As we go to print, word has reached the Oisvorfer that Mari Pelcovitz has become engaged to Avrohom Chaim Platschek. Who is she? Mari is the beautiful daughter of the Oisvorfer’s good friends and dedicated readers Altchie and Nochi Pelcovitz. A hearty mazel tov to the Chosson and kallah and to the entire extended Platschek and Pelcovitz mishpochos. We look forward to participating at this great Simcha.
Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
It’s shabbis nachamu! Happy days are here again, are they? The three weeks and nine days are over (finally) and not a moment too soon. The emes is the Oisvorfer couldn’t wait to change his gotchkis (underwear) finally, take a shave and shower and chap a shtikel fleish, if you chap. Ober may we taka now enjoy ourselves? Some are of the opinion that we may never be happy again because we, following the destruction of the second Beis Hamikash, remain in Golus (Diaspora) and that happiness will only return when we lay the foundation for the third Bayis (third Temple). The Yiddin will have to learn to get along before that can happen. Seemingly, that’s not happening so fast! Foundation laying will have to wait.
Though the fast and Tisha Be’av are literally over at night, -it is, after all, the 10th of Av- , our chachomim have proclaimed that many restrictions remain intact until chatzois the next day. Is there any other holiday or even fast day that’s over but not? Ver veyst? Some avada suggest that we wait till the next day because the ruins of the Beis Hamikdash were still smoldering until the 10th of Av. Do we know this with certainty? Exactly how they knew that it all came to an end at approximately 1:06 PM the next day, ver veyst. Do you? And if they could figure that out with such precision……why couldn’t they also figure out when Roish Choidesh was and spare us a second day of Yoim Tov? Mamish a givaldige kasha! More on this general topic later in this Toirah.
Efsher you had some difficulty relating to, internalizing and chapping Tisha Be’av. No matter how many years you spent in yeshiva, you just can’t chap why we mourn the loss of two structures so many years back (kimat 2000 years ago for the second and the first, 587 years earlier). Though you mistama fasted, went to shul erev and on Tisha Be’av and also mumbled a few kinos while your mind was wandering, did you feel Tisha Be’av in your kishkas (intestines)? Don’t answer that! Nu, the Oisvorfer has good and bad news for you. Ershtens, you’re not alone. Rabbis taka struggle yearly in their attempts to get their congregants epes in the mood and to reflect on the loss, as if it were today in our times mamish. And at least a few share your feelings. And the bad news? You’re an oisvorf mamish, and in the next paragraph you’ll know why. Despite your many years in yeshiva, the myriad lectures now available -live and via broadcast- and the introduction finally of decent English translations to the mumbo jumbo we can barely read, let alone grasp, you seemingly lack the Tisha Be’av feeling: Yikes!
While most orthodox Yiddin were, earlier this week, sitting on the floor or low to the ground, mourning the loss of the Battei Mikdash (both holy temples) on Tisha Be’av, many in the Oisvorf community are still mourning the loss of other iconic structures including Grossinger’s, the Concord, the Pioneer, the Pine View, the Homowack, and even the Brown’s for a season or two, all places where Yiddin gathered this time of year, the first shabbis following Tisha Be’av. There was taka nothing comparable to shabbis Nachamu in the Catskills even if you slept in Howard Johnson’s and snuck into the hotels on Motzei shabbis. Ober today, these hotels are gone, we mourn for them mamish, we yearn their return and you mamish feel them in your kishkas, ober why? It’s quite poshit; you relate to them because you saw the buildings, you slept in them; you chapped thrills sneaking in even though you were shvitzing while stashed away in the trunk of someone’s car. You mingled there with the guys and avada the meydlich, if you chap. For singles, missing shabbis Nachamu (shabbis of comfort) at one of these famous venues, could set one back a full year of dating, chas v’sholom (heaven forbid). Those on their game met a person of interest; others came away with a list of potential candidates and enough phone numbers to keep one busy until Labor Day weekend or, if you were good, until Simchas Toirah, yet other opportunities to meet people in a natural environment. And now nebech, just like the holy Temples – lehavdil mamish- they are all nebech gone. Though we are taught to believe that a third Beis Hamikdash, one fashioned out of gold mamish, is waiting to come down from heaven, a gift from the RBSO mamish, it appears that these magnificent structures where boys and girls met and talked without the services of a shadchan or organizational help, are never again to be. And taka we have excellent reason to mourn this week. Efsher you miss the socializing you did in the oversized lobbies, the mixed dancing in the Pink Elephant Lounge, and the mixed swimming . Sadly, many of you oisvorfs know more about these givaldige meeting places where boys and girls innocently spent quality time together in these kosher and even glatt kosher hotels -some more than others, some kosher for a while, if you chap- than they do about the Beis Hamikdash, either one of them. Didn’t you learn anything in yeshiva? Gornisht? Yikes! And if you taka mourn and miss Grossinger’s more than the Beis Hamikdash and seemingly you do, then your entire yeshiva stay was a brocho livatolo (a waste) and the hard earned tuition monies that your parents nebech toiled and shvitzed for, was and remains aroisgivorfini gelt (money in the toilet). You are an oisvorf mamish. Shoin!
Unlike the Beis Hamikdash experience where one came with a behaymo (animal) in tow as an expression of thanks, or more likely as an atonement for various indiscretions, to these hotels single young men came from near and far -empty-handed- but looking forward to meeting a few vilde chayis, if you chap. Avada, we’re only kidding.
Efsher one day soon, a Rabbi will have the temerity to suggest that such venues are again kosher for dating. Then again, the emes is that Rabbis have already sanctioned such meeting places ober such haskomo (OK) is avada veiled, albeit thinly, under the guise of some organizational get together where a handful of Rabbis, usually the same cast, will offer talks and lectures. In other words: if the Rabbis get their cut and a free weekend, single boys and girls are allowed to talk for a few minutes between lectures: sick mamish. Do these singles care at all about lectures? They want to meet, date and get married. And while davening for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, speedily in our time, would it be so giferlich to also pray for the day when the Rabbis butt out and let single people meet the way they did way back in the days of the heylige Gemora? Shoin: fat chance of either building being rebuilt soon, ober we can hope, Omen,!
There was a time in Gemora days when singles met on their own? Seemingly there was and Raboyseyee, we should taka be longing for the good old days, before the farshtunkine internet, Jdate, Frumster, Gateways and other such narishe places because today’s leaders have done away with yet another fully sanctioned and seemingly glatt kosher singles event. Avada we speak of Tu Be’av- (the 15th day of the month of Av) when, according to heylige Gemora, boys and girls would meet in the open fields, girls would dance and many shidduchim consummated. There was such a time and place? Indeed there was and mistama you want to hear more about Tu Be’av which is mamish less than one week away and is described in the heylige Gemora as one of the most joyous days in our beautiful calendar. Not to worry, the Oisvorfer will not disappoint ober you’ll have to wait until the Tu Be’av edition comes out early next week.
Nu, lommer lernin some parsha. Welcome to Parshas Vo’eschanan and Happy Anniversary to the Oisvorfer, to the ever growing Oisvorfer community and a special shout out, as we do each year this time to reader number one of the Oisvorfer’s holy writings. It taka started three years ago this coming shabbis over in West Hampton where the yet unnamed Oisvorfer and eishes chayil were being hosted, as we have been every year since, by our good friends and neighbors. Grada they are shout-out worthy ober the husband continues to be obstinate and refuses the read the Oisvorfer’s weekly missives, or so he says anyway; ver veyst? Then, like this week, it was Shabbis Nachamu. Nu, Grossinger’s it wasn’t ober a givaldige time was had by all. And on erev shabbis mamish, an email arrived from Avi Winkler who was enjoying shabbis at Camp Seneca Lake, which, incidentally, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season and which will be hosting a major celebration one week from Sunday (July 28th). Avi, now chairman of HAFTR, seeking some spirituality – mistama to deliver a devar Torah to the camp later that evening, emailed the yet unnamed Ruv asking for a thought. The Oisvorfer obliged and here we are having completed three years mamish of weekly parsha reviews. And let’s not avada forget the givaldige Pesach poolside specials while staring at the halb-nakite meydlich (scantily clad) which avada was a major source of inspiration. Being near water is avada always inspirational, and let’s not forget that a few of our heylige Ovois (forefathers) also did well for themselves while near water. One even got the rock off, if you chap, and ended up with a quadruple play, marrying an entire mishpocho of girls; two full and two half-sisters; yikes!
Some givaldige news: in case you missed shul, or, were talking chas v’sholom during laining of Parshas Yisroy way back in Sefer Shemois, and missed the gantze thunder and light show when the RBSO Himself came down and gave the Yiddin the Ten Commandments, not to worry: they make a second appearance in this week’s special parsha of Vo’eschanan. And if you ever wondered where the Shemah came from- it’s also right here in this week’s parsha and what could be more givaldig? Ober Raboyseyee, this week we need avada pay special attention to a very interesting holocho (ruling), also found in this week’s parsha. Allow the Oisvorfer to quote a few pisukim (in English for the oisvorf community).
“And now, O Israel, give heed to the laws and rules that I am instructing you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land…You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you. (Devorim 4:1-2)”
Read them again and efsher you’re klerring azoy: how is it that broccoli, like all other vegetables, which was kosher for so many years, now requires scrutiny and inspection (shout out to Jonny T). We can, unfortunately, list many thousands of chumras (restrictions) that Rabbis have, over the years since Matan Toirah, seen fit to enact. Do these not mamish contradict the holy words of the Toirah, and what’s taka pshat here? Moreover, says Rashi, and who knew more or better, azoy: this passage simply means what it says. You literally should not add or subtract. Rashi cites several examples including the mitzvoh to take four minim (species), the lulav (palm), esrog (citron), hadasim (myrtle), and arovois (willow) on the Yom Tov of Sukkois. The Toirah does not say to take five, so one should literally not add a fifth species or take away one of the four. Simply stated, the words mean what they say. Gishmak mamish: we are not to add nor subtract and we trust and believe that the RBSO knew exactly what he wanted from us. Sadly thisconcept has seemingly been long forgotten by some. And says the Sforno azoy, “one should not think that once the cause (reason) of the prohibition is removed, then it is not sinful to diminish.” Pshat is that it is not for us to determine cause or reason for our following of the Toirah’s commandments. Our job, as the Oisvorfer has told you on many occasions, is to follow what is written.
And mistama you’re scratching your heads and thinking ahha! Rashi and the Sforno make perfect sense ober in reality the orthodox world does not at all follow the words of the heylige Toirah. The sad reality is that much of what we do bazman hazeh (in our times) seems not to be based on the words of the heylige Toirah but instead, we have been hijacked by Rabbis who seek at times to write their own. A second day of Yom Tov is but one example but there are thousands, too many, in fact. Moreover and also found in this week’s parsha, Moishe reminds the Yiddin of the gathering at Har Sinai when they received the heylige Toirah. He recalls that though they saw no visual representation of the RBSO, they did hear the sound of words. Moishe impresses upon them that the revelation took place before an entire nation, not to a select elite, and that only the Yiddin will ever claim that the RBSO spoke to their entire nation.
Ober Raboyseyee, let’s not jump down the Rabbis’ throats and avada we should never let any Rabbi jump down yours and zicher not your kinderlach, if you chap. Efsher pshat is that it all comes down to interpretation and taka this would make some sense.
Nu, efsher we can klerr (theorize) azoy: It’s been many generations since the words of heylige Toirah were understood and interpreted in one specific way. A time when all agreed; efsher and mistama, never! Efsher different people heard different things based on their location on Har Seenai, vert veyst? Or, efsher we can klerr that though the Medrish tells us that all the Yiddin were there and experienced the moment together, it could efsher be the case and taka the Medrish supports this theory -though we were all there and heard it together- it appears that everyone understood the Toirah’s words and commandments in their own way, ‘basher hu shom’ (where they were at) in their level of spirituality. Nu, that taka makes the Oisvorfer feel a whole lot better. Nu, if only the Rabbis would allow others to live their lives based on their own levels, without interfering, ostracizing and otherwise making them feel inadequate, efsher the third Beis Hamikdash will taka make an appearance one day sooner.
Maybe the recipients of the heylige Toirah on Har Seenai (and according to the medrish, that includes us) heard all the same words but efsher, we understood them differently; could that be pshat? Ver veyst.
Vus iz de untersthe shira (what’s the bottom line)? The Oisvorfer believes that avada unzerir Rabonim (our Rabbis) added and subtracted and he’s also convinced that were Moishe Rabaynu to make a sudden reappearance, he wouldn’t recognize many of the crazy minhogim and chumras enacted by the “I can top that chumra with one of my own” Rabbis. Sadly, we may have to wait until then to return to normalcy.
Nu, after ranting, lommer lernin the gantze parsha in one paragraph.Moishe again renews his petition to the RBSO to rescind the decree. Avada you recall that he misused his shtekin and was then destined to pass away in the Midbar. What happened, you ask? Seemingly, he used his shteken (stick) when he was supposed to use his mouth, loi olainu. Mistama, oisvorfs can chap this concept. Ober he wants to get into the Land he’s been waiting to see for over 40 years. And why not? According to an old medrish, he asked 515 different times; seemingly each request was denied. It appears that misuse of the shtekin is gantz (pretty) serious though many continue this misuse ad hayoim hazeh, if you chap. Nu, if you remember a few weeks back, anyway, for that major aveyro (and efsher the point of Moishe’s punishment was to teach all of us (I include myself) chazerim about the severity of misusing the stick), the RBSO advises Moishe that he shall never cross over the Jordan to see the land of EY. Veyter…
Veyter: Moishe continues his review of the history of the Yiddin since Yitzyas Mitzrayim (Exodus) however, his emphasis now shifts to the laws the RBSO handed down. Again, he implores and beseeches the Yiddin to accept and faithfully follow all of the RBSO’s commandments, all mamish! Good behavior will be rewarded. He then reiterates the Aseres Hadibrois (Ten Commandments), albeit with slight changes that many, many medroshim ponticate over. Sadly, we cannot, due to space constraints, discuss the nuances this week. Next: he teaches the Shema, the central credo of Judaism which we use liturgically daily: there is only One RBSO. Moishe warns the people not to succumb to materialism and thus forget their purpose as a spiritual nation. Shoin: that didn’t last very long. Moishe then warns the Yiddin not to forget the RBSO after they enter into the land, become established and prosperous. Ober having led the Yiddin these last 40 years, he knows better and predicts, accurately, that the Yiddin will sin, and as punishment, will be scattered among all the peoples. Some will end up in Brooklyn. They will stay few in number but will eventually return to the RBSO. When, ver veyst? Moishe designates three “refuge cities” to which an inadvertent killer may flee; we discussed these cities a few weeks back. The parsha ends with Moishe exhorting the Yiddin not to intermarry when they enter Eretz Yisrael, as they cannot be a treasured and holy nation if they intermarry, and they will become indistinguishable from the other nations. Shoin, according to statistics, we’re not doing too well on that front either; oy vey!
Was Moishe reaching too high? Nebech, all he wanted was to see the land? Didn’t he deserve to get in? He didn’t ask for anything mishuga like a new car, a replacement shtekin or even another eishes chayil; efsher a white one this time. No! All he wanted was to step foot into the land, and didn’t he taka deserve that?
And not just did the RBSO say no, but listen to this: Said the RBSO: not just is the answer still no, but stop asking me; case closed! Moreover, says the heylige Toirah, that the RBSO teased Moishe and told him to climb the mountain and gaze his eyes in all four directions to see the land that he wasn’t going to see up close. Is that nice? What a reward for his dedication, gevald!
And with that background, we must avada be asking ourselves azoy: Nu, what chances do we have for being such giferlich oisvorfs? Why daven? Why do t’shuva? We haven’t got a shot! Zero, Nada! We’re done and kaput. Do you really think that asking the RBSO for forgiveness on Yoim Kippur, on that one day in shul while we’re counting the hours before we can run home and eat, where we daven Maariv while skipping half the words, where all we’re concerned about is what kibbud (honor) the shul did or didn’t give, will get the job done? Will that half hearted t’shuva be mechaper (forgive) all of our sins? Yikes!!! And this is taka why this pasha depresses the Oisvorfer.
Here’s Moishe, the greatest manhig (leader) of the Yiddin, the man who assisted the RBSO in leading us out of Mitzrayim where they slaved for 210 years, this same Moishe who led us for 40 years, having to endure many calamites, this same Moishe who begged successfully at times for the RBSO to forgive the Yiddin for all their indiscretions, and now, he can’t get out of his own mess? Over a shtekin (stick) incident? How many times has a Rebbe or other leader misused his shteken and remained in his job? How about your misuse, if you chap? Woe is us!!
Ober Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes, all is not lost. Seemingly, even minuvullim, like most of you are, still have a chance, and here’s taka why? Because you’re not Moishe Rabaynu, it’s that simple. Seemingly the RBSO held Moishe to a higher standard taka because he was Moishe Rabaynu, the near perfect person. And that’s what you get for being too good, something none of you need to be concerned with. Ober the RBSO taka knows and chaps that you’re nothing but a bunch of sinners and therefore He expects little from you (and taka you don’t disappoint) and therefore his standards are mamish lowered dramatically. You chap all this? In other words: the RBSO is marking us on a steep curve, the same one that allowed many of you to graduate.
A gittin shabbis nachamu wherever you find yourselves-
The Oisvorfer Ruv