Our view of the Galile

Friday, December 1, 2017

One State Solution- Parshat Vayishlach 5778 / 2017

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
December 1st 2017 -Volume 8 Issue 7 13th Kislev 5778
Parshat Vayishlach
One State Solution
Yaakov was wrong. He shouldn’t have been afraid. Why is he bending the knee? He send Esau presents, he tries to pacify him, bribe him, he humbles himself before him. He calls him “My Master”. Sure he prepares a little secret underground army, just in case it doesn’t work. But there was no need for it. Where was his Jewish pride? Sure he’s been living in a ghetto in a Diaspora for a few decades now. Sure it was anti-Semitism that caused him to originally flee his homeland, the land of his ancestors. But “higiya zman geulaschem- the time for his redemption has come”. Throw the infidel out. Gifts? Bribes? Diplomacy?! That’s not the way he should have announced his homecoming.
Or not. Perhaps the way of the Jew should be to always be wary. To try to win over the nations to agree to let us come home. To try to convince them, that we do not pose a threat to their way of life. That Yaakov, or Yisrael’s , return to Eretz Yisrael, will always respect “our best friend” and brother in shared democratic “values”. We shouldn’t go up against them. We should wait until they allow us to return.
The nice thing about this weekly E-Mail and our reading audience is that there is going to be people that will unsubscribe on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve got Satmar Chasidim that are reading right now, liberal unaffiliated democrat Jewish Hillary voters-of which whom both might be appalled at the association with one another but interestingly enough share similar views on this topic. As well I have my Trumpies, my Kahanists, my settler friends and my bored right-wing yeshiva guys from Lakewood that are sure if they were president of the United State or Prime Minister of Israel, they would solve all of the world’s problems. I am an equal opportunity offender. I try to offend and challenge everyone. Lesser people will unsubscribe, but the stalwarts amongst you that don’t, are either masochists that appreciate my unique style of inspiration or just skip to the jokes and the Youtube clips on the bottom. That’s alright. I love you both.  
It is not easy to challenge everyone. But thank God our sages throughout the generations have given us enough material for each side to justify their position and base it on Torah sources. Some might say Eilu V’Eilu Divrei Elokim Chayim- these are both the word of God. Hashem’s word, like a prism, can be understood and viewed in the many different, yet true, lights that it diffracts. Other’s might say that one side is heresy and only they possess the absolute truth. I generally have a different approach and like to think that all sides are wrong. Even my side. That world view makes it easier for me to offend people regularly and change my previously held strong position instantaneously depending on who I’m arguing with.
 So I sell my Zionists on the fallacies of and heresies of their platforms; their strongly held view that the return to our Promised Land is the realization of the sprouting of the redemption. It’s not hard to do. The current government of Israel returns land whenever it can if for some feeble assurances of peace. They are demolishing Jewish houses, while our cousins build freely without even thinking about permits and paying property taxes. That’s from a Right wing government! The religious status quo is getting thrown out daily by the Supreme Court; Shabbos, Kosher, traditional marriage.  Corruption is all over the place. This is not the State that Hashem envisioned. This is not the miraculous return that the entire world will see the Hashem has chosen us. There is more anti-Semitism than ever before. More people were killed in Israel as a result of the establishment of the State in Israel than all the years prior, not only in wars but as a result of terror attacks as well. Hashem made us take oaths that we would not go up against the nations, not go up against the world to return to Israel with an army. Hashem would bring us back. Most of the great Rabbis- not only Satmar were opposed to the War of Independence, although after the War certainly many felt that every war in which we were fighting for our lives and our existence was a mitzva. So maybe it wasn’t the right play. Maybe we still need to long and pray for a miraculous return, and stop investing so much of our belief in the fact that we have already arrived. Shouldn’t we learn from Yaakov who didn’t come back to Israel with a huge army, but waited for Esau to allow him to come?
Click. I just lost some subscribers.
On the other hand when I am with my anti-Zionists or my two-state solution, poor oppressed Palestinian loving, Jewish occupiers, wait for the geula-Redemption, mashiach type Jews…

They actually just unsubscribed as soon as they read that sentence. They get offended, experience has taught me much quicker. Usually as soon as any confrontation begins.

But for those of you that are still with me. To those Jews, I generally point out how so many of the prophecies are being fulfilled. The land is flourishing despite it being barren for thousands of years. There are more Jews from all over the world that have returned here and that are living here than the entire second Temple people. If this isn’t the ingathering of Exiles what is? There is more Torah being studied here than in the history of the Jewish people over the last few centuries at least. More Jews returning to their heritage than ever before. At the same time look at the decline of Judaism everywhere else. Intermarriage is at about 75 percent. The majority of the “denominations” that are non-orthodox are struggling to engage their youth. Birthright, I just read, has canceled the Reform movement as a provider for their trips because they can’t even seem to sign up enough kids for  free 10 day trip to the Mediterranean- to a country called Israel.

Now I know my frum friends are smiling still and saying, but yeah, Orthodoxy and Torah Judaism is flourishing. But is it? How many kids are connected to Eretz Yisrael? Every single Jewish Rav, Rebbe, leader from the Chafetz Chaim, the Gaon of Vilna and the Chasidic masters dreamed of living here, spoke about its holiness would have in a heartbeat jumped on a plane if Hashem had given them an opportunity, let alone a sal klita- absorption package to move here. How many of the religious children actually know Tanach. Dare I even say Chumash? Is there more than 5% who may have finished a few tractates of Talmud that even have a goal for themselves to learn through all of the books of the prophets? Something that I believe is as unarguably and undeniably essential if not more so. Can’t you see that in Eretz Yisrael you not only learn this but live, visit, see and appreciate Torah as it is meant to be lived. That our sages say that he who doesn’t live here is as if he has no God. That even the most secular Israeli is more likely than not according to all opinions fulfilling a mitzva every second that he lives here, while you are not. Do you still think that you’ve got it right?
Click there they went too.
So now it’s just me and you left. Hi Mom J.
Why am I writing about this this week? Well there’s a few reasons. I was talking to my father-in-law this week, the great Meged Yosef and he related to me that he had heard from his father Reb Leizer Sorotzkin that the reason why Hashem warned Lavan and told him not to start up with Yaakov, as opposed to Esau whom Hashem never appeared to warn him to leave Yaakov alone, was because the battle with Lavan was an inconsequential one for Yaakov and the Jewish people. Whereas our fight with Esau is an epic battle. It is eternal and we are meant to learn from there how the Jewish people should engage with the world of Edom- the Western civilization until today. Does that mean we should be passive, that we should just pray to be saved that we should try diplomacy as Yaakov did? Our sages definitely frowned on Yaakov’s approach. The Midrash Tanchuma says
And he sent to Esau- The Ruach Hakodesh said- Oyyy, Yaakov for sending to Esau.
The Midrash Rabba says-
So shall you say to my master Esau- Hashem said- You lowered yourself and called Esau your master 8 times, by your life I will establish from his children 8 kings (that are mentioned at the conclusion of the Parsha) before your children.
Yaakov had been told by Hashem that he need not fear Esau. To return to his land. That Hashem will be with him. There was no reason for him to fear. To try to play politics. To lower himself out of fear of creating conflict. Rav Mordechai Gifter Z”TL the former Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe noted that even if Yaakov was fearful perhaps of the sin that he may have had, or perhaps the merit that Esau had of honoring his Father Yitzchak that Yaakov didn’t. Or perhaps the merit of living in Eretz Yisrael that Esau possessed that Yaakov didn’t {By the way that statement of our sages and merit alone is worthwhile pondering- Yaakov was nervous because Esau HaRasha had more merit than him, because he lived in Israel- Discuss…} He shouldn’t have trembled. He should have had faith that Hashem was with him.
On the other hand we certainly find that throughout the generations our sages have derived inspiration and direction from Yaakov’s approach. Rebbi Yehuda the prince, the Talmud in Sota tells us, would flatter Antoninus in order to achieve his goals. Rabbeinu Bachaya suggests we should never go up against our enemies with war. Our way is only with prayer, with diplomacy. While others including Rashi suggest that war is the correct approach, as well, The Ksav V’Kabala goes as far as saying that Yaakov split up his family so that one could come to the assistance of the other as they smite Esau’s army. Hmmmm… Where does that leave us? Do we fight? Do we stand? Do we wait? Do we negotiate or even relent and make concessions?

You all have opinions. You wouldn’t be Jewish if you didn’t. Far be it from me to tell you what you should think. I just tell you what you shouldn’t think. There is one view however that I believe I can share with you. It is a story about Reb Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld., he was the leader of the Anti-Zionist movement in the pre-State Israel. He saw in their secular approach and even more dangerously in the approach of the religious that sought to align themselves with them for the sake of the “greater good”, a threat to the Jewish people and the holiness of our land and our people. One day, some of his antagonists who were more aggressive broke into his house and began to threaten him physically if he did not recant his positions and stop his “traitorous” rhetoric against the leaders of the movement. Reb Yosef Chaim didn’t flinch. The aged Rav looked at them and filled his heart with love for them, he told his students afterwards. He opened up his shirt and told them that they were free to kill him right there. But his love for them would not allow him to be quiet. To allow them to go down this path which would lead to the assimilation of so many. He would put his life on the line for them, as all he did was out of caring for them. They looked at the Rav and turned around and left. He hadn’t won them over to his side. But they knew that the fight between them would never divide them. He was fighting for them.
Rabbi Avraham Sheinbaum suggests that the Torah tells us
Bereshits (32:8) And Yaakov became frightened and it distressed him and he divided the nation with him
Yaakov was frightened because he saw that fear divided the nation. We were not one. We hated the other side. We thought only we know what’s right and the others are wicked. Are a danger. Are a threat. Are Nazi’s. And the rhetoric and principled approaches for the ‘sake of heaven’ become our worst enemy. Esau can never conquer Yaakov. There will always be a camp that will survive. We are only in any danger, when we are alone, when we are not one. That is when the angel of Esau attacks Yaakov. When he is separated from his family. Hashem shines his oneness upon us when we are one. Divided we fall.
I said there other reasons why I write about this topic this week. It’s not the demonstrations in the streets in Jerusalem and Manhattan against the State and the Army. It’s not the rhetoric on the other side as well that decries these people as well- despite the fact that misguided, in my opinion, is a polite term that I personally would use for them. It’s also not because I’ve just had enough of the constant fighting and hatred that continuously comes out of our strongly opinioned nation.
This week is in fact 70 years since the 29th of November 1947, when the Nations of the World voted on a two state solution. The State of Israel was created. The majority of the Jewish people saw that as a good sign. The majority of the Jewish people also recognized the perilous situation that we were in as the War of Independence and all our neighbors five armies attacked us and threatened to wipe us off the map and push us into the sea. We were all united in that fight although we may have been divided in ideology. Our lives were on the line. We won. We were spared. It was a miracle. It wasn’t a miracle. I don’t think it makes a difference. Jews put their lives on the line for their fellow Jews. For Eretz Yisrael. We had one shared hope that our history should finally come to its glorious conclusion.  That the dreams of 2000 years should finally be fulfilled. It’s been a long time since we shared a common dream… We are so obsessed with trying to micromanage Hashem’s plan for us, that we have forgotten that His primary objective is that we should remember that we are a family that is meant to be united. Too many of us have unsubscribed already. None of us have it entirely right if we don’t see it that way. Our first exile after the first Temple was destroyed was for 70 year. It’s been 70 years since the world saw fit for us to come home and establish Eretz Yisrael as our homeland. The time has come for us make it Hashem’s homeland as well. We can start by becoming one.

Have a fantastic earliest Shabbos of the year!!
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“Hint beissen zikh iber a bain un availim iber a yerusheh.” Dogs fight over a bone and mourners over an inheritance..

answer below at end of Email
Q. The year in which Tel Aviv was established:
A. 1906
B. 1907
C. 1908
D. 1909


https://youtu.be/tEZwYHT8HVk  - Nigun Baal Shem Tov- the Holiest in the world…

https://youtu.be/Sbb0L8_f2KM  - The most moving songs of my childhood Yizkereim and Kol Brama by Ohad upon reading of Rachel Imeinu’s death this week.

https://youtu.be/QrIjzUK0FKg -Fascinating about UN vote 70 years ago 1947 for Israel


The Haftora for this week’s parsha was an easy choice for our sages, as our parsha deals with the epic battles between Yaakov and Esau and his guardian angel. What better Haftorah then the prophecy of Esau’s own grandchild, the prophet, Ovadia, who converted to Judaism that would foretell of the ultimate destruction of Esau. Historically Easu is Rome who destroyed our Temple and whose exile we are still in. The prophet tells us that Esau suffers from arrogance.
Who will bring me down to earth?
Hashem responds even if you raise yourself like an eagle…I will bring you down.
Rome’s symbol was the Eagle as was the Germans….Yeah they’re gone.
Hashem says he will eradicate wise men from Edom and understanding from the Mountain of Esau. And once thought to be the elite and the educated the Church, the Crusaders all they represented is certainly viewed as being backwards. The Haftorah issues a warning to Esau that their silence while Jerusalem is being plundered (in the times of Ovadia he was foretelling of the first exile that was to take place by Babylonia- or the Arab nations) will be considered as if they themselves were culpable
On the day that you stood afar, on the day that strangers captured his wealth and foreigners came to his gates and cast a lottery on Jerusalem you too were like on of them.
There’s a reason why the West should stand with Israel. There will be a day of reckoning. Even though it may seem the Jewish people will be wiped out. Just as Yaakov in our parsha who was injured, survived. Just as Yaakov separated a camp that will always live. So too does the prophet tell us
The Mount of Zion will be a refugee
They may throw us out of Spain, England, France, Rome, Germany, Russia…The US? But Israel will ultimately be the final place of refuge. The prophet actually lists, France (Tzorfat) Spain (Sefard) as those places. Yet he concludes with that famous vision that
V’Alu Moshi’im B’har Tzion Lishpot Es Har Esav Vhaysa La’Hashem HaMelucha- The Saviors will ascend to Mount Tzion to judge the mountain of Esau and to Hashem will be the Kingdom.
The time is now. Are you coming home?

Ovadia (850 BC)-  His name means "worshipper" or "Servant of G-d". He wasn't Jewish by birth. He was a ger or convert from Edom, a descendant of Esau. Ovadia wrote his own book, which is the shortest book in the Tanach. It's only one chapter long, consisting of just 21 sentences. Ovadia lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He was a very G-d fearing man. Ovadia belonged to the court of the evil King Achav and Queen Jezebel who ruled over Israel or the ten northern tribes called Samaria. King Achav and Queen Jezebel brought in Phoenician Idols in order to worship Paganism. They wanted to destroy the prophets of Israel. Ovadia risked his life to save the prophets. Ovadia took 50 prophets and placed them in one cave and then he placed 50 more prophets and placed them into another cave to protect them. Therefore, he merited the ability to experience prophecy. Ovadia preserved the hidden prophets by paying for their food and oil (for light) with his own money. When he started to do this he was very rich. However, he eventually went into debt by borrowing money from the Royal family. Ovadia died young. He left a widow with debts to pay and two children. Elisha the prophet helped her when he made a miracle happen. He asked her to pour the single drop of oil she had left into many empty barrels. Miraculously they got filled up and she was able to pay her debts off and lived off of the remaining oil.


Biblical World War I 1730 BC – So the first World War is the four kings against the five Kings by the battle of Sodom and its cities. As in most World Wars it ultimately comes down to the Jews, and this war is no different. The Torah tells us that after capturing Sodom, Amrafel or Nimord as Rashi tells us captures Lot Avrahams nephew and Avraham is pulled into the war. He wins, with his army of 318 men or with just Eliezer whose name in Gematria adds up to 318. Where did this battle take place and where can we talk about it in Israel. Well the first part of the battle we can certainly talk about in Sodom. The city of Sodom however is under water in the lower part of the Dead Sea. On the way down to the Dead Sea we even pass places that are named after the biblical cities that are mentioned in the Parsha. Chatzazon Tamar- which Rashi tells us is Ein Gedi, Paran. The pits that were mentioned as well where the king of Sodom fell in, can also be envisioned by looking at all of the sinkholes that are there in the area today by the Dead Sea and the numerous accidents of people that just fall into them. We can look up from the Dead Sea and see the huge mountains of Sodom and picture the enemy fleeing there and how great of a place of refuge it is. Finally we can discuss this great biblical story when Avraham chases the enemy to their city of Dan- a city that is obviously not thus called during Avraham’s time as it is named after his great grandson. However the Torah uses that name to teach you that when you go all the way up to the Golan area, a place incidentally that was called Bashan in the times of Avraham; A country who’s king was a giant named Og, who told Avraham that they were hiding there, there you will find a Canaanite city where this story took place. And in fact we do. Right underneath the Israelite city of Dan archeologists have uncovered one of the oldest archways and Canaanite city gates in the world. It is here that Avraham chased them all the way up from Chevron and here is where his victory took place. An interesting aside is that right across this “Gate of Avraham” in Tel Dan is a Mamaluk Fortress called Nimord’s fortress. It has nothing to do with Nimrod, but its nice to know that these two nemeses are still juxtaposed from one another for eternity.
Sidney Cohen was thinking about how good his wife had been to him, and how fortunate he was to have her.
He asked God, "Why did you make her so kind hearted?"
The Lord responded, "So you could love her, my son." "Why did you make her so good looking?"
"So you could love her, my son."
"Why did you make her such a good cook?"
"So you could love her, my son."
Sidney thought about this. Then he said, "I don't mean to seem ungrateful or anything, but why did you make her so stupid?"
"So she could love you, my son."

Max, a Vaadnik (union head) is addressing a union meeting at a certain unnamed Israeli government- owned company.
"Comrades - Haverim. We have agreed on a new deal with the management. We will no longer work five days a week."
"Hooray!", goes the crowd.
"We will finish work at 3 PM, not 4 PM."
"Hooray!", goes the crowd, again.
"We will start work at 9 AM, not 7 AM."
"We have a 150% pay rise."
"We will only work on Wednesdays."
Silence...then a voice from the back asks, "Every Wednesday?"

An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy, a rather rare occurrence in Israel, to say the least. After examining it, he called Abe, the curator of the Israel museum in Jerusalem.
"I've just discovered a 3,000 year old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!" the excited scientist exclaimed.
Abe replied, "Bring him in. We'll check it out."
A week later, the amazed Abe called the archaeologist. "You were right about both the mummy's age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?"
"Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, '10,000 Shekels on Goliath'."

A Swiss tourist in Tel Aviv is looking for directions and pulls up at a bus stop where two Israelis are waiting. Entschuldigung Sie Bitte, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?” he says.
The two Israelis just stare at him.
“Excusey-moi, parlez vous Francais?”
The two continue to stare.
“Parlare Italiano?”
No response.
“Hablan ustedes Espanol?”
Still nothing.
The Swiss tourist drives off, extremely disgusted and frustrated. The first Israeli turns to his friend and says, “You know, maybe we should learn a foreign language”
“Why?” says his friend, “that guy knew four languages and that didn’t do him any good!”

Berel is telling a new joke to Yankel.
"Yitzhak and Hymie were talking one day..."
Right away, Yankel interrupts him. "Always with the Jewish jokes! Give it a rest! Why do your jokes always have to be about Jews? Just change the names to another ethnic group for once will you Berel!"
Berel starts again, "Hashimoto and Suzuki were talking one day at their nephew's Bar Mitzvah...."


Answer is D – One can argue with this question as when Tel Aviv was first established in 1909 it was first called AChuzat Bayit and only got its name Tel Aviv in 1910. It was named after the book of Theodore Herzl Alte Neuland- Alte being old as in a Tel which is an old ruin and Aviv spring being new. The mandate to build Tel Aviv was in the worders of Akiva Weiss it’s founder “ to create a Hebrew urban centre in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene” Ummmm What do you think? Did it accomplish that? The 66 families that started it went out to the beach and divided up the land by lottery of seashells and thus the second largest city in Israel today was born.

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