ball game or show you were going to. Aharon’s chalishus hada’as- his depression was because he missed out on a chance to serve Hashem. You know like if you came late to synagogue and missed the first Kaddish, or someone crossed the old lady before you could, or gave charity, or cleaned up the house before you could surprise your mother-hint hint children of mine…J
That is an incredible lesson to take heed of. In fact it continues in our Parsha with some of the Jews coming to Moshe to complain that they couldn’t bring the Pesach offering because they were impure. As well Moshe is concerned that if Yisro his father-in-law will leave then the Jewish people will miss out on the opportunity of him guiding them and that he will miss out on being part of us.
On the opposite extreme the Parsha concludes with the Jews complaining, they miss the fish and fleshpots of Egypt. Moshe feels the people are too much for him to bear alone. They are feeling bad because they don’t’ appreciate the special gifts they have. It is truly amazing if we read these first Rashi’s and the lessons that he teaches us with an eye to the entire parsha. A whole new world opens up before us. A world and idea that if we study we can truly strengthen what our priorities should be.

Rabbi Yissachar Frand (Don’t know how old he is) – There are not too many speakers that I can stand to listen to for too long. I’m kind of a speaker snob. But Rabbi Frand is one of the few that I can listen to for hours upon end. Born in Seattle Washington, Rabbi Frand currently is a Rosh Yeshiva in Ber Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore and he is one of those Rabbis that revolutionized the Jewish world over 35 years ago with his weekly taped Torah classes that took hold of the Jewish world. With 10’s of thousands of classes Rabbi Frand inspires online and in his weekly classes tying Halacha and inspiration into each class. As well  his annual Teshuva Derasha which played via satellite to hundreds of locations is one of most inspiring in the Jewish world today.

RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TYPES OF JEWS IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK
Jewish Mothers – What did you expect to find in this country? Cool young single chayelets (female soldiers) toting M16s?We have those as well, don’t worry. But the majority of the women you will bump into in this country are Jewish mothers. In fact Israel has the highest birth-rate in the developed world with an average of 3.13 as opposed to the world average of 1.7. And guess what we even offer free in vitro fertilization for up to two kids for struggling families. Israeli women are getting married on an average of 26 years old and whereas in the US, Europe and South America it ranges from 28-33 years old. Generally the Israeli women are getting married and want to have families pretty quickly. That way they can be Jewish Mothers.
Jewish Israeli mothers are different than their Anglo counterparts, although the stereotypical worrying, spoiling, shepping yiddisheh nachas and boasting about their children parts are definitely part of their DNA. But in Israel the mothers raise their children with a lot more freedom and independence I find than in other countries. It’s quite common for kids at really young ages to go shopping on their own, to go on hikes and trips with their friends and in generally they are given more responsibilities. Maybe its because they know and understand that more likely than not their children will be holding a rifle at age 18 or so and putting his life on the line for their country. Maybe it’s because after all of the serious tragedies that unfold in this country we raise our children to grow up faster and deal with the realities of life in this country at even a tender age, where in other places the Jewish mother might try to shelter their kids. There’s no sheltering in Israel, where kindergartens train you how to go in bomb shelters and use gas masks.
As well the Jewish mothers here in Israel are really everyone’s mother. It is quite normal and acceptable for one mother to come over to some father and tell him he’s not holding the baby right or their child looks a little ill or they should buy this and this and the myriads of tips and wisdom that they might share for you. For a Jewish mother cares about all Jewish children. We’re a family here in this country and there’s nothing like the Jewish mother to make you feel that.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S  TRAVELLER JOKES OF THE WEEK

A man wrote a letter to a small hotel in a Midwest town he planned to visit on his vacation. He wrote: “I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me at night?” An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who said, “I’ve been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I’ve never had a dog steal towels, bedclothes, silverware or pictures off the walls. I’ve never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I’ve never had a dog run out on a hotel bill. Yes, indeed, your dog is welcome at my hotel. And, if your dog will vouch for you, you’re welcome to stay here, too.”

A fellow stopped at a rural gas station and, after filling his tank, he paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and he watched a couple of men working along the roadside. One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was about 25 feet behind filling in the old. The men worked right past the fellow with the soft drink and went on down the road. “I can’t stand this,” said the man tossing the can in a trash container and heading down the road toward the men. “Hold it, hold it,” he said to the men. “Can you tell me What’s going on here with this digging?” “Well, we work for the county government,” one of the men said. “But one of you is digging a hole and the other is filling it up. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you wasting the county’s money?” “You don’t understand, mister,” one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. “Normally there’s three of us–me, Rodney and Mike. I dig the hole, Rodney sticks in the tree and Mike here puts the dirt back.” “Yea,” piped up Mike. “Now just because Rodney’s sick, that don’t mean we can’t work, does it?”
The frightened tourist: “Are there any bats in this cave?” The guide: “There were, but don’t worry, the snakes ate all of them.”

The tourist: “Can you tell me why so many famous Civil War battles were fought on National Park Sites?”

Yankel comes to Israel for the first time and checks into his hotel in Jerusalem when he arrived he asked the hotel’s clerk about the time of meals. “Breakfast is served from 7 to 11, dinner from 12 to 3, and supper from 6 to 8,” explained the clerk. “Look here,” inquired Yankel in surprise, “when am I going to get time to see the city?”

**************

Answer is A – Oh, Come on! You should know this. Even if you never heard of Levi Eshkol. You heard of all the other Prime Ministers. I hope. Begin and Rabin were in the 70’s and 90’s and BG was of course the first Prime Minister. Really you should be ashamed of yourself for not knowing this one. Particularly after all the celebration of the 50 years since the 6 Day War this year just a few weeks ago and actually the English anniversary this past week. Shame!