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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parshas Bamidbar

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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Parshas Bamidbar

In this week's Parsha, Bamidbar, not much happens. You may want to take advantage and catch up on your sleep, or spend your time checking out the "talent" on the other side of the Mechitza.

In the Parsha, the males of each tribe are counted, one by one, as the Bnei Yisroel's ability to make war is gauged. But the Bnei Layvee, we are told, are not to be counted amongst the rest of the nation, as they shall not be soldiers, but should instead serve as the spiritual frontline through their activities within the Priesthood.

Now I know where the ultra-Orthodox in Israel get the inspiration! Certainly, the Reboinoisheloilum intends that one tribe should tend to the moral fiber, maintain the facilities, carry out the practices of the spiritual institutions, and suck up all the booty in the national coffers, while the rest of Klal Yisroel gets shot at.

Based on the Halachois of Milchemess Mitzvah as understood by the RAMBAM, I personally believe that the ultra-Orthodox should never be exempt from serving in the army. Indeed, the Aimishteh needs every possible warrior in Eretz Yisroel, since the Toirah is opposed to any sort of compromise with our enemies. No political agreements are possible. And even if we could, why should we?

In fact, we must never compromise with any of our enemies anywhere. We are surrounded by them. Our neighbors. Our co-workers. The guy in the gas station. The bus driver. The newsman on TV. That little kid sitting in the shopping cart on line in front of you at Gristedes. They are either members of your Shul, or they are anti-Semites or self-hating Jews!

How much more so in Eretz Hakoidesh! So I intend to start a letter campaign from here from our offices in New York at Yeshivas Chipass Emmess. No exemptions! We here in the Golus will provide the spiritual safeguarding of the State, while our brethren in Eretz Yisroel must be prepared to fight to the last man. (By the way, donations to the cause are always welcome! Please make out all checks to the Fund for "Chipass emess Advocacy for the Security of HaMoledet" or "C.A.S.H." for short.)

Indeed, it would not be unprecedented if we in the Golus were to take over the role of spiritual safeguards of Klal Yisroel. Because, also in this week's Parsha, we see the descendants of Aroin Hacoihain appointed as the principal Priests of Klal Yisroel, while Moisheh Rabbeinu's descendants are relegated to support positions. Why does Aroin Hacoihain get to steal away the spiritual leadership of the nation from Moisheh?

According to Reb Hai Gaon, Aroin was able to engineer a boardroom takeover after securing support of several key institutional investors. But Rabbeinu Tam holds that Aroin won the Kehunah during the regular Wednesday night poker game in which Aroin, Moisheh, Yehoshua, and Kulayv Ben Yefuneh were members.

But according to the RAMBAM, the Reboinoisheloilum gave Aroin the Kehuna to keep him out of trouble. The last thing Klal Yisroel needed was for Aroin to get involved in complex decisions. According to the Medrash Rabbah, he couldn't even program his own VCR.

Of even more concern, Aroin Hacoihain led the Bnei Yisroel into the Chayt HaEygel. He was also a poor spokesman for Moisheh who never kept his rolodex up to date with key press contacts. The idea was to put the minuval in a position where he couldn't cause too much damage to himself. Or to Klal Yisroel.

But, unfortunately, things did not quite work out as planned.

Case in point: the descendants of Aroin finally did steal the Malchus, the political leadership embodied by the kingdom of Israel, during the days of the Chashmonaim, and the result was the most corrupt regime in the history of the sovereignty of Klal Yisroel. In the generations after the miracle of Chanukah, the regime was corrupt and brutal: They abused their power, persecuted the Pharisees (the precursors of Rabbinic Judaism), and forced the religious conversions of neighboring peoples (including the father of the later-despised King Herod). These actions ultimately led to the Romans being invited into Eretz Yisroel by the opponents of the Chashmonaim.

Which brings us back to the ultra-Orthodox in Israel. The best thing you can say about them is that they have nice full beards. And some of those women look really hot with their heads shaved. But they don't serve in the army, they don't pay taxes, they have fourteen kids each (kenaina harah), and they use every opportunity to use their political power to their own community's advantage.

Perhaps we here in the Golus should emulate their activities, rather than criticize them. We should refuse to pay our taxes. We should apply for every possible state benefit because they are available: welfare, Medicaid, affirmative action, farm subsidies, nuclear waste management, needle exchange programs, and free school lunches (even if they are traifus!)

Because what matters most is not the here and now -- the Oilam Hazeh. What matters most is the Oilam Habbah -- the world to come. And since none of the amhoratzim of the world -- including you, you shaygitz -- will be privileged to join the Aimishteh in Gan Eiden, they just don't count. Only I and my closest associates will have earned the right to sit next to the Reboinoisheloilum on His heavenly throne. And if He doesn't behave Himself, we'll throw Him out too.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Parshas Bechukoisai

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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Parshas Bechukoisai

In this week’s parsha, Parshas Bechukoisai, we read about the reward and punishment promised us by the Reboinoisheloilum for fulfilling, or violating, His commandments. RASHI asks a pertinent question: Why does the Aimishteh offer us only ten quick Pesukim (verses) of promised reward, while He gives us three times that -- over thirty graphic Pesukim -- warning of harsh consequences? Aren’t we under enough pressure? What’s pshat, for Hakadoshboruchhu’s sake?

According to the Rabbeinu Tam, on the morning when this parsha was written, the Reboinoisheloilum was having a bad day. As the Medrish Rabbah tells us, when He was not busy studying Toirah, the Aimishteh kept Himself busy doing day trading. And on that morning, He had taken a strong position on a networking stock based on a rumor of a takeover, only to find out that there were serious accounting and reporting errors by the auditing firm of Goldberg, Aronowitz and Schwartz. So He wasn’t feeling that sympathetic to Klal Yisroel. And who can blame Him? Believe me, He lost more money that day than you earn in a whole year, you Minuval!

However, according to the RASHBAM, Hakkadoshboruchhu had no ill will for Am Yisroel that day – or any day for that matter. No, says the RASHBAM, on the contrary -- the Reboinoisheloilum loves us! We are His beloved nation, His chosen, His betrothed. However, we learn from this Parsha that the Aimishteh is really into S&M. “I will smite you sevenfold for your sins” (Perek Chuff-Vuv, Pasuk Chuff Daled) is the Toirah's equivalent of Hakkadoshboruchhu handcuffing us to the bed and whipping us with His tfillin.

As proof, the RASHBAM points out that the end of the section includes the Reboinoisheloilum telling us ,”Even with all this, with you dwelling in the land of your enemies, I will not despise you… to nullify my covenant with you… I will recall my covenant with your forebears … to be your Lord…” (Perek Chuff-Vuv, Pasukim Mem Daled – Mem Hey). According to the RASHBAM, the Aimishteh is telling us ‘stop crying, you little bitches – you know you like it rough. Let me rub the pain away with my velvet yarmulke.’

The Toisfois Yuntif, however, disagrees with the RASHBAM, who he refers to as a “groisse pervert”, pointing out that upon moving to Lithuania, the RASHBAM was compelled to register as a sex offender. Rather, says the Toisfois Yuntif, the Parsha teaches us that it is hard to be a Jew. If we look at all the Mitzvois Asey and Loi Sa’asey, they are hard to keep. Which comes more naturally to you on a Saturday morning? Turning on the TV and opening a beer, or getting into a suit, putting on a tie, and walking twelve blocks up a hill with your screaming kids only to sit next to some guy in shul who is shukkeling so much you would think he was going to drill a hole through the floor, when all the while his dandruff is the only thing coming between you and his unbrushed shabbos morning breath? Ich vais, how many of us can stand up to that challenge? Of course, we are all three times as likely to violate the commandment!

With this in mind, chazzal has over the years developed a series of strategies to increase the odds of our success, guaranteeing happiness in this life and the World To Come. According to a famous Mishna in Perek Zayin of Pirkei Avois:

-- Rabban Gamliel use to always carry extra money with him, so that whenever a beggar would come his way, we would always be able to be mekayim the mitzvah of tzedakah.

-- Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah always kept a fully stocked bar, so that he was always ready to perform the mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim.

-- Rabbi Akiva was concerned that he would be too distracted to kiss the mezuzah every time he went into a room. So, after trying mezuzahs made of silver, gold, Jerusalem stone, pottery, and glass, he had one custom built that looked like his wife’s Erva, which he was always sure to kiss as he went into the room. Indeed, a Beraisah in Nezikin tells us, after he put on a lot of weight in his later years, Rabbi Akiva discovered that if he spent a little extra time kissing the mezuzah, it made it much easier for him to get through the door.

However, the Baal Shem Toiv vehemently disagrees with this approach. According to the BESHT, “the Toirah is here to inspire us and guide our thinking, not to be taken literally.” Consequently, he points out, the mitzvois in the Toirah should be viewed as “voluntary guidelines,” rather than laws, and the threats of punishment should be read as poetry for “spiritual contemplation purposes only”. He adds that to enhance one’s meditation on the text and Hisboidadus with the Shechina, his Chassidic followers should drink a minimum of five shots of vodka, while Misnagdim should drink the same quantity of single malt scotch.

But the Vilna Goyn vehemently disagrees. He insists that you MUST take EVERY WORD in KOL HATOIRAH KOOLOH literally. In discussing Parshas Bechukoisai specifically, he notes that the Toichacha, the Rebuke and warnings of punishment, should be taken quite literally.

But the Goyn doesn’t stop there. He notes the references in the early Pesukim to Klal Yisroel’s divinely driven success on the battlefield: “And you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall beside you by the Cherev. And five of you shall chase one hundred, and one hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall beside you by the Cherev” (Perek Chuff-Vuv, Pasukim Zayin – Khess). Pointing at the Pasuk, he insists that the use of the term “Cherev”, sword, MUST be taken literally. Consequently, says the Goyn, for AM Yisroel to maintain the favor of Hakkadoshboruchhu, the Israeli army should follow Parshas Bechukoisai, set aside all of its advanced weapons, and arm its soldiers with swords ONLY. Any reliance on more modern weapons reflects a complete lack of faith, for which we should be banished “and sent back to Miami Beach” says the Goyn. Shoyn.

I am reminded of a Maiseh Shehoya. The Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Shloimo Amor, was in New York, attending an important business meeting at a Korean massage parlor. As he walked into his special “meeting room,” who should he bump into but the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Yoina Metzger. After their respective happy endings, they sat down for coffee. They began to engage in a machloikess as to whether or not someone in New York may drink the tap water due to the risk of ingesting microscopic crustaceans. They both cited Toirah sources, Rabbinic teachings, and the broad body of Halachic tradition. It became clear that Rabbi Amor had the better constructed teshuvah. At that point Rabbi Metzger blurted out, “ you may be better at reaching a Psak Halacha, but I am a much more accomplished felon!” He went on to cite his indictment for illegally accepting free hotel stays.

Rabbi Amor responded sharply, “no, you michutziff, I am the more accomplished felon. Just because my wife and son were indicted for arranging the beating of my daughter’s boyfriend, it doesn’t mean I am innocent! I instigated the whole thing!”

At that, Rabbi Metzger stroked his beard slowly, and then exclaimed, “at least I don’t eat rice on Pesach, you shaygitz!”

So we should certainly take the Toirah literally. I know I do. In fact, after Shabbos this week, I plan to go home and emulate the Parsha by handcuffing my bashert to the bed and whipping her with my gartel.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval

Friday, May 16, 2008

Parshas B-Har

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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Parshas B-Har

In this week's parsha we learn of various laws regarding Shmita and Yovel, the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. At the root is the issue of property ownership. All property ownership is temporary -- land in Eretz HaKoidesh may only be sold temporarily; it can never be truly owned. As well, slaves are never truly owned -- they go free at Yovel. You cannot charge interest when lending money. Etc.

RASHI asks: Is this really Toras Moishe? What's pshat you can't charge interest? Next thing you know, we won't be able to use fresh gentile baby's blood in our matzoh!

According to the RAMBAN, all these laws prove that the Reboinoisheloilum is really a Communist. To illustrate his point, he interprets Yetzias Mitzrayim as the first instance in the history of the world where the proletariat masses overthrow the bourgeois minority ruling class in legitimate political struggle of class vs. class.

But the Bais Yoiseph scoffs at the suggestion. He says that, farkhert, the Aimishteh's business model requires that property keeps on reverting to its original owner in order to encourage turnover of real estate and a constant cash flow stream from brokers fees. And He discourages interest simply because He favors equity over debt instruments.

Ironically, as the Toirah discusses Shmita, it uses the term "Shabbos Shabbosoin" -- a term used elsewhere in the Toirah only in reference to Yoim Kippur. According to the Zoihar, in the realm of the Ayn Sof, the Kabalistic term for the unknowable aspects of the Aimishteh, one year in the human realm culminating in Aseres Yemai Teshuvah equals the seven year cycle of the earth ending in Shmita.

This was erroneously interpreted by the false messiah Shabtai Zvi as equating earth years and dog years, and the reason he insisted that his followers eat Alpo immediately following Kol Nidrei. However, the true accepted interpretation was offered by the MAHARAL, who suggested that just as we walk around starving on Yoim Kippur and pray for a good year, during Shmita we should walk around starving and pray for reasonable prices on imported produce.

On a simpler level, we practice our own form of Shmita every week with our celebrating Shabbos Koidesh on the seventh day. The common theme, of course, is the commandment to refrain from any sort of commerce. Once a week we commit not to participate in commercial activity, or even activity which APPEARS to be commerce, such as giving gifts. And, as is well known, when all of Klal Yisroel celebrates one Shabbos completely, Moshiach will come.

Yet according to the Ari Zahl, the Moshiach has not yet come for one reason and one reason alone: The violation of commerce on Shabbos is transgressed in every shul in the world by one person who is single-handedly responsible for keeping us all in the Golus -- the shul candy man.

Note the sins and temptations he brings on all Klal Yisroel:

• He insults the very authority of the Reboinoisheloilum. What child wouldn't rather have a sucking candy than listen to a crackly-voiced bar-mitzvah bochur or self-absorbed amateur Chazzan? And when did you ever see one of those rotten kids make a bracha?

• He entices children to worship idols. Indeed, lollipops become their own form of Avoidah Zarah, especially when they bear the pictures of Disney characters. And Gummy Bears? They are the modern equivalent of the Eigel!

• He entices children to participate in multiple violations on Shabbos: He engages them in commerce-like activity on Shabbos. He causes children to separate good candy from bad, an issur Diyoraisa of borer. He causes children to tear candy wrappers. Etc.

• He causes children to disrespect their parents, since they never observe the candy consumption limits put before them.

• Children often steal to get more candy. They lie. They covet ("I don't want my blue lollipop, I want her red lollipop")

In short -- with his devious, seemingly benign presence, the candyman causes children to violate five of the Ten Commandments every Shabbos.

What is the source of this evil incarnate? First of all, in 96% of all shuls, the candyman is older than the Aimishteh himself. On a visit to the Shtetl in Detroit, I once met a shul candyman named Junior -- he was 72 years old. Second of all, what does he want from these little boys and girls anyway? He is likely a pervert. Or even worse, a fundraiser.

The Ari proved through Kabalistic sources that the candyman is actually the agent the Sutun. This is implied by the other principle sin he causes the children to commit: eating traifus. Ask yourself: Is the candy really kosher? How do you know? According to a medrish in Bubba Basra, Acher, before completely abandoning the faith, started out by handing out Skittles.

And just like Acher, the candy man sees his actions as the opportunity to plant the seeds of evil in the neshamas of unsuspecting children. He knows that thirty years in the future, those children, all grown up, won't remember the Rabbi's speech or the Chazzan's davening. They'll fondly recall that Charms lollipop they once ate in shul, as they drive up on Friday night to the takeout window at the drive-through McDonalds to pick up Shabbos dinner.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Parshas Emor

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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Parshas Emor

I strongly suggest you read this parsha at your own risk. "Why?" you ask, you minuval. Because a month hasn't even passed, and we are back at Pesach again. Reboinoisheloilum, I am still recovering from throwing my back out while removing the car seats from the mini van. It's a good thing too I cleaned under the seats in the car -- my Yetzer Hara might have tempted me to break into the car after the second Seder to snack on the two crushed M&Ms on the floor.

Why do we prepare so intensively for Pesach? According to Rabbeinu Tam, we commemorate slavery in Egypt by spending six hours marching up and down the stairs to the attic to bring down the Pesach dishes while our wives stand over us barking orders (those amharatzois).

Meanwhile, rachmana litzlan, our wives absolutely exhaust themselves watching the cleaning lady prepare for Pesach.

The RAMBAM in Mishnah Torah asks an incisive question: Instead of selling our chometz to a goy, why can't we just temporarily sell our religion to a goy? This way, he can have the opportunity to get the mitzvah of celebrating Yetzias Mitzrayim, while we get to eat a little traifus, paint easter eggs, and have relations with a hot shiksa for seven days (eight days in Chutz La'aretz). But the RAMBAM concludes that if a goy had to eat Matzah for eight days, he would end up hating the Jews even more than he already does.

In truth, why do we stop our Pesach cleaning at our abode and our cars? A Gemarrah In Masechess Pesachim daff chuff aleph, amud bais asks: Why don't we clean out our bodies of the Chometz we pump into them 51 weeks a year? Indeed, Rav Ashi holds that this is the reason that bechorim fast Erev Pesach, and that to get the full mitzvah, people should stick their finger's down their throats during bedikas chometz.

But further in the Gemarrah, Rav Yosi disagrees, saying that since the food is already eaten, we hold that food cannot be eaten a second time, so there is no such requirement. However, Rav Yosi does go on to tell a story of how one year he told his wife that he needed her help cleaning for Pesach, since halacha required him to expel ALL possible bodily fluids. And due to her extreme gullibility, she helped him three times that night. What an Aishess Chayill. Unfortunately, he slept through much of the seder the next night, so he never dared to do it again.

My personal belief is that celebrating Yetzias Mitzrayim is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the einiklach. Beyond cleaning, you get the mitzvah of preparing the matzois and the ka'arah. During the Seder you are unified with all of Klal Yisroel in celebration. And after the Seder, while cleaning up, you lament the fact that your damn mother-in-law wasn't accidentally left in Mitzrayim.

But the timing of this week's Parsha raises a key question about the overall structure of the parshiyois of the Toirah: Why don't they follow a more intuitive order? Why does the Toirah place individual sections out of chronological order, as well as offer multiple repetitions of various episodes and sections?

The standard answer, given by Rashi, is that Moishe Rabbeinu, like any good representative of Klal Yisroel, never went anywhere without his cell phone. And as the Reboinoisheloilum was dictating the Toirah, his minuval brother Aroin Hacoihain kept on calling. "Moishe, should I have the people pray?" "Moishe, should we circle Har Sinai?" "Moishe, white makes me look fat; can you ask the Aimishteh to change the color of the Coihain Gadol's garments?" Well all of these constant distractions threw Moishe off, and he got the order of the Reboinoisheloilum's dictation all confused.

I would humbly like to offer a new pshat. I remember as a young talmid I asked my rebbe muvhak, the NPOJHARTHA, why we learned mussar in the morning, Gemmarah all day, and NACH with mepharshim at night -- shouldn't we study in the reverse order, reflecting the development of Toirah and lumduss? The NPOJHARTHA glowingly gave me a hug, led me by the hand to the front of the bais medrish, and then slammed my head against the top of his shtender. "Until you know the answers yourself, don't ask me such stupid questions, you vilda chaya" he then said.

After pondering this comment for thirty years, I now understand my rebbe's wisdom. Mimunifshuch, if everything in life made sense, we wouldn't have to daven three times a day. Life is confusing. And those of us who don't fall into the trap of seeing everything in black and white must spend our lives struggling with shades of gray. So the Toirah has a few mysteries. If everything was crystal clear, faith wouldn't be a challenge.

The Reboinoisheloilum wants to keep us guessing and asking questions. And at the same time, he intends the Toirah to serve as our road map. So don't complain next time you have to vacuum the inside of the car and don't know why. At least as a member of Klal Yisroel you are never expected to change a tire by yourself.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

On the US Presidential Race

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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On the US Presidential Race


Rabboisai,

Over the last few weeks I have been asked by many of my Talmidim to offer a Rabbinic ruling on who is the best candidate in the current US presidential primary season.

Of course, this is a natural request, given my recent designation as Poisaik of the Year in Fortune Magazine, which focuses its profile on my recent Psak Halacha where I ruled that a man with one arm may put his Tfillin on his leg, though there is a machloikess between RASHI and Rabbeinu Tam on where exactly he should place his Shel Roish…

Another reason why the Buchrim have been reaching out to me on this topic is because I spent six years as Lieutenant Governor of Utah. I had high popularity ratings, but was forced to resign due to a public scandal – word got out that I had only one wife (my beloved Bashert, Feigah Breinah).

In any case, in order to evaluate all of the Goyim running for office, I employ three screens:

a) Is the candidate good for the United States? Does he or she have adequate experience, and a set of beliefs and perspectives that will help the country address its key challenges (such as mandatory Shatnez checks on all clothing imported from China)?

b) Is the candidate good for Klal Yisroel? Is he/she good for the Jews? After all, our sustained presence in the ghetto is based on the kind-heartedness of the President, who is liable to order pogroms at every turn, and who is capable of eliminating all US support for Israel without hesitation. Indeed, he/she may halt military and financial support to Israel, or, even worse, help Israel broker a peace agreement, chass v’sholom.

c) Does the candidate act in a manner consistent with Halacha? How many of the TARYAG Mitzvois does he or she keep? Can he/she serve as an example for our Kinderlach? Or will he or she be mezaneh with a White House intern, instead of cutting taxes and increasing spending the way the Reboinoisheloilum likes?

Using these three screens, I hope to take you through a discussion of each candidate, using lucid and rational arguments that will result in you mindlessly following every word I say. Shoyn.

Candidate # 1: Senator Barack HUSSEIN Oibama

a) Overall: Eppis, he is really smart and charismatic. He’s like Duvid HaMelech after a three week vacation to the Bahamas! Now, he has only been in the Senate for two years, and has abstained from many key votes. But he did serve in local government in Chicago, where he introduced critical legislation that would automatically qualify the Cubs for the World Series if they cannot get there on their own by 2015. He was also the Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and is a frequent contributor to Penthouse Letters.

b) Klal Yisroel: This is an area of great concern to Klal Yisroel. As has been pointed out by many, Senator Oibama is a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ, and his pastor is the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who is an avowed critic of Israel who has made rants that border on the Anti-Semitic. In addition, Oibama has a longstanding relationship with Minister Louis Farrakhan, and is rumored to have shared a room with Minister Farrakhan in college for one semester. It is also well documented that while in college, Oibama spent summers overseas teaching munitions in a Midrassa in Iran.

Many have also pointed with great concern to his foreign policy team. The team includes Anthony Lake, the anti-Semite, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Soinay Yisroel with too many consonants in his last name, Samantha Power, who, frankly, no one has ever heard of before, and Adolf Eichmann.

Even more disturbing, however, are Senator Oibama’s own words. In an interview with Time Magazine in December, Oibama said that he was opposed to raising income taxes, but suggested, “there are lots of alternative ways to make up the deficit. We could use consumption fees, or charge an air usage tax linked to the size of each citizen’s nose.” And most alarming is what Senator Oibama told NBC’s Meet The Press in February, “I hate the fucking Jews. Those kike bastards have been stealing the pennies of my people ever since they brought us over on slave ships.”

c) Halacha: Finally, Senator Oibama clearly fails the Halacha test. According to joint research by the Newsweek, the American Medical Association, Blueboy Magazine, and Yated Ne’eman, Senator Oibama’s schvantzel is more than 2000 amois long when he gets a… errr… shverkeit. Consequently, every time he does the double mitzvah on Friday night he goes beyond the Tchum Shabbos*. And there is no evidence at all that he has ever made an Eiruv Techumim!

Candidate #2: Senator John McCain

a) Overall: This is an area of grave concern. Let’s face it: the guy spent 6 years in a wooden box monitored by his Viet Cong captors. How do we know what they did to him? Maybe they programmed him to be their sleeper agent. Indeed, John McCain could be the REAL Manchurian Candidate! (This is the exact same thing that happened with Moishe Rabbeinu. He spent a few days in a box, and then spent many years living the perfect life of a Mitzri. But when the right moment came around, BOOM, Hakadoshboruchhu activated Moishe, pulled him out of deep cover, and had him do exotic tricks with his “big magic staff” while Paroih’s advisors stuck dollar bills in his g-shtreimel.)

Of course, this is all conjecture. So how will we know if this is a real problem? Very simple: We should all keep our eyes on the Republican convention. If McCain gives his nomination acceptance speech in Vietnamese and starts off by thanking Chairman Mao, we know we’re in trouble.

b) Klal Yisroel: This is actually positive. John McCain did spend 6 years in a box, but the good news is that the box was made out of old Jaffa Orange shipping crates. As a result, McCain is believed to be sympathetic to Eretz Yisroel and Klal Yisroel.

We can also look at who he surrounds himself with. McCain’s foreign policy team includes: George Schultz, Reb Dovid Feinstein, Moishe Feiglin, Yoko Ono, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, and James Baker.

c) Halacha: This is another positive sign. McCain has clearly given a lot of attention to Halachic consideration in his daily life. Indeed, according to a recent article in the New York Times, McCain insisted that his lobbyist mistress go to Mikvah before they were Mezaneh. And McCain’s wife Cindy certainly wears a Shaytel. Have you seen that hair? Either it’s a wig, or she has so much hairspray on that it counts as a Chatzitza Gemoorah**.

Candidate #3: Senator Hillary Clinton

a) Overall: When I view Senator Clinton, I don’t see a woman simply dabbling in politics. In fact, with all those pantsuits, I’m not sure I see a woman at all.

In any case, Hillary Clinton has been a Senator for 8 years. Before that she was the First Lady of the United States, and before that she was the First Lady of Arkansas. In her career, she has been involved in many of the key issues facing the United States: In the Senate, she is on the Legislative Committee. In the White House she was involved in early efforts to address the Health Care crisis. And throughout the years she has been a strong advocate of Defense: She has worked day and night to prevent her husband from being frontally violated by power hungry bimbos, or, at minimum, from being caught.

Furthermore, Senator Clinton has demonstrated wisdom earned through years of experience. In her, the United States will have a president who is a tough negotiator, but who is also capable of painful, even personal, compromises if it will serve the greater good. Let’s face it: her entire career has proven that sometimes you have to stay married to someone you absolutely detest for 35 years in order to get what you really want.

b) Klal Yisroel: This is largely a binary, philosophical question. If you favor the actions taken by Former President Bill Clinton with regard to Israel and peace, then you are likely to favor Hillary. If you are against Oslo and the many subsequent efforts made by Clinton, then you are likely to oppose Hillary. But one thing is clear: Bill Clinton left his mark or Klal Yisroel, or at the minimum on Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

A number of people have expressed concern at a snapshot in time, the embrace of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton with Suha Arafat, even at a time when Suha made claims of blood-libel proportions. In Senator Clinton’s defense: 1) The US and Israel were in the midst of a peace process, and sometimes you have to “look the other way”; 2) This entire image is the result of media bias, only showing the world part of the picture. In truth, Hillary was actually the more restrained of the Clintons: While the cameras caught Suha embracing Hillary, they completely ignored that at that very moment, Yasser was on his knees in front of Bill...

So, one key question is: what role will Bill have in a Hillary administration? Will he be a key foreign policy advisor, even a Middle East envoy? Or will he be given a “safer” role, such as the manager of the White House Internship Program?

c) Halacha: This is not an obstacle in the case of Senator Clinton. According to a Gemarrah in Maseches Brachois, a Tumtum or Androginus is exempt from keeping Halacha. Therefore, as a she-male, Hillary has no Halachic responsibilities whatsoever. However, according to the Shulkhan Aruch, MiDeRabbanan she is required to bind the Ritzuouis of her strap-on on her left leg, but only if she is a right handed.
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So what’s a Ben Toirah to do in the current election season? If none of the three candidates are acceptable, who should we support?

Rabboisai, we needn’t look very far. In the White House today we have a president who is bold, who is motivated, and who acts with fortitude and purpose. A man who has proven his worth to Klal Yisroel. Of course, you are wondering how President Bush can continue to be president given that he is approaching the conclusion of his second term in office. But I ask you: Did Duvid HaMelech have term limits? Did Shloimoi HaMelech have to step down after serving eight years? What kind of Mishugass is that?

There are those of course who would argue that President Bush is a failure, that the war in Iraq is a quagmire, and that the economy is in shambles. But to them I say the following: It took Moishe Rabbeinu forty years to bring Klal Yisroel to the Promised Land. This president has not yet had time to complete his work. He needs one more term to complete his program.

In four more years, Iraq will no longer be a problem, since by then it will have merged with Iran. Oisama Bin Laden will no longer be a threat; on the contrary, he will favor a stable, peaceful United States, since his family by then will have bought a controlling stake in every bank in America to bail them out of the mortgage crisis. And with another term of President Bush, the economy will no longer be an issue. There will be no more unemployment; by that time, the dollar will be so cheap, the Indians will be outsourcing to us.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval.

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* - Tchum Shabbos: The legal distance that one may travel on the Sabbath – approximately 2 miles beyond an established community.

** - Chatzitza Gemoorah: Complete (hair) covering.