Our view of the Galile

Friday, June 9, 2017

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

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
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


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


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?”

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

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.

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.

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!

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