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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Parshas Vayishlach



You Minuvals!

As we all know, the revolutionary tenet of Yiddishkeit, the unique philosophy delivered at Maimud Har Sinai, is the notion that Hakadoshboruchhu acts in the world through history, in reaction to and in accordance with human events. This stands in contrast to the traditional notions of the pagans, the Oivdei Coichavim, who believe that their gods act in a random fashion to suit their own whimsy. Therefore, we must all view history and current events through then lens of the Aimishteh’s involvement: “We have been rewarded for our commitment to the Mitzvois.” “We are being punished for being Am Haratzim.” “We have been given an opportunity by the Reboinoisheloilum – so we should not screw it up!”

It has come to my attention that a number of you Mamzerim have actually not taken full advantage of one unique opportunity that Hakadoshboruchhu has provided you. As I have been telling you for many months, I have compiled a collection of my brilliant writings into a book called Kisvei HaRAPAS, the Writings of the RAPAS. This book includes a unique glossary prepared by my esteemed colleague the RABAM, and was published with the generous support of the RAGU (non—monetary, of course. He is really rather cheap; he recently tried to rent out one of his kids on E-Bay for the summer in order to avoid paying for sleepaway camp). This collection represents a fresh look at the weekly Parsha, and is a mélange of Toirah wisdom, Rabbinic insight, and adult humor.

Obviously, the fact that this book has become available is NOT because of my own unique talent and wit (distinctive that it is). Only an Apikoires (and my mother) would believe that! Rather, THIS BOOK HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BECAUSE THE AIMISHTEH WANTED IT TO BE PUBLISHED! He wanted this brilliance brought into the world to sanctify His name!

SO, if you have not already purchased the book, then you deny the fundamental Jewish belief in the Reboinoisheloilum’s involvement in the world. You are an Apikoires. Or, even worse, you are the equivalent of an Oivayd Avoidah Zorah!

But, of course, in Yiddishkeit we also believe that it is never too late to do Teshuvah for your horrible actions. So, if you are a long time talmud of my special brand of Toirah, if you are a personal acquaintance, if you are a guy who just accidentally met me at dinner on Friday night and argued in defense of Rabbinic child molesters, or if you are a new member of the Yeshiva, IT IS A MITZVAH FOR YOU TO BUY MY BOOK! Please go to:

Incidentally, all major credit cards are accepted. And when you purchase this important Sefer today, it just might buy you your own chelek in Oilum Habah. Aimishteh knows, you need all the help you can get.


Parshas Vayishlach

To begin this week's drasha, I must share with you a wonderful personal story.

Earlier this year I was traveling on business to a Yeshiva fundraiser at an exotic dance club in Tennessee. Having used up all my singles, when night descended I was compelled to make camp on a hill overlooking the city of Knoxville.

In the middle of the night, I was stirred by someone walking around my campsite. I arose and was immediately thrust into the clench of physical combat. This mysterious person and I wrestled throughout the night, locked in mortal struggle. As the sun rose the next morning, the person tried to pull my thigh, but inadvertently dislodged my testicle, Rachmana Letzlan. At daybreak our struggle ended, and the being revealed himself as none other than Al Gore.

From that day forth that location has been known as Kickmyass, because that was the site where Al Gore kicked my ass.

I share this story, of course, because of its strong resemblance to the story of Yankif Avinu struggling with the Rebboinoisheloilum, while making his way to Eretz Yisroel, en route to his rendezvous with his twin brother, Eisav HaRasha, Yemach Shmoi Ve'Zichroi. Why did the Reboinoisheloilum engage Yankif in mortal combat?

According to the RASHBA it was because there was a nickel on the floor somewhere, and neither Yankif nor Hakkadoshboruchhu wanted to walk away from spare change.

But according to the Bais Yoiseph, they were actually fighting over a waffle. He cites as proof a Medrish that quotes the Aimishteh as telling Yankif during the struggle "Leggo my Eggo, before I turn your Makom Hamilah into a piece of potato kugel."

However, the ARI ZAHL offers a beautiful interpretation. The ARI points to the end of the episode in the Toirah, where Yankif Avinu is for the first time given the name Yisroel, or Israel. Noting the longstanding Kabalistic belief that the relationship between the Aimishteh and Klal Yisroel is like that of husband and wife, the ARI likens this episode to the awkward wedding night of Klal Yisroel and Hakkadoshboruchhu. They stay up together all night, vigorously engaged in physical interaction. As dawn arrives, they reach a climax, but not without some minor injury. And, to commemorate this event, the ARI suggests that when a man and his wife participate in intimacy while having in mind to spiritually align their actions with the holy cosmic union of Klal Yisroel and the Rebboinoisheloilum, the man ought to spank his wife every once in a while.

Of course, this story is but one of the many strange tales we read in this Parsha. Other stories include:

-- Ya’akov's ultimate confrontation with his brother. After all the buildup, Yankif sends out his least favorite wives and children as canon fodder before the feared enemy, using them as human shields to protect himself, his favorite wife Rachel, his favorite children, and his pet cat, Fluffy. But when Eisav finally meets Yankif's party, he in fact extends his hand to Yankif in peace. Yankif responds by asking Eisav for a donation and tries to sell him life insurance and a cell phone.

-- Reuven, Yankif's eldest son, has sex with Bilhah, one of his father's concubines, who is also the mother of his half brothers (Perek Lamed Hay, Possuk Chuf Bais). How could one of the Shvatim, the tribes, holy as he was, commit Aishess Ish with the bedmate of his father? This is indeed very troubling!

But you mustn't ask such silly questions, you Minuval. Because according to Rabbi Eliezer, as quoted in a Beraisah in Beraishis Rabbah, this was not Reuven's intention at all. Says Rabbi Eliezer, Reuven was terribly nearsighted and had lost his glasses. After wandering across the tent camp, Reuven thought he had made his way to his destination, the bed of his boyfriend Theodore, Yankif's manservant. However, Reuven bedded Bilhah by mistake. And who can blame him? Both Bilhah and Theodore had the same moustache problem.

-- But perhaps the strangest story in the Parsha is the story of the rape of Dinah. Dinah, the sister of the Shvatim, is raped by Shchem, the son of Chamor. After he defiles Dinah, Shchem falls in love with her and asks for her hand in marriage. Both are told that if all the males of the village are circumcised, Shchem will be permitted to marry Dinah. But as the men of the village recover from their procedures, two of the tribes, Shimoin and Layvee, slay the village to the last man. This results in a harsh reaction by their father, Yankif Avinu.

How should we look upon this reactionary behavior? Were the brothers justified in their behavior? And if so, how can we understand Yankif's angry response towards them?

According to the Metsudas Dovid, Shimoin and Layvee acted lishmah, with great personal integrity, and believed that their actions would help make the world a better place through setting an example of loving-kindness for their sister by committing bloodthirsty revenge. The Metsudas Dovid adds that Yankif Avinu actually supported the brothers' action, but he explains that Yankif's stated negative reaction in the possuk (verse) was only "delivered to satisfy American pressure, brought about by the liberal media." He further suggests that the Toirah no longer include such actions since they reflect badly on Klal Yisroel.

But the RAIVID offers a different set of answers. Says the RAIVID, in truth, the brothers did overreact, just a bit. They should have only killed Shchem, who was truly the only figure guilty of criminal behavior. However, on their way to the village to kill Shchem, they forgot to take their lithium medication, and began hearing voices asking them to kill every male in the town. And this explains Yankif's reaction: How can he expect to co-exist with the Canaanites and Perrizites when he has the reputation of having a couple of psychos for sons?

Finally, the Akaidahs Yitzchak offers a different interpretation. In truth, all of the males of the town supported and endorsed the criminal actions of Shchem. So indeed, they all deserved to die. And Shimoin and Layvee set out on their military operation, as planned, with little more that two submachine guns each, plus grenades, pistols, and hunting knives, in order to carry out their mission. But after killing all the males, Layvee looks back at the town and says in his deep, Aramean accented voice, "I'll be back," and it is that statement which Yankif protests.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval

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