Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
OMG it’s already November which taka reminds me that it’s almost that time of year when we start seeing advertisements for various Pesach programs. Ober (but) how can we think about Pesach when we need to plan winter vacation first? Oy vey; life in golus is mamish shver (difficult).
Nu, one of my buddies and a shtilkel toirah reader is running a givaldige ski trip to Colorado which, by the way, already has a few feet of snow on the ground and I told him that the Oisvorfer will give him a plug right here in this week’s parsha of Lech Lecha which, as you all should know, literally means: go, for yourself! Click here firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It so happens that he priced it so that it’s affordable for families, in fact almost a steal when compared to other vacation options. And should you book and mention the Oisvorfer, I will surely benefit and isn’t that what being in the Rebbe business is all about? Avada it is. Ok, let’s learn some parsha.
Though we were introduced to Avram towards the very end of Parshas Noiach, it’s only this week that we get to know him, his personality, his taste in women and avada his loyalty to his bashert. As the parsha opens, Avram is already 75 years old. Seemingly we missed his entire childhood.
In all the years I‘ve learned this parsha, it never quite struck me the way it has recently. Is it me, am I the biggest minuvil out there? Am I reading the parsha correctly? Did I just read in the very first Aliya that at the very first sign of potential trouble, Avram is ready to give up his wife, his eishes chayil, Sorai to Paroy the minuvil? What a sense of commitment, such chivalry. The many women studying this parsha (and also this toirah) cannot be happy with this man. Or is pshat that perhaps moving in with the king was an upgrade. Ver veist (who knows) as the Toirah seems not to tell us what took place once Sorai moved into the palace boudoir, though mischief is zicher (surely) implied as discussed by the Ramban and the Radak. In any event, it seems that it’s takah (of course) good to be the king!
Certainly we know what his (Avram’s) priorities were when it came to women: first he wanted and married a beauty. The heylige toirah tells us that she was more than a hottie, even aged well as we will learn in a few weeks. The specific language seems to indicate that she was exceedingly beautiful. Why it took Avram many years to discover this beauty, nu, this I don’t chap but the parsha tells us that he only discovered her good looks as they arrive to Mitzrayim. One medrish tells us that the Mitzri women were quite ugly and efsher by comparison, Avram recognized what a beauty he had on his hands.
Avram was also pragmatic: As soon as he senses that her beauty could put his life in danger….well…. he was quick to concoct a plan to get rid of her and start over; what a man! Can you just imagine trying to convince the eishes chayil to tell some stranger that she’s your sister so that your life can be spared? A nechtiger tug (fat chance, in fact- no chance). A more believable and realistic scenario entails the eishes chayil telling the king to shoot the husband dead on the spot. Ut a zoy; finished, kaput!! No doubt the eishes chayil would rat you out faster than superman slipped into his tights and cape and perhaps even faster than the Rebbe tried chapping (grabbing) you in the stairwell, if you chap. Nu, what taka happened?
On the move under direct orders from the RBSO, Avram first settles in Shechem, but then moves southward. A severe famine induces him to go to Mitzrayim (Egypt- don’t you remember anything?) Worried that the Egyptians will kill him and take his beautiful wife Sorai, Avram instructs her to say she is his sister, she agrees. The ploy apparently works, or does it? Sorai is taken to Paroy’s palace for the pleasure of the Paroy himself. Avram is rewarded and acquires many animals and slaves, what a trade- gevaldig! Let’s review: Avram had a beauty, gave her up for animals and slaves!? Nu, efsher business and Wall Street was not his major. It’s mamish as if he found himself on “Let’s Make a Deal” with Monty Hall and picked the wrong door, ver ken dus farshteyn (who can understand this?)
The RBSO afflicts the palace with a plague. According to one p’shat, he came down with syphilus. According to others, he was bichlall (generally) impotent, ver veyst? Mistama you’re wondering what sin he committed if he was taka impotent? Taka, an excellent kasha. In any event, Paroy discovers the lie and sends Sorai packing back to her astonished husband. To his utter surprise, Paroy spoiled the bachelor party when he sent Sorai back home. Mamish a man I can admire, both of them!
As we learned, Avram was the first husband who tried to get rid of his wife and his plot foiled. Zicher he wasn’t the last. In fact he himself will try one more time but that’s next week’s parsha. Nowadays, men trying to get of their wives typically hire a hit-man and then spend the rest of their lives on the run. Why? Because kimat 100% of the time, the hit-man, turns out to be an undercover agent. Yikes!! Where does one go for a legitimate hit-man? Veyter (let’s move on).
They’re both expelled from Mitzrayim but Avram gets to keep the booty and the wife; efsher his trading skills were better than he let on? What a strange, strange story on so many levels! I hardly know where to begin. What’s p’shat here? We need to dig teeff (deep) to explain why a) this happened b) why would Avram do this to his wife, c) why (or if) Sorai agreed or at least acquiesced to it and d) how did she feel as a married woman getting close to the kings scepter, if you chap. It’s mamish mind boggling! The Midrashim are mysteriously quiet on the subject, yikes. None of these questions are answered in the text, nor are they asked, even in the commentary.
The RambaN, however, in his commentary, criticized this action of Avram’s especially from the point of view of emuna (faith) in the RBSO and states that Avram unwittingly sinned greatly, for he put his righteous wife in the position of being a stumbling block leading to wrongdoing because of his fear that he would be killed. You think?! He ought to have trusted the RBSO to save him, his wife and all that belonged to him. Besides, how many slaves and animals does one couple need (even in the 5 towns?)
The Radak (on posuk 12:12), however, rejected RambaN’s criticism in no uncertain terms and says that one should not judge until they’ve experienced a similar challenge. He states that it is fitting for any righteous person not to rely on a miracle when in a place of danger, but to protect himself using any device he can. Protection is always good! Seemingly Avram ran out of protection and devices and used Sorai as his foil. Let’s avada also keep in mind that the Chachomim (wise ones) stated that: one should not rely on miracles and when the king comes calling, be ready with a plan. As an aside, it’s avada givist (goes without saying) that an oisvorf like you shouldn’t even think about relying on a miracle from the RBSO, notwithstanding the myriad devices and or protection you may have in your dresser- you pack of chazerrim .
The Abarbanel stood up (some say he was sitting) and asked: what elevated man would choose life with such terrible dishonor, seeking to benefit himself by having his wife commit adultery with others? At first I thought the Abarbanel was talking directly to you oisvorfs but halt kup (pay attention), he wasn’t. Rather he was talking about Avrum Oveenu, the first Patriarch. He continues- It would have been more behooving had he chosen death, rather than do such a disgraceful thing. Seemingly, the Abarbanel understood that when the king calls, he also comes!
Nonetheless, the RBSO is impressed with Avram’s acumen and chutzpah (moxie), and decided to bequeath him with a nice present: the beautiful land of K’naan (aka: Israel). Who the hec needed K’naan? Ever since we got to K’naan it’s been nothing but trouble. Have we had even one day of peace since we go tthere? And what did we have to endure along the way? 210 out of an original sentence of 400 years of slavery as recorded in this week’s parsha? Nu, thank the RBSO for the first ever commutation. Then we had to endure 40 years in the dry midbar (desert) without swimming pools and countless other challenges along the way? This was our gift? And when we got there was it ready and accepting? No! first we had to wage war with its indigenous inhabitants -The K’naani, the Chivi, the Yevussi, the Girgashi, and a few other’s. Not one friendly neighbor, mamish like Brooklyn! Did we need the land of milk and honey? Personally, I’m lactose intolerant and would’ve gladly traded the milk for oil, avada you feel the same. By now Avram was an experienced trader, why didn’t he request a trade for epes a shtikel land with some oil? We needed K’naan like I need a second eishes chayil. K’naan?? What would have been so terrible had we gotten Iraq? Didn’t Avram come from Ur (a city in Iraq, you idiot) which has seemingly plenty of everything, especially oil? K’naan? Nu, I’m done complaining, efsher one day we’ll find out.
Turns out that this same scenario is recounted not once but a total of three times in B’rayshis, twice with Avraham, and again with Yitzchok and Rivka. For you non-believers that doubt that your own patriarchs and matriarchs were involved in such shenanigans, I urge you to look at Sarai and Paroy (Breishis ch. 12), Sorah (same person, different name) and Abimelech (B’reishis ch. 20), and Rivka and Abimelech (B’reishis ch. 26). In each case, the man says that his wife is his sister, in order to save himself from some perceived danger. And the wife…it is implied… has sexual relations with the male in authority but then ends up back with her husband. I’m mamish disgusted, as this is only something a male should do with another female and not farkert!! More typical is a man out with with some forbidden fruit and when spotted, claiming that his date is his sister. This avada you all chap.
Also in this week’s parsha, we find mamish an unusual event, also nebech and loi olaynu, of a sexual nature. What is it you ask, you minuvul? Keep your pants on you chazir (swine)!! Sorai, realizing that she was childless, tells Avram to take Hogor and have his way with her. Nu, that’s what I call an eishes chayil, mamish a tzadekes (female tzadik). When was the last time you came home and your eishes chayil said – ‘sweetheart, go out tonight and pick up some shiksa and have your way with her. In fact, I want you to get her pregnant. And you can also marry her and we’ll live together, one happy family.’ What??? When?? Never!!!! Ever!! In fact, when was the first time? Also never! I know that you’ve done this minuvildike act but avada without permission from the eishes chayil, you behaymo (animal). Ok, let’s review.
Seeing that she and Avram were still childless, Sorai suggested that Avram father a child with her Egyptian maid, Hogor. The heylige gemora (Yevamos 64b) tells us that Sorai didn’t have a uterus and was physically incapable of conceiving a child, nebech. How this is known, ver veyst? It’s the gemora, didn’t they know everything about Sorai’s body? Nu, back to Hogor and her 86 year old love interest Avram. She conceived on the first shot (as shiksa girlfriends often do). But when Hogor becomes trugidikk (pregnant), tensions develop between the two women, what else is new? When Sorai complains to Avram, he tells her to do what she wants to do. She treats Hogor harshly, Hogor runs away. An angel of the RBSO appears and tells her to return, promising her a son, Yishmoel the minuvil, who will also become a great nation and kill Jews ad hayoim hazeh (forever).
Later in the parsha when Avram is ninety-nine years old, the RBSO commands him to circumcise himself, all the male members of his household and all his descendants. Why? As a sign of His covenant with them. As a special reward for being cut down to size, the RBSO changes his name to Avraham, and promises that, despite his diminishment and advanced age, Avraham will still be able to perform and have a son. Efsher (maybe) size doesn’t matter after all. Is less really more? So excited was Avraham with this givaldike news that on that very same day that the RBSO made this unique offer, Avraham fulfils the commandment of bris mila (circumcision). We’re not told if he did this to himself or if he sought out a certified and experience Moihel. In fact there weren’t any; Avram has the first ever Bris. And at age 90, it was likely not without some pain. The RBSO tells Avraham, now with a longer name but a shorter member, that henceforth, all Jewish male children shall have their circumcision on the 8th day from birth, a commandment we carry on till today. Frankly I’d rather have a shorter name and a longer member than a longer name and a short member, if you chap and seemingly you do because you’re mamish all disgusting shkotzim and bums. You mamish make me sick!
What do we learn from all of this? First, thank the RBSO that most of you didn’t marry beauties like Sorai, they’re mostly trouble. Seemingly, the king is not coming or calling. Remember that beauty is only skin deep but ugliness…..right down to the bones (ok…old joke, couldn’t resist). Rather the heylige Toirah is an open book, just like Avram’s marriage, about real people and their challenges. Notwithstanding their weaknesses at certain points in their lives (especially after the bris), these were good people and the RBSO recognized that. Even you oisvorfs have potential, let’s go find it.
A gitten shabbos…. And fargest nisht tzi rikken dem zeyger (don’t forget to move your clocks back).