Toirah is big business
The Oisvorfer finds himself poolside at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach where it’s challenging mamish to be thinking and writing Toirah. Halb nakite meydlich (scantily clad girls) from every country are passing every minute and showing off their assets, if you chap. Luckily, there are also a number of frum girls looking to meet a potential husband, also poolside. They are in robes, jean skirts and other levush (garb) that allows the Oisvorfer to forget all the narishkeyt (bs) and concentrate on the heylige Toirah, let’s see for how long.
Nu, it’s year 210, the Yiddin are about to be set free. It’s also near the end of January and the Yiddin here in golus are also about to be set free. It’s winter break, the kinderlach have nebech been toiling in school, college and Yeshiva for at least a few weeks and avada they need and so richly deserve yet another ten days off after missing kimat ten days due to that bitch of a hurricane named Sandy. Yiddin all over the country are, mostly due to pressure from their kinderlach, off to various parts of the country to spend a few days and a few thousand dollars with their children who can’t wait to dump them so that they can spend time with their friends. What’s taka pshat, ver veyst? Why they call this vacation, the Oisvorfer never chapped.
Being on vacation is avada no excuse for missing shul on shabbis and it avada goes without saying that the Oisvorfer implores you to listen carefully to Parshas Boi which possesses a unique dimension. Grada, Boi is sandwiched in between the two table setting parshas of Shmois and Vaeira, which immediately preceded it, and Beshalach, otherwise known as shabbis shira. And who doesn’t enjoy a good sandwich, if you chap? The first two described the preparations for Yitzyas Mitzraym (Exodus) while the emotional and uplifting parsha of Beshalach wherein we’ll read about the events following Yitzyas Mitzrayim (post redemption), is likely the single seminal event that we recount more than any other in our entire glorious Jewish history. Nebech (very sadly), many of you will miss it because you’ll efsher still be walking the streets of the German Colony or Ben Yehuda, find yourselves in some ski lodge, cruise, hotel or even worse, valgering poolside or at some beach staring at halb nakite meydlich (scantily dressed young maidens), chas v’sholom- loi olaynu. The last three makois (plagues), the action leading up to and the actual redemption is discussed only this week only in our special parsha. Ober chap nisht, we need to quickly chazir last week’s parsha of Vo’eiro.
Last week, the RBSO got serious about freeing His people (to be), warned an intransigent Paroy and meted out seven of the ten plagues He had in mind. This week we’ll see the rest. Paroy remained steadfast and obstinate, at times aided by the RBSO who taka made him hard (his heart you chazerim) and as we open Parshas Boi, the Yiddin are still enslaved. Ober not to worry: by the time we finish the parsha, not just will the Yiddin be freed, but they will have been chased out in their gatchkis (underwear) with no time to pack and as we will learn, no time to fully bake the bread. Nu, zicher not the last time the Yiddin were chased out of a country. Sadly, many have followed suit. Is it possible that had they had been able to negotiate for late checkout, just a few more hours, mamish, maybe even one, that the gantze yom tov of Pesach and its trimmings might have looked a whole lot different, ver veyst?
Though Paroy at times seemed to waver and was set to give in and let the Yiddin sojourn into the Midbar as they had requested, the RBSO wasn’t quite done. Payback is a bitch and it was time to show him who the real boss was. Efsher you’re wondering why the Mitzrim were punished altogether when it was the RBSO who decreed and predicted to Avrohom Ovenu that his children would be enslaved in a land that doesn’t belong to them; are you? Wasn’t Paroy just doing the RBSO’s bidding? Taka an excellent kasha (question) and avada the Medrish and others pontificate over this givaldige kasha. Moreover, other medroshim tell us that we must always be thankful to the Egyptians because they were our hosts during that time period. What’s taka pshat here? Ober says the Medrish azoy: though it was seemingly Paroy’s job to fulfill the RBSO’s promises to Avrohom, seemingly the power got to his head and he took his job too seriously by torturing the Yiddin. Avada you recall that just two weeks ago in Parshas Shemois, we learned that the Yiddin were forced to do manual labor; need more be said? Yiddin weren’t cut out for manual labor and avada we can chap why this might be considered to be torture, mamish. Yiddin are supposed to be entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, negotiators, hondelers and –anything else for that matter- but manual labor, and the heylige Toirah has created business opportunities with kimat each of the 613 mitvois given, especially the ah- says (thou shall do’s) and even many of the don’t do’s. And for those Yiddin who aren’t business minded, let the Oisvorfer remind you that very famous Toirah personalities, a good number of them, including Yankif Oveenu, Moishe Rabaynu, Dovid Hamelech and others chapped that manual labor which we were taught included the building of cities with their own hands, was not for them: they became shepherds. Other notable Toirah personalities found their way to the Yeshiva of Sheim and Ever where they mistama honed other skills or were molested by a Rebbe gone bad. What to do? Nu, the Yiddin cried like babies and eventually the RBSO heard.
Efsher you’re wondering why Paroy didn’t wake up and smell the coffee? Was his head farshtupped? He had already witnessed seven makois and early in this parsha, two more including Choishech (dakness) which we will discuss below. The water supply had been bloodied; insects had inflicted their own damage and the crops were already destroyed by hail. The Mitzrim had been subjected to lice, boils and more; hadn’t he seen and experienced enough? By now, he and they should have been overwhelmingly convinced that there was a higher power calling the shots. Only Paroy the minuvil remained intransigent, in a personal battle with the RBSO. Nu avada we all know that such a battle cannot be won, or at least you should. Yet the heylige toirah tells us that after seven plagues, Paroy seems to be dug in. The emes is that the RBSO as the heylige toirah tells us did make his heart heavy and seemingly forced the issue; how many times has the Oisvorfer told you not to mess with the RBSO?
Parshas Boi doesn’t just contain regular mitzvois – but the mitzvois commanded this week, specifically those of tefilin and Pesach, are among the most expensive to keep and have given birth to major kosher industries including scribes, embroidery, hotel and travel, catering, bar mitzvah weekend celebrations and the entire kosher le’pesach food products industry. The RBSO understood our budgets might be stretched and also threw in two freebie mitzvois into the parsha: 1- the mitzvah of establishing a calendar and marking Roish Choidesh and 2- Kiddish levana. The Oisvorfer will discuss Pesach and its trimmings in a special edition as we get closer. Veyter.
The Locusts, which represented the eighth plague, seemingly came and went without much fanfare and avada did their job of punishing Paroy and his people ober it’s what took place, according to some, during the ninth plague of darkness, that is zicher and avada worthy of some discussion. Lommer lernin. Says the heylige Toirah:
|21. The RBSO said to Moishe “Stretch forth your hand toward the heavens, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, and the darkness will become darker.”||
כא. וַיֹּאמֶר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶל מֹשֶׁה נְטֵה יָדְךָ עַל הַשָּׁמַיִם וִיהִי חֹשֶׁךְ עַל אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם וְיָמֵשׁ חֹשֶׁךְ:
|22. So Moishe stretched forth his hand toward the heavens, and there was thick darkness over the entire land of Egypt for three days.||
כב. וַיֵּט מֹשֶׁה אֶת יָדוֹ עַל הַשָּׁמָיִם וַיְהִי חֹשֶׁךְ אֲפֵלָה בְּכָל אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים:
Says Rashi: that among the now approximately 15 million Yiddin, there were those who did not want to leave Mitzrayim. Seemingly they had become acclimated, had gotten involved with a few hot shiksa Mitzri meydlich and were happy campers or slaves. They chapped, if you chap. Says the Yalkut: these people were bad! They had collaborated with the mitzrim and had become wealthy. Since when is having a few dollars such a terrible sin, ver veyst? In any event, the RBSO did not want them at Har Seenai for the big event on the mountain, and they were to be eliminated before redemption. What to do? Rashi will provide more color. These no goodniks were all wiped out during the plague of darkness so that the mitzrim should not be witness to this mass reduction to the slave headcount. Had they seen or even known, perhaps they might suggest that the Yiddin were no better than they and were also being punished by the RBSO. What to do? The RBSO brought total darkness and during this period this entire chevra died and were buried by the good guys. Let’s chazir: the Yiddin were about to be freed, the RBSO’s plans to forge a nation out of this bunch of Yiddin were now in place ober the bunch also included a few bad apples that weren’t going to make the final cut and they were kicked off the set during this plague. Wow! Efsher you’re wondering exactly how many bad Yiddin needed to die during this dark time? Not to worry, Rashi fills in the blanks.
Says Rashi: four-fifths of the Yiddin died at this time. How many? 4/5ths of the Yiddin were eliminated in three days? Efsher you’re wondering how it was at all possible to hide so many deaths from the Egyptians? The average modern day killer has trouble hiding one body, how were the Yiddin going to hide millions? Moreover, would the Egyptians not have noticed that the work force was epes thinned out? The lights were about to come back on, hello!!! We’re talking, according to Rashi, 80% of the Jewish people (about 12 million souls) who died during the plague of darkness; what’s taka pshat here? Moreover, one would think that an event of such magnitude would have received epes a shtikel Toirah mention, ober this event is not at all discussed or even hinted at. Is this really pshat? Is this what happened? If Rashi is correct and who would doubt Rashi, this understanding poses even more disturbing questions. Ershtens (firstly), with 12 million dead, how can the exodus be thought of as a time of great celebration? Why weren’t the Yiddin in a state of shock and deep mourning? And yet another question that might come to mind is: How is it possible that the fifty-five men who went down to Mitzrayim with Yankif could be the ancestors, over a 210 year period to 15 million people? Steroids? Ver veyst, ober let’s not forget another Rashi quoting the heylige Gemora that tells us how fertile the Jewish women were during the enslavement. Efsher you recall the Oisvorfer quoting sources suggesting that the woman weren’t just fertile, they were giving birth by the litter to as many as 60 at a time. Still we must avada klerr how they grew to 15 million in 210 years? And one final kasha might be: Weren’t the makois intended as warnings and punishment to Paroy and his people? Avada they were! And didn’t we also learn that none of the Yiddin were harmed or even affected during the prior makois? Indeed we did. How then is it possible that the RBSO would have allowed or ordered that 12 million Yiddin die during a plague that killed no Egyptians? Taka these are givaldige kashas, none of which the Oisvorfer has answers to.
Ober (but) chap nisht (hold on, calm down), because there’s a simple yet elegant answer to all these questions. Halt kup (pay attention), the answer is azoy: Says Ibn Ezra: “The whole thing is a derash; and don’t rely on it.” In other words: Rashi’s entire pshat and storyline about 12 million Yiddin being eliminated and buried during the makoh of darkness, well, it’s all made up. And don’t you feel much better knowing that the RBSO didn’t suddenly wipe out 12 million of His about to become chosen people in three days just before the survivors left Mitzrayim in party mode, singing songs? Continues the Ibn Ezra and suggests that “maybe the one who said it at the outset had a hidden reason (soid).” In other words: the Ibn ‘Ezra looked at the pshat offered, didn’t like it, said it made no sense to him and therefore this couldn’t be pshat at all. Shoin, it never happened, gevaldig!
Says Rav Shimon Schwab: Rashi can’t literally mean that four-fifths of the Yiddin died, as this would cause mass mourning for the remaining Jews and a desecration of the RBSO’s name among the Mitzrim. Rather, he suggests that Rashi was just being colorful. As proof he cites that just as Rashi writes (Bereishis 4:10) that Kayin (Cain) was punished not only for killing Hevel but for all of Hevel’s offspring who would no longer be born, so too the relatively small number of Yiddin who died during the darkness were counted in terms of their total number of potential descendants. Gishmak and veyter.
We’re getting ready for the grand finale; the tenth and final plague is being planned and will shortly be executed ober the RBSO interrupted its onset to dictate the laws of Pesach including who could eat it and when. Following these instructions, the possik states (see below) that the Yiddin did everything He said: beautiful mamish.
|50. All the children of Israel did; as the Lord had commanded Moishe and Aharoin, so they did.||
נ. וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כָּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶת מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת אַהֲרֹן כֵּן עָשׂוּ:
Says the Yalkut azoy: when the Yiddin made the Paschal Lamb, many Egyptians who had joined them wanted to partake of the sacrifice. Nu, goyim also avada enjoy a good meal. The RBSO said no! “No outsider may eat it” and the Yiddin did exactly as the RBSO had instructed. Ober (but) listen to this bombshell!
Says the Yalkut: The Yiddin also did as the RBSO had instructed in circumcising themselves. What, another mila? Weren’t the Yiddin already tipped off, if you chap? Answer: Seemingly, during the enslavement, many Yiddin stopped practicing this mitzvah, efsher it helped them chap the mitzri meydlich, ver veyst. In any event, we know from more than one source that the Yiddin became lax in this and other mitzvois. In fact, we are taught that the Yiddin had sunk to the 49th out of 50 levels of impurity and we can nebech only imagine that their equipment was involved in some of those impure levels, if you chap- rachmono litzlon (heaven forbid). Exactly why the RBSO chose the Yiddin to be His people despite their despicable behavior must leave one wondering how much worse the others were. In any event, seeing how the RBSO rejects the uncircumcised, they immediately decided to circumcise themselves en masse. Fathers, children, and even slaves were all circumcised. Even the Eruv Rav (mixed multitude) who were to leave with the Yiddin submitted to circumcision. While the lambs were roasting over the fire and giving forth a givaldige fragrant aroma, the RBSO told the Yiddin that anyone who does not have the sign of Avrohom on his body (bris) cannot partake. What to do? The Yiddin immediately submitted to circumcision. Some say that with the exception of sheyvet (the tribe) Levi, all the Yiddin had abandoned the rite of circumcision in Egypt, oy vey!
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught that Moishe himself performed the brissim, Aharoin performed the peeling back of the foreskin (periah) and Yehoishua (Joshua) bandaged the wound, what a team! Understandably, there were many Yiddin who looked at Moishe, now over 80 years old and Aharoin, three years older and did not wish to partake in the festivities, can we blame them? They tried to hide. Ober Raboyseyee, as the heylige Oisvorfer has told you on more than one occasion: one cannot hide or in any way outsmart the RBSO. What did the RBSO do? He made the winds carry the fragrance of the Paschal Lamb to all corners of Mitzrayim. Smelling the irresistibly delicious aroma, the Yiddin got hungry, in the mood for a good piece of meat, if you chap, even lamb would do. The Yiddin begged Moishe to allow them to taste the lamb. He replied that he could not, as long as they remained uncircumcised. They gave in and gave up a shtikel to get a shtikel. As a result of the RBSO’s clever master plan to carry the fragrance, many Yiddin submitted to circumcision. Nu, what a frum person wouldn’t do for a decent piece of meat and a good meal.
A gitten shabbis-
The Oisvorfer Ruv