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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Parshas Kee Seesah




Parshas Kee Seesah
This week's seminal parsha features the creation of the Eigel
Hazahav by Aroin Hacoihain, after Am Yisroel panics when Moishe
Rabbeinu doesn't return after receiving the Luchois.

What were these am haratzim thinking? The Rebboinoisheloilum
delivers them from Egypt with an outstretched arm, but Moishe hits a
little traffic and POOF! "Let's worship Yushka Pandra!"

And Aroin Hacoihain, the meshumid, why did he have to go so far as
to create the Eigel? If the people needed to rebel, why not start
slowly? First, start with some traifus. Maybe a nice lobster. Sure,
it's a big cockroach, but in the midbar you take what you can get.
Or maybe he should have distributed Skittles or Hostess Twinkles to
Klal Yisroel.

But instead, straight to the Eigel. No wonder the Melech-Malchei-
Hamlachim wanted to wipe out Klal Yisroel.

However, He chose to spare them.

RASHI quotes a Gemarrah in Sanhedrin that says that instead of
striking the minuvals down on the spot, Hakkadoshboruchhu renders
the punishment on all subsequent generations of Klal Yisroel. When
any generation suffers a punishment, the Shechinah ensures that
there will be an added element attributable to the Eigel.

Consequently, in our day, even in times of relative affluence and
success, we continue to suffer the Chayt HaEigel. Current sufferings
include frigid wives, Macaroons, Kiddush Levanah in the middle of
winter, the wait to get into Le Marais on a Sunday night, and the
fact that Woody Allen is a Jew.

Yet despite his aveirah of inciting Klal Yisroel to worship the
Eigel, Aroin retained the Kehunah. Farvoos?

The common answer among Chazzal is that Aroin was a tzadik who was
trying to distract and delay Klal Yisroel. Consequently, it was only
natural the he remain in charge of filling the paper towel
dispensers, sweeping up, and turning out the lights in the Koidesh

But the MAHARAL disagrees, declaring that it is a whitewash to say
that Aroin was really a tzadik. Says the MAHARAL, this makes about
as much sense as waving a live chicken over your head to take away
your sins.

Farkhert. The MAHARAL feels that Aroin was the ultimate
Machiavellian figure who had clear aspirations to usurp the position
of Moishe Rabbeinu. However, continues the MAHARAL, Moishe was smart
enough to see this, and used it to his advantage. Moishe realized
that every organization needs both a hero for leadership and vision,
and a despot to keep everyone in line and "take the heat". And
Moishe used Aroin as that despot.

The political machinations are clear. What was the first thing
Moishe did when descending from the mountain? He broke the Luchois
that the Aimishteh had made with His own two hands. And what did
Moishe do next? He recruited Aroin and the Leviyim to slaughter
3,000 people. I personally would not have questioned Moishe's
breaking the Luchois after that. Neither would you, you mechutzeff!

According to the RADAK, One of Moishe Rabbeinu's great aveirahs was
his obsession with looking good. Hence, he kept his farbissineh
brother around to be his goon. That way he could keep up his good
image and capture future book deals and licensing revenues. (I
personally have a new Moishe Rabbeinu Chia Pet in my Bais Medrish.)

We can even see signs of Moishe's obsession with his image in his
discussions with Hakkadoshboruchhu. Following the Chayt HaEigel, one
of Moishe's pleas to prevent the destruction of Am Yisroel is that
if the Aimishteh were to destroy Klal Yisroel, the Mitzrim would say
that the Jews were delivered from Egypt only to be killed in the
desert. In essence, Moishe's argument is: "What will the Goyim say."
What will the Goyim say? Since when does a Jew, Moishe Rabbeinu no
less, worry about Goyisheh public opinion? Who does he think he is –
Ehud Olmert?

I am reminded of a Maisseh Shehoya, when I was a Talmid with my
Rebbe, the NPOJHARTHA. Many years ago we were traveling by horse and
buggy through rural San Francisco to raise money for his Yeshiva.
When it became evening, we stopped at a local lodge to eat. "But
Rebbe," I asked, "the lodge serves traifus. How can we eat
here?" "Sha, you minuval!" the NPOJHARTHA patiently responded, "we
can eat whatever we want, and then sneak out the door. As long as we
don't pay for it there is no aveirah." Years later, the NPOJHARTHA
recognized that his sin had caused a stinging punishment: He is
currently exiled to the wilds of West Virginia, not because of
eating traifus, but because he didn't order the most expensive items
on the menu.

Such is the fate of Moishe. Hitting the rock kept him out of Eretz
Yisroel. But the Chayt HaEigel instigated by his minuval brother
lost him his copyrights and much associated revenue on the Chamishei
Chumshay Toirah. Rachmana Litzlan.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval

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