Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
Thanksgiving in March:
Oy vey: the Oisvorfer is a shtikel under weather with a farshtupta kup (stuffed head) and is unable to produce his usual pearls of wisdom. Accordingly this week’s Toirah will be quite short and you’ll have to find other reading material, which unfortunately many of you have in the house, loi olaynu, if you chap, to keep yourselves occupied during this long shabbis hagodoil. Efsher maybe, you’ll be zoiche to receive a special Pesach edition from the desert in Las Vegas where the Ruv will be enjoying a givaldige Pesach with his mishpocho, being sponsored this year, keyn yirbu (so it should multiply) by the Shver and Shvigermeister. May they continue to make more money and lots of it.
The calendar tells us that Pesach is fast approaching. Prices of kosher products are spiking and outpacing the weekly increases at the gas pumps and many Yiddin are busy packing for the annual getaway to their in-laws and hotels all over the country. Isn’t that how the Yiddin who left Mitzrayim celebrated their first Pesach? Ober before we get to Pesach, we have one more parsha to layn and cover before the Yom Tov laining (readings) usurp the regular order of the Parshas. And guess what? It’s about korbonois (sacrifices) all over again, mostly anyway. Do we really have to? Didn’t we learn all about korbonois just last week? Do we need more? Oy vey! This shabbis you’ll have the great pleasure of hearing Parshas Tzav which is more detail about the same korbonois we introduced last week. Let’s get real: you have as much interest in listening to and learning Parshas Tzav as you do in having a second seder. Wasn’t one enough? Seemingly not, and avada we must remember the words and concepts our Rebeyim, when they weren’t beating the crap out of us with their shtekens (sticks) or trying to convince us to show them ours, if you chap, pounded into us. They did teach us that every single word in the heylige Toirah is there for a reason and that there are no extra words.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel like going to shul, that’s quite alright because a more boring parsha you’d be hard pressed to find in the gantze Toirah. Avada I’m only kidding because zicher every word in the gantze Toirah is special and heylig and if the RBSO decided to give us more details in this week’s parsha about the Korbonois we covered in last week’s, you can rest assured that He had good reasons. What those are, is none of our business.
Nu, let’s start with a Mishne brought down on this week’s parsha and let’s see if we can get a shtikel stimulated, if you chap, to learn some heylige parsha. Says the Mishne (Ovois (5:5) azoy: “Ten miracles were performed for our forefathers in the Holy Temple: No woman ever miscarried because of the smell of the holy meat. The holy meat never spoiled. Never was a fly seen in the slaughterhouse. Never did the High Priest have an accidental seminal discharge on Yom Kippur. The rains did not extinguish the wood-fire burning upon the altar. The wind did not prevail over the column of smoke [rising from the altar]. No disqualifying problem was ever discovered in the Omer offering, the Two Loaves or the Showbread. They stood crowded but had ample space in which to prostrate themselves. Never did a snake or scorpion cause injury in Jerusalem. And no man ever said to his fellow: “My lodging in Jerusalem is too cramped for me.””
Did you just read miracle number four? Come again. Nu, is it a wonder we yearn for its rebuilding? Ober (but) does this mishna suggest that the Koihanim did suffer from such seminal emissions on other days of the year? Is this why he was called the Koihan Godol? Ver veyst (who knows) – but something’s up (or was) if the mishna goes out of its way to mention that this was mamish almost takah a miracle. I never realized that a korban could induce such a response. And now that I have your attention, let’s taka see what’s going on in Parshas Tzav.
Also this week, the RBSO in his magnificence tells us about the importance of custom tailored clothing and saying thank you; Let’s learn. And as a special bonus, this shabbis is also called Shabbos Hagodol (the big shabbis) which basically means that your local Rabbi will deliver, in addition to his regular sermon or devar Toirah, a long winded speech in the later afternoon about some topic you have little interest in.
Lommer unfangin (let’s begin already). Says the possik (verse) (VaYikra 6:3) “And the Kohain shall put on his linen vestments and the linen pants he shall wear over flesh. And he shall lift the ashes of the burnt offering, consumed by the fire, that are on the altar. And he shall place them by the altar.”
Says Rebbe Shimon: that the Kohain must wear all four of the priestly garments for trumas hadeshen (removal of the garbage), and the Toirah emphasizes the tunic and pants. The tunic atones for murder, and the pants atone for illicit relations. Why a koihain who had illicit relations was in charge, nu..this I don’t know but who are we to judge? Maybe the others were worse? Ober now we can efsher understand the Mishna we learned above and efsher taka maybe, a miracle was required so that the Kohain didn’t have an emission during the Avoida, ver veyst. Grada I always thought that no pants led to illicit relations, was I mistaken?
Elsewhere in the parsha, we are introduced to a new Korban (sacrifice). Says the possik (VaYikra 7:12) “If it offered as a Thanksgiving offering, then it must be presented with unleavened loaves mixed with oil, flat matzahs saturated with oil and loaves made of boiled flour mixed with oil.” The Yiddin celebrated thanksgiving? And why are we learning about thanksgiving in March? What’s pshat here? Seemingly yes and let’s meet the Korban Toidah. Unfortunately the heylige Toirah does not give us any information as to why a person brought this korban (thanksgiving offering); let’s see what Rashi and chazal (our sages) had to say, but first, what is it?
The Korban Toidah, is basically a “peace offering” (Shelamim), but unlike any other peace offering, it is brought with four different types of flour offerings, ten of each type. Three are types of Matzoh, and the fourth is chometz. It’s the one example where chometz and matzoh get together and get along nicely. In addition, the normal time span within which the peace offering had to be eaten – two days and one night – is reduced to one day and one night for the Toidah. Got all that? Excellent.
Says the heylige Gemora (Berochos 7b) that from the day the RBSO created the world, no one thanked Him until Leah (wife #1 of Yankif) thanked Him for the birth of her fourth son Yehudah. Is this emes? Didn’t Odam, Noiach, Avrohom, Yitzchok, Yankif, Soro, Rivka, and Rochel all have myriad reasons to thank the RBSO for His kindness? Didn’t Odom enjoy Gan Eden (paradise) at least for one day? And didn’t Noiach need to say a yasha koiach for being saved when the gantze velt (entire world) went under? And for surviving the ordeal with his two daughters, if you chap, which he did! Didn’t Avrohom have a child at 100 and multiple wives and pilagshim (concubines)? Also riches and lots of those? And didn’t Yitzchok need to say thank you when the RBSO spared his life at the Akaydo? What about Yankif? He certainly had many reasons to say thank you? Let’s not forget that not just did he get to have four wives, he chapped two pairs of sisters, and who wouldn’t be thankful for that? Avada there are many more examples but you chap the point, and taka how could it be that no one thanked the RBSO before Leah: And what’s pshat that Leah didn’t say thanks until Yehuda was born? Says the Midrash (Bereishis Rabba 71:4) azoy:
We are taught that Yankif’s neshay chayil (wives) seemingly knew that he was destined to have 12 sons and each of his four wives expected three [sons]. Therefore, when Leah had her fourth son, she thanked the RBSO, for she had received more than her portion. From the time the world was created, no one ever felt that the bounty given to them by the RBSO was totally undeserved. Seemingly even the greatest people thought that what was given to them was part of His plan for the world, and therefore not completely undeserved. But the RBSO’s plan could have been equally fulfilled if the fourth son born to Leah had been born to any of her sisters. Thus Leah felt his birth was totally unearned, and required the full measure of gratitude. Shoin!
Thanksgiving is a recognition of receiving something undeserved and feeling indebted to repay the giver with gratitude. Say our chachomim (sages): Four categories of people are required to bring a Korban Toidah, and what they have in common is that they have all survived a life threatening ordeal. They are: those who survive a sea voyage, a trip through the desert, a life threatening illness, and one who is released from the big house. Some bentch Goimel when they leave their own house for good, if you chap, others when they leave the neighbors house. Unfortunately, the Yiddin were terrible sinners and as a result, we no longer have the Beis Hamikdash. And as we covered just last week, without the temple, there are no more korbonois and without them, no way of saying a proper thank you to the RBSO the way we are taught in this week’s parsha. Nu, what to do?
Not to worry. In its place, our good and thoughtful Rabbis instituted the special brocho (blessing) of Birchas Hagiomel which states – “Blessed are You, who bestows good things upon the guilty, who has bestowed (every) goodness upon me.” And immediately after the brocho is recited, the congregation and those who heard that such a brocho was made, first all answer – Omain and respond with these words “mi shegamalcha kol tuv, who yigmalcha kol tuv, selah” – May He who has bestowed every goodness upon you, continue to bestow every goodness upon you forever. And following that, they all whisper to each other and ask- what happened to so and so? Was he away? Was he sick? Is he sick? Cancer? Was he in danger? Did you hear anything? Did his wife find out about his shiksa girlfriend and almost kill him? And if they don’t know, they just make up any one story that sounds plausible.
Vart (wait), I have some givaldige news. The reason we mention the words “upon the guilty” in the brocho i.e. non deserving (hagomel l’chayovim tovois), is because we are alluding to the fact that the RBSO, thankfully, bestows kindness upon us even though we are not worthy of it, in fact mamish guilty! Nu, could there be better news? Seemingly even chazerim and oisvorfs, like many of you, catch a break from the RBSO. Perhaps this brocho should be recited by us daily? Ver veyst?
It’s taka a beautiful way to thank the RBSO and one would think that all agree as to when, where and who should recite this brocho but one would be mistaken because avada it’s no surprise that Yiddin can’t agree on anything. And taka were they to agree, that too would be reason enough to bentch goimel. Shoin. Veyter.
Nu, taka, where and when is the brocho recited? Some say that the brocho should be recited in the presence of ten adults (including the guilty fellow making the brocho). Preferably, there should be two Talmidei Chachomim (learned wise men) in attendance and they also say that it’s best to make the brocho while standing. However one can fulfill one’s obligation sitting down b’dieved (as a last resort). In any event, it seems that one should not be lying down when he makes it, lest he end up being even more guilty, if you chap. It’s all in the details.
The minhag (custom) is to recite the brocho in shul just before the Haftoro since there is always supposed to be a minyan (quorum of 10 men) in attendance for the reading, ober (however) bazman hazeh (in our times), this could be dangerous since many leave to get a head start at the kiddish club. Although totally not required, it is customary for the one reciting the brocho to also get an aliyah, ober if you belong to a Young Israel type shul, this will never happen since others will complain that the person received too much kovod (honor). Of course the complainers want more kovod for themselves. Says the Chasam Soifer: that the aliyah is in place of the Korban Toidah that one was obligated to bring in the times of the Beis Hamikdash. In other shuls, where the person reciting Birchas Hagoimel does receive an aliyah, he should recite Goimel following the brocho after his aliya. If he gets the last aliyah, he should recite Goimel prior to the Kaddish, and if one did not get an aliyah he should recite it after the Baal Kore (Torah Reader) recites the Kaddish. Got all that? Givaldig!
And what about the Raboyseyettes (women)? Do they say or bentch Goimel? Nu, taka an excellent question, let’s see. Since Goimel is not time‑dependent, and substitutes for the korban toidah and since they were taka obligated to bring this sacrifice (after childbirth), in the days of the Beis Hamikdash in Yerusholayim, it would seem that they are taka obligated to make the brocho today. But do they? Avada not, and taka why?
Seemingly, there is a minhag (custom) for them not to make a Birchas Hagoimel because this brocho is a public thank you to the RBSO, and for a woman to make a brocho in public is considered immodest (Mishna Berura 219 s.k. 3). Avada we all chap that a woman’s voice could be a shtikel turn on and knowing how weak the men are, such a public display of thank you to the RBSO could taka lead to the men becoming really guilty of some other crimes and worse. Efsher it could also lead to mixed dancing and what could be worse than that? Says the Mishna Berura that women should recite Goimel in front of ten people, even if nine of them are women, provided that there is at least one adult male present. And what harm can one lone male do when surrounded by ten women? Seemingly not much unless he’s in the bungalow colony early on Thursday night before the others arrive, if you chap.
The minhag in Yerusholayim (Jerusalem) is that a woman who gave birth does taka recite Goimel in front of ten male adult family members who congregate in her house after the baby is born. Of course in certain neighborhoods of Yerusholayim, the ten male family members are mistama in the next room.
A gitten shabbis and a hartzigen (hearty) mazel tov to two Oisvorf families that receive and read this heylige Toirah weekly. Ershtens: Mazel tov to Menachem and his eishes chayil Laya ( zol zi gezunt zeyn) Gelbtuch who will be celebrating their son Dovid’s bar mitzvah this shabbis. Grada Menachem is a big Oisvorfer chossid, efsher maybe even a talmid Muvhok who reads, chazirs, gives over and chaps every line of the weekly Toirah and who promised the Ruv an aliya were he to attend the bar mitzvah- maybe even shishi. Grada the Oisvorfer was considering this though he is a Levi. Nu, kovid is also an inyan, no? And a big big mazel tov as well to our friends Esther and Baruch Weinstein who never gave up and got that boy after four outstanding techter (daughters). The Weinsteins are sponsoring the Oisvorfer and his Rebbitzen and a few hundred of their other friends and family at their son Ben’s bar mitzvah weekend this shabbis. May both families have much and only nachas.