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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
On Sacred Secret Traditions
I would like to start this week's Drasha by sharing a true story. This past Shabboskoidesh I was engaged in a fundraising trip to a small Shtetyl in Eastern Europe. After Davening, where there was not a complete Minyan, I sat down with three members of the small Kehilla for Kiddush and Moitzee. Discussion spread from comparing Jewish life in the vibrant communities of the United States to the struggles to maintain and sustain a form of Jewish life in a community with only remnants of the robust Jewish life that horrifically disappeared in the Shoah.
At one point, a senior member of the Kehilla asserted that there are many rabbis who believe that Israel's ongoing struggles with the Palestinians, HAMAS and Hezbollah were in fact the cosmic result of the many Jews in Israel who do not observe the Mitzvois. I retorted that what my new friend stated was a philosophical opinion, one which I do not share. I commented that sitting here in the tiny communal remnant of an Eastern European Shtetyl, the notion was impossible to believe, as it was comparable to stating that my family and six million others were slaughtered because of the Reboinoisheloilum’s anger about the Reform Movement or some other such nonsense occasionally voiced by some Rabbonim. I noted my personal belief and the normative Rabbinic dictum that we cannot understand the nature of Hakadoishboruchhu, His, thoughts, or His actions.
The debate went on for a 20 minutes or so, in civil voices and an air of mutual respect, with me referring to the RAMBAM's description of the Aimishteh as being beyond comprehension, and the Kabbalists' efforts to illustrate the nature of the Reboinoisheloilum-head as far more complex than the simplistic linear explanation of the Toirah: If the Jews are good, good things happen to us; but if the Jews misbehave, Hakadoishboruchhu "hides His face". For such simplistic logic did not hold true in history any more than it holds true today.
After Benching, the four of us walked through the traditional Jewish Quarter, and the oldest of the group pointed out the store that was once his mother's bakery, prior to the Shoah.
Klal Yisroel is on a downward spiral. Here we are, in the midst of what many feel is a period of Reishis Smichas Geulasainu, the dawn of our redemption, but Klal Yisroel cannot help itself. Just when Eliyahu HaNavi is circling on his flying ass, looking for a place to land, you Menuvals always seem to find some way to screw it up.
I was recently visiting some Talmidim from Lakewood. They are Tzadikim - they never miss a Mincha, even behind bars for embezzling a billion dollars from the retirement funds of many octogenarians - and they reported that in the federal penitentiary there are Yidden who shave with a blade. A blade!!! Why, that is a Dioraisah!!! What can these people possibly be thinking?!?!
Similarly, when I walk the streets of Brooklyn and Yerushalayim I see women who go with their hair uncovered. It is difficult enough for a man like me at this time of year to hold off from masturbating like a monkey while walking down the street, but to be tempted by the fruit of a woman's follicles is beyond what I can bear. (I personally think that the federal government should pay for Sheytels - It would likely significantly lower infidelity, and some rabbis even hold that it would decrease breast cancer.)
On rare occasions I visit the Goyim in Teaneck. Once upon a time, I refused to drink anything but cold water. But I cannot even do that now, since the Teaneckers do not use filters on their water taps and daily consume microscopic crustaceans, Rachmuna Litzlan. What Am Haaratzim!
And recently I saw some data on members of Klal Yisroel going to college. Ah Shandah! What a waste of time when Buchrim are studying Computer Science, Accounting, Medicine, or Law, Chass V'Sholom, instead of learning Toirah all day, sitting in Koilel, and relying on their loving Bashert-lech, the Reboinoisheloilum, and, of course, their father's in law to pay for the house, the cars, the kids, and Pesach on a cruise to the Bahaimas.
Yes, this is a generation that has lost its right to be the Am HaNivchar, the Choisen People.
We are of course not the first generation in the history of Klal Yisroel to ponder why the actions of Klal Yisroel do not make sense. Shaving with a blade. Oy Vah Voy!! Women not covering their hair properly. Drinking unfiltered water. Jews going to college - for Reboinoisheloilum's sakes, no wonder Moshiach has not yet arrived!!!
In the meantime, there are other members of Klal Yisroel causing tremendous distractions and causing others to sin. People complaining about sexual abuse in the community. Where? There is no sexual abuse in the Orthodox community!! Maybe by the Reform, Ich Vais. But all of these false allegations are causing donations to fall... errr... are distracting the focus of the world from the wonderful things that Klal Yisroel do for the community, such as Hatzollah, Toimchei Shabbos, and supporting the local prostitute community.
There are even Yidden who are complaining about money "donated" by the government to ensure that our Yeshiva Buchrim and their wives and 12 children are all able to live at a respectable standard: Not working, yet collecting Social Security benefits, Welfare, Medicaid, Section 8, Food Stamps and other programs. Hey, we are the Tashmish Hamitah-ing Choisen People, and we deserve to be learning in Koilel, married, have twelve children, collect all sorts of public benefits, and drive a Lexus! What could possibly be wrong with this that people should complain?!?!
Rabboisai, what I have described above is a clear case of misplaced priorities. Some people are worried about such Narishkeit like sexual abuse and the long term unsustainability and illegality of the lifestyles of many in the Frum community, while instead they should be focusing on the real priorities: Shaving without a blade, women's uncovered hair, unfiltered water, and the dangers of secular education. We need to keep our priorities straight, Hakadoishboruchhu-Dammit!!!
It seems to me that Klal Yisroel has lost its way. We have lost the true lessons of the Toirah. We have been focused on the "revealed" Toirah, and have begun to lose our oral Mesoirah. Some have taken seriously such concepts as "V'Ahavtah Le'Reachah Ka'Moichah" (“Love your neighbor as you would love yourself”), "Im Ain Derech Eretz, Ein Toirah" (“If there are no basic human dignity, there can be no Toirah”), and "Dinah D'Malchusah Dinah" (“The rules of the local civil government apply as rules for the Jewish community”), when in fact, those concepts are just a smokescreen for the True Toirah.
Rabboisai, I have recently been reading a book by Professor Moshe Halbertal entitled "Concealment and Revelation - Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications". The book focuses on a trend between the 11th and 14th centuries by a series of different schools of thought to expose the "hidden truths" of Klal Yisroel, the esoteric knowledge reflecting the actual understanding of Toiras Moishe that lay hidden behind the normative TANACH and Talmud. Because of fear of loss of tradition or loss of control or the message, various rabbis and schools revealed key teachings, often conflicting, which in some cases purported to have been handed down secretly by an entrusted elite.
-- RAMBAM wrote the Moireh Nevuchim, which together with his other writings, presented a synthesis of traditional Jewish though with Aristotelian philosophy and the Arabic science of the era. He also shared secrets on winning at Blackjack.
-- The Ibn Ezra wrote his commentary on the Toirah and other works synthesizing neo-Platonic philosophy, astrology and a strong preference to Pashut Pshat of the Toirah, versus reliance on Midrashic allegories to address textual problems. He also revealed a list to proven pickup lines for men, women and ToomTooms.
-- The RAMBAN spent a third of his time arguing with the RAMBAM, a third of his time arguing with Ibn Ezra, and the remaining third of his time making clouded allusions to Kabbalistic belief in his own biblical interpretation. At the same time, he condemned those who were sharing the secrets of the Kabbalah with the masses. And he hinted at ways to satisfy your woman multiple times per night.
-- The Kabbalists who decided to explain the Toirah and the all Creation by sharing the secrets of Jewish mysticism. Most famous of these works is, of course, the Zoihar, written or compiled by Rabbi Moses De Leon. (Please Note: If you are going to argue that the Zoihar was written by Reb Shimoin Bar Yochai 1200 years earlier then I will be forced to expel you from my Yeshiva.)
What all of these great scholars shared was a commitment to revealing the True Toirah, not the simplistic understanding that an ignoramus like you might derive from your limited knowledge.
Given the crisis within Klal Yisroel today, I, the RAPAS, Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein, have decided that it is time to put in writing the modern hidden truths of the Toirah that have been handed down to me by my father who received them from his father who received them from his father who received them from his step-father; his real father was a well hung blond Cossack. In doing so, I am revealing the Sacred Secret Teachings of the Wise Elders Of Zion, so that these understandings will not be lost to a generation caught up in Narishah Zachen.
Sacred Secret Teaching Number 1: Always obey every single Mitzvah Bain Adam LaMakoim – the commandments between man and the Reboinoisheloilum. That means: Daven three times a day (five, if you are Moslem); put on Tefillin; eat only Koisher food; go to Mikvah; wave a live chicken over your family’s heads Erev Yoim Kippur; never carry on Shabboskoidesh; shake a palm branch and 300 dollar lemon at the sky on Sukkois; do not wear Shatnez, you Shkutz, and if you have to shave, Chass V’Sholom, please use an electric razor, but only after sending the electric razor to my brother-in-law to he can dull the blades to the point where you have get a cleaner shave using a piece of cardboard or dental floss.
Sacred Secret Teaching Number 2: Always judge the religious observance of other people. Since Hakadoishboruchhu is busy dealing with the messes in Syria, the Ukraine, and the Trump White House, it is up to you to ensure that your family, friends, and neighbors are observing the Halachois according to YOUR standards. And if they are not, please tell everyone you know – it is not Loshon Harrah because they are sinners who are going to hell.
Sacred Secret Teaching Number 3: There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to observe any of the Mitzvois Bain Adam LeChaveiroi – the commandments between man and man – as long as you do not get caught.
-- Overcharge your clients – just don’t get caught.
-- Try to sleep with your neighbor’s wife – just don’t get caught. (And for Aimishteh’s sakes, wear a… ummm… Kishka Skin.)
-- Cheat on your taxes – just don’t get caught.
-- Illegally file for Welfare, Unemployment, Section 8, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and every other government paid social benefit – just don’t get caught.
Sacred Secret Teaching Number 4: If you do get caught, Chass V’Sholom, always remember to use one or more of the following responses:
-- Blame the victim. (“He seduced me! Yes, he was only 8 years old, but he had the maturity of a Bar Mitzvah Bochur!”)
-- Talk about the good that Klal Yisroel do. (“So what if we received a few extra dollars from the government; we take care of our community through Hatzollah, Shoimrim, and Bingo Night.”)
-- Blame anti-Semitism. (“This is a specious allegation! Why do you think that there was voter fraud in favor of the Orthodox Jewish judge who will redistrict in favor of Orthodox Jewish real estate developers? So what if the judge got 100,000 votes in a district with only 45,000 registered voters, and none of them are Jewish or could afford housing in the proposed new real estate development! THIS MUST IS ANTI-SEMITISM! Damn that Oibama!!”)
If we follow these Sacred Secret Teachings that I am passing along to you Talmidim, we can ensure that the Reboinoisheloilum will never “hide His face” from Klal Yisroel again, even when we are sitting behind bars.
Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval
Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess