The Good wife-
We begin by wishing a more than hearty mazel tov to our friends Mati and Tuli Goldstein who will have the great honor of walking their daughter Rifky down the aisle where she be marrying Shmuli, son of Shoshana and Yitz Adler, he a 3rd grade classmate of the Oisvorfer. Mati is a friend for many decades and Tuli, perhaps most responsible for rekindling the Oisvorfer’s learning the heylige Gemora. The Oisvorfer will be in attendance.
This week we also bid adieu to Benjie Frieling, son of Sharon and Dr. Jeff Frieling, who will me making Aliya to the holy land and will likely in future years invent or engineer something big. How big? Ver veyst, but very big things are expected. Good luck Benjie!
Shoin, imagine you were hired to do reconnaissance, be a scout, or even be a spy. You were sent on a mission to determine the land’s strengths and weaknesses. You accepted your mission without pay, put your life in danger, snuck into and out of the country you were spying on and returned safely. Upon your return, you were debriefed, delivered an honest report of your findings andinstead of a nice thank you and a pat on the back, all hell broke loose. For your efforts, you were condemned to death. Moreover, all the men above the age of 20, that’s over 603,000 of them, that heard your report were also condemned to death, they over a 38 year period. Shoin;fact or fiction?
Welcome to ParshasShelach, zicher one of the most depressing parshas in the gantze Toirah kula, where this very story played out. Efsher you’re taka wondering how this all came about? Why is it that when a few thousand Yiddin created an Eygel and were worshipping avoidozoro mamish, only the real participants were killed, and let’s not forget that Aharoin the koihengodol who mamish built the damn thing, got a free pass. Ober here in our parsha where but 12 people went and where only 10 brought back a seemingly less than acceptable report, that an entire nation was punished and condemned. What’s taka pshat? And not just were they doomed, but imagine how many widows and orphans were left behind. Why were 603,500 men punished for listening to 10 spies deliver a true report of their findings? Ver ken dusfarstheyn (who can understand this)? Zicher not the Oisvorfer ober he is not alone. Moreover and efsher overshadowed by the mreaglim, in Shelach, we have yet another case where the RBSO came dangerouslty close to wiping out all the Yiddin. Zicher this was not the first or last time He toyed with this idea. The destruction of the Yiddin, all of them, seemed imminent. Moishe responded with his fervent prayer to save them, replete with the repetition of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy that the RBSO had taught him following the Eygelgisheft (caper). And it worked! Sasy the heylige Toirah (Bamidbar 14:20) azoy: The RBSO acceded to Moishe’s bakoshos (prayer) and stated: “I have forgiven them in accordance with your word.”
As you can imagine, dozens and dozens of commentators were baffled by this gantzemyseh and have written hundreds of pages of hypothetical answers. Avada they are hypothetical because few, if any, can understand how these very people- the same ones described as holy and good in one possik- can be described as ruthless wicked traitors by Rashi and others a few pisukimlater. Do apples turn bad so quickly? Likely not.andthe bottom line: like the Oisvorfer tells you every year, when it comes to pshat we can’t chap or fathom,maybe we don’t have to. Maybe it’s none of our business. Simply stated, it’s what the RBSO wanted. It was His plan and shoin, that’s how it went down. A gittin shabbis. Just kidding, we’re just warming up.
Efsher we can kler that the Promised Land wasn’t quite ready yet and that check-in was delayed by 38 years as a result, ver veyst. Sounds as logical as any other excuse. Or, efsher we can kler that simply and not so elegantly stated, the Yiddin weren’t quite ready for prime time. Certainly that is quite plausible and gets more believable as we make our way through seferBamidbar and read with amazement how the Yiddin went from foible to foible, and how the RBSO took every such opportunity to thin out the population until He got to the number of those that were going to make it in.Later in the parsha, the Yiddin, at least some of them, again didn’t follow orders and even later, we’ll meet the famous wood gatherer, chopper or player, whatever he was,ver veyst. We have previously covered him, his potential identity or maybe not and other interesting factoids. Find them in the archives at www.oisvorfer.com. The bottom line: it’s not at all difficult for an Oisvorf like many of you are, to conclude that compared to the Yiddin that left Mitzrayimjust over two years back and witnessed open miracles, yet continued to behave erratically, you’re not such a giferliche minuvil. You might be right! You are zicher still a minuvil but not so big by comparison. Shoin! Compared to the less than exemplary behavior of the Yiddin (at least a portion of them) during their 40 year Midbar experience, you might be quite the tzaddik!
Is that what happened, ver veyst. Ober if you want to hear what a few others had to say, read on. The Oisvorfer remains depressed about the fate of these good folks and if the heylige Toirah describes them as such, and never any differently, he doesn’t want Rashi and others trampling all over their good names. Does the heylige Toirah not refer to them (Bamidbar 13:3) as “Ku’lom-ahnoshim-roshey-b’nay-Yisrael-haymo,” (all distinguished men, heads of the Yiddin)? Indeed it does! Says the Sforno (Italian Toirah commentator) azoy: these men were “Anshei Chayil,” men of valor, upright people, of great stature. Yet Rashi and others have killed their google reputation and avada you chap how difficult it is to fix that. You can try at www.yourinternetdefender.com. And taka each year as this parsha comes around, the debate begins anew. Were they good guys or bad guys? Were they both? Ver veyst?
Zicher you recall learning and as mentioned above, that 2 of 12 meraglim (spies), Yehoisuha bin nun and Kolave ben Yifunehcame back with a positive report. They did not share the views of the other 10. Efsher you’re taka wondering why and how those 2 were able to overcome the persuasive powers of the others. What was it about them? Nu, it so happens thatjust last night, the Oisvorfer was asked to speak at a shevabrochois for Daniella Blisko and Gil Maman–mazel tov again to our friends Meryl and Lezer Blisko and the entire extended families on both sides- and taka addressed this very topic. Ober what do these meraglim have to do with the Oisvorfer’s message to the bride and groom? Nu, listen to this mamish shabbis-tish-worthy vort, it’s gishmak mamish. Of course, the Oisvorfer cannot repeat the entire speech here but the message was quite clear.
As it turns out, it appears that a good woman may have played a significant role in the caper. Does the heylige Toirah mention a woman as playing any role? Is there a woman mentioned anywhere in the parsha? Zicher not ober as in previous instances, when the Toirah leaves gaping holes in the narrative, there is always room for midrashic interpretation and what good is any story without a good woman thrown into the mix. Listen to this givaldige myseh and when we say myseh which means story, it means just that. It could have happened, ver veyst. It’s just as believable as any other medrashic interpretation and it goes like this:
Who is this mystery woman and what role did she play?Let’s recall that just before setting out on their mission, Moishe changed the name of Hoishayah to Yehoishua. Taka why? We will learn that Moishe had a bad feeling about the mission. He had a premonition that it would end in a disastrous fashion. What to do? He changed his name and davened that the RBSO should save Yehoishua from the bad advice of the otherspies. Says Rashi and who knew more, azoy: the new name is comprised of two words which put together spellYehoishua and which translate into ‘God should save him.’What Moishe had in mind was just that. Taka it worked. Yehoishua was taka one of the spies that came back with encouraging words about conquering the land.
And just about now, efsher you’re klerring azoy…hey didn’t we learn that 2 of the 12 came back with good news? Indeed we did and we taka learned that Kolave ben Yifuneh, whom the RBSO singles out for praise later in the parsha and promised him entry into the land, was the other good guy. Seemingly he was good even without a name change. What’s pshat? Why did Moishe only change Yehoishua’sname and not Kolave’s? Why didn’t he get a name change? And if hedidn’t, howwas it that he was able to overcome the influences of the others, the sights he saw, and turn in a positive report?
Said RebYaacovKamentsky azoy: seemingly Kolavewas a married man. Indeed we are taught that he was married to Miriam, Moishe’s sister. Yeihoishua on the other hand was single. The Novee(Prophets) will teach us that he eventually married Rochov the famous innkeeper, if you chap. And what’s the difference if he was single or married? Seemingly, since Kolave was already married, Moishe knew that his wife would keep him in line, that she would not allow him to stray and seemingly that’s takapshat of what a good wife is supposed to do. She is to be the ezerkinegdoi. Support when called for and oppose when not. Ober Yehoishuawas single and Moishe was afraid that as a single man without a good wife to steer him clear of danger, he might succumb and turn rogue. As an aside, next week, the medrish willintroduce yet another set of wives, one good and one rogue. One that saves her husband from death and the other that sent hers to his demise.Shoin and that’s how a good woman saved the life of her husband. Taka gishmak but………….
If Moishe taka had such a premonition and taka so says Rashi, shtelt-zich-di-sheyla (the question arises), why didn’t he change all their names so that each one would have special protection? Why was Yehoishua singled out for special protection? Didn’t all the mergalim need some protection, if you chap, especially on the road and over in C’nan which was full of hot shiksamydlich? Ober that question didn’t really fit into the shevabrochos.
Nu, efsher we can kler that they too were married. But if they were, why didn’t their wives protect them? Nu, efsher we can kler that they had bitches for wives, ver veyst or that Moishe didn’t know their wives and hence had no clue that their wives afforded no protection. Avada it’s bavust that at least one of the pair needs protection, if you chap. On the other hand, he knew his sister Miriam and that she was good. Miriam? What’s she doing in the story? Nu, mistama you forgot or never knew that Kolave was Moishe’s brother in-law; he was married to Miriam. Shoin! Of course now you know why Kolave was also appointed to a leadership positionAnd taka why not? What good is a brother in-law if he won’t appoint you to a leadership position? In any event, Moishe knew that she wouldn’t be involved in another loshoin horo incident and especially so given,that she just recovered from Tzora’as(leprosy) as a result of her own loshoin-horo caper while discussing why Moishe didn’t need any protection, if you chap. Of course this is all Oisvorfer speculation but does sound as logical as any other Medrashic attempt to make sense of the anomalies and inconsistencies in the storyline. Shoin, if anyone has abetter answer, please so advise.
Nu, if you were paying attention, you might be bothered by knowing that Moishe had a bad feeling about the entire mission.Ober if he did and went so far as name changing and daveningfor Yehoishua, why didn’t he abort? Why put his people in danger? The results were disastrous mamish; over 600,000 Yiddin were to pass away, all condemned as a direct result of the entire caper. Did Moishe send them atthe behest of the RBSO as the words of the heylige Toirah tell us or wasthis his own mission? What’s taka pshat? Ver veyst? Of course the narrative is somewhat light and of course Rashi and others stepped in with their own ideas.
And who was this mystery man Kolave that the RBSO liked so much? And his background?In fact the heylige Gemora (Soitah 11b) mamish questions his very lineage and tells us azoy: And kolave the son of Chetzroin begot children of Azubah his wife and of Jerioth, and these were her sons: Yesher and Shobab and Ardon. The son of Chetzroin?Stop! Hold the presses! Did Kolave have a second father? Wasn’t he, as the heylige Toirah tells us, the son of Yifuneh? What’s taka pshat? Rovo said: “He was the stepson of Kenaz.”He was? Will the real father of Kolave please stand up. Ober said Rovo (he of the famous Abaya and Rovo great arguments and debates -mostly he won-, azoy: Relax, all is good. Kolave was taka biologically “ben Yifuneh”, he was his son, mamish. Yet, he was also the stepson of Kenaz (“chorgo d’Kenaz hava”). Shoin! Seemingly Kolave came from a broken home and taka as a result, Kolave had at least two powerful influences in his life. The genetics and biologics from his father Yifuneh, and as a bonus, he seemingly also had additional influences from having been raised by his mother, seemingly now remarried, in his stepfather’s home. People got divorced and remarried even back then? Seemingly yes! Shoin, he still married Moishe’ sister. Of course we shouldn’t forget that Moishe mother too had more than one husband. Maybe these things are good for the shidduch, ver veyst.
A gittin Shabbis
The Oisvorfer Ruv