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

Re’ay 2011: Steak – Medium Rare!

2011Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:

Oy vey, summer is mamish drawing to an end. Shuls are sending out seating requests, demanding bill payment and threatening to withhold seating for the Yomim Toivim. Would it taka be so giferlich (terrible) to skip shul and tell the RBSO that you wanted to daven to Him,  to beg His forgiveness but that the Shul wouldn’t allow you to be seated because you owed them a few dollars?  How about paying the Shul 1/3 and going for one day; are you really in the mood for a three day yom toiv? Anyway, we just began sefer Devorim a few weeks ago with one of Moishe’s famous soliloquies and here we are four weeks later and guess what? It’s Parshas Re-ay and Moishe is still talking.  This shabbis, we welcome back our kids from camp, who, with school still two weeks away, are already bored out of their minds, and  we’ll  hear either part  two of Moishe’s second speech or his  third, depending on which pshat you like. With this speech, he introduces yet a new approach. What’s pshat? Mistama you already forgot that just last week, Moishe resorted to bribery in a desperate attempt to get the Yiddin to listen and follow the RBSO. Seemingly, he’s had a change of heart and this week he begins by threatening the Yiddin and here’s what he said:


“See, this day I set before you blessing and curse.” (Devorim 11:26). Gone are the offers of the RBSO’s blessings including fertility and lots of dough. They are replaced with potential curses if we don’t follow: nice! Ober (but) he does tell the Yiddin that they have free will: they can mamish decide which path to take. How all this ties in with the concept of Hashgocha Pirotis (all is preordained), this I never really chapped despite the number of times the Rebbe tried beating it into my farshtopte kup (stuffed head). And he did try!


And Raboyseyee: not just is Moishe talking this week but he’s rattling off mitzvo after mitvo, 55 in this parsha alone. Gevald! How are we to absorb so much information in such a short period of time and still talk to our friends during laining?  We can’t!   Let’s instead review one or two that concern us daily and avada food consumption is always on our minds.


This week (Devarim 12:20-21) the Yidddin are given permission to eat meat: steak, ribs and more, even Chinese; we are, of course, his Cho-sen People. Speaking of which, Cho-sen should be reopening in less than  two weeks. Nu- a cheap plug but hey, I’m the writer.  And just like that, a new industry was born: Fleishig (meat) restaurants, catering and in chasidishe circles, even fleishig Brissim (circumcisions).  Moreover and as we will shortly learn, the entire Shichita (slaughtering)  industry, mashgichim (kosher supervisors) and all, has its roots right here  in Parshas Re-ay. And if you’ve ever wondered why we need a Mashgiach timidi (steady) to sit in your favorite food establishment, the Vaad will point to Parshas Re-ay for validation of their existence. Is all that emes? Ver veyst but we’re stuck with them until the Moshiach makes an appearance to straighten this entire mess out. Nu, lets learn the heylige toira, the story of the Yiddin being permitted to eat meat, slaughtering procedures and more. Here we go.


And what is the big deal about eating meat? What’s the chiddish (big news in town),  you ask? Weren’t they eating meat before they got to EY (Israel)?  Didn’t we spend 10 weeks learning Sefer Vayikra, dedicated mostly to Korbonois (sacrifices) and weren’t we taught that the Koihanim (priests) and in some cases also the regular Joe bringing the Korban (sacrifice), were also able to eat a good piece of meat, albeit always well done? Indeed we did. And didn’t we learn that the Yiddin were also allowed to eat meat after the Mabul when all the vegetation was destroyed? Does anyone have an answer, anyone?


The big news is that this week Moishe tells the Yiddin in the name of the RBSO that they can eat unconsecrated meat-animals that are slaughtered just for their pleasure, meaning  even if they are not being brought as Korbonois (offerings).  In plain English as only the Oisvorfer speaks: up until now, were they in the mood for a burger, a steak, a lean brisket sandwich, rack of lamb or even any other rack, if you chap, they would have to bring a Korban and under certain conditions, they would also get to partake. Ober this week, the RBSO, mistama under pressure from the local Vaad,  and you know what kind of Mafia style pressure they can exert, tells the Yiddin it’s OK to eat meat anytime. Anytime,  as long as you pay the Mashgiach and Vaad (Kosher Supervisory Agency) their vig. And now if one is taka in the mood for a good piece of meat and who at times isn’t, if you chap, it’s all ok but only under certain conditions. And what might those be, pray tell? Shoin  ginig (enough) with all the teasing… let’s taka get to the meat of the toira’s consent to enjoy some flankin..


Says the heylige toirah azoy: “When God will enlarge your border, as He has promised you, and you shall say, ‘I would eat meat,’ for you have a desire to eat meat, to your heart’s entire desire may you eat meat.  If the place that God will choose to place His name will be far from you, you may kill from your herd and from your flock, which God has given you, in the way I have commanded you and you shall eat in your cities according to your hearts desires.”


Ok- that was one big juicy givaldige run-on sentence, just like this toira at times but let’s take a closer look at all that was said here. Ershtens (first of all): Seemingly the RBSO avada understood that His chosen people are full of desires, especially to chap a good piece of meat,  and realizing that such desires are at times difficult to tame, said OK to meat. And He also said that the Yiddin can eat as much meat as they desire…nu that was avada way before cholesterol became an issue.


More: the RBSO also realized that people don’t want to schlep too far for good meat and said that if people will live far from where the RBSO designates  His home (nowadays – Yerusholayim), they may have meat in their  own cities and neighborhoods. Yiddin of course interpret this as being allowed to and encouraged to open food establishments right next to one another in order to ensure that none of them makes a living. Yiddin!!

Ober, at the same time, the RBSO gave specific guidelines under which one can enjoy his meat and none of these include the way you chazerrim oisvorfs do, loi olainu and lucky for you (and avada for me) that Yoim Kippur is soon approaching.


Nu, let’s chazir (review): Until this specific permission was given, in order for the yiddin to have a good order of ribs, they had to bring a specific Korban (korban Shelomim) which allowed for the giver to also partake in the game. And if you read the RBSO’s instruction paragraph carefully,  you would have seen these words: “………..in the way I have commanded you and you shall eat in your cities according to your heart’s entire desire.” I put these few words in bold so that you can mamish absorb the givaldige chiddish (amazing breakthrough)  that the Chachomim (sages) came up with.


Shteltz zich di shaiylo (the question arises): where are those (above) commandments given? When?  To Whom? And the answer is: to no-one! They are not found in the gantze Toirah shebecsav (Five Books). Nowhere!!  Ober not to worry because it so happens that our Chachomim have mamish a brilliant answer, don’t they always, and that’s taka why they are called chachomim.  They say: what do you mean the rules for slaughtering were not written down and therefore don’t exist? Are you an idiot? These rules were given to Moishe orally when he was up there for 40 days without eating and drinking and you can only imagine how hungry and thirsty he was while listening to the RBSO go over the details of shichita and food preparation. Moreover, the chachomim use this language to prove that toirah she- baal peh (the oral tradition) is taka real because otherwise the gantze parsha of kosher makes no sense. Mistama at the same time, the RBSO also told Moishe that every kosher establishment needs a full time Mashgiach though this rule wasn’t to become effective until later in the 20th century, and that Broccoli needed to be hand washed and even more shtusim (bs). Hey: it’s oral law, do we dare argue over oral? Not the Oisvorfer.


In fact, the laws of Shechita have been passed down in an unbroken chain from Mt. Sinai until today, so they say, and who are we to argue? If any of you amoratzim wish to argue, you’ll need to first become proficient in gemora, Maseches Chulin and in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 1-28. Sadly I’ve concluded that it’s just easier to pay for the Hasgocho and be done with it.


I see you already forgot a question we raised earlier about Noiach being given permission to eat meat post Mabul (flood) and if that’s taka (in fact) the case and it looks very much like it taka was, so what is the big news in this parsha? Nu, I still have no idea but here’s what the Oisvorfer dug up while waiting for his order of steak, medium rare. Way back in Parshas Noiach, we were taught that he Noiach was given the heter (permission) to eat meat. And not a moment too soon as we also learned that his grandson Kin-an the chazir minuvi that he was, couldn’t wait and took to Noiach’s meat, oy vey. Exactly what the issue (prohibition) to meat  eating was pre-Mabul, is avada the subject of a great machloikes rishoinim (argument among early Rabbis), but we do know that back then too many people were doing not such nice things with meat, if you chap and that’s what led to the entire flood to begin with. Efsher (maybe) there was too much mixing of white and dark meat? Ver veyst?


In fact, one of the major changes in world order post-Mabul was the allowance of meat on the menu as the heylige toirah itself states: “Behold, I have given to you all herbage yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit; it shall be yours for food. And what does that mean? Says Rashi, still my all time favorite: that the RBSO equated them [people] to animals and beasts as to food, and did not allow man and woman to kill a creature, and eat its meat. Ober, when the children of Noiach came out of the “teiva” (ark), he permitted meat to them, as it says (Breishis 9:3), “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; like the green herbage; I have given you everything”


One thing we do know is that the RBSO did not like meat prepared rare and forbade us from eating the blood of an animal. Says the heylige toirah (Devarim 12:23):  “However, be strong not to eat the blood, for the blood is the soul, and you may not eat the soul with the flesh.” What’s pshat and why  must one be “strong not to eat the blood”?Hey….hey… isn’t blood good for the body and doesn’t it make one strong? Doesn’t this defy logic? What’s pshat here?


Count on Rashi who says: “From the statement ‘be strong,’ you can infer that [the Jewish people] used to eat blood excessively. And maybe their excessive strength led to other desires, if you chap. In other words: being too strong and having strong desires can lead to other indiscretions, do I need to spell them out for you? Therefore, the Toirah found it necessary to say, ‘be strong'”-these are the words of Rebbe Yehudah. Case closed? No!

Rebbe Shimon ben Azzai says farkert (opposite) and that the yiddin had no taivo (desire) for blood: “This statement comes only to caution you and to teach you the extent to which you should strengthen your observance of the mitzvos. For if the Toirah needed to ‘strengthen’ you to observe the prohibition of eating blood-which is easy to guard oneself against, because a person has no desire for it-then how much more so [must one strengthen oneself to observe] all other commandments.” Of course, there are more opinions and here, then, are two more.


Rashbam: Blood becomes absorbed into all the organs of the body. Therefore, the Toirah warns us to be especially careful not to eat it. And finally Rabaynu Bachaye: Eating blood strengthens the body. Therefore, the Torah promises that a person will be strong even if he does not eat blood. Seemingly this Rabaynu Bachaye was ahead of his time because avada nowadays, people are injecting themselves with new bllod, their own blood , blood mixed with stem cells and maybe even bloody Marys and others. The bottom line on blood: everyone has an opinion, what else is new?


In any event, we know that the RBSO does not allow us to eat or drink blood and this is not the first time we are hearing this prohibition. TheRambam in his (Sefer Hamitzvois) , maintains that this prohibition is mentioned no less than seven times in the Toirah, three times just in this parsha and of course many wonder why its repeated here again in such strong language. Ober Rashi chapped that the Yiddin, and that includes most of you, are not great followers of the rules and concluded that even 40 years after they left Mitzrayim (Egypt), where they seemingly got used to eating blood excessively, they were still at it and that they needed yet another warning.


And this shabbis, instead of  playing with your meat, enjoy it: have it your way.


A gittin Shabbis and stay dry.

Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv

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