Weekly Parsha Review Laced with Humor and Sarcasm from The Oisvorfer Ruv

Devorim 2015 – Swimming on Tisha Be’Av

torah scrollThe Sefer Toirah appeal is on and we have already received dedications from a few.  We need greater participation. This appeal will be repeated weekly because it’s a victiger inyan (important topic) and a great mitzvah.

Back in 2008, a newly minted Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) was loaned out to a local institution. Unfortunately, this Torah Scroll was a victim of hurricane Sandy. It could not, despite herculean efforts, be saved.  In an effort to replace the Torah Scroll, significant funds need to be raised. The Oisvorfer is asking all his readers to participate in this, the last and 613th mitzvah recorded in the heylige Toirah which states that it a mitzvah upon each person to write one’s own Sefer Torah. And while this mitzvah may seem elusive to those who are not adept in Jewish calligraphy or don’t have the means to afford a personal Sefer Torah, you can get full credit by participating and purchasing even one letter. Of course, the more you sponsor, the more mitzvois you have and who among us and especially those who receive this email or logon to the site or find us on Facebook or get the review from a  friend, cannot afford to have a few extra? No one!  

You can participate in this great mitzvah for as little as $5. Feel free to sponsor but one letter, word, posik (sentence), perek (chapter), a specific  reading, a complete parsha or even a complete Sefer (Book).  You can sponsor a letter for as little as $5. Of course we would like you to sponsor more than one letter but will be grateful for every single donation to this cause.

There are no administrative fees (a generous sponsor will cover the credit card processing fees.) Donate as little as $5 to purchase a letter in the new Torah, and the entire amount will be used for the Torah.

You can dedicate in memory of a loved one, in honor of a loved one, or for anyone you deem worthy. Making a simcha and spending thousands for a big party? Please consider adding at least $5 to help bring a new Torah into this world. Thank you!

To participate and to see the list of possible dedications, please click here.


Raboyseyee and Lades:

image003Swimming on Tisha Be’Av

OMG! As we go to press with a shtikel review of Parshas Devorim, we have come to the end of year five of the Oisvorfer’s weekly parsha reviews. It all started six years ago next shabbis with but one reader, wow!  Is it time for new horizons, ver veyst?

In any event, welcome avada to Sefer and Parshas Devorim or, as the goyim call it, the Book of Deuteronomy. And before we take a peek into the parsha itself, lommer unfangin with inyonay diyoma (issues of the day). Let’s not!

Oy vey: Tisha Be’Ov  (9th day of the month of Av), will collide with shabbis this year! It will also collide with ‘Shabbis Chazon’, so called and named after the opening word(s) of the Haftoirah “Chazoin Yishiyahu” (the vision of Yishiyahu wherein he prophesied the destruction of the holy temple). Growing up, it was supposed to be the somewhat solemn shabbis before Tisha Be’ov ober it was better known as the shabbis before shabbis Nachamu, the shabbis before we all trekked off to the Pioneer, the Pine View, Grossinger’s, the Concord, alayhem hasholom (may they all rest in peace,) to chap a good time, meet single girls and have fun. And taka many got married doing just that. And because we so looked forward to that shabbis away, the nine days, shabbis Chazon and even Tisha Be’Ov, were but days in the calendar.

Ober with the hotels long gone and with Tisha Be’Av suddenly upon us and with the heylige shabbis – a happy day- coinciding with one of the saddest days in our calendar, efsher you’re wondering which day trumps and how? Do you really care if Tisha Be’ov falls on a weekday or a shabbis? How does this affect your life? Avada we have a special relationship with Tisha Be’Ov, perhaps the most tragic day on our calendar because we remember sadly churban bayis rishoin and shaynee (the destruction of both Temples) on this day. On the other hand, we zicher have a more frequent and even greater relationship with the heylige shabbis, and avada we must mark shabbis by eating and drinking. And in the battle of celebration with food and drink vs. fasting to recall the tragedies and our sins, seemingly the shabbis carries more weight, as do we, following our shabbis binging.  Nu, in the end, it all comes down to this. Though it’s taka shabbis and though we may rejoice as we normally would by making kiddish several times and gorging on challah and kugil and though it’s generally accepted to be a mitzvah – according to many and one of the few many keep stringently- to enjoy the mishpocho on Friday night and maybe also on shabbis, if you chap, our good rabbis told us that when shabbis mamish taka coincides with Tisha Be’Av, the eishes chayil is off limits. Is that universally emes? Not! On the other hand, our good rabbis also told us that in the event that the eishes chayil has a scheduled swim, if you chap, davka on Friday night, she is exempt from the prohibition mentioned above and home chapping goes on. Avada this is no longer nogayah (relevant) to most of you but it’s good to know anyway. Why? Ver veyst?

What taka happened on Tisha Be’Av (Ninth of Av)? Seemingly quite a bit. Some say it’s the day the meraglim (spies) came back carrying their oversized fruits and spoke loshoin horo about the land (Parshas Shlach). What else? 889 years later, we lost the first Beis Hamikdash (the first Temple) at the hands of the Babylonians, and  490 years later, we lost the second Temple (this time the Romans got us), also on Tisha Be’Av. Shockingly, there are more reasons that Tisha Be’Av is a sad and giferliche day, ober aren’t the ones listed above enough?

Nu, volumes can be written, and in fact were, rationalizing the reasons we lost the second Beis Hamikash ober the heylige Gemora concludes that its destruction, which ushered in our present exile -in larger than life  homes, multiple cars, housekeepers, nannies, cruises and nebech so many other luxuries- was sinas chinam (baseless hatred) between Yiddin.  What else is new? On the other hand, golus (exile) doesn’t sound all that giferlich. And says the heylige Gemora azoy: Any generation in which the Beis Hamikdash is not rebuilt, shares the responsibility for its destruction, yikes! Seemingly our own continuing sinas chinam – and who among us doesn’t hate a few people here and there-  and general weakness in serving the RBSO correctly and with a joyous heart (more fully described in a few weeks) continues to condemn us to this golus, nebech. Shoin, now that the mood has been set and we’re all a shtikel depressed –and with good reason, if you chap-, let’s properly introduce the final book of the heylige Toirah.

Interestingly enough Sefer Devorim gets its name, as do the other Sefroim, from the first word or words of the first Parsha in the sefer, in this case from the first two words: “Ve’eileh Hadevarim” (and these are the words).  Efsher you recall though zicher you don’t, that way back in Sefer Shmois when Moishe had his first encounter with the burning bush, he (Moishe ) said to the RBSO azoy: ‘loi ish devarim onoichi’ (I am not a man of words), I’m not much of an orator. What a different Moishe we encounter this week: many say, though avada not all, that Moishe spoke and recited the gantze sefer of Devroim, a controversy we covered biarichus (at length) last year and will likely repeat again this year. Then again if you had an encounter with a burning bush, would you be busy orating? Ver veyst but seemingly Moishe brushed up not just on his oratory skills but also learned 69 additional languages, as we will soon learn; what else was there to do in the Midbar?

What’s the purpose of rehashing all the events of the past and why did Moishe repeat himself? Efsher he got in touch with his feminine side, if you chap or efsher after separating from his own eishes chayil, Tzipoira, he was finally able to talk instead of just listening to her yapping, ver veyst. In the spirit of Mishne Toirah (repetition), and the reruns of 60 Minutes all summer long, the Oisvorfer, will also repeat a few thoughts form prior years. And why not? Do any of you recall what we discussed last year or in the four prior years? Not! Moreover, has the heylige Toirah changed since its arrival form Har Sinai over 3327 years ago? Has the heylige Gemora been rewritten? Redacted in many places efsher yes, especially by some rabbis that didn’t like what was previously stated – and we kid you not- ober re-written completely? Not yet ober zicher we won’t be surprised to hear that certain Gemoras that discuss zachen (topics) that should only be read and seen on the Internet, will one day be banned from the heylige Gemora; isn’t that what today’s chumra of the week (prohibition of the week) rabbis do  in our times? Such changes should avada be considered poshit (simple) amuratzis and apikursis (both not good things). Nu, some say that Moishe didn’t mean to repeat everything in Sefer Devorim ober his stuttering just made it seem that way, ver veyst?

Many suggest that much of Sefer Devorim is but a review of the mitzvois, and in this review Moishe clarifies the commandments and reveals additional details; the devil is always in the details. And says Rashi, and who knew more or better, azoy:  Moishe explained the Toirah to the Yiddin in seventy languages. According to Rashi, this was part of the process of clarifying the Toirah. Nu, efsher you’re wondering where the Yiddin learned 70 languages while over in Mitzrayim or in the Midbar, me too. Did they need additional language skills to negotiate pricing with Moabite shiksas?

And as Devorim begins, Moishe Rabaynu has but five weeks to live and he’s got lots on his mind and on his lips; he’s in a talking mood. He is, says the Chizkuni (1:3) seemingly at the end of his life, down to his last thirty-six days, Forty years have passed since he helped lead the Yiddin out of Mitzrayim (Egypt). And since he too was condemned along with most of the male adults of his generation and wasn’t going to make it over to the Promised Land, it’s time  to part  ways with the people who are on the brink of fulfilling their national destiny of occupying the Promised Land under the leadership of Yehoishua. He’s got five weeks to go and lots to say. Veyter.

Beginning with this week’s parsha and continuing throughout the entire Sefer, Moishe pontificates in the form of several speeches during which, much like the eishes chayil, he becomes historical and recounts kimat every sin the Yiddin committed during the past 39+ years. Shoin, who can’t relate?  And taka there was lots to talk about nebech; the Yiddin, as we recounted in great detail as we covered sefer Bamidbar, were, with few exceptions, mamish out of control mamish getting into all sorts of trouble. Who needs to be reminded so many years later about their past misdeeds? These sermons stress the RBSO’s special relationship with the Yiddin who are reminded that they are not more virtuous than the other nations of earth; it is only through their loyalty to the heylige Toirah that their unique role in history will come about.

Lest you think that we should skip Devorim because it’s a repetition of the mitzvois already taught, you would be wrong. And though Deuteronomy is commonly referred to as Mishne Toirah, a repetition, because many of its laws are similar to those found in the other four books, it’s zicher not the case for all and Devorim will offer a few very interesting topics not previously covered. As a bonus, it will also cover as many as 100 new mitzvois.  Says the RambaN azoy: “And in this Sefer a few mitzvois are added which have not been mentioned previously at all, such as Yibum (the obligation of a man to marry his deceased brother’s wife if he died childless), the law concerning defamation of character, divorcing a woman, conspiring witnesses (a special category of false witnesses who claim to have witnessed an event when neither of them was in the vicinity at all) and others…”

And some good news: In Sefer Devorim, we will also learn how the RBSO made sure that when it came time for war, everyone enlisted and make believe yeshiva boys weren’t seeking deferments. We will be introduced to the laws governing the male soldier and the hot shiksa he may chap, if you chap, during war and many more. He may chap a hot shiksa during war? Seemingly yes but you’ll have to wait a few weeks until we cover that topic and other givaldige Mitzvois. What’s Yibbum you ask? Nu- that’s for another day, ober divorce and a few of its laws, mistama you know something about. Everyone has at least one chaver that’s either divorced at least once and many others that wish they were. Some of you have chaverim that have done it multiple times and will continue to do so until they get it right. Ober is it necessary to hear the other 500+  mitzvois again? Maybe they should cut out laining during the summer weeks so that we can vacation without having to worry about missing kriyas Hatoirah?

Ober Raboyseyee we have to learn Devorim because it’s mashma (appears) that even some of the old laws have come back with new twists.

As we say hello to book number five of the Chamishey Chumshay Toirah (five books) a centuries old debate rages: who wrote Sefer Devorim? Had you even a clue that for centuries a debate has been raging over who wrote this fifth book? Did your Rebbe ever teach you that there’s a machloikes (argument) about its authorship? Not! He was busy hitting you with his shtekin or trying to abuse yours, if your chap. Altz kint (as a child), avada no one taught the Oisvorfer that this was an issue; it was naturally assumed that the RBSO wrote Devorim just like He wrote the others. Though the Oisvorfer had the zecus (merit) of attending more than one yeshiva (and more than two), no one uttered a word about this controversy. Seemingly, there is more than a shtikel controversy about Devorim’s authorship.

The heylige Gemora (Buba Basra 15a) considers who wrote the final 8 pisukim of the Toirah which describe events after Moishe’s death. Rebbe Yehudah holds that Moishe wrote, under the RBSO’s guidance, the gantze (entire) Toirah except for the last 8 pisukim, which were written by Yehoishua. Avada this makes sense given that Moishe was already dead. Ober, Rebbe Shimon says that being dead is not necessarily a deterrent to writing. Hey- haven’t we seen wills written and re-written magically after the person died without one? And taka what really happened? Shoin, we can settle the matter azoy: Until the last 8 verses, the RBSO spoke and Moishe wrote; thereafter, He spoke and Moishe wrote it bedema (in tears.)  Rambam seems to rule, in his famous introduction to the Mishnah  ( Perek Chelek,) in support of Rebbe  Shimon: “The 8th principle is that Toirah is from Heaven, i.e. we should believe that THIS ENTIRE TOIRAH WHICH WE HAVE TODAY IS THE ONE GIVEN BY MOISHE OUR TEACHER, MAY HE REST IN PEACE, DICTATED ENTIRELY BY GOD.” Moishe was like a scribe to whom one dictates and he writes.

And how do we reconcile these two views? Says The Vilna Gaon azoy: the statements of Rebbe Yehudah and Rebbe Shimon may taka be reconciled, why not? Says the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 1:1):  the Toirah was all written even before the world was created, so our inquiry should not be restricted to the final 8 verses but to the entire Toirah! How then could Moishe write “And Moishe died …” (Devorim 34:5), and how could the whole Toirah have been written prior to the occurrence of the events described?  Says the Gaon that the text of the Toirah is formulated by combinations of the RBSO’s names. Before creation, the Toirah existed in its hidden, primordial (good scrabble word) state. As world history unfolded, the RBSO revealed to Moishe how to write the words of our Toirah but only up to the final 8 verses. The remainder He taught to Moishe in a concealed form (word jumble). Therefore, we can now chap that Moishe taka wrote the text of the last 8 verses, but without being made aware of the spaces between words so it all looked like one long string of letters! Shortly afterward, the RBSO disclosed to Yehoishua where to insert the spacing in order to make sense of these final words. And you finally chap why he was the Vilna Gaon and you’re nothing but a bum and an Oisvorf.

Got all that? Case closed or is your head too farshtupped (stuffed) with other devorim betalim (other nonsense and pun intended) and you can’t absorb all this givaldige Toirah? If you chap this last pshat, you can understand why the commandments in Devarim are treated completely as are those in the other books. Also, Art Scroll and other publishers are avada happy: more books to sell.

And says the heylige Zoihar that we needn’t worry about others who maintain that Moishe is its author, despite such support from the first-person wording of the Sefer which contradicts the very basis of our faith in the Divine origin of the entire Toirah; it’s all narishkeyt (bs). How many times have I told you not to mess with the Zoihar? It’s mamish dangerous!

Let’s just all agree that the RBSO wrote it and all is good; do you really care who wrote it? It’s here, so we try to keep a few mitzvois here and there and say then say I’m sorry on Yoim Kippur for those we couldn’t, didn’t or otherwise ignored. Isn’t that what the holiday is for anyway? Case closed?  Not so fast, as many commentators insist that Sefer Devorim was written by Moishe in his own words; are they all just rabble rousers? How are we to understand this?

Says Abarbanel azoy:  At first Moishe taka (indeed) said these words of his own initiative, ober (but) the RBSO had his back. After he (Moishe) expressed himself, the RBSO agreed and commanded Moishe to reduce his words to writing. The RBSO then dictated the same words in exactly the same way as He had dictated the previous books. Is it good to have friends in High places or what?  Beautiful!  Shoin: It’s settled!

The bottom line is that we have five books and that’s what we have to learn. This doesn’t, of course, satisfy many Goyim who have differing views on who wrote it, but that’s for another day. Mistama (likely) you’re not aware that kimat (nearly) all liberal scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, deny the authorship of Moishe and among their reasons is that he could  not have written the last Pisukim  (following his death). I mean he was good, but writing Toirah after dying? Nu, that’s for another day.  And, of course you wouldn’t know that, and why should you? You barely know anything about your own religion, are you expected to know what the Goyim are thinking? And who cares? Ginig shoin (enough already), we’re kimat (almost) 6 pages in, yikes.

And for the record: The Oisvorfer, despite his other shortcomings, is avada mamish a believer that the RBSO is behind the gantze  Toirah kulah (the entire enchilada) especially during these nine days when he’s mamish spooked about everything.

A gittin shabbis and of course an easy fast on Sunday

Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv

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