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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
On the Twin Hills of Jerusalem
Before I begin this week’s Drasha, I would like to address a very serious question: How can we engage in humor at a time when Klal Yisroel is under attack? Nearly every day there is a terrorist incident in Israel: A mother is killed in front of her children in her own home; a student is murdered in a random drive by shooting; a nineteen year old soldier is killed not on the battlefield, but on the streets of Jerusalem; and so on. How can we go on with our daily lives, let alone engage in humor?
The answer is quite simply the secret to the survival of the Jewish People. Our ancient predecessors left Egypt with little on their backs, yet in subsequent generations settled The Land, either through conquest (according to Sefer Yehoshua) or gradual settlement combined with shifting alliances and wars involving the Shvatim, the Twelve Tribes, amongst themselves and with other local nations (according to Sefer Shoiftim). Klal Yisroel continued to sustain despite the successes and ultimate collapse of the United Monarchy of Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech, the treachery of wicked kings, and the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel and near destruction of the southern kingdom of Judah by the Assyrians. Klal Yisroel survived the destruction of Bayis Rishoyn and Galus Bavel and rebuilt Bayis Sheni, which would fall hundreds of years later. We survived exile and persecution throughout the world, including the Spanish Inquisition and the Shoah.
The simple answer is: Klal Yisroel is a nation of survivors.
Many of us are descended from Holocaust survivors. Many of us have lost family, close or distant, to Israel’s wars or terror attacks. Most of us are descendants of people who were refugees, if not one generation ago, then two or three or six generations ago. We are a People who have survived death and despair and poverty and who have instead of putting our suffering at the center of our national narrative, have kept it as a preface or footnote to our rebuilding in Eretz Yisroel, in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in France, in Australia, in many other countries, and yes, even in Germany.
Ours is a Nation that looks forward far more than it looks backward. So we acknowledge our pain, we remember our losses, but we rebuild and look forward. We do not hide under our beds, afraid to come out, but we embrace life and the future. We cry, but we also laugh.
We are survivors. And that is why Am Yisroel Chai.
This week I address a Shailah from one Shimoin HaSoifer:
“Rabbi Pinky, is breast augmentation surgery Assur because of Baal Toiseph?"
Reb Shimoin, when I first read your question I just assumed you were a fourteen year old Menuval from Boro Park who has not yet been allowed to watch Netflix without your mother in the room, but as I began to look at the writings of the Gedoilim, I saw that you were actually Mechaveyn to a Shailah posted by Reb Larry Flint in Mishpacha magazine in 1984. So you are indeed walking in the footsteps of the Gedoilim. Unfortunately, I cannot report back to you on Reb Larry’s answer to that Shailah, as the pages where the Shailah is addressed in the copy of the periodical in the Yeshiva’s library are stuck together.
But, indeed, you ask a Shverer Kasha. And the more I contemplate the Kasha, the Shverer it becomes…
Fortunately, there is much literature on this topic in the writings of Chazal. There is a Mishnah in Whoreyois where Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel address the question of what is the preferred size of a woman’s… errr… Boobelach. Bais Shammai holds that a woman should have a Baiz Cup, as a Zaicher to Har HaMoriah and the hills around Yerushalayim. Bais Hillel holds that a woman should have a Daled Cup, as a Zaicher to Har Sinai.
It is based on this Mishnah that Rav Yoisie suggests that a small Boobelached woman should stuff her… err… Eiphod with dates or pomegranates to make herself appear larger, so as to satisfy both the Shitahs of Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel. And what should a large Boobelached woman do? According to the Rav Sheyshess, such a woman should bind her torso tight like a Sefer Toirah, and try her best not to breathe.
However, according to Rav Puppa, there is no real debate about the size of a woman’s Boobelach. According to Rav Puppa, Kooley Alma Loi Pligi, everyone agrees, that a woman must accept her fate, whatever the size of her Boobelach. But, adds Reb Puppa, the Reboinoisheloilum shows His love for each Bas Yisroel by enabling her Boobelach to grow every time she gets pregnant. And that is why whenever we have a Siyum on a Misechta of Shas, we recite the names of all 20 of Rav Puppa’s sons; he always made sure that his wife was pregnant. He LOVED Toirah, and wanted to be reminded of Har Sinai every time he looked up from a Sefer and gazed at his wife while she was cooking, changing diapers, cleaning, changing diapers, sewing clothing for the children, changing diapers, paying bills, changing diapers, changing diapers, and changing more diapers. What a Tzaddick!
So what is the Machloikess, according to Rav Puppa? It is over the proper size of a woman’s Nipplach. To his understanding, Bais Shammai holds that a woman’s Nipplach should be KeZayis, like the size of an olive, while Bais Hillel holds that they should be KeBeytzah, the size of an egg.
Of course, all of these issues relate to the preferences of Chazal, but not to your Shailah of augmentation. For that, we need to consult modern medical authorities. Which means we must start with the RAMBAM, since his knowledge of medicine, while 900 years old, is still better than anything that these fake doctors in our days can ever come up with. The Am Haaratzim.
Says the RAMBAM in Mishnah Toirah, “We should not tamper with the creations of Hakadoshboruchhu. He created the world, with all of its imperfections. And since we cannot perfect a woman’s fundamental flaw by slapping a penis on her, why would we ever want to ‘augment’ her other imperfections?” Unquote. So according to the RAMBAM, it is not even a Shailah of Baal Toiseph; it is a Shailah of Baal Tashchis: Why should a man spend good money on his wife’s Boobelach augmentation when, for a quarter of the price, he can buy a nice new turban?
However, the RAMBAN holds Farkert. He declares that all human beings, men and women, are created in the Aimishteh’s image. Each has an element of the Reboinoisheloilum in his or her soul. So according to the RAMBAN, one may indeed engage in Boobelach augmentation for his wife the way that one may spend extra money on an Esroig, as it is Hiddur Mitzvah. And unlike an Esroig, which loses its significance at the end of Sukkois, this form of Hiddur Mitzvah is the “gift that keeps on giving”.
The Mechaber of the Shulkhan Aruch Paskins like the RAMBAM, and cites his position as the Halachah. However, this of course applies primarily to the Sephardic world. The RAMAH provides the Ashkenazic approach. Says the RAMAH, “the tradition in our countries is not to focus on a woman’s Boobelach, but on her Middois.” Comments the Vilna Goyn on this RAMAH: The body is just a shell; it is utilitarian – it serves a purpose. But Middois are part of a person’s Neshamah, man or woman, and the Neshamah is eternal.
Because the GRUH believed that the body is utilitarian, he made certain that his personal practices reflected his philosophy. So when the Gruh would be Mekayaim the Mitzvah of Pru Urvu with his wife, so as not to be Mevatel Toirah he would always bring a Sefer with him, and he would use his wife’s Boobelach as a Shtender for holding his Sefer in place whilst engaging in The Mitzvah. When he and his wife were younger, the Sefer was usually small, like a copy of Pirkei Avois. But as they both aged and his wife’s Shtender became larger, he would use the Shtender to hold a full sized volume from the Vilna Shas. (There is a separate debate between Reb Chaim Verlozhen and Reb Yankif Emden about whether the Gemarrah was from the Talmud Babli or the Talmud Yerushalmi.)
Of course, in our day, we must contemplate such issues in light of modern understandings and sensitivities. In our day, we do not look at women as “objects” and their body parts as topics for academic discussion. Women are as educated as men and as successful as men in all secular fields. The only area where women trail men is in the area of Toirah scholarship, because, as we well know, women can never, ever become rabbis, because there is a rich Mesoirah that denies their ability to become rabbis because of a fundamental lack of a penis.
So it is really up to a woman to decide what she prefers – Big, small, medium sized, etc. I am told that in our generation, in a single day a woman can actually design such things on an App, see what they will look like, create custom implants using a 3-D printer, have the operation done laparoscopically, and be home in time to watch The Housewives Of Boro Park while their husbands relax by drawing in adult coloring books.
And how should a Ben Toirah respond to his wife’s new “size”?
On this issue there is a rich tradition inspired by the Toirah. As we read in Beraishis, Chava, the primordial woman, is described as Adam’s “Eizer Kinegdoi”, his “help mate”. We also know that woman is to man like water is to all human beings – an element necessary for life. And we know from the travails of Moishe Rabbeinu that he was punished for striking a rock to get it to produce water, rather than speaking politely to the rock, asking nicely, perhaps taking the rock out for dinner and a show.
And if that does not work, a Ben Toirah can always rely upon the age old Jewish form of foreplay – twenty minutes of begging.
Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval
Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess