Just two weeks after we read that the RBSO was mamish disgusted with man’s repugnant behavior, how He had seen and had enough and how He destroyed the world by bringing a Mabul (flood); this week, we have another crisis brewing, this time here in the Northeast. The calendar tells us that we’ll be reading and learning Parshas Vayero this coming shabbis; the storm that hit us here in New York and other states, is more suggestive of Pashas Noiach. Or is it more in line with another incident we’ll be reading about this week: the complete and utter destruction of Sedoim (Sodom and Gomorra). Ver veyst, but one thing is quite certain: the RBSO this week showed us that He’s in complete and total charge and no matter what precautions people took to protect themselves, homes or possessions. A healthy dose of humility was learned or should have, by all.
Efsher through the storm and its aftermath, we can better chap what Avrohom Oveenu went through just last week (Lech Lecho) when the RBSO, in one of 10 faith tests had Avrohom leave his land, his birthplace and his father’s house. This week, when the lights went out, (still out by us), many had to pack up their families and leave their houses, neighborhoods and seek shelter back, some back in their parents’ homes, givald!! Some, including the Oisvorfer, the eishes chayil and the kinderlach are all are being further tested by having to move in with the shver and shvigermeister (in-laws), one test Avrohom Ovenu never took.
Lessons to be learned? Ver veyst. Let’s all thank the RBSO that He didn’t change his mind about destroying the world again; this was seemingly just a patch (slap). For those who lost homes, possessions and memories, avada the Oisvorfer feels terrible for your loss and hopes that soon enough this will be but shul and table talk.
Nu, storm-shmorm, let’s get back to the heylige Toirah and though this weeks parsha contains none of the mitzvois the RBSO expects us to perform or stay from, it is still actions packed and avada more exciting that some farkakte storm named Sandy. And because the Oisvorfer and his mishpocho have had to relocate (to the shver and shviggermeister) and because access to his heylige seforim is limited, this week, you’ll read the best of Vayero; selected pieces from 2012 and 2011, here we go.
This week’s Parsha contains my favorite three words in the gantze Toirah kulah but keep your pants on, that story goes down later in the parsha. And speaking of pants, we will also learn that one of our featured characters forgot and was caught with his down. Nu, avada with an introduction like that, I needn’t tell you to halt kup (pay attention); you’re mine for this parsha overview and you won’t want to miss it. This week’s Toirah is also kimat (nearly) 8 pages long. Stop complaining so much, long is avada good, if you chap. Yikes, but well worth the read.
Seemingly the gifelriche people of Sedoim didn’t read their history books and didn’t remember that the RBSO does, from time to time get quite upset and this week, it’s His wrath they will incur. In this week’s dramatic and historical Parsha of Va’yaro, the major crisis is brewing over in Sedoim (Sodom). Zicher, we’ll cover that event and its aftermath ober (but) first, let’s see how Avrohom is faring on this, the third day following his bris at the tender age of 99.
This Parsha has it all: the first bikkur cholim (visiting the sick) call by the RBSO himself, fire and brimstone, the complete destruction of Sedoim, the birth of Yitzchok by parents now 90 and 100 years old, another failed attempt by Avrohom Oveenu to rid himself of his eishes chayil Soroh, incest, homosexuality, Yishmoel, the father of all Arabs and near death is saved, Yitzchok too has a near brush with death as his father is set to sacrifice him and so much more. It’s mamish dizzying with emotional ups and downs. Gevald (OMG); where shall we begin? Raboyseyee: I urge you mamish to spend some time on this long Friday night and read the parsha with Rashi and as many commentaries as you can absorb. Everything else you’re planning, takes but a few minutes, if you chap.
Says Rashi as the parsha begins: it’s day 3 following Avrohom Oveenu’s bris, which according to many, he gave himself, YIKES! Avada he’s in pain and so am I just from reading the story. Nu, efsher metzitza be’peh would have eased the pain, ver veyst?
Seemingly Avrohom had an outstanding health care plan which included a post surgical house call directly from the RBSO; it’s safe to assume that Oxford was not his primary carrier. What could be better? Next: Avrohom gazes his eyes and suddenly sees three men walking in the desert heat. So excited is he to see potential guests, he excuses himself from the RBSO to greet the three men wandering in the desert heat. Who leaves the RBSO to great three strangers? Ver veyst, but as we learn, they had a critical role to play, a few. Moreover, he insisted they join for a meal; very nice under any circumstance and avada givist (even more so) given his pain level. They predict that he and Soroh will yet have a child and other tidings. Some say there were angels. Let’s read the menu, but first…..
Is that the way it all went down? Efsher not and no lesser a giant among men than the RambaM (Moireh Nevuchim 2:43) describes this entire incident as a prophetic vision, rather than an actual event. The RambaM disagreeing with the text? Yikes! Lucky for him, he’s not alive today for were he, zicher his house would be stoned and his beard ripped out hair by hair by a few hundred angry chasiddim who would call him an apikoires mamish. No doubt he would be put in cherim (excommunicated), his medical practice boycotted and also likely that he’d have the living daylights kicked out of him. In fact, even repeating this thought could get one into trouble; the Oisvorfer remains fearless. Nu, back to the storyline and the menu.
|And he took cream and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and he placed [them] before them, and he was standing over them under the tree and they ate.||
ח. וַיִּקַּח חֶמְאָה וְחָלָב וּבֶן הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּתֵּן לִפְנֵיהֶם וְהוּא עֹמֵד עֲלֵיהֶם תַּחַת הָעֵץ וַיֹּאכֵלוּ:
Did we just read this correctly? Did Avrohom give his guests milk, cream and some meat together? Say it’s not so please, but that’s how the menu reads. Now I ask you Raboyseyee, could the text be any clearer? Does it say that he took non dairy creamer or tofutti or does it say that he took cream and milk and the calf together? The medrish suggests that avada (of course) he first served milichiks (dairy), waited the requisite amount of time and then served the meat, but I’m not biting. Exactly how the miforshim concluded that this is p’shat I don’t know as the Toirah states quite emphatically that they were served together. Does the RBSO have a hard time expressing His views or have difficulty with grammar? Avada nisht, only an apikoires would think and suggest otherwise. Ver veyst (who knows)? Moreover, avada this more than amazing story of Malochim coming down to visit took place hundreds of years before the heylige Toirah was give and before the Rabonon (Rabbis) decided that the consumption of milk and meat in one meal was verboten.
As they’re schmoozing and enjoying the tarfus (non kosher), Avrohom is informed that he and Soroh will have a child and also about the impending destruction of Sedoim. Avrohom immediately begins what has now become a long standing Jewish tradition, some say even a halacha: I refer of course to the mitzvahs ah-say (positive commandment) of hondelling (haggling and/or negotiating). The Toirah recounts that Avrohom entered into direct negotiations with the RBSO in an attempt to save Sedoim but as a neophyte in this area, was obviously no match. On the other hand, he did trade his wife Sorai for gold, silver, animal and salves; efsher he was taka uniquely qualified to lead these negotiations? The RBSO allowed Avrohom to submit numerous offers (against himself) to save Sedoim but in the end, the RBSO prevailed (no big surprise there) and the guests (malochim in disguise) fully sated after their happy meal, and without bentching, were off on their mission which included saving Loit, Avrohom’s nephew, and his mishpocha. Exactly why Loit was deserving of being saved, I don’t know and soon neither will you, but I believe Raboyseyee that it bodes well for all of you, if you chap. What happened next? Let’s go veyter (next).
Later that night, the guests arrive in Sedoim and meet Loit, who happened to be loitering (cheap joke) around the city gate. Having learned hachnosas oirchim (hospitality to strangers) from uncle Avrohom, Loit welcomes them to his own house and also prepares some food. The mean-spirited people of Sedoim are pissed off, they hate generosity and guests. They surround Loit’s house demanding that he send out his guests so that they ‘can have their way with them’. The medrish suggests that they wanted to get to know them physically- implying ‘mishkav zochor’ (homosexuality, if you chap), just like your Rebbe and Pirchei leader did or wanted to with you and your best friend, nebech. Nu, is it a wonder you’ve been in therapy all these years? Maybe there were Penn State coaches, ver veyst?
But Loit, our hero, said no, never – chas v’sholom (heaven forbid)! Send out my houseguests, to complete strangers that I met 20 minutes ago? Never! In a brilliant tactical move, he offered the angry mob his two virgin daughters in their stead. Did we just read that a father (Loit) offered his two virgin daughters to the entire townspeople, the Sodomites nuch der tzei (to make matter worse)? Is this the same Loit that the malochim were here to save, under direct orders from the RBSO? What’s p’shat here? What are we to understand from Loit’s offer? Who is this guy? And where was Mrs. Loit at this time? Did she agree to this plan? And the girls?
Let’s chazir (review). Loit turns out to be quite the negotiator. The Sodomites demanded the two strangers and Loit the genius countered and offered the mob his two teenage daughters, both virgins. It’s mamish a himmel-gishray (overwhelmingly absurd). He told the angry mob azoy: ‘leave my stranger houseguests alone, instead I’ll give you two young virgins’. Sounds like a reasonable trade to me?! What’s p’shat here? Did you ever hear of a father offering one virgin daughter to a guest, let alone two? Did you ever hear of a father offering his virgin daughter to her boyfriend, even her choson? Nowadays, a choson can’t sleep in his Kallah’s house even with the parents, siblings and armed guards in the house. Loit offered his two daughters to an angry mob, what’s going on? And for this great mitzvah, the RBSO decided to save him and sent malochim to get him out of Sedoim? Epes, it doesn’t sound or feel right. Ober, zicher we have to understand that the RBSO had a plan and soon it will become illuminated.
Raboyseyee, the Oisvorfer would like to offer a p’shat I haven’t seen anywhere; it’s mamish a chiddush (breakthrough). Could it be that Loit was taka a genius? Could p’shat be that Loit avada understood that the people of Sedoim were depraved and very very bad? And avada he also understood that their preference was in fact mishkav zochor (gay sex). Loit figured out that if he offered his two virgin daughters to this oversexed gay mob, then they’d be mamish safe and for that reason, seemingly he was zoiche (merited) to be saved. Or, was Loit saved so that he could be the stallion that would help repopulate the world? Ver veyst.
Sedoim and Gemorroh are destroyed, Loit’s wife is now a pillar of salt and sometime after, Loit and his two daughters are saved. Rashi tells us that Loit had four in total but two were away (efsher on an NCSY shabbaton) and the Toirah does not tell us what happened to them. The medrish surely will but that is a few paragraphs below. Next: Loit and his two daughters, still virgins, find themselves in a cave and guess what? The daughters started acting like cavemen. Settle in for what you’re about to read: You would normally be paying $7.95 for a magazine in a brown bag at the local Pakistani 24 hours stand with a gishmak story like this and for this kind of schmutz, but here in this week’s Toirah, it’s free. Free is avada always better. Let’s follow along in the fourth aliya, also known as rivieee, also of course a choshova aliya.
Following the apocalypse in Sedoim, Loit and his two virgin daughters, fearful to live in the city of Zoar, leave and seek refuge in a cave. We are taught (Bereishis Rabbah 50:9; Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer) that Loit had four daughters, two of whom were married, and two engaged. The two married daughters and their husbands, along with the two future bridegrooms, remained in Sedoim and perished, leaving Loit wifeless and with only two daughters.
One medrish tells us that the girls believed that they and their father were the sole survivors left on earth and decided that they must propagate the world, but with whom? The sperm banks were closed. Let’s be don l’kav zechus (let’s give them the benefit of the doubt) and suggest that they believed that their and the survival of the species could only come from propagating their father’s seed, if you chap, and avada you do, you minuvil.
And what a givaldike plan they concocted. They were going to accomplish this by having intercourse with their father, rachmono litzlon. Can you even be masig (imagine) such a dastardly act, even you? What happened next? Let’s follow the Toirah and see. The eldest daughter suggests to the younger one that they get their father drunk since he might not agree with the plan. On the first night the first daughter had relations with Loit, followed by the second daughter on the second night. Loit was quite the stud as he, in a drunken stupor as we will shortly learn, chapped two sisters, his own daughters, virgins, on two consecutive nights, a feat more typical of a professional football player. Next: Both are impregnated on the first shot; gevald! Loit, according to the heylige Toirah, which never ever chas v’sholom doesn’t tell it like it is, was apparently unaware of what had happened. In his drunken state ‘he knew not when she lay down or when she arose’; these exact words repeated after each incident (B’reishis 19:33, 35). What brilliance from this Loit fellow, what gadlus, what a plan; an alibi that one should consider adding to his armamentarium of tricks and excuses, perhaps better than pleading the 5th!
Interestingly, according to the poshit (plain) reading of the words in the Toirah, it would seem that the girls did something quite disgusting and minuvildick and one might expect the Medroshim to treat them quite harshly. That, however, is not the case as many defend and rationalize their behavior and instead paint Loit with an unflattering brush. Blame the victim, why not? The text tells us that the girls conceived the entire plan and executed it to perfection, yet a good number of medroshim portray them favorably. Is this p’shat? Nu, it’s time we dig a bit tiffer (deeper) and before we’re done, we’ll have a better understanding of what took place and why the RBSO chose these two girls for an important mission.
Says the Medrish (Tanchuma, Vayera 12), that Loit was of questionable character. He elected to live in Sedoim because he wanted to engage in the licentious behavior of its inhabitants, orgies and more. And his motivations become illuminated with the Sodomites attempting to bang down his door demanding he hand over the angels, and he instead offers his daughters. Es lust tzuch redden (stands to reason) that a tata of kinder would rather put himself in harm’s way just to protect his daughters, even sons. Not so for Loit! And in response to his bizarre behavior, the RBSO punished him with mida k’neged mida (an eye for an eye) by allowing an act that he was going to allow to happen to his own daughters, instead happen to him. Shoin! In the Sedoim affair, Loit offered his daughters, mistama against their will, to engage in sexual relations with the mob. Later on, he gets his (twice) as his own daughters engage in relations with their unwitting father. In other words: Loit’s incestuous relations with the girls was an act of punishment for his unseemly behavior.
Another Medrish (Breishis Rabbah 51:8–9) tells us that Loit was taka a minuvil and secretly lusted after his own daughters, say it’s not so please. We accept the fact that he was taka intoxicated and caught by surprise on night one with sister number one, but we must also assume that at some point during the day, he sobered up and chapped what took place. He was totally wasted (intoxicated) when his older daughter lay with him, but he was sober when she rose, as is indicated in the Toirah by the dogosh (dot) over the word “u-ve-kumah” (when she rose). Seemingly, he rose as well and despite his knowledge of what had transpired, what did he do? Did he go to the mikveh (ritual bath) to cleanse himself? Seemingly not! Efsher he was afraid of an encounter more in line with what the Sodomites had in mind, if you chap. Did he do t’shuva (repent) after being ridden by his own daughter? No! Instead he threw a kiddush and who wouldn’t, made a few more lechaims on mysteriously appearing new wine the next night and repeated this act noch a mol (one more time) with his younger daughter, a minuvil mamish (Breishis. Rabbah 51:8–9, check it out). Notwithstanding his knowledge of what went down, he took a few more swigs the next night, and allowed daughter number two to mount. On the other hand, wouldn’t any rational person take to the spirits if he found out that his daughter rode him unwillingly? Nu, men are but men and who are we to judge? Would any of you minuvulim not have feigned drunkenness if you had the opportunity to chap virgins on two consecutive nights?
Efsher (maybe) you’re wondering where Loit’s girls found wine in the cave? So am I. Can you picture the scene as they’re being escorted out of Sedoim just before its destruction? Oh dad, can we please stop at the liquor store for a moment. Yet, Loit’s daughters continue to be treated sympathetically. Ober says the medrish that a miracle was performed for them, and the cave in which they lived began dripping wine. Sounds good to me and gishmak mamish.
Says another medrish that by strict law, the daughters deserved to be burnt by fire for having lain with their father (Aggadata Bereishis 25:1), but the RBSO, who avada knows man’s thoughts, judged them by their thoughts and not their deeds. This, by the way, is more than givaldige news for many of you. You can tell the RBSO that your intentions were pure, despite your deplorable actions. The girls’ true intent was not to lie with their father, on whom they had no sexual designs, but to save the world from total devastation. The daughters thought that the entire world had been laid waste, as had happened during the Mabul (flood). They assumed that other cities and the rest of the world had again been destroyed. They said: “The Holy One, blessed be He, has rescued us so that the world will exist through us, so that the human race shall continue.” The RBSO knew their honest minds and good thoughts and rewarded them for their actions. Accordingly, when He commanded “no Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord” (Devorim 23:4), this prohibition against intermarriage applies only to the males, and not to the females.
Nu, what’s the bottom line? As expected the Midroshim present a mixed opinion about this act of incest. One describes it as lesheym shomayim (an act for heaven), another as an act of fornication. Why do the medroshim go out of their way to make the girls act seem almost saintly? Perhaps incest is best and avada it’s bavist (well known) that other Toirah characters, close relatives, also had questionable encounters. Let’s recall Avrohom Oveenu was efsher married to his half sister Soroh, Moishe rabaynuu’s father Amram apparently married his Aunt Yoicheved and of course, last but not least, Yehudah who married his daughter-in-law Tamar. Do we really need shadchunim and singles events when the answer may be staring at us in our own mishpochos (families)? Oy vey! Maybe the Chasiddim are onto something….
Efsher they looked at the lineage, what came out of their one night stand and chapped that it was all meant to be; isn’t everything? Let’s remember please that Rus ( Ruth) whose emotional and uplifting story we read every Shevous, was taka a Moabite, tracing her lineage all the way back the sisters and Loit. Let’s also recall the last few verses of Migilas Rus where we are told that Dovid Hamelech (King David) and eventually the Moshiach himself, come from Ruth’s marriage to Boiaz, (who taka also laid down next to him when he was asleep) and all starting from that one night stand. Says the medrish: when Loit was commanded to rescue his two daughters from the destruction, the malochim already foresaw that Ruth the Moabite would descend from them (B’reishis Rabbah 50:10). In other words: it was all bashert: beautiful! Efsher we can conclude that forbidden relationships produce great leaders. Is Loit then not a hero?
Continues the medrish: An additional wonder: virgins do not typically become pregnant from their first intercourse, while Loit’s daughters, who were avada virgins, did become pregnant from the initial act (B’reshis Rabbah 51:9-10). In other words: since their intentions were pure, the RBSO saw to it that they became trugidick (pregnant) with one act, just like Rus.
Ok Rebbe, tell me more! Nu, each delivered a son; appropriately named Moav (meaning from father) and Ben Ammi (son of father – Ammonites). In the end, we may taka ask how the girls could even kler (think about) having relations with their own tata (father)? The RambaN suggests that the daughters might be thought of as Noiach; as they, like him, thought that they were saving the world’s existence. Nu, at least he had relations with the opposite sex: Noiach on the other hand, following his encounter with some wine, seemingly didn’t fare as well, if you chap and remember the parsha.
And the bottom line on Loit: good guy or bad? The posit pshat (simple interpretation) is that the RBSO his life only in the merit of Uncle Avrohom. Ober says the medrish as quoted Rashi and who avada knew more or better azoy Loit was saved as a result of what he did or rather didn’t do for Avrohom while they were in Mitzrayim (Egypt). What Loit did not do was open his mouth to expose the fact that his uncle Avrohom was taka married. Knowing when to keep say nothing and keeping a secret seems to have saved his life and so says the Maharal]
Other including, the Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer describes Loit as a righteous man similar to his Uncle Avrohom. Do we need any more proof than the RBSO himself sending a set of his finest malochim (angels) to rescue him and his family prior to the destruction of Sedoim? Personally I remain baffled by what the daughters did, but after their own father offered them up to a mob of Sodomites, I guess it would have been difficult for him to criticize their behavior. Ok, enough of this chazerish talk, is there anything else in the parsha? Oy vey!!!
Also featured in the parsha is Avrohom Oveenu with yet a new plan to rid himself of his now over 90 year old Rebittzen; wouldn’t you, if yours was 90+? Let’s learn the Toirah. In the next aliya, we read the story of Avimelech, the king of Gerar. Avrohom, seemingly again fearful for his life, said of Soroh his wife, ‘She is my sister,’ so Avimelech, king of Gerar, sent for and took Soroh, why not? And the RBSO came to Avimelech in a dream and said to him, ‘Behold you are to die because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.’ Avimelech replies, ‘did not he [Avrahom] himself tell me: ‘She is my sister?’ I’m innocent, I was duped (Bereishis 20: 2-7).’
She’s my sister? Is this not the same lie Avrohom told just last week? Did the plan work? No! What’s p’shat here? Is Avrohom up to his old tricks again? Having seen his last plan fall apart as Paroy brought the eishes chayil back to him, Avrohom concocted a new one. He moves to another location, a new city and country and under the rule of a new king. Avrohom realized what went wrong the last time. In lat weeks Parsha (Lech Lecha) he decided to ask Sorai to be his accomplice and say that she’s his sister: That plan was farkakt. In this week’s adventure, he left her out of the planning and on his own told Avimelech that Soroh was his sister. Smart as he was, he also changed locations: new country, new people and a new king, brilliant mamish. What’s wrong with this picture? Is this p’shat here? Is this the Avrohom Oveenu, our forefather whose name we mention daily during davening? Or was this another get rich quick scheme that netted Avrohom great wealth? What gives here? Was the RBSO happy with this behavior? Would your eishes chayil stand for that? Or even sit? Can you imagine the implications of trying to rid yourself of the wife once, let alone twice by having her say she’s your sister? Or was Soroh now attracted to the king’s palace and wanted another shot?
Who knows, but this is what the heylige Toirah says and I guess it’s up to us to study and learn these stories even if they at times leave us bewildered. Anyway, I see that you’re so excited; I’ll tell you the end of this chapter. Not just does Avrohom not get killed by Avimelech but farkert (opposite), the king rewards him. Avimelech gives Avrohom more of everything he had and Avrohom in turn davens for his health and well being; exactly what the Rebbes and Mikubullim do today except that we give them everything we have and they daven for us. As the posuk says: “And Avimelech took flocks and cattle and menservants and maidservants, and he gave [them] to Abraham, and he restored to him his wife Sarah.” More: “And to Sarah he said, Behold I have given a thousand pieces of silver to your brother; behold it is to you a covering of the eyes for all who are with you, and with all you shall contend.” Seemingly Avrohom has found a new gisheft (business). Through Soroh, whom he keeps passing off as his sister, he has amassed a fortune and that’s what I call a real eishes chayil; an income producing wife.
Finally, as I said way back on page one, the parsha (21:17) contains my three favorite words in the entire heylige toirah. The words ba-sher hu shom (we judge him as he is today). With these words, Yishmoel, near death at the time, future and present nemesis of the Jewish people ad hayom hazeh (till today) was saved, under direct orders from the RBSO himself. We should all learn a lesson here and not judge people. From these three words, we learn differently. That would zicher include Avrohom, Loit , his daughters or even our own friends, over their questionable masim (behavior) in their past.
A gitten shabbis- wherever you find yourself-