We begin this week with big and hearty mazel tov wishes to our long time friends Beth and Yehudah Honig upon the engagement of their son Josh (OMG) to Natalie Wizman, she the daughter of Dalit and David Wizman. Was it just yesterday that we attended Josh’s bris and bar mitzvah? Grada, the Oisvorfer recalls attending Beth and Yehudah’s wedding back in 1987, exactly one week following his own. The entire elegant wedding is being sponsored courtesy of American Express, if you chap; all are invited.
Raboyseyee and Ladies
Moishe: Part Circumcised, Part Not.
Shoin, let’s open with this givaldige note from a reader who in response to last week’s shtikel debate of Torah vs. Gimlus Chasodim (studying the heylige Toirah vs. spending time doing acts of kindness.) had this to say: “They are on equal footing: The RBSO assigns the same credit to both and I have proof.” Shoin when someone states with certitude that one has proof and can solve a debate that’s been raging for centuries, avada we must take pause and listen. And that’s exactly what the Oisvorfer did. Grada it’s rare that someone can prove any position to be correct; there are just too many ways to interpret these medroshim and other sources and unless it’s a black and white halocho, how does one go about proving that his theory might be the absolute irrefutable emes mamish? Nu, when pressed for proof, he stated azoy: “I’ll prove it with a Gematria -meaning using numerology. If you take the gematria of the word Toirah -using the Hebrew letters avada- you will find azoy. Toirah is spelled with a Tuf, Vov, Reish, and Hey. Next: take the numerical value of each letter and add them up. You will get 611. Nu, for our non-observant and maybe not Jewish readers, let’s break it down further. Every letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a corresponding numerical value. The aleph =1 and so on. Applying the numbers, let’s now take a look at the word ‘Torah’. The Tuf = 400, the Reish = 200, the Vov=6 and the Hey=5. Shoin, when totaled they come to 611. So far so good. Now…take the words Gimulus Chasodim (acts of kindness) and let’s add the value of each of the letters. Gimilus Chasodim is spelled azoy: Gimmel=3, Mem=40, Yud=10, Lamed=30, Vov =6 and Tuf =400. They total 489. Add Chosodim which is spelled: Chet=8, Samach=60, Daled=4, Yud =10, and Mem sofit=40. Add them up and amazingly, Gimilus Chasodim also comes to 611. And in the world of gematrias, when two different words have the same numerical value, they are mamish related. Case closed! Gishmak mamish! Can we therefore suggest that if one spends his life performing acts of kindness it is considered in the eyes of the RBSO as if he is keeping the entire Toirah? Why not?
Before we begin our review of parshas Vo’eira (our sixth), let’s quickly chazir a few highlights from parshas Shemois. After all, the first four parshas of Exodus are all about the redemption process and its execution. The events of these few parshas will give birth to the very expensive Yom Tov (holiday) of Pesach and will in future generations create more jobs for more Yiddin than any other Yom Tov. In fact, as we have previously reviewed, Pesach is big business, very big, and over the generations, Toirah- inspired entrepreneurs have figured it all out. This leaving Mitzrayim myseh will inspire books, movies and industries mamish. Somehow, our rabbis decided that in order to properly celebrate yitzyas mitzrayim (Exodus), the Yiddin must eat and drink heartily. Four cups of wine at each Seder. The Yiddin have taka been eating and drinking diligently and with gusto. Many are more machmir; they eat and drink all year round. And taka mamish on cue, the Jewish newspapers are filled with ads for kosher Pesach programs all over the world. How Toirah inspired entrepreneurs connected freedom from slavery with drinking, eating, travel to exotic locations and hotels all over the world, and some mixed swimming, ver veyst? How they connected four random words found in this week’s parsha with the consumption of wine -four full cups plus whatever one feels like drinking between the first and second and second and third- ver veyst? We will taka begin this week with a review of what a few had to say about these four words. It’s doubtful that any other four words in the heylige Toirah were exploited for so many hundreds of millions of dollars. Ober ershtens (firstly)….
Just last shabbis, we read how the RBSO commuted the 400 year sentence He had forecasted to Avrohom Ovenu, to a more manageable 210 years. Seven days have passed since we reviewed parshas Shemois, so have 210 years; it was time for the RBSO to extract His people and punish the oppressors. To execute the plan, He arranged for the birth of Moishe to a mother who may have been 130 years old. Grada when Soro became pregnant and delivered Yitzchok at age 90, a big deal was made of her pregnancy, ober, when Yoicheved suddenly resumed menstruating and became pregnant with Moishe, gornisht (nothing). Anyway, Moishe as we all know was fetched from the water, rejected the breasts of the various shiksa whet nurses and was in the end, raised in the kings palace. To make Paroy in gantzin mishuga, He planted our savior in the King’s palace. Though Moishe was raised by Paroy’s shiksa daughter and mistama grew up surrounded by Mitzri friends in school and play time, he had special warm feelings for the Yiddin. We can kler this came about as a direct result of the cholov yisroel breast milk he was being weaned on by his real mother Yoicheved who was hired by Bisya to feed and nurture baby Moishe. After a violent start to his career -he killed a Mitzri- and being on the lam for decades, Moishe, now married with kinderlach and busy as a shepherd for his shver Yisroy, had an encounter at a burning bush, an event that zicher intrigued him. Who among us wouldn’t be, if you chap? It’s not every day that the average person encounters a burning bush, no matter the cost, if you chap. Shoin, after negotiations with the RBSO to lead the Yidddin out of Mitzrayim, Moishe grudgingly accepted.
Why the RBSO selected Moishe, the product of a suspicious and questionable marriage between Amrom and Yoicheved, was previously covered and if your interests are piqued by their, and other such relationships from whence great and famous leaders of the Yiddin were selected, you should visit the site –www.oisvorfer.com/ and click on archives.
Shoin, before leaving Midyan for Mitzrayim to execute the mission, Moishe was given a shtekin (staff) by his shver Yisroy, maybe as a wedding gift -and was good to go. We previously mentioned a Mishne (Ovois 5:6) which tells us that Moishe’s staff was created by the RBSO on day six of creation and put aside by the RBSO for use at a later date. This very staff was passed along to many Toirah personalities. In the end, it was Moishe’s to use and abuse. He did both. So have many since, if you chap. Thankfully the RBSO gave us Yoim Kippur to wipe the slate clean. That same Mishne will tell us that the mouth of the donkey too was one of the 10 items created on that very day, also for later use. And says the medrish, Pirkei Di Rebbe Eliezer (Ch 31) so gishmak azoy: Following Moishe’s appointment to lead the Yiddin out of Mitzrayim, Moishe returned to Midyan, saddled up his donkey (Shemois 4:20), and placed his wife and kids and mistama himself onto the donkey. They were off to Mitzrayim to meet Paroy for the first time in decades. As an aside, we learned that he arrived to Mitzrayim without his eishes chayil and kids; they were seemingly unceremoniously dumped along the way. We will next be hearing about her and the boys in parshas Yisroy, stay tuned. Did the boys enroll at the famous yeshiva of Shem and Ever? Ver veyst but mistama not. Seemingly his boys were unremarkable and maybe even less than that. Ober what’s so unique about that donkey? Says the medrish azoy: The donkey Moishe was riding on, was born to the donkey created on the 6th day of creation and is the very donkey that Avrohom Ovenu saddled up as he prepared to take his favorite son Yitzchok to the Akeydo (binding). Veyst zich ois (apparently), this donkey was zoiche (merited) to have arichas yomim (long life) and generations later reappeared to carry the Moishe Rabaynu family out of Midyan. Gishmak but wait; there’s more. This very donkey will carry the Moshiach as he comes riding into town; may it happen really soon! Gishmak.
Shoin, Moishe followed orders, appeared to Paroy who despite the bag of magic tricks that he and Aharoin brought along and performed flawlessly, did not take them seriously. Farkert (quite the opposite): Paroy got pissed off and decided to punish his slaves by removing the straw they needed to make the bricks they were ordered to lay in order to build the cities of Pisoim and Ramses. The Yiddin were of course not happy; they did not believe Moishe’s message and as expected, Moishe too wasn’t a happy leader. He complained to the RBSO asking why He, under Moishe’s tutelage made things worse for the Yiddin? In fact, one medrish will teach us that Moishe flat out mamish quit and walked out on the RBSO. He did? Vi shteyt dus gishriben (where is that written)? Shoin, we need to look at the words ‘Voyoshov Moishe’ (Shemois 5:22) meaning Moishe returned. Says the medrish: the word ‘Vayoshov’ could mean that Moishe turned in his resignation papers. He had seen and heard enough and at 80 years of age, had no further interest in the assignment, no matter the pay and benefits.
Shoin welcome to parshas Vo’eira where in the opening pisukim (verses), we find a dejected and depressed Moishe locked in serious negotiations with the RBSO regarding Moishe’s resumption of duties. In other words: the RBSO rejected his resignation. The medrish will tell us that Moishe, over a seven day period, argued strenuously with the RBSO against his own re-appoinment. Moishe stated that he was the wrong man for the job, his lips were uncircumcised. Grada we will be discussing the mass circumcision Moishe oversaw down below; for now, keep your pants on. How Moishe had the temerity to argue with the RBSO, ver veyst? It’s one thing to argue and say no to your wife, a good friend and even to someone else’s wife, ober to the RBSO? Unheard of! Ober, avada we all know that if the RBSO wants something done, it always goes His way. Nonetheless, he was patient with Moishe and in the end, mamish compromised and allowed Moishe to bring along an assistant, Moishe’s own older brother Aharoin (age 83) who would be his mouthpiece. Alone and together, they will be instructed to warn Paroy about each of the plagues the RBSO had in mind as payback for his harsh treatment of the Yiddin; payback is a bitch. In this week’s parsha, the Mitzrim will be stricken with 7 of the 10 plagues the RBSO had in His mitzri playbook. We mark these at the seder table by licking our fingers after dipping them into the second cup. By next shabbis, Paroy and his people will have seen enough and will be chasing the Yiddin out of their land. Because they will not have ample time to bake a few cakes and danish for the trip, we mark this event yearly by eating Matzo and unleavened cakes and cookies. Avada we also buy new seasonal clothing and prepare enough food to feed a small country.
Shoin, efsher you’re wondering how four words found in our parsha gave birth to a multi-million dollar wine gisheft (business opportunity)? What are these four words? Nu, if you are frum from birth and even if not, every Yid knows that we drink four cup of wine during the Pesach Seder(s) to commemorate the four expressions of freedom found in the parsha. Those four expressions -V’hoitzasi, Vi’hitzalti, Vi’goialti and Vi’lokachti, which literally translated mean: I shall; take you out, rescue you, redeem you, take you to me, are according to Rashi, the medrish (Medrish Rabbah 88:4) and a few other sources, including the Rashbam (Pisochim 99b), the source for drinking four goblets of wine during the seder. So says Rav Huna. And does everyone agree? Of course not! Says Rav Shmuel bar Nachmeini azoy: the four cups correspond instead to but one word. Which word? ‘Koi’se’ (goblet)! So happens that the word koi’se is also mentioned in the heylige Toirah four times. Where? In parshas Vayeshev and it refers to the dreams of the Saar Hamashkim (wine chamberlain) and Yoisef’s interpretation of his dream. Ober what has his dream and interpretation to do with drinking four cups of wine at the seder and again during the second for those living abroad? Ver Veyst? Maybe he said this pshat after he imbibed a few goblets of his own, ver veyst? But wait: there are more opinions as to why the Yiddin are required to drink four cups of wine. Says rebbe Yihoishua ben Levi azoy: the four cups are directly connected to the four goblets of oinesh (punishment) the RBSO will mete out to the nations of idol worshippers. Check out the Yirushalmi 25:15 for more information on this connection. As an aside, the very same Yirushalmi will mention yet another connection: the four cups are directly connected to four expressions of salvation and cup mention in Tihilim (Psalms). They are: Hashem Minois Chelki V’choisi (16:5); Kosi Rivoyo (23:5); Kois Yishuois (116:3). Ober, where is the fourth mention? Nice try: there are taka only three expressions ober the word ‘Yishuois’ is plural so it counts for two. And guess what? We dug up yet another opinion, this one telling us that we drink four cups because they correspond to the four times we find the word ‘Goviah’ (goblet) in parshas Miketz as Yoisef instructed his assistant to plant his royal goblet in the sack of his younger brother Binyomin. There are three other times the word will appear. Once when the brothers discovered the goblet in Binyomin’s sack and twice more during the interrogation.
And the bottom line: Shoin, unlike the reader who was sure of his gematria and that Toirah and Gimilus Chasodim are on equal footing in the eyes of the RBSO, when it comes to drinking four cups at the Seder, we mamish don’t know with certainty why we drink four cups. On the other hand, after four cups, who cares? One day soon, new super-Jew rabbis on the payroll of the wineries, will tell us that in order to be yotzay (fulfill the obligation) lechol hadayos, (according to all), we are obligated to drink either 16 or 20 cups. One thing is zicher: in yeshiva they only taught us about the four words found in our parsha.
Shoin, earlier we mentioned that while Moishe was trying to talk his way out of a job, as an excuse he told the RBSO: “but I have uncircumcised lips.” What he meant was that he had a speech impediment. How severe, we are not told. Perhaps he was only shy about public speaking, or, perhaps an old medrish they taught us about Moishe picking up a piece of hot coal and placing it to to his mouth, has some legs and might just be emes. It can happen from time to time; they can’t all be fictional. In any event, this was the second time that Moishe will have used that exact phrase. Back when he met the RBSO at the burning bush, he tried the same line about uncircumcised lips. It didn’t work! Whether or not he had uncircumcised lips or not, we don’t know with certainty. What we are taught is that he was otherwise totally circumcised having been born ‘perfect’ which our medroshim will teach us means that he was born already circumcised, hence saving his parents a few thousand dollars for a huge after bris party.
Ober, what about the Yiddin as a whole, were they circumcised? And what has this question to do with our parsha? Nu, wouldn’t you know but the medrish is -many of them- replete with opinions as to whether or not, the Yiddin, while enslaved, continued or not, to perform the bris ceremony on their newborn boys. And this debate stems from where? From a few words in our parsha mamish (Shemois 6:13), that seemingly bothered many. Lommer lernin: Says the heylige Toirah: “….And the RBSO spoke to Moishe and to Aharoin, and He commanded them regarding the children of Israel and regarding Paroy….” Ober what instructions did the RBSO give to Moishe and Aharoin regarding the Yiddin? We don’t know! Why not? Because the heylige Toirah does not tell us. And when that happens, Rashi and a slew of others jump in and proffer as to what they think the RBSO told Moishe and Aharoin to tell the Yiddin. The medrish will make the case that the RBSO instructed Moishe and Aharoin to further instruct the Yiddin about the resumption of the bris. No longer, if you chap, would they get away with ignoring this cutting edge mitzvah.
Says the Michilta (Boi 5) azoy: Moishe had told the Yiddin that in order to be redeemed, they would need to undergo circumcision. A mass circumcision was to take place. The Yiddin would once again be ‘a cut above’, after a cut below. And he knows this how? From another posik which tells us that the Yiddin would not listen to Moishe. In other words, they weren’t willing to do what Moishe told them to (get cut down to size) in order to be redeemed. Not at this point; they were still shell shocked and broken from the slavery. As stated above, many midroshim tell us that the Yiddin, maybe out of fear of Paroy, or because they wanted to blend in with their enslavers, or, efsher afraid they wouldn’t measure up against their enslavers and would therefore not be able to get closer to the shiksa mitrzri maydlich that were seemingly from time to time available, stopped performing the bris ceremony and over a 210 year period, there were now tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of men walking around like goyim, fully intact. Even more shreklich is that many midroshim will also teach us that not just didn’t the Yiddin undergo circumcision, it was worse. What could be worse? They were also oivday avoido zoro (worshipping idols), oy vey. The RBSO abhors that! Once in a while, we will read how he gives a pass to those that have abused their bris, if you chap, but the combination of avoido zoro plus bris abuse, is always deadly. Grada in another week or two we will come across a Rashi which will quote a medrish (Michilta 6) which teaches us that Malochim (Angels) were arguing with the RBSO about whether or not the Yiddin deserved to be saved from the Sea. Said the Malochim: “these guys (the Mitzrim) are idol worshipers and these guys as well” meaning the Yiddin. Though the Malochim (according to the medrish) argued that the Yiddin were maybe not worth saving, when other medroshim heard that maybe it was emes that the Yiddin had abandoned the one big mitzvah that marks one as a Jew, they were besides themselves and needed to develop an alternative theory, one that made the Yiddin look better. Let’s see what they came up with and if they stretched the truth. Stretching might just be the operative term and listen to this.
Says the Beis Halevi azoy: not to worry, both sides are maybe correct. Ober how is that possible? A person either had or didn’t have a bris. It’s quite easy to discern. Any wayward rebbe would know in seconds. Lemyseh (in reality), one cannot compare membership to non-membership, if you chap. One can easily distinguish between a circumcised and uncircumcised eyver (penis). Ober how can we reconcile these conflicting statements? Again not worry: The Yiddin he will argue, were strict about bris performance. Givaldig! Ober, following the bris they would stretch out the skin around the circumcision in order to cover and hide the bris. Why? In order to look like and fit in with the Mitzrim. They did what? The Beis Halevi wants us to believe that they first cut, as would any Moel in our times, and instead of pulling back the skin so that it looks like a circumcised member and a bissel klenner, they instead, following the cut, stretched the flap over in order to cover up the bris?! Grada this entire Beis Halevi is somewhat of a stretch because there are too many others that suggest that the Yiddin totally abandoned circumcision during enslavement hoping that they would get better treatment and perhaps also chap a few hot shiksa Mitzri girls. Ok, the medrish does not specifically mention this last possibility, ober, after living amongst them for so many years and becoming fully assimilated, is it hard to believe that chapping hot shiksa girls was also a motivating factor for the bris cover-up?
Nu, avada we have to give the Beis Halevi credit for an ingenious idea, creative mamish. It’s hard to swallow that the Yiddin actually performed and then tried to stretch out the skin to cover-up the evidence. That’s mamish tampering with the evidence. Ober did all the Yiddin abandon the bris following the passing of Yoisef which was about the time they became enslaved? Maybe not and says the Medrish Hagodol (shemois 1:8) azoy: Although it’s sadly emes that the Yiddin did seemingly abandon the bris ceremony, that wasn’t the case for all the Yiddin. Says the medrish: The sheyvet (tribe) of Levi did keep the mitzvah of bris throughout their entire stay in Mitzrayim. In other words: most of the Yiddin seemingly abandoned the bris and a great number of them also worshipped idols. And whether they did this to avoid being further persecuted by the Mitzrim, or perhaps for other nefarious reasons, they were not on their best behavior. Grada we will soon learn that the Yiddin had sunk down the 49th level of tumah, whatever that means, and had they sunk one more level to 50, the RBSO would not have saved them. Seemingly, they were saved by the skin of something. What, ver veyst?
Anyway, not to worry: For reasons that remain unclear, the RBSO decided to redeem the Yiddin and make them His Chosen People. Mistama the other nations were, Boruch Hashem, much worse. Soon we will read that Moishe will order one large bris ceremony as a condition precedent to the Yiddin leaving Mitzrayim. The Yiddin made a remarkable comeback. From bris abuse and idol worship, to becoming His Chosen People and recipients of the heylige Toirah in but 30 days once freed from slavery. This should give many of you hope.
A gittin Shabbis
The Oisvorfer Ruv