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Friday, September 12, 2014

On Schar V'Oinesh (Reward and Punishment)

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Rabbi_Pinky

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On Schar V'Oinesh (Reward and Punishment)

Rabboisai,

I must begin this week’s drasha with a statement and a plea for forgiveness. Allow me to read a brief statement prepared by my attorney, Reb Gedalia Geltshtupper:

“Last Moitzee Shabbos Koidesh, in the hours before Aliyas HaShashachar, I irresponsibly left my home without completing my Neigel Vassar. This regrettable act caused me to crash my 1987 Chevy Impala into the support posts of the elevated subway station near my home in Borough Park. (In my defense, however, I did honk.) I regret any embarrassment this may have caused my family, and any inconvenience I may have caused the riders of the F Train.

“I would in particular like to thank my Bashert, Feigeh Breineh, for rescuing me from my vehicle by breaking through the back windshield with my prized leather-bound volume of Yoireh Dayah. My Bashert is my life partner, and she should not be distracted by any allegations or hearsay she may have read about me and the local Mikvah attendant Yankel in the Algemeiner Journal. Damned-Liberal-Yiddisheh-Media.”

Shoyn.

Rabboisai, we live in very trying times. The economic situation is not getting better. Healthcare costs are continuing to rise while millions remain without healthcare, and Democrats and Republicans have continued to fail to align on a comprehensive solution for solving this decades-old problem. ISIS/ ISIL has emerged as public enemy number one, with renewed involvement of US troops threatening to turn this struggle into another quagmire. (Incidentally, I do not know what this word means. What’s Pshat ‘Quagmire’? It is often used in the newspaper when referring to military involvements, or marriage. But it is has two syllables and a “q” and is worth more than 50 points in Scrabble under the right circumstances, so at least using it makes me look smart.)

Luckily, we are all members of Klal Yisroel. We are the Chosen People who have a special relationship with the Reboinoisheloilum. So none of these issues or concerns have any relevance to us. At all. We are immune to such Gashmiyistic Narishkeitin.

No. We need only concern ourselves with Toirah and Mitzvois, Chookim and Maaisim Toivim. Yes, we all have to make a Parnassah, but thanks to some very generous friends in the investment community and my Yeshiva’s tax deductible status. I am all set. You, however, may have some problems, but please don’t be selfish by ruining it for the rest of us.

No. We needn’t be distracted by Gashmiyus, materialism. We must always aspire to the higher spiritual plane of Ruchniyus. No matter where our physical bodies reside, even if in a four bedroom house that costs $1000 more a month than we should really be paying, we must aspire to raise our spiritual selves to the level of Hakadoshboruchhu. Because it is at that level that the Aimishteh monitors our actions, tracks our deeds, determines our rewards and punishment, and in general toys with our very existence as if we were small amphibians in the hands of a four year old child.

There is a famous machloikess in Mesechta Roish Hashashah that discusses the system whereby the Reboinoisheloilum tracks our every action and calculates Schar V’Oinesh, reward and punishment.

The Gemara cites a Braisah that states that according to Rabbi Akiva, Hakadoshboruchhu keeps track of individuals’ good deeds and sins in an Excel spreadsheet. Upon the commitment of a Mitzvah or an Aveirah, the Aimishteh, or His assistant Sally, enters a mark in a large spreadsheet. Says Rabbi Akiva, “the Reboinoisheloilum absolutely LOVES presenting a person’s Mitzvois in a pie chart because it reminds Him of the Lechem Hapanim.”

But, according to the Rabbi Yoise, Hakkadoshboruchhu uses an Access database. It is a simple tool that took Him just a few hours to learn, but now He loves to run reports on how Klal Yisroel is performing against the other Umois Ha’oilum.

However, Abaya quotes a different Braisah that quotes Rabbi Akiva as saying that the Aimishteh uses a robust open source SQL database. He used to use Access, but it crashed during the Mabul and He had to rebuild it from scratch. He is much more confident in His current system, which He and the Mal’achim can now access from any internet browser and any device, PC, tablet, or mobile phone.

So how is this possible? We have an unbelievable Steerah! How can Rabbi Akiva have held two such conflicting positions? Which is the database that Rabbi Akiva actually holds is used by the Reboinoisheloilum??!!

But, the Gemara answers, this is not a problem. According to Rava, Kooley Alma Loi Pleegey, everyone agrees, that Hakadoshboruchhu uses an open source SQL database to track Schar V’Oinesh. So what are they arguing about? Says Rava, they are arguing about the operating platfomr. According to Rabbi Akiva, Hakadoshboruchhu runs the Schar V’Oinesh Database (SVO db [TM]) on a servers in a datacenter. And, adds Rabbi Akiva, every once in a while He will pull data into Excel to do some custom graphical reporting.

But according to Rabbi Yoise, the Aimishteh actually uses a cloud based storage solution which features a complex backup system and ensures redundancy and 98% uptime.

And, by the way, this is the same system that He uses to ensure world peace. And it is doing a WONDERFUL job.

In such a beautiful Oilum, how can we think of anything besides Toirah? It is for this reason that we infuse Kiddushah into everything we do at any time and in any place. When we are at the Bais Medrish. When we are at work. And when we are at home. Because, as the Shulchan Aruch tells us, we have to remember that Hakadoshboruchhu is always in the room with us. He is always watching us. In short, He is a stalker. And the reason why the Shulchan Aruch tells us which shoe the Aimishteh wants us to put on first is because the Reboinoisheloilum also has a foot fetish.

However, children under the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah are exempt from Schar V’Oinesh because the Hakadoshboruchhu does not stalk them. Dude – that’s really weird, even for Him.

I am reminded of a famous Maiseh Shehoya. The Vilna Goyn was once leading a rally against the Ba’al Shem Toiv, marching at the head of a crowd of hundreds of Misnagdim carrying torches, spears, and pitchforks. “Besht, you Minuval!” he called out in front of the castle where the Ba’al Shem Toiv was getting a makeover from three local homosexuals, “You are leading our people astray! If they follow your ways, they will become heretics!”

Suddenly, a small voice rang out from the middle of the mob. “But Reb Grah, what if the Besht’s ways lead members of Klal Yisroel to keep the mitzvois? Won’t that be better in eyes of the Reboinoisheloilum than if they become non-believers?”

The Goyn turned around to face the crowd. He called out, “Whoever made such a statement should step forward!” The crowd split and a very short young man stepped forward.” “What is your name, son?” the Goyn asked in a soft voice.
“Reuvain” the youth answered.

“Where are you from?”

“The town of Shklov.”

The Goyn suddenly raised his voice. “And is that where you learned that you should argue with the Gadol HaDor in front of an angry mob??!! Allow me to teach you a bit of Derech Eretz!” With that the Goyn thrust his pitchfork into the student’s body, impaling and disemboweling him in front of his hundreds of followers. “Score one point for our team!” he called out to the Misnagdisheh mob. “Now let’s go and find some Chassidic women and shave their heads!”

Rabboisai, we often feel like we are in a unique era of moral ambiguity. We often ask ourselves, “What should I do? What should I not do? What is the right thing to do in the eyes of the Aimishteh? How do I ensure my Schar in the Oilum Ha’Emes, or at least ensure that my Bashert doesn’t smash my head in with my SHAS while I am sleeping?”

When Klal Yisroel stood at Har Sinai and said “Na’aseh Va’Nishma” did it represent an eternal commitment, fixed in time and never changing? Some would say yes, but they would be disregarding the Eigel Ha’Zahav created by Aroin HaKoihain, the Minuval, when Moishe Rabbeinu hit a little traffic on the Cross Sinai Expressway. With that, Klal Yisroel’s eternal commitment was violated even before the ink could dry.

But Hakadoshboruchhu gave us another chance, and another chance, and another chance, over centuries and millennia. In between, he exiled us, and tortured us, and flayed the flesh of our faces, and burnt us in fire and sent us to the gas chamber. And yet we remain loyal to Him, and, we believe, He to us.

So it is clear that Klal Yisroel, and Yiddishkeit, are not chained to a single moment in time fixed at Sinai more than three thousand years ago that somehow becomes weaker and less relevant with the passing of each generation.

On the contrary. Yiddishkeit seeks to renew and redefine our relationship with the Reboinoisheloilum in each generation. It is a living philosophy. Eitz Chayim Hee.

However, many of Klal Yisroel choose to see the Toirah as a dry, withering Sefer gathering dust in the back of the Bais Medrish. They prefer to focus on the type of fur that is halachically acceptable on a Shreimel, the proper religion of the Shiksa whose hair is used in a Sheytel, or the optimum height of the hilltop on the outskirts of Shechem on which to put up a trailer home. Or the minimum Shiyur that a wife must swallow in order to be called an “Eishess Chayill”. Yes, Rabboisai, some of you Mamzerim see the Toirah as a handcuff, rather than as a living Mikvah of insight.

Rabboisai, I invite you, my beloved Talmidim, to join me in diving into that Mikvah, to seek new sources of Toirah Truth. It will be a rewarding experience, and for an extra five bucks, Yankel the Mikvah attendant is sure to provide you with a clean towel.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.
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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, September 05, 2014

Parshas Kee Saitzay

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Rabbi_Pinky

====================================================

Rabboisai,

A serious note before this week's Drasha.

This week, Steven Sotloff A"H was brutally murdered by ISIS. Following his death, we all learned that Steven was able to hide his Jewish religion and Israeli citizenship from his Islamic Fundamentalist kidnappers. He even secretly practiced his faith while being held hostage: He fasted on Yom Kippur while being held captive, telling his captors that he had no appetite on that day because he was unwell.

I am reminded of the famous legend of Rabbi Akiva, who, as he is being tortured to death, exclaims that he is finally able to complete one mitzvah he had never done before -- to die "Altz Kiddush Hashem", to die in an act of sanctifying the Divine.

No one knows whether the legend of Rabbi Akiva is historically true. But we need only look to Steven Sotloff, the many Israeli soldiers and civilians killed in the recent war, and the many American and other soldiers and civilians -- Jewish and Non Jewish -- who have lost their lives as the world quakes in the Kulturkamf of freedom versus tyranny and moderation versus extremism to understand this sentiment.

For those who believe in a Messianic era, may these be the last of the Chevlei Moshiach, the birth pangs of the Messiah.

For those who do not, may we see peace and coexistence across all of humanity -- all nationalities and religions. After all, we are all the children of God; we were all created in His image.

Pinky


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Parshas Kee Saitzay

In this week's Parsha, Kee Saitzay, we are warned against cross-dressing: "The garment of a man should not adorn a woman, and a man shall not dress in the smock of a woman, for it is blasphemous to the Aimishteh..." (Devarim, Perek Chuff Bayz, Pasuk Hay).

The Bais Yoiseph asks an obvious question: Why is the Toirah so damned uptight? He answers that Moishe Rabbeinu was clearly a terrible homophobe. Referring to a famous Medrish, the Bais Yoiseph suggests that Moishe's homophobia was due to Moishe's famous lisp, which was always perceived by others as a gay characteristic and for which he was always mocked at the gym.

However, the RAIVID disagrees vehemently. He points out that not all cross dressers are homosexuals, and that most homosexuals are not cross dressers. Indeed, the RAIVID himself always wore a long black Bekesheh, a Shtreimel, and an extra long Gartel whenever he went cruisin' for Yeshivah Buchrim.

Rather, the RAIVID cites a Medrish about Moishe which reports that while in exile in Midyan, the very heterosexual Moishe Rabbeinu once went into a bar and hit on someone with nice round buttocks, but, alas, the person turned out to be a guy. Says the RAIVID, that left Moishe with life-long hard feelings.

However, the Pri Megadin holds farkhert: he interprets a line in the Zoihar as suggesting that in Midyan Moishe Rabbeinu dated a man for six months, but was left bitter after a harsh breakup.

The Klay Yukkur suggests that the RAIVID and the Pri Megadin spent far too much time in the Mikvah together. Rather, to clarify the Toirah's strong antipathy towards cross dressing, he points to the proximity of the banning of cross dressing to a subsequent commandment stated in the Toirah. He notes that the Mitzvah immediately following is Shiluach HaKan, the biblical injunction decreeing that a mother bird must be chased from a nest before its eggs or babies are confiscated for culinary purposes. Of course, Rabbinic literature has always equated this strange law with the commandment to honor one's father and mother, since the Biblically promised reward for both is the same -- long life.

Commenting on the juxtaposition, the Klay Yukkur suggests that the Toirah is trying to tell us that we are required to honor our father and mother, even if one of them is a cross dresser. However, the Chayay Adam disagrees, holding that if your mother is a cross dresser you should still honor her, but if your father is a cross dresser he should be chased away with great haste.

I would humbly like to offer my own interpretation. The injunction against cross dressing is consistent with many other commandments raised in this Parsha which all deal with issues of human sexuality:

-- Laws of marriage and divorce
-- Laws of suspected wifely infidelity
-- Laws of premarital relations
-- A warning against marrying the wife of one's father
-- The commandment that one recently married should not go out to war.

I would like to suggest that Moishe Rabbeinu, standing on the mountain addressing Klal Yisroel for many days, summing up the wisdom and accomplishments of his 40 or so years of leadership, was feeling a "little randy", if you know what I mean. It was hot; women in the crowd were dressed in highly suggestive flowing sheets, and Moishe had only one thing on his mind. Who knows when the last time was that he had done his "special mitzvah." He was ready, and his Taivah was all he could think about.

Indeed, in the same Parsha, Moishe Rabbeinu also mentions the laws of bondage. Though these commandments refer to slaves, in Moishe's anxious state this set of rules may also have been particularly pressing on his mind.

And as he looked down into the crowd, the further Moishe looked in the distance the harder it was to distinguish between the men and the women. This upset him so much, he made up the anti cross-dressing legislation on the spot, so that in the future it would be easier to "check out the talent."

Indeed, a Medrish in the Sifre notes that Aroin Hacoihain, the Minuval, shared this very concern. Prior to his death, Aroin decreed that all Mishkan and Temple practices be performed with men and women separated. This was intended to make it easier for Coihanim performing the service to spot a hotty in the crowd, and then later pick her up by asking if she would like to play "hide the Korban Toidah" with him.

I am reminded of the early days of marriage to my Bashert, Feige Breinah. We had just been married, and two weeks into our marriage, when I suggested to my Bashert that we try accomplishing a Mitzvah in the backseat of the car while parked outside St Patrick's Cathedral, I was sternly told that while the suggestion was admirable, the timing was quite bad, for it was not "hunting season." I pleaded. I argued. I threatened to tell her father that while in Bais Yankif, her nickname was "Feige The Sword Swallower." All to no avail.

I stormed upstairs to take matters into my own hands, if you know what I mean. As I thought about this incident, I focused on the Biblical and rabbinic injunctions that bar marital relations at given times of the month. Who do they serve? Are they harmful or healthy for the relationship long term? Why does the Aimishteh even care, what, with the economy economy the way it is.

But I believe that the Toirah is trying to teach us a harsh lesson in this Parsha: You may be tempted to try on your wife's clothing, because, my Rebboinoisheloilum, she spends so much damn money on her wardrobe. However, cross dressing is strictly forbidden. Rather, Hakadoshboruchhu prefers that you direct your energies towards more critical efforts, such as chasing mother birds from their nests, so you can ensure for yourself a long life of frustration...err, wisdom and fulfillment.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Daughter, The Rabbi


THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Rabbi_Pinky

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My Daughter, The Rabbi

Last Friday Night, in the middle of the night, I had insomnia. I walked downstairs, and Lo and Behold, my daughter Bracha was sitting in the Living room, speaking with one of her friends. We all got to talking and determined my daughter's future career:

Bracha – her full name is Bracha Levatala -- is planning to be a nurse midwife. She graduated from undergrad this year, and will be attending graduate school to pursue her career. But before graduate school she is heading off to Israel, where she will be studying in one of the most progressive Modern Orthodox/ Dati Leumi girls yeshivas, a place where they make Yoatzois Halacha - women who can make rulings regarding Nidah. These women also inevitably get asked "marital relations" questions.

So this is how I predict her life and career will play out:

My daughter is going to become a bit closer to the Reboinoisheloilum and become a Yoetzes Halacha. Then she is going to marry a nice Jewish boy, a rabbinical student who is also studying to be a doctor or lawyer or something.

After becoming a Yoetzes Halacha, or perhaps during that course of study, she is also going to study to be a nurse midwife. And these days, nurse midwives do more than deliver babies; they also perform basic OB/GYN checkups. So women will come to my daughter in her role as a Midwife Halacha for feminine healthcare and rabbinical advice on Taharas Hapishpacha and marital issues.

Now, as part of her practice, my daughter will sell, and ultimately brand, products that she sells to her patients. The products will include:

-- Kosher underwear #1 - They are red, so that women cannot seeing spotting and avoid being declared a Nidah simply due to a little off-cycle spotting.

-- Kosher underwear #2 - Kosher certified edible underwear. (According to the RAPAYIS, the spouse or romantic partner is allowed to get rid of the evidence by eating it, as long as he or she makes the appropriate Bracha.)

-- A vibrator with a built in Shabbos clock, originally invented by the RARCHAK - Branded as "The Shabbos Cock (TM)"

The general website and retail brand for the suite of products will be: "Shalom Bayis Devaiyis" (TM) available at ShalomBayisDevaiyis.Com.

My daughter also has a genuine aspiration to open a birthing center in a natural setting. So we determined that one of the practices of her birthing center will be that once the baby is born, my daughter will hand the baby to a nurse or to the father to hold, and will then feed the placenta to the local bears.

And years later.... While on a family nature trip with her children and grandchildren and her own dithering old father (me), the family will find themselves surrounded by a bunch of anti Semites who are about to kill them. In fact, the dithering old father/ grandfather/ great grandfather (me) will step to the front and declare:

“Shema Yisroel Adoishem Eloikaynu Adoishem Echadddd”

And then, suddenly, from out of the woods, will emerge a group of very well fed bears, to defend the woman who has been feeding them yummy placenta for years.

And - if my daughter and her husband end up moving to China, she will play the same Midwife Halacha role there. Only due to the one child per family policy, which has historically led people to give girl babies up for adoption or even commit infanticide, when a girl child is born, my daughter will also offer to throw the newborn baby girl to be eaten by the tigers.

But the boy children shall be kept, as it is Hakadoshboruchhu’s will.

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Rabboisai,

How should I, a famous Rosheshiva, deal with the fact that my daughter is becoming such a disappointment, missing out on her prime birthing years in order to get a secular education, Chass V’Shalom, and will even study Gemarrah, Rachman Letzlan!!!

I am reminded of a famous Maaseh Shehoya. In the town of Dessel in the Ukraine there was a local Chassidus, the Dessler Chassidim, that looked up to their local Chassidic Rebbe as if he was Moishe Rabbeinu himself.

One day, a distraught Talmid Chachom named Malkiel came to the Dessler Rebbe with a Shailah: He was married to a woman who wanted to stop shaving her head and to begin to wear makeup. Malkiel was worried about the possible impact on their six children, but was willing to allow his wife to engage in such behavior if the Rebbe agreed.

“What do you think you should do?” the Dessler Rebbe asked.

“To be honest, I really do not see the harm in a women engaging in self expression, and it may even help with Shalom Bayis” Malkiel responded.

The Dessler smiled, a wide smile, and his eyes gleamed. He leaned over towards Malkiel, who was sitting opposite him at the table in his Bais Medrish. “And THAT, my beloved Chussid, is why you are a Shmendrick and a Menuval, and I am a Chassidic Master! First a woman wants to shave her hair… and then she will be shaving her Erva! First she wants to put on makeup for her husband… and then she will be putting on makeup for every man in the street! Next she will undoubtedly want to stop having children and get a full time job as a roadside prostitute!!”

The Dessler continued, “Malkiel, better that you had never married your wife than have to contemplate such Modernishe Zachen! But luckily, you have options.”

“What options?” Malkiel asked.

“For one thing, you can give your wife a Get, immediately, and never allow her to see her children ever again. She may offer to shave her head and refrain from wearing makeup, but you can never trust a woman with such a Taivah! Plus she will undoubtedly try to see your children, and they will have to grow up with the Shandah of having a Kurva for a mother.”

“Another option is that you can call the Czar and denounce your wife as a spy. But you never know if the government will arrest you as well. Or even worse, me.”

“But there is one other option…”

“What is it?” Malkiel asked anxiously.

“You can tell your wife that you would like to go on a romantic picnic with her, and take her to the woods outside of Dessel. And when you get to the woods, you can feed her to the bears, who are always hungry.”

“But isn’t that murder, one of the Aseres HaDibrois, the Ten Commandments?” Malkiel asked.

The Dessler Rebbe looked at Malkiel scorningly, “Hey RASHI, the Toirah also says “VeNichrisah HaNefesh HaHee Mai’Ameha, you Mechutziff! Son, you can either destroy your wife’s body now and return her Neshama to the Aimishteh, its rightful owner. Or you can destroy your childrens’ Neshama’s later. You decide.”

With that, the Dessler went off to deliver a Shiur to his Chassidim on which Bracha to recite before tying one’s left shoe.

Rabboisai, I too face such a dilemma. I cry for my daughter’s Neshama, and even more so, for the Neshamas of the people she will be trying to “help” by offering “medical care” and “Taharas HaMishpacha” advice.

Consequently, I will be taking a special bonding trip with my daughter, and will be unavailable for the next week and a half. We will be travelling to China together, touring Beijing, Shanghai, the Great Wall, seeing some of the inner, rural areas, and sampling some of the local cuisine.

And, out of respect for local custom, I will only be buying a return trip ticket for myself. After all, tigers need to eat too.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Parshas Eikev

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Rabbi_Pinky

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Parshas Eikev

Rabboisai, I hope you have been saving up your money, because after this week's parsha, Parshas Eikev, you are probably going to need to spend some quality time with your analyst. That is because in Parshas Eikev, Moishe Rabbeinu reminds Klal Yisroel of all of their misdeeds in the desert: from complaining about desert conditions -- to the Eigel Hazahav, the Golden Calf -- to the Miraglim, the rebellion against the conquest of the Promised Land -- to the refusal to pay brokers' fees for the tent dwellings in the wilderness. The threat, as Moishe states, is that if Klal Yisroel doesn't behave, the Aimishteh will withhold rain from falling.

The Yayin Mevushal points out that this Parsha is the basis for the Kabbalistic view of Hakkadoshboruchu and Am Yisroel as being soul mates in an erotic male/ female relationship, with the Aimishteh designated the masculine role. He sophomorically notes that the Parsha clearly equates a long, indulgent build up of the Rebboinoisheloilum's happiness and satisfaction with an occasional liquid emission released from the sky.

Building upon this line of thought, the ARI ZAHL suggests that the male/ female dynamic is actually meant to be a husband/wife relationship. And pointing at this Parsha, he suggests that the frequent threats made by the Aimishteh against Klal Yisroel prove that He is a chronic wife abuser.

In a famous Gemarrah in Soitah, Rav Shayshess asks in the name of Rav Hamnuna in the name of Rav: Why does the Aimishteh always have to threaten Klal Yisroel-- why can't He simply emphasize the positive? Abaya responds that Moishe and the Reboinoisheloilum actually liked to tag team as good guy/ bad guy, based on something they once saw on an old episode of CSI - Williamsburg. He suggests that the real reason Moishe was not allowed into Eretz Yisroel was that Hakkadoshboruchhu preferred to always play the bad guy role and didn't want to take turns.

However, Rava vehemently disagrees and suggests that Abaya should spend more time learning Toirah and less time watching cable television. Rava suggests that Hakkadoshboruchhu feels compelled to remind Klal Yisroel of their wrongdoing because of their damned short memory. They pray for emancipation, yet quickly forget the evils inflicted by the Egyptians prior to the Exodus. They pray for a Bais Hamikdash, but forget how when it stood it was a platform for abuse. They pray for a return of Malchus Bais Dovid, the Davidic monarchy, though forget how it was often a platform for corruption and idol worship.

Look at your own life, you worthless minuval. You pray for health, yet abuse your body. You pray for rain, then you complain about it. You pray for a loving, kind wife, yet would gladly give up an arm to be mezaneh with your hot shiksa secretary. You pray for peace and unity among all the Jewish People, yet the only people you hate more than Hamas and Ahmadinejad are that guy who sits two rows ahead of you at shul and that bitch two blocks away who wears tight jeans and a shaytl.

I am reminded of a maiseh shehoyo. I was recently traveling through the shtetl in Minneapolis, sharing Divrei Toirah for a nominal honorarium of 5000 dollars a speech, plus expenses. That Friday night, I found myself offering a vort at the local Conservative Synagogue. As I stood at the Bimah, I looked down at a congregation filled with women with yarmulkas and women sitting next to men, while behind me on the Bimah sat a female Rabbi and Cantor.

Upon my return to the Yeshiva, I mentioned my shock and horror to my rebbe, Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser, regarding the gross violations of modesty and the reversal of gender roles. He replied that we should not look upon the Conservative Movement with contempt; rather, we should view all of its congregants with love, as indeed we are all brothers and sisters, members of the tribe of Klal Yisroel, who standing together, side by side, received the Toirah from the Reboinoisheloilum at Har Sinai, and are forever united by that cosmic experience.

And, in his soft spoken voice, he added that if anything, we should feel pity, since they will all burn in the eternal fires of hell and have their living flesh devoured by maggots and scorpions because of their corruption of the Aimishteh's commandments, while we dance on their graves, doing the hora and the choo choo train conga line, and then dance on the graves of the other Jews who have committed abominations before Hakkadoshboruchhu, including: the Reform, the Conservative, the Chasidim, the Modern Orthodox, the ultra left wing, the ultra right wing, people who make more money than me, people who make less money than me, people with hotter wives than mine, people married to meeskeits, Woody Allen, all lawyers, all representatives of Amway, all people whose employers took government bailout money, and anyone who reads this Dvar Toirah.

So the key message of the warning in this Parsha is: though you have the best of intentions, you may as well give up now. Because after 120 years, there will be a limited number of people who get to sit alongside the Aimishteh in His throne. And I have no intention of giving up my seat for you, you minuval.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess