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Friday, January 22, 2016

On Restoring Order To The World, And Making Klal Yisroel Great Again



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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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On Restoring Order To The World, And Making Klal Yisroel Great Again


Rabboisai,

I think it is time to make a Mishuberach.

For whom? Why, for the Reboinoisheloilum, of course!

Let's face it: Hakadoshboruchhu has had a pretty tough year. Interest rates have just gone up after many years, but the enormous national debt is beginning to deter foreign investment. The Republicans are doing their best to destroy each other... which may prove, once and for all, that the Aimishteh is actually a Democrat, Chass V'Shalom. And that last James Bond movie was another disappointment. How can we have the finest actor since Sean Connery in the role matched with scripts that belong to Scooby Doo cartoons?

Oh, and the entire Reboinoisheloilum-damned world is falling apart! ISIS. Syrian refugees. Global terrorism. I wish the news would focus on the more critical issues facing the world, like Kaitlin Jenner or the new Star Wars movie.

Rabboisai, something is indeed wrong in the world. Something that is hard to identify. The world seems, somehow, off-kilter.

I believe that there are hints at why this is, in a Mishnah in Avois, Perek Aleph, Pasook Hey:

ה. יוסי בן יוחנן איש ירושלים אומר, יהי ביתך פתוח לרווחה, ויהיו עניים בני ביתך. ואל תרבה שיחה עם האישה--באשתו אמרו, קל וחומר באשת חברו; מכאן אמרו חכמים, כל המרבה שיחה עם האישה--גורם רעה לעצמו, ובטיל מדברי תורה, וסופו יירש גיהינם.

5. Yoissi Ben Yoichanan of Jerusalem said: Let your home be wide open, and let the poor be like members of your household, although do not let them touch the remote control, lest they lose it. And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said regarding one's own wife; Kal V'Choimer with the wife of another, especially if she has great legs. From this, the Chachumim said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects studying Toirah, and, in the end, he will have earned time in Gehenim, and be forced to do errands around the house by his wife.

Rabboisai,

How many of us can say that we behave in a manner consistent with the words of Reb Yoissi Ben Yoichanan? Can we honestly say that in our everyday lives we keep an adequate distance from women?

I know that I try my best: I sit on the bus every morning on the men's side of the Mechitza; I employ only men at my yeshiva, Yeshivas Chipass Emmess - As rebbes, as business managers, as accountants, as secretaries, as cooks, and even as Mikvah Ladies; and at home, I do not even speak to my Bashert, Feigah Breinah - we communicate through sign language, morse code, smoke signals, and, Bi'Shas Ha'Chak, through flatulence.

Toisfois asks a Gevaldik Shailah on this Mishnah: If men are not supposed to converse with women, how are we to procreate and continue the species? And more important, what should Chassidic men do at night if they are not supposed to go to strip clubs?

The ROISH answers with a Givaldikkah Chiddish: He points to the very next Mishnah in Avois:

ו. יהושע בן פרחיה ונתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושע בן פרחיה אומר: עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר, והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות.

6. Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nitai of Arbel received the Toirah from (the earlier members of the Mesoirah of Toirah descent). Yehoshua ben Perachia says, "Make for yourself a Rabbinical mentor, and purchase for yourself a friend, and judge every person with the benefit of the doubt."

Says the ROISH, this Mishnah answers the question regarding women. In a world of Toirah, we no longer need to marry; we simply need a Rebbe, someone to learn with, and no more. And if we ever get horn... errr... a Taivah, we should simply "purchase" a friend. $50 for a half an hour of hot adult action is a lot cheaper than buying some woman an expensive dinner, sharing 50% of your salary and 401K, or paying Yeshiva tuition. And how do you know that the $50 toothless Kurva is without STDs? Well, the Seifah of the Mishnah tells us that we should always "Dan Esss Kol He'Adam LeKaf Zchuss", we should "judge every person with the benefit of the doubt." So don't worry about it. Der Aimishteh Tzu Helfen - the Reboinoisholoilum will watch over you and ensure your safety... just as He did in Poland between 1939 and 1945. In other words, for $50 you are guaranteed to get Farfucked.

The RAN, however, disagrees, referring to the ROISH as a "frustrated little Litvak". He says that Mishnah Vuv, the sixth Mishna, has absolutely nothing to do with the fifth Mishnah. LeOilum, says the RAN, there should be women in our lives. We just have to be cautious that we not engage with them excessively on non-professional issues. If we are at work, we should keep the conversation focused on the professional issues at hand. If we are at home, we should speak to our wives and daughters about household issues, such as cooking, cleansing, and repairing the roof. And it we are with our lovers, we should not be thinking about them, but should be focussing our Kavvanah on the Gedoilim, the Gemarrah, and Oig Melech Ha Bashan.

Yes. Woman are at the core of our ills. Excessive male association with women, and female exhibitionism are the sources of all that is wrong with the universe. This fundamental truth is recognized by the Gedoilim of our generation:

-- According to the Jerusalem Post published on November 2, 2015, "Prominent national-religious leader Rabbi Shlomo Aviner spoke out strongly on Monday against religious women serving in the IDF, saying they are contributing to the destruction of the State of Israel...'The State of Israel is the foundation of the throne of God in the world. Whoever harms the soul of the state also harms the state itself. A girl who enlists to the IDF with the claim that she wants to contribute, is indeed contributing – she is contributing to the destruction of the state.'" The message is clear: Women are destroying the State of Israel!

-- According to the Jerusalem Post on December 5, "Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, the most senior haredi rabbi in the Ashkenazi non-hassidic haredi world, was quoted by a close associate as saying that a man had asked him if he should let his daughter go to university. Shteinman replied that to do so would be worse than stealing money since material goods may be recovered but the 'spiritual damage' of permitting the young woman to achieve higher education could not be undone."

In the very same article, we are told that a senior haredi rabbi recently suggested at a conference for high school principals held in Bnei Brak that higher education for women constitutes a more severe blow to the haredi world than the Holocaust. Rabbi Aviezer Peletz was quoted by the Kikar Hashabbat news website as saying, “The furnaces of this generation are burning more than the furnaces of Auschwitz, more than the cellars of the inquisition with all their tortures, these are spiritual furnaces.”

-- And Rabbi Modechai Willig, in his own essay on Torah.Org published in August, 2015, cast a shining light to the future of true Toirah Judaism when he declared, "the inclusion of Talmud in curricula for all women in Modern Orthodox schools needs to be reevaluated. While the gedolim of the twentieth century saw Torah study to be a way to keep women close to our mesorah, an egalitarian attitude has colored some women's study of Talmud and led them to embrace and advocate egalitarian ideas and practices which are unacceptable to those very gedolim." Those uppity bitches!

Yes, Rabboisai, all evils in the world, Hakadoshboruchhu's kingdom, are caused by women. They are leading us astray, and will drive Klal Yisroel and Kol Ha'Oilum Kooloh, to Shmad.

It is with this backdrop that the Heiligeh RCA had the foresight and wisdom to put up one more Geder to remind women to mind their places and stop with this Narishkeit of becoming rabbis. Rabbi Avraham Gordimer, SHLITA, one of the holy drafters of the RCA resolution reiterating the RCA's ban or ordaining women as rabbis and banning any so-called "Rabbas" or "Maha- Rats" from being hired into a religious or educational capacity by any Orthodox institution under their titles, wisely asked in an essay published on the Arutz Sheva website published on November 11, 2015, "why can we not recognize the sheer greatness of Jewish women in their age-old roles as wife, mother, educator/morah and rebbetzin/rabbanit?... Women in these capacities have built, sustained, inspired and carried the Jewish People through thick and thin. These roles are at the bedrock of our Mesorah (tradition) and are at times overlooked by those seeking to introduce and innovate."

Baruch HaShem! It is based on the wisdom of these Gedoilim that I make sure to keep my Bashert, Feigeh Breinah, barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen at all times. In fact, right now she is preparing a soufflé in the kitchen, being careful not to slip on the water on the floor, which recently spilled from her Erva when her water broke, as she is preparing to give birth to our 32nd child. But don't worry, she will have plenty of time to finish the soufflé before I take her to the hospital - I am in the middle of a complicated Sugya in Bubba Basra, so I am going to need at least another hour to review the Meforshim before I am ready to take her.

I am reminded of a famous Maiseh Shehoya. Rabbi Dov Ber ben Avraham, the Maggid of Mezeritch, one of the Baal Shem Toiv's principal disciples, was once traveling through the Ukraine, raising money to buy his Chassidim Kuchmas, traditional fur hats for the cold winter. In those days, early on the Chassidic movement, rebbes did not travel in personal transport vehicles, but traveled by wagon, often accessed at the local stations in the towns along the travel route.

The Maggid had arrived early at the station in Babruysk, and was seated on a bench reading The Byelorussian Times when a beautiful, buxom blond woman, scantily clad and wearing a big crucifix, approached him.

"Are you a Chassidic Jew?" the woman asked in a throaty voice, whole her gaze focused on the Maggid's olive green eyes.

"I am indeed" replied the Maggid, trying his best to focus on his newspaper.

"Well.." the beautiful woman began, bringing her head rights next to the Maggid's, and whispering softly in his ear. "I would like you help with this fantasy I have. I would like you to come back to my apartment, and let me run my fingers through your Tzitzis and uncurl your Payis with my tongue. Then I want you to spend the whole night making sweet love to me, and bring me true Chassidic joy as many times as you can."

The Maggid slowly looked up from his newspaper, stroked his beard, looked the woman in the eye, and responded with a soft but stern voice. "Nu, young lady. So what's in it for me?"

Shoyn

As we see from the Maiseh Shehoya, women have throughout the generations led our men astray. Was it not Chava who led to humanity's fall from Gan Eden? Was it not Miriam who sowed discord amongst Klal Yisroel in the wilderness and was punished with Tzara'as? Was it not 300 of Shloimoi HaMelevh's wives who forced him to introduce Avoidah Zorah into the Bais HaMikdash, and also kept him perpetually exhausted?

Now, of course, some Talmidim may cite the accomplishments of women in previous times and in our own. Yes, we know all of the arguments that the so-called "Open Orthodox" will make: The Gemarrah and Chazal lived in a time of different sensibilities, and even Chazal leave openings for greater roles for women in religious leadership and give concrete examples of select exemplary women throughout history. Women in our days are equal beneficiaries of secular education and are as accomplished as men in business, the sciences, the arts, and increasingly in political life. Indeed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was just named time Time Magazine's Person of the Year for navigating Europe through the abyss of 2015, assuming a global leadership role left open by President Barak HUSSEIN Oibama's dithering on key global challenges.

And when we look at women in the Bais Medrish, the so-called "Open Orthodox" will argue, women are proving themselves to be as capable as men in Talmudic scholarship.

But no matter.

As the Gemarra teaches us in Soitah, Daf Chuff, Amud Aleph (BT Sota, 20A)

רבי אליעזר אומר כל המלמד בתו תורה <כאילו> לומדה תפלות

Rabbi Eliezer says, one who teaches his daughter Torah, (it is as if) he teaches her Tiflus (folly).

And because Rabbi Eliezer says it, it must be true. And if anyone argues the issue with me, I will stick my fingers in my ears and start reciting Kaddish.

So our failures, or, rather, your failures, you Menuval, to distance yourself from women has brought the world to the brink of destruction. One very concrete example: In a Shtetyl in North America, a woman by the name of Rebbetzin Chana Adel Bas Yentah Frumah was named "Teacher Of the Year" by the township - from among all of the qualified candidates in the public school system and the local Yeshivas, across all genders. She is in fact the first teacher NOT from the public school system to receive this reward.

Should we, as Klal Yisrael, be proud of the accomplishment? Of course not! Because SHE IS A WOMAN! And not only that, she has been named "Teacher Of the Year" while teaching at an all boys Yeshiva! I am sorry! She is not a teacher - She is a Boy T.O.Y. And she is leading the Talmidim astray!!

So what can we do to restore balance in the world created by the Aimishteh?

Rabboisai, we must return to the basics. We must work to help Hakadoshboruchhu restore order to the world, by learning Toirah, by doing Mitzvois, and by rescuing the lost holy sparks scattered in creation.

Join me, and we will return this world to male dominance, just as the Reboinoisheloilum intended! Let us double the amount of time we spend in Koilel, and make our wives work twice as hard to raise the children and support the family, Let's subjugate our women, and make Klal Yisroel great again!

Just please do me one favor... Please do not share this Drasha with my Bashert, Feigah Breinah. I am scared shitless of her.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Parshas Bishalach


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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN

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Parshas Bishalach


In this week's Parsha, Bishalach, the Bnei Yisrael pass unhindered through the Yam Suf, while the Mitzrim drown, those Vilda Chayas. Following this great miracle, Moishe Rabbeinu sings Az Yashir, the "Song of the Sea," surrounded by a chorus made up of Klal Yisroel, with musical accompaniment by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and with U2 serving as the opening act.

It's Gevaldik, man! Hey, somebody pass me the Bsomim!!

A Gemarrah in Chulin quotes Rish Lakish, who is troubed that Miriam Haneviya felt compelled to deliver her own song afterwards. What, Moishe Rabeinu's song wasn’t good enough? Suddenly women need to have equal time with men and copy everything that we do, including singing praises to Hakkadoshboruchhu?

I'm surprised that the Bnei Yisrael's sheep didn't feel left out and start singing a duet with the goats!

Asks Rish Lakish: What could Miriam have possibly been thinking?

According to the RIF, Miriam's motivation is purely philosophical: Miriam is fundamentally committed to the concept of equality between the sexes. He cites as proof a famous Medrish that notes that Miriam once burned her bra while preparing the Karban Pesach, the sacrificial Paschal lamb, and points out that Miriam used to always complain about getting paid 60% of what Aharaoin Hakoihain, the Menuval, was earning.

The RAMBAN argues Aderabbah -- Miriam was not interested in gaining gender equality at all! Rather, she was...err...more than happy to spend ALL of her time with women, if you know what I mean. He cites a Medrish that says that Miriam took six years off from her prophecy career to participate full time in the LPGA tour, and is frequently referred to in the Zoihar as "Big Butch Haneviya." She is in fact credited by most of CHAZAL for keeping Mishkav Nekaiyvah off the "Abomination" list and on the "Mitzvas Asei She'Hazman Grammah" list.

However, the Sifsey Chachomim hold Farkhert. They say that Miriam was solely focused on her singing career, and only performed following Moisheh Rabbeinu in order to attract interest in a three record album deal. They cite an MTV "Behind the Music" special that tells us that Miriam was always seen in a belly shirt, had a pierced navel, and was once engaged to Justin Timberlake for six months. Tragically, the Special tells us, her life spiraled out of control after an embarrassing "wardrobe malfunction", and when the Toirah says that Miriam spent two weeks outside of the encampment of Klal Yisroel due to leprosy, she was actually in rehab at the Betty Ford clinic.

Whatever the reason, Miriam's actions have bequeathed us a legacy. This is where we see the roots of Open Orthodoxy; Rabbahs -- Female Rabbis; Maharois – Female Almost-Rabbis; Yoi’atzois Halachah – Females with Rabbinic –level knowledge on Taharas Hamishpacha, menstruation, and orgasms, the Reform Movement, and the KKK. It is because of Miriam that women want to stop shaving their heads in Brooklyn, reveal an inch of their real hair in Monsey, have their own Minyan in Teaneck, have a “Partnership Minyan” with men in Manhattan, dance with the Torah in Lincoln Square, read from the Torah in Long Island, and bond with their sisters through membership in the Orthodykes. All because of Miriam.

Because of Miriam, women want to have jobs other than being teachers. They want to go to college, Chass V’Sholom. They want to drive, Rachmana Litzlan. And they even want the right to vote! All because of Miriam.

Miriam was the Shandah in the Midbar, and now Klal Yisroel suffers because our women want equality. They do not want to stay on their sides of the street or in the Ezras Nashim of the bus. All because of Miriam.

But that is not all. If Miriam would have stayed in the kitchen and had been watching the bread bake like she was supposed to instead of practicing make believe Chazzanus, we wouldn't have to spend a week and a half in constipated agony caused by eating nothing but Matzoh for eight days straight.

I would like to share a Maiseh Shehoyo: Last week I was at the Chassanah of the daughter of my insurance salesman. They had such wonderful schnapps that I got really Shikkur. In the morning, I was so hung over, I did Pisshin-Zein in the bathtub, gargled with my Neigel Vassar and flossed with my Tzitzis (which is quite efficient, since you can clean between sixteen teeth at one time).

My Bashert, Feigeh Breinah, could not join me at the Chassanah, since she said she needed to cook for Tisha Ba'Av and wax her head before going to the Mikvah. The next day she asked if I enjoyed myself, and I told her that other than being Mishtachaveh in the men's room for twenty minutes, I had a wonderful time. She wished me well as she went off to teach at the Bais Yankif, while I went back to bed to watch Dr. Phil and order in a pizza.

Such an Aishess Chayill. You should only be so lucky.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Thursday, January 14, 2016

On Rabbinic Discretion


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On Rabbinic Discretion

Rabboisai,

I am writing this post from the nerve center of Yeshivas Chipass Emmess - The video control room that monitors the Yeshiva's Mikvah, Showers, and Shvitz.

It is from here that I manage the multiple cameras that shoot video from many angles: In the evenings, to record the many women who use the Mikvah to fulfill their Dioraisa of going to the Mikvah to purify themselves from bleeding from their disgusting Ervas for a week without dying; and in the mornings, to capture the views of boys and young men who come to work out, take a shower, and expose themselves literally and emotionally, in the sauna.

I feel like Hakadoshboruchhu, Baruch HaShem! The Toirah teaches us that we, humanity, were created in His image. And since He gets to see everyone naked, why can't I?

Rabboisai, it is terribly troubling to me how the media and the Am Haaratzim, not to mention the anti-Semitic American government, have vilified some of my closest colleagues for the leadership they have provided their communities. Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Freundel and Rabbi Jonathan (Yoinoison) Rosenblatt are both great leaders of our community, people we should aspire to emulate. They have shown such Mesiras Nefesh by video recording and staring at the Reboisheloilum's creations, all in the name of Kiddush HaShem. And anyone who does not see this is not fit to walk in their shoes... unless their feet happen to be the same size.

Such is the nature of leadership: We, the rabbis of this community put ourselves out, week in and week out, only to be criticized by the common man who cannot understand our actions and our motives. But that is why we are rabbis, and you Minuvals are simpletons who cannot count to twenty one without using all ten fingers, all ten toes, and that little appendage that Rabbi Rosenblatt likes to see after a nice game of racquetball.

Such is the nature of the masses of Klal Yisroel. You are Am Kshei Oref, a Stiff Necked People. We rabbis, however, do not have stiff necks; we prefer it when other body parts are stiff.

Rabboisai, since you are undoubtedly a complete ignoramus, I would like to teach you the Toirahdicka way of examining both of these situations that my close colleagues find themselves in. And then, when you realize that you are Choisaid BiKeshayrim, suspicious of the innocent, you will understand that you are slanderers who should be expelled by the rest of Am Yisroel. "VeLamalshinim Al Tehi Tikvah"... unless of course you have a lot of money and would like to make a nice donation.

So let us understand what really happened in each of these two cases.

My dearest friend Rabbi Barry Freundel is committed to the perpetuation of Yiddishkeit in its purest form. And what better tool is there to ensure purity than the Mikvah? So Rabbi Freundel set out on a one man mission to ensure that women who used his Mikvah would do so in a proper way. And since it would be inappropriate to attend in person to observe the women getting undressed, preparing for the Mikvah, sitting on the toilet, showering, going into the Mikvah, getting out of the Mikvah, drying off, and getting dressed, he decided to video tape all of these actions. Why? Not to ogle at women, Chass V'Sholom!! But to ensure that the each woman prepared properly for the Mikvah, removed every hair that might be a Chatzitza, wiped properly while sitting on the toilet, immersed completely, and emerged from the Mikvah once her Tevilah, her dunking, was adequate, and had satisfied the will of the Aimishteh.

And how did he know when a women's Tevilah was Koisher? Just like the Butterball Turkey™ that has a little button that pops out when the turkey is fully cooked, Rabbi Freundel, when reviewing the video, would wait to see if a congregant's nipples were erect when emerging from the Mikvah, at which point, at his desk in his rabbinic office, he would slap his right hand down on his desk and shout "KOISHER!", all the while using his left hand to spank something else...

And to ensure true preparedness for the Mitzvah of Mikvah, Rabbi Freundel would encourage women, including his converts and even non-Jewish students who might one day sleep with a Jew after having one too many tequila shots, to engage in "Practice Dunks". RAMBAM was a great Halachic innovator, as was the Vilna Goyn. Rabbi Freundel was simply following in that tradition. Baruch HaShem.

And now, for the first time, The Rabbi Freundel Complete Video Collection™ is available for purchase, for six easy payments of $69.95. And if you are among the first hundred Minuvals to call, we will drop one of those payments, and add a set of Ginsu knives as our special gift to you.

My other close rabbinic colleague, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, is a true Bucky BiSHAS. He has extensively studied the importance that mentorship plays in Klal Yisroel, particularly between a Rebbe and his Talmidim. And he too was inspired to walk in the path of the Reboinoisheloilum. Just as Hakadoshboruchhu formed Adam HaRishoyn from wet clay, Rabbi Rosenblatt set out to shape his students while they were sitting wet in the Shvitz. And just as the Aimishteh molded Adam out of dirt, out of nothingness, Rabbi Rosenblatt liked molded his students by removing all extraneous barriers from his Talmidim, such as clothing, self esteem, and self-respect.

What would motivate a middle aged rabbi to want to bathe naked and sit in the sauna with students, some as young as twelve years old, and engage in intimate discussions with them? Some of you Mechutzuffim might say that Rabbi Rosenblatt has a disease, a fatal flaw, a predilection that, while not clearly illegal, is an abuse of his rabbinic authority that crosses ethical and moral boundaries. But if this is what you believe, you are completely wrong! Chass V’Sholom! Rabbi Rosenblatt is a Tzaddik who likes to take students under his wing. We are told by RASHI, commenting on a Gemarrah in Kiddushin, about how Rabbi Meir, in order to illustrate to one of his students that “Nashim Da’ason Kalois”, “women are of simple minds”, asked the student to seduce Rabbi Meir’s wife Beruriah. After a few failed efforts, the student succeeded. So great was Rabbi Meir that he would compel his beloved wife and his student to engage in an act of Eishes Ish that, according to the Toirah, would be worthy of the death penalty, but for Rabbi Meir, it was a pedagogical device. Mi KeAmcha Yisroel!!

So the essence here, the commonality, actually, is the notion of going Lifnei Meshuras HaDin, going beyond the letter of the law, going beyond basic Halacha, in order to serve the Reboinoisheloilum.

I am reminded of a Maiseh Shehoya told to me by Rav Yarden in the name of Rabbi Freddy. The Tzemach Tzedek, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the Rugachuger Rebbe were staying in the same village in the Ukraine for Shabbos to attend a poker tournament. As they were running to Shul on Friday night, they bumped into each other. “Good Shabbos, Rebbe” said one. “Good Shabbos, Rebbe” said the other. Then the Rugachuger looked at the Tzemach Tzedek and asked, “Tell me, Reb Menachem Mendel, what for you constitutes a ‘Good Shabbos’?”

The Tzemach Tzedek looked back at the Rugachuger and replied, “For me a good Shabbos starts with going to Shul on Friday night, going home, having some chicken soup and a meal, then leading a Tisch with my Chassidim, then going to bed. Then on Shabbos morning, I get up, I go to Shul and Daven, then have Kiddush and lunch with Cholent and Kugel and hand out Shirayim. Then my grandchildren come over and I play with them. Then I take a nap, go back to Shul, learn a little, Daven Mincha, and then go home for Shallashudis. That for me is a ‘Good Shabbos’. Tell me Rebbe, what is a ‘Good Shabbos’ for you?”

The Rugachuger paused for a moment, and then responded. “For me, a ‘Good Shabbos’ starts on Friday morning, when I get in a carriage and set out for Moscow. When I arrive in Moscow, I check into a hotel, and then order up a steak to the room, a bottle of scotch, and a Kurva. Then we Shtup all night. The next morning I go down to the hotel’s casino, gamble for a couple of hours, then go back to my room, order up another steak, another bottle of scotch and another Kurva. Then we Shtup all afternoon. That for me is a ‘Good Shabbos’.”

The Tzemach Tzedek looked at the Rugachuger Rebbe, his face frozen in a serious expression. The Tzemach Tzedek then poked his finger on the Rugachuger's chest and replied, “Rebbe, let me correct you. That is not a ‘Good Shabbos’. THAT IS A ‘GREAT SHABBOS’!”

The Tzemach Tzedek understood that the Rugachuger believed in not simply observing basic Halachic and social norms, but in going Lifnei Meshuras HaDin.

In our day, how does one know when someone is going Lefnei Meshuras HaDin? That, you ignoramus, is where rabbinic expertise comes in.

You might believe that a rabbi is committing gross crimes and violations that humiliate, denigrate, and victimize women in the case of Rabbi Barry Freundel and boys and young men in the case of Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt, potentially leaving the victims scarred for life. But you would be wrong. Since Reb Barry and Reb Jonathan are rabbis, they, and the rest of us rabbis, are the only ones who are qualified to determine what is abuse, and what is a gesture that goes Lifnei Meshiras HaDin.

And anyone of you Menuvals who disagrees with me or would like to know more about my rabbinic ruling is invited to come to visit the Yeshiva next week. We can play a game or two of racquetball, and then discuss over a shower and a Shvitz. And if you bring your teenage son with you, I promise to give you a discount on The Rabbi Freundel Complete Video Collection™.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Parshas Va-Eyrah


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Parshas Va-Eyrah

In this week's Parsha, Parshas Va-Eyrah, the Aimishteh commands Moishe Rabbeinu to declare independence from the Egyptians and go to Eretz Yisroel, first and foremost so Am Yisroel can stop paying rent and begin to build up equity in their own homes. Moishe at first refuses, responding that he is an "Arel Sefasayim," someone with "uncircumcised lips."

Chazzal pondered at the meaning of this phrase. Pashut Pshat (the simple explanation) is that Moishe was using a metaphor for being shy and uncomfortable when speaking publicly, and was therefore not the best choice to serve as representative of Klal Yisroel.

On the other hand, a famous Medrish tells us that as a young boy, Moisheh was tested by the Egyptians regarding his greed. To prevent Moishe from being discovered as the future prophet of the global diamond industry, an angel pushed Moishe's hand onto a pile of burning coals. Moishe immediately drew his burnt hand into his mouth, scarring his tongue and leaving him with a speech impediment. (I must tell you -- I spent 6 years of my life trying to figure out this medrish. I imagine that someone must have fallen off an elevated chair dancing at a Chassanah and banged his head on the floor in order to come up with this one.)

According to a Gemarrah in Avoidah Zorah, Rava holds that Moishe is actually referring to the fact that he had a cleft palate. Indeed, Rav Ashi goes even further, suggesting that Moishe was also a hunchback. As proof, Rav Ashi cites a Braisah that says that though formally named "Moishe," his nickname was actually "Quasimodo."

Finally, Reb Hai Goyn suggests that Moishe, using the words "uncircumcised lips," was perhaps referring to certain "experimentation" in college with one of his gentile roommates, if you know what I mean, making him unfit to lead Klal Yisroel. But in the following Possuk (verse), the Reboinoisheloilum immediately made clear his "don't ask don't tell" policy, rendering the whole issue moot.

Beyond this dispute over semantics, there is a fundamental question which arises in this Parsha: If the Aimishteh loved the Jews so much, why didn't He just give us Egypt? We were running the place anyway. The Egyptians could have gone; there were twenty-one other Arab countries waiting to welcome them. And the Jews could have done really well with tour packages to the pyramids.

But instead, it was the Jews who were compelled to leave. Which leads to another, no-less-important, question. Moshe, instead of taking the Jews north, should have gone south. Was Moishe's compass broken, or was he simply suffering from heat stroke? Or did he drink too much at the Kiddush Club that week?

Klal Yisroel could have had the whole continent of Africa. Beautiful beaches, diamond mines, glatt kosher safari tours, giraffe meat in our cholent. But no. Moshe went north, to a desert wasteland. (I swear, sometimes I think that Moishe Rabbeinu's Tfillin were on a little too tight.) So we are now left with this tiny country with little more to offer than ceaseless geopolitical conflict, rampant corruption, and really rude hotel staff. (Thank the Aimishteh for the topless beaches in Eilat or I would never visit.)

And we are trapped in our current dilemma.

But rest assured, we are not the only ones to struggle with these thorny issues. The status of Eretz Yisroel is of course one of the key areas of disagreement between the RAMBAN and the RAMBAM.

According to the RAMBAN: Whoever is the most extreme, right wing, fundamentalist, xenophobic political figure in the country, he's our man. The government -- Labor, Likud, whoever -- they don't know what they're doing. Only by sheer force can we expel all the Arabs, as well as all the leftists and non-religious and anyone else we don't like, in order to build the society Hakkadoshboruchhu always intended. (That would leave about 200,000 people in the country -- which is about all He needs, apparently.)

RAMBAM on the other hand holds farkhert: We should give the Palestinians as much land as viably possible. All our Arab cousins want is a little bit of dignity and a little bit of land, so they can live their lives as we live ours, in harmony, side by side. Then we can develop a common economic zone, open our borders, and hold Israeli-Palestinian dance mixers every Saturday night. (I bid twenty dollars for a slow dance with Fatima, by the way.)

However, thankfully, the RAMBAN and RAMBAM do agree on one critical point. They both hold that in the event that a treaty is signed with an Arab country, a true Ben-Toirah is the first on line to get a visa in order to bring back souvenirs from the Shuk and show pictures to everyone in shul of himself sitting on a camel, visiting a local archaeological dig, and spending time with his new best friend, Fatima. And if he's lucky, she'll have "circumcised lips."

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval.

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess