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Friday, May 06, 2016

On The Role of the Synagogue President


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On The Role of the Synagogue President


Rabboisai,

I was sitting at home the other day learning Toirah – specifically, the linkages between Hilchois Nashim and Hilchois Malkus Arbaim, based on some recent educational materials starring Rebbetzin Jenna Jameson and Rabbi Yerachmiel Schneiderman (more popularly known as Rick the Schlong) -- when the phone rang. After thoroughly performing Netilas Yadayim, I picked up the phone to hear the shrill voice of the President of my Kehilla, asking my input on whether it was OK for the Shul to substitute blended scotch for single malt for the weekly Kiddush club. After berating the Minuval for interrupting my Limud Toirah for such Narishkeit, I pointed to a Gemarrah in Nezikin which brings down a Braisah where Rabbi Elazer Ben Azariah castigates Ben Hey Hey for serving “Sheissmead” at Kiddush instead of Yayin Shaychur.

The President should have known better. Last year he called me about delaying the start of our main Minyan so that several members of the Kehilla wouldn’t miss their Pilates classes.

What is this role of President of a synagogue? What is the basis of this role, which clearly violates the Toirah’s intentions of the Rabbi having complete authority over all of Klal Yisroel during every second of the day?

As best as can be determined, the role of the Shul President was established by Reb Yankif Emden, as a response to the Shabsai Tzvi phenomenon. In his siddur, Ka’as Shel Yaakov, Reb Yankif includes a prayer for the well being of the Shul President, and in an introduction to the prayer notes the importance of balancing the sacred guidance of the Rabbi with popular support of the President and the Board on all issues of consequence, “especially the year prior to contract renewal,” unquote.

The importance of the Shul President is not addressed extensively until relatively recent times. The topic does, however, receive detailed attention in the She’alois V’Tshuvois of the 1950s. Reb Moishe Feinstein responds to a letter in 1952 from “Curious in Connecticut” asking whether Shuls need Presidents, as well as Vice Presidents, Treasurers and Secretaries of Defense. Reb Moishe states that while he is not personally in favor of Shul Presidents, “recent circumstances highlight the need to acknowledge secular concerns and monitor current events, since the Reboinoisheloilum is certainly asleep at the wheel.”

Commenting on Reb Moishe’s Teshuvah, Reb Aaron Kutler notes his agreement with Reb Moishe’s position. Writes Reb Aaron, “I would not have agreed with this position in 1935; but given our recent history, it’s probably a good idea.” According to Reb Aaron, reliance on Rabbinic leadership for religious guidance inherently assumes that there is a God, and “given that my entire family in Europe was turned by the Nazis into a box of overcooked Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, I can no longer subscribe to any ideology that requires the existence of Hakadoshboruchhu. Either that, or He is a total dick.”

Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky, however, disagrees vociferously, referring to Reb Aaron as a “Shaygitz with a nice hat.” He insists that there is in fact an Aimishteh, but that the decimation of the Jews is not a reflection of the Reboinoisheloilum’s intent, since there is “free will.” These comments were made in a Teshuvah where Reb Yankif declared it a requirement MiDioraisa for a man to always carry a couple of “Kishka skins” in his wallet, since one never knows when the opportunity might arise to exercise free will in the backseat of an Oldsmobile.

The Steipler Ruv builds upon Reb Yaakov Kaminitsky’s position, noting that the existence of free will necessarily implies that Hakadoshboruchhu is not involved in the activities of the world, for if there is total free will for all human inhabitants, how can the Aimishteh influence their activities?

Consequently, according to The Steipler, there can be no consequences, reward or punishment, good or bad, delivered to this world by any human agent, since, by definition, all of humanity acts through free will, not at the whim of the Reboinoisheloilum. Therefore, says The Steipler, the only ways that Hakadoshboruchhu can influence this world are through disease, natural disaster, and aliens from other planets. And since disease and natural disaster randomly affect all humanity including the innocent and children, then we must conclude that they too cannot function as agents of the Aimishteh, otherwise, in the words of The Steiper, “He is one pretty twisted Dude.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe acknowledges the positions of Reb Moishe, Reb Aaron, Reb Yankif, and The Steipler, referring to them as “my dry Misnagid brothers, who have about as much spirituality in them as an oversqueezed lemon has juice.” He cites the Kabbalistic principle of Tzimtzum in explaining the role of the Reboinoisheloilum in the world. Tzimtzum, originally described by the Ari ZAHL, refers to the Divine withdrawal of a part of His own essence in order to create space for the physical world. Notes the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Hakadoshboruchhu’s act of self limitation is not merely a physical description of time and space, but also applies to His involvement in the world. In creating the world, He chose to withdraw from direct engagement in world affairs, and therefore is not the source of human suffering, Jewish or otherwise. At most, comments the Rebbe, the Aimishteh’s involvement in the world is akin to “a child looking at the fish tank while waiting for her appointment at the orthodontist, moderately interested until she picks up the most recent edition of People magazine.”

However, Reb Oivadia Yoisaiph holds Farkhert to all of the above positions. Says Maran, there is in fact a Reboinoisheloilum, and He is fully engaged in the activities of the world. With regard to the tragedy that befell European Jewry, he states, “…People are upset and ask why was there a Holocaust? Woe to us, for we have sinned… All those poor people in the Holocaust…we wonder why it was done. There were righteous people among them. Still, they were punished because of sins of past generations" (an actual quote from a speech made in the year 2000). Of course, Reb Oivadia made similar comments about a variety of topics towards the end of his life, exemplifying the fact that after a certain number of years, even a great mind, like a fine steak, eventually turns to excrement.

This broad debate about the role of Hakkadosboruchhu in the world leaves us, all of us, with fundamental questions regarding how we, in our world, should relate to the Aimishteh, and what role should synagogue life play. If He does not exist, then why waste our time? If He is evil or sadistic, then why bother? If He is playing for another team, and indeed punished Klal Yisroel for rejecting Christ, Joseph Smith, Shariah, Buddha, Baal, or Jim Jones, then why not switch teams? But if He does exist, and He is accessible to our tradition, what is the purpose of prayer and fulfilling the Mitzvois?

This complex set of questions lies at the core of synagogue life, and is at the heart of the delicate balance between the roles of the Shul President and the Rabbi. The synagogue President is a lay leader representing Gashmiyus to the Rabbi’s Ruchniyus. The President represents the congregants, while the Rabbi represents the voice of tradition. The President represents the blank page, while the Rabbi represents the ink and the letters. The President represents the velvet cloth, while the Rabbi represents the embroidery. The President represents the pasta, while the Rabbi represents the sauce. The President represents the water, while the Rabbi represents the Kool-Ade. The President represents the tonic water, while the Rabbi represents the gin. The President represents the eggs, while the Rabbi represents the bacon. I think you know what I mean.

For those of us who have not rejected the Reboinoisheloilum despite rational arguments and bitter historical experience, we sit in prayer, worshipping a Diety that we cannot begin to understand, using forms and words and practices that are bound in tradition, even when they make little sense to us. The role of the Rabbi is to balance our reality with a proud tradition, synthesizing texts and philosophies with practical considerations. But it is the role of the President to serve as a counterbalance against Rabbinic excesses. If the Rabbi enforces excessive measures of Kashruth beyond rational or economic considerations, the President must speak out. If the Rabbi suggests an overly stringent form of Sabbath laws, the President must speak out. If the Rabbi engages in extramarital affairs, the President must speak out. If the Rabbi coerces a woman whom he is overseeing through the conversion process into having an affair with him, then the president must speak out. If the Rabbi engages in improper relationships with children or adolescents, male or female, then the President must speak out. If the Rabbi implies that rape victims are responsible for being raped, then the President must speak out. If the Rabbi condemns a Kiddush in his synagogue honoring the IDF, whom he had previously compared to Nazis, then the President must speak out.

For if the President does not hold up his (or her) end of the equation, then Jewish communal life falls off kilter, and we may as well skip Shul and make Rabbinic decisions for ourselves, using the latest educational materials from Rebbetzin Jameson and other Gedoilei HaDor.


Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval
---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On the Rape of Dinah


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On the Rape of Dinah


Rabboisai,

Ashreina Mah Tov Chelkeinu. We are indeed blessed in our lot - living in a time when there is a Jewish State in Eretz Yisroel, Toirah study is at its highest levels in history, and we are about to elect either the first female president whose son in law is a Jew, a visionary business luminary whose daughter is a Jew, a socialist democrat who is himself a Jew, or a Fundamentalist Christian who would like to convert all the Jews.

So what is wrong with this world? Nothing, except the encroachment of women on our peaceful, loving, and perfect world.

In Sefer Beraishis we read about the rape of Dinah, Yankif Avinu's daughter. All of the town of Shechem is encouraged to circumcise themselves to enable the marriage between the Bochur Shechem and Dinah. Shimoin and Layvee, however, go out for a few drinks, and by the time the night is over, BAM!!!, they kill all of the inhabitants of the town, as well as shoplift a bunch of candy from the local Walgreens.

Yankif Avinu is strangely silent on this episode, although years later he criticizes Shimoin and Layvee's violence on his deathbed while lying in the hospital, during a commercial break in his favorite show, "The Real Housewives of the Hittites".

However, CHAZAL are divided on whether the brothers acted in a righteous way.

RASHI holds that in committing rape, Shechem was Chayuv Misah, and Shimoin and Layvee ended up killing everyone in the town because "all those Arabs look alike, with their hooked noses, their big fur hats, and their curly Payis".

The RASHBA holds that the brothers killed everyone in the town because they all must have heard Dinah's calls for help, so they were all enablers who were complicit in the sexual attack. The RASHBA notes that Shechem was just a nickname for the rapist - his real name was Baruch Lanner OF Shechem. And the name of the town of Shechem has the Gematria of N-C-S-Y...

The Ibn Ezra holds that only Shechem was Chayuv Misah, but that the brothers were not truly responsible for the murders of the other townspeople. In truth, Shimoin and Layvee became temporarily insane, killing the entire town when their XBOX 3000 broke down after many hours of playing Zombie Apocalypse III, so they should not be held responsible for their actions. Damned Liberal Media!!!

However, my Rebbe Muvhak, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, SHLITA, holds Farkhert. He holds that Le'Oilum, Shimoin and Layvee were both wrong. Shechem the man and Shechem the town were completely innocent. They, themselves were the victims of the vile temptress that was Dinah.

Yes, at that point in Eretz Yisroel, before the giving of the Toirah, the Promised Land suffered from a "rape culture". Women would habitually engaged in illicit relationships, and when spurned, would cry "rape".

How else would you explain that the Toirah tells us that "VaTatzay Dinah Bass Leah Asher Yulduh LeYankif Lirois BiVanois HaAretz"? What do you think she was doing you Mevunal - going to the mall? Farkhert! She had a father, four mothers, and twelve brothers that she could have gone walking with. But no. She went walking alone, looking for trouble. And trouble found her. And after the incident was over, she cried "rape".

What wicked beasts these women are! The Toirah command us, "Lifbei Iver Loi Sitain Michshol", do not put a stumbling block before a blind man. If the Toirah is against one stumbling block.... Then Kal VeChoimer, the Toirah is going to be opposed to a temptress' breasts, which constitute two stumbling blocks. Especially the big ones.

According to Reb Steven, SHLITA,"What is also true, and completely dismissed today by the elites and the sophisticates who have fabricated an entire industry, is that men and women approach intimacy much differently. Men are creatures who seek physical gratification in the first instance and who, lamentably, could find intimacy with complete strangers and be satisfied. Women attach a much stronger emotional significance to intimacy than do men, and look at love as, well, love. Many men (none that I know, but I hear things…) don’t even need to be “in like” much less “in love.” They just need to be attracted."

In other words... Dinah was looking for it. She was asking for it. And she fell head over heels for Shechem and his unibrow. And then, when he rejected her... she cried rape.

Only in this case... Shechem fell in love with Dinah, and wanted to marry her. Hence the circumcision, followed by the subsequent brutal murders of Shechem the Bochur and the entire town. All because of Dinah.

Of course, not all of CHAZAL hold like Reb Steven SHLITA, but he is secure in his Toirah, just as he is secure in his ten year contract at Congregation Bnei Yeshurun and in his confidence that most of his rabbinic colleagues will remain as silent as Yankif Avinu was following the massacre of Shechem.

Dinah, and those like her, are "professional feminists". As Reb Steven SHLITA bravely teaches us, "...for the professional feminists, there never is a “gray” area. Men are always predators, women are always saints, and rabbis, always, deserve special calumny if they don’t toe a particular line." Reb Steven is leading us with his wisdom and his Mesiras Nefesh. "Typically, as they see it, for expressing views with which they disagree, I should be fired from the rabbinate, kicked out of any rabbinic organization to which I belong, tossed from any institution in which I am active, and, for Heaven’s sake, even thrown out of AAA (to which I just renewed my membership, and so will not go down without a fight)."

Yes, my Rebbe, Steven Pruzansky, SHLITA, is a brave leader of Klal Yisroel, leading us forward in an air of willing self sacrifice. He is standing up to the "professional feminists" and those that would change Toiras Moishe. He is standing up to the encroachment of women on religious ritual, transgender individuals, big government, higher taxes, and any stirrings of compromise in the Middle East. He is Yushka on the Cross, and is willing to die for our sins, or at least sell us a few of his books

Ashreinu Mah Tov Chelkeinu.

And what of Shechem the lad and Shechem the town, so brutally killed by Shimoin and Layvee because of Dinah's false cries of rape?

According to Reb Steven SHLITA, even though they were not guilty of rape, Shomoin and Layvee acted properly anyway. After all. Shechem and the Shechemites were Arabs, and according to Reb Steven SHLITA, they were probably guilty of something else anyway.


Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval
---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Thursday, April 07, 2016

On Nixon in a Pantsuit


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On Nixon in a Pantsuit


Rabboisai,

Let us spend this Shabboskoidesh talking about peace.

According to the Toirah, the world started as a peaceful place. Heaven and earth. Water and dry land. Dinosaurs and human sized frogs and cockroaches the size of Trump Tower.

And then… the Reboinoisheloilum created Man.

But Man was a whiney Minuval. Man complained that he was lonely, so Hakadoshboruchhu decided to create him an "Eizer Kinegdoi", a "help mate". The Toirah tells us that the Aimishteh created every beast in the field and every bird in the sky. And, yet, Adam, Man, observes and "tests" all animals of the land and birds of the sky, but he does not find his "help mate".

Reboinoisheloilum knows, he tried. Adam tried to be Mezaneh with a goat, but it reminded him too much of his third grade rebbe. He tried to make out with a swan, but the swan just bit his lips every time he tried to kiss the bird. Adam tried to make love to a dolphin, but the swimming mammal asphyxiated. Adam tried to be Mezaneh with an elephant, but ended up in traction for 6 weeks. Adam even competed for the love of a Peacock, but he fell short in the demonstration of his feathers, and the female peacock chose his competitor. Shver Tzu Zein Ah Homo Sapien.

And so, in frustration, Adam reached out to the Aibisther and asked another request. "Big Dude, I need something a bit more like me. You know, without feathers or a trunk or a blow hole or webbed feet or a voice that sounds like a Rosheshiva giving a Mussar Schmuz."

And so the Reboinoisheloilum put Adam into a deep sleep. While under anesthesia, Hakadoshboruchhu removed a rib from Adam and created Eve to be Adam's "help mate".

But as Adam learned very quickly, Woman understands the concept of being a "mate", but thinks that the term "help" in "help mate" goes both ways, inferring gender equality. And it is from this point forth that Woman aspires to match Man in all of his achievements, while all the while... let's face it... she was fashioned out of Adam's rib, not from his brain, or his heart, or one of his Shvantzylach. So in the process, Woman realizes that to get ahead in life, she must resort to all sorts of "dirty tricks" to achieve equality.

Hence... Chava, Eve, is taken in by the snake, eats of the forbidden fruit, tricks Adam into eating the same fruit, and then... Bam! We are thrown out of Gan Eden, Paradise, and suddenly have to dedicate serious money to our wardrobes, our mortgages and our cars.

Sarah Imeinu laughs mockingly at the words of Hakadoshboruchhu when He declares that she will become pregnant at the age of ninety, and... Bam! The Reboinoisheloilum complains to Avraham Avinu, files a defamation lawsuit, and destroys Sedom just to let off a little steam.

And let's not forget that Sarah insists that Hagar and Yishmael be cast into the desert. And... Bam! Now we have to take off our shoes every time we go through airport security, Aimishteh-dammit.

It does not end there. Rivka Imainu coaches Yankif Avinu to steal the birthright from Eisav HaRasha from Yitzchak Avinu. Bam! Our ancestry is like a bad episode of Downton Abby. Or, more accurately, Game of Thrones.

The list goes on. Rochel Imainu and Leah Imainu compete for Yankif Avinu's attention, and... Bam! They drive Yankif to sleeping with those Shiksas Bilhah and Zilpah, and blind him to the fact that his sons are racists, delusional, kidnappers, and homicidal maniacs. Basically - the Shvatim become the precursors to the Republican candidates for president.

Miriam HaNeviyah attacks Tzipoirah, Moishe Rabbeinu's wife, because of the dark color of her skin, and is punished by Hakadoshboruchhu with Leprosy (although, according to a Medrish in Beraishis Rabbah cited by Rashi, it was actually Genital Herpes). And according to the RAMBAN, Miriam was actually sent away to cultural sensitivity training, but ended up cutting classes and investing in speculative real estate at an oasis in the Sinai Desert, an investment that ultimately lost money and resulted in years of hearings amongst the Zekainim, the so-called Whitewater Scandal that plagued the entire Moshe Rabbeinu administration and led to the political rise of Yehoishua, who invaded various communities in the Middle East without adequate funding, and oversaw the collapse of Klal Yisroel's economic system, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the bailouts of several Shvatim that were deemed "too big to fail".

Which brings us to Hillary Clinton.

Where shall I start?

How should we relate to someone whose sense of entitlement makes her believe that she is immune to the most common sense of propriety and responsibility, such as refusing to use a secure State Department e-mail address for all of her correspondence, inevitably including top secret matters of state?

How should we relate to someone who, when challenged on this poor judgment, proclaims to the world, “I could not be troubled by carrying more than one device?” Does that mean that when she is President of the United States, she will not carry around the “Football”, the briefcase with the nuclear launch codes, because it is “inconvenient”?

How should we relate to someone who is brilliant and accomplished – a graduate of Yale Law School, a corporate lawyer, First Lady, United States Senator, and Secretary of State – yet so flawed that she is struggling to win the nomination against Crazy Uncle Bernie and his silly Communist ideas?

Even if we set aside all of the crazy anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, we cannot but be troubled by Hillary’s use of a private e-mail address for official State department business, Hillary’s coddling of Wall Street – an obvious conflict of interest, Hillary’s use of “female talking heads” to shame women into voting for her in the primaries over Bernie Sanders, and the fact that she has been married for decades to a man with the sexual morality of an alley cat.

In short, how should we vote when the candidate who represents our political “space” inspires distrust and not faith. Instead of President Obama's "Hope" campaign, we have Hillary's "I'm in charge" campaign, super delegates and all. Instead of "Hope" and "Trust", we have Richard Nixon with an Erva, wearing a pantsuit.

But, thankfully, we are Klal Yisroel. We do not need to use our Reboinoisheloilum given brains to make such decisions - we let our rabbis make such decisions for us.

According to Reb Shmiel Kalbasavua, it is an Issur Dioraisa to vote for a woman as President, as a woman can never be the leader of an institution or a nation. This is related to the Inyan of Serara, leadership, discussed by CHAZAL extensively, and in particular by the RAMBAM. The RAMBAM writes in the Mishnah Toirah, Hilchois Melachim, Perek Aleph, Halacha Hey:

“Ein Maamidim Ishah BaMalchussss, Shene’emar ‘Alechah Melech’, V’Loi ‘Malkah’. VeChain Kol Mesimois ShBiYisroel Ein Memanim Ba’Hem Ela Ish.”

“One does not place a woman in a position of king (literally – kingship), as it says in the verse (regarding appointing a king over Israel) ‘king’ and not ‘queen’. And for all leadership roles (literally – projects or initiatives or missions) in Israel we only designate a man.”

Says Reb Shmiel, based on the teachings of CHAZAL, a woman can never become the most senior political leader in the world, the President of the United States. However, according to Reb Shmiel, there are numerous positions that a woman may hold in the White House, such as First Lady, Sous Chef, or on her knees in the Oval Office while former President Bill Clinton is sitting at his desk on the phone with world leaders. (See under – Lewinsky, Monica.)

Reb Asher Katievsky agrees with Reb Shmiel, but for a different reason. Reb Asher compares the election of a woman as President, or in any leadership position, as akin to Muktza, items which are on Shabboskoidesh. And as any scholar knows – but probably not you, you Groissah ignoramus – there are four basic categories of Muktza:

-- Kli ShMelachasoi LeIssur – An object that is designed to do work forbidden on Shabbos Koidesh, such as a pen;

-- Muktza Machmass Chisaroin Kiss – An object of great value that one may come to violate the Sabbath to save from damage;

-- Muktza Machmass Goofoi – An object that has no inherent functional purpose, such as a rock. Note: It is for this reason that my colleagues in Niturei Karta designate rocks BEFORE Shabboskoidesh to throw as passing cars or immodestly dressed women, so as not to violate Hilchois Muktza. What Tza-dick-im!!;

-- Muktza Machmass Miyus – An object which is inherently disgusting, like dog shit or Rabbi Steven Pruzansky.

Says Reb Asher, a woman cannot become President of the United States because it is disgusting, it is Muktza Machmas Miyus. As proof, he quotes the esteemed scholar Reb Donald Trump who has described women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals", and described one woman, the journalist Megyn Kelly as, "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." According to Reb Asher, “the risk of having a President menstruate all over the carpet in the Lincoln bedroom far outweighs any benefit of representative democracy”, unquote.

However, Maharat Avigail Katievsky, Reb Asher’s sister, hold Farkhert. Maharat Katievsky holds that Le’Oilum, a woman can hold a leadership position in Klal Yisroel or anywhere else, citing well regarded female leaders from the Toirah and Jewish history, including Miriam HaNeviyah one of the early leaders of Klal Yisroel, who led Klal Yisroel along with her brothers Moishe Rabbeinu and Aharoin HaKoihain, the Minuval; Devoirah HaNeviya, who led Klal Yisroel for a generation, and Shloimtziyoin HaMalkah, the Chashmonai Queen who is perhaps the most highly regarded leader of the Hasmonian Dynasty by CHAZAL.

Further, Maharat Katievsky points to social evolution and the role of women in modern society, an era when women take on all levels of leadership and responsibility. In particular she points to recent heads of state such as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Says Maharat Katievsky, "of course LeFee Halacha you can vote for Hillary Clinton, even though she is as conniving and dishonest as a used car salesman in Las Vegas, or an investment banker, Chass V'Sholom".

So, Rabboisai, how should you vote?

I will not even entertain such a Shailah. Because I am an optimist. I believe that Moshiach will come any day now, and definitely before the election.

But even if Moshiach does not come, I am an optimist. I can always move to Israel. In addition, my Canadian citizenship should be coming through any day now. And worst case, I can always move my Yeshiva to Antarctica.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval
---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Purim Drasha


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Purim Drasha

Rabboisai,

Today we gather together to celebrate the most joyous of all the Jewish Holidays, the holiday of Purim. On this holiday, we celebrate the near destruction of the Jewish People and the exploitation of Esther's Hamalka's bisulta to enable their salvation by getting stinking drunk and trying to be mezaneh with our chavrusa when he himself isn't throwing up.

Chazal have often contemplated the deeper meaning hidden within Megillas Esther, the text that details the story of Purim. Why, they ask, is the name of the Rebboinoisheloilum not mentioned throughout the Megillah, while in contrast, Haman Harasha's name is mentioned so many times that people audibly bang their heads against the wall?

According to the RASHBAM, the Aimishteh refused to have his name attached to the story, as he was repelled by the Machiavellian activities of Klal Yisroel. Such actions include:

-- Mordechai saves the life of the king and doesn't even collect a cash reward (What's pshat with that?)

-- Esther curries the favor of the king by taking hold of his extended staff

-- Once victory is achieved, Klal Yisroel doesn't stop until they have murdered Haman's allies, hanged his sons, and raped his horses.

Says the RASHBAM, Hakkadoshboruch didn't need any of that, as He was still trying to live down the bad press from the whole ten plague thing.

The RITVA disagrees, noting that the RASHBAM dropped too much bsomim when he was in college and was prone to flashbacks while in the Bais Medrish. The RITVA suggests that the reason that the Rebboinoisheloilum is not mentioned is that Megillas Esther is simply not originally a Jewish story. Noting the similarity of the names of Mordechai and Esther to the Persian diety names of Marduk and Ishtar, the RITVA offers that Purim was really adapted from a pagan Persian holiday where Persians would traditionally drink heavily, exchange gifts of food, and kill their wives and replace them with younger women.

But the Toldois Aharoin disagrees with both the RASHBAM and the RITVA. The Toldois Aharoin offers that the Melech Malchei HaMelachim didn't want his name included since He was completely upset by the fact that no one could ever get His name right. He cites a beautiful discussion from the Zoihar: Rabbi Shimon Bar Yoichai, sitting around a campfire with his followers, tells them that one must try to know the Ain Sof, the unknowable aspect of the Omnipresent, by giving it a name. "What would YOU call the Ain Sof?" he asks each of his followers,

One follower responds "Rebbe, I would call Him 'Fred' because that is a name I can relate to, since I once had a dog named Fred, and a dog is man's best friend.". Another follower says, "I will call Him 'Spike', because the Jewish People have a Bris with the Ain Sof, and that is what I nicknamed my Bris Milah when I was sixteen years old." And so they went around the circle.

When the last of the followers had spoken, Rebbe Shimon addressed them. "You idiots," he said, "you cannot give the Ain Sof a proper name! He is unknowable. I spend 13 years in a freaking cave just to teach schmucks like you?" When Rabbi Shimon calmed down, he told them that the Ain Sof should be called the Aibishter, meaning in Yiddish "The One On High." since, according to Rabbi Shimon, "as He is unknowable, one would have to be high to think you can know him."

As the rebbe's talmidim nodded in agreement, Rabbi Akiva joined the group, and, upon hearing, the topic, began to berate Rabbi Shimon. "You would call the Ain Sof 'Aibishter'?" Rabbi Akiva asked. "Everyone knows that He should be called 'Aimishteh', which means in Aramaic 'Where is He when you really need Him?"

Says the Toldois Aharoin, as the Aimishteh didn't want to get involved in the argument, he decided to adopt a low key approach in the Megillah.

I, the RAPAS, would like to offer a new answer to this question. The Rebboinoisheloilum's name is obscured from the Megillah so Klal Yisroel would know that some time we have to solve our own problems. We cannot rely on a deus ex machina, an external solution, heavenly or otherwise, to resolve the most challenging issues of our day. We must use our own intelligence and creativity to devise and implement our best alternatives.

Take for example the issue of peace between Klal Yisroel and the Arab world. Some would say that we should give up all of the West Bank in exchange for peace. Others would say that we should not give up one inch. I would like to humbly suggest that in exchange for real peace, we should be prepared to make sacrifices, even painful ones. However, it should be clear to all sides that not everyone will get what they want. But in the spirit of compromise, I am certain that we can reach an understanding.

Consequently, while I am not certain what we should do with the West Bank, in exchange for real peace we should give Brooklyn to the Palestinians. And if calm prevails there, we can talk later about giving back other territories including the Kiryas Joel, the Five Towns, and Teaneck.

Ah Freilachin Yuntif, You Minuval

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess