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

Vayakhale 2014 – Just One Shabbis

b8ddde8c-c6f6-4108-b200-853bfe668343This week we have the great pleasure of wishing mazel tov to our good friends Mandy and Rubin Brecher who became grandparents for the very first time when their daughter Eliana gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Welcome to the world Tamar Watson.  We have known each of their children kimat since birth and are delighted to share this news with the Oisvorfer community.

And a big mazel tov as well to Susan and Bruce Frumer; they too became grandparents for the very first time when their daughter Jessie gave birth to a baby boy. Who is Susan you ask? Nu, in case you’re wondering why the eishes chayil is in such good shape, so happens, that she has been training with Susan for over a decade. She can be reached at 516 375 5906.

Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:

Just one shabbis:

One thing is zicher: The RBSO takes the Shabbis very seriously as we will learn once again this week.  Let’s begin by quoting the opening pisukim of ParshasVayakhel which we will read in this leap year as a singleton. Before we do, of course you know from previous editions (check them out at www.oisvorfer.com) or, efsher you recall from your many years in yeshiva, that parshas Vayakhel  is mamish a repeat of Parshas Teruma.  In Teruma, the RBSO gave Moishe very specific instructions about the building of the Mishkan. Why repeat them here and why listen to the laining this week? Ver veyst! Of course we all know that they heylige Toirah does not repeat information, not even one word or letter, unless there is a good reason. Mistama there is, ober, exactly what that reason is, ver veyst and one thing is zicher:  many proffer explanations. At your level, all you need to know is that in Teruma, the Yiddin were instructed to build and in this week’s parsha, seemingly after a successful building campaign and after the plans were approved by the various Midbar  zoning committees, the project is underway. The Mishkan and all its accoutrements will be built. We have previously covered the major themes of this parsha which include, yet again, the observance of shabbis, the wide array of materials sourced for the Mishkan project, and the fact that Betzalel, at the tender age of but 13, was appointed the project manager. Why him? Seemingly the RBSO blessed him with unique talents and with the RBSO’s blessings, though under aged and inexperienced, a resume he didn’t need.


Let’s learn innaveynig:  “And Moishe assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said to them: These are the words which the Lord has commanded, that you should do them.  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a Shabbis of solemn rest to the Lord; he who does any work therein shall be put to death.  You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Shabbis day.”


Epes these instructions ring familiar and mistama you’re wondering why the mitzvah of shabbis is repeated here, and in general, why shabbis observance gets so much Toirah play. Didn’t we already encounter this mitzvah when the RBSO came down and gave the Yiddin the Aseres Hadibrois (Ten Commandants)? Wasn’t it number four on that list? And guess what? In fact, shabbis observance has previously been mentioned in four other places in Sefer Shemois (16:23, 20:7-10, 23:12, and 31:13-17) and will be repeated again later in Sefer Devorim.  Why was it necessary to relay this command to the Yiddin once more, and why specify kindling fires? Ober Raboyseyee, to the real students  of  the heylige Toirah, extraneous and redundant words are the keys which the RBSO left us to unlock the doors to its treasures and the repetition of the shabbis instructions may be one of those keys.


Ober why taka all these reminders and what is the connection between the mishkan project and shabbis? Says Rashi,  and who knew more, azoy:  Moishe reminded the Yiddin  that it was forbidden to work on Shabbis before commanding them to construct the Mishkan in order to teach them that even the necessities of the Mishkan do not override the  heylige Shabbis.


Says the Ramban:  the mitzvah of Shabbis is repeated here in order to emphasize the importance of the RBSO’s day of rest and  that even building the mishkan is not דוחה (does not push away) the Shabbis.  No great news here except this point. Following the Eygel debacle, the Yiddin   were on their best behavior. Wiping out three thousand a few parshas back, put a shtikel scare into them. In this act of the good Yiddin, they were quite eager to serve the RBSO properly, they wanted to build the Mishkan now! Maybe even on shabbis. Ober said the RBSO, chapnisht (slow down) and reminded them that the heylige shabbis may not be violated.


Efsher we can kler (speculate) that the RBSO knew, of course He did, that the Yiddin would have trouble with this mitzvah, that shabbis observance as He envisioned it, would be challenging. Efsher He looked ahead and saw that Yiddin would be  taking hot showers on shabbis, opening their hotel rooms with their electronic keys, albeit with a shenui, schmeering sunscreen all over their  bodies before sitting out at the pool on shabbis and yom tov while staring at the halb-nakite (scantily dressed) hot shiksa meydlich. Mistama He also knew that certain Yiddin wouldn’t use the klei shaynee when making coffee on the heylige shabbis or efsher worse, would be tearing open packets of artificial sweetener, or even worse, tearing toilet paper because the pre-cut paper was either too small  or efsher a shtikel too rough on their delicate michilas (rear ends). Maybe He knew that yeshiva bochurim would come down late on Friday night to have some hot chulent, remove the pot from the blech and not put it back when it was still sizzling hot, ver veyst. Oy, there are so many examples of chillul shabbis, nebech. What to do? He sprinkled gentle and not so gentle keep-the-shabbis-reminders into a healthy number of parshas; eight to be exact. Of course this is all speculation.


How important is shabbis observance? Very! Says the heylige Gemora(Shabbos 118b) azoy:  if all the Yiddin would properly observe two Shabbises, they would immediately be redeemed. What’s pshat redeemed? Seemingly, were this to happen and avada it’s only hypothetical, the Moshiach would make a sudden appearance and we would all live happily ever after.


Ober says another heylige Gemora (Yerushalmi) azoy:  when all the Yiddin will keep just one shabbis, the geula (redemption) in the form of Moshiach, will immediately come. Efsher you recall that way back in the 80’s, the Jewish pop star singer Mordechai ben David, not to be confused with Moshiach who is referred to as ben Dovid,  wrote and sang the givaldige song by that name: ‘just one shabbis and we’ll all be free.’ Find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu7TR_VaPPk


Which is it, one shabbis or two to bring the Moshiach? Said The Alter Rebbe (one of the early Lubavitcher Rebbes) azoy:  it’s but one shabbis. Settled! Ober that one shabbis contains two Shabbises, or two levels of shabbis, whatever that means.  The first level of shabbis is ‘non-doing’, the cessation from everyday work and the second level is ‘doing’, filling the day with prayer, Toirah study, and song. And despite  shabbis clocks, timers, hot plates, warming drawers and a healthy number of goyim to turn things on and off in a pinch, seemingly the keeping of even one shabbis by all Yiddin,  continues to elude us. In the meantime, alas, we’re still here.


In case you’re taka wondering when Moshiach is coming or scheduled to make an appearance, nu that too depends on which theory talks to you. In case you run out of loshoin horo at the shabbis tish, -that too is avada only hypothetical- you can debate the following theories about his arrival.Some scholars believe that the RBSO has set aside a specific date for his arrival ober others suggest that his coming, will be determined mamish, only by the conduct of mankind. In other words: he’s never coming!  Some believe that he will come in a time when he is most needed. When is that? Times like now when the world is full of oisvorfs and worse.  Ober others say farkert; he might show up in a time when he is most deserved because the world is so good. In other words: he’s never coming! Got all that? No? Let’s chaizir the suggested Moshiach arrival days.

  • if the Yiddin (all) were to do tshuva (repent) for  a single day
  • if the Yiddin  observed a single shabbis properly
  • if the Yiddin observed two consecutive shabbosim properly
  • in a generation that is totally innocent
  • in a generation that is totally guilty
  • in a generation that loses hope; in a generation where children are totally disrespectful towards their parents and elders

And if all those don’t work and they haven’t until now, some suggest that he will come before the Jewish year 6,000. For those counting, we are in the year 5774. Still plenty of time to chap areyn, if you chap.


Efsher you’re taka wondering how it’s possible that just by keeping one or even two shabossim the Moshiach, who has eluded us for over 5700 years, would suddenly make an appearance and redeem us. You are? Nu, guess what, you’re not alone. And even if emes, why is Shabbis connected to his arrival?  And what has this to do with our parsha? Seemingly it is and the answer may well lie in our parsha, lommer lernin.

Said Reb Shimshon Pinkus (Shabbos Malkasa 3:7) azoy:  there are many comparisons between the Beis HaMikdash and the heylige Shabbis. First and foremost, the main purpose of the Mikdash was to bring atonement for our sins. And the first ever Mikdash was the Mishkan that was built in this week’s parsha and avada you recall that the Mishkan was built to atone for the giferlich sin of the Eygel (golden calf). Similarly, in the Friday night davening when the chazzan interrupts our talking (for a second) and proclaims “Vayichulu“, two angels place their hands on our heads and remove our sins. Angels place their hands on our head? So says the heylige Gemora (Shabbos 119b), check it out. In any event, angels’ hands on your head is zicher better than the rebbe’s hands on your other head, if you chap. Gishmak!

Ok we chap that the Mishkan was built to atone for the Eygel sin ober how is this connected to shabbis? What does the sin of the Eygel have to do with shabbis? Ober listen to this mamish gishmak pshat. Said the Or Hachaim azoy:  It is significant to note that this mitzvah of shabbis comes on the heels of the ugly Eygel myseh. Says the heylige Toirah (Bamidbar 15:23), azoy: “When you sin and do not do all of the mitzvois…”. Ober which sin could the Yiddin have committed to have transgressed all of the mitzvois? Idolatry! And how many times has the Oisvorfer told you that idolatry is considered tantamount to a rejection of all 613 commandments, the gantze Toirah. And how to fix this?


Seemingly, one wishing to atone for the grievous sin of idol worship must atone by performing all 613 commandments. Ober let’s get practical. For most of you giferliche bums, the observance of even a few is a burden. You even cheat and cut corners on the ones you do perform; how can it be expected that you would keep all 613? Ober you needn’t feel bad: even the greatest cannot accomplish this feat.  Moreover certain mitzvois are time and place specific and out of our reach. What to do? Say our wise ones: by keeping the heylige shabbis, one is considered to have kept all 613 mitzvois. It’s all encompassing. Therefore, says the Or Hachaim, Moishe, following the Eygel myseh gathered the Yiddin for atonement. And the atonement was a reminder to keep the shabbis. Mamish gishmak.


Is there taka a connection between the Mishkan and the heylige shabbis? Indeed there is! In the Mikdash the Yiddin set up the oil and wicks and lit the menoirah, they ate certain parts of the korbonois(sacrifices), the Kohanim were obligated to wear special priestly garb, and they washed their hands and feet before performing the service. As shabbis enters, we set up and light candles,we eat three meals, wear special shabbis clothing and by showering or bathing, wash at least our hands, feet and face for shabbis. Of course some are more machmir (strict) about washing up or showering and do this on shabbis as well.


And listen to this: the shabbis reminder and its placement had many of our good Sages debating its connection to the Mishkan and as you can only imagine, entire books have been written analyzing the prohibition of constructing the Mishkan (Tabernacle) on the heylige shabbis. Moreover, it appears that most of the shabbis restrictions we grew up with, all stem from this week’s parsha. Seemingly it took 39 different acts of ‘melocho’ (work) to construct the Mishkan and the good rabbis decided that since Moishe instructed them for a 5th time not to violate shabbis, it must therefore be the case that all 39 categories  of melocho  would forever be forbidden on shabbis. And taka so says the Mishna (Shabbis 73a) which lists  the 39 categories of melocho that are prohibited for this reason. Moreover, says the heylige Gemora (Shabbis 49b) azoy: The number of prohibited Melochois on Shabbis -39 to be exact- corresponds to the number of times the word “Melocho” (with its various suffixes) appears in the heylige Toirah and provides  a convenient source for the ruling that exactly 39 categories of work are prohibited by the Toirah on Shabbis.  Shoin and settled? No!  And why not?


Because a bit later in the same Gemora, RebbiYosi wondered, “Is the verse ‘And Yoisef entered the house [of Potifar] to tend to his Melocho (Bereishis 39:11)’ included in the count… [or is the verse] ‘The Melocho was sufficient [for the purposes of the Mishkan] (Shemois 36:7)’ included in the count?” avada you recognize the last verse; it’s from our parsha!

Yoisef and his melocho? What the hec has Yoisef, who is long dead, got to do with  our parsha, with the Mishkan and or with the heylige Shabbis? And, what sort of melocho was Yoisef doing that RebbeYosi was wondering about? And guess what? Seemingly, according to some very respected medroshim and also brought down in the heylige Gemora, the melocho  Yoisef was preparing to do was Mrs. Potiphar. What’s pshat. Seemingly, after refusing her advances day by day, on this particular day, when he came ready to do his work…. that work seems to have included bedding the boss’ wife. OMG! Is that emes? Ver veyst but it’s certainly discussed. In any event……….therefore, one theory suggests that since what Yoisef had in mind was ‘melocho (work) and since melocho is forbidden on the heylige shabbis, that having relations with the eishes chayil, or even with others, might be considered a melocho and therefore forbidden on the heylige shabbis, say it’s not so please. Of course this would not reconcile with what the orthodox Yiddin have come to know as mitzvah night. And what to do?  Shoin, when it comes to matters of intimacy, at least back then in those days, the rabbis quickly found a solution. The solution was to state that this sighting of the word ‘melocho’ does not count. And therefore, though the actual sightings may be 40, we refer to the melochos as being 40-1 or 39. And yes, this is all serious. So, let’s chazir (review):  yes, there are actually 40 sightings and not just 39, verses which discuss ‘melocho’. One of them is apparently not included in the count, since it does not translate as “labor” but rather as “business.” Seemingly, this could also be the source for the term ‘he did his business’, or the shop is either open or closed for business, if you chap.  Says Rashi and who understood better than he, azoy:  Only ‘melochois’ which refer to labor are to be included in the count. Since the word ‘melocho’  in the two above-quoted verses can be read either as “labor” or as “work,” the Gemora  is not sure which of the two truthfully means labor and should be included in the count, and which means “business” and should not be included.


And taka says the heylige Mishna (Shabbos [2]) azoy:  “There are ‘forty minus one’ categories of labor.” Why doesn’t the Mishna just say “thirty-nine”? Ober  answers  the heylige Gemora azoy (Shabbos 49b):  the word melocho, (labor), appears forty times in the Toirah. One of these appearances however, doesn’t really mean ‘labor’, rather it is a euphemism for intimacy. Thus we use the unconventional term, ‘forty minus one’. Seemingly having relations with the eishes chayil is not considered, or should not be considered melocho; some would of course beg to differ, if you chap.


How 39 sighting of melocho has been transformed into many thousands and still growing of things one is forbidden to do, is for another day. Also for another day is this:  when one attempts to actually count the appearances of the word ‘Melocho’ in the heylige Toirah, it turns out that the count does not exactly reconcile with the Mishnah or the Gemora. And says the Toisfis YOM TOV (Shabbis 7:2) azoy:  when his son pulled out the Concordance he found that the number of times the word ‘melocho’, with its various suffixes, appears in the Toirah is in the sixties!  Why would or did  Chazal (our wise sages) ignore so many appearances of the word  and which did they ignore? This is a riddle which has puzzled Torah scholars for centuries. Of course there are answers but giving them over would take a few more pages and is certainly a melocho that cannot be accomplished this week. Besides, none of the others are as exciting as Yoisef going to do his.

A gittin Shabbis-


Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv

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