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

Koirach 2023: Tamar the Virgin

Last week, the Ois mamish forgot -my bad- to shout out longtime friends Doba and Kalman Isaacs upon the engagement of their beautiful daughter Aliza who made aliya one year ago and where she met her bashert and became engaged. Good things happen in Jerusalem! Mazel tov to Aliza and to her chatan Natan Davidowitz, he the son of Audrey and Elliot Davidowitz, they of West Hempstead. Mazel tov wishes to both extended families. May Aliza and Natan merit to build a beautiful home together in the holy land and enjoy decades of blissful marriage.

And a big mazel tov to Ben Lopin upon his forthcoming bar mitzvah this coming shabbis over in Baltimore Maryland. The Ois and eishes chayil look forward to attending and participating in this joyous simcha. A big mazel tov to the very proud parents, Sheryl and Avi Lopin. Mazel tov as well Ben’s grandparents, Mrs. Hanni Lopin, Mr.  Howard Sandler and Mrs.  Elaine Sandler. And mazel tov wishes  to Ben’s siblings, uncles aunts and many many cousins.  May Ben be a source of much nachas.  

Tamar the Virgin

Raboyseyee and Ladies:

Welcome to Parshas Koirach where the Yiddin are seemingly still not ready for prime time. As well, there are still too many of them, and this week the RBSO will continue thinning out the population. In our parsha, nearly 15,000 Yiddin will die in a variety of ways. Koirach and his wife but not his kids, his cohorts, and later in the parsha, another 14,000 will perish. That’s the bad news. More bad news: some 50% of this week’s parshas post is a repeat of what the Ois posted back in 2015. The good news? Not a one of you recall what was written back then; make believe it’s brand new. To most of you, it is.  More good news: it’s been dramatically updated with new medroshim and comments from the Ois for 2023.

The medrish quoting the heylige Gemora has the story of how a wife- a good one- saved the life of her husband. We have previously covered the curious case of Mr. and Mrs. Oin ben Peles, but if you are first time readers of the weekly parsha review, shame on you. Next, click here www.Oisvorfer.com and check out the archives to this parsha for some givaldige insights on how Mrs. Peles saved her husband’s life. In short, she did it with 3 words: “are you crazy’? And ever since, women all over the world, have taken this phrase and turned it from a question to a statement: you are crazy! when talking to their husbands. Shoin! This week, Moishe and his administration are under attack; was Moishe a democrat? Koirach wants to take over and who better suited to lead the attack but a member of the mishpocho, a model copied by generations ad hayoim hazeh (until today). This is more specifically the case when there’s money involved. Nu, azoy-geyt-iz (that’s how it goes.)

Was Mitzrayim (Egypt) the land of milk and honey? Further below we shall address that question, ober ershtens (firstly), let us say hello to two Toirah characters we first encountered back in parshas Shmois. Back then, they went unnamed, this week they are exposed. A quick shout out to Doson (Dathan in the movies) and Aviram, the dynamic duo troublemakers who, according to some, pop up in Shmois, several times since, again in the midbar when they disobeyed the Munn collection rules, and are the main protagonists, along with Koirach, here in a parsha named after the scoundrel. The bottom line on them: they were bad guys, and this week the RBSO will finally dispose of them.

Ober, the kasha is this: if they were taka as giferlich as Rashi, the Medrish and others would have us believe, why did it take so long to get rid of them? Why did the RBSO allow them to continue rabblerousing all this time? Doesn’t the RBSO typically deal with troublemakers instantly? Just last shabbis we read how the fellow playing with wood, if you chap, was put to death. Ok, the emes is that he was either gathering wood or doing something else nefarious with wood. Whatever, he did not last more than a few pisukim before he was killed. A few weeks back we met the mikalel (blasphemer) who angered the RBSO.  As an aside, he was a blood relative, according to some, of Shulamis bas Divri, about whom we will shortly be reading; halt kup. A few pisukim later in that narrative, he too met an untimely and instant death. Bad guys don’t typically make it out of the parsha. The RBSO didn’t like two of Reuvain’s sons: they too were goners in but a few -very- short pisukim. Were they troublemakers? Not! Why were they eliminated? Let’s harken back and recall their story. Yehuda had three children: Eyr, Oinon and Shelach. Says the heylige Toirah that the first two sons did what was “evil in the eyes of the Lord” and for that reason they died. Ober listen to this: The heylige Toirah is explicit about the transgression of Oinon: “Now Onan knew that the progeny would not be his, and it came about, when he came to his brother’s wife, he wasted [his semen] on the ground, in order not to give seed to his brother.” (Bereishis 38:9). Was a heinous crime committed? Instead of seeding Tamar as was his responsibility as her husband, he withdrew and let his seed be spilled onto the ground; oy vey, and cleanup in aisle 4 please. Ober, what was Eyr’s giferlich transgression? The heylige Toirah is silent ober the medrish – quoted by Rashi- tells us azoy: his transgression was the same as Oinon’s: “Now, why should Eyr waste his semen? So that she (Tamar) would not become pregnant and her beauty be impaired.” Mamish? Check out the heylige Gemora (Yevomis 34b) for the slippery details. Eyr and Oinon sinned in the same way but with different purposes. The bottom line: Eyr and Oinon were punished for thinking only about themselves without thinking about others, oy vey. Grada, most people are thinking of others while spilling seed; just saying! Most of us should be dead by now!  And for that the RBSO killed them just after we were introduced to them by name? Shoin, before we get back to the parsha and since the RBSO did eliminate them quickly, let’s read this medrish. The heylige Toirah declares that Eyr was “displeasing to the Lord” and was accordingly put to death while his brother Oinon died because he did not want to do his duty as a brother-in-law, and rather spilled his seed on the ground. Ober, says the heylige Gemora that both sons died because they engaged in unnatural intercourse with Tamar. Say it’s not so but the heylige Gemora knew better. The bottom line: if this is emes, Tamar was till a virgin when she had a roadside encounter with Yehudah. And that raboyseyee was a first: roadsides typically involve professionals. Shoin, let’s get back to Doson and Aviram, Koirach’s cohorts in the power grab rebellion and why the RBSO kept them alive for so long.

Doson and Aviram, despite their long records as troublemakers -as we will soon read- seemed to have had good staying power. Was the DA from New York? If the medroshim are correct, they were seemingly already senior citizens by the time the Koirach episode unfolded. What’s taka pshat? And we ask again azoy: If they were taka the bad guys Rashi and others ascribe all this mischief to, why did they merit such long life? Did the RBSO treat them more favorably than others? Were they needed for their appearance in the film version of The Ten Commandments?

Ober before we answer that question, and that makes two that are now open – the first about Mitzrayim being the land of milk and honey, and the secret behind the long lives of Doson and Aviram, let’s do some chazering (let’s review).  We were first introduced to them following the incident where Moishe killed a Mitzri. That incident, following the rape of a nice Jewish woman who some say was Shulamis bas Divri. Doson and Aviram witnessed Moishe slaying and then laying the perpetrator to rest. These two then threatened and in fact did rat Moishe out to Paroy (Pharoh). The misira (being ratted out) set off an entire chain of events including Moishe fleeing to either Midyan or Kush, or both, getting married to either Tzipoirah or some dark skinned mydel (kushite), or both and becoming a King for 40 years -or not- over Kush before his encounter with the RBSO at the burning bush. Got all that? You got to love the medrish!

Wow, a mouthful mamish ober does the heylige Toirah tell us that someone got raped? Of course not! Ober the heylige Toirah, as we have mentioned many times in these past 13 years -which come to an end in a few weeks- has lacunas in the narrative. What’s a lacuna? Zicher not a word the Ois learned in yeshiva. A lacuna is, according to Merriam Webster, a blank space or missing part; let’s call it a hole. What to do when one encounters a hole? Not what Eyr and Oinon did; not what you think, chazir that you are. We are to look at Rashi, the heylige Gemora or the Medrish or others; they loved filing holes and they came up with a mamish givaldige story. Halt kup (pay attention) as we listen to how mamish gishmak the medrish and others were and how they wove together the storyline of Doson and Aviram. Inspector Clouseau would have been proud.

Nu, it all started when the Yiddin were nebech enslaved in Mitzrayim. Shoin, one fine evening, one of the Mitzri guards laid eyes on Shulamis Bas Divri ober she had something that could knock his eyes out; a husband. What to do? Shoin, the Mitzri summoned the husband to work the night shift; Shulamis was left alone in bed. The Mitzri snuck in and laid himself on her; seemingly, he had his way with her. Which wife cannot tell the difference between her husband and a well-built goy, ver veyst? It’s medrish; let’s play along.  Shoin, he raped her. The husband returned, and epes sensed that something was wrong. He suspected the Mitzri. He confronted the rapist and the Mitzri beat the poor husband senselessly. Moishe came along, witnessed the beating, mistama chapped what had taken place and killed the Mitzri. And who should happen to be on the scene to witness the event? Says the medrish (Shmois Rabbah 1:29) as quoted by Rashi: the two guys were none other than Doson and Aviram who happen to have been in some argument of their own. Mistama one owed the other some money he promised to pay but didn’t, ver veyst. Happens all the time. Seemingly, their argument was heading to fisticuffs when Moishe intervened and called one of them a “rosho” (bad guy). Instead of a thank you, they got pissed off at Moishe, threatened to, and then turned Moishe in. Nice to be ratted out by one’s brethren. Wait, the medrish adds more color: Seemingly, the name of the man whose wife the Mitzri had coveted (raped), and whose life Moishe had probably saved in the fight, was none other than Doson! Shoin, irony of ironies; no good deed goes unpunished.

Wait, there’s more. According to some, it was Doson and Aviram who seemingly had a record of stirring up trouble while still in Mitzrayim, and their errant behavior continued in the midbar; a few examples will further illuminate. Says the medrish: Doson and Aviram tried to persuade the Yiddin to not leave Mitzrayim. Ober when they witnessed that the RBSO was also eliminating Yiddin during the makoh (plague) of choishech (darkness), they switched tracks and began to proclaim their readiness to leave. And mistama again you’re asking yourself azoy: If the RBSO used that plague to also eliminate 4/5ths of the Yiddin, the bad seed, why not use that opportunity to also get rid of these two shlecht (bad) guys? Of course, we are not alone asking this question; several medroshim attack this issue.

Astoundingly another medrish will have your hair standing on edge. Not just were they not eliminated or punished, they were instead redeemed, together with the Yiddin. It appears that the RBSO performed a special miracle just for them. He did? Of course only the medrish can imagine this story, let’s learn it. Being informants, they told Paroy that though the Yiddin only requested a three-day holiday in the desert to worship the RBSO, they had no plans of returning as they initially said; they were fleeing. Doson and Aviram initially stayed behind when the Yiddin left. Sometime later they too left, arrived to the Red Sea only to find that the Yiddin had already crossed and that the Sea had already retuned to its natural state. They missed the miracle of the sea split. What did the RBSO do? Says the medrish azoy: the sea split again, especially for them; they crossed safely and joined their brethren. OMG! Is this how the RBSO takes care of troublemakers? Is this a license for bad behavior? This reads like amazingly good news for most of you. Again we ask, why did the RBSO afford them this special protection and privilege? Was their last name Biden?

Ober wait, there’s even more. Avada you recall that the RBSO provided Munn food for the Yiddin to eat in the midbar. Says the heylige Toirah, the munn fell each day anew and the Yiddin were required to collect their daily portion each morning. They had to consume the full portion each day, without leaving any leftovers for the next day. As expected not everyone followed the rules and says the heylige Toirah azoy (Shmois 16:20): “And people left over from it until the morning.” Says Rashi quoting the medrish (Tanchuma, Tetzaveh 10), azoy: who were the wisenheimers that disobeyed the munn collections rules? None other than Doson and Aviram. In other words; they were associated with all troubled behavior.

Wait, we’re not done yet: another medrish tells yet another tale; of-course it could be emes, ver veyst. Moishe advised the Yiddin that munn would not fall on the heylige Shabbis. Doson and Aviram tried to trick the people into thinking that the munn had fallen on Shabbis. How? They scattered some on the ground at sunrise (just before the hashkomo minyan). Ober birds came and ate all the munn they had spread before the Yiddin woke up. Had the people seen the munn on Shabbis following Moishe’s clear memo advising that no munn would fall; it could have been disastrous and likely would have had a deleterious effect on Moishe’s credibility and leadership. Of course, the revolt did eventually happen as we will learn mamish just below and of course we will soon learn that these same troublemakers, Doson and Aviram, were not only involved but efsher led the charges. Nu, believe it or not, to show gratitude to the birds for eating the shabbis morning munn, some Yiddin have the minhag of putting out bread for the birds during the week of Parshas B’shalach. This is emes.

Doson and Aviram are also implicated in the meraglim (spies) caper. We are told that they were the ones who, during the episode with the spies, announced (Shlach 14:4) ‘Let us appoint a leader’. Says Rashi, they wanted a new god. And finally, we get to our parsha where Doson and Aviram were the ones who stood up to Moishe, and who, in a display of unprecedented arrogance, shamelessly denigrated him. They were mamish shlecht! How bad? Says the Yalkut that whatever evil one can ascribe to them, one should. In fact, these days the Ois blames Hitler, his rebbe in yeshiva who flashed the shtekin, if you chap, and a few others for all his woes.

Nu, we’re still left with two open questions. Ershtens why didn’t the RBSO eliminate these two clowns much earlier? And was Mitzrayim the land of milk and honey? Nu, let’s see what some had to say.

According to some, including the Rashbam and even Rav Ovadiah Yoseph, the RBSO only killed the non-believers. Seemingly, Doson and Aviram, though confirmed troublemakers, were believers in the RBSO. The bottom line: Believing can save one’s life, who knew? On the other hand, says the Mikdash HaLevi (p.235-236), punkt farkert (the opposite). They were mamish giferliche people. How bad? So bad, they did not merit having their death and punishment in obscurity. Their evil was too giferlich; they needed a more public demise. They had sunk so low during their lives, the RBSO saw fit to have them sink further, into the ground this time, and waited for Koirach to come along. They were buried together.

On the other hand, said the Levush Yoiseph (Bishalach page 77) azoy: Doson and Aviram were saved from death in Mitzrayim because they were not black and white. While they were evil in Mitzrayim, they did have the zichus (merit) of being the officers over other Yiddin and that they themselves received lashes rather than being the cause of lashes toward other Yiddin. Efsher we can also kler that maybe Doson and Aviram were not the two characters we met back in Shmois. Maybe that Medrish has it wrong. And taka had that medrish been correct, the RBSO would not have waited some 60-70 years to punish them, ver veyst. Let’s recall that according to another medrish, Moishe ran off to Kush where he reigned several decades.  Seemingly this pshat is just as plausible as are others. Moreover, we just don’t know. Had the RBSO wanted us to meet them by name in Shmois, He would have introduced them. He didn’t! Who are we to question why these two lived and others were struck down within minutes? Ver veyst? Ober raboyseyee, the answer you’re about to hear is mamish givaldig and even more givaldig for the sinners many of you are. Seemingly, the RBSO “extends His hand to sinners.” The RBSO has endless patience and waits for the wicked to repent. Even the worst of us can come back. All one needs is a sincere desire to do tshuva. For those sincere about repenting, the RBSO is prepared to split the sea all over again. Not only would the sea be split for him, but it would split “only” for him, exclusively for him. Could the news be any better?

And the bottom line? In a few more weeks, the heylige Toirah (Bamidbar 21:9-11) will confirm their bad character traits. There the heylige Toirah itself, not Rashi, and not the heylige Gemora or even the medrish, will, with some specificity, remind us about some of the trouble that these two guys caused and how their families died as a result. Says the Toirah: “… that’s the Doson and Aviram, appointees of the congregation, who incited the people against Moishe and Aharoin with Koirach’s group, when they rebelled against the RBSO. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and Koirach, when the group was killed when the fire consumed the two hundred and fifty men, and they became a sign. But the children of Koirach didn’t die.” Shoin, case closed: Doson and Aviram are confirmed as being devoid of scruples. Whenever there was trouble, they were sure to be at the forefront.

Givaldig, ober what about the milk and honey question? Doson and Aviram hold the answer. In their final act of defiance, this week, these two troublemakers will team up with Koirach who may have been not such a terrible person compared to them and lead a rebellion mamish against an older and compromised Moishe. They had several complaints. Among those, they were upset about having been led out of Mitzrayim which they referred to as the “the good land” to the Midbar where the RBSO -following the meraglim caper- sentenced many to die. Together these two led the revolt in a ‘midbar uprising’ when they ganged up on Moishe and Aharoin. It was a mutiny mamish. Said they “Is it not enough that you have brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey…” Milk and honey in Mitzrayim? Ober doesn’t the heylige Toirah tell us that it’s the land of K’naan, the Promised Land, the land we call Israel, which was, and is the land of milk and honey? Indeed, it does. Where? All over the place. In fact, according to some, there are as many as 20 such mentions and expressions in the heylige Toirah. 19 of those refer to Israel as being the land of milk and honey and one. this one utterance by Doson and Aviram, refers to Mitzrayim as flowing with milk and honey. And if you add others found in the Novee (Yishoishua, Yichezkel, Yirmiyohu and Yeshaya) the number will grow to over 25. Avada, you recall Moishe’s encounter with the burning bush (Shmois 3:8) during which the RBSO said azoy: ‘And I shall go down to save them from the hand of Mitzrayim, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY….’

Shtelt-zich-di-sheylo (the question arises), how could these two clowns now recall Mitzrayim, which was mamish a house of horrors, with such fondness? And if they did, why did the Yiddin listen? That being the case, what the hec were Doson and Aviram smoking when they suggested that Mitzrayim, where the Yiddin were nebech enslaved for 210 years, was the land of milk and honey? Were they thinking about the hot shiksa girls they were calling honey and efsher the milk they were trying to get off them, if you chap? It does seem that these two guys were nothing but wisenheimers. Nu, efsher we can kler they were suffering from heat stroke over in the hot desert and became delusional, ver veyst. In every event, though bad guys, the RBSO kept giving them breaks. Their luck runs out this week. The final bottom line: at times, the RBSO has endless patience; let us hope that He has some for us.

A gittin Shabbis-

The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv

Yitz Grossman

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