Our view of the Galile

Friday, March 23, 2018

Pesach Cleaning- Parshat Tzav- Hagadol 2018 / 5778

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
March 23rd  2018 -Volume 8 Issue 23 7th Nissan 5778

Parshat Tzav/ HaGadol
Pesach Cleaning

Nuuu... You ready for Pesach already? House all clean? What about the car? Don’t tell me your one of those that already has turned over their house and are cooking your holiday Pesachidik meals already. Your family is eating outside this Shabbos on the porch and are wearing those hazmat outfits with the scuba diver helmets when they come into the house. Yeah you’re not from my family. We’re more from the Joan Rivers school of thought in her poignant reflection
“I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”
Yeah, we’ve still got plenty of shalach manot lying around. My darling Rebbetzin even baked Challah this week. How sacrilegious is that? No, we are not going away for Pesach. Unlike some of you that are reading this now. Because after-all if your house is not clean, and you are not going away you have absolutely no excuse “Erev Pesach” to be sitting in front of a computer and reading this right now.  I know that you can’t imagine going into Shabbos without your Rabbi Schwartz weekly fix, but really the closets have to be cleaned out. Who was it that once pointed out, a clean house is the sign of no internet service. So if you are reading this, it must mean you are going away for Yom Tov. That’s nice for you. I hope you enjoy. But really if you have enough money to go away for Pesach, why not throw a little sponsorship love to your Rabbi here. It costs a lot of money to clean out our shul for Pesach from all of the Chulent kiddushes we serve each week. So why not just visit our blog and donate in honor of the holiday, that you don’t have to clean for.
Now for the rest of us though, cleaning is essential part of the holiday. I know my wife is looking at me right now and rolling her eyes and snorting… Yeahhh.. what does the never-home, running around the country all-week-long tour guide know about cleaning? She’s right of course, but one doesn’t necessarily have to clean to know a lot about the subject. I’ve read and studied about it a lot. One doesn’t have to be a pilot to know about airplanes, or be a mechanic to know about cars, or as can clearly be seen an internet repairman to know about internet repairs; as the last five that came to my house from Hot, still can’t seem to make it work for more thatn five minutes after they leave my house and then wait a month before scheduling their next appointment. So yes, I know about cleaning. It is part and parcel of our Pesach experience. It is really the only way we can come into Pesach. See even you guys going to a hotel have to do some cleaning. It is the first law of Pesach in the tractate of the holiday
Ohr l’araba Asor bodkin es hachametz la’ohr haner- The eve of the 14th (of Nissan –the night before your seder) we search the Chametz (leavened bread products) by the light of the candle
Kol makom shein machnisim bo Chametz-ein tzarich bedika- any place in which one  does not bring Chametz does not require to be searched.
So even people going away for Pesach need to search in their hotel rooms for Chametz. Just like you can’t go into Shabbos without candle lighting, and you can’t go into Chanuka without lighting the menora, Pesach also has it’s candle lighting ceremony but it’s the night before Pesach and we take that candle and search around room to room to room to find any Chametz even though we’re pretty sure it’s been totally cleaned. A strange custom certainly. Perhaps even more perplexing is that tis can really be entirely avoided. See at the end of the search we make a declaration that states that all the Chametz that we have found or even those that we have not found should be nullified and be considered like the dust of the earth.  That works. It’s gone. Poof. Even if I have a whole pizza hidden underneath my bed. My nullification makes it that its gone, it doesn’t belong to me and I am considered Chametz free. If so the lazy yeshiva guy asks with the twist of his thumb in the air, then why bother cleaning in the first place. Just be mevatel it- nullify it and make it ownerless.  Good question and I would tell you to wait until the seder to ask it, as we do all questions. But I’m scared if I do you will not clean your room, and then you will miss out on one of the most inspiring parts of the holiday. So here we go
Not every year, does Parshat Tzav fall out the week of Shabbat HaGadol but it does so quite often enough. As we know the Torah portion of the week will always have a connection to the week’s events, if not Rabbis will find one, that’s our jobs. To make the connections and links that you don’t have the time, energy or imagination to do so. You’re too busy cleaning for Pesach. It’s why they pay us the big bucks…or not. Well anyways this week it’s really not too hard as the first mitzva and the introduction to all the sacrifices is that mitzva of Terumas Hadeshen; cleaning out the ashes of the previous days offerings. That’s how the kohen’s day starts off with, with a trip to the ash bin. Even more significantly the Torah tells us that as he is doing this he must be careful to maintain and not extinguish the eternal flame that is on the altar.
Vayikra (6:2-5) Command Aharon and his children saying this is the laws of the Olah offering, it stays on its falme on the altar all night until the morning and the fire of the altar should be kept aflame on it.
The Kohen should be on his linen garments…and separate the ashes from what has been consumed by the fire…
And he should remove his clothing and put on other clothing and take the ash outside of the camp to a pure place.
And then in case you forgot…
And the fire on the altar should kept burning; it shall not be extinguished.
Fascinating isn’t it. The first mitzva of the sacrifices is to take out the ashes and “clean out the Altar”. The fire will burn eternally there, but don’t knock it out when you are cleaning out the ashes.
The great Rebbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi would tell his students that is his Rebbi the MAgid of Merzitch told him repeatedly that the Torah is telling us that we are each like the altar of Hashem that has Hashem’s eternal flame burning inside of us. We are obligated to light that fire and maintain it despite the fact that ultimately a heavenly flame would come down to consume the offering. Yet we have to light our fire down below. There is a problem though. There is a lot of ash that builds up. Former sacrifices that became shmutz. The dirt that darkens and blunts our flame. We have to uncover it. We have to remove it. That’s our daily avoda- service. That is the mind set of how we start off each day.
There are so many lessons in this mitzva, I”ll just share with you a few. The first is noted by Rav Gifter. He sees that the fact that the Kohen is obligated to change his clothing as Rashi notes is to teach us that one does not pour wine for the King in the same garment you cook in. Rav Gifter notes though that following that metaphor one can argue that it is not the same person who cooks who is also the butler of the king. Yet, by the Jewish people it is different. We can take out the ashes, clean up the garbage, and then merely switch our clothing and go into the holiest places and bring our offering. It’s because we have that eternal flame. We are always holy, it’s merely clothing that got dirty.
Another idea, is that the ashes the dirt, the shmutz, the Chametz that blocks us from seeing that light must be removed, but when we remove it, we need to be careful not knock out the flame. The knee- jerk reaction for someone who sees and acknowledges the sins and mistakes that we have done is to throw up our hands. I’m hopeless. I can’t change. I can’t get rid of it. It’s too dirty. I’ll never be clean. By doing that we extinguish the flame. Yes we have to clean. Yes we have to find all our dirt and try to get rid of it. Yes we have to take a candle, a light. The Light of Hashem, the light of our Torah and examine every room inside of “our house”, our mind, our actions our deeds. But never allow that search to knock out the flame. Because at the end of the day, the fire comes from above. We really just need to clean out a small little place for it to rest and to shine forth. We just have to search for “as far as our hand can reach:” But at the end of the day we need merely to nullify it in our heart. We just have to declare that it is not ours anymore. We have to identify it as the “dirt of the land”. Then we will be free. Then we can have our seder. Then we can shine that light out to the world.
Aren’t you excited about cleaning now. Aren’t you glad you read until the end. So get back to your cleaning. But here’s a little Pesach tip to make it a bit more meaningful. With every scrub, with every dusting, with every vacuum and polish, think about your soul. Picture that inner flame getting brighter and brighter. It may not make your house any cleaner faster, but it certainly will set you free.
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz

 This week's Insights and Inspiration is sponsored by my parents, the new great-grandparents of Yoel Eliyahu Berger in gratitude to Hashem upon the occasion of reaching but another wonderful milestone in our lives. As well it is sponsored in honor of the upcoming birthdays of their daughters Gitty and Rivky and their grandson Tviki Schwartz on this upcoming holiday. We are so blessed with so much nachas from all of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchild, May Hashem bless all of you with all the things that you desire l’tova.
Mazel Tov!

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Thank You!
MARIV- 7:40 PM (10 minutes after Tzeit HaKochavim)

“Varf nit arois di shmutsikeh aider du host di raineh.”- Don’t throw away the soiled until you have the clean.
answer below at end of Email

Q   From where did the “Etzel” fighters depart before they stormed the Acre prison?
a. Shuni
b. Hanita
c. Atlitai
d. Ramat Raziel


https://soundcloud.com/ephraim-schwartz/eliyahu-hanavi   - In honor of my grandson Yoel Eliyahu and the upcoming holiday of Pesach and the haftora of this week I share with you everyones favorite Rabbi Schwartz composition Eliyahu Hanavi!

https://youtu.be/4XePEM8-wJQ – One minute late- Rabbi Yoel Gold incredible inspiring story

https://youtu.be/mhCHeFac16I – La La Land Passover

https://youtu.be/8WX8PWKYuvk    - Aish love the taste of you Passover video


This is the last prophecy in the 12 latter prophets. It is the prophecy of Eliyahu Hanavi heralding in the era of Mashaich. It is no wonder that this last prophecy was not only chosen as the haftora before Pesach, as this is the holiday more than any when we feel the imminence of the redemption as we commemorate our first Exodus from Egypt. In fact that the entire Shabbat, known as Shabbat HaGadol- the great Shabbos, is named after this Haftora and its words of the
“great day” of the Messianic era. Yet just as the Exodus from Egypt came as a result of the Jews choosing and having faith to leave behind their idolatrous ways and separating themselves to worship Hashem, so too it will be when Mashiach comes. Malachi tells us how the Jews will have to make a choice to serve Hashem or they will be consumed, while the sun will shine and heal for the righteous. As well our Haftorah shares with us perhaps one of the most important mitzvos and the only challenge Hashem says we can and should make with Him. To give your tithes to Tzedaka.
Malachi (3:10) Haviu es kol Hamaaser el beis haotzar-bring all your tithe to the storage house
Vayehi teref Bivaysi- and let it be sustenance in my Temple
Ubachanunu Na Bzot amar Hashem Tzvaot- and you can test me with this
Im Lo eftach Lachem es Arubos Hashamayim- If I will opne for you the windows of heavne
Vharilosi lachem  bracha ad bli dai- and I will pour for you blessing until without end
Pesach more than any time of year, we are told that there is a mitzva called Maot Chittim. To provide money for matzos and the holiday needs of the poor. At the same time this is a pretty expensive holiday for us as well. It is now that we read the haftorah to have faith and test Hashem by continuing to give our charity and tithe and He guarantees we will reap His blessing. Anyone wanna sponsor an email next week? J

Malachi (520 BC) – His name "My Messenger." But who is he really? Unlike other prophets whos names are mentioned in other books. Malachi is only mentioned in his own book. As a result of that many suggest that Malachi is the name of another prophet.  Chazal, our sages, suggest that he is Mordechai. The same one from the Purim story. Others suggestions are the he is none other than Ezra the scribe as he mentions as well as fighting against intermarriage.


Graves of Tribes of Israel- Binyamin (1275 BC)- In researching this grave I uncovered or unburied to be precise a whole new appreciation that opened up a whole world of understanding in many challenging Talmudic statements. See the grave of Binyamin the youngest of Yaakovs’ children according to many testimonies of travelers to Israel over the centuries is that he is buried in the city called Roma. They describe visiting that place here in Israel. Bet you never knew that Israel had a place called Rome did you? Well it’s actually not too far from my house right near the valley of Netufa. The truth is it is clear from the Talmud that there was a palce in Israel called Rome as many great Rabbis are reffered to as “min-Romaya” coming from Rome. In addition the Talmud tells us that the great editor from the Mishna Reb Yehudah Hanasi would get visited secretly by Antoninus (Mark Antony). It even says that he had a secret tunnel that went from “Rome” to Tzippori to Rebbi’s house where he would sneak over to visit him. Well we all know that you can’t make a tunnel from Rome to Israel, but you can make one from Rome in Israel which is only a few miles away from Tzippori. And in fact it is suggested that Rome in Israel was where Antoninus would live when he came here. As well we are told that Rebbi Yosi ben Kisma the great Galilean sage said in the name of Eliyahu that Mashaich is sitting at the gates of Rome. Rome again being the one over here. The Zohar suggests it is even the gateway to Gan Eden. Pretty amazing, how much more understandable these Aggadas are once you realize that Rome is in Israel.


Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” ― Phyllis Diller

Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn't even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.” ― Erma Bombeck

I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on.”― Roseanne Barr

You must know that it is by the state of the lavatory that a family is judged.” ― Pope John XXIII  (one of the reasons I ‘m not Christian..)

And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”
― Dr. SeussThe Cat in the Hat


Abe goes to see his boss and says, "we're doing some heavy house-cleaning at home tomorrow for Pesach and my wife needs me to help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff."
"We're short-handed, Abe," the boss replies. "I just can't give you the day off."
"Thanks, boss." says Abe, "I knew I could count on you!"

Yitzhak wanted to clean his Tallis before Pesach. So he called his friend Lionel to ask which dry cleaner to use.
Lionel said, "I always take my tallis to Moishe’s Dry Cleaners on Main Street. He only charges $4." 
But when Yitzhak went to Moishe’s, he discovered that the shop had changed ownership and was now called Kelly’s Dry Cleaners. He asked the new owner, Sean, if he was keeping to the previous price list. Sean assured him that he was. Three days later, Yitzhak picked up his tallis and was given a bill for $12. 
So he says to Sean, "I thought you said you met Moishe's prices?" 
"I do," said Sean, "$4 for the prayer shawl and $8 to get all the knots out of the fringes!" 

Shaindy was less than an immaculate housekeeper. One evening her husband Moishie returned home from work, walked into the kitchen and teased her, "You know, dear, I can write my name in the dust on the mantel." Shaindy turned to him and sweetly replied, "Yes, darling, I know. That's why I married a college graduate."

Yanky wanted to prove that he would be a better housekeeper then his wife Leah was suggesting that if only she would organize her time better she would be more efficient. Recently he sent  Leah away and decided he would show her as he put his theory into practice.
When she came back to see how he was managing, he proudly told her, "I made a cake, frosted it, washed the kitchen windows, cleaned all the cupboards, scrubbed the kitchen floor, walls and ceiling and even had a bath."
She was about to concede that perhaps he was a better manager than her, when he added sheepishly, "When I was making the chocolate frosting, I forgot to turn off the mixer before taking the beaters out of the bowl, so I had to do all the rest."

Five year old Yoel Eliyahu squealed with delight when he opened his birthday present from his Zayide. It was a water pistol. He promptly ran to the sink to fill it.
"Dad," Yoel’s mom, Shani said. "I'm surprised at you. Don't you remember how we used make such a mess and drive you crazy with water pistols?"
I smiled and said, "Yes, I remember."

Answer is A – Akko Prison many of my tourists know is one of my favorite places in Israel. It’s a great story and really one of the most important places that led to the foundation of Israel and the decision of the British to leave. Although I have said the story many times, I still wasn’t sure about where they left from. But I guessed correctly through power of deduction. I was pretty sure Ramat Raziel wasn’t around when it took place, and I knew it was named after the founder of the Etzel, the underground army that broke out. So I guessed they just threw it in to mess with you and I was right. Atlit had its own breakout story and I figured it was also a red herring. Hanita and Shuni were the two left. And since Hanita had its own story as being the first choma and migdal story, I figured the right answer was Shuni. And I was right!+           

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