Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
Nu, givaldige news for those of you with mild or even severe ADD. This week’s heylige parsha of Ki Sisa contains a little bit of everything for everyone, many topics mamish –it’s loaded. From a census counting of the Yiddin, to spices, incense, shabbis observance and, the eygel incident (golden calf), the new luchois (second set of Tablets), near destruction of the Yiddin, Moishe’s davening, the RBSO’s 13 special attributes of mercy, forgiveness and even Yoim Kippur in March, and much more, it’s all here and only in the heylige Toirah. Halt kup and pay attention, it’s Toirah, the beste schoira! Ober where to start and what to cover in a few pages? Yikes! Nu, lommer unfangin (let’s begin) and let’s see how much we can cover.
Shoin: Ershtens (to start), if you have a son named Betzalel and are planning a bar mitzvah, aufruf and/or sheva brochos, this is your parsha. You’ll find speech material galore and mamish givaldige medrish about this wunderkind. On the other hand if your name is Chur, Aharoin or even Moishe, sit this one out, none of them fared too well in Ki Sisa. Then again, most of the Yiddin might feel like taking a pass on Ki Sisa because it’s in this week’s parsha that the Yiddin came within a hairsbreadth of being annihilated in gantzin (altogether); not the first time the RBSO wanted to do away with His creations. The RBSO was in no mood for their shenanigans and told Moishe He’s ready to start all over again. Shoin. One can only imagine what the new nation might have looked like with Moishe’s eishes chayil being many shades darker, if you chap. What kind of trouble could they already have cooked up 40 days mamish after receiving the heylige Luchois (Aseres Hadibrois)? Nu, soon you’ll chap, ober ershtens (let’s start with) a bissel on Betzalel.
Though only 13 years old, Betzalel gets to play a key role, gets a shout-out from the RBSO Himself and is, from total obscurity mamish, elevated to project manager of the entire Mishkan project. Not too shabby. As to Chur, Betzalel’s zeyda (grandfather), he is murdered senselessly mamish by the gang that went on to build and worship the eygel hazohov (golden calf). Aharoin, the big Kihuna is somehow ensnared into the eygel plot and Moishe Rabaynu, after being omitted by name from last week’s parsha altogether (as we discussed just last shabbis- don’t you remember anything?), would have been much better off being omitted from this week’s instead. Seemingly the RBSO passed him over in favor of Aharoin for the big Kihuna job and this week, Ki Sisa is not much kinder. Moishe is again passed over as he loses his next promotion to a 13 year old. Is this how the RBSO rewards his favorite people? Yikes!! And what chance does an oisvorf like you have, given these facts? Nu, geloibt der abishter (Boruch Hahsem), and as we discussed over and again in previous Oisvorfer Toirahs, the RBSO taka does punish, sometimes even severely, those whom He loves and those who are mamish righteous, but cares little about sinners like yourselves. Taka a relief, mamish.
Efsher you noticed that when Betzalel was introduced, he is referred to as Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur and efsher you’re wondering why the heylige Toirah went out of its way not once but twice to mention his lineage. It’s taka quite rare that the Toirah mentions such lineage, and who was his Zeyda Chur (grandfather) who gets more than one Toirah shout-out? Says the heylige Toirah (Shemois 31:1):”I have chosen Betzalel son of Uri son of Chur of the tribe of Yehuda, by name. I have filled him with Divine spirit, with wisdom, understanding and knowledge … ”
Nu, not surprisingly, the Medrish offers two opinions. What’s surprising is that there are only two! Says one: Chur was Miriam’s (Moishe’s sister) husband. Says another: he was Miriam’s son. Which was it, ver veyst? Whoever he was, he did not have a happy ending though he did have an illustrious ancestry that included Yehuda, Peretz, Chetzroin and Kolave; royalty mamish. We call that Yichus, though as has been pointed out, es- hut-gurnisht-giholfin (it helped little when it mattered). Speaking of Yehuda, efsher you remember that he was blessed, and that kingship ran in his family, and will continue when the Moshiach makes an appearance. In any event, he was killed, his yichus notwithstanding and oy vey!
Says the Medrish, based on the heylige Gemora (Sanhedrin 7a) azoy: Chur died a hero’s death trying to prevent the Yiddin from worshiping Aviodo Zoro (idolatry). For his effort to stop the Yiddin (some say that only the Erev Rav were involved) from executing their will to build the golden calf, Chur was stoned to death. Not such nice behavior by the newly crowned and Chosen People, even if only by a select few. Ober the RBSO did not forget Chur’s heroism and in Parshas Ki Sisa, Chur’s eynikel (grandson) Betzalel got the call and was, despite his young years, chosen to build the Mishkan. Of course, the RBSO blessed him with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, all good things to have on one’s resume.
And since we’re mamish but weeks away from Pesach, the great Yom Tov when we celebrate and refer to ourselves as ‘B’nai Choirin’ (free people), listen to this mamish givaldige vort. Says the Or Hachaim Ki Sisa (31:2) that the name Chur stems from the root word churin or freedom. This alludes to Betzalel, ober how? Nu, the construction of the Mishkan, caused the Yiddin to become freed from the iniquity and guilt of the Eygel. Shoin: atonement in hand. And to tie it all up for you Oisvorfs let’s go veyter: Seemingly, our man Betzalel was the man selected for this job because of his direct connection and relationship with his Zayde, Chur. Gishmak or what?
And here’s a shtikel mamish gishmakeyt for the shabbis tish; this one will make you look like you’re mamish a star, though you’re mamish not! It seems that this special trait of ‘manning up’ at the right time, was passed down in the genes going all the way to Yehuda, who avada ‘manned up’ with Tamar, passed a thing or two down his jeans or whatever shmatta he was wearing or not, if you chap, which he did. Ober the emes is that Yehuda too, when faced with the choice of letting Tamar innocently burn at the stake to protect his own less than desirable behavior, took responsibility for the packages she was suddenly carrying. After unwrapping Tamar, Yehuda took the rap, and for this valiant act, his Tata (father), Yankif Oveenu, on his deathbed mamish, and after not such nice parting words for the previous recipients of his good wishes, praised Yehuda, and also reminded him about how nice a guy he was. Oh and he also assured him of the kingship in his family tree. The lesson: fessing up after chapping is not always giferlich though not suggested. Warning: do not try this at home!
Efsher you’re wondering how the Yiddin, 40 days mamish after the RBSO presented Himself on Har Seenai and gave them the Aseres Hadibrois, and after seeing miracle after miracle in the 40 days that preceded this event, could have gone off the derech (been derailed) to a point of idolatry, are you? What’s pshat? Nu, the RBSO had the same questions: He was not very pleased by this behavior. As you can imagine, the Medrish and many others are replete with potential answers and offer numerous explanations as to why the Yiddin made the Golden Calf. What is striking is that even after the Yiddin did tshuva (repented) and built the Mishkan and even after the RBSO granted them atonement on Yom Kippur, the sin lingered on throughout history.
Says the Medrish as quoted by Rashi and who knew more about everything: the RBSO told the Yiddin that every time they are punished for their sins, contained within the punishment is a form of punishment from the sin of the farsthunkina Eygel. So much for forgiveness and total atonement. Seemingly this is a trait given over to most women; they too never forget! Veyter gegangin (let’s go further).
Nu, since we mentioned women, now is taka a good time to remind you that the neshei chayil (women) did not at all participate in the gantze eygel fiasco; they refused mamish to remove their jewelry for this cause. Says the Da’as Zekeinim: during the Eygel incident, the men took their wives’ jewelry by force, such chazerim (pigs). It so happens that women don’t like parting with jewelry, it’s quite poshit. Jewels efsher, if you chap, ober jewelry zicher nisht.
Ober the heylige Zoihar gives epes a shtikel rational answer through which he attempts to rationalize why the Yiddin felt the need to create the Eygel and it goes like this: For hundreds of years, the Yiddin were enslaved in Mitzrayim, their future was looking bleak. Their connection to the RBSO kimat nonexistent. In fact we are taught that they had sunk down to the 49th level of impurity, a level many of you are mistama quite familiar with, if you chap. While laying bricks for Paroy the minuvil, they were also epes laying pipe with a few hot mitzri shiksas. They had abandoned one of the earliest mitzvois given to man. Says the Medrish: they forgot about the entire bris mila, chazerim that they were. In general too close to the RBSO they apparently weren’t. Along came Moishe and their luck seemed to change for the better. They were miraculously freed from bondage and also left with some sizable wealth. Avada you recall how they ‘borrowed’ gold silver and other valuables on their way out. And avada you recall that the term ’borrow’, much like it does nowadays when someone ‘borrows’ money or other valuables, even a book, means that the borrower has no intention of ever repaying or returning the item(s). Says the heylige Toirah: the Yiddin cleaned out Mitzrayim on their way out, and not with brooms. The sea was also quite generous, spitting forth even more gold, silver and other riches, life was suddenly good. Next stop Har Seenai where the RBSO Himself spoke to them, it was givaldig mamish and yet another high. Ober the RBSO’s thunder and light show shook up the Yiddin, they became frightened, and Moishe was forced to take over and deliver the balance of the Aseres Hadibrois. And here we are in Ki Sisa. Moishe told the Yiddin he would be back in 40 days ober he seemingly wasn’t, not by their farkakte count. Let’s remember they were bricklayers and slaves, not finance or accounting majors. Moishe has gone missing, what to do?
The Yiddin felt lost without Moishe and needed a medium to maintain their connection to the RBSO. Says the Zoihar, and who knew better: this was mamish the reason the Yiddin constructed the golden calf. They wanted to create a medium for the Shechina (spirit) to reside, in order to replace Moishe. Their motives seemed righteous and praiseworthy. Chur, our real hero, chapped that each Yid has a unique relationship with the RBSO and there is no need for images or mediums. Shoin! Why people flock to such people today, ver veyst? Seemingly the RBSO wishes to deal with us all directly. Therefore, there is no need to create an image to serve as a medium. Says the Oisvorfer, who heard this message many times from a good chaver: if you want to make contact with the RBSO, look up and talk to Him or down at the prayer book and talk. It will also save you oodles of money that you give to charlatans masquerading around as Kabbalists. Veyter.
The Yiddin built the eygel and are partying heavy. Avada you all recall that Moishe, upon his arrival and after witnessing the hooliganism around the Eygel, and in disgust mamish, smashed the newly minted Luchois to the ground. Efsher you’re klerring to yourselves……….. how could Moishe do such a giferliche thing? And guess what, you’re not alone. Rabaynu Bechaye freyght di zelba kasha (asks the same questions); how could Moishe possibly break the Tablets on his own, when they contained the RBSO’s holy writings? Were they his to break? It’s taka emes that the Yiddin efsher didn’t deserve them, that the Yiddin after partying around the Eygel were no longer worthy and taka all emes, ober did he have to break them. Why not return to sender marked rejected or just hand deliver them and await further instructions? Taka an excellent kasha ober kimat every kasha has an answer and so does this one.
Pshat is that Moishe saw the letters of the Luchois flying away, mamish or so some say. And since the letters on the Luchois are likened to its ‘soul’, while the Tablets themselves are likened to its body, what good is a body without soul? When the soul deserts the body, the body is ready for burial. Shoin: Moishe saw flying letters, no soul and a dead body and broke them. Says the heylige Medrish: after the letters flew off, the Luchois became very heavy in his hands, just as a man becomes heavier after his death, when his soul departs. Gishmak.
Though the eygel is the centerpiece of the gantze parsha and though the scene was quite ugly, there is one interesting thought about one of the spices used for the burning of the Ketoires (incense). Among the spices of the Ketoires was the Chelbino which had a rather foul smell. Why would the RBSO order that this foul smelling odor be used? Says our sages: it was included among the spices to teach us that we should not consider it insignificant to include the sinners amongst the Yiddin in our fasts and prayers; just like the foul smelling Chelbino was among the spices of the Ketoires.and says the Mahrsha: if one has 10 righteous Jews he may include a sinner as number 11. However he may not include the sinner to be number 10; just like the Chelbina was only included with 10 sweet smelling spices. Seemingly, one can stink up the joint and still be ok. In any event, not giferliche news for all of us.
A gitten shabbis-
The Oisvorfer Ruv