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

Vayero 2017 – Tongues With Mustard

This week we begin with a big, givladige, and heartfelt mazel tov to our friends, formerly of Lawrence, now firmly planted and established over in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Shuly and Ronnie Baruch, upon the engagement of their beautiful daughter Ayelet (she an Oisvorfer follower, good for her!) to Elkana Meitliss, the son of Ofra and Itzik Meitliss,  of Maale Adumim. Word has it that the soon to be married couple (January 11, 2018-Im’H, all are invited) met in Nepal over Rosh Hashono! One never knows where their bashert may be lurking.  Mazel tov to all the siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins on all sides and avada to both extended families. May Ayelet -currently studying social work at Ariel University in the Shomron and Elkana, studying education and working  as a teacher by day and bar tending in the evenings at the beer bazaar (in the Machneh Yehudah Shuk)- merit to enjoy many many decades of blissful marriage and may they merit to see children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren together.

And in other good news: a big mazel tov to our dear friends Aliza and Shlomie Liechtung upon the wedding this coming Sunday IM’H of their beautiful daughter Miki to Jon Herskowitz, son of Daphne and Neil Herskowitz. Mazel tov to Miki’s sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, and avada, the family dog. A special mazel tov shout out to Miki’s grandparents Leo and Shirley Shachter and to Charlotte Liechtung and her husband Danny Zaslowski. May Miki and Jon find true happiness together and may they merit to build a bayis neeman (and to fill it) b’yisroel!


Raboyseyee and Ladies:

Tongues With Mustard


Shoin, as Parshas Lech Lecha was coming to an end, our Zeyda Avrohom had just undergone a bris (circumcision) at the tender age of 99 years old; ouch! At least that’s what the heylige Toirah told us, as did every rebbe the Oisvorfer ever had; he had many and not all in the same yeshiva. Ober does everyone agree? Seemingly not, some say that our zeyda Avrohom was born fully circumcised. And says one medrish azoy: Avrohom, after receiving instructions from the RBSO to undergo the bris ceremony merely looked down at his mila (member), at which point, the foreskin just fell off by itself. Nu, at 99, and with extended use, es ken zeyn (possible). Ober lest you think that views of this nature went by without so much as an objection, you might find an exchange between Rebbe Abba bar Kahana and Rebbe Levi which went down azoy, quite interesting: Rebbe Abba bar Kahana said (with regard to whether or not Avrohom felt pain during his bris): He felt pain in order that the RBSO could double his reward. Seemingly, the reward for the performance of a mitzvah is increased based on how much pain one endures during its performance. Nu, anyone undergoing a bris at 99, especially when one is acting as his own Moiel, zicher deserves all the rewards possible. Ober said Rebbe Levi as quoted in the medrish (Bereishis Rabbah 47:9) something quite astonishing: Avrohom did not circumcise himself. He simply looked and found himself circumcised. OMG! Nu, upon hearing this, said Reb Birachya azoy: On that occasion, Rebbe Abbah bar Kahana cursed Rebbe Levi, saying ‘you are a liar and a cheater.’ Fighting words mamish. In yet another view of Avrohom’s bris, Rashi (Lech Lecha 17:24) offers the following understanding of what went down -or efsher more appropriately stated- what went off, and maybe did not, at Avrohom’s bris. Avrohom, upon hearing the RBSO’s instructions, grabbed a knife and also his foreskin. He was ready to cut, ober he was afraid of a bad result due to his old age. What to do?  Nu, the RBSO is avada great and He Himself sent forth His hand and held Avrohom’s foreskin together with him. All came off ok. In other words: Avrohom was not born circumcised. Rashi also brings down the medrish (Bereishis Rabba) which tells us that all Avrohom was lacking was the cutting of the flesh. In other words: Avrohom was indeed born circumcised. The foreskin was forgone, if you chap. It was “compressed” as a result of intercourse; all that was needed was a cut and the priah (the peeling back of the skin to expose the corona). Interestingly enough another heylige Gemora (Yivomis 71B) teaches us that Avrohom was not obligated to do the priya (he was only commanded to cut). Ober, let’s keep in mind that Avrohom later to be Ovenu (one of our three stemmed forefathers, avada observed the entire heylige Toirah, and certainly he wasn’t going to leave out the priya ceremony wherein the corona is exposed during the coronation. the bottom line: Which way did all this go down? Ver veyst?


In any event, whether Avrohom’s membership into the Jewish People came about after his own member was miraculously cut down to size at birth, meaning he was born circumcised, or whether he acted as his own Moiel in performing the one mitzvah the RBSO asked of him, the bottom line is azoy: As parshas Vayero opens, it’s three days later and Avrohom is sitting in, or near his tent, and recuperating from the procedure. The RBSO decided that Avrohom needed some company. Seemingly, as a result of the surgery, Avrohom was a shtikel tent-ridden. The RBSO sent down three men, or so they appeared to visit with him. In reality, so says Rashi and other commentators, the RBSO sent three angels in the guise of men. Later we will learn that one of them was the Malach Mi’cho’ale. Those of you who read last week’s mamish givaldige review, will recall that Mi’cho’ale the angel, was also one of the candidates for the role of the ‘polit,’ the unnamed fellow who came to tell Uncle Avrom (pre-bris) that his nephew Loit had been taken captive. Shoin, since Mi’cho’ale was already down on earth and had completed his assignment, the RBSO simply gave him a new one; this time he would be deployed to tell Soro that she would give birth (to Yitzchok) in one year. Lest you argue the one malach cannot perform two different assignments, shoin, many a medrish pontificates over this issue. The bottom line: according to many, the angel Mi’cho’ale was indeed one of the triumvirate of malochim the RBSO sent down disguised as wayfarers to visit the ailing Avrohom. Does everyone agree? Not! And soon – a few paragraphs veyter- you will read about a big, mamish and somewhat shocking disagreement between the RambaM (Maimonides) and the RambaN (Nachmanides), ober let’s go veyter and welcome to parshas Vayero.


Nu, Avrohom was mamish excited to receive guests and with his adrenalin flowing, he quickly forgot about his pain and busied himself with the comfort of his guests. Let’s review a few pisukim which tell us about the lavish meal Avrohom and his wife Soro then prepared and served. As an aside, our wise sages tell us that from this visit and from the way Avrohom treated his guests we can learn a few life lessons. Ershtens: when we hear that someone is ill, we should visit. Exactly on which day is naturally the subject to a machloikes (disagreement), ober all agree that one should visit the sick. Another lesson is ‘h’cnosas oirchim (welcoming and making your guests feel welcome).


In previous reviews on this parsha, we covered kimat all the major storylines a few of which are riveting mamish and zicher you should read, or at least listen, to the entire parshas this coming shabbis. Ober this year, in our eighth review of this amazing parsha, we will focus on a few pisukim found early on in Vayero. Let’s review them and lommer lernin how Avrohom went about making sure that his guests felt welcome and comfortable. Says the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 18: 3-8):


3.  And he said, “My lords, if only I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass on from beside your servant. גוַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֗י אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ אַל־נָ֥א תַֽעֲבֹ֖ר מֵעַ֥ל עַבְדֶּֽךָ:
4.  Please let a little water be taken, and bathe your feet, and recline under the tree. דיֻקַּח־נָ֣א מְעַט־מַ֔יִם וְרַֽחֲצ֖וּ רַגְלֵיכֶ֑ם וְהִשָּֽׁעֲנ֖וּ תַּ֥חַת הָעֵֽץ:
5.  And I will take a morsel of bread, and sustain your hearts; afterwards you shall pass on, because you have passed by your servant.” And they said, “So shall you do, as you have spoken.” הוְאֶקְחָ֨ה פַת־לֶ֜חֶם וְסַֽעֲד֤וּ לִבְּכֶם֙ אַחַ֣ר תַּֽעֲבֹ֔רוּ כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּ֥ן עֲבַרְתֶּ֖ם עַל־עַבְדְּכֶ֑ם וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ כֵּ֥ן תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֖ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּֽרְתָּ:
6.  And Avrohom hastened to the tent to Sarah, and he said, “Hasten three seah of meal [and] fine flour; knead and make cakes.” ווַיְמַהֵ֧ר אַבְרָהָ֛ם הָאֹ֖הֱלָה אֶל־שָׂרָ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר מַֽהֲרִ֞י שְׁל֤שׁ סְאִים֙ קֶ֣מַח סֹ֔לֶת ל֖וּשִׁי וַֽעֲשִׂ֥י עֻגֽוֹת:
7.  And to the cattle did Avrohom run, and he took a calf, tender and good, and he gave it to the youth, and he hastened to prepare it. זוְאֶל־הַבָּקָ֖ר רָ֣ץ אַבְרָהָ֑ם וַיִּקַּ֨ח בֶּן־בָּקָ֜ר רַ֤ךְ וָטוֹב֙ וַיִּתֵּ֣ן אֶל־הַנַּ֔עַר וַיְמַהֵ֖ר לַֽעֲשׂ֥וֹת אֹתֽוֹ:
8.  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. חוַיִּקַּ֨ח חֶמְאָ֜ה וְחָלָ֗ב וּבֶן־הַבָּקָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֔ה וַיִּתֵּ֖ן לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם וְהֽוּא־עֹמֵ֧ד עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם תַּ֥חַת הָעֵ֖ץ וַיֹּאכֵֽלוּ:


Let’s recall that the three guests were disguised as real people, three men. Avrohom, with help from Soro and his trusted assistant (mistama Yishmoale) prepared an excellent meal of both milichigs and fleishigs (dairy and meat). In previous reviews of this parsha, we discussed how and if Avrohom actually served them both and under what conditions. Avada you are invited and urged to visit archives at www.oisvorfer.com.


Ober this year, let’s shine a light on the last word of posik (verse 8) which tells us that Avrohom’s guests ‘ate’ the meal. Who are we to argue with the words of the RBSO? If He used to word ‘vayoichaylu’ (they ate), we have no other reason to believe otherwise. Ober does everyone agree? Of course not! And says Rashi “they gave the impression that they were eating.” And from here we learn that a person should not differ from the relevant custom. What does that mean?


STOP! and let’s read that again. Rashi says they did not eat the meal. Why not? Mistama Rashi knew that the people were not at all human: they were angels and angels don’t eat. Shoin fartig. Is there more? Indeed! Says the medrish (Medrish Rabbah 48), azoy: When one enters a town, one should follow its customs. Since there is no eating or drinking above (in heaven), when Moishe ascended the heavenly spheres, a place occupied only by angels -where he stayed 40 days and 40 nights while receiving the heylige Toirah- he did not eat or drink, and so he recounted to the Yiddin (Devorim 9:9). When in Rome, do as the Romans. Ober here on earth, the angles were now disguised as men, and since they were with Avrohom who was a mere mortal, they did act human and they ate. Ok- did they eat, or didn’t they? Says the medrish azoy: it only appeared as though they were eating. Each consecutive course was somehow removed by the angles from the table. Another medrish tells us they either moved the food off the table or they burned it. Ober what about the dictum that one should adapt to his surroundings? Nu, says another medrish (Eliyohu Rabba (13): the angels did in fact eat what Avrohom had prepared. In other words: whether they ate or not, we don’t know, and both views are seemingly kosher, efsher more kosher than what Avrohom served his guests.


Efsher you’re klerring (wondering) azoy: given that he only had three guests to serve, why are we taught that Avrohom went and collected three calves? Wouldn’t one calf suffice? And how do we know he collected three? Nu, the heylige Toirah tells us that Avrohom ran to the claves. Was it one or more? Let’s find out. Says the heylige Gemora (Buba Mitzia 86b), azoy: Rebbe Yehudah said in the name of Rav: from the description of the calf -namely by the way it is described in posik seven above, it must be the case that there were three calves involved. And in response to the question as to why three calves were needed to serve three guests when but one calf would have been more than sufficient, said Rav Chonon bar Rava (BM 86b) azoy: the reason Avrohom ran and chapped three calves was because he davka wanted to serve his choshova guests tongues with mustard. Shoin, in order for each guest to get tongue, three calves were needed. Go argue! Ober vus epes tongue with mustard? Nu, Rashi who knew everything, tells us that tongue with mustard is a delicacy of kings and princes. Personally, the Oisvorfer prefers a nice lean brisket sandwich.


One most fascinating medrish tells us that one of the calves Avrohom selected for his guests took off and ran away. What to do? Avrohom was determined to serve his guests some good tongue and gave chase. The calf ran all the way to Chevroin (Hebron) with Avrohom in hot pursuit. How far was Chevron from where Avrohom had pitched his tent in the plains of Mamrei? Ver veyst! Ober as the medrish (Pirkei D’rebbe Eleiezer) tells us, Avrohom, despite his weakened state and still bandaged from the procedure, gave chase. The calf ran all the way into the Mioras Ha’machpeylo. Upon stumbling upon this site (of course with GPS provided by the RBSO), Avrohom was overwhelmed by the sweet smell of Gan Eden (Paradise) which filled the air. He saw a light shining and had a vision that Odom and Chava (Adam & Eve) were buried there. Right then and there- Avrohom decided that he would later (next week’s parsha) purchase the cave and the land around it as a burial place for himself and his eishes chayil Soro. Yitzchok and Rivka and later Yaakov and Leah were also to be interred there. Why our arabisher (Arab) cousins think they have land claims to this land and now also the building, ver ken dus farshteyn (who can grasp)?


Shoin, earlier we mentioned a disagreement -a ginormous one- between the RambaM and the RambaN. What were they fighting about and what was said? Shoin. Let’s recall the first eight pisukim of the parsha discuss -in great detail- what Avrohom did when he lifted his eyes and noticed three men walking towards him. Let’s read the first two pisukim innaveyning.


1.  Now the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot. אוַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה בְּאֵֽלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא ישֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיּֽוֹם:

And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground.

בוַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רָץ לִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה:


Nu, we spent kimat 4 pages on discussing whether or not the people were angels, the lavish meal Avrohom prepared despite his weakened state post bris, and whether or not the guests actually ate the meal. Ober, did the entire episode even take place? What’s the question? The heylige Toirah describes the events in such colorful detail, down to the mustard for the tongues (ok, that part in the heylige Gemora): of course it took place! Did it? Nu, believe it or not, the RambaM, no lesser a giant than Maimonides himself, for whom many a hospital and school is named, and whose final rulings on how mitzvis are performed we follow, suggests that the entire eight pisukim were but a vision Avrohom had. Well, blow me down! In other words: we needn’t worry about Avrohom running around, the menu, or what they ate, or did not; the entire thing was a vision, a dream. OMG and say it’s not so please. Shoin. Efsher the RambaM so states because the first two words of the parsha taka state ‘Vayero Eylof Hashem’ (the RBSO appeared to him). And how did the RBSO appear to people? In person? Not! Only Moishe was worthy and spoken to mouth to mouth; the others merely saw the RBSO in a vision. Is the RambaM correct? Was there no meal? No guests? Gornisht? Was Avrohom efsher but delirious?

Ober the RambaN was not all happy with the RambaM’s views and after dedicating many paragraphs to analyzing the subject matter -these very eight pisukim- states with a degree of certitude azoy: “these words contradict scripture. It is forbidden to even hear them, and it is certainly forbidden to believe them! OMG! Where can one find these very words of the RambaN?  In his commentary on the heylige Toirah (Bereishis 18:1), posik one of our parsha.

Whether or not Avrohom really met up with three angels disguised as men and served them a lavish meal, or but had these visions in a dream, the bottom line is this: his actions and or his dreams were not about the narishkeyt and worse, most of you conjure up nightly, if you chap. His were lofty.  The tongue he served or envisioned was -to perform a mitzvah; is yours?


A gittin Shabbis!


The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv


Yitz Grossman


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