Middle East 3:00 AM 3/9/2014
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The Jay Shapiro Hour
Torah Tidbits Audio
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
“I’m singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain, what a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again!”
Last Thursday night at the “Shovavim” tikun, in the wee hours of the morning, when everyone returned from the pre-dawn mikvah, Rabbi Leon opened the ark, and with shofars blaring, beseeched Hashem to join our prayers with the prayers of all the Jewish People for rain.
Last night, the Heavens opened with a symphony of thunder and lightning, and the channel of the “Yesod” poured forth its blessings. After reciting Tikun Hatzot and learning a little Zohar, I retired to bed, opening the door to the adjoining terrace so that I could hear the splattering of rain on the aluminum roof. What a wonderful sound! What a wonderful feeling! All night the clatter of raindrops sounded on the terrace roof like the clinging of coins in a beggar’s cup. “Raindrops keep falling on my head…. Nothing’s worrying me!”
Tomorrow, G-d willing, we will be traveling with the Rabbi up north to the Hermon to continue to pray for rain. So if you haven’t removed your winter boots from the closet, you’d better do it now!
While we are humming some movie tunes, the last item on the morning news was something about the Globe Awards in Hollywood. But before I say a few words about that, I have to mention another interesting thing. For the last few days, the first news item has been about the earthquake in Haiti. A proportionally large segment of the radio news has been given to the distant disaster, and Israel’s medical and rescue teams, showing how much the Jewish People in Israel care about the wellbeing of the world. I called a few relatives and friends in the States to speak about the earthquake, thinking it would be an opportunity to touch base with them on a general humanitarian issue. I was startled to learn that they had less idea of what was going on in Haiti than I did. It seems that, in general, they pay scant attention to the news, and go about their lives disconnected from the rest of the world. Whereas in Israel, we keep in touch with all the latest developments. That’s because Israel is the center of the world. In the language of the “Kuzari,” we are the heart of the nations. Israel is the heart, brain, soul, and control center of the universe. Thank G-d I’m here!
So, getting back to Hollywood. Like I’ve written in the past, I haven’t seen a movie in years. I couldn’t care less. I don’t have any patience for them whatsoever. Besides their as non kosher as pork. Chances are that a man who watches a movie is transgressing the commandment not to stray after your heart and your eyes. For instance, once I was asked to give a talk to a group of young DVD Jews from South Africa. When they showed up late, I asked where they had been? They answered that they had just returned from watching the film “Titanic” at a theater in town.
“The ‘Titanic’!” I exclaimed. “Watching a movie like that is worse than eating pork!”
They all groaned and booed, but I wasn’t kidding. When a Jews eats forbidden food, he pollutes his “nefesh,” the lower level of his spiritual make-up. But when he sees a forbidden image, since his eyes are connected to the highest spiritual worlds of “chiyah,” he pollutes his very soul. Now I hadn’t seen the movie “Titanic” but I had spent enough time in Hollywood to know that there was bound to be a pretty girl and handsome boy on board, and what else is there to do when you run into an iceberg and only have another two hours to live?
Some months later, I took one of my sons to visit a yeshiva in Mitzpe Ramon. We spent the night at a local lodge and he noticed that the movie, “Titanic” was playing on TV. So I said let’s watch a few minutes to see what all the fuss was about. Sure enough, the very first shot of the film is an underwater shot as the camera moves toward the wreckage and enters through a porthole into a cabin where the furniture looks to still be in order. Slowly, the camera moves in toward a framed photograph on the dresser, into a close-up of a naked girl. BING! BING! BING! BING! And this was the film that every thirteen year old was watching!
“What’s the big deal?” you say.
I’ll tell you. When a man sees a provocative photo of a naked woman, or cheesy lingerie photo on E-Bay, or a tease clip on youtube, he pollutes his holy soul and short-circuits his connection to G-d. If he is a DVD, Saturday- Night-at-the-Movies type of guy, he has burnt up his transistors completely, and all of his davening and Torah learning won’t have any juice in them at all. He may go through the motions of putting on tefillin, but if he has googled his heart and his brain with visual traf, the tefillin won’t do a thing for him. They might as well be empty boxes.
Today is the yahrtzeit of the holy “Baba Sali.” He said that he could see things that other people couldn’t see because he didn’t look at things that other people looked at.
This morning, when I was driving home from the mikvah, while I was waiting at an intersection, an attractive woman passed in front of my car. Even though it was raining, she was wearing a mini raincoat and boots that begged you to take a second look. My eyes began to stray in her direction, but I caught myself and turned away. Still, the brief glance shook me up completely. Cars behind me started honking when the light changed and I was still trying to regain my vision. Yosef overcame the temptations of Potifar’s wife, but immediately afterward, he was thrown into prison. Certainly this isn’t the reward that his righteousness deserved. So why was he punished? Rabbi Leon explains that although Yosef didn’t let the temptation overcome him, but ran away instead, nonetheless, he thought about succumbing to her requests, and he was thrown into prison for that.
So guys, the next time you think of surfing around youtube, or watching a movie, no matter how many awards it has won, unless it’s the “Lion King” without little Walt Disney mermaids – think twice before you fry your holy souls and barbecue your Jewish brains.
Until the next time, yours truly, just singing and dancing in the rain.