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

Noiach 2013

noahs-ark1Nine years ago this shabbis, Parshas Noiach, the Oisvorfer and eishes chayil were celebrating the bar mitzvah of their oldest son Zachary who will, with the help of the RBSO (and avada his parents), be getting married in two weeks.  Ober this week, we give a special mazel tov shout out to a very choshova reader, Ben Isaacs, his eishes chayil Dena and their entire mishpocho on the bar mitzvah this coming shabbis of their son Jacob (Aharon Yacov). Mazel Tov to the entire family and avada a special shout out to Yehuda Isaacs, the proud zeyda and his family, he of  The Messengers’ fame, one of the earlier Jewish bands, singers and prolific recording artists of his time.  They put out at least six records, most of which the Oisvorfer still has in his attic.

Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:

Every year this time, the Oisvorfer recalls ogling Ginger, she of Gilligan’s Island fame and wonders what became of her, Marianne, the skipper, the professor and even the Howells. Ober with a clean slate, having recently atoned on Yom Kippur, thrown a hefty bag full of sins into water at the Tashlich ceremony, and having used Hoishana Rabba as the final trump card to atone for any sins that may have been overlooked, it’s time to concentrate on the heylige Toirah and this shabbis, we will read the adventures of Noiach, his mishpocho and animals. Let’s get on board and lommer lernin but first….

Parshas Noiach is also the time of year when Yiddin discuss how old the world is. Did dinosaurs really exist and if yes, when? Is the world millions  or even hundreds of millions of years old as the good museum curators through the study of dinosaurs tell us, or, is it but the year 5774 as do the plethora of Jewish Calendars the Oisvorfer received in the last few weeks leading up to the new year tell us ? Avada all Yiddin were taught and zicher believe it’s but 5774 ober the scientists keep waving fossils in front of us and telling us they are real: What’s pshat? Can both be emes, ver veyst? Nu, let’s keep this in mind and efsher, space permitting, we’ll come up with an answer a bit later.

Last shabbis, as we closed out the extended Sukkis Yom Tov with three more days of shul, dancing, eating  and after long evenings at home with the eishes chayil, too long, it was time to get out. The Oisvorfer decided to try out the hashkomo minyan which begins promptly at 7:30 AM. Though asked to lead the Musif davening, he was instructed that his Musif and Rosh Choidesh bentching needed to end no later than 9:15AM and taka he delivered an on-time performance. While bentching the new month which will be marked on Friday and the heylige shabbis, it hit him that he’d been in shul for almost an entire month, givald! Nu here we are six pounds later and we’re back to Parshas Noiach which is avada full of very exciting stories including sexual immorality, robbery, intoxication, and efsher a case of rape and or castration, givald!  Is all this in the heylige Toirah and medrish? You bet and lommer lernin ober ershtens….

Following the davening, the crowd reassembled downstairs for kiddish which included danish, fish, herring, kugil, ribs, chulent, kishka; breakfast of champions. And guess what? Ruba di’ruba (the great majority) were eating –yikes! Ober that too was timed perfectly so that the post davening shiur (class) on  Kayin’s tshuva for killing his only brother Hevel, could begin and end timely (before the after affects of the chulent kicked in).  And even after all that, it was only 10:00 AM and way too early to go home. The Oisvorfer decided to hang around and catch a second sermon, this one in the big shul. And what does a Ruv do instead of hanging in the lobby and speaking loshoin horo? He picked up Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Torah Anthology and began with Bereishis. It was mamish bashert because earlier in the morning, a fellow oisvorf asked this question: why was it that Odom and many in the 10 generations leading up to Noiach lived so long. Can you explain, he asked, why the life spans of the early generations were so incredibly long? Odom died at age 930, Noiach, this week’s central character and the first person to get a parsha named after himself, became a father at 500 and lived 950 years and his zeyde  Mesushelach (Methuselah) lived a world record 969 years. Shase (Seth), Odom’s son lived 912 years; Enosh (Seth’s son) lived 905 years; Kenan (Enosh’s son) lived 910 years and so on, until it came to an abrupt end. Ober why the precipitous drop in the following generations and ever since?

They lived how long? Let’s see…Odom had Sheis (Seth) at 130, a few more boys and girls later and died at the ripe old age of 930. Sheis  (Seth) at 105 had Enosh and then other sons and daughters. He died at a youngish 912. Enosh at 90 had Kenan (about whom we will read in this week’s parsha), had more children and died at the age of 905. Kenan,  minuvil that he became later was a father at 70  and lived till 910. His oldest son Mahalalel  at 65, had Yered (Jared), followed by others kids  and died at a very young 895. He, Yered became a father at 162, had Enoch and then other sons and daughters. He died at the age of 962.  Enoch at 65 had Mesushelach (Methuselah then other sons and daughters. He disappeared at age 365. Where did he go? Ver veyst but the heylige Toirah does not tell us he died.  Mesushelach  at 187 years of age,  had Lamech and other kids. He, at 969 died the oldest man in recorded history. Next: Lamech had Noiach at 182.  Noiach had three sons that we will meet this week, also a few daughters that we won’t, and died at the nice age of 777 (maybe in a casino). Our main character Noiach at the age of 480, was told by the RBSO of the coming mabul (flood), at age 500, he fathered Chom, Shaim and Yofes  (Ham, Shem, and Jepheth). He died at the age of 950.

Ober following the Mabul (flood), people lived for much shorter periods. Why don’t we live that long anymore? Efsher you’re taka wondering how that came about?  What did it feel like to live 900+ years? How old were they when they got married? Were they active singles? Did they have a mid life crisis at 450, ver veyst?  Were these real years? Avrohom Ovenu whom we’ll meet at the end of the parsha but who is featured prominently in the coming weeks lived only 175 years. Our other heylige Ovois lived 170 and 147 years.

Ober says the Yalkut something that will mamish blow you away- ok- not mamish, if you chap, ober still quite astounding. There are two basic reasons for their long lives compared to ours. Ershtens: they did not eat meat or any animal products, nor did they ever drink wine or other spirits. Their entire diet consisted of only natural pure vegetarian products and they drank only pure water. That sounds quite logical. Ober then he adds this little factoid: “another essential factor in their longevity was extreme moderation in sexual activity. This (sexual activity) also weakens man’s constitution….” Shoin and there you have it.  Based on this pshat, many of you should be dead already, chazerim that you are. Veyter.

Let’s begin with a shtikel overview of parsha Bereishis and judging by how empty the shul was on the third day following two days of Yom Tov, it’s sadly efsher possible that you missed the laining. The RBSO created the world in six days, rested on the seventh; hence we have the concept and observance of Shabbis forever.  The RBSO created man, blew up his nose, took a side order of rib and made the first ever eishes chayil (Chava or Eve).  They were created in His own image and placed into Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), all in one very busy week.  Odom had but one restriction: refrain from consuming from the Eitz Hadaas (tree of knowledge). Along came that cunning nochosh (snake) and the rest is history. Chava couldn’t resist the snake, what else is new? Odom couldn’t resist his wife, too many choices he didn’t yet have. Shoin! The RBSO brought charges; they were all found guilty ober not before they cooperated, efsher to gain a reduced sentence, against each other. Shoin: a forerunner of today’s society, if you chap, oy vey. The slithering snake seems to be the root cause of trouble throughout the millennia. Odom, thinking with his, avada partook but blamed the eishes chayil, a minhag (custom) a great majority of men have adopted ever since. The bottom line: people enjoy forbidden fruit as the heylige Gemora tells us “mayim ginuvim yimtoku” (forbidden waters are sweet): indeed they are. The RBSO was not at all tzifridden (satisfied) with their behavior and meted out swift punishment. They were removed from the paradise of Gan Eden and forced into exile to live in Monticello, and near other Catskill resorts.

After relocation with the help of Moishe’s Movers and after settling in suburbia, their first two sons, Kayin (Cain) and Hevel (Abel), each brought a Korban (sacrificial offering) to the RBSO. Hevel’s offering was accepted by the RBSO while Kayin’s was rejected.  How did Kayin respond? He killed his only brother Hevel. Shoin! One big empty world, two brothers and one murder, the first ever recorded in the annals of history. Though guilty of murder, seemingly Kayin did tshuva (repented). It so happens that the heylige Toirah does not tell us that Kayin did tshuva, only that he complained about his sentence ober the young Rabbi who gave the class following the kiddish which followed the hashkomo minyan suggested from other sources that he did. Did he? Ver veyst?  In any event, the RBSO commuted his death sentence and instead sent Kayin into exile to wander the face of the earth. He lived to see seven generations before he was killed.

By the end of parshas Bereishis, ten generations had come and gone, we were briefly introduced to Noiach. This week we’ll spend some time with him and his kinderlach. Ruba di’ruba (the great majority) of the people inhabiting the world by that time were quite giferlich, much worse than your average oisvorf.  Seemingly, they were off their diets, if you chap, and were now exploring and enjoying other forbidden treats, if you chap. They were seemingly all minuvils and chazerim; in fact compared to them, you’re all tzadikim (righteous), at least some of you. Disgusted by man’s wickedness, the parsha ended with the RBSO expressing His “regret” for creating the world, and His vow to destroy every living thing, except for the righteous Noiach and his mishpocho (family).

Speaking of tzadikim (righteous people), the parsha begins by telling us that Noiach was indeed a good man…..”Noiach Ish tzaddik….” And that’s how the Oisvorfer always thought and imagined him. Ober….  many commentaries discuss and debate Noiach’s true character. Was he really a good guy or was he just good compared to the other deviants of his generation. Taka the Oisvorfer was always bothered as to why a healthy number  of Medroshim and other Rabbinic literature treat Noiach so harshly. Doesn’t the heylige Toirah (6; 9) itself tell us that Noiach was “Ish Tzadik”, a righteous individual, a good guy? Yes it does! Who are we to argue with the RBSO and His written word? Whatever happened to learning the words of the heylige Toirah as they were written? If the RBSO saw fit to save Noiach and his mishpocho, and told us that Noiach was not just a good guy but also a Tzadik, is it at all correct for others to besmirch his character? How many others in the gantze (entire) heylige Toirah does the RBSO refer to with the appellation of “Ish tzadikk”? None! Yet the first Rashi of the parsha and the heylige Gemora and many commentators raged a debate over his true character. Says Rashi: there are those who say that had Noiach lived in the times of tzadikim (better people), he would also have been considered righteous. In other words: he was truly a good guy. Others say farkert (opposite): had he been living in other times he would not have been such a tzadik. Is this not the classic case of loishon horo? Ver veyst?

arkOther than recalling the Tayvo (Ark), and that Noiach and his family were on it, do you remember the facts leading to the Mabul? Mamish aroisgiforfine gelt (money in the toilet) on the part of your parents who slaved and toiled for you to become a mentch while in yeshiva. Did you learn the miforshim, the medrish, the Zoihar hakoidesh or at least the Rashi? What about the Zohan? Of course not! Why not? Because you were a bum then, and still are; an oisvorf plain and simple.

Instead you were caught up in the excitement as you read that the world was about to be destroyed because it had fallen into a state of depravity: crazy sex scenes were unfolding reminiscent of Plato’s retreat and other schmutz you watch with regularity, rachmono litzlon (heaven forbid). That of course you recall with great clarity, a himmel-gishreye (no adequate translation)!  At the pre mabul parties, the scene according to Rashi (and who knew better) also included many forms of bestiality and cross relations, rachmono litzlon (say it’s not so). Where did they even dream things like this up?  Nu, efsher we can kler that they were just tired of bioh kidarko at home, if you chap, ver veyst.  How Rashi had the imagination to conjure up such images, ver veyst?

Nu, let’s review quickly as we have other hot topics to discuss. After 120 years of warnings, the RBSO brought the mabul: it rained, it poured, the world came  to an end and only Noiach, his mishpocha, and his chosen animals survived. Says the medrish (Sifre) azoy: the people of the world had all become completely evil. How bad? Nu, taka good you asked.  Sexual deviances of every variety, including those you chazerim order and watch on your mobile devices, or efsher worse, order on pay per view, chas v’esholom, and cholila, even worse, pay in person for such services, were commonplace. Moreover, while the people were in a state of nakedness, others were snap-chatting and sexting a la Weiner style; the world was full of robbery and thievery. Raincoats went missing in Shul, black hats were stolen while people were shokeling  with taleisim (prayer shawls) over their heads, gartlich too went missing and were used for nefarious purposes, if you chap,  They were killing each other right and left. Avada not all agree and some argue that the killings were up and down, ver veyst. They became depraved: men were sleeping with sheep and other vilde chayis. Women were sleeping with other women. And says the medrish:  even the animals were epes misbehaving; horses were sleeping with flounder. Businessmen were surfing porn on their blackberries while listening to Hespeidim at Levayas. Children were discussing sports at the shabbis tish and even in the sukkah. People were parking in handicapped spots, and  Rabbis were caught  stealing and plagiarizing speeches they had found on the Internet.. Get the picture? It was a real mess.

What did the RBSO do? Did He sit by and watch this unfold without a response? Absolutely not!  Well, that’s not entirely emes. First He let them enjoy themselves for 120 years and that’s what we can call a party. Can you imagine a 120 year orgy? Don’t answer that!

Efsher you’re wondering why the animals too needed to be wiped out in the great flood, they’re but animals and mistama don’t know right from wrong. Ober says the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin) azoy: society had become so corrupt and immoral that it affected and altered the animals as well. Besides men hooking up with vilde chayis, and a few rebbes with their talmidim-say it’s not so- animals too began mating with different species, a first in the animal kingdom. Ok the Netziv didn’t say the first two parts, so shoot me. In any event, the RBSO had seen enough, they too had to go. Only the animal pairs invited by Odom to board were to survive. Seemingly, they were loyal and faithful to their own species.

Nu, were there dinosaurs or not? Says the medrish azoy: Before the mabul, the unions of the varied animals created monstrosities, including the dinosaurs. These creatures were not permitted to enter the tayvo because of their corrupt source, and they became extinct with the rest of life that existed before the flood. Case closed! Is it? And says the Netziv: the RBSO kept the remains of these creatures hidden from the generations that immediately followed the mabul so that later generations wouldn’t repeat the bizarre mating processes and produce these mammoth creatures. He only allowed them to be discovered thousands of years later so that we may recognize and appreciate the awesomeness of His creations.

Still the question remains: were there dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures? Was there another world before ours? Maybe yes and says the heylige Kabalah azoy: when the RBSO was in the process of creating the world, He created several worlds and then destroyed them, until He created our current perfect world. Shoin and now you: it’s seemingly possible that there were dinosaurs in previous worlds and efsher their fossils date back, ver veyst. Avada there is more to say on this topic ober the adventures of Noaich and his kinderlach, post-mabul are much more exciting, Lommer lernin.

Having planted these images in your disgusting minds, there’s absolutely no reason to read the first few aliyos. Anyone with a pulse, even you oisvorfs retained the information the Rebbe taught you about Noiach and the Mabul. No doubt it’s one of the most famous stories ever told.  Ober what happened post-Mabul? It’s these events, at least one of them,  that is the subject of this week’s Toirah. Once the rains came, nothing helped. Umbrellas, even the most expensive ones you buy on Manhattan street corners were turned inside out, the newspapers were soaked right through the double plastic covers, the rain went right through their so called Weatherproof gear (shout out to AP), their rubbers already broken in, couldn’t withstand any more fluids and it was giferlich; think hurricane Sandy. Al of the oisvorfs disappeared. Or so we thought.

Though the great mabul story took us all the way to the shishi aliya (6th reading), the adventures of Noiach and his three sons are just beginning.  Stay tuned and halt kup (pay attention) as we learn of another minuvildeke act, this one post-Mabul and this one shreklich mamish. One thing is quite zicher: what you’re about to read, was not covered by your Rebbe in Yeshiva, though he may have tried to act some of it out, if you chap.  Ober only our holy Toirah, which is so real mamish, would lay bare (as did Noiach) stories of this grave magnitude. Here’s what went down and who. The heylige Oisvorfer is a shtikel embarrassed to discuss this subject matter, ober the interest of education dictates that he must, just like the heylige Gemora, teach and inform so that you get yourselves and your Tieivos (desires) under control. Ok- not b’kitzur and not b’loshon sagi nohor (without whitewashing), here’s what went down.

Says the heylige Toirah: In the aftermath of the Mabul, Noiach planted a vineyard. The vineyard produced grapes (all in the same day) and Noiach made wine. As you can only imagine, many midroshim couldn’t resist this topic and spun this story out of control, mikveh style mamish. They tell us that: Noiach drank the wine and became shikkir “intoxicated”. Alone in his tent, Noiach disrobed and fell into a deep sleep. While asleep and uncovered, Canaan the son of Cham, Noiach’s grandson, entered his grandfather’s private residence, saw his grandfather’s less than dignified condition and informed his father. Cham entered his father’s tent, degraded and assaulted his father’s person and dignity and then told his two brothers. Did we just read that correctly? One more time!

Noiach planted a vineyard, made wine, became drunk and fell into a deep drunken slumber – and while naked. Noiach’s son, Chom  (Ham by the goyim),  over 100 years old at this time, saw his father naked, assaulted him, and informed his two brothers of their father’s state. Was Chom the first ever Pirchei leader, ver veyst?  Rachmono litzlon- what could be worse? The brothers, Sheim and Yofes, modestly approached their father and covered him. When Noiach awakened, he cursed Cham’s son, Canaan, and blessed Shem and Yophes.

Rashi references two descriptions of Cham’s sin. 1. He castrated Noiach; 2. He sodomized Noiach. Both explanations are distasteful and demand further clarification. Piqued your interest, minuvil that you are? Look it up for yourself and here’s where. “Noiach, the man of the earth, debased himself and planted a vineyard. He became drunk and uncovered himself in his tent. [His son] Cham saw his father’s nakedness…” (Bereishis 9:20-22)

What happened here? The world was destroyed; even the foundations were gone after hot lava wiped all away and Noiach made wine? Wasn’t he in the mood for food, sushi maybe? Isn’t everyone? The RBSO just told him he could have chicken and even steak and he wanted wine? What gives here, what’s p’shat? And what’s p’shat that Chom saw his father’s nakedness; didn’t you ever go to the mikveh with your dad when you were a kid? Didn’t you ever see your dad’s nakedness? Did you ever think about sodomy and worse? Is this the storyline here?

Ober  Raboyseyee, p’shat according to the heylige Gemora is worse than you think. Says the heylige Gemora (Sanhedrin 70a) azoy (like this): When Noiach emerged from the Ark and saw devastation heaped upon the world, he knew deep down that he had selfishly stood by and watched it all happen. Depressed and disappointed, he got drunk. Then “Chom saw his father’s nakedness,” meaning that Noiach’s son either sodomized or castrated him. What??

Avada (what this all means is the subject of yet another famous machloikes- (debate) between Rav and Shmuel. Others of course as well. B’kitzur- one said that Chom castrated Noiach and the other, that he only sodomized him- mamish a tzadik, can you imagine a better son? Such nachas!! The Gemora says that both Rav and Shmuel were all wet and perhaps inebriated themselves from too much wine when they argued p’shat here and states empathically that both happened. Cham the minuvil mamish both sodomized and castrated his father.

Says the Medrish:  Cham and his wife were the only couple, human or animal, to cohabit while on the Tayvo. All of the other “survivors” remained celibate until emerging from the Tayvo one year from the start of the Mabul. Furthermore, Canaan was conceived during that year while on the Tayvo, talk about rocking the boat. Another heylige Gemora (Sanhedrin 108b) states that the previous medrish is not the entire story and that  three copulated in the tayvo and all were punished. Who? The dog, the raven, and Chom the minuvil. How the heylige Gemora knew that the dog and the Raven had relations in the Teyvo, ver veyst? Did the bird sing after it sinned and rat out the dog? Ver veyst.

Says the medrish (Bereishis Rabba) azoy: Chom’s descendants were the original tinkele (colored people), ver veyst? The miforshim add that Chom’s punishment was a darkening of the skin. Can you imagine such a gifeliche punishment? Says the Yalkut: as part of Chom’s punishment, he was forced to walk around naked -mida ki’neged mida- (revenge) and from the blazing sun, his skin colored; seemingly so did his genes. How many hours have you laydigeyers (oisvorfs) sat in the sun trying to become a shtikel tinkle? How much have you spent on lotions to help you darken your skin; this was the punishment for having sex in the tayvo? Oif mir gizugt!!

The good news: towards the end of the parsha, we’ll meet Avrom who became one of our forefathers and the rest as they say…is part of our beautiful history.

A gittin shabbis-

Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv

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