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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Parshas Lech Lecha

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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

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Parshas Lech Lecha

This week we read the Parsha of Lech Lecha, where, for the first time, the Aimishteh promises the gift of Eretz Yisroel to Avraham Avinu our forefather, and by extension, to us. In this Parsha, we also read about the Bris Bain Habesarim, the Covenant Between the Pieces. We read about Sarah's being temporarily taken as a wife by the Pharoah of Egypt. And we read about Avraham's ritual circumcision at the ripe old age of ninety.

The RAMBAM asks an obvious question on this Parsha regarding the giving of the Land of Israel to Klal Yisroel: MAMESH, WHAT COULD HAKKADOSHBORUCHHU HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN THINKING!? Of all the inhospitable rocks He could possibly have selected, why did He have to choose an arid land filled with deserts, thorn bushes and scorpions, lacking in fresh water, and populated with the most unfriendly, close minded, hostile, self absorbed people you can possibly encounter -- Chassidim. Err..., I mean the indigenous inhabitants of The Land -- The Canaani, the Chivi, the Yevussi, the Girgashi, and a few others.

According to Rashi, the Reboinoisheloilum actually instructed Avraham to go east, not west, and indeed meant to give him all of China. However, Avraham was holding his map upside down while practicing using chop sticks, and ended up walking in the wrong direction.

However, according to the Sifsey Chachomim, Avraham actually wanted to go to Eretz Yisroel because he dug Yevussi chicks, who were all blond, a foot taller than him, and renowned for their beauty. Indeed, the Sifsey Chachmomim cite a Medrish that tells us that after entering into Eretz Yisroel, Avraham Avinu went around telling every woman he met that he is a producer and would put her in his next film, if she would only audition in his tent.

The Tzitz Eliezer points out that Avraham actually loved The Land that the Aimishteh promised him -- with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might. He was really very attached to it, running through the trees, walking through the fields, and, especially, lying on the grass, for hours on end. In fact, he may have loved the land a little bit too much -- not unlike his great grandson Onen, if you know what I mean. In fact, according to a Brasiah in Baba Kamma, Avraham and Sarai couldn't conceive because Avraham had a low sperm count. Says the Tzitz, the reason that Hakkadoshboruchhu commanded Avraham to cut off the tip of his Makom Hamilah was so that he would give it a rest for a week or two.

The Schvantz Mordechai holds farkhert. He says that Avraham was ambivalent about the Land of Israel, but was committed to fulfilling the agreement consecrated at the Bris Bain HaBesarim.

How are we to understand this strange practice? Take a cow, cut it in quarters, add some spices, and BAM!, eternal covenant. In a famous Mishnah in Nezikin, Rabbi Tarfon complains that for the miniscule sliver of land the Jews received, it would have been more appropriate had the covenant been consecrated by cutting up a miniscule animal, such as a gerbil. In fact, a related Braisah conveys that every year on Yom Ha'atzmaut the same Rabbi Tarfon would have a special ceremony commemorating Eretz Yisroel with a gerbil, one select student, and a nice merlot.

A Medrish in Beraishis Rabbah actually recounts that two hundred years before Avraham Avinu was born, the Reboinoisheloilum consecrated an agreement similar to the Bris Bain HaBesarim with a different nation by cutting up a Chilean Sea Bass. Unfortunately, that other nation was Atlantis, so we don't like to talk about it.

Another Medrish tells us that cutting up a cow was Avraham's second choice. His first choice was an S.U.V., so he could make a killing on the spare parts.

In our day, we live up to our covenants with Hakkadoshboruchhu in three ways: We keep the Toirah and Mitzvois; We perform our own "Bris" on our male children. And we live in Eretz Yisroel despite the sectarian violence, the high taxes, the monotonous Jerusalem stone architecture, the yellow journalism, the political corruption, the secular extremists, the religious zealots, the naive left, the fanatical right, and the uncommitted center. Basically, there are too many people in Eretz Yisroel -- it is intensely overcrowded. When the Reboinoisheloilum promised Avraham Avinu in this week's Parsha that his descendants would be like the dust of the earth, we thought He meant only the Jews; we didn't know He actually meant ALL of Avraham's children!

What Eretz Yisroel needs today is more space -- land enough for all its inhabitants -- Israeli and Arab, Jew, Christian, and Moslem. Indeed, many of our latter day sages believe that this very same Parsha holds the key to solving our territorial dilemma.

According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, we can look to the story of Bris Milah for our solution. Just as we remove a very slight but symbolically significant portion of ourselves in order to make us "completely Jewish", so too we should remove any elements from Eretz Yisroel that prevent us from being "completely Jewish."

Rav Ovadiah Yoseph, on the other hand, points to the Bris Bain Habesarim for the answer. The Aimishteh and Avraham Avinu cut up a cow into equal portions in order to consecrate an agreement. So too must we be prepared to cut up the Land in order to reach an agreement.

I, the RAPAS, would humbly like to suggest another option, also suggested by this week's Parsha. This week we read how along their travels, Avraham and Sarah come to Egyptian territory. Avraham pleads with Sarah Imainu to tell the Egypians the she is his sister, and she subsequently shacks up with the Pharoah. Meanwhile, in next week's Parsha, at Avraham's urging, Sarah once again masquerades as Avraham's sister and hooks up with another national leader, this time with Avimelech of Canaan. According to Rabbeinu Taam, this revolutionary sharing of Sarah Imainu is the first instance in history of the time share.

And it is using this approach whereby we may find the solution to our overcrowding problem. Here is how it works. We get Eretz Hakoidesh two weeks out of the year. We plan ahead, bring the kids, the in-laws, everyone. The local staff ensures that the refrigerators are filled with our favorite foods. We can even use all the facilities, for a nominal fee. After we leave, the Palestinians can use the place for two weeks, eat all the falafel they want, and tour around every part of the country. After their two weeks are up, the gypsies get it for two weeks -- Aimishteh knows they need a homeland.Then the Basque. And so on.

To make sure that the Eretz Yisroiel Time Share Enterprises (TM) is fully utilized, we will do some aggressive marketing. Telemarketing to people in their homes when they are in the middle of Biyuh is a good start. We will give away cheap electronics to nations willing to come over and have a look. We will invite them for a low cost weekend and have them stay in Gaza, promising that the place is being redecorated and, trust us, the whole area will look just like Savion in eight months. And we will remind them: a time share can be shared with friends, it can be passed down in a Last Will and Testament to subsequent generations, and is much less expensive than setting up their own homeland.

All this discussion of overcrowding reminds me of a Maiseh Shehoyo. 300 years ago in the town of Berditchev, the one shul which stood at the center of town, Temple Ahavas Achiyois, was filled every week wall to wall with mispallelim. It became a hardship for the Gabbai to physically go through the shul every week and get the Hebrew names of all the guests in order to call them up to the Toirah. Reb Chaim MiBerditchev, the Gadol Hador -- the great sage of his generation -- came up with an alternative custom: Instead of calling people by the standard convention -- Hebrew name BEN father's Hebrew name, they would call people in a descriptive manner, not requiring specific names.

The first week went very well. "Ya'amoid the guy in the second row, three seats from the left, Shlishi." It worked like a charm for all seven Aliyois plus Maphtir. However, problems began the second week. "Ya'amoid, the guy in the back row who is secretly gay, Chamishi." Three men stood up. It was particularly embarassing because one was the rabbi's son. The third week was the clincher, though. "Ya'amoid, the guy in the shul with the really hot wife, Shishi." Nobody stood up.

Reb Chaim decided that for Shalom Bayis reasons the new custom was a mistake. He ruled that the shul should revert to the old method, and also founded the Rolodex Corporation that very week.

So not every solution to overcrowding works. At least Reb Chaim didn't introduce any ceremonies requiring a gerbil.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval.


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NEW - On the Reboinoisheloilum’s Relationship with Klal Yisroel

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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

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On the Reboinoisheloilum’s Relationship with Klal Yisroel

Rabboisai,

I have a splitting headache. It has been a very long time since I had a break from studying Toirah. Except for the many hours spent in Shul during Roish Hashanah and Yoim Kippur; the many hours spent shaking my Lulav and poking out the eyes of the guys standing behind me; the many hours spent volunteering for the Romney campaign, converting Jewish ancestors to the Mormon faith (hey – they pay me $5 a head); and the many hours of research on my iPad trying to find lost Jewish souls involved in the adult film community.

Yoimum VaLailah, day and night, I study Toirah, all so I can educate you ungrateful Minuvals. And what is the thanks I get? You talk during my classes, you doze off while reading my Divrei Toirah, you fall asleep on the floor during my Shiurim, and you don't even write me a check. How am I supposed to keep the lights on in the Yeshivah, provide Yayin for Kiddush, Ner for Havdalah, Pas for Orchim, and Condoms for all of my Talmidim?

In a world with a challenging economy, we must all pitch in. The world is changing. Newspapers are disappearing. Retail stores are going out of business. Technology is evolving rapidly. But none of this should affect Klal Yisroel, since Toirah is timeless.

We are told in the Mishnah "Asey Lechah Rav, U'Kne Lecha Chaver" - "establish for yourself a Rabbi, and acquire a friend". What's Pshat "kney", "acquire", as in “purchase”? In this Mishnah there is a Kal V'Chomer, an implicit derivative command: If you are to acquire a friend, how much more must you spend on establishing a Rabbi!

So by reading this e-mail/ blog you acknowledge that you have selected me as your Rabbi. And I expect a little compensation. Monetary compensation. Buy my books. Send me flowers. If you’re a hottie, maybe send me your Gatkes to inspect, Eppis. But even more so, pass along my Toirah to others, write me a check. Seek my advice, write me a check. Get my input on a real estate deal, write me a check. Get a quick Psak from me, write me a check. Have me make a few phone calls to get your son out of prison, write me a check.

I am now preparing my third book, scheduled for the spring. I am struggling with the title and would like the input of my beloved Talmidim. Here are a few options:

-- Toirah MiSinai - The Thread of Tradition From Antiquity To Our Day

-- Etz Hadaas - The Blossoming Tree of Divine Wisdom

-- Moishe Emess VeSoirasoi Emess - How Following the Path of Moses Will Make You Irresistible to Women

-- David Melech Yisroel Chai Vekayam - Using King David's Method to Sustain Larger Erections and Great Staying Power

Please offer your input. And as you do, write me a check.

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Rabboisai

We live in a very confusing time. Our ancestors, may they rest in peace, lived much simpler lives. Most were poor. Most were uneducated. They worked very hard for the little they had. Some aspired to Toirah greatness, but most were satisfied with following the rules, the Halachah, as they understood it. Some sought input from local rabbis or prominent rabbis or itinerant rabbis. But most led simple lives – Davening three times a day, keeping Shabboskoidesh, not eating pork – no matter how inexpensive and tasty it was, and howling at the moon once a month.

Many had exposure to the Gentile world. Depending on the time and place, the relationship was largely commercial. We sold them eggs. We bought their produce. We ogled their hot farm girls. Occasionally anti-Semitism reared its ugly head, in business interactions, in interpersonal relations, or in pogroms. But our ancestors struggled through their simple, but imperfect lives. Until it all ended with a mighty, cosmic “wham bam thank you ma’am” delivered with a German accent.

Jump to today. The post Holocaust generation has become enamored of its own self-righteousness. The State of Israel has become confused by its own formidable strength juxtaposed with its continued vulnerability. Toirah has become not a luxury for the very few but the forced course of the many. The teachings of the itinerants have become mainstream, as people have embraced the eccentric as normative. The irrational and the mystical have too often won out over nuanced common sense.

Rabboisai, it is time that we have that talk I have been meaning to have with you.

Have you ever wondered why Klal Yisroel is still here? If our ancestors kept their loyalty to the Reboinoisheloilum, despite all the hardships, despite the poverty, despite the pogroms, what happened to the simple Biblical equation and contract with Hakadoshboruchhu: We keep His Mitzvois, and in exchange He does not send in the Cossacks, the Moroccans, the Crusaders, or send us to the gas chambers? And if the Aimishteh’s intent was to destroy us, once and for all, why can’t He just get it over with, for Reboinoisheloilum’s sakes? Why do we continue to exist as a People and a Nation? What does it all mean?

Even further: Why do we continue to worship Him? Why SHOULD we continue to worship Him? After the destructions, the expulsions, the massacres, the persecutions, the pogroms, and the Shoah, why should we offer Him our thanks? Does He really deserve our thanks? Does He deserve our praise? How can we in our right minds and good conscience declare “Hodoo LaShem Kee Toiv Kee leOilm Chasdoi”?

These fundamental questions are the core essence of the existential Machloikessin debated by Chazal, accompanied by side bets, smoking Bsomim, and late night runs to KFC for chicken nuggets and gravy to help take care of the munchies.

-- According to the ARI ZAHL, Hakadoshboruchhu is not directly involved in human affairs and cannot be held accountable for anything that happens, ever. He, or rather, It, is a complex entity made up of different forces, the Sephirois, which have their own interactions, elements and personalities, as well as limitations. Through the act of Tzimtzum – Divine withdrawal – the force that is the Aimishteh created a space for humanity to exist. In addition to housing humanity, that space has a gym, a pool, and a party room, though you typically have to reserve it a month or so in advance.

-- According to Reb Yisroel Salanter, however, the Reboinoisheloilum is indeed involved in the activities of the world. But He is not trying to kill us all, just to torture us. Reb Yisroel would often tell his Talmidim in Bais Medrish: “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport” (a quote from King Lear, you ignoramus). However, according to Reb Yisroel, Hakadoishboruchhu’s murderous rampages against Klal Yisroel are not without reason. We read in Tehilim Nun Tess (Psalms 59) a plea for deliverance from Israel’s enemy, and a curious plea to the Aimishteh: “Al TeHargaim, Pen Yishkachu Ami; HaNiamoi B’Chaylcha V’Horidaimoi, Maginaynu Adonoi.” “Slay them not, lest my people forget, make them wander to and fro by Thy power, and bring them down, O Lord our shield” (Pasook Yud Baiz, Verse 12).

According to Reb Yisroel, the Reboinoisheloilum is punishing Klal Yisroel for rejecting Christ, His Messiah, and we are destined to remain the “wandering Jews”, an example to all the nations of the punishments that await those who do not accept Christ as their Lord and who do not write checks to Jimmy Swaggart, contribute money to Joel Osteen, or engage in… errr… Biyuh Sheloi KeDarkoh with a local Catholic Priest who likes to give “private lessons” to naughty little boys. Reb Yisroel, of course, made this declaration as he was dating a red headed Hungarian beauty named Christine. He later foreswore this position, and insisted that Klal Yisroel was being punished for not drinking Cholov Yisroel endorsed by his Hashgacha.

According to Reb Levi Yitzchak MiBardichev, Hakadoishboruchhu is indeed trying to kill us all. He detests our arrogance and our money lending and our collecting of interest. He hates our political and social involvement, our pride in achievement, and self-absorption with which actors, models, athletes, politicians and other public figures are Jewish, or might have a Jewish parent, or might have once given Metzitza BiPeh to a Jew. He has had it up to HERE!

So, according to Reb Levi, the Aimishteh has decided to… ummm… have adult relations with us, and has employed Hitler, Stalin, the Cossacks, Ahmedinijad and all of our other tyrannical persecutors to hold His…. ummmm…Bris Milah throughout the process.* However, the Reboinoisheloilum is losing His touch. He is trying to destroy us all, but every time He gets close to wiping us out we get taken in by a nice Gentile family who raises us as their own and protects us, those anti-Semitin.

-- On the other hand, Reb Shomo Kluger holds Farkhert. According to Reb Shlomo, the Aimishteh is actually rewarding us for our loyalty! All of the nations who are evil and who deny His dominion and who are not MeKayaim the Sheva Mitzvois B’Nei Noiach are the ones who will suffer when they are sent to Gehenim to have their Schvantzels used as wicks in the Menoirah of the Third Bais Hamikdash and their Makoim Ervahs used as Bsomim holders. But we, Klal Yisroel, His chosen people, will all sit alongside the Reboinoisheloilum in Shamayim, partaking in His Toirah, eating of the Levyoson, and drinking shots of Schlivovitz. But to earn our seats at His table we must have all of our sins expunged from our records. So it is to our benefit that we are tortured and expelled and persecuted. Sticking our ancestors in the gas chambers was an act of Divine mercy and kindness. Thank you, Hakadoshboruchhu!

-- However, Rav Shimon Schkop holds that this question is not legitimate, as it is the product of Jewish self-obsession. Surely we have a history of being persecuted, suffering through oppression, pogroms, and outright massacres, massacres that defined cruelty in the twentieth century. And if indeed Jewish history were unique, we would have no right to thank the Reboinoisheloilum and praise Him and sing “Hoidu Lashem Kee Toiv Kee Leoilum Chasdoi”. If indeed we were singled out like no other nation, then we could truly conclude that the Aimishteh has made a mockery of us.

But the harsh reality is that we are not the only people, the only nation, the only ethnic group, the only religious group who has suffered – through both human hands and the cruel fate of nature. Here are a few examples:

-- In the middle ages there was the terrible Black death, the Bubonic Plague, during which 30% of China and 50% of Europe died, all in all 100 million people.

-- The Native Americans – a group that encompassed 100 million people before the incursions of Westerner settlers – lost over 90% of its population through massacre and disease.

-- The Turkish Genocide following World War One targeted not only Armenians, but Assyians and Greeks as well. The result was the murder of over 1,000,000 Armenians, 750,000 Assyrians (Assyro-Chaldeans), 350,000 Anatolian (Turkish) Greeks, and 70,000 Turkish Kurds, with many more dispossessed, driven from their homes, and sent into exile.

There are indeed many other examples. Why, in the last twenty years alone there have been genocides, in Bosnia Herzegovina and Rwanda. And there have been fearsome natural disasters.

So, what should we make of this, and how should this fact influence our own relationship to the Reboinoisheloilum?

I am reminded of a Maiseh Shehoya. Reb Aharoin Kutler was learning in the Bais Medrish in Vilna with his father in law, Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer. One of his their students came running in declaring, “The Nazis are coming! You must run and hide.” Alarmed, Reb Isser Zalman began to gather his Gemarras and other Sefarim and run for shelter. But Reb Aharoin did not get up.

“Aharoin”, Reb Isser Zalman said, “Why aren’t you getting up to run into hiding with me?”

Reb Aharoin replied, “All my life I have wanted to be like Rabbi Akiva, who waited all his life to be Mekayaim the Mitzvah of dying Altz Kiddush Hashem.”

“Then you are a Schmuck” Reb Isser Zalman said. “Rabbi Akiva only knew of the Toirah Shebichsav and the early learnings of the Toirah She’Baal Peh. You, on the other hand have the benefit of much more wisdom: The Mishnah, the Gemarah, the Rishoinim, the Acharoinim, and most importantly, the writings of Charles Darwin. Even in a world permeated with Kedushah, we are still subject to the laws of Survival of the Fittest. So get your ass out of that chair before Adolph turns you into a lampshade.”

Recognizing his father-in-law’s wisdom, Reb Aharoin ran into hiding, and was later smuggled to America in a case of matjes herring.

Klal Yisroel are indeed the children of the Reboinoisheloilum, as are all other human beings. Yet our physical and cultural survival over the millennia is unique. We are not immune to the rules of nature or the evil impulses of mankind. But we are still here. We are like Hakadoishboruchhu’s teddy bear: He sometimes walks around with us under His arm, He sometimes drops us, and He sometimes forgets us. But we can still hope that when He goes to sleep at night He will tuck us in right next to Him, so that we can live to see another day.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval,
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* Rashi: In Provantz – “God is fucking us, and Hitler, Ahmejinidad etc... are only holding His dick.


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Simchas Toirah Drasha

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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

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Simchas Toirah Drasha


Rabboisai,

This week we celebrate the conclusion of Sukkois and the completion of the annual cycle of Kriyas HaToirah by getting stinking drunk and dancing with members of the same gender.

Rav Moishe Chaim Luzzato asks: Why do we dance with other men, which is a clear violation of Lifnei Iver for Mishkav Zachor, an unacceptable temptation that may lead to playing “bury my Sukkah pole in your Schach,” if you know what I mean?

There is a famous machloikess that addresses this question. Reb Yisroel Salanter comments that the completion of the Toirah cycle is meant as an Ois, a microcosm, of Oilum Habbah. With the completion of the Chamishei Chumshei Toirah, we experience a moment that is a foreshadowing of Biyas HaMashiach and Oilum Habbah, the dawning of the Messianic era and the World to Come. As such, we know that when Moshiach comes, many of the Halachic restrictions of Oilum Hazeh will fall away. Just as Tisha Ba’Av will shift from being a day of somber mourning to our greatest day of celebration, Biyuh SheLo KeDarko with another man will shift from being an “abomination” to a “Mitzvas Asei SheHazman Grummah.” It will also be a great way to reward your Chavrusa for knowing all the latest dance steps to “Zara Chaya VeKayama.”

Rebbe Nachman MiBreslov proposes a similar approach. He suggests that we do not dance in celebration of completing the annual cycle of reading the Toirah, since in ancient times much of Klal Yisroel followed a triennial cycle, completing the Toirah in three years. Rather, Rebbe Nachman states that we dance with other men to signal the end of the long holiday season. He writes in his famous treatise Likutei MoHaran that “Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Toirah clarify the essential differences between men and women. At this time of year, while men are busy trying to eke out a living without being fired for missing work, building the Sukkah, preparing the Arba Minim, etc., their wives are constantly calling them with requests, such as:

-- ‘Reuvain, can you please pick up bok choi on your way home from work’

-- ‘Shimoin, I don’t think we have enough dessert for the fourth meal we are hosting; can you pick up some brownie mix?’

-- ‘Layvee, I have to stay late at the office; can you come home early to give the kinderlach a bath?’”

Says Rebbe Nachman, “If I can trade being called fourteen times a day by my wife and being incessantly hen-pecked in exchange for engaging in Mishkav Zachor with another man, I will gladly play catcher in Biyuh SheLo Kedarko with a big sweaty Yeshiva Bochur named Lazer.”

However, the Vilna Goyn suggests that Rav Moishe Chaim Luzzato and Rebbe Nachman MiBreslov probably spent a bit too much time hanging out at the Mikvah on Erev Yoim Kippur. He writes farkhert in Chuddushe HaGruh, “In Klal Yisroel, we don't have homosexuals. We don't have that in our Kehillah. In Yiddishkeit, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it.”

Instead, the Gruh points to the seasonal nature of Shaloish Regalim as the true reason we celebrate on Simchas Toirah. He notes that just as Peysach is Chag HaAviv – the Spring Festival, and Shavuois is Chag HaBikurim – the Harvest Festival, Shmini Atzeres -- and especially Simchas Toirah -- celebrate something critical in the calendric cycle of Klal Yisroel and of Kol HaOilam Kooloh in general.

To make his point, the Gruh cites a famous machloikess. The Tur asks, “What is the most important Aliyah during Kriyas HaToirah?

According to Reb Yoisaiph Karo, the most important Aliyah is Rishoyn, the first Aliyah, since it is the Aliyah reserved for the Koihayn, the representative of Klal Yisroel designated by the Reboinoisheloilum to bless His chosen People.

According to the Bais Yoisaiph, the most important Aliyah is the second Aliyah, the Aliyah of the Layvee, since he silently enables the holy activities of the Koihayn by washing the Koihayn’s filthy hands and smelly feet.

According to the Keseph Mishnah, the most important Aliyah is the third Aliyah, since it is typically reserved for the biggest tzaddik in the room. Or, more frequently, it goes to the guy who writes the biggest check to the shul, even though everyone knows he frequently schtupps his hot shiksa secretary while eating pork, and makes his money by selling variable mortgages to eighty year old widows who live off of Social Security.

However, the Shulkhan Arukh holds that the fourth Aliyah is the most important one. His reasoning: Unlike the first, second, or third Aliyahs, the fourth Aliyah is an RBI position. He is batting clean up, while the others simply have the responsibility of getting on base. He has to drive them home, an awesome responsibility. As proof, the Shulkhan Arukh cites the fact that the last Aliyah is typically reserved for a Bar Mitzvah boy or a light hitting shortstop. Or for a pitcher in the National League, Chass v’Sholom. These mamzerim are likely to get out anyway, so we may as well put them in a position where they can’t do any damage.

Continues the Goyn: On Simchas Toirah, we echo the external calendar and combine the completion of the Toirah cycle with the completion of the Major League Baseball season. Consequently, there is a strong Minhag for men to dance together and jump on top of each other in victorious celebration. There is even a Minhag amongst the Sephardim to pour champagne over each others’ heads, although us real Jews celebrate by drinking scotch and making Mei Raglayim in the Ezras Nashim.

I am reminded of a famous Maiseh Shehoya. Reb Elchanan Wasserman once took a break from the Simchas Toirah celebrations at his Yeshiva and ran home for a quick snack. When he arrived, the house was empty. No one was in the kitchen and no one was in the living room. He went upstairs, opened the door to his bedroom, and to his surprise, he found his wife Chraindie naked, rolling around in bed with the wives of his three Talmidei Muvhak, his leading student protégés. In shock, he asked his wife, “Voos Tootzuch Mit Der Gefilte Fish Party”?

His wife Chraindie responded, “Elchi, you are off in Yeshiva celebrating the end of the Toirah cycle, while we are here celebrating the end of our cycles.”

Pausing for just a moment, Reb Elchanan told his wife, “You are indeed an Eishess Chayil!” He then ran back to the Yeshiva, passed through the Bais Medrish amidst all of the Freilechin dancing and singing, and joined his three Talmidei Muvkak in his private study off the Bais Medrish. Together the four of them intently watched a playoff game on TV for the next hour and a half.

Ah Freilechin Yuntif, You Minuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess