Our view of the Galile

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My Einekel!- Parshat Vayikra /Hachodesh / Rosh Chodesh

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
March 16th 2018 -Volume 8 Issue 22 29th  Adar 5778

Parshat Vayikra /HaChodesh
My Einekel!

I had a dream. Listen, it happens to guys whose last name is Shvartz in Hebrew; although not a King, it was a dream about junior. It was quite a vivid dream. It was about Elka and I running around on Erev Shabbos, and we were shopping like mad. It seemed that we had a Shalom Zachor that night for my first grandson, whom we had just been told was born. Now like many people I don’t like to talk about my dreams. For some reason we are all superstitious about that. Maybe it goes back to our Sunday School classes and the stories of Yosef who told his dreams and then ended up in the bottom of a pit, and being sold down to a foreign country. Regardless, I knew I had to tell over my dream. See, Aliza- the grandmother I am now married to, had been driving my daughter, Shani, crazy for months trying to get her to reveal what the gender of the baby was. My clever son-in-law gave her a hint and told her that it starts with the letter Beit in Hebrew (Ben or Bat). But now Hashem had revealed it to me in a dream, and much like the prophets in earlier times, I had no choice but to share this secret of Divine knowledge with my better half. Much like the Jews however in the days past, she didn’t believe me. Neither did my kids or my sister for that matter. I was living amongst non-believers, Now I knew what Jeremiah felt like.
Anyways, last Wednesday my wife calls me at 5:00 AM, while I was sleeping in Tel Aviv, on a tour. She first wanted to know if she woke me up. Very considerate of her, I must say. Then she told me that my daughter is in labor and she needed to rent a car and head out to her and she was quite panicky if she would make it there on time. I told her not to worry. It was only Thursday Morning, the prophecy was that the baby would not be born until Friday. We had time. She hung up and continued driving. That Friday morning I woke up nice and early, I took my Elka and we went out to buy food for the Shalom Zachor. “But Daddy, we don’t know if it will be a boy or a girl”, my little skeptical child asked me. I just nodded with my “Oh-yee –of-little-faith” smile and composed a song in honor of the upcoming birth (feel free to pause in middle of this E-Mail and click on it below in our Video of the week section). Sure enough Friday morning at 11:48 AM, after suffering through 38 hours of grueling labor just to fulfill and realize the dream of her father. Shani Berger gave birth to an adorable baby boy. I am a grandpa now. This child is the realization of my dream. The Shalom Zachor was great, the song was awesome, and most importantly the Schwartz family learned never to disregard the tidings of the elder Patriarch of the Schwartz dynasty…at least for today.
If there ever was a great week to herald in a new Jewish baby boy, it would be this week. The Torah portion we read this week begins a new book; the book of Vayikra. Yes, it is the third book of the Torah, like the newest Schwartz descendant is the third generation of Schwartzes-although is last name is Berger, but he looks like a Schwartz, wanna see a picture? Go to my facebook page. But we are told that this is the first book that would be learned with Jewish children in days of old when they started to study Torah. As well, this week is also Parshat HaChodesh, the last of the supplemental Torah readings. The Parsha not only talks about the first mitzva of the Jewish people of counting Rosh Chodesh, the Jewish New Months, from the month of the Exodus, but as well it mentions the mitzva of the Pesach Lamb offering the prerequisite of course being to be circumcised. A mitzva my grandson,-it sounds so cool to say that by the way, will be undergoing IYH tomorrow. To make it even better, this Shabbos is in itself Rosh Chodesh, so we will be singing the Hallel and the special Musaf prayer that is recited on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh that describes Hashem forming the world, an appreciation that is enhanced every New month when we recite the additional Barchi Nafshi (psalm 104) that describes the wondrous creation, but that is even more enhanced when that new month falls out on Shabbos. Yeah, it’s a good week. My einekel, like his mother is trying to help out his Zaydy (pronounced Zaiiidie- like E-fryyyyy-im- not Zaydie like lady) with his weekly E-mail.

There is however another not so easy common denominator between all of these new beginnings though. Perhaps one that is not so pleasant to talk about. That is that they all come out of a lot of pain and suffering. The book of Vayikra is a book about the slaughter of sacrifices, certainly not a pretty sight. There was lots of blood, shrieking and ghastly queasy sights in the temple. Kind of like a birthing room. As well, the mitzva of the of the New month of Nissan comes with it perhaps the conclusion of one of the bloodiest eras in Jewish history, our slavery in Egypt and according to our sages the decimation of over 80% of our people in the plague of darkness. In fact the first introduction and mitzva that every Jewish male undergoes is this mitzva of Brit Mila- the covenant of circumcision. Seemingly, Jewish girls, have their mothers undergo the painful process for them, in their not-so-fun childbirth experience. They in turn undergo that for their daughters later on in life, when they make their own beautiful little girls. And thus we become a nation that is forged in pain; the first mitzva, the first book that we are taught is Vayikra, and each year we count the first month of the year from our beginning as a nation when we came out of the fiery cauldron and holocaust of Egypt and became the Chosen Nation of Hashem. Aren’t you excited to be part of this?  I know we are into our matzas but that shouldn’t make us into matzachists…right? Oy…Zaydie jokes are supposed to be corny.
There is another aspect that connects these three parshiyot this week. They are all fascinatingly enough festive and contain food and celebration. The sacrifices we and the Kohanim partake in. There is music playing choirs and orchestras throughout the Temple. Our Pesach offering is eaten like a big BBQ with all your families and friends. We sing Pesach songs, we even sing that we were slaves in Egypt. As well at our Seder and on each New Month we sing Hallel-songs of praise to Hashem, yet if one examines much of the phrases they seem bizarre.
Psalm (116:2)) Afafuni Chevlei Mavet,UMtzarei Sheol Mitzauni-The pains of death encircled me, the confines of the grave have found me; trouble and sorrow I would find. Then I would invoke the name of Hashem.
(116:11) He’amanti Ki adaber ani Anisi Meod- I have kept faith although I say I have suffered exceedingly
Psalm (118) Min Hamietzar Karati Kah Anaani BaMerchav Kah- From the straits I call upon Hashem; Hashem answered me expansively
Yasor yisrani Kah Vlamavet Lo nsanani- You have chastened me exceedingly, but he did not let me die.
And then the pinnacle arrives at
Please Hashem save me!
Please Hashem save me!
 Please Hashem Bring success!
Please Hashem bring success!
There is no other nation that sings songs of Hashem when we are in such tumultuous, painful and traumatic times. For that matter not too many other people I know would even consider a circumcision as a time or occasion to throw a party. Yet that is our nation. Being part of the Jewish people is recognizing our unique divine role in this world. We are here for a purpose. We came here in pain and suffering. There is no such thing as an easy childbirth. There will be pain. It will hurt. It will entail blood, sweat and tears. To be a nation of Hashem as well, is not a prize we got at the end of some beautiful reality bachelorettes show with God as the groom. It entailed 400 years of slavery, perseverance and at the end undying determination to have faith at all costs.
We had to slaughter that sheep, that docile, follow-what-the-Egyptian-herd is doing, and put his blood on our doorposts. We were going to be different from the get-go. We were born that night in Egypt. We were born when we were able to see the hand of Hashem taking us out and propelling us forward into our destiny. That was the train we got on. The train of our destiny that would bring us home.
Parshat Vayikra is the first book we learn with little children. Our sages tell us that this because the pure should come and study the laws of purity. Purity is not just innocence, or even simplicity as I think most people identify it. Purity is seeing the hand of Hashem in everything. Kids are great about that. They are always connected. They appreciate the significance of the concept of a home for Hashem, of offerings to the almighty, that bring me closer, that allow me to tap into that knowledge and transcend this world. That is the purity of children. It is that voice that we need to have when we read the book of Vayikra. Those eyes of awe at the concept of Hashem residing His presence on this world. The idea that even if I sin, even in pain, blood and tears Hashem can be found. Perhaps it is even where He is most found. It returns us to our roots. To our birth. We then can begin again. We can renew like the month, like a child.
I sit tonight next to the purest soul I know. He just came down to the world a few days ago. He kind of looks like me and he seems very intelligent. Inspirational. He smiles when I sing my song to him, so he appreciates good music as well. We have a custom that the night before the Bris we recite Shema together with him. All the children, who happen to be his uncles and aunts recited those special words together.
 Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad- Hear Israel Hashem is our God Hashem is one.
Those are the words of our people. The words we recite in times of martyrdo and pain, the words we recite by a brit, in times of joy each morning dawn and nightfall. Every night when we lie our heads to sleep and awake with a new day.
HaMalach HaGoel Osi Mikol Ra- the Angel that redeems me from all evil
Yivareich es Hanearim- he should bless the children
Viyikareh Bahem Shemi- He shall call them in my name
Bishem Avosai- the name of our forefathers
Avraham and Yitzchak
And they should grow into a multitude in the midst of the land.
May he grow and be that blessing to us all.
Have fantastic mazeldike Shabbos!
Still ecstatically yours,
Rabbi- “just Call me Zaidy” J- Ephraim Schwartz


Klaineh kinder lozen nit shlofen; groisseh kinder lozen nit ruen.”- Small children don’t let you sleep; big children don’t let you rest

answer below at end of Email

Q   A commemorative site for female combat troops is found in:
A. “The joined control position”
B. Palmahim
C. Akhziv
D. Nitzanim


https://soundcloud.com/ephraim-schwartz/vzakeynu-lirot-banim  - My latest composition in honor of my first grandson/einekel . Vzakeinu Liros- get ready to jump out of your seat and dance!

https://youtu.be/gtlGjPuItG4    – A beautiful song about the new baby neshoma in hebrew

https://youtu.be/V4VkubdVM7I  – Bill Cosby Granparenting

https://youtu.be/9CeJloG5Ouw   - My Zaidy! By Moshe Yess the classic song and video


This week we have a triple whammy we have the Parsha of Vayikra, we have the extra Parsha an maftir of the 4th and supplementary reading of HaChodesh and it is the New Month; the beginning of Nissan. So the rule is that the special supplementary Haftorah wins however many congregations add in the first verse of the traditional special Haftorah reading from Yeshaya of the Heaven being the throne of Hashem and this world His footstool.and the final verse how each Shabbos and each Rosh Chodesh each man shall come to prostrate before Hashem.
Now interestingly enough though the Haftorah of HaChodesh from the prophecy of Yechezkel really can incorporate all three themes itself as it describes the future Bais Hamikdash and the service that will take place once Mashiach has come and the Jews have returned to Eretz Israel. The Haftorah describes the offering that the Prince (the King or the High Priest) will bring on Rosh Chodesh – the New Moon.
This selection from Yechezkel is especially appropriate for the Shabbos that precedes or coincides with the beginning of the month of Nissan. The month of Nissan is known as the month of redemption. Our exodus from Egypt took place in the month of Nissan. The Mishkan was first assembled on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The Mizbeach was inaugurated into service during the first 12 days of Nissan.Which therefore connects it to the reading of Vayikra as well. We hope that this year, in the month of Nissan, we will again merit to be redeemed from exile, rebuild the Bais Hamikdash, and again inaugurate the Mizbeach by bringing the Rosh Chodesh offering in the service of G-d.

Yechezkel /Ezekiel (590 BC) – His name "means Hashem will strengthen." Ezekiel wrote his own book. He was a Kohen. He was a major prophet that recorded the warnings to the Jewish captives of Babylon. He experienced his prophecies just before the destruction of Jerusalem on Tishah Be'av (The 9th of Av). He was a villager. His wife died suddenly. He was exiled in 597 B.C.E. His prophetic ministry lasted 20 years. Some of his visions were experienced while he was in exile. Ezekiel was the only prophet to experience a prophecy while outside the Land of Israel. He died in Bavel. He was among 8000 exiles taken to Babylon by Nevuchadnezzar, King of Babylon soldiers


Graves of Tribes of Israel- Dan (1275 BC)- Many of the graves have different traditions where they are buried. So hopefuly fi you visit both of the sites then you are covered. I don’t always get a chance to be by both but the tribe of Dan, the “least of Yaakov’s Sons” I did manage to get to both sites. I have a special connection with the tribe of Dan because Tel Dan is my favorite place to visit in Israel. As well Reb Tzadok Hakohein suggests that the tribe of Dan corresponds to our generation before Mashiach comes. The first and more visited site of Dan is in the portion of the tribe of Dan near the grave of Shimshon who was the tribes judge, Although they call it Dan’s grave it is more likely than not Shimshonss grave as Dan’s is in Eshtoel or next to that one.
The other site is in Kfar Dan in the foothills of Har Tabor in the lower Galile. The village of Dana Al Hakim- was named after the wise man and judge that the arabs haad a tradition was buried there- which could be Dan who we are told represtns the judges of Israel.
  On both sites there is a grave sign interestingly enough and testimonies of visitors and pilgrims go back hundreds of years. Now there is also a tradition that is mentioned that he is buried near the Banias, but that is more likely than not a grave of a Sheikh.


A dying grandfather tells his grandchild, "I want to leave you my farm. That includes the barn, livestock, the harvest, the tractor, and other equipment, the farmhouse and $24,548,750.45 in cash." The grandchild, absolutely floored and about to become rich says, "Oh grandpa, you are SO generous! I didn't even know you had a farm. Where is it?" With his last breath, Grandpa whispered, "Facebook..."

Two elderly grandparents from a retirement center were sitting on a bench under a tree when one turns to the other and says: "Hymie, I'm 83 years old now and I'm just full of aches and pains. I know you're about my age. How do you feel?" Hymie says, "I feel just like a newborn baby." "Really! Like a newborn baby?" "Yep. No hair, no teeth, and I think I just wet my pants"

A reporter was interviewing a 103 year-old great grandfather: "And what do you think is the best thing about being 103?" the reporter asked. He simply replied, "No peer pressure."

Zaidy Yankel who had serious hearing problems for a number of years went to the doctor to be fitted for a hearing aid that would return his hearing to 100%. The grandpa went back for further tests a month later and the doctor said, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again." To which the elderly man replied, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times!"

A young man saw an elderly couple sitting down to lunch at the Kosher restaurant. He noticed that they had ordered one meal, and an extra drink cup. As he watched, the gentleman carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries, one for him, one for her, until each had half of them. Then he poured half of the soft drink into the extra cup and set that in front of his wife. The old man then began to eat, and his wife sat watching, with her hands folded in her lap. The young man decided to ask if they would allow him to purchase another meal for them so that they didn't have to split theirs. The old gentleman said, "Oh no. We've been married 50 years, and everything has always been and will always be shared, 50/50." The young man then asked the wife if she was going to eat, and she replied, "It's his turn with the teeth." 

For months, Leah had been nagging her husband to go with her to the séance parlor of Madame Sadie.
"Cyril, Madame Sadie is a real gypsy and she brings the voices of the dead from the other world. We all talk to them. Last week, I talked with my mother, may she rest in peace. Cyril, for only $30 you can talk to your zaida who you miss so much."
Cyril could not resist and at the next seance, there was Cyril sitting under the colored light at the green table, holding hands with the person on each side of him. All were humming.
Madame Sadie, her eyes lost in trance, was making passes over a crystal ball. "My medium Vashtri, who is that with you? Mr Himmelfarb? Cyril's zaida?"
Cyril swallowed the lump in his throat and called, "Grandpa? zaida?"
"Ah, Cyril?" a thin voice quavered.
"Yes, yes," cried Cyril, "this is your Cyril, zaida, are you happy in the other world?"
"Cyril, I am in bliss. I'm with your bubba. We laugh, we sing, we gaze upon the shining face of the Lord."
Cyril asks his zaida many questions and his zaida answers each, until -
"So now, Cyril, I have to go. The angels are calling. Just one more question I can answer. Ask. Ask."
"Zaida," sighed Cyril, "when did you learn to speak English?"   

And of course the classic

An elderly woman in Florida was boring fellow beachcombers as she bragged on and on about her two remarkable grandchildren.
Unable to stand it any longer, a fellow sunbather interrupted her.
"Tell me, Mrs. Rosenwasser, how old are your grandsons?"
Mrs. Rosenwasser gave her a grateful smile and replied, "The doctor is four and the lawyer is six...."

Answer is D – I would have skipped this one. There are so many monuments in this country, I rarely stop at any of them. Not that I have anything against monuments, they’re just not the Jewish way to commemorate someone. I prefer to go to places and talk about our fallen soldiers and heroes at sites that they were active. The answer to this question is Nitzanim in the South of Isarel not far from Ashkelon. Achziv I knew wasn’t the answer as there was a monument there that I  have visited for the “night of the bridges”. I figured it wasn’t in the West Bank Territories. But it could’ve been Palmachim. Anyways, I would ‘ve skipped this like I said,`      

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