This week, we begin by wishing mazel tov again to our very close friends Lemor and Murry Englard, mother and father of the bride, and to Rivki and Lindsay and Rosenwald, parents of the groom, upon the marriage earlier this week of their children Leora and Josh. The wedding was elegant, beautiful and very spirited; a great time was had by all.
And a very hearty mazel tov to our good friends Debby and Dr. Mark Fenster, very proud grandparents to a new baby boy born to their children Duvid and Robyn Rackman. The Shalom Zachor will take place at the Fenster home, 3 Heather Lane beginning at 7:00pm. All are invited.
Raboyseyee and Ladies:
He grinds, but does not release-
He does what? Shoin, soon we’ll explain pshat in these words ober ershtens, let’s begin with a myseh she-ho-yo (a real story), two of them. This past week, two different readers who don’t know one another, at two separate venues, approached the Oisvorfer with similar ideas. One suggested the writing of a more serious column for one of the local papers, perhaps under a pseudonym. Avada he wasn’t suggesting the end of the Oisvorfer’s regular parsha review, we hope not. The second reader, astounded at the number of people now receiving and reading the weekly review, suggested that an inspirational message be added to each week’s column. His rationale: if the RBSO gifted the Oisvorfer with the ability to deliver parsha insights with humor, sarcasm and laced with sexual innuendo – only when found in Rashi, the heylige Gemora or the medrish of course- that same weekly review should also include an inspirational take away message. We shall see.
Speaking of innuendo…..or efsher (maybe) real straight talk, this past shabbis, while the shul was listening to Lech Lecho, the Oisvorfer, was reading ahead to parshas Vayero which we will be reading this coming shabbis. And by chance, he came across a few words written by the Baal Haturim. Who is that you ask? Shoin, since you asked…
Rebbe Yaakov ben Asher (1270-1340), was known as the “Ba’al HaTurim” after the name of his Toirah commentary. He was a celebrated mefoirash (Toirah commentator) and halachist. So good were his insights, that he made it into the Mikro’ise Gedoilis – no small feat- a Chumish that contains the very best-of-the- best Toirah commentators. Separately, Art Scroll published an English version of his writings by that very name and it was taka this edition that the Oisvorfer was reviewing last shabbis. And his specialty? Seemingly, he was dedicated to explaining words, phrases and even complete pisukim (verses) by means of the ‘remez’ (allusion) as opposed to poshit pshat (the simple meaning of those words). And his real specialty was the use of gematria, meaning the numerical value of each letter of every word or phrase he sought to understand. He would then find other words and phrases with similar numerical values and try to chap how they might be related. Now let’s go back and see what he had to say this week. And let’s again refer to the heading of this week’s review: He grinds, but does not release.
Shoin: And in the opening three words, we asked “He does what?” Who is grinding and not releasing? What is being grinded and what’s not being released? And what has this to do with this week’s parsha?
Shreklich enough, just that heading is enough for at least one very dedicated Oisvorf reader, follower and chosid, Marvin from Woodmere, to send in a comment suggesting that the Oisvorfer was over the top. And he would be right but he’s not; feel free to exhale. These very words come directly from no lesser a Torah giant than the Ba’al Haturim himself in this very parsha. Efsher though you’re still wondering azoy: what the hec was he talking about?
And on a side note, in an attempt not to repeat pearls given over in previous years, it’s the Oisvorfer’s minhag to check his own archives to see what was written in years past on the same parsha. Of course that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a few givaldige concepts and thoughts won’t be repeated; after all, this is the 5th time we are covering the more than amazing multitude of storylines in the parsha. And if a few ideas are repeated, is that so giferlich? Do you remember what you read last year? Last month? How about yesterday? When it comes to learning, you forget almost instantly. On the other hand, scenes from your favorite TV show, of course you recall with clarity even years later, minuvil that you are. And it so happens that a few years back, mistama in 2011, following the Lech Lecho review the shviggermeister (mother-in-law) called to express her concern over the parsha review. She wondered aloud why it was so sexually charged and said she was beginning to worry about her son-in-law. Shoin after she was told that she was 24 years late in expressing such concerns and after carefully explaining that the Oisvorfer was merely quoting either Rashi, a shtikel Gemora or a Medrish, she calmed down. Shoin, she bought in and is still a reader.
And now (finally) it’s time to tie all this together and let’s do so by recalling that the beginning of Vayero retells the story of how the Malochim (Angels) came to visit Avrohom on the third day following his bris at the age of 99. Of course Avrohom, as Rashi will tell us, was in some discomfort, and wouldn’t you be if at that age you tended to your own bris? Some say he did that. And would it hurt much less if an experienced Moiel did it? Mistama not. At 99 everything hurts, especially surgery in a very sensitive area, if you chap. A person’s parts need to be protected, even junk, if you chap. In any event, while there, the Malochim foretold that Avrohom and Soro were going to have a baby boy. Ober Soro, standing behind the door listening in disbelief said azoy:
|And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have become worn out, will I have smooth flesh? And also, my master is old.”||יב. וַתִּצְחַק שָׂרָה בְּקִרְבָּהּ לֵאמֹר אַחֲרֵי בְלֹתִי הָיְתָה לִּי עֶדְנָה וַאדֹנִי זָקֵן:|
|within herself: She looked at her insides and said, “Is it possible that these insides will carry a child; that these breasts, which have dried up, will give forth milk?” – [from Tan. Shoftim 18]||בקרבה: מסתכלת במעיה ואמרה אפשר הקרבים הללו טעונין ולד, השדים הללו שצמקו מושכין חלב, תנחומא (שופטים יח):|
|smooth flesh: Heb. עֶדְנָה, smoothness of flesh, and in the language of the Mishnah (Meg. 13a, Men. 86a): “It causes the hair to fall out and smoothes (מְעַדֵּן) the flesh.” Another explanation: an expression of time (עִדָּן), the time of the menstrual period. — [from Gen. Rabbah 48:17]||עדנה: צחצוח בשר, ולשון משנה (מנחות פו א) משיר את השער ומעדן את הבשר. דבר אחר לשון עידן, זמן וסת נדות:|
Says Rashi quoting from the medrish (Tanchuma) azoy: Soro looked within herself, at her insides and said azoy: “Is it possible that these insides will carry a child; that these breasts, which have dried up, will give forth milk?” And says another medrish (Bireishis Rabba 48:17) that Soro, still talking to herself, pointed out that the time for her menstrual periods was long gone. “After I lost my regular period, will I get back into the flow, and my husband is old?” What she meant, according to informed sources, Rashi included, is this: Soro was wondering if her biological clock would somehow be turned back just like Benjamin Button’s. Could the odometer start spinning backwards as do those in your cars before you return them to the leasing agent, minuvils that you are? She was wondering how she could again begin to menstruate. Moreover, she was bewildered how all this could unfold given that her husband was old. Shoin, blame the man, why not.
Ober here comes the Ba’al Haturim who further illuminated what Soro was saying about Avrohom being too old to help her conceive a child. Says he azoy: the words V’adoni zokain –meaning my husband is old (using Hebrew letters of course,) have the same numerical value (234) as the words toichain, v’loi poilate. And what does that mean in English? Nu, no lesser a giant than Rabbi Art Scroll translates them azoy: he grinds but does not release! Shoin. And for you purists who might check the math and find that the gematria of the words Vadoni zokain is taka 234 and the gematria for the words toichain, v’loi poilate is 235, not to worry. Using another gematria rule, especially when needed, 234 is close enough to 235 and shoin, it’s a gematria. Gishmak. In other words: Soro was suggesting that at age 99, Avrohom, though still a stand-up guy, if you chap, was already impotent. Of course, we all know that the RBSO does perform miracles from time to time. The heylige Gemora will tell us that taka her clock, like ours this past motzei shabbis, was turned back. She was back in the flow and shoin, Yitzchok was born. Let’s go veyter.
The emes is that parshas Vayero should be split up and read over a few shabosim. It’s loaded with many, efsher too many, storylines for one parsha and zicher for one review. Vayero, is mamish nothing short of amazing and includes; yet another attempt by Avrohom to rid himself of his wife, Avrohom’s failed negotiations to save the city of Sedoim, the destruction of Sedoim (Sodom and Gemorrah,) the great and emotional story of why the RBSO decided to overrule his malochim (angles) and save Yishmoel, future enemy of the Yiddin, plus the incredible story of how Loit and some of his family, like Noiach a few parshas back, were selected to be saved. Of course you won’t want to miss the more than amazing story of Loit and his virgin (no more) daughters, and the heartwarming story of Yitzchok’s birth and near death experience on the Akeydo. It’s Hollywood and nothing less. Between the heylige Toirah, Rashi, the heylige Gemora and myriad medroshim, we will also come across discussions that include homosexuality and incest. We will? Yes! Start learning the parsha now.
Shoin, just two weeks back, Noiach, following the cataclysmic mabul, emerged from the Teyvo, planted a vineyard, got good and shikker (became inebriated) and paid a heavy price. We read that he suffered some rather severe and unusual consequences. The heylige Toirah told us only that he uncovered himself ober the heylige Gemora filled in the lacuna and told us of a grievous transgression (of a sexual nature of course) that took place. Seemingly, Noiach was either raped, castrated, sodomized, or all of the above, ver veyst. By whom? Seemingly his own grandson. The bottom line: he seemingly drank too much. When he came to, Noiach was not a happy camper and cursed his own son Chom azoy: “Cursed be Canaan, a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” Ober why are we repeating this myseh (story) here in parshas Vayero? Because this week, too much wine will again play a major role in a most unusual event. Of course we have previously covered portions of this myseh (story) ober this year we will add a few more medroshim on what took place between father and his two daughters. Let’s review the facts as found in the heylige Toirah. You are encouraged to click here http://toirahruv.com/vayero-2012-sandy-doc/ and maybe also here http://toirahruv.com/vayero-2013-the-curious-case-of-mrs-loit/ to read previous postings on Loit and his daughters.
Let’s meet Loit and his mishpocho. Says the medrish (Shmois Rabbah 50:9; Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer) azoy: Loit had a total of four daughters, two of whom were married, and two betrothed. The two married daughters and their husbands, along with the two future bridegrooms, remained in Sedoim and perished during its destruction. Only Loit, Avrohom’s nephew, and his two daughters (after this wife turned back and died) survived the debacle. Why the two chasanim (bridegrooms) decided to stay behind, ver veyst. Let’s go veyter.
How to celebrate? With a lechaim of course! Loit will be plied with wine. He, like Noiach a few weeks back, will be raped ober without sons, Loit was lucky enough to be raped by his two wonderful daughters – such nachas- say it’s not so. Not once but twice, once by each daughter. Not twice in one night but on two consecutive nights. And no matter how many times you’ve heard this amazing story, and of course you recall it so vividly –mamish as if you were there in the room watching, chazir that you are- it’s still hard to believe. But this isn’t medrish, these are the words of the heylige Toirah itself. Words spoken by the RBSO to Moishe: the real thing! And efsher, among other questions, you’re klerring azoy. Ershtens (firstly), how could Loit’s daughters intentionally ply their own father with wine and then have sexual relations with him? Were they punished and banished to their rooms? Does the heylige Gemora lay blame at their feet or elsewhere? Was this the reason the RBSO saved them? Were they future role models? Soon we’ll address that ober back to the story for a minute. Whatever wine he did drink on two consecutive nights, didn’t affect his performance. Loit was seemingly quite the man and successfully seeded both daughters, previously virgins, on consecutive nights. Pisukim later, each of his daughters became pregnant and delivered boys. Two big strong nations, each of whom would come back to antagonize the Yiddin many years later in the midbar, were to come from these two one night stands and very short unions with their father.
Surprisingly and astonishingly, most of the commentators fault Loit and exonerate the daughters, and here’s what a few had to say. In their depiction of Loit’s two balabatishe daughters, the heylige Gemora and others draw a distinction between the father and his daughters. The heylige Toirah tells us bifeirush (in plain and simple words) that his daughters were the initiators and the active perpetrators of this act of incest: no kidding! Did they ply their father with wine? They did! Did they, as the heylige Toirah spell out so vividly, then lie with him, while their intoxicated father did not know when they lay down with him or when they rose? Yes they did! And would one not think that the two girls were guilty of rape mamish? We would. And would we not expect the Gemora and the many medroshim that wax fancy on this topic to condemn the daughters’ actions and defend Loit, the victim? We would! Ober is that what we read? We don’t! Instead it’s mamish farkert (opposite). We will learn that the girls were innocent mamish and that Loit was the chazir minuvil.
Instead, the heylige Gemora and others, despite the immodesty of the girls’ plan to repopulate the world through their father’s seed, labor valiantly to justify the daughters’ actions, claiming that they really were modest, righteous women whose actions were motivated for the sake of Heaven. Not an excuse any of you should try at home. Chazal (our wise rabbis) tell us that the girls’ hearts were in the right place, other parts of their bodies, ver veyst. Ober how and why do they come to this surprising conclusion? By looking over and again at the text and what the heylige Toirah does not tell us. Does the heylige Toirah tell us that their actions were adulterous or wicked? It does not! Did the RBSO punish them or call them disgusting whores for taking advantage of their own father? It does not! Shoin, seemingly everything was ok. Moreover, did they directly ask their father to consort with them? They did not! They used the time tested ‘let’s have a few drinks’ trick, one that works with some measure of success ad hayoim hazeh (until today)! Most wise commentators assume and conclude that the daughters were really concerned about being left alone in the world and felt the need and obligation to begin its re-propagation. Mitzvah girls mamish!
And says the Ramban azoy: technically, Loit’s girls could have asked their father to marry them, since Noahides (goyim that follow the 7 principles of Noiach) are seemingly permitted to marry their own daughters. And why didn’t they? Their modesty prevented them from doing so. Gishmak!
Ober in reality, what they rely on most as rationale for their theory that the girls were innocent and pure as the driven snow, were the net results. Seemingly each daughter’s lineage included righteous descendants. The older daughter, the one that concocted the plan, was zoiche (merited) that Rus, (Ruth) she the Moabitess and everyone’s favorite Jewish heroine along with Esther, would descend from her. And of course you all know that down the line, Dovid Hamelech (King David) came from this mishpocho. And the younger sister did ok too. She was to become the great-grandmother of Naama the Ammonitess, the mother of Rechovom (Reheboam), who would succeed his father Shlomo (Solomon) as the king of Judah. Not too shabby for a little incest. Shoin. It does appear that the RBSO isn’t always angered by unusual sexual relationships and the fruit they sometimes bear.
Ober does everyone agree that both girls were innocent? Let’s see. And before we do, let’s also wonder where the wine came from? Did they leave Sedoim carrying wine? Ober Rashi, quoting yet another medrish, will tell us that a miracle took place. Instead of suggesting that the people of Sedoim would regularly store their wine in caves, the Medrish posits that the wine used by the girls to shikker up their father was provided by min-hashomayim (from Heaven), by the RBSO Himself. This would of course suggest that the RBSO was in on the plan. Was He? And if this family merited savior, you can just imagine what else was going on in Sedoim at that time?
On the other hand, Rashi does tell us that the older daughter had initiated the unchaste conduct, indicating that their intent was immoral, and not for the sake of Heaven. Why then would the RBSO produce a miracle and send down some wine to facilitate and act of fornication mamish? Ver veyst.
Ober says the Mizrachi azoy: even though Loit’s daughters’ intentions were less than pure, the RBSO did get involved and did provide the wine to indicate that He mamish willed the actions to take place. Was the RBSO an accomplice and an enabler? Seemingly, it was in the master plan that the two nations, Moiov and Amnon (Moab and Ammon) descend from Loit’s daughters. And the take-away: everything is somehow bashert (predestined). Why these things happened is none of your business. The RBSO had a plan and that’s all you need to know. Of course, should you find yourself in a cave with a hot Moabite shiksa, bring your own wine.
Interestingly enough, Loit’s older daughter, the mastermind who concocted and orchestrated the entire scheme, was quite happy with herself and her chicanery to become impregnated from her own father. She was not at all embarrassed that her son, whom she named Moiov (Moab) meaning from my father, was fathered by her own father. Ober the RBSO does also have a sense of humor. Years later, it was the Moabite hot shiksas that caused the Yiddin to sin with the Ba’al Peor. That act was way over the top and the RBSO responded to the licentious behavior of the Moabite mydlich with the hapless Yiddin by wiping out many thousands. Seemingly, wild sexual behavior in the family gene pool. You think?
And says the Netziv azoy: when the heylige Toirah states that the older daughter slept with her father, it’s indicating that she took the initiative in setting up the situation, if you chap, with her father. Different wording is used to describe how the younger daughter lay with her father (Bireishis 19:35). The word ‘eemoy’ (with him) describes the incident. And say the Netziv, this word indicates that the deed was a joint effort. Seemingly her sense of shame did not allow her to take the lead. Instead, she enticed her father, and he took it from there. Nice!
Nu, earlier we mentioned that the parsha also mentions other abhorrent behavior in the form of homosexuality. Though we’ve covered this topic before, therapy for many of you dictates another chazoro (review of the incident). Let’s roll back and learn more about Sedoim, Avrohom and Loit. Of course you recall that the RBSO, after having promised to no longer destroy the entire world because of licentious behavior, decided that wiping out a few cities, was within his pervue. Ober Avrohom was upset and entered into direct negotiations with the RBSO in an attempt to save Sedoim. Though an excellent negotiator, having twice traded his eishes chayil, Soro for fabulous wealth and also getting her back without having to return any of it, Avrohom saw himself as quite the trader. Still he was of course no match for the RBSO who allowed Avrohom to submit numerous offers (against himself) in his attempt to save Sedoim. 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 incidentally saving Loit, Avrohom’s nephew and his mishpocho. Exactly why Loit was deserving of being saved, ver veyst and exactly why the two virgins, were spared, also ver veyst but the stories as told by the numerous commentators, are quite thrilling.
Later that night, the guests arrived in Sedoim and met Loit who happened to be loitering (pun intended) around the city gate. Having learned hachnosas oirchim from uncle Avraham, Loit welcomed the guests to his own house and also prepared some food. The bad people of Sedoim were pissed off, they hated guests. Loit’s house was soon surrounded, the crowd demanding that Loit send out the guests so that they, the townspeople, could have their way with them. That last part mamish in the Toirah’s storyline. And what does that mean? Of course the medrish knows and suggests that they wanted to get to know them physically. And what does that mean? Says the medrish azoy: seemingly the townspeople wanted to have homosexual relations with Loit’s guests- say it’s not so please. Mishkav zochor (homosexual relations)? Were the Sodomites also yeshiva rebbes or priest, ver veyst? Did Sedoim have a pirchei or a summer sleep-away campus? Shoin, geloibt-der-abishter, the first therapists came on the scene shortly thereafter.
But Loit, our hero said no- chas’vsholom! Send out my houseguests, complete strangers that I met 20 minutes ago? Never! Instead he offered his two daughters, virgins who had never been with a man in their stead. Did we just read that correctly? Did we just read that a father offered his two virgin daughters to the entire townspeople, the Sodomites nuch der tzei (to boot)? 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 this offer?
Ober Raboyseyee, listen to this bombshell of a pshat, it’s mamish a chiddush. None of the medroshim bring this down and it could be mamish taka what happened. P’shat here is like this:Loit avada understood that the people of Sedoim were very, very bad. And avada he also understood that their preference was in fact mishkav zochor (gay sex). Turns out that Loit was a genius. Loit figured out that if he offered his two virgin daughters to this oversexed gay mob, they’d be mamish safe and for that reason, seemingly he was zoiche (worthy) to be saved. As an added reward, he also got to enjoy two virgins.
A gittin shabbis-
The Oisvorfer Ruv