Our view of the Galile

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Camping is for Goyim- Sukkot 2017 / 5778

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

October 4th 2017 -Volume 7 Issue 47 14th of Tishrei 5778!
Camping is for Goyim

I like camping. I’m an outdoorsy type of guy. My wife not so much…. In her opinion camping is for Goyim/ Gentiles. It’s not a Jewish thing. She’s more of the spa, nice hotel wake up late and have room service breakfast in bed type of Lakewood girl. Don’t get me wrong I can do that also. See for Shalom Bayis I’m always ready to make compromisesJ. But my true peace and serenity is a few days out in the wilderness, sleeping under the stars, grilling up some dinner, sitting around a campfire roasting some hot dogs or some S’mores and relishing a cold brewski. Now when we lived in the States, our house was always full of guests thank God, It’s one of the pleasures of working in Jewish outreach. Our doors were wide open and we always had visitors. When the summer rolled around though, my wife insisted that we needed to get away and spend just “quality family bonding time”. You know, share special moments when everyone gets to know each other a lot better and become reminded why we don’t do this too often and prefer a house full of guests. So each year we would pack up our min van with our tenting gear, sleeping bags, three coolers that plug into the car that would be overfull with meat, and lots and lots of food. The kids would have to squeeze into the ashtray, as the food was certainly more important and we felt as parents this would help them get even closer to each other. And then we would hit the road, Jack.

Now in the States there are some really great campgrounds. We were KOA members and they even have these Yogi Bear campgrounds as well. Each site has its own electric and water, nice showers- OK, Aliza, decent showers, they would have activities, Candy Bingo at night, Yogi and his lil buddy Boo Boo would come out and visit everyone. Some had pools, Lakes, slides, and even boating. At night it was quiet time at about 10:00. We could sit out and gaze at the stars and marvel in awe at the beauty of Hashem’s universe.  We were one with nature. Our tent expanded over the years. In the beginning we first had a two person one, then we got a four person one, we ultimately got ourselves the mother of all tents with four bedrooms. Having lived in a bunch of different States we saw a lot of the US of A. When we lived in New York, we went up to Rhode Island, and Vermont and Connecticut. From Virginia we saw the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, the Smoky Mountains the Carolinas and Florida. When we were in Iowa we went to Minneapolis, Kansas, the Rocky Mountains, and Wisconsin. And out in the Pacific NW we headed down through Oregon and California coast to San Diego. We hit Montana, Yellowstone and the Canadian Rockies. We never made it to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, But we moved to the really Zion instead and we have Mitzpeh Ramon Craters and that’s more than enough for me.
When we first made Aliya, I was really itching to take my kids camping in this country as well. Hey we toured around and camped out in “their” country, imagine how much more meaningful it would be in Hashem’s Promised Land, right? Wrong. My kids first had off on Yom Ha’Atazmaut and I figured that would be a great day to start this adventure. After all everybody goes out and celebrates the land, campfires, tents. The great outdoors, that Hashem miraculously gave us. It can’t get much better than that.

The problem is that for some reason it didn’t hit me, that it is the day that everybody goes out and celebrates the land…makes campfires…tents… and this is Israel. I don’t know how I missed this. We arrived at the campground, I though the banks of the Kinneret would be super cool and fun, nice and rustic and there were a bunch of sites there. As I pulled into the entrance, I was pretty excited particularly when the guy at the entrance told me that it only cost 20 shek. Not bad, I thought, in the States it was at least $20 dollars. When I asked him where our site was, he smiled and told me that wherever I wanted would be fine. Hmmmm… However as I passed through the gate and looked around, I realized that was certainly not the case. It was packed. There were no sites, no water, no electric, random tents were set up all over the place, one on top of the other. Music was blasting. It wasn’t even Israeli music. Although one might argue that Israelis are really the only ones that play Pink Floyd in the 2000’s and think it’s still cool. Ouch. So we set up our tent in a little corner somewhere. I tried to make the best of it.
We put together the grill. Roasted some meat and waited patiently for “quiet time”. It never came. Israelis don’t do quiet time. Rather it turned into Hashish and even louder and more annoying music time. The mosquitos that seemingly are also Israeli and like to get on your nerves decided to start making their entrance at that point. Maybe it was the incense and smoke that were getting them high as well, or the music that was driving them mad, but they didn’t let up. It was the most miserable night of my life. Maybe this is not the country to do camping. Maybe after wandering 40 years in the wilderness the Jewish people had enough. They like houses, not tents. I now stay in hotels. My wife tried not to smile too much when we came home weary eyed, bloated and scratching the next morning. I appreciated that.
Which brings us to this time of year, when we all leave the comforts of our house and head on out for a week. There is no religion like ours that has such an incredible and strange mitzva like Sukka. We are commanded to leave our house, eat, sleep, and pretty much spend as much time as you can in a little wooden booth and with no real roof on your head. The Torah tells us the reason for this mitzva is because we are meant to remember our sojourn in wilderness.
Vayikra (23:42) “In order that your generations will know that in Sukkos-booths I caused the Children of Israel when I took them from the land of Egypt; I am Hashem your God.”
Rashi on this verse explains our verse-seemingly not as he would usually according to the simple understanding which would be the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer that we are commemorating the booths that we camped in. Rather he explains the verse according to Rabbi Akiva who understands the reference to booths in the Torah to be referring to the Clouds of Glory that were protected and ensconced in when we were in the wilderness. Perhaps Rashi, like my wife, felt that camping is for Goyim and it is certainly not something worthy of commemorating within of itself.
But yet, we still find that the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer is that the tenting experience is worthy of us celebrating this holiday. In fact according to his opinion, we are obligated to remember this as we sit in our Sukkaa, as the Torah specifically tells us that we are doing this in order “that our generations will know”. But why? Isn’t camping for goyim? Perhaps and even more interesting question is if remembering this is so significant than why on the last day of the holiday, seemingly the peak of it all, Shemini Atzeret/ Simchat Torah, do we not sit in the Sukka? {Even in America where some do, it’s only because they are in doubt whether it is the 7th day of Sukkos or not.}What is this holiday and mitzva all about?
The Tur Shulchan Aruch tells us something very interesting about the three Jewish pilgramage holidays and how they correspond to our forefathers.
Tur (OC 417) Pesach is for Avraham as it says “knead and bake cakes” and it was Passover (when the angels came to visit him). Yitzchak is Shavuot for the Shofar that was blown by the receiving of the Torah came from the ram that was by his binding. Sukkot is for Yackov -for when he left the house of Lavan it says- and for his animal he made Sukkot/ booths.
The Zohar tells us that not only does Sukkot correspond to Yackov, but the last day of Shmini Atzeret when the King is alone with his nation, and is seemingly viewed as holiday within itself, as all the guests come to rejoice with Him, Yaakov is the head of the rejoicing as it says
Devarim (33:29) “Fortunate are you Israel, who is like you”
And it says
Isaiah (49:3) “And He said you are my servant Israel with whom I am glorified with.”
The Chasam Sofer notes that Yakov really has two names; Yaakov and Yisrael. Yacko corresponds to heel when we are not perfect. In fact our only benefit is that when we are compared to Esau, we look pretty good. Yisrael on the other hand is when we have won the “Angel of Esau”. When we are at our high point. He notes that when Yackov battled and won the angel, the angel blessed him that he should no longer be called Yakov, rather only Yisrael. Yet when Hashem gave Yackov his name Yisrael and affirmed that new name He said “Shimcha Yakov- Your name is Yackov- Meaning that we should also have the name Yackov. We should have both things going for us. We are special when our merit or saving factor is how we compare to Esau, the competition. And we should also have the benefit of being Yisrael when we rise above it all and become truly righteous. Easu didn’t want us to have the benefit of being “chosen” when we weren’t worthy of it on our own merits. He therefore only called us Yisrael and said we shouldn’t be called Yaakov. Hashem felt differently.
With that understanding the Shevilei Pinchas suggests we can understand the entire process of the holidays of the month of Tishrei. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur begins where we are judged together with the whole world.
 “All the nations pass before you in judgement. Which for war, which for peace, which for famine and which for plenty.”
Hashem in His wisdom lines us up against them. We look pretty good that way. In fact, he suggests that is the secret of the mysterious Azazel goat offering on Yom Kippur. Two goats identical, like the two brothers Yaakov and Esau who were twins. They are placed next to one another and the Divine lottery is done and Yaakov is chosen. One gets offered in the Temple and the other is flung off the mountain top as a gift to the “angel of Esau” who is screaming that we should be judged on our own merit rather than contrasting us with the other nations. It works it quiets him. There is no Satan and we are judged for life.

But like all good things it only lasts for a day or two. Esau is back again trying to attack us that we should be judged on our own merit. And you know what…? He’s right. It’s our job to light up the world. It’s our mandate to raise up Esau and every other nation. To bring them in the Temple. To connect them to Hashem. We can do this now because we have been chosen for life. But it is still a dangerous world. Esau is clamoring for us. So Hashem places his Sukka around us to protect us. We go out of our comfortable houses and we go into booths, under His shade, His protection. We bring offerings every day in the times of the Temple for each of the nations of the world. 70 of them all together less and less each day. We are Yaakov becoming Yisrael. We are slowly uplifting Esau and getting rid of the negative claims against us and becoming Yisrael where even Esau can’t claim against us anymore. That happens on Shemini Atzeret. For on that day we have completed the process. The Sukkos that we were commanded to build, ironically enough to use as a tool and protection to allow us to uplift the goyim, have served their function. We can now go back into our house. Hashem is glorified with “Yisrael”  “Who is like you Yisrael” rings out in our homes. See I told you Sukkos were for Jews.
The Beit Hamikdash, that holy Temple that we are awaiting for is called the Sukka of David that has fallen. As a tenting- albeit 7 years out of practice-expert, I can tell you that when you tent collapses, its not that big of a deal to put it back up again. Most of the pegs are still in place, the poles and canvas are just toppled. All you need to do is to raise it back up again and knock a few good shots into the pegs that got loose. After 2000 years our heavenly temple is built and ready to come down. We need to just lift it up a bit more. Firm Hashem’s place here on earth for it with a few good knocks. May our Sukkos inspire His Sukka to come join us in the heavenly campground it belongs in.

Chag Samayach and Happy camping J,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“Di velt iz a hekeleh: ainer darf tsum anderen.”. The world consists of cogs: one depends on the other..


https://soundcloud.com/ephraim-schwartz/ushpizin-2   - Best Hartzig song you’ve ever heard for Sukkos by me J) Ushpizin learn it and sing it in your sukkah!

https://youtu.be/E3T9A1exLQQ    My cousin Yehuda Litki and friends and their great organization’s debut song and you tube click Yerushalyim- beautiful Kol Hakavod

https://youtu.be/NJdWKNwIT3Y       – Lior narkis Dudu Aharon the song sweeping the country Chagia V’Yisrael fun and happy

https://youtu.be/EC4IVe61p-0 Funny the Lulav Shake

answer below at end of Email

Q. Kibbutz Kerem Shalom is located in the sand dunes of:
a. Shunra
b. Kisui
c. Khalutza
d. Nitsana


Sukkos- On the holiday of Sukkos we read the sacrifices that were brought in the Temple each day. It’s not a particularly interesting Torah reading, There are cows, sheep, flour offerings, libations and the goat sin offerings among many. A peek in Rashi though is certainly going to make it more interesting as he diverges from his typical simple understanding to explain the strange changing amount of offerings each day.
Bamidbar (12:34) The bulls of the holiday are 70- this corresponds to the 70 nations and they progressively decrease. It is a sign of the annihilation for them. And in the times of the Beit Hamikdash the bulls would protect the nations from punishments and the sheep correspond to Israel, who are called “a scattered lamb” and they are a fixed number each day. The total number of sheep are 98 to eradicated them rom Israel the 98 curses that are mentioned in Devarim.
The Rebbe of Sochatchov, The Avney Nezer notes that this fits in beautifully with the idea that Sukkos we are told is the holiday of joy-Chag Simchateinu. For the last of the curses and the reason given for all the curses is tachat asher lo avadata es Hashem Elokech Bsimcha- That we did not serve Hashem out of joy. It is therefore on this holiday when we are granted and celebrate with the most joy that we can atone for this and eradicate all the curses.
May we thus merit.

Rabbi Avrohom Bornsztain- the Avney Nezer (1838 –1910), also spelled Avraham Borenstein or Bernstein, was a leading posek in late-nineteenth-century Europe and founder and first Rebbe of the Sochatchover Hasidic dynasty. He is known as the Avnei Nezer ("Stones of the Crown") after the title of his posthumously-published set of Torah responsa, which is widely acknowledged as a halakhic classic. Born in Bendin, Poland he was a descendant of the Ramah and the Shach. In his youth, Avraham was recognized as an outstanding student with a phenomenal memory. Under the tutelage of his father, who taught him the ways of pilpul, he began writing his own chidushim (new Torah thoughts) at the age of 10.
As a child he was weak and frail from his childhood. He especially suffered from lung problems. Once when he fell dangerously ill, the doctors forbade him from exerting his mind in Torah study. But the Kotzker Rebbe gave him a blessing for longevity, which was fulfilled in the fact that Bornsztain died at the age of 71.
In his teens, he became a close talmid of the Kotzker Rebbe, who chose him as his son-in-law. Reb Avraham and his wife resided in Kotzk for seven years, until the Kotzker Rebbe's death in 1859. During that time, he was known to sleep only two hours each day and dedicate the rest of his waking hours to Torah learning. His only son, Shmuel, was born in Kotzk in 1857.
After the Kotzker Rebbe's death, he became a Hasid of his uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter, the Chidushei HaRim of Ger. Following the latter's death in 1866, he became a hasid of Rabbi Chanoch Heynekh of Alexander.
In 1863, Bornsztain accepted his first rabbinical post as Rav of Parczew. In 1867, he left the city due to persecution by those who opposed him and accepted the position of Av Beit Din of Krushnevitz. Here he founded a yeshiva gedola which attracted many top students, including future Torah leaders. The Rav displayed tremendous devotion to his students, with whom he learned for eight hours each day, delivering several shiurim(lectures) during the course of each day. In his introduction to his book, Eglei Tal, he noted that he dedicated all his energies to teaching Torah to his students, leaving the publication of his chiddushim to his old age.
When Rabbi Chanoch Heynekh of Alexander died in 1870, Bornsztain agreed to serve as a rebbe — with one condition: his regular shiurim and learning schedule were not to be interrupted. He also insisted that only those who were well-versed in Torah scholarship should visit him at his court. After a while, his Hasidim noticed that while he answered each petitioner concisely, he did not spend much time with them. When questioned about this, he responded: "You should know that for every second that I am disrupted in my learning, they have losses at home, so it is to their advantage that I only hold brief audiences with them!"
In 1876 Bornsztain moved to the city of Nasielsk after the death of that city's rabbi. Yet here, too, he encountered opposition from those who wanted him to ease his insistence on following long-standing traditions and minhagim. When the community of Sochatchov approached him to be their Rav and Rebbe, he gladly accepted. He moved to Sochatchov in 1883 and served as its Av Beit Din until his death. Thereafter, the hasidut which he founded became known by the name of Sochatchov, and he was called the Sochatchover Rebbe.
While he wanted nothing more than to continue his regular schedule of Torah learning and teaching in Sochatchov, his fame spread quickly. Many difficult halakhic she'eilos (queries) were addressed to him by rabbis and scholars throughout Europe, and he became known as one of the era's leading poskim. To arrive at his psak (halakhic decision), he would first study the sugya in the Talmud in depth, then study the explanation of the sugya by the Rishonim, and then formulate his decision. His responsa also reflect his great humility. While others relied on his psak completely, in some cases he himself wrote that one should not rely on his psak unless another posek was found who ruled the same way.
His responsa, covering all four sections of Shulchan Aruch, were published posthumously in seven volumes by his son and grandson under the title, She'eilos U'teshuvos Avnei Nezer. He became known as the Avnei Nezer after his death.
His other works include Eglei Tal on the 39 Melachos of Shabbat, unpublished sifrei Hasidut, and many writings in manuscript form, including chiddushim on the Rambam. Many of his Torah sayings to his Hasidim appear in his son's work, Shem Mishmuel.
Rav Bornsztain suffered from a heavy cough in his later years, due to his frail lungs.
His only son, Shmuel, later known by the title of his own work, Shem Mishmuel, succeeded him as Av Beit Din of Sochatchov and as Sochatchover Rebbe..
The Sochatchover dynasty continues today under the leadership of Bornsztain's great-great-grandson. A Sochatchover Yeshiva, called Yeshivat Avnei Nezer DeSochatchov, operates in Jerusalem under the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Betzalel Weinberg, a brother-in-law of the current rebbe.
Homeless People – Sukkos we are all homeless. So it’s a good time to talk about the those that don’t have a home all year around or a dirat keva to go out from into their sukkah, Although Israel has a very low homeless persons rate, about 2300 people according to a study done in 2015 and .02% of the population, it is 2300 too many. Over a third of the homeless live in Tel Aiv, Haifa and Jerualem about 8% and Ashdod has about 5%. The majority of the homeless are Russian immigrant almost 50% amazingly and tragically enough. Is there anything sadder than moving to the land Hashem promised us and not having a home here? Although a quarter of them drug related reasons, almost 17% are because of financial challenges. As well perhaps most tragic are those that were thrown out of their houses by the Israeli government like those from Gush Katif, who have yet to find houses and live in trailers as well. There are organizations and government programs that are trying to deal with this growing problem which has increased significantly. As we sit in out Sukkos it is worthwhile to ponder, reflect, pray and consider what we may do to help this growing problem

Steps to Build a Campfire Joke
1. Split dead limb into fragments and shave one fragment into slivers.
2. Bandage left thumb.
3. Chop other fragments into smaller fragments.
4. Bandage left foot.
5. Make a structure of slivers (including those embedded in the hand).
6. Light match.
7. Light match.
8. Repeat “I’m a Happy Camper” and light match.
9. Apply match to slivers, add wood fragments, and blow gently into base of flames.
10. Apply burn ointment to nose.
11. When fire is burning, collect more wood.
12. When fire is burning well, add all remaining firewood.
13. After thunderstorm has passed, repeat the above steps.

The loaded mini-van pulled into the only remaining campsite. Four children leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading gear and setting up the tent. The boys rushed to gather firewood, while the girls and their mother set up the camp stove and cooking utensils.
A nearby camper marveled to the youngsters’ father, “That, sir, is some display of teamwork.”
The father replied, “I have a system — no one goes to the bathroom until the camp is set up.”

A Yankel and son went fishing one day. While they were out in the boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him. He asked his father, "How does this boat float?
Yankel replied, "Don't rightly know son." A little later, the boy looked at his father and asked, "How do fish breathe underwater?"
Once again the Yankel replied, "Don't rightly know son." A little later the boy asked his father, "Why is the sky blue?"Again, the father repied. "Don't rightly know son." Finally, the boy asked his father, "Tatty, do you mind my asking you all of these questions?"
Yankel knips his cheek and tells him "Of course not my dear child if  you don't ask questions, you never learn nothin'."

Berel and his wife Chani were on a camping and hiking trip. They had gone to bed and were lying there looking up at the sky. Chani said, "Berel, look up. What do you see? "Well, I see thousands of stars." "And what does that mean to you?" "Well, I think of the promise of Hashem to Avraham that we will be multiplied like the stars of the sky. What does it mean to you, Chan?" "To me, it means someone has stolen our tent."

Answer is C– I  have no clue, nor do I much care. I knew this Kibbutz is in South in Negev, by Gaza. Gilad Shalit was snatched near there in 2006. Although it is a secular Kibbutz, in 2008 when it was hit by mortars in the worst bombardment ever the families decided to stay and make their Pesach Seder anyways. Nothing like good Israeli secular Jews! J. That’s the type of stuff my tourists are interested in. Not whats the name of this specific sand dune. This is the last question from the 2015 winter exam next season we”ll jump to this past summers 2017 summer exam! Let’s see if we know the answers.

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