We are delighted to begin with wishes of Mazel tov to Ayelet and Chaim Frankel who became parents to a baby boy, their first child. The Oisvorfer and eishes chayil have known Ayelet kimat since birth, have watched her grow up in her house and ours and are overjoyed to share in this great Simcha. The bris will take place tomorrow morning; all are invited. Mazel tov to our good friends, the very proud grandparents, Mandy and Rubin Brecher, to both sets of great-grandparents (one of whom was the Oisvorfer’s teacher in 8th grade) and of course to Chaim’s very excited parents, Elaine and Dudi Frankel.
Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
Can Yiddin Get Along?
The Oisvorfer apologizes profusely for a very short Toirah this week; he returned only late last night from Ft. Myers Florida where the mishpocho, expanded over Pesach -more on that in a special edition to come- spent Yom Tov recalling and retelling (twice) how Paroy, the minuvil-farbrecher (bad guy), enslaved the Yiddin for over 200 years. And we spoke about how our forefathers, nebech, had little to eat but some matzo. How do we commemorate the slavery they endured? By eating as they did but a piece of matzo or by reenacting their hardship? A nechtiger tug: fugetaboutitt! We do so by flying all over the world and staying in resorts, one nicer than the other. We eat foods on Pesach including pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, all somehow kosher for Pesach, ver veyst, that the Yiddin never dreamt of. The damn morror (bitter herv) is so delicious; we eat it as a snack and instruct the waitress to bring more. We want bowls of it because who doesn’t enjoy the dueling tastes of morror when dipped in charoises surrounded by some matzo. Hard on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. So tempting, if you chap. Seemingly the hardest work we must do is closing our pants. We are out of control gorging like chazerim mamish, running to and from the dining room interrupted only by the tea-room where the dessert they just served in the main dining room is long forgotten during the 2 minute walk to the tea room, and where we start all over again as if we hadn’t seen chocolate and other desserts since Willy Wonka. In the end though, we are not free, nothing is. We are enslaved by our yetzer horo for bigger and more elaborate smorgasbords and more food. Though a few Yiddin, very, have been able to conquer the yetzer horo in other areas, if you chap, few, if any, have ever won the battle of the shmorg. It remains all mighty.
Because daylight savings time kicked in so early this year, mistama you had some extra time to pick up a sefer and catch up on your learning. Ober did you? The RBSO was mamish testing you to see if you would have been worthy of freedom had you been in Mitzrayim. A nechtiger tug (absolutely not): most of you failed. The daf yomi, though diligently prepared, was attended by a total of three people. Why? Because it was given during breakfast time; no daf, even those discussing very stimulating subjects, can win the battle of the omelet station. That line had over a dozen at any one time. That’s 12 for eggs and 3 for Toirah; yikes! Instead you spent your time lounging and schmoozing at the pool, on yom tov mamish, in your kortze hoizen (short pants) where you read the business section of the papers (ossur mamish) or some trashy novel about sex, power, money and other such narishkeyt. A few sat around discussing every topic under the sun except for the RBSO’s heylige Toirah. A good many of you were heard debating the need, in our times, for a second seder while others still, were bad mouthing the very people they were spending time with including their own mishpocho, oy vey. And with that sad reality, let’s try to get our heads back into learning and see what gems the RBSO has given us this week.
Nu, welcome back from the myriad hotels that Yiddin around the world occupied for ten days and where the goyishe management and staff are still in awe of the number of lambs and other cattle that gave their lives, sacrificed mamish, so that the Yiddin could reenact and fulfill the mitzvah of eating, over and again, the korban Pesach. Ober did your parents ever go away for Pesach? Mistama nisht (not)! Mistama they taught you that during the special yom tov of Pesach men-misht-zich-nisht (on Pesach we don’t mix). More easily understood: during Pesach, we don’t eat out of the house and that would include hotels and neighbors’ houses. Zicher one should not be eating out, if you chap, at a friend’s house if the friend is not home.
Les-man-di-polig (few would argue) that many people hate the Yiddin. It’s also emes that many Yiddin hate other Yiddin and that such sinas chinom is almost always on display. People dressed in black suits typically look down on and bad mouth those in shorts and people with multiple layers of cover up, would of course not be seen chavering with those in hoizen (pants). Ober the Oisvorfer has noticed that all this changes on Pesach. Everyone seems to be more tolerant; it’s kimat a love fest. People in shul with shorts are sitting next to a few with suits and gartlich (translate). And that’s taka how it was for the approximate 500 guests at the Ft. Myers program; all got along. One Yid respected another. Men in black suits got along with those in shorts, women with long skirts were seen talking to a few bikini clad women. A good time was had by all especially by those men in suits who sat near the pool enjoying those with the bikinis. Was it the sun, the location, the food, ver veyst! And efsher it’s fitting then that this week’s parsha features one of the more famous of all mitzvois; love they friend as yourself. Those who couldn’t practice this mitzvah, had pleasant thoughts, if you chap.
Says the heylige Toirah (Vayikro19, 17-18) azoy: Veohavto lerayacho komoicho (love thy friend as you love yourself.) And said the great Rebbe Akiva, a man who knew something about love, azoy: this is the great (est) principle of the Toirah. Others suggest that the real meaning of these words are: “You shall love your neighbor like yourself.” And says the Oisvorfer azoy: whether it’s a neighbor or friend, be careful, if you chap. Ober the emes is that upon closer examination, we will find that these words follow efsher a more important mitzvah and commandment. ‘Do not hate your brother in your heart…’ Shoin, where would we be if we couldn’t hate people and bad mouth them at will? Could such a world exist, ver veyt?
And efsher because the RBSO chapped that humans have so little, if any, self-control, taka this week, in Parshas Kedoshim, the RBSO will remind us of where one should not be feasting, and of the various forbidden sexual relationships we were introduced to back in Achrei Mois. And why do we need to be reminded? You know damn well why!
Ober what does eating have to do with forbidden relationships? Does eating the wrong things lead to eating in places where one shouldn’t, if you chap? Maybe! Let’s taka start with the opening possik (verse) of this week’s parsha of Kedoshim wherein the RBSO tells Moishe to gather the entire nation (even the women). “the RBSO spoke to Moishe saying: Speak to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel (kol adas bnei Yisrael) and say to them: ‘Kedoishim Tihiyu (You shall be holy)…’”. The RBSO wants the Yiddin to be holy and ober what does that taka mean? Says Rashi, and who knew more or better, azoy: holy means we are to abstain from forbidden relationships. Shoin!
Ober says the Ramban azoy: it’s a more encompassing requirement, enjoining us to exercise restraint. Or, we could follow the RambaM who preached a middle of the road approach: not too much of anything. As a matter of rule and practice, most wives hold like the RambaM. Most men hold other things, if you chap.
The heylige Toirah warns us not to eat certain foods and allows the consumption of others. Incestuous and adulterous relationships, though efsher enticing, are verboten, while marital relationships are the fulfillment of the RBSO’s wishes; it’s a commandment mamish. Ober says the Ramban that certain people will take the opportunity to become a “novol birshus haToirah” – a minuvil who manages to stay just within the parameters of the Toirah. Seemingly, a person can be a licentious character and still be monogamous: you could be a kosher glutton, or a kosher drunk, or as he says, “a sleeze-bag” with the Toirah’s permission. Is that so giferlcih? Ver veyst?
Though Parshas Kedoishim is one of the shortest in the gantze (entire) Toirah, only 5 are shorter, it contains the most mitzvois in the gantze Toirah. Halt Kupp (pay attention) Raboyseyee because of the 51 mitzvois only 13 are ah-says (positive) while 38 are loi-sah-says: Yikes. And since most of you have trouble with this category, the Oisvorfer is delighted to remind you and chazer with you, topics that are relevant mamish. In fact, the great majority of Perek Chof (20) is, devoted to only one topic; the punishment allotted to sinners and violators of these forbidden sexual relations. And listen to this: the punishment is not the dog house, flowers or even jewelry: we’re talking death mamish; the big one! There’s an obligation to execute those who desecrate the sanctity of the nation through certain acts. And death comes in a variety of ways, none too pleasant.
And while the parsha is mamish full of loi- sah-says (thou shall not…’s) Perek Chof (20) is almost in its entirety mamish a list of prohibitions against illicit sexual relations: adultery is mentioned prominently and avada other incestuous relationships (a father’s wife, a daughter-in-law, the tanta (aunt), the shvester (sister), a sister-in-law, and many others. Let’s not forget to give honorable mention to other such chazerrish (piggish) behavior including bestiality and relations with a nidda ( menstruating woman). Seemingly it might have been efsher easier just to say that one can only have relations with his eishes chayil (wife) and that’s it. Ober the RBSO wanted to make certain that vilde chayis (wild animals) like yourselves lemoshol (by way of example) don’t go around marrying any of those you lusted after so that you could enjoy their fruits (before discarding them). We can klerr (posit) that efsher that’s one reason why He went out of His way to chazir (review) this sugya (topic) again this week and tell us in no uncertain terms that it’s ossur (verboten) min hatoirah to have relations with these family members, even if you wanted to marry them. Who do you think you are, Yaakov Oveenu? In other words: the RBSO knew that chazerrim like yourselves would be looking for a loophole and closed it up. And do any of these ring familiar? They should! Efsher you recall, that not too long ago, the week before Pesach bidiyuik (mamish exactly), the RBSO told us not to engage in deviant sexual behavior and delineated a series of such relationships, including avada homosexuality. Rebbes in certain yeshivas and group leaders were avada exempt, Ober this week, the RBSO put some teeth into it: This week, He tells us what awaits us (you) if you are nichshoil (fall prey), don’t listen and chap a quickie with the wife’s sister and or others.
Some say that taka the reason that the RBSO gave us a bit of time to digest the prohibitions listed in Achrei Mois was because we avada know from the heylige Gemora the dictum which says azoy: “ein onshim elah im kein mazhirim” – A punitive action is not meted out for the transgression of a prohibition unless there is a prior scriptural warning. Others suggest that the RBSO wanted to give the Yiddin some time to wean themselves off myriad such relationships they were embroiled in and gave the Yiddin over Pesach to clean up their acts. Maybe its taka an extension of the Pesach cleaning or efsher it’s what’s meant by ad sheyodo maseges(as far as the hand reaches), if you chap.
Efsher you’re wondering why the Oisvorfer is always talking about sex and such matters? Ober tyerer and choshova readers, avada you know that the Oisvofer is merely repeating the heylige words and thoughts (many times verbatim) of the commentators. In fact Rashi seems to limit his explanation of this mitzvoh of kedoshim tiheyu to the area of arayos (sexual matters) and efsher we can kler that even before the internet was invented and other schmutz print days, Rashi chapped that people are…well, just people. Rashi thought the worst of man; man did not disappoint. Mistama he understood the human beast. Should we be skipping Rashi? Chas V’sholom!!
And listen to this: Rabbeinu Bachya connects the end of Achrei Mois and its list of forbidden sexual relationships, to the end of this week’s parsha and suggests that it’s in this context, that we must also understand the command to be holy. The Toirah commands each spouse, both husband and wife, to maintain pure thoughts while having permitted relations. He also emphasizes that both men and women are included in this requirement, since, as the midrash, cited by Rashi, tells us, this parsha was said to the entire people. Nu- it can be suggested that this requirement to have pure thoughts is efsher harder than staying away from the forbidden relationships altogether. Let’s get real: when was the last time you had pure thoughts while engaged in vilde (wild) relations with the eishes chayil? Moreover when was the last time you had vilde relation with the eishes chayil altogether? Is this item on the menu? What’s he talking about?
A gitten shabbis-
The Oivorfer Ruv