Raboyseyee & Ladies,
LAST CALL: last chance to place an order with Richter Caterers for Orlando delivery is Friday. If you’re Orlando bound this Pesach, check out the site here and get your orders in. Join over 300 families who have already placed orders. You’re on vacation, why hassle cooking? Call Chaim. https://richtercaterers.com/menu/
Not going to Orlando? Oy vey and OMG! The good news: if you are staying local and are still hotel shopping -and even if you are not- check out Pesach with Chef Flam over at the Hilton in Somerset, New Jersey, where you can spend Pesach at a high quality yet very reasonably priced program with excellent food, givaldige entertainment, speakers and more. Yet another freebie plug for a friend, but do let them know you found them through the heylige Ois. Check out their flyer below.
Later this afternoon, our good friends Esther and Boruch Weinstein will be walking their son Benjamin down the aisle to the chuppah where he will be marrying Lily Lightman, she the beautiful daughter of Miriam and Ezra Lightman, they of Bergenfield, New Jersey. Mazel tov to the extended Weinstein, Weiss and Lightman families. May Ben and Lily be zoche (merit) to enjoy many decades of very blissful marriage together.
One more mazel tov shoutout to our friends Autumn and Bruce Mael upon the wedding this past Monday of their son Jacob, who married Keyla Siebzener, she the beautiful daughter of Marci and Nachi Siebzener, they from Chicago. We wish Kayla and Jacob decades of only happiness together.
Seed vs Cede & The Original Sin:
The original sin? Why is that being mentioned in our parsha? Are Odom and Chava still alive as we make our way through Sefer Vayikro? Not! Have we heard from them since Parshas Bereishis? Not once; at least not once in the text of the heylige Toirah. Ober our sages of yore, never forgot the original sin; seemingly neither did the RBSO. Our sages brought them back to life for one more round of excoriation over a sin committed over 2400 years earlier. Ginig shoin (enough already) and OMG! More on them soon, but first these words.
Shoin, we’re just about done with korbonois; Sefer Vayikra is about to get very interesting and exciting. Welcome to Parshas Tazria -a singleton in this iber-yur (leap year) and one of the hot topics is sexual activity between a husband and wife -of course- before and after a baby is born. It gets better: want to know how to select the gender of your next child? Have too many girls and want a boy? Forget Masters & Johnson and other trickery: learn the heylige Toirah -and the commentaries of course- because based on the words of this parsha, the heylige Gemora teaches us of foolproof methods in gender selection. More on that later. Tazria also discusses what happens after pleasure and sex: kids! The parsha contains interesting laws about how long a woman remains impure following childbirth, the purification process and the korban (sacrifice) she needs to bring. What great sin she committed that warrants a korban, ver veyst, but she is seemingly guilty of a few offenses. All this very useful information mamish in the very first aliya, along with the commandment to perform a bris on day eight, even on the heylige shabbis. Why another bris commandment? We shall address that below as well. Tazria also contains the myriad laws of tzora’as (leprosy), all are covered in the parsha and were also thoroughly reviewed by the heylige Ois in previous editions. Find them at www.oisvorfer.com. Because the Ois had and still does such a busy week -two weddings, sheva brochis, speaking engagements and other zachin, we will review one thought from prior years and introduce brand new material on the practical differences between one who seeds and one who cedes. Next week we’ll explore the Zav and Zava (those with accidental discharges). Of course, you’ll all be paying close attention, chazerim that you are.
Shoin, let’s get back to Odom and Chava and what the RBSO said to them when upset with their behavior. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 3:16) azoy: “To the woman He said: I will greatly increase your sorrow and your pregnancy. In sorrow will you bear children.” And why are we quoting from Parshas Bereishis here in Tazria? Because the RBSO did seemingly not forget the original sin of the forbidden fruit; that one keeps giving -mostly pain- and some of its consequences are tied mamish into our parsha. We will be discussing them a bit later. Ober ershtens (firstly)….
How times changed or what? In hyntige modernishe tzytin (in today’s modern times), when the eishes chayil gives birth to a child, the husband is immediately obligated to buy her a nice gift. Typically, the gift will manifest in the form of jewelry. Absent that gesture, he can forget chapping anything, if you chap, but grief for quite a while, the heylige Toirah’s lifting of restrictions on marital relations notwithstanding. Sixty-six days are but the precursor for what’s ahead, or not. Let’s get real: azoy iz (just how it goes)!
Ober, back in Toirah times, when the wife gave birth, to either a boy or a girl, as part of her purification process -as described mamish in our parsha- she was obligated to bring korbonos (sacrifices) in the Beis Hamikdash (Temple), two of them, before she was considered totally pure. One of those was a korban Chatos (sin offering) meant to atone for the sin or sins committed. Is giving birth mamish a sin? Isn’t or shouldn’t it be it punkt farkert? Did the RBSO not command that man and woman be mikayame (fulfill) the mitzvah of ‘pru-u’rvu (procreation)? Grada, He did! It’s the first thing told to Odom and Chava. Is that not what the woman just did by delivering a baby boy or girl? If anything, logic dictates that if any korban is required, the korban Toidah (thanksgiving) would be in order for having received the gift of life in the form of a child. What’s taka pshat?
Was she involved in some form of iniquitous behavior? Nu, as it turns out, menstruation, childbirth and its resultant impurities, the purification process, including the requirement to bring two separate offerings of which one is a ‘sin offering’, and the bris on day eight, are all intertwined. It’s one bloody mess. We would easily chap having to bring a korban Chatos were the baby she just delivered out of wedlock, or, efsher from another man, oy vey and say it’s no so please. Ober the case the heylige Toirah is describing seems to be of a woman, her husband and their baby. Why did the Toirah require her to bring a sin offering? And why is she impure?
Nu, as expected, the heylige Gemora had the same question but also proffered an answer. Said the heylige Tanna Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai (Nida 31A) azoy: when the woman kneels in labor (or, whatever position she may find herself in during labor), mistama due to the givaldige pains she is experiencing, she swears impetuously that she will never again have intercourse with her husband. Ober, as a married woman, she is of course required to service her husband, or (at a minimum) allow her husband to service her, whatever the case may be, if you chap. Bottom line: her oath cannot be kept and fartig! Another bottom line: she swore falsely. Therefore, she is required to bring the Chatos. Ober when the Ois discussed this very topic with a reader, he asked azoy: “why should she be michuyev (obligated) to bring the korban when she mamish meant just what she had sworn?” Is it not the case that once a woman has a child, her desires for intimacy with her husband are dramatically diminished, and are efsher mamish kimat non-existent? Indeed they are. Al-achas-kamo-v’kammo (how much more so) when she has more children. Taka an excellent point. Grada, another medrish will suggest that her sin offering was prompted by her fleeting thoughts never to endure another pregnancy.
Ober why does the woman taka get those giferliche menstrual and childbirth pains? What horrible crimes did she commit? And why does she become impure and need to wait seven days from the birth of boy and fourteen from the birth of a girl to begin the purification process? And why must she wait an additional 33 days for a baby boy and 66 for a daughter before she completes the purification process by bringing the offerings.
Nu, let’s go back to page one and the opening paragraph. There we quoted from Bereishis where the RBSO, in response to Chava’s (Eve’s) participation in the forbidden fruit incident -which He never forgot or seemingly forgave- decreed that henceforth, woman would suffer during their pregnancies. Childbirth would be forever painful. Let’s taka recall what He told Chava: “I will greatly increase your sorrow and your pregnancy” (Bereishis 3:16). Says the heylige Gemora azoy: increased sorrow davka refers to menstrual blood. Pshat being that absent of Chava’s appetite for the forbidden, it’s gantz shayich (probable) that woman would never have had to endure any blood and efsher could have become pregnant without ever having a menstrual cycle. Pregnancy and childbirth would have been seamless and painless. We assume (and even hopeful) that pregnancy would still involve some physical contact.
The bottom line is seemingly azoy: every pregnancy and childbirth is a reminder of Chava and the original sin. Shoin, there you have it, it’s all her fault! And the now-required sin offering is efsher meant to atone for the sin of Chava which as we stated above, keeps on giving. As well, we can now efsher chap why a woman remains impure twice as long for the birth of a girl; it was after all Chava, mother of all mankind, who sinned, and caused her husband to sin, efsher by swearing that she would never again service him. Seemingly, every newborn female is a potential Chava. Yikes and veyter.
From time to time -truth be spoken, more often- the heylige Ois reminds you about repetition in the heylige Toirah and tries valiantly to reconcile what our rebbes taught us about there being no extra words or letters in the heylige Toirah, with oft repeated concepts. Let’s get real: certain commandments are repeated, some over and again. Limoshol, the RBSO reminds His people many times about shabbis observance (at least eight), not to cook a young goat in its mother’s milk (three times), not to eat non-kosher animals (a whopping 16 times), to remember that He took us out Mitzrayim (10 times), not to worship idols (36 times), vi’chohano, vi’chohano (so on and so forth). Moreover, isn’t Sefer Devorim (Deuteronomy) also known as Mishneh Toirah, davka because it repeats many of the mitzvis already commanded? It is! And because of all this repetition, our good rabbis and so many medroshim, found themselves struggling to find pshat in each repetition. Though the RBSO rarely mentions why He repeats certain commandments, our rabbis took it upon themselves to rationalize each such mention of a mitzvah. They tell us, over and again, that each has a specific purpose. Its first mention was meant to teach lesson A, while a second or third mention of the seemingly same commandment, is there to teach different lessons.
The bottom line is azoy: The Toirah does repeat certain mitzvis and this week, we are introduced to a mitzvah which harkens back to Parshas Lech Lecha (Sefer Bereishis). We speak of the mitzvah to perform the bris on the eighth day of a baby boy’s life. Let’s take quick look at the reminder in posik 3 of our parsha.
|3. And on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.||גוּבַיּ֖וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֑י יִמּ֖וֹל בְּשַׂ֥ר עָרְלָתֽוֹ:|
Ober, wasn’t this mitzvah -in posik 3 of out parsha- already known to us as a commandment? It was! We also learned there were times when the bris was not always performed as commanded. How could one not perform this critical command – the quintessential mitzvah which mamish brings one into the fold? Let us recall there were times when mitigating circumstances prevented the bris on day eight. As well, there were times when for stam azoy convenience, certain Yiddin stopped performing this mitzvah. Limoshol, during enslavement over in Mitzrayim we learned that many Yiddin -efsher hopeful of chapping a few Mitzri shiksas- did not undergo the bris. Oy! Let us also recall how the RBSO -over in Parshas Boi (Exodus) did interrupt the myseh of the makos (plagues) to instruct the Yiddin about the korban Pesach (paschal lamb). He taught about its preparation, when and who could partake. The RBSO stated azoy: those who were uncircumcised could not. What to do? No one likes to miss out on a good meal and shoin, they underwent a mass circumcision with Moishe and Aharoin officiating, one as the Moiel and the other as the Sandik. Moishe avada knew how critical it was to undergo a bris because not too long back -according to a medrish or two- while on his way to Mitzrayim with his eishes chayil Tzipoira and kids in tow, a snake came along -some say two- and swallowed Moishe from his toes to his eyver (penis). Tzipoirah, Moishe’s wife chapped what was going on, and immediately performed a bris on one of her kids. Which kid? That my friends is the subject of a machloikes. The bottom line: as soon as the bris was performed, the snake released Moishe. In any event, Moishe was of course very sensitive to this mitzvah.
Another medrish will teach us of yet another mass circumcision which took place just before the RBSO came down to deliver the Aseres Hadibrois (Ten Commandments). Of-course He wasn’t going to go through with the wedding to the Yiddin while they remained uncircumcised and shoin. Again they were reminded about the bris. We assume this new group included the ‘erev rav’ and that those whose membership was not in question, did not volunteer for another cut. Ober as our parsha opens it’s at least 400 years since Avrohom was instructed to undergo the bris and guess what? Says the heylige Toirah (Vayikra 12:3) azoy: “And on the eighth day, you shall circumcise his foreskin.” Shtlelt zich di shaylo (the question arises): what’s new here and why is the RBSO repeating a mitzvah he clearly delineated on several occasions?
Let’s go back in time. The year is 2047 and our zeyda (forefather) Avrohom is 99 years old. His son Yishmoel is almost bar mitzvah age. And out of nowhere mamish, the RBSO will tell Avrohom (Bereishis 17:1) that he is to undergo a bris in order to become ”tomim” (complete) with the RBSO. Though a good man, mistama the very first monotheist, seemingly, he was not yet complete. Moreover, the bris will henceforth be a sign between Avrohom and the RBSO. Avrohom will, after a cut below, become a cut above others, and will be the first Yid. Grada this was the very first mitzvah the RBSO gave to Avrohom. Shoin and mazel tov. A few pisukim later (Bereishis 17:12), the RBSO will give further instructions: “at the age of eight days, every one of your males shall be circumcised…” Shoin there you have it. We were commanded to perform a bris and specifically on the eighth day.
Why? Because that’s what the RBSO commanded. He never did tell us why. Seemingly that number was significant to the RBSO; isn’t that reason enough? It should be. Got questions? One day when you get to meet your Maker, and if you can still speak after answering all of His questions about your life and how you may have abused your bris, if you chap, feel free to ask Him why He davka wanted the bris to take place on the eighth day. Until then, let’s see what a few suggested was the significance of the eighth day choice. There must be one pshat that talks to you.
Says the heylige Zoihar azoy: by waiting eight days, the baby will have lived through one shabbis and the ‘kidushas shabbis’ (holiness or spirit) of shabbis is what the baby requires before undergoing the bris procedure. The heylige shabbis adds a new dimension of life into the world, and once the baby has lived one shabbis, he is strengthened enough to endure the bris. And that’s taka why we refer to it as the ‘heylige shabbis.’ Gishmak! Says the Yalkut Shimoni azoy: the RBSO had mercy on the baby and said to wait eight days until the child has enough strength to endure the procedure. Grada the RBSO showed similar mercy on animals and decreed (Parshas Emor) that one desirous of, or, one obligated to bring any korban, must bring an animal no younger than eight days. Mistama the RBSO knew that on occasion, man would sadly behave more like an animal; mankind did not disappoint.
Ober, says the Seforno azoy: we delay the bris until day eight because the newborn still has a level of defilement in his body until that day. And where did this defilement come from? The baby, during the first seven days, is still being sustained from the residual menstrual blood that he had imbibed before his birth. Residual menstrual blood? Yikes! We will soon get to the menstrual blood and then tie this altogether. It will mamish be gishmak.
Ober says the heylige Gemora (Nidah 31B) which avada understood the need for sexual relations between a husband and wife and how important this could be, azoy: the heylige Toirah tells us that the mother becomes impure upon delivery and so she remains for seven days. We davka make the bris on the eighth day so that the mother can become purified and thereby be allowed to her husband. In this scenario, not just will the guests at the bris be happy with the great celebratory spread prepared for the occasion, seemingly, so will the parents from the spread, if you chap. Shoin, now you know why many love the heylige Gemora. They chapped that man needs. Avada this is all good in theory, in reality however, and in today’s times, when restrictions on the woman have been extended by our good and thoughtful rabbis, she is no longer available to her husband on day eight. In fact, she has no desire to be with her husband -period end discussion- until around month eight, if then. Grada, this taka begs the following question: Given that her restrictions on relations were dramatically extended, can the bris date too be extended? The answer is no!
Shoin, we just read several rational approaches as to why the RBSO ordered the bris on day eight, ober, efsher we can ask azoy: should the bris efsher be performed after day eight? Why not after several months or even years when the baby is stronger, more developed and in better physical shape to endure the surgical procedure? Taka not a stupid kasha and one that’s addressed by the RambaM (Moireh Nivuchim 3:49) where he tells us azoy: one’s love for his child increases as the child grows and matures. A father becomes more attached to his son daily. Had the heylige Toirah commanded that a bris ceremony be held when the child was older, there is a chasash (suspicion) that the father would loathe the procedure and thereby efsher abandon this critical mitzvah. Shoin: Day eight it is and remains. Grada, as we will read above, there were times in our history when the Yiddin did not fulfill this mitzvah. Avada these are all theories. Which is it? Which of these prompted the RBSO to select day eight? Ver Veyst; it’s gantz shayich (entirely possible) that it was none of the above.
Finally, as to yet another reminder to have the bris performed on U’vyoim Hashmini (eight day), some will suggest that the RBSO’s specific language was meant to teach us that the bris must take place during the day and that absent of a medical deferment, there are no exceptions when the bris does not take place on that day. And it’s mentioned here again efsher because it’s in our parsha where the RBSO taught the Yiddin all about pregnancy, menstruation, childbirth, purification and the original sin. Said Rebe azoy: “Great is the zichus (merit) of circumcision.” Despite all the great acts of devotion performed by our Patriarch Avrohom, he was not referred to as complete until he became circumcised, as it is written…’walk before me and be complete’ (Bereishis 17:1).
And we close with this. So happens that just two nights ago, the heylige Ois had the pleasure of speaking at a sheva brochis tendered in honor of Jacob and Keyla Mael, who got married the night before. There the Ois explained the difference between the words “seed” and “cede” and how they work together -or not- when determining the sex of a child. Says the Oxford Dictionary, azoy: cede is a verb which means to give up power or territory. Limoshol, “he ceded control of the company to his brother. “Similar words include surrender, concede relinquish, yield, give up and hand over. Let’s look at the word “seed” which as a verb means to sow a field or lawn.
Says the heylige Gemora (Nida 31a), azoy: If the woman emits seed first, she gives birth to a male; if the man gives seed first, she gives birth to a female. Chap? Let’s clarify; if a man can hold himself back, meaning he’s willing and able to cede thereby allowing his wife to seed first, they are destined to have a boy. Ober, if he will not cede but seeds first instead, she will give birth to a girl. To chap all this, we must think in terms of farming. First the field is to be thoroughly plowed, if you chap, and then seeded. Seemingly the seeding order is what determines the sex of child and because traditionally men are so magnanimous and love giving seed, typically before the women, many more girls are born than are boys. The final bottom line: Because ruba di’rruba of men will not cede -even for a short while- and prefer seeding as soon as possible, and because most men combine plowing and seeding into one act and won’t cede, we taka have so many more girls than boys. What follows? The shidduch crisis and case closed. No need for further discussion or scientific facts: we don’t argue with the heylige Gemora.
A gittin Shabbis, and a gittin Choidesh Nissan!
The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv