We begin this week with two mazel tov shout-outs. First to our friends Alyssa and Chaim Winter and to their machatunim the Frohlingers, we wish a very hearty mazel tov on the elegant and spirited wedding of their beautiful daughter Lauren and Yoni. Nicer people, hard to find. A good time was had by all.
Next, we wish a special mazel tov to our good friends Malki and Phil Rosen who will be walking their beautiful daughter Rachel down the aisle this coming Sunday evening. The Oisvorfer is a huge Rachel fan and had the great pleasure of watching her grow up kimat since birth. Rachel will be marrying Shai Peyser, son of Mindy and Allen Peyser, also very good friends of the Oisvorfer. We look forward to attending this great event. The Oisvorfer will be speaking at the sheva brochis this coming Monday evening: all are invited. Call Bonnie Schertz for reservations.
Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
Aharoin and Moishe and their magical shtekins (staffs) but first……..
While most of you already forgot or never knew that Tuesday night was nittel nacht (nittel night), the Oisvorfer recalled his youth when learning the heylige Toirah on this evening was mamish ossur (verboten). What the hec is nittel nacht and is it at all even remotely possible that learning the heylige Toirah is not permitted? Aren’t we commanded to delve into it day and night? Nu, according to the goyim (Christians), Jesus, a nice Jewish boy from mistama a good home, was born on the evening of the 24th of December- happy birthday by the way- and for a variety of reasons, mostly made up and found nowhere in halocho, his birthday and not learning have somehow become connected. Why, ver veyst and none of the explanations ever proffered, made much sense. But, if you come from Brooklyn, and went to yeshiva there altz kint (as a child), zicher you might recall that nittel was strictly observed and still is. On that night we were told, even instructed, to stay indoors, play cards, or do anything else but learn Toirah. Of course, we didn’t have to be told twice; it was the only rule we enjoyed and observed religiously and little else made us kids happier. Some suggest that learning is not allowed until midnight, others suggest that it’s ossur the entire evening and some that are very strict, many in the Oisvorfer community, observe nittel the entire year; yikes! Mistama you think the Oisvorfer is in gantzen mishuga and are wondering what Jesus’s birthday has to do with learning the heylige Toirah ober rest assured that nittel is, albeit made up by a few rabbis of generations ago, very much real. You can google nittel and read on for pages. Ober the Oisvorfer feels that the need to learn and teach the heylige Toirah zicher overrides nittel, and therefore, instead of playing poker online, surfing the internet and/or watching Homeland, Masters of Sex and other such givaldige series on Showtime, that he would instead spend the night learning the parsha. Hence, the Toirah is somewhat early this week. Enjoy!
At the very upbeat and beautiful Winter/Frohlinger wedding earlier this week, the Oisvorfer ran into an occasional reader now living over in Beit Shemesh who told the Ruv that he mamish enjoyed last week’s medrish about the shtekin (staff) that was planted in Yisroy’s garden, the one that magically rose for Moishe (see last week’s Toirah at www.oisvorfer.com ). Many garden variety shtekins have risen since, though some with assistance, if you chap and this week, among other topics, we’ll be introduced to another shtekin. This one belonged to Aharoin, Moishe’s older brother. Seemingly he and Moishe each had their own, according to some but zicher not all opinions. And as to whose performed better magic, that is certainly open to debate, one we cannot resolve until later on in Parshas Koirach where Aharoin’s shtekin goes and grows nuts. Ober that’s still a few months away. Shtekins play a significant role in the heylige Toirah which tells us that Yaakov had one, as did Aharoin and according to the medrish, many others including Odom Horishoin (Adam). Let’s avada not forget that Yehuda had his own and based on what we have previously learned, he did some mighty fine stick work with it. This week, shtekins will take center stage and under the RBSO’s instructions, will perform magical tricks intended to spook the Mitzrim (Egyptians). Avada we all also know that in the wrong hands, shtekins, can also wreak havoc, if you chap. In a few weeks we will again learn that the misuse of the shtekin led to the revocation of Moishe’s visa into the Promised Land. Seemingly, shtekin abuse has and continues to be a problem for many ad hayoim hazeh (until today), if you chap. More on that below.
Also this week, at the very same wedding, the Oisvorfer was introduced to a California based fan who, with his chaverim oisvorfs, read, review, study, enjoy and discusses the heylige Toirah weekly over in Beverlywood. Chazak: the pleasure was mutual. Teaching parsha with real medrish and humor is proving to be a givaldige recipe and certainly better than the shtekin recipe the rebee used in his feeble attempt to teach and also get close, if you chap. Let’s learn some parsha ober ershtens. Also at the wedding, one of the Oisvorfer’s favorite cousins (Sharon) admitted that she stopped mamish reading the weekly Toirah because she doesn’t speak a word of Yiddish and suggested that a glossary of Yiddish words and their translation be added. The Oisvorfer is considering.
This week, the RBSO, after a final warning, begins flexing His muscles and by the time the parsha is over, the Mitzrim will have experienced seven of the 10 Makois (plagues) the RBSO has planned. Paroy and the Mitzrim are in for a good schmeissing.
Last week: The foundation was laid for the greatest myseh she’hoyo (true story) of Yitzyas Mitzrayim (Exodus). Books and movies would follow. The Yiddin had become enslaved, 210 years of back braking labor went by in a few pisukim (verses), and given that we always read parshas Vo’eiro in either late December or early January, the season when talk of clemency and commutations in is the air, the RBSO, issued the first ever in deciding it was time to end the slavery. Paroy the minuvil had become accustomed to slave labor and had other ideas. Moishe was appointed to make exit and travel arrangements for the Hebrews, seemingly so too was his older brother Aharoin. He was? Once a month, for ten successive months, Moishe and his older 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, a concept that should send shivers down the spines of chazerim like yourselves and as expected, the RBSO made good on all of them. Though Moishe is the leading character and gets top billing, Aharoin was no slouch; it appears that he was more than a supporting assistant. Nu, soon we’ll dig tiffer (delve) into his role.
Though we’re still a good few weeks from Purim, Pesach is already in the air. The weekly papers are already full of ads offering givaldige programs, speakers, matchmakers, 24 hours tea room, sun deck massages and everything else a person could want or imagine, all to help properly celebrate yitzias Mitzrayim; of course you can read the parsha over and again and save yourselves and the shver many thousands of dollars.
In two more weeks, the Yiddin will be free ober chap nisht. This week’s parsha also contains those four magical words: the reason we get to drink four cups of wine on Pesach, and travel to hotels all over the world for this special Yom Tov. Exactly how we commemorate the hardships the Yiddin suffered by falling asleep at the Seder table, complaining bitterly about the two and sometimes three day yom tov, stuffing our faces at the buffet as if it was a last meal, interrupted only by multiple trips to the tea room and bathroom, nu, this is yet to be fully understood. Ober early Toirah inspired entrepreneurs already chapped that this entire Exodus myseh (story) meant one thing only: big business. From books and movies, to the yearly printing of the Hagodo Shel Pesach in every size, color and variety, to the entire wine and matzo business, hotels, travel, clothing, and of course the Afikoimon, no other holiday entails so much money as does Pesach: there’s no business like Peach business! Of course it’s also important to eat out in your favorite restaurant a few days before and after. The Oisvorfer will avada have more to say on this topic ober not today.
When last we heard from Moishe Rabaynu, he had already been snake bitten twice. As parshas Shemois was coming to an end, so almost did Moishe’s life. He barely survived the journey to Mitzrayim due to some entanglement with a malach in the form of a snake that according to Rashi, quoting the medrish, told us that Moishe was swallowed up from his head to his eyver (penis) by one snake and from his toes to his eyver by the other. That really happened? Ver veyst but so says Rashi and who knew better? And avada you recall that last week Moishe had his first unsuccessful encounter with Paroy the minuvil. His eishes chayil Tzipoirah 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. Were they? Let’s learn Parshas Vo’eiro.
As the parsha opens, Moishe is still resisting his marching orders. What’s pshat that Moishe tried talking his way out of the assignment? 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 with his life after being swallowed up by the snake and he has the temerity to say no to the RBSO?! It’s one thing to ignore the eishes chayil, ober the RBSO? Why did Moishe refuse to do the RBSO’s bidding? Ver veyst: mistama this was, as is everything else, just part of the big plan and who says we have to understand? Our job is but to believe.
And just last week, Moishe had his first encounter with the RBSO at the Burning Bush. There he was instructed to accept the job offer and go save the Yiddin from slavery. Moishe resisted and came up with excuses as to why he wasn’t fit for the job. In fact, unlike the missing details of Moishe’s life, the subject of Moishe’s interviews for the redeemer job is covered in great detail. One can mamish feel each experience as Moishe debated the RBSO and told Him that he is not qualified. Said Moishe brazenly: I have a speech impediment. Believe it or not, the RBSO accepted the argument and instructed Moishe to bring along his older brother Aharoin, who would act as his mouthpiece. Moishe went with representation; was Aharoin the world’s first ever attorney, ver veyst? Moishe and Aharoin did their job and told the Yiddin they came to save them from bondage. The people believed. Ober their first Paroy encounter did not go as planned. Aharoin spoke and Moishe performed the given signs as instructed. Some of course say that Aharoin did the signs as well. Who did them? Ver veyst? Were we there? No! Paroy wasn’t impressed and refused to let the people go.
Ober the RBSO made up His mind: the Yiddin were to go free and Moishe had a job to do. Ober Moishe repeated his last argument. Said he: the Yiddin did not listen to me, Paroy certainly won’t. Moishe came back with the same speech impediment argument (Vo’eiro 6: 10-12). The RBSO listened and again commanded Moishe to go and Aharoin would be his spokesman (6; 13).
Of course a few taka wonder why we have so much detail. Every argument between the RBSO and Moishe is repeated and visualized. A few are also wondering why it was necessary for the heylige Toirah which doesn’t have any extra words- some say not even one extra letter- to tell us twice that Aharoin was hired for the same job. And taka asks the Rashbam: this is the same event that took place in last week’s parsha, why repeat it here? Seemingly, most others suggest that indeed Aharoin was hired twice.
Says the RambaN: In the beginning, Moishe refused and the RBSO sent Aharoin with him. Moishe thought that Aharoin would act as his spokesman all the time. Ober as parshas Vo’eiro begins, the RBSO was talking to Moishe alone and this time Moishe listened and went alone. But the Yiddin didn’t listen. Then the RBSO commanded Moishe to go to Paroy without mentioning Aharoin’s participation. At that point Moishe realized that the RBSO may have fired Aharoin and he was to go alone. Moishe pulled out the same trick suggesting to the RBSO that he, Moishe, does not speak well, that his lips were uncircumcised and attributed the refusal of the Yiddin to listen, to his speech impediment. Said the RBSO: Moishe will appear in front of Paroy. There he will speak to Aharoin who will repeat the words to Paroy. Aharoin was rehired and became a partner in the redemption.
And says the RambaN azoy: it was an honor to Moishe that he would speak to Paroy through a spokesman. Moishe deserved this because of his extreme modesty. Seemingly, because of his modesty, he attributed the refusal of the Yiddin to listen, to his speech impediment rather than the low level of belief that the generation had. Of course you recall that they had sunk to the 40th level of impurity, whatever that means, maybe it impaired their hearing. Therefore, the RBSO sent Aharoin with Moishe to serve as spokesman.
Avada we all know that Moishe was the appointed leader of the Yiddin. The heylige Gemora refers to him with appellation Rabaynu, the quintessential rabbi/leader, possessing abilities beyond those of most mortals. He was the leader, prophet, and co-redeemer of the Yiddin. Israel. Did the Oisvorfer just call him co-redeemer? Indeed he did. Though the movie version had Moishe doing all the heavy lifting and Aharoin kimat (nearly) nothing, it does appear from the words of the heylige Toirah that his older brother Aharoin, was mamish a partner in the process.
Was it not Aharoin who cast down his shtekin when he and Moishe made their first Paroy appearance? Indeed it was and zicher you recall how Aharoin’s shtekin turned into a serpent. Though this little trick didn’t impress Paroy’s sorcerers and magicians, they were a shtikel more impressed when his shtekin/serpent then swallowed their rods. And where was Moishe? Seemingly but standing by and watching the action unfold. Zicher you shouldn’t think that the Oisvorfer is trying to chas v’sholom belittle Moshe’s role and importance, that’s not on the table. What is begin suggested is that Aharoin was more than a minor player and was seemingly hired not once but twice by the RBSO Himself to work closely with Moishe in extracting the Yiddin from Mitzrayim.
Says the RambaM in one of his 13 Principles of Faith azoy: we believe that Moishe’s prophecies are true, and that he was the greatest of the prophets. Where can we find that and why don’t you know this? Why? Because you are mamish an oisvorf and a bum and don’t ever bother to look past the Olaynu prayer in your siddur. Nu, if only you would turn another few pages, there you will find a listing of mamish all 13 of the Rambam’s Principles. Why very few read these, ver veyst.
Earlier we mentioned that Moishe is referred to as Moishe Rabaynu (our teacher/ Rabbi). Interestingly, the gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew letters of these two words is 613, mamish the number of mitzvois the RBSO taught him and that he taught the Yiddin during the Midbar trek of 40 years. And taka just last week at the shabbis tish, besides talk of how bad the Giants, Jets, Kicks and Nets were playing and after all the loshoin horo was exhausted, the mishpocho was discussing the fact that Moishe is described as the only person who ever knew the RBSO face-to-face (Devorim. 34:10) and mouth-to-mouth (Bamidbar 12:8), which means that the RBSO spoke to Moishe directly, in plain language, not through visions and dreams, as He communicated with our Ovois (forefathers) and other Niviim (prophets). Nu, back to Aharoin.
Who initiated the makois (plagues), Moishe or Aharoin? Nu lommer lernin (let’s learn). Said the RBSO (Shmois7:19-20). “Say to Aharoin: take your rod and hold out your arm over the waters of Egypt — its rivers, its canals, its ponds, all its bodies of water — that they may turn to blood; there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.” Moishe and Aharoin did just as the RBSO commanded: he lifted up the rod and struck the water in the Nile in the sight of Paroy and his courtiers, and all the water in the Nile was turned into blood…Seemingly, it was Aharoin that executed. Veyter: Aharoin held out his arm over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. And again for mako (plague) number three: Aharoin held out his arm with the rod and struck the dust of the earth, and vermin came upon man and beast; all the dust of the earth turned to lice throughout the land of Egypt. (Shmois 8:13). As an aside, it was the RBSO that initiated the plagues of wild animals and pestilence, both Moishe and Aharoin together initiated boils — this is the first time Moishe steps into this role. Moishe did initiate the plagues of hail and locusts, these two on his own. The emes is that from reading these events, it might suddenly appear that Aharoin’s role is far greater and efsher even more significant, than he is usually credited with having.
Ober says the heylige Toirah (Vo’eiro 6:26-27) “This is Aharoin and Moishe to whom The RBSO said: ‘Take the Children of Israel out of Egypt according to their legions.’ They are the ones who spoke to Paroy, king of Egypt, to take the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; this is Moishe and Aharoin.”
Ober which was it? Aharoin and Moishe or Moishe and Aharoin? Who was the greater and who got top billing? Says Rashi: throughout the Toirah, there are places where the Toirah puts Moishe’s name before Aharoin’s, and other times that the Toirah chooses to write Aharoin’s name before Moishe’s. Why? Says Rashi: to convey that they, Moishe and Aharoin were equal in significance. Case closed, seemingly they were equal partners.
Says the Kli Yakar azoy: as we review the entire redemption story, one quickly concludes that Moishe was the main protagonist. He met the RBSO at the s’neh (the burning bush) and was the one specifically appointed by The RBSO Himself as the RBSO’s redeemer messenger. Burning bushes don’t appear regularly, if you chap. And of course he was destined to lead them to Har Sinai to get the heylige Toirah and for the ensuing 40 years. Ober in order to counter such a perspective of the story, the Toirah goes out of its way to tell us that indeed Aharoin played just as much an important role as Moishe.
On the other hand, the heylige Toirah also refers to them as “Moishe and Aharoin”, placing Moishe first so that we taka don’t think that just because Aharoin did most, if not all the talking and also a few makois with his shtekin, that he, maybe because of Moishe’s speech impediment, was the lead redeemer. In other words: they were both great and maybe equal. On the other hand, though Aharoin did most of the talking, seemingly the RBSO treated Moishe differently than any other human being. Do you know anyone that ever seen or encountered a burning bush? Case closed, if you chap.
Though you likely don’t ever get to and zicher not past Olaynu in the siddur, efsher you do recite the Yidgal from time to time and we will close with this quote from the siddur. “There was never anyone in the Jewish people as great as Moishe, nor will there ever be.”
A gitten shabbis
The Oisvorfer Ruv