THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
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
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess