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In this week's parsha, Parshas Tetzaveh, the Aimishteh commands Moisheh Rabbeinu to appoint Aroin Hacoihain and his sons to serve as the priests of the Jewish People. A serious question arises immediately: Why would Hakkadoshboruchhu appoint the minuval conspirator who built the Eigel Hazohov to lead the religious rituals of the Mishkan and the Bais Hamikdash?
Please don't try to figure this one out, you michutzeff – you might hurt yourself and have to take the rest of the day off.
According to the Bais Yoseph, Hakkadoshboruchhu singled out Aroin so that he and his luch-in-kup sons would do all the dirty work of Klal Yisroel, so that Moisheh would have more time for speech therapy. And what was the dirty work? Primarily it was slaughtering the cows, sprinkling the blood, smoking the Parah Adumah, etc.
Clearly the Bnei Yisroel are obsessed with cows. Why this obsession? We sacrifice them, we eat them, we drink their milk (provided the proper Cholov Yisroel supervision), and we put their pictures on overpriced cartons of ice cream.
In India, where I once was a talmid, people are also obsessed with cows. Bessie walks around the streets, treated with respect and reverence. This is because the cow community is viewed as the model form of society. Unlike Am Yisroel, cows are friendly, cooperative, and never speak on their cell phones while in a movie theatre. In other words, they make the Jewish People look bad. Consequently, it is a Chiyuv Dioraisa to walk into Kosher Delight, ask for a double beef burger, fries, and a coke. And, Pirkei Avos tells us, whoever eats an overstuffed pastrami sandwich is guaranteed a place in Olam Habbah. (Indeed, according to the Rabbeinu Tam, the Aimishteh banned the eating of pigs solely so we will rid the world of more cows.)
Picking up on this logic, the RASHBAM asks a further question: If Aroin Hacoihain and his minuval sons no longer have a Bais Hamikdash to serve as their base of exploitation... err, in which to lead the Avoidah, who is charged with doing the Jewish People's dirty work in our day?
According to the Toisfois Yom Tov, in our day, it is the Rabbi who is charged with doing the dirty work. Cohanim are relegated to playing Casper the Friendly Ghost at the front of the shul on holidays (or everyday in Eretz Yisroel or amongst the Sephardim, those Am Haratzim).
The TUSH disagrees vehemently, suggesting that the Toisfois Yom Tov was busy picking the crumbs out of his beard and not paying attention to all the sources. He holds that shul caterers are charged with the dirty work, pointing out that cleaning up half eaten plates of cholent and Kishka after a big kiddush is the equivalent of handling the fat of the Egla Arufah with your bare hands.
I believe that both the Toisfois Yom Tov and the TUSH were completely off target. I think that the dirty work of the Jewish People is today done by the Gabbai. After all, who likes the guy? He stands up there on the Bimah acting like he is the Rebboinoisheloilum, hands out Aliyois to all his friends, and absolutely loves to correct the errors of the pimple faced Bar Mitzvah kid who is barely tall enough to read from the Torah.
Come to think of it, he also likes to humiliate underage children by forcing them to go to the front of the shul to lead Adon Olam and Anvim Zmirois. I ask you: Is it a right of passage, or child abuse?
In my kehillah, I love the Gabbai because he makes me look good. Every Shabbos, all the mishugayim stand at the front of the shul and argue with him over whose turn it is to daven musaph for the amud. Meanwhile, I can slip to the back and find out what the Yankees did the night before. (Boruch Hashem we have some am haratzim who watch TV on shabbos.) When there is too much talking, I let the Gabbai shush the kehilla. They may be talking about Torah, but then again they may be talking about sports or how the whole insurance in scandal is very reminiscent of most Yeshiva raffles.
In any case, the Gabbai of today is just like the Coihanim of yesterday. If he calls your name you better go quickly -- you won't get another Aliyah for the next three years. But be careful: He just might have an Eigel Hazohov up his sleeve.