We begin this week with a very hearty mazel tov once again to our friends Yonina and Ephraim Stern, this time upon the bris this past Wednesday of their grandson -Shmuel Yeshayahu- born a few weeks back, along with his twin sister Sarah, to their children Ayelet and Dovi Fink. Mazel tov to both extended families and may the twins give their parents and grandparents many years of only joy.
And mazel tov to our friends Beth and Yehuda Honig on the upcoming wedding this coming Sunday, of their beautiful daughter Rebecca to Daniel Altaras, the son of Rachelle and Eyal Altaras.
Odom (Adam), Sex & the Mermaid
The Flood Before the Flood
Raboyseyee and Ladies:
Shoin, if you thought even for a moment that we would be featuring fewer shocking headlines and chaps, if you chap, as we begin our 7th review of parshas Bereishis, you are, as the Donald states, over and again, wrong! Ober, don’t be blaming the Oisvorfer; he’s merely repeating what the medrish has to say and what the medroshim (exegetes) have to say this week is quite shocking. Mamish! And though you are all familiar with the general storyline of this parsha -how the RBSO decided to create the world and did so in six days before resting on the heylige shabbis- what you mistama don’t know, and what the rebbe likely did not teach you, will of course be found in this week’s givaldige review. Isn’t it always?!
We taka begin with the shocking headlines. Just last week, in response to reader Adam’s question, we were discussing the more than amazing myseh of Yoinah (Jonah) and the great fish (two of them) that swallowed him before spitting him out. We’re back this week with a whale of a story. What’s taka pshat? What is the Oisvorfer referring to when asking suggestively if Odom Horishoin (Adam) efsher had sexual relations with a mermaid? Wasn’t Odom, created by the RBSO Himself, a devoted husband to Chava (Eve), his eishes chayil? Was the first man already cheating on his wife? Did mermaids ever exist? And lommer zugin az yo- (let’s say they did), why would Odom possibly have chapped from one? Shoin, we will address that topic a bit later but first, let’s see headline #2. .
Was there mamish really a flood before the great and famous one we will be reading about in next week’s parsha of Noiach? If yes, why wasn’t this flood mentioned while attending yeshiva? Was it? Shoin, let’s then begin our review of parshas Bereishis with a few comments and quotes from super commentator Rashi, who will also at times, reference even more givaldige and mind boggling medroshim which added so much color to this week’s parsha.
Shoin, here we are again at ground zero. The world was, as the heylige Toirah tells us ‘toihu-vovoihu (astonishingly desolate). For reasons only the RBSO knows with certainty, He decided to create a new world (inferring, according to some, that there may have been other worlds which preceded the one we live in), and mamish within a six day period; heaven and earth were in place, waters separating the two were split, night and day were delineated, the sun and moon were created and given job descriptions, grass, trees, vegetation, sea creatures, fish, animals, and all else instantly appeared, and finally on day six, the RBSO told his ministering angles azoy: let us also create man.
Things were going rather smoothly until day four. What could have gone wrong on day four if man wasn’t created until day six? Nu believe it or not, already on day four, the sun and the moon, two great luminaries, weren’t getting along. The moon, Rashi will tell us, complained to the RBSO asking why He needed them both to light up the skies. Seemingly the moon thought that it alone was needed. The RBSO was in no mood for this narishkeyt (nonsense) and instructed the moon to reduce itself in size. Shoin, also created on day four, was the first ever recorded case of shrinkage, if you chap.
Things turned really interesting and the action fast and furious once the RBSO decided to create Man, and avada Woman. Let’s quickly chazir (review) a few critical pisukim (verse). Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 2:20-23) azoy:
|20. And man named all the cattle and the fowl of the heavens and all the beasts of the field, but for man, he did not find a helpmate opposite him.||כוַיִּקְרָ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם שֵׁמ֗וֹת לְכָל־הַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּלְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּלְכֹ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה וּלְאָדָ֕ם לֹֽא־מָצָ֥א עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדּֽוֹ:|
|21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and he slept, and He took one of his sides, and He closed the flesh in its place.||כאוַיַּפֵּל֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים | תַּרְדֵּמָ֛ה עַל־הָֽאָדָ֖ם וַיִּישָׁ֑ן וַיִּקַּ֗ח אַחַת֙ מִצַּלְעֹתָ֔יו וַיִּסְגֹּ֥ר בָּשָׂ֖ר תַּחְתֶּֽנָּה:|
|22. And the Lord God built the side that He had taken from man into a woman, and He brought her to man.||כבוַיִּ֩בֶן֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים | אֶת־הַצֵּלָ֛ע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֥ח מִן־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיְבִאֶ֖הָ אֶל־הָֽאָדָֽם:|
|23. And man said, “This time, it is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called ishah (woman) because this one was taken from ish (man).”||כגוַיֹּ֘אמֶר֘ הָֽאָדָם֒ זֹ֣את הַפַּ֗עַם עֶ֚צֶם מֵֽעֲצָמַ֔י וּבָשָׂ֖ר מִבְּשָׂרִ֑י לְזֹאת֙ יִקָּרֵ֣א אִשָּׁ֔ה כִּ֥י מֵאִ֖ישׁ לֻֽקֳחָה־זֹּֽאת:|
Let’s focus on posik 23. Odom, seemingly thankful that the RBSO finally created Chava (Eve), the first ever eishes chayil and mother of all, said to the RBSO, azoy: “This time….” meaning of course ‘this is a bone from my bones.’ Ober says Rashi, quoting the heylige Gemora (Yevomis 63a), azoy: “these words teach us that man (Odom being the only man alive at this time) tried to find a mate among all the animals and beasts, but found no satisfaction with them. Odom did what? Odom tried mating with what and with whom? You read that correctly. Odom, mistama lonely, seemingly had relations (sexual) with every animal and beast. Indeed, so says Rashi; who are we to argue? Moreover, he wasn’t quite satisfied. Mistama you’re thinking that the Oisvorfer had too much kiddish over Simchas Toirah, ober the quote is emes, check it out. Nu, at least he tried. The medrish (Gur Aryeh) suggests that of course Odom did not have literal sex; what he had was figurative sex with all the animals and beasts. How does one have figurative sex, ver veyst? Did he? Ver veyst? One thing is quite zicher: bestiality may first have been tried by Odom or not, but it was zicher experimented with by many in the generations to come and leading up to the mabul (great flood during Noiach’s time.) In fact, Rashi and others will mention bestiality more than once as being a driving force of the eventual mabul (flood) we will be reading next week.
In previous years, we delved into the entire myseh of Odom, Chava and the slithering snake. Those who mamish want details as to what took place between the snake and Chava -yes, according to the medrish, they too had a sexual encounter- should click onto archives at www.oisvorfer.com where you will mamish learn while being entertained. What could be better? Nothing! We will not review that incident again other than to let you know that the reason the snake was suddenly so attracted to Chava was because he (says Rashi) witnessed them (Odom and Chava) naked and having sexual intercourse. What happened next? Jealously overtook him. He was suddenly aroused as snakes, if you chap, often become while watching or avada witnessing such events, if you chap. Why was he able to witness their encounters? Because they, the heylige Toirah tells us (Bereishis 2:25) were mamish naked. No clothing, gornisht. Avada you recall that following the entire forbidden fruit myseh, the RBSO briefly turned fashion designer -so to speak- and fashioned for them outfits made from skins. Both were adorned in the first ever all-leather collection.
Ober, why was Chava open to being seduced by the snake? We can kler azoy: efsher she was still pissed off at Odom having found out that her man -prior to her arrival- had sex with every animal and beast. Perhaps she was just getting even. Shoin, maybe the first, but zicher not the last scorned woman to engage in revenge sex. Yikes!
In previous years we also covered the gantze ugly myseh between Kayin and Hevel. Again, those who want to know how brothers should not get along, can find their amazing story in the archives. Let’s instead skip ahead 130 years following the death of Hevel. We will learn that (eventually) Odom had intimate relations with his eishes chayil Chava. Guess what? She became pregnant and delivered a son they named Shase (Seth for the goyim). Nu, for those who complain that their wives have little and infrequent interest in sex, thank your lucky stars that your wife doesn’t emulate the ways of Chava. Let’s go right to the Rashi, the super commentator on the entire heylige Toirah and much more, who tells us what took place or didn’t for 130 years in the Odom and Chava budoir. Says he azoy: a fellow named Lemach whom the Toirah previously introduced as having two wives -one for childbearing and the other just for sexual relations- approached Odom complaining about his wives. Specifically what was on his mind, we are not told, ober said Odom to Lemach, azoy: “you do your duty.” What duty was he referring to? Having sex with his wives. A medrish (Medrish Rabbah) will tell us that his wives were efsher holding back because they sensed the RBSO was getting ready to wipe out the world. Shoin, they did not want to have kids who might be lost in the mabul and therefore, either pushed Lemach aside, or used contraceptives to avoid having kids. Lemach was not happy. Said Odom: you do your part. Have sex with them and let the RBSO decide if He wants them to become pregnant or not. What happened next? Said either Lemach to Odom, or Lemach’s wives to Odom, azoy: look who’s talking! You haven’t had sex with Chava, your eishes chayil, for 130 years. None since the death of Hevel. Upon hearing this chastisement, Odom ran home and bedded Chava. She became pregnant and shoin, baby Shase was born.
Wait, Rashi is not quite done. Quoting the medrish (Bereishis Rabba 23:5), he adds yet more color. On the words ‘Vayedah Odom (Odom had relations with Chava), says the medrish: his desire for her (Chava) was greater than it was before. Shoin, after 130
years without any, of course she must have looked very attractive to him. So mistama would the snake.
Let’s go veyter. Let’s move onto Perek Vov (Chapter 6, pisukim 1-2) where we read azoy-
1. And it came to pass when man commenced to multiply upon the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them.
|אוַֽיְהִי֙ כִּֽי־הֵחֵ֣ל הָֽאָדָ֔ם לָרֹ֖ב עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֑ה וּבָנ֖וֹת יֻלְּד֥וּ לָהֶֽם:|
|2. That the sons of the nobles saw the daughters of man when they were beautifying themselves, and they took for themselves wives from whomever they chose.||בוַיִּרְא֤וּ בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֥י טֹבֹ֖ת הֵ֑נָּה וַיִּקְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ נָשִׁ֔ים מִכֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּחָֽרוּ:|
What the hec was going on here? Ober someone knew, and again it’s Rashi to the rescue with real pshat. Again the pshat is sexual in nature. Why, ver veyst? Says Rashi, again quoting the medrish (Medrish Rabbah 25:5): what went down were dastardly acts. The sons of the rulers and judges were grabbing, if you chap, maidens about to stand under the chuppah -meaning about to get married. Efsher they spotted them in the bridal rooms adorning themselves with makeup, spanx, and whatever else was necessary to make themselves look presentable, and chapped them before their intended husbands. Pshat being, they forced themselves on these girls and has sex with them. They came first, if you chap. Who perpetrated these despicable acts? Yikes! Says the Ramban: the very families of those responsible for law and order. Maybe the first, ober zicher not the last law-and-order people to chap, if you chap.
Another medrish tells us it was even worse. The words ‘from whomever they chose’ are meant to tell us that they had sexual relations randomly with whomever, meaning with women, men and also, with animals. Mamish chazerim! What the hec was going on with the RBSO’s creations? How could all this happen? Says the heylige Zoihar: the people being referenced who came down and were chapping girls from under the chuppah mamish, were none other than Malochim (Angels) who had previously been residing up in shomayim (Heaven) where ironically they were in charge of observing man’s behavior down below. While doing their job, they took notice of Odom’s sin. What next? They mocked his behavior to the RBSO. Ober the RBSO, having created Man, countered and said azoy: imagine if you were challenged with the yetzer horo, could you, and would you overcome him? Being malochim, of course they answered in the affirmative. Next: the RBSO sent them down from shomayim and gave them each a yetzer horo. Nu, immediately they began acting like Man. They began chapping women, men, animals and beasts. Shreklich!
The bottom line: the yetzer horo has been and remains the most powerful force on earth. How good, how strong and how effective? How was it shayich that Odom, created by the RBSO in His own image, heard the command directly not to eat from the eytz hada’as toiv vo’rah (Tree of Knowledge Good and Bad), was not able to follow orders? The yetzer horo! And how efficient was he? Says the medrish (Medrish Rabbah 21:7) azoy: the ban on eating from the Tree of Knowledge was short-term in nature only. It was meant to last but a total of three hours. The ban was given on erev shabbis and was to last until the commencement of shabbis, the first ever. By eating the forbidden fruit, Odom’s eyes were suddenly opened to bad. Mamish as if he swallowed the yetzer horo. Let’s recall that while we all refer to the tree as the ‘Tree of Knowledge,’ its full name is “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad.” Once the forbidden fruit made its way into his system, the yetzer horo became part of his DNA, which he then passed on to his offspring and to all of us. Shoin: it’s taka all his fault.
And let’s also recall: the RBSO also gave us each our own, ever-mighty yetzer horos. We have spoken of him many times. Odom received Version 1.1 but he was seemingly already perfect. Odom could not last three hours. Grada that’s not so giferlcih; most men last but minutes, if you chap. Ober says the heylige Tanya (Igres Hakoidesh) azoy: each neshomo (soul) has certain mitzvis which have a greater connection to the neshomo’s mission here on earth. The yetzer horo’s job is to make those mitzvahs even more difficult for the person to perform. Says the heylige Gemora (Sukkah 52a) azoy: Whenever a person is greater than a colleague, his yetzer horo is greater than he is.” Nu, what chance did Odom have? Zero! Having been made by the RBSO Himself, was anyone greater? Then again, there was no anyone, but that’s not the point. In any event, given his greatness, his yetzer horo was perhaps the most powerful ever given to man. Says the Zoihar (vol 1p 35b) and says Pirkei D’rebbe Eliezer Ch 13): the yetzer horo wasn’t going to let the opportunity to cause Odom to sin, slip by his fingers.
Speaking of the original sin, and forbidden fruit, avada you know that there is no consensus as to what fruit the yetzer horo dangled, besides his very own, in front of Chava, to cause her to sin. And while many mistakenly believe it to have been an apple, seemingly it was not. Many say the ‘eytz hada’as was in fact a fig tree, while others suggest it was the esrog tree, the very esrog we fondle all Yom Tov. Shoin. Raboyseyee, this all goes down, as did the men and women, in this week’s parsha. But wait: there’s even more and let’s go veyter.
Shoin, earlier we asked whether or not Odom was intimate with a mermaid? Were there mermaids? Would Odom, in his quest for happiness, also (in addition to mating with all the animals and beasts, as Rashi told us) have experimented with a mermaid? Is it possible for man to have relations with a mermaid? And again we ask, were mermaids real? Or, did they come alive only in the movies and TV shows? Nu, believe it or not, the subject of mermaids, their existence, their sexual and reproductive abilities are taka discussed. Where? In the heylige Gemora, where else? Shoin, now you chap why your rebbe often reiterated that ‘alas shteyt in the heylige Gemora’ (every topic under the sun and seemingly also under the sea, is to be found in the heylige Gemora.) Says the Gemora (Bichoiris 8a) azoy: there are certain fish known as Dolfinin which engage in sexual activity and can multiply as do humans. Says Rashi, who in addition to his knowledge of so many other topics, also seemingly knew a thing or two about marine biology, azoy: Dolfinin are marine animals (fish). Half their bodies are fish and the other half is human. Well, blow me down! Wait: there’s more! These half and half mermaids can in fact engage in sexual activity with humans. And says Rashi, should a human, efsher a seaman appear on the scene, and engage in sexual activity with the mermaid, mistama by injecting some semen, the half and half breed (Dolfinin/mermaid) can become pregnant and have offspring. What the offspring might look like is not discussed. Perhaps the offspring were taka known as “the people of the sea.” Veyter.
Armed with this information, one might kler azoy: we know of course that on day 5, the RBSO created “the sea giants and every living being that creeps, with which the waters teemed after their kinds; and all winged fowl of every kind. And the RBSO saw that it was good.” We also know that Odom was tasked with naming all the animals and beasts. And we know this because the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 2:19) teaches us azoy:
“……whatever the Man (Odom) called each creature, that remains its name.”
We can then also kler that Odom gave names to all sea creatures. Nu, in order to name the mermaid, he would mistama have to have met her/it in order to chap its essence before pronouncing its name. We can efsher kler that such an encounter might have been considered a seminal moment, if you chap. Let’s not forget that Rashi already told us that Odom experimented with all the animals and beasts. Nu, if Rashi is correct, and when isn’t he, and taka that’s why we find his commentary not just on the heylige Toirah, but also on the Mishneh and heylige Gemora, and mistama elsewhere, we might also assume that Odom might have taken the opportunity to also chap from the mermaid. After all, from the head down, did she not resemble a human, much like himself? Grada, it’s all quite logical.
Ober the bottom line is azoy: we need to look at the words of the heylige Toirah very carefully. Each was measured to state very specifically what the RBSO wanted us to know. Let’s look then at posik 19 which tells us azoy
|19. And the Lord God formed from the earth every beast of the field and every fowl of the heavens, and He brought [it] to man to see what he would call it, and whatever the man called each living thing, that was its name.||יטוַיִּ֩צֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים מִן־הָֽאֲדָמָ֗ה כָּל־חַיַּ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיָּבֵא֙ אֶל־הָ֣אָדָ֔ם לִרְא֖וֹת מַה־יִּקְרָא־ל֑וֹ וְכֹל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִקְרָא־ל֧וֹ הָֽאָדָ֛ם נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה ה֥וּא שְׁמֽוֹ:|
Note that fish are missing from the script. Though Rashi in our parsha, tells us rather emphatically that Odom, prior to being presented with Chava, did experiment with every animal and beast, it does not mention that he experimented also with fish, whole, half, or even gifilte. And though the heylige Toirah in the posik quoted above tells us that “whatever the man called each living creature, that remained its name, it does not mention anywhere that the RBSO also brought the sea creatures for their naming ceremony. There is of course, as expected, a machloikes (dispute) in the heylige Gemora as to whether or not Odom also named the fish and other sea creatures. Seemingly, he did not. We will then give Odom a pass. Seemingly he passed on the opportunity to experiment with mermaids. Or, perhaps they never existed. Modern science would suggest not. Was Rashi then wrong? Avada not: it’s more likely that he just had bad information. Ober, rest assured that many, based on Rashi’s pshat on Dolfinin, continue to believe otherwise. Certainly those in Hollywood follow pshat according to Rashi.
As to our second headline, the not-so-well-known flood before the very well known mabul, the one so few, if any, ever heard of, let’s see what Rashi and the medrish have to say on that topic. Our first introduction to a flood is found in perek 6, posik 4, where we learn that at the time of the birth of this fellow named Enosh, he the son of Shase, grandson of Odom, the population of the world began to serve idols and thereby profaned the name of the RBSO. Does the heylige Toirah state that? Not! Grada there is but one word in posik 26 of chapter 4 which is mysterious. Let’s learn that posik in its entirety. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 4:26), azoy:
|דהַנְּפִלִ֞ים הָי֣וּ בָאָ֘רֶץ֘ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵם֒ וְגַ֣ם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָבֹ֜אוּ בְּנֵ֤י הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם וְיָֽלְד֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם הֵ֧מָּה הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מֵֽעוֹלָ֖ם אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַשֵּֽׁם:|
Shoin, many a rabbi and commentator came along to darshan this word ‘huchal.’ If you look closely, you will find that the word ‘huchal’ was not translated. And why not? We don’t know for sure. Ober, what we do know is that as a result of this word, many a medrish came along and in the end, all hell broke loose once Enoish was born. Shoin, all of a sudden, one pshat tells us that it was with the birth of Enoish, that people began to worship idols, avoido zoro mamish. The RBSO was not happy.
Oisvorf followers avada know from -constant reminders- that while the RBSO can and has looked away (at least in the short term- on many of man’s transgressions, avoido zoro is not one of them. The RBSO finds idolatry abhorrent mamish and punishes its practitioners rather swiftly and harshly. Says Rashi something quite startling, azoy: the generations which followed Enoish did not learn the lesson of the flood which wiped out a full 1/3 of the world during his times? Nu, as Popeye would say, well, blow me down!
Nu, mistama you’re klerring azoy: were this entire myseh to be emes, and if there was taka a flood which caused so much damage, destroying 1/3 of the world mamish, would an event of that enormity, not have been recorded or discussed anywhere? And the answer: ver veyst?
Ober, the heylige Gemora and a few midroshim have lots to say about the people of his generation and none of it is too flattering. And they know this how and from where? From but one word in the heylige Toirah around which they concocted this amazing myseh.
Says Rashi, even though they (the current generations of people) saw the destruction of the generation of Enosh when the ocean rose and flooded a third of the world, the doir hamabul (generation of the flood featured next week) were not humbled and did not learn their lesson. When this flood took place and where, ver veyst? Why this flood is not mentioned anywhere in the heylige Toirah, ver veyst? Did this mini flood ever take place? Says the medrish (Bereishis Rabbah 23:11) that indeed it did. How big was this mini flood? Shoin, believe it or not, three different opinions are offered, all attributed to Rebbe Chanina. Said one good rabbi, its waters reached until Acco and Jaffa. Said another, who also claims to have heard the same myseh from Rebbe Chanina: the waters reached all the way to the Barbary Coast. And said a third, coincidentally also claiming that he heard from Rebbe Chanina, that the flood waters reached all the way to Calabria, wherever that is. Interestingly, none of the sources tell us where the flood began. One thing is zicher: the flood we will be reading about next week was very real. Stay tuned.
A Gittin Shabbis –
Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv