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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
My Rebbe Muvhak, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, SHLITA, has published a new blog post in which he discusses the differences between Hillel and Shammai, and suggests that Hillel was too flexible on issues related to Halachic rigidity when confronted with human sensitivity, and implicitly compares himself to Shammai, whom Rabbi Pruzansky SHLITA suggests represented the strong backbone of commitment to Toirah-true purity.
In honor of this new post, I am sharing a Drasha I deliver a couple of months ago on the topic of Klal Yisrael's leadership paradigm. This Drasha was originally written in honor of the presumptive Republican nominee.
While some may consider Rabbi Pruzansky as being insensitive to others, including women, Democrats, rape victims, progressive Orthodox, and anyone who disagrees with him, I would like to offer my full endorsement for the position of my Rebbe, SHLITA.
Anyone who disagrees with Rabbi Pruzansky SHLITA is simply a whiner, and is akin to a woman, or a man, who cries rape every time they are... ummm.... raped.
On Klal Yisroel's Leadership Paradigm
It has been a busy week here at Trump headquarters. We have been running out of people to offend, and are struggling to come up with new ones. We started with Mexicans and Hispanics in general, moved on to Muslims, and embraced White Supremicists - thereby offending blacks and Jews. And Reboinoisheloilum knows, we set our targets on women.
We have boasted about our sexual prowess, thereby insulting religious social conservatives, and attacked China and Mexico while manufacturing Trump branded goods in China and Mexico, thereby offending everyone with any brain matter left.
So all that leaves are non-ethnic males with no brains - that is our core Trump target voting segment. Sheygitz Am Haaratzim... The kinds of people all of our Jewish ancestors came to America to get away from.
But this is the voting block that will "Make America great again." Boruch HaShem - the Moshiach is about to arrive, and he has small hands, a Groisseh Schvantzyl, and quite a bit of alimony to pay. He even shared his great wisdom through the failed Trump University.
And like a king, he often speaks of people getting on their knees before him.
It sounds like Shloimoi HaMelech all over again.
Rabboisai, when we think about the different leadership models for Klal Yisroel, we open up a historical Shailah: Who in the long history of Klal Yisrael were considered to be the best class of leaders? Were they the Avois, the forefathers. Were they to the Shoiftim, or the Koihanim, or the Neviim, or the Kings? Were they the Persian or Greek overlords, or the Chashmonaim, or the Sadducees or the Pharisees? Were they the Tannaim or the Amoraim or the Rabbis in general? Were they the leaders of the Jewish Federation, or AIPAC, or other Jewish organizations?
Or were they the great Roishei Yeshiva, or, Chass V'Sholom, the great Chassidic Rabbeihim?
The answer of course comes from the first Mishnah in the first Perek in Pirkei Avois.
משה קיבל תורה מסיניי, ומסרה ליהושוע, ויהושוע לזקנים, וזקנים לנביאים, ונביאים מסרוה לאנשי כנסת הגדולה.
"Moishe Rabbeinu received the Toirah from Hakadoshboruchhu on Sinai and passed it on to Yehoishua, who passed it on to the Elders, who passed it on to the Prophets, who passed it on to the Men of the Great Assembly."
The Mishnah later tells us that the Toirah was passed on to the various Tanaim, in a chain of tradition. And by Toirah, the Mishnah is not speaking of obscure teachings given on a mountain, but of the actual mantle of the leadership of Klal Yisroel.
Let us note: The Toirah, according to the Mishnah, was not handed down to the Koihanim, the priestly class, or to the Kings - from the House of David HaMelech or any other line. It also does not speak of lawyers, or investment bankers or accountants or Jewish studio executives or Malcolm Hoenlein for that matter.
Farkert! Our model for leadership, as defined in the Mishnah, idealizes Moishe Rabbeinu as the penultimate leader of Klal Yisroel. And by not mentioning the Koihanim, the Mishnah envisions Aroin KaKoihain, the Minuval, as no more than Moishe Rabbeinu's bitch.
Moishe was the soft spoken one - the Toirah tells us how Moishe declares to the Aimishteh, כי כבד-פה וכבד לשון, אנכי, "I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue". This is traditionally understood by CHAZAL to mean that Moishe either had a stutter, had burnt his mouth in a miraculous incident where some angels forced Baby Moishe to put hot coals in his mouth - believing them to be glowing jewels, or that Moishe suffered from Cerebral Palsy.
Meanwhile, Aroin HaKoihain, the Vilda Chaya, never know when to be quiet. For example, during the Chayt HaEigel, did Aroin HaKoihain, the Mechutziff, urge Klal Yisroel to be patient and wait a little longer for Moishe to descend from the Har Sinai? No! He gathered all the gold jewelry from Klal Yisrael and fashioned an Eigel HaZahav, a golden idol shaped like a calf. In addition, he used the extra gold to put gold caps on his teeth and many chains to wear on his neck and wrists and renamed himself "Notorious AHK". In fact, according to a Medrish, when Yehushua Bin Nun protested to the Cheyt HaEigel, Aroin responded, "Yo Yo Yo, Shut the fuck up you motherfucker or I will put a cap in yo ass!!" He then set off with his posse and they spent the night at the most expensive Midianite clubs, which he left at 4:30 the next morning with three leperous women on his arms.
There is a beautiful Gemarrah that talks about the political struggles in Judea. Rabban Gamliel was the Nasi, the President, of the Sanhedrin, but he acted in a disrespectful fashion to Rabbu Yehoishua, and was removed from his position and was temporarily replaced by Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah. The only reason Rabban Gamliel was not impeached permanently was because the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, as they were too busy debating whether circumcision was the most important Mitzvah in the entire Toirah or was an anachronistic practice of genital mutilation. (They ultimately ruled that it was a Mitzvah, since Jews always insist on getting 20% off on everything.)
This story appears twice in the Gemarrah, in both the Babli and the Yerushalmi. The Yerushalmi has a slight variant on the story. In the Yerushalmi version, Rabban Gamliel asked all members of the Sanhedrin to raise their right hands in solidarity with him, in something akin to a Hitler salute. According to this same Gemarrah, during the period of his temporary removal from the Nasiut, Rabban Gamaliel took the time to get married to his longtime companion, Eva Braunstein.
So what do we learn from these important incidents in the history of Klal Yisroel? We learn that leadership is not equated with being the loudest or most obnoxious person in the room. Sadly, this is not a lesson that Steven Pruzansky has taken to heart. Leadership is also not necessarily based on popularity - Rabbi Yoichanan Ben Zakkai's polling numbers were very low, but he is credited with saving Yiddishkeit by moving the center of scholarship from Jerusalem to Yavneh. And fifty years later, Rabbi Akiva’s and “messiah” Bar Kokhba’s popularity ratings were at an all-time high when they led the Messianic rebellion against Rome, until Rabbi Akiva ended up as a Roman lamp shade, Bar Kokhba ended up as a puddle of blood at the last stand in Betar, and the Jews were banned completely from Jerusalem for the next few centuries.
So, from the perspective of CHAZAL, the penultimate model of leadership is to be like Moishe Rabbeinu. What does that mean? The first Perek of Avois brings down numerous members of CHAZAL citing examples of model behavior:
-- Hillel: נגד שמא אבד שמא, דילא מוסיף יסוף
“One who advances his name, destroys his name. One who does not increase, diminishes.”
-- Shammai: אמור מעט ועשה הרבה; והוי מקביל את כל האדם, בסבר פנים יפות
“Say little and do much. And receive every person with a pleasant countenance.”
-- Rabbi Shimoin Ben Gamliel:
כל ימיי גדלתי בין החכמים, ולא מצאתי לגוף טוב אלא שתיקה; ולא המדרש הוא העיקר, אלא המעשה; וכל המרבה דברים, מביא חטא.
“All my life I have been raised among the wise, and I have found nothing better for the body than silence. The essential thing is not study, but deed. And one who speaks excessively brings on sin.”
-- Also from Rabbi Shimoin Ben Gamliel:
על שלושה דברים העולם קיים--על הדין, ועל האמת, ועל השלום.
“The world is founded on three things: On law, on truth and on peace.”
Rabboisai, these are the Heiligeh words of CHAZAL. However, they are all dead. We have now entered a new leadership paradigm, and I can tell you, from my seat in Trump headquarters, we ARE going to Make America Great Again. Here are a few actual quotes from our candidate that represent the new leadership paradigm for Klal Yisroel:
-- "My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure; it's not your fault."
-- “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”
-- “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
-- “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
-- “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.”
Rabboisai – We are privileged to live on the dawn of a special period, when we are about to embrace a new leadership paradigm for America and all the world. And with the help of the Reboinoisheloilum, Donald Trump will return America to the pristine country it once was – A lifeless arctic wasteland.
Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval
Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess