Though the Oisvorfer does not enjoy repeating previous Toirahs, and typically does not, it so happens that parshas Vayakhale, which we will read this week, and Pikuday (next week) are themselves mamish repeats. Indeed they are, of parshas Teruma and Tetzaveh which we read mamish a few weeks back. Much ink has been spilled by many a rabbi and medrish discussing this anomaly especially so in light of what our rebbes drilled into our heads (a few nebech loved drilling, if you chap); there are no extra words or even letters in the heylige Toirah. Maybe so, but there may be a few repetitive parshas, ver veyst. Shoin, why the RBSO decided to repeat two entire parshas with but minor edits, ver veyst? Grada this question has vexed many a commentator who themselves have little to say about this week’s parsha. Moreover, even Rashi who had a comment on kimat everything -even the color of his wife’s dress- is unusually quiet this week. Shoin, you never heard the famous Rashi joke? An oldie but still good; here we go. Rashi and Mrs. Rashi are getting set to go out to a fancy dinner. Rashi, all dressed is already waiting downstairs. Finally, Mrs. Rashi comes down in her blue dress. Says Rashi: You look very pretty my eishes chayil but I think you would look much better in that black dress. To which Mrs. Rashi responds azoy: Must you comment on everything? Bat-a-bing!
The Oisvorfer has in previous editions of this parsha, covered kimat every interesting medrish found. You can and taka should find these in the archives at www.oisvorfer.com. Shoin, what to do? This year, Vayakhale 2016, is kimat, but avada not entirely, a repeat of 2012 and, for good measure, a few other thoughts from years past. Look out for new chaps. Vus epes (why) was 2012 selected? Because it was in 2012, that we dove right in and covered the one item that itself was used as a coverup of sorts. We speak about ‘the Kumoz’, the chastity belt. The what? Shoin, the Kumoz, which of all places went from covering a woman’s privates to the Mishkan, was previously looked into and is presented here (by popular demand from a few oisvorfs, who else?). Shoin, back in 2012, the readership was mistama just over 150,000, today it has grown to hundreds of thousands, mamish. Many may have missed this mamish gishmake piece and what a few had to say about the selection of the Kumoz to be included on the Mishkan’s list of donated materials. Here we go; hope you enjoy.
כב וַיָּבֹאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים, עַל-הַנָּשִׁים; כֹּל נְדִיב לֵב, הֵבִיאוּ חָח וָנֶזֶם וְטַבַּעַת וְכוּמָז כָּל-כְּלִי זָהָב, וְכָל-אִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר הֵנִיף תְּנוּפַת זָהָב לַיה.
- And the men came, on the women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought nose-rings, and ear-rings, and signet-rings, and girdles, all jewels of gold; even every man that brought an offering of gold unto the RBSO. Girdles fashioned from gold?
Nu, it’s not often that we jump right into the heylige Toirah without first introducing the parsha ober this possik (verse) found above is from our parsha mamish and requires further elucidation. And as you can only imagine, many weighed in to interpret, or try to, what went down here – especially in the girdle area – and to understand the true meaning of what a girdle was and why this item was donated and accepted by Moishe to the Mishkan cause. The men came on the women? The women brought girdles to be donated to the holy Mishkan? Is this the heylige Toirah we’re quoting? What’s pshat (what’s going on)? Nu, let’s find out.
And since you paid such close attention to the instructions for building the Mishkan these past few weeks (Parshas Teruma, Tetzaveh and parts of Ki Sisa), we’ll continue our focus on women; they do seem to be quite active participants, as we just read above. Grada it’s gishmak when women are active, if you chap. Nu, if you looked into parshas Ki Sisa, efsher you will recall that the copper basin was fashioned out of the mirrors the women brought and donated. And before we get to the women and their girdles, let’s reflect on the mirrors for a moment.
After a few weeks and parshios discussing plans, measurements, needed materials, blueprints and architecture, seemingly, the building department has given its approval and in this week’s parsha, we’re into the construction phase, mamish. Moishe opened the parsha by announcing that construction was about to begin and that donations were needed. Sound familiar? Seemingly, all building campaigns begin and end with donations. And the Yiddin, fresh off the entire Eygel incident and still guilt ridden, were looking to climb back into the RBSO’s good graces, responded with alacrity and generosity. They all came: carpenters, metalworkers and artisans- everyone wanted in. In fact, as we read just above, the men came and the possik tells us, they came on the women? Taka sounds gishmak but zicher not what the heylige Toirah is trying to teach and you’re mamish chazerim for thinking otherwise. Obviously there’s a lesson to be learned from this coming and our job is to chap what was intended. Let’s start with Rashi who avada knew all.
Ober first a shtikel introduction; it’s a construction project, let’s lay the groundwork. Last week’s parsha mentioned that the heylige froyen (ladies) brought their mirrors which they somehow had time and space to pack as they left Mitzrayim and attempted to donate these very mirrors, as one of the materials for the Mishkan project. Although they were chased out of Mitzrayim in the middle of the night seemingly the Yiddin had time to pack gold, silver, and just about everything including mirrors. Everything that is, except for a few farkakte loaves of bread. Nu, the good people who bake matzo also have to make parnoso (living), hello Pesach! Says Rashi (38:8) azoy: Moishe initially refused to accept the mirrors for he found them disgusting. How could a mirror be disgusting? Doesn’t it but reflect the image of the person looking into it? Ober, Moishe was klerring (thinking) that these mirrors were used to incite the Yetzer horo (evil inclination), not that this bad boy needs any help, if you chap. You will recall learning that the women carried these mirrors with them and somehow used them to seduce their tired and overworked husbands into some tashmish (relations). The men already in a weakened state from physical exertion, somehow, efsher after a little seduction and with a mirror as a prop, though not on the ceiling, responded and shoin. The Yiddin were fruitful and multiplied. Women too must have been excited. What happened next? The RBSO commanded him to accept the mirrors because the women had used these mirrors to rouse and arouse their exhausted husbands while slaves in Mitzrayim. The men were out working hard all day and came home exhausted; isn’t that what slaves do?
Uncharacteristically, the neshay chayil (women), were epes in the mood, seduced their men using the mirrors, resulting in the men having to work even harder to please their women. And they did! The women became trugidik (pregnant), and taka delivered many, many children. Shoin! As Rashi sees it, the mirrors were used to draw the yetzer hara’s attention. Exactly what having relations with the eishes chayil after a long day has to do with the yetzer horo, nu, ver veyst? Isn’t it more logical that not having relations with the eishes chayil, would evoke and epes get the yetzer horo stirring? Ver veyst? Bottom line: Moishe accepted the mirrors but not toward the Mishkan, instead they were used to build the copper basin. Taka a beautiful story but it’s not quite over. Let’s read that possik above one more time. Says the heylige Toirah that the women also brought the ‘Kumaz’ which Moishe gladly accepted as a suitable donation for the Mishkan project. And what is it? Nu, some say the Kumaz is a girdle.
Rabaynu Art Scroll doesn’t touch it, I mean translate the word at all. Others say it was epes some sort of a belt that hung epes near ground zero, the private zone, if you chap, which was challenging, with the area in lockdown and secured. Says Rashi (35:22): it was a type of ornamentation placed opposite the private part of a woman’s body? Our chachomim (sages) [Shabbos 64a] explain the name כּוּמָז as [an acrostic]: כַּאן מְקוֹם זִמָּה [meaning] here is the place of lewdness..oy vey! And why didn’t Moishe express similar reservations about accepting the kumaz? Let’s find out.
Nu, many Meforshim touch upon this, if you chap, and offer answers. Some say that the purpose of the Kumaz was to stop someone else from being mezaneh (having forbidden relations) with the woman wearing it. It was protection against the mezaneh, the perpetrator, that chazir. According to this pshat, the Kumaz wasn’t used for zenus or to enhance pleasure or activity in the region, punkt-farkert (quite the opposite): rather it was used as protection against it. In other words: it was a chastity belt, efsher the first ever. And for that reason, Moishe was willing to take it as a donation. Givaldig mamish! Moishe wouldn’t take a mirror that reflected images but accepted an item that was south of the border? And was prepared to leave the women without protection? Say it’s not so, especially with the ‘erev rav’ lurking.
Ober he was Moishe Rabaynu and zicher he knew what he was doing and says the Chasam Soifer (not to be confused with one the myriad Yeshivas the Oisvorfer had the pleasure of attending) azoy: the Kumaz and other items the women brought were all melted down and their original state altered. Therefore, though this item was previously near or touching the forbidden zone, in its new state, it was not recognizable and any tumah associated with that item, now gone. Nu, geloibt der Abisheter (thank the good Lord). Ober the mirrors were seemingly kept in their original state and Moishe was epes a shtikel reluctant to take them knowing that they were a tool, an enhancer of sexual activity. Though this activity was avada leshaim shomayim (isn’t it always), he was shy about these items and found them repugnant. A shtikel prudish, ver veyst? Ober the RBSO who knows all, avada knew about the purity in the hearts of all these women and instructed Moishe to accept the mirrors. The RBSO noted that the mirrors were in fact tools of shalom bayis and thus should be accepted (Rashi: 38:8). Nu, at times, tools are also needed to enhance sholom bayis. Whatever.
Says another Medrish that the kumaz was an accessory worn on a woman’s genitals! Nu, that sounds givaldig and now one can chap the other words in the possik, the very ones that describe how the men came with the women, if you chap, ober why wasn’t Moishe repulsed by accepting such an object? Says the Ramban, not to worry. The kumaz was given along with many other types of jewelry and was therefore butil (nullified) in the mixture with the other accessories. Shoin! In other words: the stam melting of the Kumaz would not have been sufficient to render it pure enough once used on the lower region, ober, the combination of melting and it being butil in the mixture with other jewels, that made everything kosher. Gishmak mamish! Bottom line: When it comes to accepting a donation for a shul, school or any other organization, a way and rationale will always be found to make the money kosher, if you chap.
And now that we discovered and covered the Kumaz, let’s learn the beginning of the possik for it too cries out for illumination. So let’s read that again please. “And they came, men on top of women, as many as were willing-hearted….” So what taka happened here? The men on top of the women, or they came together, what’s pshat here? Has this ever happened before or since, if you chap?
Says Rashi and who chapped better: The words ‘with or on the women’ Heb. עַלהַנָּשִׁים, lit., mean that the jewelry they were planning to donate and taka did, was still on the women. The men came with the women and [stood] near them, meaning that they brought bracelets and earrings while they were still on [i.e., being worn by] the women. You see? Everything can be explained so beautifully, givaldig mamish!
Grada this pshat is quite logical especially so if you recall that just last week we learned that the women refused to donate to the Eygel and that their husbands mamish pulled their jewels off them. Now a week later, for this very noble cause, given that the Mishkan was built to atone for the great sin of the Eygel, they “brought bracelets and earrings while they were still on the women.” Where these women found replacement earrings and others jewels in the midbar in mamish no time, ver veyst? Efsher they used the mirrors to pleasure their husbands and made new jewelry, ver veyst? Ober we can posit that the midbar was, as we have come to understand, a magical place and just like it had Munn and many other items that only the RBSO (and maybe also the producers of The Amazing Race) could make appear, it could easily have had replacement jewelry. The RBSO can do it all, we just have to believe.
Says Rabbeinu Bechaye: the women in fact came first to donate their jewelry, and the men only came after them. This, he explains, demonstrates their righteousness in and of itself but it also reflects positively on an earlier incident involving jewelry at the scene of the Eygel. When the men demanded that Aharoin make a statue, he told them to remove the women’s jewelry. However, the women refused to give over their jewelry so the men took their own gold and gave that towards the building of the Golden Calf. And according to this pshat, the women still had their original jewelry, the Eygel having been formed out of male jewelry. And from that lone incident, it’s epes not totally clear why the women refused to give their jewelry. We might have thought that their main motivation was their natural attachment to their jewelry, and avada we all know how women make and keep jewelry, if you chap, as opposed to pure motivation of refusal to be involved in that dastardly and despicable avayro. However, in this week’s parsha we taka see the women were very willing to donate their jewelry towards the elevated purpose of the building of the Mishkan. And huvar hadovor limafrayah (retroactively it is confirmed) as to why they did not give their jewelry at the Golden Calf. It was not because of their attachment to gold and silver, because that did not prevent the women from parting with them for the sake of the Mishkan. Rather, their refusal to give towards the Golden Calf emanated from leshaim Shamayim (pure) motives – they wanted no part in that terrible sin.
Now that we chap what the kumaz was and where it lie, let’s revisit that very confusing posik (verse) which told us that the men and women came (together) to donate various items including their chastity belts. Ober, one has to wonder azoy: if the women came wearing their jewels, were they also still wearing their protective Kumaz and if so, did the men rip this off as well? Nu, so much for cheap locks. It would obviously be the height of non-tznius to bring the kumaz while still on the woman. What were these unsuspecting women to use for protection once their chastity belts were donated to the cause? Commando?
Ober says the Sifsay Chachomim: the reason the men came together with the women was because we do not accept tzedoko from women, except for a small amount. And says the Ramban: “The reason [it says] that ‘the men came on the women’ is in order [to express] that the generosity to give their jewelry was more prevalent among the women — they all had jewelry [as did the men], [but the women] immediately took off their nose rings and [finger] rings, and came [forward] first. The reason it says ‘on’ is because the women who were first [are considered primary in this case] and the men secondary to them.”
Shoin, we have time for one more thought about the heylige shabbis, here we go. One thing is zicher: The RBSO takes the Shabbis very seriously as we will learn once again this week.
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 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 iteration 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.
A gitten Shabbis –
The Oisvorfer Ruv