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

Vo’eiro 2015 – The Yiddin Were Slaves For How Long?

squankum_shaimosBefore we begin, the Oisvorfer takes this opportunity to thank the many -hundreds mamish- who extended birthday wishes on Facebook, the site itself and of course a few in person. Special shout-outs to those who baked and delivered cakes (Anne) and/or cinnamon rugalich (Judith), weaknesses mamish. One friend who turned 50 on January 2nd – Malki- brought over a custom designed basket full of products that advanced middle aged people might need. The good news: it also contained green bananas. And a special shout-out to the shviggermeister who planned and perfectly executed a fabulous b-day bash.

Raboyseyee and Ladies:

The Yiddin were slaves for how long?

Why did the RBSO arrange things so that a great man like Moishe would be the product of a marriage which was destined to be forbidden after Matan Toirah?  After all, is one allowed to marry one’s own Tanta (aunt) even if she is smoking hot? Not! But was Moishe  married to his aunt? Of course not but the heylige Toirah tells us bifeyrush (explicitly) that his father was!  How was it that Moishe, adopted by an Egyptian Princess, weaned by his natural mother, raised as an Egyptian prince in Paroy’s castle who fled his native country as a fugitive from justice after killing a Mitzri and then married a Midianite shiksa- or according to one medrish, maybe even two different women, both not Jewish- became the designated leader of the Yiddin?  We should cover this ober Ershtens (firstly)…..Let’s begin with two comments and questions from readers, each worthy of a shout out. Reader Jeff Monsoon, somewhere in CA, sent in the following comment:

First of all, thank you for your weekly posts, I’ve been a loyal follower for 3 years now. Can’t even remember how I came across your link but I did. I had a question that’s been haunting me for years, and not sure how to approach anyone with it, but somehow feel comfortable here! When Moshe “speaks” with Hashem at the burning bush, he says something like “I have not been a man of words not today, not yesterday, and not since the time when You first spoke with your servant”…. I’ve always felt the conversation with Hashem at the burning bush place took place over at least 3-4 days, which is not the common consensus… what are your thoughts on this?

Thank you again

Jeff: Though you failed to address the Oisvorfer by his proper title, your comment was selected for a response. Nu, Reb Jeff, let’s address this question by telling you that it’s both an excellent and at the same time not such a good question. It’s excellent because your observation was discussed by a few in the medrish; they seem to agree that the conversations and the cat and mouse game between the RBSO and Moishe, which were documented in last week’s parsha, continue in parshas Vo’eira, and  did in fact take place over days, maybe a week. And,  as our parsha opens, Moishe is still resisting his marching orders from the RBSO. What’s taka 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? No-one says no to a direct order or even a request from the RBSO. No, is what you tell the eishes chayil when she asks you put the toilet seat down. And no is what the eishes chayil usually says to you, if you chap.

On the other hand………..you should have known this and had you, as you claim, taka have read last week’s review and also the review in previous years, you would  have known that the heylige Oisvorfer covered this topic. Here then a quote from last week’s review.  ”In a scene that unfolded thousands of years before the creators of Mission Impossible wrote the first scene, Moishe will be appointed messenger to bring the Yiddin out of Egypt. He will protest that he is unworthy but will be assured of Divine assistance. Says the medrish: the entire conversation lasted seven days.” Bottom line: pay attention.


Moreover, had you encountered a burning bush, if you chap, wouldn’t you have wanted the experience to last a full seven days or longer?

Said  Rabbeinu Bachye quoting a medrish we were all taught in yeshiva and likely one of the few we recall ad hayoim hazeh (until today), azoy: “The Rabbis teach us that for seven days the RBSO tried convincing Moishe to go to Mitzrayim… and when [Moishe] said ‘for I am heavy of mouth,’ they said in a medrish, ‘Moishe grew up in Paroy’s palace where as a child, he would take his zeyda’s (grandfather’s) crown and throw it onto the floor. The king wanted to sentence him to death. His astrologers taunted Paroy by saying ‘this is what we told you that he- this Moishe kid- will bring salvation to the Yiddin in the future and destroy your kingdom.’ Kill his own step-grandson? Paroy sought advice from his advisors including Yisroy, Iyov, and Bilam. One said he should be put to death, another that Moishe was but  a child lacking knowledge. What to do? They brought before [Moishe] a plate and placed a piece of gold and a fiery coal on it. They said that if he takes the gold, he has intelligence and should be put to death, but if he takes the ember, he is apparently lacking in intelligence and should be exempt from the death penalty. Ober let’s not forget that Moishe was born to Jewish blood; he went for the gold! Ober the malach (Angel) appeared and pushed Moishe’s hand causing him to grab for the coal instead. Shoin, with hot coal in his hand, he touched his mouth and seemingly, permanently blemished his lips.’

Moishe was telling the RBSO: ‘I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue from my youth and definitely now in my old age’ (he was 80 at the time.) ‘You did not heal me until now, You speak to Your servant and You command me to accept this mission?’ And says the medrish the reason why the RBSO never removed his heavy tongue and healed him is because he never prayed for it to be healed. The reason why [Moishe] never prayed [for it to be healed] was because he did not want to go [on the mission.] Shoin!

And said Rabbeinu Chananel: the reason why the verse mentions both a heavy mouth and a heavy tongue is to show us that Moishe Rabbeinu could not pronounce words clearly which had the letters zayin, shin, reish, samech, and tzadi – all letters (of the Hebrew alphabet) requiring the teeth for pronunciation. That is what the verse meant by a heavy mouth. He was also unable to pronounce the letters daled, tes, lamed, nun, and taf, letters pronounced with the tongue, which is why the verse states he had a heavy tongue.” Gishmak!

*************************************************************************************************************Dear Oisvorfer Ruv, Shlita

I started to print your Toirah recently because it’s easier to read it on paper instead of the computer screen. It also makes it possible to read it and chazzer it over in shul on Shabbos and during Shabbos meals. A Shailah arises. What to do with the printed pages when finished reading the Toirah. Are they Koidesh? Do they have to be put in Shaimos or Genizah?



Reb. Yehonasan of Cedarhurst
An Oisvorfer Chusid


Shoin, before we answer your question, some background for those in the dark. We are not permitted to erase the RBSO’s name. The issur (prohibition) to destroy or break a name of the RBSO (He has at least seven) is called Lo Sasun Kein L’Shem Elokaycheim.” Erasure says the heylige Gemora (Makos 22a, see Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 276:9.) is also prohibited. Says the Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei Hatoirah 6:1, see Sefer Hamitzvois (Rambam) lo sasei 65) that whoever destroys any of the RBSO’s names receives malkos (lashes). And says the Chinuch (mitzvah 433): the reason for this mitzvah is in order to come to fear the RBSO. And whoever is not careful with this mitzvah will have to give a din and cheshbon (an accounting) to the RBSO when they meet one day on the future.

Reb. Yehonasan: Though a shtikel sarcasm was detected in your comment, it was nonetheless forwarded by the Oisvorfer’s webmaster, the one who screens all comments and decides which to pass along and which are worthy of a response. He marked it ‘excellent question’.  Shoin, what does he know? He’s a baal tshuva and thought it was mamish a serious question. Maybe it was. Let’s taka examine this issue and also ask azoy: may we X out of our browsers after researching a shtikel Toirah on-line or learning the daf on line? Or, may we direct the browser to the next web page, effectively causing whatever is on our screen to be deleted. Is this an act or “erasure” of holy words? And the same question is posed when one downloads a dvar toirah, and already read it; can one delete the file from one’s hard drive? Moreover, should one have a hard drive, if you chap?

Shoin we all chap that we should avada X out all other forbidden sites, especially if they are marked with one X or more, and Kal Vo’choimer if the site has 2 or more X’s, if you chap. Especially after several viewings. What’s a Kal Vo’choimer? Nu, keep your pants on; we will explain very shortly as it’s relevant mamish to our parsha. Chasiddim and others do this daily. Ober may we also X out of a  d’var toirah we just researched? Is x’ing out an internet site analogous to discarding printed sheets containing holy thoughts or verses? And avada we all know that printed sheets, including those from the heylige Oisvorfer, have mamish exploded onto the scene in recent years.  What if they contain the RBSO’s name, or references to His name or even pisukim quoted from the heylige Toirah and other sources? Oy vey, what to do?

As it turns out, your question is mamish discussed by many. And to answer it, we need to introduce a concept called the Kal V’choimer (light and stringent). Interestingly enough our parsha contains 1 of only 10 Kal V’choimers that are found in all of the Toirah including the Tanach. It’s mamish bashert that you asked your question this week. So, what the hec is a Kal V’choimer and can it be treated? Is it serious? Lommer lernin (let’s learn).

Says the heylige Toirah (Shemois 6:9) that Moishe, under instructions from the RBSO, approached the Yiddin and  foretold of their redemption. We will soon look at the words he used to make this promise. Ober the Yiddin wouldn’t listen to him.  We are told that the Yiddin (Children of Israel) could not hear Moishe’s message of redemption because of “shortness of spirit and hard work.” Moishe in posik 12 wondered aloud:  “If the Children of Israel did not listen to me, how will Paroy listen to me?” In other words: it was a forgone conclusion, or a Kal Vo’choimer, that Paroy would not listen to Moishe.

And if you went to yeshiva, you should – though mistama you don’t- remember that the rebbe, when not busy beating you with his shtekin, or trying to touch you with his, if you chap, would discuss the Kal V’choimer logic with you. Moishe, in a failed attempt to get himself fired from the mission, employed the classic case of the Kal V’choimer. He made an inference from a “light” case — the Yiddin — to a “stringent” case: Paroy.

Moreover, were you to go to shul in the mornings and were you to get there timely, you would also know that following the brochos (morning blessings) we recite (we are supposed to) the Korbonois (sacrifices) during which we repeat the  “13 rules of Toirah interpretation” set down by the tannaitic sage, Rabbi Yishmoel. Shoin, I see that many of you are lost, let’s chazir over. Rebbe Yishmoel developed “the 13 rules of  Toirah Interpenetration” which have become part of the daily order of prayer, being recited at the conclusion of the sacrificial portions prior to P’sukay De’zimra, the verses and psalms of the morning service. Did you chap all that? Certainly we don’t want to confuse you anymore but you might as well know that are other rules, In fact there are other hermeneutical rules, such as the 32 rules of Medrish collected by Rebbe  Eliezer son of RebbeYosi HaGalili, but those for another day.

Shoin, back to the Kal V’choimer.  We won’t list all cases here but you need to chap that the kal V’choimer is the most important of the hermeneutical methods by which our Chochomim (sages)  derived teachings by inference even though they are not written explicitly in the Toirah text. And the Kal vo’choimer is the first of 13 rules set down by Rebbe Yishmoel.

To understand this on your level, let’s take the following moshol from everyday life. Let’s say you ask the eishes chayil if she would like to kiss you good night and let’s say she says no! Shoin: From this exchange, though you didn’t ask, we can chap that you didn’t, if you chap!! In other words:  from the negative answer you received on the lighter question (kiss), we can deduce what the answer might have been had you asked the harder question. And that moshol my good reader, though not brought down in the heylige Toirah, is a classic Kal Vochoimer

And now let’s get back to your question. You asked whether or not the Oisvorfer’s weekly parsha review could be discarded or might be considered shaymois that have to be discarded respectfully and not just thrown out with the local  weekly rags or plethora of invitations we get to dinners from organizations and schools we have no affiliation with. The critical halachic question is what to do with these weekly divrei toirah after you have read them? Can one throw them out? Can one dispose of them neatly? Must one bury them, as one must a Toirah scroll? What is the proper procedure? The Oisvorfer did some research and reports the following. it depends!

If one of the RBSO’s 7 seven names is explicitly used in Hebrew, we zicher cannot dispose of such divrei Toirah sheets except in a geniza, or perhaps to burn or bury them in a very proper manner. Moreover, says the (Ramo and Shach, (Yoreh Deah 276:10) azoy: Parsha sheets containing Toirah quotes, verses in Hebrew, even  when the name of God is used, or Hashem (written in Hebrew) and no full verses are thus cited, it is still improper to dispose of these Toirah sheets in any denigrating manner.

English dvar Toirah sheets that quote full verses of the Torah in English, and use various translations of the names of  the RBSO  but that explicitly denote the Divine in English, may not be disposed in an irreverent manner, such as placing them in a garbage can full of left over chulent or other such items; however, they need not be put in a geniza and can be disposed of in some other proper manner, such as burning in a dignified way, or even perhaps bundling them neatly together and putting them in a recycling bin or the like. Why are English divray Toirah more lenient? Because, my good chaver, when the name of the RBSO is used in a language other than Hebrew, there is no technical prohibition against erasing. That being said, it is improper to dispose of this material in an undignified manner. Moreover, one should not take such reading material into the bathroom, especially the Oisvorfer’s writings which are mamish so special and holy.  As to what to do with the local papers that also contain divray Toirah …this requires further research.

And English divrai Toirah that use the term “Hashem” for God, or refer to him as the RBSO, and which do not quote full verses of the Toirah even in English, are like any essay written about any Toirah topic which does not mention the name of God. In these cases,  it is the better practice to dispose of them in a dignified manner, but there is no requirement that they be placed in a geniza.

Shoin, let’s review:  you should, as do many others, be collecting the weekly Oisvorfer reviews because soon enough, they will all be published and available at a hefty price over on Amazon and other such fine distributors. Ober if you have already collected the writings, you will have saved yourself a small bundle. Moreover, if you regularly collect other writings, that are not as educational, humorous and entertaining, then Kal Vo’chimer, avada and avada you should not discard the Oisvorfer’s heylige reviews. Where else can you get Toirah, humor, sarcasm and  few chaps, all wrapped up in one review and all for free? No place!

As to x-ing out of the internet, and directing one’s browser to the next page, both are permissible and not considered erasure even when the RBSO’s name appears in Hebrew by one of His 7 special names. Of course the Oisvorfer is not the final arbiter on these matters; feel free to call your local rabbi.

Oy vey, the introduction already took up kimat 5 pages; let’s quickly look at the parsha and of you want more, and who doesn’t want more, if you chap, check out the archives here http://toirahruv.com/voeira-2013/  or herehttp://toirahruv.com/voeiro-2013-yichus-part-2/ Shoin, though the calendar tells us that Pesach is still a few months away, the Jewish newspapers, and internet blasts advertising Pesach Getaways and vacations where we are to recall the hardships of Mitzrayim while sitting at the pool most of  the day and roasting like chickens in the rotisserie, is in full swing. Just yesterday, email arrived form the shul asking us to place our matzo orders. Ober in parsha time, Pesach will be celebrated as early as next week. The 210 year slavery which began just last week in parshas Shemois, will be over next shabbis. In two more shabossim, the Yiddin will be dipping into the salty Yam Suf.  How is all this possible? Shoin let’s do some math.

A long time ago, way back in Sefer Bereishis, the RBSO told Avrohom that his children would be strangers in a land that does not belong to them. Of course by now we all know he meant we would be slaves. For how long? The heylige Toirah tells us that the promise was for 400 years. We also know from many other sources that Yiddin were redeemed after but 210 years. That’s of course good news. And in Toirah time, meaning coverage of these events, it all began last week and this week, seven days later, the RBSO will schmeiss the Mitzrim with 7 of the 10 plagues to be followed next week with 3 more including the big one and shoin by next shabbis the Yiddin will be packing. Of course they won’t have much time, hence their dough won’t have time to rise and shoin, the Pesach and matzo industry would be born. Of course they did have time to pack up all the gold, silver and other valuables; in fact, they cleaned out Mitzrayim.  And as we have of course said in the past, given the choice between schlepping bread and gold, the choice was rather obvious. With a loaf of bread, too much gold cannot be acquired. In any event, halevai (hopefully) we should all get over our collective tzuris which seem like 400 years in three weeks. Omen!

How did the 400 years become 210 or much less as we will soon learn? The RBSO, using Executive Powers, commuted their sentence. Shoin, generations later, our lame duck President, lehavidil, is using  similar powers to enact all sorts of laws.  Nu, we will  learn that the RBSO, as He will in many future occasions, had rachmonis (pity) on the Yiddin; enough of Paroy and his antics; it was time to let His people go. Ober it’s this week’s parsha of Vo’eiro that was the precursor of the entire Pesach economy; we might be so bold to say that a few key words in our parsha gave birth to second biggest Toirah inspired business opportunities ever. Not quite as large as big as the matzo business but zicher a close second. Let’s learn a few key pissukim form the heylige Toirah (Shemois 6:6-7) which a few Toirah inspired entrepreneurs turned into a multimillion dollar business that continues to grow yearly.

Therefore, say to the children of Israel, “I am the L-rd, and I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will save you from their labor, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a G-d to you, and you will know that I am the L-rd your G-d, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” And even Oisvorf bums like many of you, know that these pisukim contain the four expressions of geulah (freedom) and to commemorate these four expressions, our blessed sages instituted that we drink four glasses of wine on the first night of Pesach. Who instituted this and where? Shoin you can find this discussion over in the heylige Gemora (Yerushalmi Pesochim 68b).

Exactly how these four expressions of freedom morphed into vacation, food, matzo, and wine,  ver veyst, ober as the Oisvorfer has told you many times in the past: the Yiddin are very enterprising and quickly chapped that every event in the heylige Toirah was given to us by the RBSO as an opportunity. All we need to do is learn the Toirah and chap its potential. Those who studied the givaldige and emotional story of Pesach, quickly summed up the entire slavery and freedom event into one word: Money! Every part of the story has been turned into a gisheft (business opportunity). And if you missed the boat on Pesach businesses, not to worry: the entire Toirah presents many such opportunities. Avada the Oisvorfer will, in the coming weeks, have more to say about the proper way to celebrate this yom tov, mistama, from the hot tub in some hotel.

And if enough wine is not being consumed or sold, let’s not forget our obligation to also fill but not taste or drink a 5th cup, the cup of Eliyohu. And taka why do we do this?  Because there is yet a 5th expression of freedom: “And I will bring you to the land…” and since that last promise was made to all Hebrews (Yiddin) for all generations, and has yet to be fulfilled, the cup remains untasted. The 5th cup will be tasted with the coming of the Moshiach, any time now. Others suggest different reasons why we are required to drink the 4 cups. In fact, there are 4 different theories ober when it comes to drinking; everyone seems to agree that all the theories should be taken into account. In other words, says the heylige Gemora (Eiruvin 13b):  we invoke the well-known principle that when Chazal (our sages) present us with several plausible explanations, an intimate association exists between them and we invoke  the concept of ” אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים ” – both are the words of the living G-d (Eiruvin 13b). In other words: all the theories given as to why we drink 4 cups are accepted as gospel, they all reflect divine truth. And after 4 drinks, everything is true.


And speaking of being redeemed, earlier we made mention that it’s possible that the Yiddin were not really enslaved for 210 years. Is that emes? At least one source suggests that the difficult slavery in Mitzrayim lasted only 86 Years. It did? But I didn’t learn that in yeshiva, did you? And doesn’t the heylige Toirah tell us (next week) explicitly (Shemois 12, 40): ‘the habitation of the Yiddin during which they dwelled in Mitzrayim was four hundred and thirty years. How do we reconcile these numbers?  Shoin: it’s simple. And what are the numbers? Were they enslaved 400 years, 430 years, 210 years or 86 years? To reconcile this, we need to chap that the above quoted verse of 430 years represents the number that they were supposed to endure slavery. Ober the RBSO commuted that number to 210 years. Ober says the medrish (Yalkut Shimoni) azoy: they only suffered and endured hard labor in Mitzrayim for a period of 86 years and those 86 years began with the birth of Miriam. And avada we all know that the root of the name Miriam is ‘MAR’ meaning bitter. And so what? Therefore her father Amram named her “Miriam”, relating to the “bitter” conditions described in the last week’s parsha (Shemois 1, 14): …” they embittered their lives with hard work.” Veyst zich ois (apparently), the Yiddin only endured bitter slavery in Mitzrayim for 86 years, or 1/5th mamish of the 430 year initial sentence told to Avrohom by the RBSO. Is that gishmak or what?


And why did the RBSO taka take the Yiddin out so early? Nu, in the coming weeks we will learn that the Yiddin had sunk to the 49th level of Tumah, they had become fully assimilated with their captors and were doing nasty things with the hot Egyptian shiksa mydlich, if you chap. And had they sunk one more level to #50 -as low as you can go- it would have been too late. The Yiddin could not have been saved. And were that scenario to play out, the RBSO could not have chosen us; we’d be long dead and He’d be without His people. Shoin; everybody won!


And we close by answering the opening question which was so many pages, we need to repeat it. Why was Moishe, with some questionable background, chosen to lead the Yiddin out of Mitzrayim? And the answer contains fantastic new for most of you; me too.

By selecting Moishe, whose lineage was not what one would expect; the heylige Toirah is teaching us that Judaism does not view its leaders as necessarily coming from extraordinary backgrounds. They can come from humble beginnings and still attain greatness. Think Yehudah and Tamar and so many others. You hear this Raboyseyee? Notwithstanding your own backgrounds, 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 Yichus!

A gittin shabbis-

Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv

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