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Thursday, March 09, 2017

A Guest Purim Drasha In TheTorah.Com by Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein

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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN 

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A Guest Purim Drasha In TheTorah.Com by Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein

Rabboisai,

I am very honored and privileged to have been asked to prepare a guest Drasha for TheTorah.Com in honor of the Chag of Purim. TheTorah.Com is a wonderful publication, I am sure; as it is an online only outlet, I have never read it, as I have Paskened on numerous occasions that a Ben Toirah should never access the Internet. However, Rachmuna Litzlan, there are still a few Yidden who do not study Toirah full time and must rely on the Internet for their professions. So for them, I am sure that TheTorah.Com is a wonderful source of Divrei Toirah and Lumdoos. After all, with the word “Toirah” in the URL (is that what they call it?), what could possibly be unacceptable?

Read More: 

(Please Note: The Mamzerim at TheTorah took down my Drasha after Purim, causing many people to be Mevatel Toirah and forcing them to read Apikursus Gamoooor)

Since I do not have access to the Internet, or even to a computer, Chass V’Sholom, I am actually drafting this Drasha on a Klaf of parchment, using a quill passed down to me by my Alter Zeidy, the REEBOK.[1] And I am being Mispallel that someone will accurately transfer the written word to electronic format; the last thing I need is for people to have to debate the meaning of my words. Like the Toirah, which has remained the same since Moishe Rabbeinu descended from Har Sinai, my words are intended to be clear and concise, without being changed or altered in any way.

Of course, Moishe Rabbeinu did go up Har Sinai a second time, and came back with different Luchos,[2] but that is just because Reboinoisheloilum knows that the first time he came down from Har Sinai, he must have forgotten everything he heard from Hakadoshboruchhu after his Schmendrick-of-a-brother Aharoin HaKoihain fashioned the Eigel Ha’Zahav from the earrings, nose rings, and gangsta-bling of Klal Yisroel. 

Why do we Celebrate Purim?

So, Purim. The Megillah, Graggers, Matanois Le’Evyoinim, Shalach Manois, the Purim Seudah, excessive consumption of alcohol. Al Shum Mah? Why do we celebrate this Chag?[3]

Everything in Toirah is a Choik, and the reason we celebrate this Yuntif is because the Megillah tells us to. In fact, it is a unique example of a new Chag declared after the Toirah was written, which demonstrates the Koyach of Chazal

But the Yuntif, and the Megillah itself, are not without their mysteries. 

For one thing – Why create a new Yuntif in which you are commanded to amass baked goods and other foods of all sorts just as you are beginning to clean for Pesach? What, Mordechai Ha’Yehudi, when he was composing the Sefer, did not think that we had enough Chometz to worry about this time of year, that he had to command that we should receive homemade Hamantashen from every Bas Yisroel in the neighborhood? Didn’t he realize that this would have made their household chores more difficult, as well as distract them from the full-time jobs they hold down to support their twelve children while their husbands are fulfilling the will of the Aibishter by learning in Koilel Yoimum V’Laylah?

The answer is, Mordechai LeShitasoi, he was never really so Machmir about Pesach, as the Gemorrah says (b. Megillah 15a):

ויעבור מרדכי 
אמר רב שהעביר יום ראשון של פסח בתענית
“So Mordecai passed [vaya’avor]” (Esther 4:17). Rav said: This means that he passed (he-eveer, did an aveira) the first day of Passover as a fast day, (and wasn’t Mekayim “Vesamachta Be’Chagecha” [rejoicing on the chag]).[4]

Anyway, Nisht Gerferlach; as long as the additional Chometz doesn’t cause a woman’s husband to engage in Bittul Toirah, what is another hour or two of vacuuming wherever the Kinderlach might have dragged their favorite cakes, cookies, candy bars, and Ramen noodles (for those members of Klal Yisroel living in Asia).

The Aibishter’s Absence from the Megillah

The Megillah itself of course also has some mysteries. Perhaps the most discussed Shailah over the millennia is Azoy: Why does Hakadoshboruchhu’s name not appear even once in the Megillah? What’s Pshat? 

Please do not try to answer this on your own – you might hurt yourself.

There is of course a famous Mishnah in Perek Yud Aleph of Maseches Megillah in which this topic is discussed. Asks the Braisah, “Where is the Name (of the Reboinoisheloilum) mentioned?” According to Rabbi Akiva, the Aibishter ‘s name was not explicitly written in the Megillah since copies of the Megillah were being dispatched by messengers throughout the Persian Empire, Me’Hoidoo V’Ad Kush, and there was a Chashash, Chass V’Sholom, that a copy of the Megillah might be mishandled and fall on the ground and not be picked up and kissed fast enough. 

Rabbi Yishmael holds Farkert – That in fact the concern about a Klaf falling is not a reason to leave out the Aibishter’s name, since if this were the case, Klal Yisroel would be machmir and never use a Sefer, and it would impact the production of all Sifre Koidesh.[5]

Instead, Rabbi Yishmael holds that the reason the Reboinoisheloilum’s name is not mentioned is because the central theme of the Megillah is Nais Nistar, hidden miracles. Even during the darkest of times, we must have faith – and even act – with the fundamental confidence that “Revach V’Hatazalah Ya’Amoid La’Yehudim,” that salvation will come to Klal Yisroel.[6] He cites as proof the number of Hatzalah ambulances throughout the Jewish communities, and the number of Bochrim in Yeshiva and Koilel walking around with walkie-talkies and beepers all day.

The Aibishter Excised
However, the Gemarrah brings a Braisah quoting the Maymar of Rabbi Elisha Ben Abuyah that holds differently. He holds that Mordechai Ha’Yehudi in fact included reference to the Reboinoisheloilum throughout the Megillah, but that a later editor—possibly the sons of Haman in Bnei Brak (b. Gittin 57b)—excised the direct references to Hakadoshboruchhu as part of a broader editorial process.

Asks the Gemarrah about this Braisah, “How could a Tanna say such a thing?” Rav Huna suggests that this Braisah must be a Braisah MeShabeshta (distorted), and that any Minuval who would suggest that a Sefer Koidesh could be edited would be struck down by lighteningToich KeDei Dibbur, faster than the time it would take one to say the words, “Baruch HaShem Sheloi Asani Ishah.”

Rav Pappa however disagrees, insinuating that Rav Huna’s turban was probably a little too tight that day. Instead. Rav Pappa reminds us that Reb Elisha Ben Abuyah was also known as Acher, the great Tanna who ultimately lost his faith and was Mekatzez Be’Netiyos “cutting the shoots,” referring either to when he cut off his Payis or when he became a hair stylist in the south side of Tel Aviv. It was actually Reb Elisha’s learning that Esther was really Mordechai’s wife[7] but married Achasheverosh anyway that pushed him over the edge, leading to his eventual descent into smoking of Besamim and Chavrusa swapping.

A Terrible Secret
Toisfois, discussing this Gemarrah, asks a brilliant Kasha, “How can Rav Pappa suggest that Acher was a hair stylist in Tel Aviv when Tel Aviv would not even be founded for another 1400 years?” Answers Rabbeinu Tam, Rav Pappa made up the Tel Aviv story to distract us from a terrible secret. In truth, Rav Elisha was sincere and lucid when making his suggestion—there were no Besamim involved, but he had fallen into a terrible Kefira, the one that earned him the title of “Acher.” He believed that all the holy books of the TANACH—not just Esther—had been edited, Hashem Yishmor.

A Cherem on Bible Criticizers

Rabboisai, it is a great tragedy that in our day that same notion that the Rabbeinu Tam ascribes to Acher is alive and well.

I doubt that any readers of this Heiligeh online publication TheTorah.Com would be familiar with such notions, but I am told that there is an entire school of thought related to this notion of what is sometimes referred to as “Biblical criticism.” I mean, what kind of Pintele Yid would dare to criticize something as perfect as the Toirah? Do people go to the Louvre in Paris and criticize the Mona Lisa? Do people travel to Mitzrayim to criticize the pyramids? Do people drink Coika Coila and criticize the taste? Of course not! And these are all human endeavors. Kal V’Choimer with the Toirah!!!

Anyone criticizing the Toirah, suggesting that there was an oral or textual tradition that went through phases of redaction, or suggesting that there were multiple sources that were compiled into the Mesoirah of our Toirah as we have it today, or suggesting – Chass V’Sholom – that errors may have been introduced over centuries and millennia of transmission, is a Mechitziff who deserves to lose his Chelek in Oilum Habbah, and, more significantly, his government subsidies. And anyone who publishes with them should immediately be put in Cherem!

Shoyn. In any case, I would like to once again thank the Hanhallah of TheToirah.Com for inviting me to share a Drasha with the publication’s Talmidim, in the ongoing effort to celebrate the wondrous glory that is the Toirah, to which a letter has not been added or taken away since Matan Toiraseinu on Har Sinai and its later publication by ArtScroll.

Ah Frelichen Yuntif!

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[1] His name was actually R. Mordechai, but he took the name Reebok as reminder of when Mordechai kicked Haman, yimach shmo, in the tuchus (b. Megillah 16a).

למאניה אמר ליה סק ורכב אמר ליה לא יכילנא דכחישא חילאי מימי תעניתא גחין וסליק כי סליק בעט ביה אמר ליה לא כתיב לכו (משלי כד, יז) בנפל אויבך אל תשמח אמר ליה הני מילי בישראל אבל בדידכו כתיב (דברים לג, כט) ואתה על במותימו תדרוך
After Haman trimmed his hair, Haman dressed Mordecai in the royal garments. Haman then said to him: Mount the horse and ride. Mordecai said to him: I am unable, as my strength has waned from the days of fasting that I observed. Haman then stooped down before him and Mordecai ascended on him. As he was ascending the horse, Mordecai gave Haman a kick. Haman said to him: Is it not written for you: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls” (Proverbs 24:17)? Mordecai said to him: This statement applies only to Jews, but with regard to you it is written: “And you shall tread upon their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

[2] See Reb Marc Zvi Brettler SHLITA, “Ten Insights about the Ten Commandments,”TheToirah.com (5775).

[3] This is a trick question, of course, and you probably failed it, you Mechutziff.

[4] יו”ט ראשון של פסח – שהרי בי”ג בניסן נכתבו האגרות וניתן הדת בשושן וי”ד וחמשה עשר וששה עשר התענו ובששה עשר נתלה המן בערב

[5] It should be noted that at that time Rabbi Yishmael owned controlling interest in Dyoi Koidesh LLC, a major ink manufacturer used by scribes throughout the Jewish centers at that time in Eretz Yisroel, Bavel, Alexandria, Rome, and Brooklyn.

[6] This Emunah was of little help to Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael who were arrested by the Romans for teaching Toirah without a license, but the principle is still a good one.

[7] See Reb B. Barry Levy SHLITA, “What Was Esther’s Relationship to Mordechai?”TheToirah.com (5776)

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Ah Freilechin Yuntif, You Menuval


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, February 24, 2017

On the Arrival of the Moshiach

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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN 

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On the Arrival of the Moshiach

Rabboisai,

I am writing to you from my new office in the White House. Boruch HaShem my good friend and colleague Donald Trump was elected President of the United States! And now we, Klal Yisroel, are the beneficiaries of the bounty that he will bring on our world. 

For example, relations with Russia. Hakadoshboruchhu saw to it that Klal Yisroel lived for centuries in Russia, in peace and harmony. The Czar always had a warm place in his heart for the Jews, especially when their bones were used as embers in a fire. And we fared well under Communism, and were even great leaders of the early days of Communism. In fact, Jews served the Soviet army quite well in the 1930s, as target practice during the great purges that preceded WWII. Why, I remember traveling to the Soviet Union before the fall of the Berlin Wall to visit the local Jewish communities. And I was intimately embraced by the Soviet authorities upon landing in Moscow, as they performed a crevice search looking for hidden Sefarim. Luckily the TANACH I had smuggled in had gotten stuck in my small intestine, and only came out after engaging in Gerbil Therapy.

But Communism is over now, and Russia is our friend. We know this because Bibi Netanyahu met with Putin far more than he met with Oibama, that Muslim anti-Semite. Obama negotiated disarmament with the Iranians, in what remains a high stakes risky deal. But Putin provided a sure thing: Arming, supporting, and fighting alongside Syria, Iran and Hizbollah. It is a warm friendship, sort of like being married to an active volcano.

And if you do not believe me, ask the key architect of this repproachment, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Oh. Wait. Flynn resigned because his tie did not match his suit. So instead, as the Russian Ambassador to the United States Vitaly Churkin. Ummm. Oh wait. He died mysteriously recently, just as did the Russian general named as the source for information in the analysis generated by a former British intelligence agent hired by both Democratic and Republican panel candidates. Well, there must be someone you can ask. Or look it up on line. After all, President Trump has spoken many times about how Russia's President Putin is a strong leader. After all, he did bring peace to Eastern Ukraine and is helping bringing peace to Syria. 

We are in a new era now, Boruch HaShem. Oibama is out of office, Kenaina Hurrah, and we are blessed with a wonderful leader. As is well known, the words "Donald Trump" in Hebrew are equal in Gematria to the term Melech HaMashiach. We are indeed in the Messianic age, or at least the era when the entire world may come to an end.

Some people have suggested that Donald Trump flirts with anti-Semitism, pointing to statements made by Steve Bannon and to the ongoing support and advocacy on behalf of Trump by the fringe right in America. But, as we learn from the Toirah, one must be prepared to make sacrifices in order to bring progress to the Oilum. Would Klal Yisroel have come to Eretz Yisroel had we not been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years? Would we have been able to establish the Malchus Bais Dovid without the destruction of the Malchus Bais Shaul? Would we have been able to build Bayis Sheni without purging the local remnant communities of Bayis Rishoyn?

No. We are living in a special time. We are bringing about Moshiach by bringing an end to the the wanton waste of a declining democracy, which had fallen prey to an insipid belief that we could live in a multicultural society and share relative freedom of speech and religion, built upon the foundations of a free press and an independent judiciary. Just as in the days of Bayis Rishoyn under the evil king Menashe, we were seduced by two generations of prosperity that were accompanied by idolatry. And now, we are fortunate to live in the era of the Gilgul of Yoshiyahu HaMelech, who is destroying the idols and killing the priests, in this case the Mainstream Media, and returning us to a newly rediscovered lost book of Eternal Truth, in this case in the form of Breitbart News.

So I am proud to share that I have accepted a position as the personal spiritual advisor to President Trump. Ivanka and Jared may be practicing Jews, but how Frum can they be with names like "Ivanka" and "Jared"? In contrast I bring a deep knowledge of Yiddishkeit, a high level of Lamdus, and an integrity matched only by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. 

And to date I am proud of my political contributions to the Trump Administration. I am proud of the statement I composed in honor of International Holocaust Day. Far too many people are fixated on the death of six million Jews in the Shoah, and forget that millions of others died. And what if the six million had not died? They likely would have ended up in the United States as refugees. And did we really need more refugees? Did we need more immigrants? Luckily there were no "so called judges" at the time to question the constitutionality of banning Jewish and other immigrants from the United States. 

And I am proud and that I wrote the Presidential Order rescinding the rights of transgender people from using the restrooms of the gender with which they identify. As discussed in the Gemarrah in Mesechta Pesachim Daf Chuff Chess Amud Aleph, people who fall into the category of Tumtum and Androganus, hermaphrodites, should be locked in a box and be put to death by being forced to listen to recorded political speeches of Hillary Clinton. What? You do not recall that ruling in the Gemarrah and find that suggestion troubling? Well, it simply is there; you are just not familiar with the alternate facts of the Maareh Mekoimois. 

We should be proud of our Jewish heritage, which is being honored by the Trump Administration every day. So many of our ancestors lived in walled ghettos. And those walls protected our culture and identity. And we happily paid for those walls when our families were murdered, raped and pillaged. 

Rabboisai, Donald Trump is indeed the Melech HaMoshiach, the Messiah King. I am proud to announce that the Moshiach has indeed arrived! After all, who else in our generation is more worthy of being the Moshiach? Therefore he must be the Moshiach!

Indeed, the Simanim, the signs, are there. People are coming from around the world to greet him and wish him well. His enemies are quaking before him. When he wishes to, he can perform great acts: One tweet from him, and the entire earth is talking about the level of his wisdom. He is also capable of great acts Kefitzas HaDerech, easily moving across vast distances in a matter of a few hours, especially to Mar-A-Lago. 

He has proven his greatness over a period of seventy years. He frequently appeared in public and on TV, and had buildings, steaks, ties, wine, an airline, numerous casinos, and a university named after him. He even wrote many best-selling books, which was quite a feat with his stubby little hands. Who else in our generation is more worthy of being the Moshiach?

He has been married to three models, and has reportedly had great success grabbing women by the pussy. Can you make such a claim, you Menuval? There are very few rabbis or even Am Haratzim who can make such a claim. In fact, there are very few Goyim who could make such a claim. Very few people altogether. Who else in our generation is more worthy of being the Moshiach?

We are told that the Moshiach will bring peace. Well, we are at a unique level of peace with Russia. President Trump has delivered that. And we have not had a war with Canada in 200 years! We are not at war with Mexico. And I cannot recall the last time the US went to war with Australia, can you? Who else in our generation is more worthy of being the Moshiach?

Of course, at heart of President Trump's Meshichiyus is his commitment to economic growth and the ending of handouts. It is still very early in his administration, and President/ Moshiach Trump has already saved a few hundred jobs. And the cancellation of the TPP and the potential renegotiation of NAFTA may impact companies and workers that benefit or stand to benefit from those trade agreements. But those are Chevlei Moshaich, the “birth pangs of then Messiah”, the discomfort that brings in the Messianic era. On the other hand, if President Trump is indeed able to restore low level manufacturing jobs to the United States, and the only implication is that instead of buying a toaster at Walmart for $20 that was made in China, we all will now be able to buy the exact same toaster in Walmart, only now manufactured in the United States, for $100, it will be a miracle indeed, undoubtedly welcomed by all! Who else in our generation is more worthy of being the Moshiach?

Yes. We are indeed fortunate to be living in such a special time, and we must celebrate by drinking as much vodka as possible!


Our Master, Teacher, Rabbi, and President Donald Trump, the Messiah King, should live forever and ever!

Amen.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Thursday, February 02, 2017

My Israel Tour Diary

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My Israel Tour Diary


Rabboisai,

I was on a plane coming back from Yeshiva business in Eretz Yisroel. After protesting to the anti-Semitic flight attendants, Resha’im Arrurim, that I could not possible be seated next to a woman on the airplane, especially one who weighed 400 pounds and smelled like matjes herring, I was seated next to a Feineh Mensch who was similarly dressed to me. Boruch Hashem.

So we began to speak to each other. What is your name, I asked him. "Reb Shloimoi Libi" he responded. Where are you from, I asked him. He responded that he is from Far Rockaway. In response, I told him that I am from Boro Park, Ir HaKoidesh.

I then asked him where he learned. He responded "Baltimore. And you?" I responded "BMG".

We then started comparing which Rabbanim we had gotten Brachois from while in Eretz Yisroel. Reb Shloimoi told me that he received a Bracha from Belzer Rebbe. I told him that I had received a Bracha from the Gerrer Rebbe. He told me that he received a Bracha from the Rosheshiva of Ponovitch. I responded that I received a Bracha from the Rosheshiva of the Mir.

And so it went. 

I told Reb Shloimoi that I visited the Kever of the Babba Sali, and he responded that he visited the Kever of Ovadiah Yoisaiph. I told him that I visited the Kever of Rav Issur Zalman Meltzer, and he responded that he visited the Kever of the Chazoin Ish.

Advantage Reb Shloimoi.

Then we started comparing where we Davened. 

Reb Shoimoi told me that he had Davened Shacharis at the Maaras HaMachpelah, Mincha at Kever Rochel, and Maariv at the Koisel HaKatan (a small part of the Western Wall only accessible in the Moslem Quarter). I responded that I had Davened Vasikin at the Koisel, Mincha at Kever of Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel, and Maariv in Tzfas, on the hill where the Ari ZAHL and his acolytes would Daven on Friday nights (that is where the prayer Lecha Dodi was introduced).

Advantage me.

I mentioned that during this trip to Eretz Yisroel, I took a side trip into Jordan, and said Tehillim at Nebe Mussa, the site believed to be where Moishe Rabbeinu observed the Promised Land from across the Jordan River and then went off to die. Reb Shloimoi responded that he went up to Har HaBayis and secretly recited Tehillim while being watched by members of the IDF, the Waqf, the U.N., and the Better Business Bureau.

Advantage Reb Shloimoi.

Reb Shloimoi mentioned that en route to Eretz Yisroel he visited Uman in the Ukraine, and Davened at the Kever of Rabbi Nachman of Bresslov, while being escorted by a bodyguard. I responded that en route to Israel I stopped in Bagdad and Davened at the Kevarim of Abaya and Rava, while wearing a flak jacket.

Advantage me.

I mentioned that I protested at the Women’s Tefillah (Tiflus) Group at the Koisel, and was nearly arrested. Reb Shloimoi reported that he protested at the Jerusalem Pride (Toieivah) Parade, and was arrested.

Advantage Reb Shloimi.

At mealtime, Reb Shloimi insisted that he only eats BADATZ Hashgacha, as he does not trust the Rabbanut when it comes to Orlah and possible leftovers from Shmitah. I responded that I only eat meat that I slaughter myself, and, in order to avoid the Chashash of Orlah and Shivi’is, I only eat produce that carry the Hasgacha of HAMAS in Gaza.

Advantage me.

I told Reb Shloimi that while in Israel, I heard great Shiurim from Reb Zeidel Wolf Rosenbaum and from Reb Berl Rokach. He responded that he heard fantastic Shiurim from Reb Nissel Rosenbaum and from Reb Mordechai Dovin Unger.

Advantage Reb Shloimi.

Reb Shloimi told me that he had trouble reaching the Koisel one evening because of some swearing in ceremony being held by “the IDF army”. (Author’s note: I actually heard someone say those words on a plane two weeks ago, after I had the privilege to witness that Tekes HashBa’Ah for a brigade of Israeli paratroopers.) I replied that I lay my body across an archaeological dig at the side of a construction site, to prevent the self-hating-anti-Semites from Chass V’Sholom disturbing Philistine bones.

Advantage me.

I told Reb Shloimi that I had carried $1,000 in Shaliach Mitzvah money which I used to endow a new Shas to a Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. Reb Shloimi responded that he had carried $10,000 in Shaliach Mitzvah money which he contributed to the political coffers of the Degel HaToirah political party.

Advantage Reb Shloimi.

Finally, Reb Shloimi boasted about how at eight days old, his Bris Milah was performed by the most prominent Moihel in Far Rockaway, and that the Moihel performed Metzitza BiPeh Melei’ah, without the use of a glass tube. I responded that at eight days old my Bris Milah was performed by the finest Moihel in all of Brooklyn, who also performed Metzitza BiPeh Melei’ah, and that to ensure that the Zchus lasts me for my entire life, I have my Bashert, Feigeh Breineh, perform Metzitza BiPeh on me once a month, and twice if I am really lucky.

Definitely advantage me.

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Rabboisai, I share this episode with you because, in retrospect, I am not proud of it. This exchange, this competition, if you will, is focused on Mitzvois Bain Adam LaMakoim. It is focused on service to the Divine, with little or no consideration for our fellow man. Would that we equally value Mitzvois Bain Adam LeChaveiroi, valuing considerations of other human beings.

I am reminded of a famous Maiseh Shehoya about the Kutzker Rebbe. As is well known, the Kutzker stressed poverty and humility amongst his Chassidim, so that worldly concerns would not serve as a distraction. Many of his Chassidim were known to walk around in tattered clothing, and some even used cabbage leaves to cover their heads, instead of hats. (Note: This is in fact documented.)

At the end of his active life as a Rebbe, the Kutzker had his famous episode, where at the Shabbos Table he splattered his wine, extinguishing the Shabbos candles, and declared to all in attendance, “Lessssss Din V’Lessssss Dayan”, a famous expression from the Aggadah meaning “There is no Law, and there is no Judge”.

That night, the Reboinoisheloilum came to him in a dream. “Menachem Mendel”, Hakadoshboruchhu asked, “What are you doing? You are fucking with my shit!”

The Kutzker panicked. “Amishteh”, he replied, “Sorry about the whole Shabbos candles and existential crisis thing. I had a bad day. The Lulav isn’t quite standing up the way it used to, if you know what I mean.”

The Reboinoisheloilum responded. “Menachem Mendel, I do not care about the Shabbos candles. And your blasphemous statement did not bother me. Do I look like a judge to you, for Mysakes?”

“However”, continued Hakadoshboruchhu, “when you stress humility to your Chassidim and make them live like they are paupers, you are not teaching them values, you are creating a cycle of poverty, since they cannot support themselves and their family, and making them look like total Schmucks. Remember, Menachem Mendel, ‘Humility’ is NOT the same as ‘Humiliation’. And if you cannot tell the difference, then you probably ought to retire and play golf.”

In the morning, the Kutzker decided to follow the Aimishteh’s advice, and committed to becoming a recluse for the last twenty years of his life. The only regular appearances that the Kutzker would make was at the Oorah Annual Chinese Auction, where every year he would bid on a new Lexis, but would never win. However, he would always go home with a consolation prize: a new head of cabbage, which would address his head-covering needs for the entire year.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ask Rabbi Pinky -- On Erecting a Tent on Shabbos

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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN 

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Ask Rabbi Pinky -- On Erecting a Tent on Shabbos


Rabboisai,

This week I address the critical question of Hilchois Shabbos. 

Yoinoison Phey. writes:

"Dear Rabbi Schmeckelstein,

"Is it true that the Torah says you cannot wear boxer shorts on Shabbos for fear of making an ohel (ed.: tent) if you get a... well, you know?"

"Your Talmid, Onan" 

Reb Yoinison, 

Thanks you for asking such a serious question that elevates our mundane daily lives to great heights of Toirah, and allows us to deeply penetrate that dark and precious abyss that is Halacha. 

Indeed, this issue is a shver inyun that touches upon several halachic questions addressed in the Gemarra, by the Rishoinim, and by Larry Flynt in last year's Hooters Holiday issue. I will try to give the topic its fair due. Questions touched upon include:

-- Binyan: Construction, such as erecting a tent on Shabbos Koidesh
-- Muktza: Using something for which it was not intended
-- Machshava, or intent: Such as, "what is the intent of the owner?"

This exact question is first asked in a Gemarra in Shabbos, Daf Zayin, Amud Aleph. To address this, Rabbah quotes a famois Braisah. According to the Braisah, Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azariah says that a person's body part cannot be counted in establishing a Reshus, an independent territorial domain. However, Rabban Gamliel holds farkhert -- that a body CAN serve as a Reshus. He holds that if someone throws a piece of bread on Shabbos and it lands on top of a woman's double-daled tzitz, it is considered to be in its own Karmelis and it cannot be moved, lest it be carried into Reshus Harabim, the public domain.

Rabbah goes on to note: Given that erecting a tent is an act of construction, and construction is a clear Dioraisa, an Av Melachah no less, "one must take any action to avoid such an occurence." Says Rabbah, Lechatchila, one must always wear a jockstrap on Shabbos, but BiDiyeved, briefs will suffice.

However, the Gemarrah clarifies: "Bammeh Devarim Amurim," when were these words said? Only when the tent is higher than three tephachim (ed.: each tephach is approximately four inches) from the ground, as below three tefachim, the tent would be part of the ground itself. 

Abaya and Rava then argue over the implication. Abaya notes that as a person's supine body is at least three tephachim high if you include the torso as part of the tent, only a "little kleinickel man" would be below the three tephach high minumum, according to Abaya. Therefore, most men could not wear boxers. Rava, on the other hand, holds that the tent actually starts at the top of the body, above the torso so that the makom hamilah itself would have to be three tephachim high. Says Rava, "only a freak or the goyyishe porn star Johnny Wad Holmes would have to worry about this Dioraisa, so let's move on to more important things, like using a kli reviyi in making Hawaiian Punch." Shoyn.

So what is the correct position? There is a famous three way machloikess Rishoinim that addresses this. According to the RASHBAM, we hold like Rava, since most men enjoy wearing boxers, and we wouldn't want to deprive them of their Oineg Shabbos. 

However, the RAN states that we hold like Abaya. However, the issue, according to the RAN, is not one of Boneh, or construction. Rather, it is an issue of muktza, or the inability to use an item on shabbos. Among the categories of muktza is Muktza Machmas Miyus, or something which is off limits because it is unseemly. And what can be more unseemly than a man's schvantzlach. Consequently, since they serve as the "house" for such gross things, boxers may not be used for any other purpose on shabbos.

But the TUR tells us that this is nisht azuy pashut -- it's not so simple. He notes that not all schvantzlach render boxers off limits -- just those that are K'Baitzah, the size of an egg; however, if they are only KaZayis, the size of an olive, they are considered too small to be offensive, and therefore using boxers is permissible.

But, what about intent? Even if one has a ridiculously large makom hamilah, or if his baitsim are KeBaiyah or even KeEshkoilis, he certainly has no desire to build a tent, so why should he be denied the pleasure of loose fitting cotton? What's Pshat?

There is a famous story about the Kutzker Ruv. The Kutzker was travelling through the fjords of Norway to raise money for his Chassidim. For Shabbos, he stayed in a lodge outside Oslo run by evangelical Lutheran supporters. On Shabbos morning, he woke up to the sound of a knock on the door, and who should be standing there, but Brunhilda, the six foot tall chambermaid. "Rabbi," the chambermaid said, "how can I make you feel more at home?"

The Kutzker responded, "back in Kutzk, on Shabbos morning, I always have a little herring and a shot after davening. Do you think it's possible to do the same here?" 

To that, Brunhilda entered the room, closed the door, and said, "Rabbi, if you snack on the matjes for about twenty minutes, I will let you finish with a shot."

That afternoon, the Aimishteh came to the Kutzker Ruv in a dream. "Rebbe, how come you were mezaneh with the groissa shiksa this morning?"

"Rebboinoisheloilum," the Kutzker answered, "I am in freaking Scandinavia. I only wanted to have a little Oineg Shabbos."

"Well, next time," Hakkadoshboruchhu said, "just go whale hunting like everybody else around here, and leave the herring and the shot for the shtibul."

So despite having the proper intent, sometimes we can do something that is inappropriate. So my advice to you, Reb Yoinoison, is that while Halacha Lemaisah it might be okay to wear boxers, truth be told, it is not in the spirit of Shabbos. Wearing boxers is not Shabbosdick. 

So it is best to stick with briefs. Although if you see an am haaretz wearing boxers, there is no reason to say anything -- since he is not a true Ben Toirah, he probably has small Schvantzlach anyway.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval.


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess