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

Ki Sisa 2015 – Magic Waters

15Raboyseyee and Ladies:

Magic waters

A freylichin Purim to all readers whether home enjoying the seuda or stuck in your house unable to attend the seuda you were invited to and avada to those stuck in an airport waiting to get home for the seuda. The best line read today was this. Democrats are exempt from drinking this Purim as they already don’t know the difference between Mordechai and Homon.

Shoin! It was back in parshas Ki Sisa 2012, when the Oisvorfer began adding a proper salutation to his female readership, the neshay chayil, the holy women who read his weekly parsha reviews.And why not?Weren’t they on Har Senai to receive the heylige Toirah? And don’t they have a right to enjoy? Zicher they do! And listen to what Ula said in the heylige Gemora (Gittin 36). “It is a miserable bride who prostitutes herself under the very wedding canopy.” Is that a nice thing to say, and he said this why? Because he was commenting on the posik (verse) in Shir Ha-Shirim 1:12 which says azoy: “While the King was still at His banquet, my nard gave forth its fragrance.” And what does that mean?  Says Rashi: it’s a reference to the fact that the Yiddin, still standing at Har Senai, in the presence of the Shechina (RBSO’s essence) mamish, had the temerity (chutzpah) to create and worship the eygel (golden calf). Shreklich (OMG)! And it all goes down in this week’s parsha ober amazingly enough, only the men participated in the reveling, debauchery and idolatry. The heylige women sat this one out and maintained their faith in the RBSO. In other words: the reference to a bride prostituting herself, was a dig at the men; the women as we will see, were on their best behavior.

Said Shlomo HaMelech a shtikel cryptically in Koiheles (7:28) azoy: “adam-echad-me’elef motzosi, -iv’isho-b’kol-eileh-loi-matzasi.” In plain English: one man out of one thousand I found, but not a single woman did I find. Says the medrish(Bamidbar Rabbah 21:10): Shlomo was referring to the sin of the golden calf, in which one out of each thousand men sinned, yet not a single woman participated. And let’s not forget their contribution to the growth of the nation. Wasn’t it the women,  while their husbands were enslaved in Mitzrayim, who brought them food, massaged them, got dressed up, made them look into their mirrors, seduced them and as a result gave birth to (according to the medrish) to between 6 and 60 children at a time? It was!

The heylige Toirah (Shemois 32:2) tells us that Aharoin, maybe as a stall tactic, ver veyst, mamish suggested that the men remove and bring the earrings “in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters”. For those who defend Aharoin’s actions and believe that he was mamish stalling for time, the plan was ingenious. Shoin: you try telling your wife that you want her to give up her gold earrings so that you can make a bonfire. Good luck with that. It’s a klall godol ba’toirah (generally accepted principle): women don’t give up their gold and diamonds. Their jewels? From time to time yes, if you chap, ober not diamonds. In fact, they use their jewels to make diamonds, if you chap. Ober listen to the very next possik which tells us azoy: the Yiddin or were they Yiddin – we should explore this- brought the rings from their ears but not those of their wives. And those who write the medrish (Pirkei deRebbe Eliezer chapter 44) chapped by reading the words carefully, that the women taka did not hand over their earrings and did not therefore partake in the cheyt ho’eygel. Another medrish tells us that the RBSO rewarded them by designating Rosh Choidesh as a holiday especially for them.  Many women have a custom not to do work on Roish Choidesh, and this custom is taka mentioned in the Yerushalmi (Ta’anis 1:6) and in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch (OC 417). Some women are machmir (more strict and refuse to work all year. Shopping is of course permitted, even on Roosh Choidesh. Another medrish (Tashbetz II: 244) tells us that the women were more than eager and perhaps more eager than their husbands to donate to and partake in the Mishkan building project. And he knows this how? From reading the possik (Shemois 35:22) which tells us that the men came “al hanashim” – “after the women”. Taka unusual, if you chap. Ober the men……

Welcome to parshas Ki Sisa where all hell breaks loose, mamish. Let’s set the scene: it’s a mere 40 days since the Yiddin chanted na’aseh v’nishma (we will do and we will then listen) and accepted the heylige Toirah on the little mountain. Shoin, they are about to get off the derech (path). For a very brief moment in time, they were taka unified and excited but here they were after twice chanting na’aseh v’nishma but instead got busy doing without listening. The Yiddin are about to commit the worst sin in the history of their nation: the making and worship of the eygel (golden calf) loi olaunu- chas vsholom- say it’s not so please. An orgy would have been better and zicher more fun, and mistama (likely) easily forgivable by the RBSO. In fact, some say that orgies were indeed part of the reveling that took place and that Moishe witnessed before he intentionally dropped the heylige Luchois, oy vey! Shoin, of course you want details and time permitting we will lean how the medrish figured out that orgies and forbidden relations were on the menu at the eygel party.

As stated above, Kis Sisa describes one of the most terrible events in human history – the Cheyt Ha’eygel (sin of the golden calf). And as we make our way through this parsha yearly, we are still left bewildered at their behavior. How did this sin come about? How could the Yiddin, eyewitnesses mamish to open miracles who, as an aside, also left Mitzrayim with gold, silver, copper and other riches but without bread (thus giving us Pesach), turn so quickly on the RBSO and convince Aharoin to somehow form an eygel? Does this not boggle the mind? And as you reflect on your own chazerish behavior, don’t some of your avayrois, though quite egregious, pale compared to what the Yiddin of that generation did? That’s what a chaver suggested earlier this week.


Some say that the cheyt ha’eygel,  the sin of the Golden Calf, was so giferlich that it continues to haunt us ad hayoim hazeh (until today) and  even though the RBSO forgave the Yiddin, He seemingly did not forget. It’s a sin for which we are still doing teshuvah (returning to God), until the complete teshuvah which will bring Moshiach. Ober is that so? Was the eygel caper mamish the biggest sin of all time? Aren’t there at least 3 other contenders for the top spot? And though the heylige Toirah records sins by many people and in every variety and from big to small, seemingly all are in agreement that there are four great sins in the heylige Toirah.  Ershtens is the big primordial sin of Odom and Chava who partook and ate forbidden fruit and forever on, made such fruit more appealing, if you chap. And still in sefer Bereishis, we had the sin of the heylige and special bothers who sold their own younger brother and Toirah hero Yoisef into slavery. Some say that this sin, too, remains on the books and the Yiddin, until Moshiach comes, continue to suffer for this big no-no. And some say that the 10 martyrs who were killed by the Romans were a rectification of the 10 brothers who sold their brother Yoisef into slavery. We don’t have time to delve into the gantze myseh of the Aseret Harugay Malchus(legend of the Ten Martyrs) whom we are to recall during the Yom Kippur davening but if your interest has been piqued, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6SYaRppl2I – And over the summer when we get to parshas Shelach we will once again revisit the myseh of the spies and their great sin of disparaging the land and causing the Yiddin to cry and become dejected.  Their actions did not sit well with the RBSO who said – according to many- that as a result of their crying about the land and errant behavior, He would give us reason to cry and taka came through with Tisha Be’ov which marks the destruction of the 1st and 2nd temples and  other tragedies that befell the Yiddin on that date. Ober which is the worst of all, ver veyst? Veyter!

Ober to rationalize and attempt to chap what might have prompted this behavior, let’s chazir parts of the story you all know or should. Even giferlcihe oisvorfs will recall that the Yiddin panicked when Moishe, according to their own 40 day count, did not return timely. They approached Aharoin, who was appointed the leader in Moishe’s absence, and demanded, “Go make a god for us, for this man, Moishe – we do not know what happened to him” (32:1). Says Rashi, citing the heylige Gemora (Shabbis 89a) azoy: the people’s concern resulted from an image shown to them by the Soton (Satan). What image could have caused such panic? An image from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, it was zicher not. And how do we know? We know because had Moishe taka had access to such materials and had he thought to distribute them, the Yiddin would have been busy looking, discussing and of course arguing as to which model had the best shape and looked best in what she was or wasn’t wearing. This could have bought Aharoin enough time and Moishe would zicher have returned. Seemingly, he either didn’t have or wasn’t sharing and shoin; instead he asked them to get earrings from the women and girls.  Ober instead, the Soton showed them an image of Moishe lying lifeless in a coffin atop Har Senai.  And the vulnerable Yiddin, still shell-shocked from 210 years of slavery, were gullible enough and believed that Moishe had taka died, thus prompting them to search for an alternative form of leadership.

In any event, the RBSO was quite upset and suggested to Moishe that He would  destroy his own Chosen People and start all over again as He did during the mabul. He suggested building a new nation around Moishe’s descendants. Yikes!! The Oisvorfer has told you time and again: the RBSO gets very upset over avoido zoro (idolatry).  He is by His own words, a jealous G-d, and when combined with a shtikel sexual immorality, He gets really upset. How does that affect you? If you’re going to be a bad boy or girl, pick one or the other. In fact, mistama you’re better off with sexual immorality; the RBSO can forgive those and did of course forgive Yehudah, Dovid and others. The combo is always deadly. And why does He forgive chazerish behavior and why would an orgy be better you ask and avada you do? Because the RBSO understands sexual desires; maybe He’s not so happy with your chazzerish behavior but still, he allows for t’shuva and isn’t that what Yoim Kippur and all that klapping is for? Chapping and klapping are related! Shoin!  Avoida Zoro (idol worship) is the big one! Ober chap nisht: don’t get ahead of yourself just because you heard ‘orgy’; this avada doesn’t mean it’s mutir (allowed), chazir that you are. In any event, Moishe davened and saved the day. Alas not for everyone; some were severely punished.

Why is the Oisvorfer even suggesting that the Yiddin, while reveling, were also maybe involved in some other immortality of a sexual nature? Does the heylige torah tell us that? Of course not1 However, look the words of the next posik and in particular, let’s read the last word in Hebrew, the last two in English.


ו וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ, מִמָּחֳרָת, וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלֹת, וַיַּגִּשׁוּ שְׁלָמִים; וַיֵּשֶׁב הָעָם לֶאֱכֹל וְשָׁתוֹ, וַיָּקֻמוּ לְצַחֵק. {פ}


6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to make merry. {P}

Shoin, we all know that the word “l’tzachek” refers to making merry in the context of pagan worship but does it? We also know that this word usually means not to make merry in the context of idol-worship, but rather to be sexual. And we know this how? Because the heylige torah used it describe Yitzchak and Rivka when they were le’tzachinging at the window and Rashi, told us that they were having sexual relations at the window and that’s how Avimelech chapped that Yitzchok and Rivka were not brother and sister but husband and wife. They were busted! And say the heylige Gemora that the reason that the Yiddin worshipped the eygel was not for the idolatry, but rather to allow themselves to engage in forbidden sexual relationships (as part of the worship, as was the style of the time). Shreklich mamish!

Ober why was the RBSO so angry? Did all the Yiddin lose faith, and party with the golden calf? The emes is that the heylige Toirah does not tell us how many partook in the festivities.  Ober says the Malbim (Shemois 32:35) azoy: only 3,000 Yiddin actually participated in the sin.  And he knows this how? From the posik (Shemois 32:28)which says azoy: “And the children of Levi did as Moshe had directed. And on that day, 3,000 men fell from the nation.”

Not a terrible theory and let’s review to see if the number stands up as did the Yiddin, if you chap, as we will soon read. Moishe descended, saw and heard the party noises, broke the Luchois – the Tablets and asked those who remained faithful to the RBSO to rally around him. Sheyvet Leyve responded. He instructed them to execute the eygel sinners. The Liviim executed 3,000 people.  So 3,000 dead it was, but was that it? Not so fast because you weren’t paying attention a few pisukim later (Shemois 32:35) when we read azoy: “And Hashem struck the nation because they served the Eygel that Aharoin had made.”

In other words:  the RBSO struck again! In addition to those who were slaughtered or maybe even decapitated, according to some, by Sheyvet Leyve, others died in a plague that the RBSO brought upon the Yiddin.  And while we taka know exactly how many Yiddin the Liviim killed, we don’t know how many the RBSO took in the plague.  And shteltl-zich-di-shaylo (the question arises) as to why the RBSO wanted more dead? Didn’t the Liviim already kill all the sinners? Were there more?  Seemingly there were and says Rashi azoy: the Liviim had limited powers to execute. They were only empowered to execute those members of the nation who were forewarned to not participate in the sin and were then chapped worshipping and partaking in the festivities. Seemingly , that was group A but there were other sinners. Who were they?  The next group, group B, consisted of sinners who had not been forewarned or were not seen participating in worship. They sinned but weren’t chapped. The Liviim could not kill this group. What to do? This explains why the plague was needed. The RBSO paid a visit and shoin, in the ensuing plague; He wiped out the next group. In other words: you cannot hide from the RBSO: He will chap you all the time. Were there even more sinners?

How many did the RBSO kill, we don’t know. Why not? Because the RBSO did not tell us. Ober isn’t it emes and more typical for the RBSO, when He brings a plague, to tell us just how many died? It is! In fact, we will sadly find a few examples of this as the RBSO thins out the population while in the midbar. We get an exact count.  Moreover, though the Toirah does not indicate how many people died in the plague, the very term plague does indicate a large number. Who were they and were they in yet another grouping of sinners? And how is it possible that a substantial number of people participated in the sin and were not seen by witnesses?

Shoin, lets meet group C, and says the Malbim so gishmak azoy: Group C was the Erev Rav, remember them? They were a group of mixed people, mistama not Yiddin who somehow tagged along when the RBSO freed the Yiddin from slavery. And how did they, non-Jewish people tag along and why? Shoin, this took place before 9/11 and the TSA. Passport control was non- existent. Ober why would goyim want to tag along with Yiddin? The medrish will tell us that this group was impressed by the wonders they had witnessed the RBSO perform on behalf of His future people and decided to join. And it’s a good thing they did because from the time the Yiddin left Mitzrayim and until they arrived into the Promised Land 40 years later, the medrish will blame them for kimat all the mischief that befell the Yiddin. Of course the heylige Toirah does not explicitly tell us of the fate of this group but the medrish does.

Was the eygel mamish so giferlich? Seemingly it was and we already discussed that it was among the top four big sins the Yiddin committed. In fact, if you make it to shul this shabbis and pay attention to the laining, you will notice something quite interesting. The second aliya (person called to the Toirah) – that of Levi – is the longest of any parsha of the year (including double header parshas). This week’s parsha contains 139 verses, yet the first two Aliyos contain a disproportionate 92 verses, or two-thirds of the entire parsha. Taka why?

Said the Chiddushei HaRim so gishmak azoy: the majority of the parsha discusses the eygel caper, a monumental embarrassment of unprecedented proportions. And for somebody to be called up to the Toirah when this sin, in which his ancestors may have played a role, is being recounted, would be humiliating. Sheyvet Levi earned their mettle when they refused to take part in the sin and also assisted Moishe in punishing the wrongdoers. Therefore, the first two Aliyos, which are given to the koihen and the levi, both descendants of the Levites, are atypically lengthened until the narrative of this ugly chapter in history is completed.

Says the Malbim azoy: only a small group of Yiddin participated in the eygel debacle.  However a larger portion of the Erev Rav were involved. Accordingly, among the Yiddin mamish there were many innocent people who forewarned their neighbors to stay away. If their forewarning was disregarded these same individuals were available to serve as witnesses of the sin. Shevet Leyve relied on these innocent people in order to judge and execute those who were guilty of worshipping the Eygel.

Shoin, was the eygel event finally over after Moishe ordered the slaughter of Group A and the RBSO brought the plague that wiped out group B? Seemingly there were more sinners and a plan was put into place to deal with those that were not seen and also not warned yet partook of the eygel festivities. Moishe was holding court for their offenses. Continuing the analogy of idolatry to adultery, as mentioned above, a court can only execute an adulteress when the act is preceded by a legal warning and witnessed.  Be careful out there! If the husband only suspects that his wife has been unfaithful but has no proof, he can, under certain circumstances, administer a form of trial by ordeal. In a few months, we will be introduced to the ‘mei-soitah, a drink the suspected wife was encouraged to drink. Were she innocent of the charges, the waters would have no ill affect but if guilty, her innards would explode and she would die. A highly potent and similar drink is found in  this week’s parshas. It’s mamish explosive!

Who got the drink? To deal with this group, maybe Group D, those suspected of adultery, yet another form of death was introduced. Only the born Yiddin could be tried by the ordeal administered to a suspected adulteress, since only they were, following Matan Toirah, the RBSO’s full-fledged “wives.” Furthermore, this ordeal was only administered if the wife was merely suspected; if she has been witnessed in the act, the ordeal cannot be applied. And for this group, Moishe took the eygel that they had made and burned it in fire. It was melted down to unformed gold particles.  When it cooled, he ground it into fine powder and scattered it over the water of the river descending the mountain, mixing it into a solution, and made the suspected drink it. The abdomens of those who were guilty swelled and exploded, killing them almost instantly as stated above, a similar drink was used for the suspected adulteress.

Let’s chazir: seemingly, there were as many as four different groups that partook in the eygel each getting a different form of punishment. In group A: All those who had been legally warned and witnessed. These were tried by the court and executed. Group B included naturally born Yiddin who had been neither legally warned nor witnessed. They got the magic drink.  Group C included the Erev rav (mixed multitude) who had been neither legally warned nor witnessed. And in the last group, the D group, those who had not been legally warned but had been witnessed in the act. There was no legal way of trying or executing the second two categories, so God planned on punishing them Himself. As will be recounted presently, Moses tried to convince God to forgive them.

Did any good come out of the eygel fiasco? Seemingly quite a bit and says the medrish (medrish rabbah) azoy:  the RBSO taka had a plan (what else is new) and maybe He wasn’t that upset after all. According to the medrish, the RBSO told Moishe azoy:  ‘Do not be distressed over the First Luchois (Tablets) that you shattered to smithereens and which contained only the Aseres Hadibrois (Ten Commandments). Why?  Because the Second, are ‘new and improved’ and contain even more goodies including Halocho, Medrish and Aggadah. As an aside, where would the Oisvorfer be without all these holy writings?  The heylige Gemora (Nedarim 22b) states: Had the Yiddin not sinned with the eygel, they would have received only the Toirah and the book of Yehoishuah (Joshua).

And listen to this Medrish Tanchuma which says something mamish perplexing and suggests that as the Yiddin were making the Eygel, the RBSO was engraving the Luchois. The next day Moishe broke them.  Why would the RBSO be busy engraving as they were busy making the Eygel? Another kasha (question): Moishe told the Bnei Levi to kill all those involved in the Eygel even their own family. Why didn’t Moishe do likewise and kill his brother Aharoin who actually supervised and perhaps actually made the Eygel?  How is it that Aharoin got a free pass and poor Moishe never got to enter the Promised Land because he hit a rock?! Moreover the  Bechorim (first born) lost the Kehuna because of the Cheit HaEygel. Why did Aharoin become Koihen Gadol? Taka all excellent questions; none of which I have answers to. And here’s some more to ponder.

The Medrish (Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer 45) states that prior to Moishe throwing down the Luchois and breaking them, the writing that was on them miraculously flew away. As the letters weren’t written on the Tablets but were carved through them, how was it possible for them to fly away? Didn’t the Wright Brothers come along a few thousand years later? As you can imagine, many ask questions about the flying letters and what’s taka pshat? Says the Marsha that there was in fact a double neys (miracle). The first was that the writing from the Luchois taka  flew away, and the second neys was that even though the letters were nothing more than air, they could still be seen flying away. And if you don’t like that answer, let’s try another. Says the Korban HaEidah that even though the letters were carved into the Luchois, they were also written in black ink on top of the carved-out areas, and it was this ink which flew away due to the sin of the Eygel. And speaking of ink, mistama because you are mamish an oisvorf, you likely forgot the story of the ink and Moishe’s face. We’ll cover that next year.

A giitin shabbis-

Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv


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