Raboyseyee and Ladies,
We begin with a plug and shtikel appeal. While hundreds of radicals are busy demolishing historical statues, burning down buildings and otherwise wreaking havoc, over in Los Angeles, CA the Oisvorfer’s daughter, Alex Grossman, works with a very talented, effusive and energetic gentleman by the name of Rabbi JJ Duchman who is the Youth Program Director at Young Israel of Century City. Together they have developed and launched a LEGO Master competition for Jewish families worldwide. The idea, JJ and Alex tell me- is to “empower Jewish kids worldwide to get creative through Lego building.” “The Jewish LEGO Masters competition is an engaging and exciting kosher source of entertainment,” Rabbi JJ told me just last night. Of the 300 entries received , 14 contestants were chosen to face off in the semi-finals. “I hope this will inspire kids worldwide to push their creative limits, to think out of the box, and to reach their fullest potential” said Rabbi JJ. Raboyseyee, you are all urged to click https://www.instagram.com/jewishlego/ to see the creativity; it’s mamish gishmak!
And now the campaign. Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to make a shtikel donation to the cause. (Larger one’s will also be accepted.) Sponsorships and donations help JJ, and Alex reach the larger Jewish community. All money raised will be used for PR, studio fees, editing fees, prizes, etc. Your name and/or logo will be featured in all of the Jewish Lego Masters marketing and press releases. As well, you will be recognized and thanked on the live show where they expect an audience of 10,000 or more.
Long before Alexander Hamilton challenged Aaron Burr to a duel which took place on July 11, 1804 in Weehawken New Jersey (avada you all know that Hamilton lost and was killed), in the year 2249 on our lunar calendars, Moishe challenged a bunch of people -250 of them- to a shtikel do or die contest of his own making. We will address that below, ober ershtens…In recent weeks, a number of cities here in the United States find themselves overrun with protestors, some of whom are mamish wreaking havoc. Such havoc includes looting and violence. In the year 2449, over 330 years back, over in the midbar, a gentleman -unhappy with the leadership of Moishe- also organized a protest. He had a list of complaints, was able to convince others to join his cause, and began stirring the pot. He organized a rebellion against Moishe. In his view “all Jewish lives mattered.” He could not chap how certain others ascended to leadership roles while he was left behind. Though he was lacking nothing -he was fabulously wealthy- he was nonetheless, a disgruntled member of his society. Let’s meet Koirach and his cohorts but first a shtikel hakdomo (introduction).
Two parshas back, a very frustrated Moishe asked the RBSO to take his life. He was at a low point in his career and wanted mamish out. That followed the chapter of the “misoininim” (complainers) who ganged up on Moishe. Instead the RBSO gave him 70 new assistants and imbued them with some ruach hakoidesh (divine spirit). Exactly how all that worked, ver veyst, but the bottom line was that Moishe was suddenly rejuvenated. In last week’s parsha of Shelach, following the miraglim fiasco, a reinvigorated Moishe was back on the job and found himself again fighting to save the lives of the Yiddin; the RBSO had suggested that He was going to wipe them all out and start all over again. Welcome then to Parshas Koirach where Moishe -for the first and only time ever- will find himself a new role; he will ask the RBSO to get directly involved and take out (read: kill) his detractors. Moishe ordered a hit? Is protesting a crime deserving of the death penalty? And what taka happened?
Did the RBSO agree to participate in Moishe’s conspiracy to commit murder? Was anyone killed? Was Moishe accused of murder? Nu, while we’re pondering these questions, let’s add a few. Vus epes yetzt (why now)? What sin did the bad guys commit? Who are the villains? Have we met them before? Were they deserving of death earlier?
Though its Koirach who got a parsha named after himself -it’s still good to have money even if you are bad guy- from reading the text and from the medrish, it does epes appear that the main protagonists in this week’s parsha are none other than Doson and Aviram. Who are these guys? In our parsha, they are seemingly but Koirach’s next door, or next tent neighbors who were seemingly invited to join Koirach in his protest movement. And like other protests we see in our times, soon enough, the three of them were joined by an additional 250 people, let’s call them nuch-schleppers (tag-alongs), but were they? Thankfully the midbar did not have a Macy’s or a Wendy’s and wasn’t lined with statues of Paroy and his slaves. Does all this epes ring familiar? The bottom line: though the others tag-alongs –the 250- did not have a dog in the race, for reasons which remain a shtikel unclear, they joined the insurrection.
Nu, since we mentioned the 250 nuch-schleppers who joined the rebellion, let’s shine a light on these unidentified co-conspirators. What made them join? Say the Ramban azoy: so long as the Yiddin expected to enter the Promised Land, they stood to lose more than gain by challenging Moishe’s leadership. He did after all lead them out of Mitzrayim and did also successfully negotiate them out of many an obstacle post slavery. As we have been reading, the Yiddin, a generation of former salves, were not always on their best behavior; they tested the RBSO over and again. In last week’s parsha, the RBSO was fed up and suggested aloud that the Yiddin had already tested Him ten times. Ober Moishe was their man! They could always count on him to extricate them from the latest mess they created. Ober, once the RBSO decreed (last week’s parsha) that the Yiddin of that generation (age 20 and up) were condemned to die in the midbar and would not be entering the land, they had nothing left to lose. And when people have nothing to lose, rebellions happen. Shoin! Ober who were these unidentified 250 nuch-schlepper protestors? While the heylige Toirah does not identify them by name, it does tell us azoy: they were “princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown.” In other words: good decent people. Oib azoy (if that’s the case) how did they become entangled with Koirach, Doson and Aviram? Says the Ibn Ezra azoy: they were bichoirim (firstborn) still smarting over being replaced by the Livi’im (Levites) following the sin of the eygel. In other words: they too were angry about something and once they saw Koirach and his cohorts protesting and challenging Moishe’s leadership, they -for reasons of their own- joined the protest. The bottom line: they saw Koirach, Doson and Aviram leading a demonstration and joined the mêlée; together, they were a coalition of the differently discontented. The bottom line: at times, even good people get caught up in the wrong cause. At times, such involvement can lead to death. What happened next?
A seemingly frustrated Moishe, seeking to prove the legitimacy of his administration, that his decisions as a leader were sanctioned by the RBSO, and that Aharoin was the correct choice as the Koihen Godol, proposed a test. ‘Let everyone bring an offering of incense and let the RBSO decide which to accept.’ Ober, how will an incense offering prove Moishe’s legitimacy? The protestors were not happy with Moishe and with Aharoin; they want change! How will incense offerings settle the matter? Taka excellent questions, ober Rashi who was mamish a genius figured out the entire scheme. Moishe suggested a rather unique test: each of the 250 people are to offer incense to the RBSO. And where have we seen this before? Rashi takes us back to another time in history, to an incident involving Aharoin’s two sons, Nodov and Avihu who both died while offering incense to the RBSO. Rashi explains that the incense contained a secret but deadly ingredient which, when not used correctly (whatever that means) with the other ingredients, could kill the person or persons offering the mix. Only the RBSO knows if the ingredients are being used correctly. And taka that’s what happened to Nodov and Avihu; they both died when a “strange fire” came forth and killed them while offering incense. And with this information in your pockets, let’s read what took place.
5. He spoke to Koirach and to all his company, saying, “In the morning, the Lord will make known who is His, and who is holy, and He will draw [them] near to Him, and the one He chooses, He will draw near to Him.
6. Do this, Koirach and his company: Take for yourselves censers.
7. Place fire into them and put incense upon them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses he is the holy one; you have taken too much upon yourselves, sons of Levi.”
Nuch a mul (one more time): each of the protestors was to take a firepan and offer incense to the RBSO. In Moishe’s plan, the RBSO would miraculously then make it known which of the firepans He would accept, and by definition, prove that person to have been legitimately appointed. Next: Moishe called upon his long-time nemeses Doson and Avirom to “go up” or participate in the test. They refused and answered with these words:
12. Moishe sent to call Doson and Avirom, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not go up.
13. Is it not enough that you have brought us out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that you should also exercise authority over us?
14. You have not even brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Even if you gouge out the eyes of those men, we will not go up.”
In addition to declining the offer, they berate Moishe for taking them out of Mitzrayim which they refer to “a land flowing with milk and honey.” You hear this raboyseyee? In their minds, Mitzrayim was the land of milk and honey? What’s pshat? Ober remember these words as they may be the key to what happens soon. Let’s go veyter. Moishe doubles down, repeats the offer and invites Koirach, Doson and Avirom to also participate along with the 250 and offer incense to the RBSO. Ober, Moishe has one more trick up his sleeve. He calls upon the RBSO to once and for all clarify the leadership choices. He wants the RBSO to perform a miracle and in pisukim 28-30, he lays it out.
“This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.” Shoin, Moishe asked the RBSO to finally eliminate the protestors and the RBSO did just that. Moreover, a fire consumes the 250 people who joined the rebellion. And that my friends is how it’s done when the RBSO is on your side. Ois rebellion (the rebellion is over). Let’s read these amazing pisukim (Bamidbar 16:28-35) innaveynig:
28. Moishe said, “With this you shall know that the Lord sent me to do all these deeds, for I did not devise them myself.
29. If these men die as all men die and the fate of all men will be visited upon them, then the Lord has not sent me.
30. But if the Lord creates a creation, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that is theirs, and they descend alive into the grave, you will know that these men have provoked the Lord.”
31. As soon as he finished speaking all these words, the earth beneath them split open.
32. The earth beneath them opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses, and all the men who were with Korah and all the property.
33. They, and all they possessed, descended alive into the grave; the earth covered them up, and they were lost to the assembly.
34. All Israel who were around them fled from their cries, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up [too]!”
35. A fire came forth from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who had offered up the incense.
Nu, efsher you’re klerring azoy: was it clear to everyone participating that if you ‘lost’ the firepan contest that you die in the spot? Moreover, why were so many people (250) plus Koirach, Doson and Avirom willing to participate in this test? Shoin: protestors don’t always think rationally. Seemingly, that’s what can happen when you join an ill-advised movement that is none of your business. Ober, given their long record of agitation and given that the RBSO let them live this long, what was it they – Doson and Avirom- said that finally brought about their demise? Let us go back and revisit the response to Moishe’s invitation to join the firepan test. Recall they said no thank you and also accused Moishe of taking them out of a great land, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” They had the chutzpah of referring to Mitzrayim where the Yiddin were enslaved as flowing with milk and honey. Let us recall that the RBSO describes the Promised Land of Israel as flowing with milk and honey. Says the Vilna Goan so gishmak azoy: Moishe was not angered by the affront to his own honor, but by the affront to the RBSO and His Promised Land. He could not tolerate the fact that these two no-goodniks who had been a thorn in his side for many years could describe Egypt with the same words the RBSO used to describe the Promised Land; chutzpah mamish! Neither could he tolerate the fact that they doubted God’s promise to eventually bring the Yiddin into the Land. In other words, their words were meant to break the spirit of the Yiddin. Let us also recall that just last week -in Parshas Shelach- the RBSO killed the miraglim through a plague davka because they badmouthed the Land. They spoke loshoin horo not about each other but about the land. As the Oisvorfer has told you many times in the past, the RBSO forgives many things -including many sins that most of you commit daily or whenever you can, if you chap, but not so when one disparages the Promised Land of Israel. And that raboyseyee was the final nail in the coffin for Doson and Avirom. As to the protestors, they got burned while playing with fire; joining the wrong cause had a permanent and deleterious effect on your life.
Sadly, even the death of Koirach, Doson Avirom and the 250 tag-alongs did not fully end the rebellion as the very next days the Yiddin – thousands of them- accused Moishe and Aahroin of murder. “You have killed the Lord’s people,” they said. With Moishe and Aharoin seemingly efsher in danger, once again, the RBSO began to smite the people with a plague -efsher a second wave of the earlier plague- and by the time it was over another 14,750 were dead. The bottom line: at times, it takes more than one action to put an end to a resurrection. They were seemingly neither land or life worthy. Yikes!
A gittin Shabbis –
The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv