Subscribe To My Weekly Drasha

Send a message to mailto:npoj8@yahoo.com with the word "subscribe"

Friday, February 28, 2014

Ask Rabbi Pinky: On Daas Toirah

HE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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

====================================================



Ask Rabbi Pinky: On Daas Toirah


Rabboisai,

This week’s Shailah comes from a Talmid who uses as much Yiddish as the Satmar Rebbe on acid.

Harav Hagaon Rav Pinky

Whilst discussing Divrei Toyreh I have, on occasion, suggested that our great medieval Meforshim, when composing responsa and commentary on TaNaCh, may well have been influenced by contemporary events impacting Ehrliche Yidden dwelling in Western Europe (e.g. the Crusades, black death, unfair business practices, Shtupping Shikseh maids, etc.) Certain Menuval Rabbonim in my community (whom I do not hold by, Chass V'Shalom) inform me that I am mistaken, and frequently invoke the term "Daas Toirah". I like to think that I am an Erliche, Frimme Yid, but does this not smack of (Chass V'Shalom) Papal infallibility (which I am certain the Goyim must have somehow stolen from us).

A Gitn Shabbos from your Talmid,

Reb Kudish Shmiel

-----

Reb Kudish,

Thank you for your insightful question that gets at the very heart of Yiddishkeit. After all, what else is the heart of our Heilikeh faith than the unfaltering belief in the rulings of our religious leaders, the Gedoilim. Men of wisdom and honor and valor. Men of intuition, able to unerringly answer questions on all topics, informed by their honed minds after studying the words of the Reboinoisheloilum, the teachings of CHAZAL, the lessons of the other Gedoilim, and the extensive library of responsa documented in Igrois Penthouse. Men of an essentially higher moral construct, like Moishe Rabbeinu. Men of a greater character, like Aaroin HaKoihain. Men who are hung like a horse, like Yankif Avinu.

Namely, men like me. And Herschel Schachter.

What is Daas Toirah? It is a term that, sadly, is not well known outside of Chassidic and Black Hat circles, unless you are an Ashkenazi real estate developer, a Moroccan mobster or a Gentile basketball player. It is the belief that Rabbis can grant wisdom and guidance with near infallibility on areas outside of the spheres of theology and Toirah scholarship.

What is it that gives the Gedoilim this wisdom? Why, it is the tens of thousands of hours spent studying Toirah, their minds shaped by the purity of the TANACH, the wisdom of the Gemarrah, the holy words of the Rishoinim and Acharoinim, and the mind-numbing-neo-paganism of the Zoihar. Their minds are molded and shaped and perfected by the words and ideas inspired by the Reboinoisheloilum and His pet hamster, Cuddles.

I literally cry for the Minuvals and their Minuveless wives for all of the time wasted consulting doctors and lawyers and financial advisers as they seek guidance, when all they have to do is come to me. My door is always open. Except when it is closed.

Why, just last week I had multiple inquiries from Talmidim asking for my Toirah-inspired guidance:

-- On Sunday, I had a man come to me to ask my advice on his investments. I suggested he buy stock in Artscroll: As soon as the entire country embraces the most ignorant form of Orthodoxy, he will make millions.

-- On Monday I had a woman come to me asking my opinion on whether she should divorce her husband after finding out he was having an affair. I advised her to remain married, but to raise her self esteem by evening the score. I then took her to the back of my 1987 Dodge minivan, tied her up with my Tfillin and Gartel, and practiced Shlugging Kaparois with her in the back seat.

-- On Tuesday I had a Talmid ask me who he should support in the debate in Israel about drafting Chareidi students into the IDF. I told that Mechutziff that the choice is clear! Why be Mevatel Toirah and waste valuable resources on silly things such as defense, national infrastructure and education for the entire country when you can invest in tens of thousands of able bodied adult men studying Toirah all day and having twelve children each? They are the true protectors of the State. And they are demonstrating their sheer bravery.... by threatening to fight fellow Jews and invoking such terms as Yaharoig Ve'al Ya'avor ("better to die than to comply") with regard to resisting military service. If only all Israeli soldiers had the same sense of privilege! Then we could stop wasting our money supporting charities in the State of Israel.... because there would no longer be a State of Israel.

-- On Wednesday – I was consulted by a couple that is having trouble conceiving a baby, Rachmana Letzlan. I immediately put the woman on a regimen of fertility pills and hormone shots. I had them change their Mezuzahs (lucky I had a few extra lying around, at $300 each…). And I also prescribed that they be Mezaneh while facing Mizrach on Roish Choidesh when it falls out on Moitzee Shabboskoidesh on a Tuesday. When asked if the woman should go to the Mikvah earlier in the week, violating the Rabbinic addition of waiting seven clean days in order to catch her ovulation cycle, I explained that it is better that Klal Yisroel cease to exist than to Chass V’Sholom be Oiver on this D’Rabbanan.

-- On Thursday I was asked by a Talmid for advice on a real estate deal. I strongly endorsed the opportunity to invest in parking garages in rural residential communities. When the Iranians drop the bomb on us we will all be heading to the hills and will need a place to park.

-- Finally, on Friday I was contacted by two parents who believe that their 12 year old son is being molested by his Rebbe and wanted to know if they should report the Rebbe to the authorities. I told them that they must be wrong: No person who has gone through a Smicha program can possibly be a child molester. It just couldn’t ever, ever happen. Never.

-- On Shabboskoidesh, of course, I only responded to questions directly related to Lumdis. Nisht B’Shabbos Garedt, you know.

Some may say that Daas Toirah is dangerously close to the Vatican’s perception of Papal infallibility. Some may say that ascribing near infallibility to any human being runs counter to the Toirah, which portrays Moishe Rabbeinu, Aaroin HaKoihan, and Duvid HaMelech as having been imperfect human beings. Some would suggest that the very essence of the Gemarrah is the notion of debate, which is rooted in a balance between tradition and reason. Some would say that the devastation of the Jews of Europe, including many whose Rabbinic leadership encouraged them not to emigrate, is the greatest proof of Rabbinic fallibility. Some would say that the belief in the infallibility of Rabbis may lead to extreme heresies, including the belief in false messiahs. Some would even suggest that the decentralized nature of Klal Yisroel, the lack of a central authority, is in fact one of our greatest elements of strength, encouraging a vibrant social and intellectual culture that is less prone to the corruption enabled by a single bottleneck.

But I say: Anyone who says such Shtuss is a complete ignoramus and we must excommunicate him from our community immediately. Unless he comes to my humble Central Park West apartment, makes a sizeable donation to my Yeshiva. And then I'll be happy to offer him my counsel.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.



---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, February 21, 2014

On The Role of the Synagogue President

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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

====================================================



On The Role of the Synagogue President


Rabboisai,

I was sitting at home the other day learning Toirah – specifically, the linkages between Hilchois Nashim and Hilchois Malkus Arbaim, based on some recent educational materials starring Rebbetzin Jenna Jameson and Rabbi Yerachmiel Schneiderman (more popularly known as Rick the Schlong) -- when the phone rang. After thoroughly performing Netilas Yadayim, I picked up the phone to hear the shrill voice of the President of my Kehilla, asking my input on whether it was OK for the Shul to substitute blended scotch for single malt for the weekly Kiddush club. After berating the Minuval for interrupting my Limud Toirah for such Narishkeit, I pointed to a Gemarrah in Nezikin which brings down a Braisah where Rabbi Elazer Ben Azariah castigates Ben Hey Hey for serving “Sheissmead” at Kiddush instead of Yayin Shaychur.

The President should have known better. Last year he called me about delaying the start of our main Minyan so that several members of the Kehilla wouldn’t miss their Pilates classes.

What is this role of President of a synagogue? What is the basis of this role, which clearly violates the Toirah’s intentions of the Rabbi having complete authority over all of Klal Yisroel during every second of the day?

As best as can be determined, the role of the Shul President was established by Reb Yankif Emden, as a response to the Shabsai Tzvi phenomenon. In his siddur, Ka’as Shel Yaakov, Reb Yankif includes a prayer for the well being of the Shul President, and in an introduction to the prayer notes the importance of balancing the sacred guidance of the Rabbi with popular support of the President and the Board on all issues of consequence, “especially the year prior to contract renewal,” unquote.

The importance of the Shul President is not addressed extensively until relatively recent times. The topic does, however, receive detailed attention in the She’alois V’Tshuvois of the 1950s. Reb Moishe Feinstein responds to a letter in 1952 from “Curious in Connecticut” asking whether Shuls need Presidents, as well as Vice Presidents, Treasurers and Secretaries of Defense. Reb Moishe states that while he is not personally in favor of Shul Presidents, “recent circumstances highlight the need to acknowledge secular concerns and monitor current events, since the Reboinoisheloilum is certainly asleep at the wheel.”

Commenting on Reb Moishe’s Teshuvah, Reb Aaron Kutler notes his agreement with Reb Moishe’s position. Writes Reb Aaron, “I would not have agreed with this position in 1935; but given our recent history, it’s probably a good idea.” According to Reb Aaron, reliance on Rabbinic leadership for religious guidance inherently assumes that there is a God, and “given that my entire family in Europe was turned by the Nazis into a box of overcooked Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, I can no longer subscribe to any ideology that requires the existence of Hakadoshboruchhu. Either that, or He is a total dick.”

Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky, however, disagrees vociferously, referring to Reb Aaron as a “Shaygitz with a nice hat.” He insists that there is in fact an Aimishteh, but that the decimation of the Jews is not a reflection of the Reboinoisheloilum’s intent, since there is “free will.” These comments were made in a Teshuvah where Reb Yankif declared it a requirement MiDioraisa for a man to always carry a couple of “Kishka skins” in his wallet, since one never knows when the opportunity might arise to exercise free will in the backseat of an Oldsmobile.

The Steipler Ruv builds upon Reb Yaakov Kaminitsky’s position, noting that the existence of free will necessarily implies that Hakadoshboruchhu is not involved in the activities of the world, for if there is total free will for all human inhabitants, how can the Aimishteh influence their activities?

Consequently, according to The Steipler, there can be no consequences, reward or punishment, good or bad, delivered to this world by any human agent, since, by definition, all of humanity acts through free will, not at the whim of the Reboinoisheloilum. Therefore, says The Steipler, the only ways that Hakadoshboruchhu can influence this world are through disease, natural disaster, and aliens from other planets. And since disease and natural disaster randomly affect all humanity including the innocent and children, then we must conclude that they too cannot function as agents of the Aimishteh, otherwise, in the words of The Steiper, “He is one pretty twisted Dude.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe acknowledges the positions of Reb Moishe, Reb Aaron, Reb Yankif, and The Steipler, referring to them as “my dry Misnagid brothers, who have about as much spirituality in them as an oversqueezed lemon has juice.” He cites the Kabbalistic principle of Tzimtzum in explaining the role of the Reboinoisheloilum in the world. Tzimtzum, originally described by the Ari ZAHL, refers to the Divine withdrawal of a part of His own essence in order to create space for the physical world. Notes the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Hakadoshboruchhu’s act of self limitation is not merely a physical description of time and space, but also applies to His involvement in the world. In creating the world, He chose to withdraw from direct engagement in world affairs, and therefore is not the source of human suffering, Jewish or otherwise. At most, comments the Rebbe, the Aimishteh’s involvement in the world is akin to “a child looking at the fish tank while waiting for her appointment at the orthodontist, moderately interested until she picks up the most recent edition of People magazine.”

However, Reb Oivadia Yoisaiph holds Farkhert to all of the above positions. Says Maran, there is in fact a Reboinoisheloilum, and He is fully engaged in the activities of the world. With regard to the tragedy that befell European Jewry, he states, “…People are upset and ask why was there a Holocaust? Woe to us, for we have sinned… All those poor people in the Holocaust…we wonder why it was done. There were righteous people among them. Still, they were punished because of sins of past generations" (an actual quote from a speech made in the year 2000). Of course, Reb Oivadia made similar comments about a variety of topics towards the end of his life, exemplifying the fact that after a certain number of years, even a great mind, like a fine steak, eventually turns to excrement.

This broad debate about the role of Hakkadosboruchhu in the world leaves us, all of us, with fundamental questions regarding how we, in our world, should relate to the Aimishteh, and what role should synagogue life play. If He does not exist, then why waste our time? If He is evil or sadistic, then why bother? If He is playing for another team, and indeed punished Klal Yisroel for rejecting Christ, Joseph Smith, Shariah, Buddha, Baal, or Jim Jones, then why not switch teams? But if He does exist, and He is accessible to our tradition, what is the purpose of prayer and fulfilling the Mitzvois?

This complex set of questions lies at the core of synagogue life, and is at the heart of the delicate balance between the roles of the Shul President and the Rabbi. The synagogue President is a lay leader representing Gashmiyus to the Rabbi’s Ruchniyus. The President represents the congregants, while the Rabbi represents the voice of tradition. The President represents the blank page, while the Rabbi represents the ink and the letters. The President represents the velvet cloth, while the Rabbi represents the embroidery. The President represents the pasta, while the Rabbi represents the sauce. The President represents the water, while the Rabbi represents the Kool-Ade. The President represents the tonic water, while the Rabbi represents the gin. The President represents the eggs, while the Rabbi represents the bacon. I think you know what I mean.

For those of us who have not rejected the Reboinoisheloilum despite rational arguments and bitter historical experience, we sit in prayer, worshipping a Diety that we cannot begin to understand, using forms and words and practices that are bound in tradition, even when they make little sense to us. The role of the Rabbi is to balance our reality with a proud tradition, synthesizing texts and philosophies with practical considerations. But it is the role of the President to serve as a counterbalance against Rabbinic excesses. If the Rabbi enforces excessive measures of Kashruth beyond rational or economic considerations, the President must speak out. If the Rabbi suggests an overly stringent form of Sabbath laws, the President must speak out. If the Rabbi engages in extramarital affairs, the President must speak out. If the Rabbi coerces a woman whom he is overseeing through the conversion process into having an affair with him, then the president must speak out. If the Rabbi engages in improper relationships with children or adolescents, male or female, then the President must speak out. If the Rabbi condemns a Kiddush in his synagogue honoring the IDF, whom he had previously compared to Nazis, then the President must speak out.

For if the President does not hold up his (or her) end of the equation, then Jewish communal life falls off kilter, and we may as well skip Shul and make Rabbinic decisions for ourselves, using the latest educational materials from Rebbetzin Jameson and other Gedoilei HaDor.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.



---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess
_____________________________

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ask Rabbi Pinky: On the Differences Between Misnagdim and Chassidim

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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

====================================================



Ask Rabbi Pinky: On the Differences Between Misnagdim and Chassidim


Rabboisai,

I would like to share you would, my beloved Talmidim, some recent Shakevetaria from an important Toirahdicka forum that has broad relevance for all of Klal Yisroel. I have received permission to cite the questioners, but have taken slight editorial license in the interest of Derech Eretz.

---

Reb Avraham Y.S. asks:

“Why do Briskers have such big Schvantzls?”

---

My response:

As Avraham Y. S. has pointed out, Briskers do indeed have big Schvantzls. But it is not just Briskers - It is in fact all Misnagdim. This was reported in a study in the Harvard Medical Journal in a joint study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, Beis Medrish Gavohah of Lakewood, and Blueboy Magazine. The study found that Misnagdim like me have Schmeckels that are, on average, 20% larger than those of Chassidim.

The key question, of course, is why. There is extensive research on this topic, including current studies at the UCLA Medical School, Bar Ilan University Medical School, and the world renowned Shmaaser Institute located in Davos, Switzerland.

At the moment, the dominant theory is known as The MBP Hypothesis. The conjecture is that the Metzitza BiPeh applied by Chassidisheh Mohelim is executed with such suction that is causes long term damage to the Chassidic Phallus. It is observed that MBP is in general less frequent amongst Misnagdim, plus the Mohel, when he does perform MBP, does it without real enthusiasm, since Misnagdim, Litvaks in particular, are not particularly enthusiastic about anything.

However, an alternate theory relates to shrinkage in the Mikvah; since Chassidim frequent the Mikvah often, almost daily, their Shvantzyls dry out, in a process similar to the chapping of skin.

There is however a theory that was originally proposed by the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe, that suggested that proximity of the Makoim HaMilah to the "holy sparks" in the attempt to bring Moshiach Tzeit has an impact on the size of the Chassidic Penis. However, the nonsensical nature of this hypothesis resulted in the 5th Rebbe being impeached, although he was allowed to retain his pension and other retirement benefits.

Finally, there is the Usage Hypothesis proposed by Charles Darwin in his oft overlooked study of the Jews of Minsk that suggests that Chassidic male Pru Urvu organs are smaller because the corresponding female Pru Urvu organs of Chassidic women are also smaller. And Misnagdisheh Shmeckels are larger because the Misnagdishe Erva is, quote, "open like the ground swallowing up Koirach".

But the research continues...

---

Pessy S. asks: Rabeinu Schmeckelstein, I have a Halachic question that you might have encountered in your extensive research. Maybe you can guide me with an answer.

Being that I have a partly Chassidisheh background .... am I destined for the Chassidisheh Petzel, as Leah was destined for Esav? I have been Davening so much since early adolescence for a Misnagdisheh Schvantzyl that my eyes are always red nowadays. Truth is, the redness is also partly due to how much weed I've had to smoke to comfort myself from the fear of the Chassidisheh Kleinikeit.

To make my problem even more complex, I've asked my sisters if they would switch with me on the wedding night if I'm betrothed and forced against my will to marry a Chassidisheh Petzel. None of them are willing to do so, as they can't wait to welcome their intended Misnagdisheh Schvantzyl into their "homes".

---

My response:

Pessy – My heart goes out to you. But rest assured, there is no reason to believe that as a Chassidisheh Meidel you are truly destined for a Kleineh Shmaaser. It is not Bashert. That is not how the Reboinoisheloilum rolls.

The key concern here is whether your petite Chassidisheh "Bayis" can in fact comfortably accommodate a Misnagdisheh Makoim HaMilah. But I do not think you should worry yourself with such ToirahDickah Maisahs. As a Bas Yisroel, you should be focused on reciting Tehilim praying for a good Shidduch, exchanging recipes with your friends, and collecting Styrofoam heads for the many Sheytlach you will be collecting, BeEzras HaShem.

With regard to husband swapping, obviously Leah Imainu was involved in such a situation with Ruchul Imainu. So from a Halachic perspective it is acceptable, even encouraged. To curry the favor of Hakadoshboruchhu, I suggest that in addition to burning the Jamaican Ketoiress while Davening, you should also go to the local Koihayn and bring a Karban, perhaps a nice sheep or, in this case, a Cock-er Spaniel.

There is a flip side on the medical findings however. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the Chassidisheh Kleinikeit and their... Ummm... MitzvaDickah activities. True, Chassidisheh Yingerman are 20% smaller, but they also tend to engage in "the mitzvah" twice as much. That is why Chassidic couples tend to have at least ten children. So it is not all bad news.

Kenayna Harrah!

Shoyn

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.


---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess
_____________________________

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Parshas Tetzaveh

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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


====================================================


Parshas Tetzaveh

In this week's parsha, Parshas Tetzaveh, the Aimishteh commands Moisheh Rabbeinu to appoint Aron Hacoihain and his sons to serve as the priests of the Jewish People. A serious question arises immediately: Why would Hakkudoshboruchhu 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'll hurt yourself and have to take the rest of the day off.

According to the Bais Yoseph, Hakkadoshbaruchhu singled out Aron 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 Yisrael are obsessed with cows. Why this obsession? We sacrifice them, we eat them, we drink their milk (provided the proper Cholov Yisrael supervision), and we put their pictures on overpriced cartons of ice cream.

In India, where I once was a Talmid of the Maharishi Mahesh Yoinasan, people are also obsessed with cows. Cows walk around the streets, treated with respect and reverence. This is because the cow community is viewed as the model form of society. Unlike Am Yisrael, cows are friendly, cooperative, and never text on their mobile phones while in a movie theater. 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 Rabeinu 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 Aron Hacoihain and his Menuval 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, it is the Rabbi who is charged with doing the dirty work, making Drashas, giving Piskei Halacha, and inspecting ladies underwear for Dam Nidah and for Shatnez. Coihanim are relegated to playing Casper the Friendly Ghost at the front of the Shul and giving the Kehilla the finger when nobody can see.

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.

However, I would like to suggest that both the Toisfois Yom Tov and the TUSH were completely off target. I believe 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 Rebboinoisheloilam, hands out Aliyas 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 Toirah.

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 Meshugayim stand at the front of the Shul and argue with him over whose turn it is to Daven Musaph for the Amud. Meanwhile, I get to slip to the back of the Shul and find out what the latest headlines are or what the Yankees did the night before. (Boruch Hashem there are always some Am Ha'aratzim who "magically" seem to be up on current events.) 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 Yeshiva University scandal is very reminiscent of how Lavan treated Yankif Avinu.

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.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.


---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess