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

Vo’eiro 2010


My how time flies, even as a slave.  Nu, it’s but one shabbis later and it’s year 210 since the shibud (slavery) began (according to most). Late December is takeh the season for pardons and the RBSO has decided to review His original decree.  Originally set for 400 years, Moishe has been selected to be their spokesman and to get his people out of Mitzrayim – now!

This week’s parsha continues the mamish gevaldige story of the Yitziyas mitzrayim (Exodus), where the Yiddin witnessed the RBSO’s might and power as he gave Paroy and the Mitzrim a schmeissing. Once a month, for ten successive months, Moishe and his brother Aharoin were commanded by the RBSO to go to Paroy and threaten him with a different terrible plague. Zicher the RBSO does not threaten without making good, as we all know and he takeh delivered on all of them- way to go. Also in this weeks’s parsha, we’ll take a closer look at Moishe Rabaynuu’s roots, his immediate family and more…good stuff below. And before we go any further, let’s quickly chazzir (review) the end of parshas Shemois.

When last we heard from Moishe Rabaynuu, he had already had his first unsuccessful encounter with Paroy the minuvil. On his way, he barely survived the journey due to some entanglement with a malach masquerading around like a snake. His eishes chayil Tziporrah and their two children were back in Midyan safe and sound and we will not hear from or about his mishpocho for another ten months or so. In parsha time, that’s three weeks from this coming shabbis.  Aharoin the Koihen and Moishe are finally (reluctantly) committed to the job the RBSO implored them to do. Let’s learn Vo’eiro.

As we begin reading, one cannot help but wonder how and why Moishe was so reluctant to accept his role as leader and redeemer despite the fact that the RBSO spent seven days trying to convince him otherwise. Can you just imagine having a face to face encounter with the RBSO and saying no? What was he thinking, was this not the height of chutzpah? He just barely escaped being swallowed up by the snake and he has the temerity to say no to the RBSO?! Even you michutzafim (wisenheimers) wouldn’t do that! It’s not like his eishes chayil asked him to hang up his suit jacket (as an aside, nothing- well, almost nothing pisses off the eishes chayil more than suit jackets adorning dining room chairs) or to put down the toilet seat. This was the RBSO himself asking Moishe to do a job. Why did Moishe refuse to do the RBSO’s bidding? Answer: ver veist, mistama it was the RBSO’s will to strengthen his resolve.

Another very popular question in this week’s parsha is why Paroy was so severely punished when it was the RBSO that kept hardening his heart to say no. Seemingly after several makois (plagues), even he acknowledged his errant ways. Anyway…this is takeh a shverer topic (difficult) and I’ll leave it for another time…let’s instead stay focused on a topic I know that you’d zicher like to hear about: family issues.

Early in the parsha, we finally learn the identity of Moishe’s parents. If you recall, in last week’s parsha, they were just identified as a person who married the daughter of another person. Let’s please read the possik.

1. A man of the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. א. וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֵוִי וַיִּקַּח אֶת בַּת לֵוִי:

It was almost as if the toirah didn’t want us to know who his parents were. Were they nameless? Efsher, maybe in the witness protection program? Was their wedding not sanctioned? Anyway, it turns out that Moishe’s father Amram married his father’s sister Yoicheved- as the possik below states. No p’shat needed here- plain and simple the heylige toirah tells us that Moishe’s dad married his tanta (aunt). Their marriage poses a few  interesting questions.

20. Amram took Jochebed, his aunt, as his wife, and she bore him Aaron and Moses, and the years of Amram’s life were one hundred thirty seven years. כ. וַיִּקַּח עַמְרָם אֶת יוֹכֶבֶד דֹּדָתוֹ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת מֹשֶׁה וּשְׁנֵי חַיֵּי עַמְרָם שֶׁבַע וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה:

First I was wondering why the possik doesn’t mention that she also bore him Miriam, aren’t females people too? Mistama (likely) you’re wondering how Amram could marry his aunt. Doesn’t the heylige Toirah prohibit a physical relationship with one’s aunt {Leviticus 18:12}? Yet we read that is precisely what Amram did and had; he married his Tanta Yoicheved. Then again….the early relationships that produced Yitzchok and the twelve shevotim (tribes) of Yankiff (Yisroel) were all (later) forbidden by the Toirah. Zicher (surely) you recall Avraham’s marriage to his half sister Sarai. {Leviticus 18:11}. Moreover, Yankiff’s marriage to four sisters was over the top and also forbidden. What’s p’shat?  Avada you know that following the giving of the Toirah on Har Seenai, marriage with one’s tanta (aunt) is regarded as incestuous.

Ober (but) don’t let your minuvildike minds wander too far and don’t think that cholila (heaven forbid) our heylige Ovois entered into illicit relationships. Don’t go around thinking that you have a free pass to enjoy forbidden fruit, you chazzir (swine). The answer is so simple and we’ve covered it numerous times. According to our Chachomim (Sages) each of these relationships occurred prior to the giving of Toirah, and as a result was not improper…. or were they? According, however to those who suggest that Avraham, Yitzchok and Yankiff all kept the entire Toirah before it was given, this would takeh be a kasha.

We have to conclude therefore that from Creation through the lives of Avraham,Yitzchok and Yankiff and through all the years in Mitzrayim, observing the Toirah as we do (should) today, was not required. The Toirah was given 193 years after Yankiff’s passing and only after the Yiddin were freed.

Avada you’re also wondering why the RBSO arranged it so that a great man like Moishe would be the product of a marriage which is destined to be forbidden after Matan Toirah. Even you oisvorfs wouldn’t dream about marrying your aunt, even if she was smoking hot, would you? Guess what – you’re not alone- as many of the midroshim deal with this topic. Nonetheless, it’s still somewhat bewildering.

Ramban, in answering why Moishe’s parents weren’t mentioned last week, suggests azoy: that at the time of Moishe’s birth, the Toirah narrative did not wish to interrupt with a lengthy description of his lineage. The main objective was to relate the story of Moishe, destined for greatness, chosen to lead the nation to its redemption. In this week’s parsha, there would be an opportunity to delineate Moishe’s background and give, his parents a shout out in the toirah. Like that p’shat? Not terrible but the next one is perfect for you oisvorfs- halt kup (pay attention)!

Another p’shat: the Toirah specifically did not want to mention Moishe’s lineage in order to show that Judaism does not view its leaders as necessarily coming from extraordinary backgrounds. They can come from humble beginnings and still attain greatness. You hear this Raboyseyee? Notwithstanding your own backgrounds (and avada mine), it’s not too late for your kinderlach (maybe even you) to achieve greatness. Not just isn’t it too late, but it could happen despite your chazeerish behavior to date; could there be better news for you other than a heter (allowance) on Pilagshim (concubines) or winning the lottery? So much for Yicchus!

Yet more support for this view: Because no man is appointed as an authority over the community unless there is something objectionable in his past, lest he lord over the community. I don’t know who wrote or said that, just sounded good for this sugya (topic)  Zicher (certainly) we see this in the case of Dovid Hamelech (King David), who was descendant from the legally questionable marriage of Boiaz and Rus (Ruth). You hear this chevra? Seemingly the toirah likes imperfections, maybe not yours in particular but seemingly it’s the imperfections that could lead to greatness. What could be better? Want more, here we go.

Says the Zoihar on the question of why Amram was only mentioned by name in this week’s parsha and only by the appellation ‘ish.’ last week, azoy and gives two answers.  First, it was not Amram who went and took a daughter of Levi, rather it was the Malach (angel) Gavriel who went and took Yoicheved, and brought her back to Amram after he had divorced her. Second, that Amram did not go on his own volition. Rather it was the RBSO through His divine providence who moved Amram to remarry Yoicheved and who went together with him. This explanation may reflect the midrash cited in Rashi that Amram acted based on a prophecy told over to him by his daughter Miriam, that the son born from his remarriage would redeem the Jewish nation. Thus the RBSO went with Amram when he remarried Yoicheved in the sense of motivating his actions. Therefore, he is referred to as ‘ish,’ meaning Gavriel, denoting the element of divine providence behind what transpired. Gevaldig mamish and in line with what I always teach: the RBSO is the master puppeteer, we just dance along.

Whatever, at least we find out in the parsha that Amram and Yoicheved were takeh his parents. But stop the presses! Did any of you oisvorfs ever hear of Eldad and Meidad?

I didn’t think so and I interrupt the story of Moishe and his immediate family with this sidebar. According to Yonasan ben Uziel, they were brothers, and sons of Elitzafon bar Parnach, who would later be appointed Nasi of Zevulun in the fortieth year in the desert, before entering Eretz Yisrael. Got all that? Excellent! So what you ask? Why am I mentioning them here when they don’t make a Toirah appearance until Sefer Bamidbar? Well, strange as it may sound, they were actually the half brothers of Moishe and Aharoin.  How could this be you ask?

What? Moishe had half brothers? And how could Yoicehved remarry Amram after she had married this Elitzafon character? Isn’t this – the remarrying of the ex eishes chayil vebotton after she married someone in between? (As an aside, it seems perfectly kosher to remarry the eishes chayil as long as she was only cavorting (shtupping) with others while divorced but chas v’sholom- if she marries in between. In that event- the ex husband cannot remarry the ex wife.  Grada (it so happens) I think I remember learning that the toirah shebichsav (written) allows a man to remarry his wife after he divorces her, even if she’s married someone else in between. This was prohibited later to prevent people like you from using this as a loophole to engage in illicit behavior (wife swapping).

Again Raboyseyee, you already know the answer to this question: it all took place before matan toirah, hence there was no issur (ban) by some Rabbi.  Ober, how was there time for her to conceive and give birth to two children? How long she was divorced? And doesn’t the gemorah state that Amram’s actions led to a mass divorce movement — all husbands followed his lead and divorced their wives as well (Sotah 12). It doesn’t make sense that someone would buck the trend and marry Yoicheved. Nu- excellent questions but who are you to argue with the medrish, especially targum Yoinoson, the expert on marriage.

Halt kup here:  Avada you recall that when Paroy decreed that all male children be drowned Amram divorced Yoicheved, which started a movement that others followed, so says the heylige Gemorrah. It took the cajoling of Miriam to re-unite her parents, leading ultimately to Moishe’s birth. Yoicheved took advantage of her divorce and single status, and quickly married Elitzaphon bar Parnach.  Eldad and Meided are offspring from that marriage! That makes them- Moshe, Aharoin, and Miraim’s half brothers. All this before she somehow got divorced and remarried Amram and gave birth to Moishe Rabaynuu. Avada you’re thinking holy___, how could this be?  This is mamish incomprehensible from both a halachic and a practical point of view. We’re takeh left with many questions including a) when did Amram remarry her? b) How could he remarry her? And c) When was Moishe born?) This is particularly astonishing in light of other Chazal, who maintain that Amram took Yoicheved back almost immediately.

Oy vey iz mir, what the hec went down here? Since this p’shat is indeed difficult, let’s try another. It is more likely therefore, that Elitzafon bar Parnach married Yoicheved after Amram’s death as does state Rashi  in Maseches Rosh Hashanah. Finally the Da’as Zekeinim mi’Ba’alei Tosfos suggests that Amram divorced Yoicheved (his aunt) only after Matan Torah, when the halachos of incest were taught and she became forbidden to him. And that was when Elitzafon bar Parnach married her. He ends this topic with a quote from a person named Hillel stating… “I Hillel saw the tombstone of Eldad and Meidad, and it said on it Eldad and Meidad brothers of Aaron from 1 father!” Want to buy a bridge? Grada (it so happens) that few buy into this tombstone sighting.

How is this possible you might ask since the toirah was given in the 3rd month after Yetzias Mitzrayim, and the episode of Eldad and Meidad (their prophecies) took place in the 2nd year after Yetzias Mitzrayim; consequently they were less than 1 year old?!!

Takeh a good question but hey, it’s the medrish and anything goes. Of course there is no consensus but there is yet another opinion brought down by the Medrish Tanchuma  who says that Eldad and Meidad were neither brothers, nor were they related to Moishe and Aharoin, were they but fictional characters? Ver veyst (who knows)? Nu- we got so busy with this narishkeyt (silliness), we mamish forgot to discuss the makois that the RBSO showered upon the Mitzrim. We’ll just spend a quick moment on the first- Dam (blood)- don’t you remember anything, you idiots?

We learn that the RBSO brought a total of seven makois in this week’s parsha, the first being the plague of blood. We all avada know that Moishe did not hit the water himself since the water saved his life when he was placed into the Nile by his mother. The yalkut points out that one reason the water turned to blood in the first makkah was because the Egyptians had not allowed the Neshay Chayil (Jewish women) to immerse themselves following their menstrual cycles. And since they seemingly kept this law even before matan toirah (here we go again), the women could not have physical contact with their husbands and as a result, very few children were born to the Israelites. This transformation of water into blood was takeh a fitting punishment, a reminder of the menstrual blood that could not be purified. Wow- what a beautiful p’shat but didn’t we learn just last week that the same Yalkut said that the women of Israel were indeed so fertile that they had 6 or 12 or even 60 at a time? And didn’t he also say (last week) that the women went down to the fields and seduced their husbands? Nu- what a difference a week makes.

Grada the Yiddin, enterprising as they were mamish enjoyed this first plague. They found a way to make a few extra bucks in mitten drinen (while all this was going on) How? Says the Midrah Rabba azoy: If an Egyptian and an Israelite were in one house where there was a barrel full of water, and the Egyptian went to fill a pitcher, he would discover that it contained blood; but the Israelite would drink water from the same barrel. If the Egyptian said to him: “Draw me some water with your own hand,” and the Israelite gave it to him, it became blood. Even if he said to him, “Let us both drink from one vessel,” the Israelite would drink water but the Egyptian would drink blood. Only when he had bought the water from the Israelite for money was the Egyptian able to drink water, and in this way the Israelites became rich.  Ut a zoy (that’s how its done)!! Seemingly, way before Poland Springs and myriad other branded waters; the B’nai Yisroel knew there was a fortune to be made in selling drinking water. What a p’shat, nu- is it a wonder, the Jews are so hated?

A gitten shabbis and a avada: a happy New Year!

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