Time to sell your chometz.
Shoin: the Yiddin have seemingly begun their exodus to Israel, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and some even to California, ober the Oisvorfer finds himself on a last minute one day business trip, San Diego bound. At 11pm last night, when the call was made to get a car service to LGA, the Oisvorfer was informed that every car and van was already booked. The five towns and other frum communities where it’s efsher verboten min hatoirah mamish, at least mi’direbitzen, to spend yom tov at home, are beginning to empty out.
And surrounded by Goyim only, with nothing to do or even look at, if you chap, for the next six hours or more, the Oisvorfer suddenly remembered that it’s almost time to sell his chometz to one of these unsuspecting goyim who think they are striking it rich by buying great amounts of chometz on the cheap from the Yiddin. Little do they know! Ober which one? And then he remembered that some years back, our local Rabbis wizened up and decided that the average Yid is an am-ho-oretz-mamish (knows nothing), has no knowledge whatsoever in sales tactics to goyim, and interjected themselves as the middlemen in this entire transaction: they became unlicensed sales agents. This avada reinforces a point the Oisvorfer makes quite often: our local Rabbis have now joined the ever growing list of Toirah entrepreneurs who, using, mitzvah observance as inspiration, have now found out that Toirah is the beste schoira. One can make a living just by studying and chapping what the RBSO had in mind with each and every mitzvah. Garda it appears that the Rabbis are the smartest of all the business minded Yiddin and have strategically placed themselves into this multimillion dollar gisheft that requires nothing but a handkerchief or a pen. Have you ever seen a gisheft with mamish zero overhead? We’re talking no inventory, warehouses, computers, staff, and few headaches. Moreover the cash isn’t so giferlich either. Nu, it so happens that Pesach is big business, mistama the biggest of all our mitzvois, even when they are all combined. When it comes to dollars being spent on any eight days in our holiday and special events filled calendar, Pesach reigns supreme and taka why shouldn’t they also chap, everyone else is, if you chap.
Is this what the RBSO had in mind when He gave us his heylige Toirah? Nu, es ken zeyn (could very well be). Shoin: though the RBSO didn’t mamish tell the Yiddin how to commercialize each mitzvah, He did give them smarts and entrepreneurial skills and shoin, for those who learn the heylige Toirah, it’s mamish a roadmap to rachvus (riches). And as we began Sefer Vayikro just last week, the RBSO decided to give the Yiddin a few hundred mitzvois that were all korban related. Does the RBSO need our korbonis? Is He hungry? Zicher nisht! Ober the RBSO was worried about his koihanim? How were they going to eke out a living while working regular shifts in the Beis Hamikdash? Shoin: the laws of korbonois were given and mamish just like that, the koihanim had a parnoso. And why is the Oisvorfer repeating this schmooze? Ver veyst?
Nu, welcome to Parshas Tzav, mostly, though not wholly, a repeat of Parshas Vayikra. It’s all about korbonois with more details this week. This week the Koihanim get more specific instructions and schooling in korbonois. It’s also the last shabbis before the big Yom Tov of Pesach where we celebrate freedom in ways the heylige Toirah likely never imagined. Soon enough we’ll be asking the same four questions we ask yearly: Do we really have to spend the Sedorim with those relatives? When can we eat? Do I really have to eat the Afikoimon? And, why do we taka have a second seder? Zicher, almost all consumers would agree that we could get by with one. And while we’re stuffing our faces and bodies with matzoh, potatoes and wine, let’s avada remember that our ancestors were slaves many years back in Mitzrayim and it’s our job, bazman hazeh (in our times), to enjoy Pesach every which we can. And if that means we have to schlep to hotels and suffer in our bathing suits while relaxing poolside, nu, so be it. It’s also shabbis hagodoil, so-called for reasons we’ll maybe discuss below. We say maybe because the battery is epes indicating another 40 minutes.
As we learned last week, which zicher (surely) you forgot by now, much of Sefer Vayikro (Leviticus) details the sacrifices and the minutiae of the functions performed in the Sanctuary. This topic can make even the most adept and scholarly Rabbis feel sermonically challenged, even a genius like the Oisvorfer. Avada for you oisvorfs who never paid attention, these Parshiois are mamish torture. Giferlich and shver (not easy to absorb). Should we chas v’sholom (heaven forbid) skip them? Ver veyst!
Will korbonois make a comeback when the Moshiach arrives? Will we be scheduling our korbonois online and sending pictures of our selected offerings to the koihen godol for pre-inspections? Ver veyst?
Parshas Tzav does feature at least one new korban, efsher the inspiration for the yom tov we know today as thanksgiving, ober Raboyseyee, you should chap that way before there were pilgrims, there were occasions when Yiddin needed to say thank you to the RBSO and when the heylige Torah was given, we called this the Korban Toidah. 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) ober we can avada count on Rashi and chazal (our sages) to fill in the blanks. Ober ershtens, what is it? B’kitzur (in short) this particular Korban was brought by someone who survived a perilous situation: a journey at sea or in the wilderness, a prison sentence, or a serious illness, and a few others. The purpose of this offering was to give thanks to the RBSO for the miracle that was done for him.
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, mamish like a man and a woman, and some taka use this korban Toidah in their sheva brochois speeches. Gishmak! It’s taka unique that chometz and matzo can get along and be offered together ober it’s a chiddish mamish (astonishing) of the highest order that men and women can get along, anytime!. Shoin! 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 and veyter.
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) and epes some forbidden fruit at least for one day? And didn’t Noiach need to say a yashar koiach for being saved when the gantze velt (entire world) went under? Maybe even a bigger thank you for chapping and then 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? Ober 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!
Even as we languish here in golus (exile) in our larger than life homes, with at least three or four cars in every driveway and with closets full of shmattas that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and even nebech without the Beis Hamikdash (our Temple), a remnant of this practice survives. A person who passes through a similar crisis customarily recites the birchas hagoimel, a special blessing of thanksgiving, during the Toirah reading in shul.
The korban Toidah was part of a larger category of offerings known as Peace Offerings and zicher certainly not the piece you would like to say thanks for in public, chazerrim (pigs) that you are. Ober not to worry, the RBSO chapped what His people were and also afforded the Yiddin to bring a different korban for that other piece offering
Another unique aspect of the korban Toidah was that both meat and bread could only be consumed on the day the animal was slaughtered, or on the following night. What could be better news for the Jewish people than hearing that we can eat bread and meat together? Perhaps this gave birth to the first ever hamburger, later renamed the beef burger for the kosher markets. Avada this also is great news for those who don’t enjoy leftovers.
And when the Moshiach does finally show up, only the korban Toidah will be offered. What, no more saying korbonois in shul every morning, no more shechting korbonois on the Mizbeyach? Says the heylige Midrash: “Rabbi Pinchas and Rabbi Levi and Rabbi Yochanan [said], in the name of Rabbi Menachem of Galya, ‘In the future to come, all of the offerings will be abolished, but the korban Toidah will not be abolished; all of the prayers will be abolished, but hoda’ah [thanksgiving] will not be abolished.
Thanksgiving is a recognition of receiving something undeserved and feeling indebted to repay the giver with gratitude. Some give thanks when they leave their own house for good, if you chap, others when they leave the neighbor’s house and don’t get chapped. Ober Raboyseyee, the RBSO does not allow this korban as a remedy for the latter. 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 Hagoimel 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 kiddush 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 around the Bima 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 Thurday 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.
In any event and in every circumstance, saying thank you to anyone and everyone who deserves one, is never a bad idea and perhaps that’s why it will survive.
The Oisvorfer Ruv