Our view of the Galile

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Manimal- Noach 5778/2018

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
October 20th 2017 -Volume 8 Issue 1 30th Tishrei 5778
Parshat Noach

“Close the door when you walk in the house! What, where you raised in a barn or something?!” “Slow down and chew your food when you eat!! What are you an animal or something?!”
“Sit up like a mentch when you sit at a table, what are you all spread out like that for? Are you a bear?”
“When was the last time you took a shower? You smell like a zoo!”
Sound familiar to anyone out there? Come on, I can’t be the only that still has these words ringing in my ears from their childhood. OK, maybe it’s not just ringing in my ears from my childhood. Maybe because it’s mine own voice I am hearing, having just yelled that at my children five minutes ago. Ooops… I mean patiently and calmly pointed out to my children five minutes ago. Don’t want to break my New Year’s Rosh Hashana resolution the first week. But these words of wisdom and obvious, loving words of rebuke filled much of my childhood. And as Hashem’s wonderful irony and in fulfillment of my mother’s “blessing” to me that I should have children just like me, it became my responsibility to pass them on in turn to them.
We are not animals. We are human beings. We should behave like human beings. Animals don’t clean their own rooms. Animals don’t eat with a fork and knife. Animals don’t close the fridge door when they take out a soda. Animals don’t replace the toilet paper roll when they have finished the last piece, so that the next animal will not have to scream across the house to other animals who can’t hear them because they are too busy fighting and screaming and not talking nicely to each other as human beings would, to tell them to bring them another roll. Not that I would be talking about any family in particular of course. I’m just giving random examples…
Human beings are different. We have the spirit of Hashem in us; our holy neshama- soul. We are meant to be civilized. Let’s turn to this week’s parsha chock full of animals and examine this lesson. Perhaps the turning point in history where we learned this fantastic teaching.
The Torah at the end of last week’s portion concludes with Hashem pretty much fed up with mankind.
Bereshit (6:6) And Hashem regretted that he made Ha’Adam- the man in the land.
So he tells Noach the one righteous man in his generation to round up all the animals 2 of each species and 7 of the kosher ones and build an ark, as the world is about get “sponjah’ed”. You know the rest of the story. The world is wiped out raven then dove, Noach lands and he then brings a sacrifice to Hashem. The response of Hashem to that sacrifice though is bit fascinating and puzzling though.
Bereshit (8:21) And Hashem smelled the pleasing fragrance and Hashem said in His heart ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man. For the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. And I will never again smite every living thing as I have done.
Wow! It must have been a really good steak that Noach grilled up. Hashem literally turned 180 degrees from his original position. For originally the fact that ‘man was wicked and his every inclination was evil all day long’ were the reasons He washed it all away. One almost wishes Noach would have brought this sacrifice before this whole apocalypse happened. What is it about the sacrifice that changed Hashem’s mind, as the Torah is quite clear that it was when Hashem smelled that fragrance that He had this new epiphany. And why in fact did Noach not bring it beforehand. Another interesting point to ponder is why was Noach subject to b locked up in the Ark for a year with a bunch of animals. That can’t be too pleasant. You know those animals always leaving the door open when they walk out of a room and never cleaning up after themselves fuggedabout the smell… Like a yeshiva dormitory… Sorry. It’s probably not a wonder that he wanted to slaughter a few after that cruise.

The Ohr Hachaim tells us something fascinating about sacrifices. He suggests that the function of a sacrifice is that a person only sins in fact when it is nichnas bo ruach shtut- a foolish spirit comes over him. His holy soul departs and his animalistic nature takes over him. Like my mother always said. He forgets he is a person with a divine nature and he acts like lustful instinct-pleasure driven animal. The function of a sacrifice is restore the neshoma, the spiritual core of man via the act of “slaughtering the animal” within him that drove him to sin. It was never him. It was the animal that overtook me.
{Now just in case you’re feeling bad for the poor innocent animal who seemingly did nothing wrong to deserve this brutal death, the Ari”zl tells us that Hashem sends animals to the owners that died without teshuva and were reincarnated in animals in order to achieve their necessary atonement this way. Hashem’s cool that wayJ}

See Noach didn’t get this before the flood. He looked at the world and understood that people that sinned should either repent or get punished and killed. If they didn’t they were like animals. They couldn’t be saved. Truth is animals were even better, because they were never granted an elevated soul. It’s why he was never really successful in rebuking the people and getting them to give up their evil ways. One should never confuse sinners with their sins. Sins can be removed, the soul, the Adam could always be restored. One just have to separate the animal from one self to reclaim soul and see it shine once again. So Hashem sent Noach to “animal school”. He spent a year there. Spend some time with real lions, zebras, hippopotamuses, monkeys and bears and you realize that humans are really not that bad after-all.  We’re not animals. Even the worst of us has a soul that can rise above this world and has a light that can brighten the world. We can always change and come back. It’s as easy as building a little altar, taking that animal and grilling it up to Hashem.
That was the smell that Hashem loved. It was when he announced to the new world and particularly us that he will never again smite us for the sin of our yetzer hara- our animalistic physical inclinations because we will always have the power to transcend once again despite having succumbed to it. Dovid Hamelech in his Psalms notes this incredible revelation and in fact we recite it each Shabbat right after the Mincha prayer.

Misphatecha kthom rabba- your justice is like the great depths of the waters
Adam u’bheima toshiah hashem- Hashem will save the man and the beast.
The lesson of when the world was flooded in the depths is that we can separate the man, the soul the divine spirit and use it to raise our animal nature that will never again define us. We are not animals. We are Hashem’s children. Always. Now sit up straight and eat nicely J.

 Have a soul-filled Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


https://youtu.be/_4ANOh26sog      -A beautiful vishntz song with word from Hafotrah Brega Katon Azavtich sung when a survivor left the camps

https://youtu.be/jfGkql17j2c   Cool new find by Kotel ancient Roman theater just as described by chazal!

https://youtu.be/henIqiaDNsM   Ari Lesser the Noach Rap!

https://youtu.be/vyzI323zFrs?list=PLXNMCMu9ajSp2zw2dMmZ93R0AXNWhdzr1    Burl Ives- Noah found Grace in the eyes of the Lord- love it…J only here boys and girls JJ


“A behaimeh hot a langen tsung un ken nisht reden; der mentsh hot a kurtseh un tor nisht reden.- Animals have long tongues but can’t speak; men have short tongues and shouldn’t speak.

New Year-New Exam This is this past summer 2017 Tour Guiding Exam-let’s see how I do…
answer below at end of Email
Q.  The Tzalmon River is in:
a. The Golan Heights
b. Lower Galile
c. The Judean Mountains
d. The Mountains of Samaria

New column!!

We’ve covered in the past few years different appreciations of the weekly Torah portion and the ways to study Torah. We’ve done Midrash of the week, Remez- allegories and Gematrios and pshat the simple understanding according to Rashi. This year will try something new. Each week our sages and Jewish custom have connected a portion of the prophets to be read with the Torah portion. In the past it’s usually the time when I best prepare my sermon that I’m about to say in shul or when many doze off or go out to Kiddush club- god forbid – This years I decided to explore the Haftora connection and perhaps a bit about the Prophet that it comes from. The custom of Haftora is our Rabbi’s and tradition ot give us some insight into our Parsha from the works of our prophets let’s discover that ancient wisdom and it’s secrets together
There are some Haftoras that have a verse here and there that connect to the theme in the Torah portion. Sometimes it may just even be a word or name. This week the portion of the prophet Yeshaya- Isaiah that was chosen has quite a few connection in the short 22 verses that it contains. Incidentally it may sound familiar to some of you that were paying attention as the first part of it Roni Akara is one of the 7 consolation haftoras that are read for parshat Ki Teitze and the second part Aniya So’ara (for Ashkenazim)  is the Haftora of Re’eh.
Yeshaya is prophesizing about the redemption the ultimate redemption that will come after our exile. He literally describes our era when he says the words
 Ki Rabim bnai ha’shomema mibnai ha’beula- The children of the desolate will outnumber the children of the inhabited one-
Meaning that he describes the ultimate redemption and return to Israel as having more people returning to Israel than the first redemption after the destruction of the first Temple when Ezra returned. When Ezra came back to Israel the majority of Jews stayed in comfortable Babylonia. Today without even the Temple being built we are at the tipping point of Israel being the largest Jewish population in the world. Pretty amazing. The connection to the portion of course being that just as Noach saw a world being destroyed but ultimately that was really the foundation for a whole new much better world. Our exile from our home was as well for the larger and ultimate better good that will come.
Yamin Usmol Tifrotzi- right and left we will burst forth
Varim Neshamos Yoshivu- and desolate cities will be settled
Another idea in the Haftora is Hashem promises amd explains the tragedy and horror endured by his people as
Brega Katan Azavtich Uvrachamim Gedolim Akabtzech- For a brief moment I forsake you and with abundant mercy I will gather you
B’Shetzef Ketzef histarti panai rega mimeich- with slight wrath have I concealed my countenance from you
 Uvchesed Olam richamitch- and with eternal kindness shall I shall you mercy
KiMey Noach Li- For the waters of Noach this shall be to me
All that we have suffered, were but a light moment of Hashem hiding himself from us. It was like the waters of Noach. But the mercy and the kindness and love with which Hashem will shine and bestow upon us will be like that rainbow of Noach that Hashem promised he would never bring again.
It is a powerful comforting Haftora. It’s worth reading again and again. We have only just started this column and I’m certainly excited. As excited as Noach perhaps when he saw the potential of whole, new, beautiful world of potential.

Each week I’ll try to give some varied and brief historical insights of the life and personality of the prophet of the haftorah from our sages in order to see how our sages viewed these great men

Yeshaya Hanavi Era of Prophecy (780-700 BC)- Yeshayahu was one of the most significant prophets of the Kingdom of Yehudah about 150 years or so before the destruction of the Temple. Yeshaya prophecized during the period of four different Kings of Judea; Uziya, Yotam, Achaz and Chizkiya. He saw the bad, the worse, the ugly and the better in the times of Chizkiya. He was alive and prophesized and rebuked the people as the ten tribes in the Northern Kingdom were exiled by Sancheirev. And it was he that told the Jews of Jerusalem that they had nothing to fear from Sancheirev when he came to Jerusalem. He was right!

New Season New column
We’ve covered- Cool places in Israel, Cool Things to do in Israel, Cool Historical events that took place each week in Israel, Types of Jews in Israel. This year I figured we’d try to do…drumroll….

We’ve got 5778 years to cover and it all took place here, I think this will last us through the year!

Creation or 3761 BC to be precise- See the math is pretty easy 5778 years from creation subtract 2017 and that’s the year on the secular calendar the world was created. To be even more precise it’s 5778 and one month. See Rosh Hashana the first of Tishrei is the day that man was created. The world was created 6 days before that incrementally over the 6 days. Created incidentally our sages with the starting point being right here in Israel and in fact right on the Temple Mount from the Even Hashesiya or as it’s known as the Foundation Stone. Jews can’t visit there of course. Even the Jews that do go up to the Temple Mount can’t get into the Golden Dome that surrounds it.
Now there are many sites in Israel where you can talk about Creation and actually experience it a bit. Remember this is a country with all types of fantastic geological formations that were all part of the 6 days. See scientists date many of the volcanos up in the Golan, the hot springs, and even the larger “big picture” Syrian African Rift to happening millions of years ago. In fact if one goes to the stalactite and stalagmite caves in the shefela they calculate that they grow one centimeter every 50 years or so and being that some of them are 20 feet tall and took hundreds of thousands of years. 
There are a few different approaches to answer the question of how to reconcile these “scientific facts” with our Torah understanding of a 5778 year old world.  My two personal favorites are that Hashem created the world pre-dated. Meaning just as we understand He created Adam not as a little baby in diapers but as an already aged handsome young man (which used to be about 25 years old but now I’m thinking more like 46 years old J). In the same way He created a world that had million year old formation and hundreds of thousands year old stalactites. Another approach of course is that the 6 days of Creation weren’t 24 hour days. This kind of make sense as the sun and moon weren’t created until the 4th day of Creation. As well we don’t really start dating time until the Creation of Adam on day 6 so technically speaking the first 6 days could have in fact been millions of years.
Regardless of which approach you like Eretz Yisrael is certainly the best place to really appreciate the wonders of Hashem’s Creation in its most pristine form. It all started here, after all.


A bear walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "I'll have a pint of beer and a.......... packet of peanuts."
The bartender asks, "Why the big pause?"

A gorilla walks into a bar and says, "A scotch on the rocks, please." The gorilla hands the bartender a $10 bill.

The bartender thinks to himself, "This gorilla doesn't know the prices of drinks," and gives him 15 cents change.

The bartender says, "You know, we don't get too many gorillas in here."

The gorilla replies, "Well, at $9.85 a drink, I ain't coming back, either."

A duck walks into a bar and asks, "Got any grapes?"

The bartender, confused, tells the duck no. The duck thanks him and leaves.

The next day, the duck returns and asks, "Got any grapes?"

Again, the bartender tells him, "No -- the bar does not serve grapes, has never served grapes and, furthermore, will never serve grapes." The duck thanks him and leaves.

The next day, the duck returns, but before he can say anything, the bartender yells, "Listen, duck! This is a bar! We do not serve grapes! If you ask for grapes again, I will nail your stupid duck beak to the bar!"

The duck is silent for a moment, and then asks, "Got any nails?"

Confused, the bartender says no.

"Good!" says the duck. "Got any grapes?"

A grasshopper walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "Hey, we have a drink named after you!"
The grasshopper looks surprised and asks, "You have a drink named Steve?"

A man and his pet giraffe walk into a bar and start drinking. As the night goes on, they get drunk, and the giraffe finally passes out. The man decides to go home.
As he's leaving, the man is approached by the barkeeper who says, "Hey, you're not gonna leave that lyin' here, are ya?"
"Hmph," says the man. "That's not a lion -- it's a giraffe."

A goat walks into a bar. Bartender says, “We don’t serve kids.”

A sheep walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Welcome to my baa. We are in Boston.”

An ox walks into a bar. Bartender says, “Off the wagon again?”

Answer is B – I’m off to a good start. Not because I know every Nachal in Israel. In fact on my oral exam one of the only questions I got wrong was when they asked me what nachal- stream brought water to Be’er Sheva and I told them I didn’t know (The answer by the way was Nachal Be’er Sheva…duhhh….). But I knew this one because it’s right up the block from me here in Karmiel. Nachal Tzalmon actually flows from the Upper Galile down to the lower Galil and ultimately down to the Kinneret. A few years ago it was pretty full of water. The past few years with the drought we have been suffering it is sadly pretty dry. Hoepefully this winter it will change. So daven hard when you say Mashiv HaRuach UMorid HGeshem OK!

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