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Friday, February 16, 2018

NEW: Ask Rabbi Pinky: On the Forbidden Amongst Us

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NEW: Ask Rabbi Pinky: On the Forbidden Amongst Us



Rabboisai,


This week I answer and actual Shailah from a Talmid. E.LT. asks:


“Rebbe Shlita,


“I've been struggling with a question for a long time and was not able to find a good teshuva. Perhaps you can help.


“We live in a frum world!!! so frum that I think we've moved to the right of G-D. We have kollelim, ass-kanim and chesed organizations galore. In matters of tznius I see see klal yisroel getting so frum that pretty soon we will be going to chasunas where the chosson and kallah have yichud in separate rooms. We've acheived all this progress while sending the message that we shun the outside world and don't buy into their shtusim and ideologies.


“However, when I think about the common day kollel arrangement, where it becomes the responsibility of the wife to support her husband in kollel, and there was even a machlokes recently if they should be matir the cherem Rabeinu Gershom and allow men to marry two wives so they would be better supported in kollel, we attribute this progress to our mesorah handed down for generations. However, really it's pumpt fahrkert, in truth we can view all this progress as endorsing western ideology and specifically feminism. Can you think of a single movement in America that has sent more women into the workforce and made women the bread winners for their families?


“I would be honored if you bestowed upon me your menuval smicha that is saved only for very few.


“Sincerely, an emesah menuval


“Good Shabbos” 


———


My beloved Talmid, thank you such much for your Heiligah Shailah. You raise some very important issues, and, to be honest, I would have Responded to you earlier except, Rachmana Litzlan, the Reboinoisheloilum cursed me in that I still have my hearing, so I was busy being talked to by my Bashert, Feigeh Breinah, and as my hearing is perfect, unfortunately I do not have a hearing aid that I could turn off.


As I see it, there are three essential questions here:


1) Are we succumbing to the pollution of Westernized thought by allowing, even demanding, that our wives support us financially while we sit in Koilel in front of a Gemarrah, browsing on our mobile phones?

2) Should we be able to marry more than one wife, so that we can sit in Kollel and live our lives at the level of comfort that we deserve?

3) What is the proper role of women in Yiddisheh society? Was the invention in women Hakadoishboruchhu’s ultimate screw up - the creation of a distraction that would lead us to give into our Yetzer Harrah’s every. single. time?

This is a lot to answer in one sitting, and I am afraid that I am going to have to charge you double what I typically charge. Please be prepared to write a very big check out to the Yeshivas Chipass Emmes Rabbinic Discretionary Fund, made out to "C.A.S.H." which I use to support the unfortunate among Klal Yisroel in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic about twice a year.


Answering your first Shailah:  YOU ARE A TOITAL... ERRR... TOTAL AM HA’ARETZ!!! Do you think that the Goyim invented the concept of women working? Of course not!!! They stole the idea from us!!!


From time immemorial, it was the women who supported the men in Klal Yisroel! 


In the Toirah, how did Eliezer know that Rochel Imainu was the intended for Yitzchak Avinu? Why... she had come to the well to get water for her asses, but gave water to Eliezer’s ass first. 

She was working!!!! 

She could have been home, having her nails done, and have asked her Goyta, her Maidservant, to get water for the animals. But, she knew, as a Tzadeikess, that future generations would be looking to her as an example. So she went to get the water herself!! Indeed, according to a Medrish in Beraishis Rabbah, she also worked as a Sheytelmacher, even though Sheytlach had not yet been invented!!!


And how do you think that Yankif Avinu was supported when he was studying in Yeshivas Shame V’Eyver? Sure, that Koilel came up with a little money, but times were tough. Tuition was expensive. His Rabbeihim has to make a living too - and he had terrific Rabbeihim! There was Reb Phil, who when not teaching the advanced Gemara shiur would play basketball with the Buchrim. There was Reb AdoniBaal, who taught Mussar, and who was known for giving the most inspiring Mussar Shmuzin in all of Mesopotamia. And there was Rabbi K, who showed special attention to the Buchrim who had special needs by showering with them and paying them money to engage in “special Mitzvois”.  After all, the Yeshiva was calls “Shame V’Eyver”. 


But Yankif, when he was in Koillel, was supported by his two wives, Rochel and Leah. But, you may ask, didn’t Yankif attend Yeshivas Shame V’Eyver prior to coming to live in Lavan’s house and marrying Lavan’s daughters? Well, you Mechutziff, as everyone knows, Ein Mukdam Oo’Meuchar BaToirah! The Toirah does not follow chronological order! And as there is no reference to Yeshivas Sham V’Eyver in the Toirah anyway, because the concept of a Yeshiva in Canaan is completely absurd, who are you to argue with me?!?! 


And... need I mention, that Moishe Rabbeinu first met Tzippoirah as she was drawing water for her own asses, but gave Moishe’s ass to drink first? Again, THE GOYIM STOLE THE IDEA FROM US!! They stole the idea of the Toirah from us. Many, like the Pope and the leaders of ISIS, cover their heads because they stole the idea from us. And every time a Gentile embezzles money, it is because he store the idea from us as well!!


Shoyn.


With regard to your second question, come now... do you really want to be married to more than one woman? Seriously? 


Are you not familiar with the famous Moshul referred to by Rabbi Yitzchak in Baba Kamma about the man married to an older woman and a younger woman. The older woman pulled out the man’s darker hairs, and the younger woman pulled out the man’s grey hairs. The result? The man was made bald. 


Does a Ben Toirah really need to be Mevatel Toirah in order to engage in mediation between his “sister wives”? No! This is at least one thing we can learn from the Mormons. Rather, if there are economic challenges, then the wife of a Ben Toirah studying in Koilel should stop being so damn lazy and get a second job. Or a third job. Or a fourth job.

 And the man? If he has needs that his one wife cannot address, he can always go to a Pupka for a hand job. Or a blow job.


Finally, with regard to the creation of woman, was this an error on the part of the Reboinoisheloilum? Well... Hakadoshboruchhu is perfect, but He intentionally created a world with imperfections, and our mission as Jews is to engage in Tikkun Oilum, fixing the world. So, we engage in Mitzvois. We give Tzedakah to the poor. We feed the sick. We invest in the undervalued.


And how do we engage in Tikkun Oilum with regard to women? We do not acknowledge them!! In my publications, I have NEVER featured a picture of a woman, ever! And Baruch HaShem, magazines like Mishpacha and Ami do not have pictures of women. And what happens if, Chass V'Sholom, there is a picture of a woman in a group that cannot be removed? Why, then, her face and body should be blacked out, so that the image will not bring a Ben Toirah to sin. I do not know about you, but every time I see the picture of woman in a magazine or a newspaper or on a billboard or on the packaging of a box of pancake mix, I cannot stop myself from masturbating like a Chimpanzee trapped in a monastery. 


And indeed, finally, someone has recently been Mekayaim the Mitzvah of blurring out the faces of women in graphic pictures from the Shoah. I mean.. seriously... do we really care that women were killed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe? Do we care about their names and their faces? Consequently, I implore you, my Talmidim, to engage in a letter writing campaign to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, and the United Nations to reduce the estimates of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust from six million to three million. Because half of those killed were only women, so we simply needn’t count them. As long as we are blurring out their faces, we should blur out their memories as well!! In fact, we should return 50% of reparations to Germany!


Finally, some of you may be asking, “but Rebbe, you refer to your Bashert, Feigeh Breinah, all the time. Aren’t you a hypocrite?” Menuvals!!! Do you think I treat my wife as an equal? No way!! She supports me, with her jobs as a teacher, a Mikva lady, and a massage therapist, but at home, she knows her place! When my Bashert, Feigeh Breinah, is in the house, she must walk around in blackface, and refer to me as “Massah Pinky”. “Feigelah, can you please make me my breakfast?” “Yessir Massah Pinky, and would you like me to bring your slippers as well before I leave for my three jobs this morning?”


Now THAT, my Talmidim, is an Eishess Chayil!”


Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.

---------


Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, January 26, 2018

NEW: Dayenu

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NEW: Dayenu


Rabboisai,

I have no sense of humor this week. No silly sophomoric jokes. No rabbinical quotes, real or faux. 

I am a little tired of all of your Reboinoisheloilum-damned complaining about Yeshivah tuition. Really people. Just suck it up. Or send your kids to public school. Or move to Israel. Do something besides complaining. Seriously. 

You were fortunate enough to have been born a Jew. Do you know what that means? YOU were granted the Toirah at Har Sinai. YOUR Neshama was there. Your ancestors were led out of Egypt. They walked through the wilderness and were given the Promised Land. They settled there and were granted one, then two separate kingdoms. They were given the Bais Hamikdash!!! Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

But the first kingdom was defeated by the Assyrians and its citizens were sent into exile. Then the second kingdom was defeated by the Babylonians and its inhabitants were sent into exile. Then the Persians conquered the Babylonians. Then your ancestors were granted the right to return to the Holy Land and were given autonomy by the Persians. And they were granted the right to build a second Bais Hamikdash. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

But the Greeks came and Hellenic culture began to corrupt the Judean society and the Priesthood. And the Chashmonaim rose up to create a true, free, independent Judean Country for your ancestors to live and worship as free men and women. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

But then the Chashmonaim usurped the Kehuna, the Priesthood, and then established their own Malchus, their own kingdom. And your ancestors now lived under corrupt Judean leadership. They even called in the Romans to halt a civil war and bring peace. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

But your ancestors wanted it all: Freedom from Jewish oppression and freedom from Roman oppression. So they fought a civil war and two wars of rebellion against the Romans, both lost, with the Second Temple destroyed and Jews banned from living in Jerusalem. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

But then a Jew by the name of Yushka inspired a movement that paved a new sensibility around the world, and your ancestors were not viewed as the origin and people of Yushka, but, rather, as his oppressors and his murderers. And they had to run into exile throughout the four corners of the earth, settling for a century or two of peace and acceptance before the next wave of persecution. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

But every time they were attacked and expelled, the survivors ran and found new homes. And it lasted for one or two or three hundred years. And Toirah study and Jewish thought blossomed. Rather than disappear under the blade of persecution, intellectual Jewish thought flourished, influenced by the great disruptions and the contemporary evolving non-Jewish thought and culture. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And then Jews began to be accepted. First Spinoza abandoned Toirah to create a model for ethical humanism. Then Mendelssohn enriched Toirah by blending it with modern thought, and slowly Jews began to achieve social equality in Western Europe. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And then came the grand experiment... America!! The trickle of arrivals in the new land from the Sephardic lands of Europe was followed by a steady flow from Ashkenaz, and then a flood from the impoverished Pale of Settlement in Russia, Poland, Belarus Ukraine, etc. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And in parallel the great Lithuanian rabbinic schools emerged along with Chassidism and the Haskalah and Communism, and the early settlement of the ultra-Orthodox pioneers and the impoverished victims of pogroms and poverty began in Eretz Yisroel, followed by the birth of Jewish Nationalism. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And then came the tumultuous transition of Europe from kingdoms and aristocracy to a realignment of powers and allies in WWI, that included the end of Ottoman rule in Palestine and the ascent of British rule and the Balfour Declaration. The Jewish settlers drained the swamps, but the indigenous Arabs began to resent the Jewish influx, and Arab-Jewish strike and counter strike grew, from isolated communal violence to armed, warring camps, with Jews armed and empowered to strike back. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And then came 1933. And 1939. And 1941. The unthinkable. The indescribable. Expulsion and loss of rights followed by public persecution. Then invasion. Every town and village and city. Many gathered in ghettos. Then came the mass murders, thousands of them, in the towns and villages where your ancestors lived, lined up naked at pits with bullets put in their heads, to be followed by the next group and the next group and the next. Others were put on trains with the promise of relocation, only to be but on a line where they were sent to the left or the right, the left or the right, the left or the right, day after day, day after day. Six million or more. Your parents and your grandparents and your great grandparents and your cousins and their cousins and their cousins, and some whole families and communities left with no one to remember them. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough. 

Shouldn’t that have been enough?

And then the war ended, and the refugees rebuilt their lives, sometimes where they were, and often when they could escape to, the grand experiment of America, the New Jewish State, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Australia. Mourning the dead and building new lives and communities. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And you now sit in your bourgeois homes and communities in Israel and America and Western Europe and everywhere where Jews reside. You fight over whether women should have equality in the synagogue. You ignore or cover up sexual abuses because they are “inconvenient truths”. You argue over whether and how Israel should make peace with its neighbors. You stay in your own community and mock the next community. You eat in expensive restaurant and view your hard-earned equality as a form of superiority above others, both Jew and gentile. You make partner with white supremacists because it is politically expedient, because someone named Trump publicly acknowledges a fact on the ground, without pondering the price of your pandering and self-deceit. You mock the immigrant, and forget that your parents or grandparents or great grandparents were poor, uneducated immigrants too. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And then you argue about Yeshiva tuition. You want Jewish children, but the costs are prohibitive, and the aggregate community has other priorities, such as the next settlement in Israel or the next self-aggrandizing facade. Meanwhile, in other communities you deny basic education and perpetuate a cycle of poverty, based on a twisted corruption of the history of pre-war Eastern Europe. Had it only been those things, then Dayenu! That would have been enough.

And I too am guilty of much of the above. We all are.

Reboinoisheloilum, when will it be enough?

If we are indeed the Chosen People, when will it be enough? 

When will we stop fighting amongst ourselves? 

When will be able to stop fighting others? 

When will it be enough?

---------

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval

---------


Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, January 19, 2018

NEW: Experiential Yiddishkeit

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NEW: Experiential Yiddishkeit


Rabboisai,

I would like to start this week’s Drasha with a simple question for you: Why is Moishe Rabbeinu so insignificant?

“What, What, WHAT!!!!” you are now asking. “Has Rabbi Pinky gone insane?”

Perhaps. But this question is no reflection of my sanity. In fact, I have always been known for having the GREATEST sanity and the GREATEST intelligence!!!

But the question itself is a fundamental question, a mystery, that stares us in the face when we read about Yetzias Mitzrayim, the exodus from Egypt, during the first few Parshiyois in Shmois, and then juxtapose the Biblical narrative with its retelling during the Pesach Seder. Because, as you may or may not have noticed, you Mechutziff, throughout the entire Seder, a liturgical ceremony that dates back to the time of the Mishnah, and is rooted in a much more ancient tradition, MOISHE RABBEINU’S NAME IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED ONCE! Not once.

What the Tashmish HaMitah?!

When you look up that a question in the sources, people note that Moishe is indeed referred to in one Biblical quote that mentions his name. But that exception just proves the point even more: How is it that the central actor and messenger of the Reboinoisheloilum in the exodus does not play a significant role in the Seder? 

This Shailah was first raised by Reb Hai Goyn in the eighth century. He suggested that Moishe RABBEINU’s name was left out so that the Seder would focus on Hakadoshboruchhu as the primary actor. Would the Seder in our Mesoirah have foicused on Moishe like it does in the Toirah, one might think that the exodus was the result of a human endeavor. Chass V’Sholom one should think that humans are capable of miracles!! 

Case in point: When I had my heart transplant last year, I made sure NOT to use trained heart surgeons, since they know nothing!! Instead, I had a couple of auto mechanics with greasy hands install the doiner’s heart.. I mean, the donor’s heart, since they were simply the agents of the Aimishteh. And while they were in there, I had them change my oil, install new brake pads, and tune up my transmission.

(As an aside, there is a completely separate Machloikess Rishoinim on why Reb Hai Goyn’s name was “Hai”. According to the RIF, “Hai” was a customary Babylonian nickname for “Chaim”. According to the RASHBA, “Hai” is a misspelling of “Hi”, and he was called “Hi” because he was the most friendly of all of the Gaonim. But according to Rabbeinu Tam, “Hai” is a misspelling of the name “High”. Says Rabbeinu Tam, Reb “High” Goyn lived during a period when the Governor of Pumbedisa legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in order to raise tax dollars, and Reb High Goyn likes to indulge before answering complicated Shailois, such as how many wings do the angels have, and how many Babylonians does it take to screw in a lightbulb.

Shoyn.)

The RAMBAN holds differently. According to the RAMBAM, the Reboinoisheloilum is a distant figure, and humanity drives the world. However, CHAZAL downplayed the role of Moishe so that Klal Yisroel would not Chass V’Sholom come to deify him. After all, the Seder’s liturgy was likely formalized in the early centuries of the Common Era, at a time when many were coming to embrace Yushka Pandra as their Lord and Savior. Says the RAMBAM, it is bad enough that we have to listen to Christmas music for four weeks in the late fall. But if we had to have a second  season with similar faux religious music playing incessantly in the background, we might be tempted to cut our ears off and use them for holding crumbs during Bedikas Chometz.

However, Reb Yoisaiph Caro, the Mechaber of the Shulchan Aruch and their author of a series of self help books, suggests that LeOilum, in reality, Moishe Rabbeinu was originally slated to sit at the center of the Seder, with his role the focus of the Haggadah and its retelling of Yetzias Mitzrayim. However, during negotiations, Moishe asked for 15% of the gross revenue of Haggadah sales, and a percentage of the profits. CHAZAL offered 5% of the gross, followed by a smaller percentage of the profits. But after months of negotiations, with Aroin HaCoihain, the Minuval, serving as Moishe’s attorney, the parties were unable to come to an agreement, and as a result, Moishe was written out of the script - a move he regrets to this day.

I, the RAPAS, would like to suggest an alternative view. The Toirah tells us the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim in the third person, with Moishe at the center of the story. However, the Seder is essentially a re-enactment of the exodus in which we engage as part of the story. “Ba’Avur Zeh Assah Hakadoishboruchhu Lee Ka’Asher Houtzaisee Ma’Eretz Mitzrayim”, “In this was the Reboinihseloilum did for ME when He took ME out of the land of Egypt.” We, the Seder participants, and especially the leader of the story, are supposed to see ourselves as sitting at the center of Yetzias Mitzrayim. We, the people, become the central actors, and we ourselves take on the role of Moishe Rabbeinu! 

In fact, I have used this Svara to enrich my relationship with my Bashert, Feigeh Breinah. Every so often we replicate the story of Yehuda and Tamar, and Feigeh Breinah stands on the roadside of Lakewood dressed as a prostitute - that means not wearing her Sheitel and wearing a skirt that does not hang down to the floor - and I “pick her up” and bring her “back to my tent”, AKA the back of the minivan.

At other times, we play “Adam and Chava”, and my talking snake tries to get her to “eat from the fruit of the tree”, if you know what I mean. 

In such a way, the Seder as a re-enactment allows us to get beyond recitation, a largely passive experience. It brings us closer to our ancestors by enabling us to enter into the mindset, so we ourselves can taste the joys of freedom, aided by getting hammered on the best Goyisheh wines the kosher labels have to offer.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval

---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, January 05, 2018

NEW: Parshas Shmois Drasha

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NEW: Parshas Shmois Drasha


Rabboisai,

I would like to start this week’s Drasha by reminding you that we have started a new Sefer with this week’s Toirah reading, Sefer Shmois. I know you probably forgot, as you were likely checking out the talent in the Ezras Nashim last week while the rest of the Shul shouted together “Chazak Chazak VeNisschazayk!!”. You Mechutziff!

I always found it ironic that Sefer Beraishis, a single book, covers history from the dawn of creation, four billion years ago... err... six thousand years ago, rather, but then is followed by four long, action packed books that primarily focus on Yetzias Mitzrayim - the exodus from Egypt - and the wandering of Klal Yisroel in the Midbar, roughly a period of forty years.

What’s Pshat? Avraham Avinu was not as important as Moishe Rabbeinu? Yankif Avinu wasn’t as important as Aharon HaCoihain, the Minuval? Miriam wasn’t as nasty and deceptive as Rivkah Imainu?

Seriously, shouldn’t the Toirah have taught us a bit more about the hooliganism... err... acts of Chessed of the Shvatim and a bit less about the colors of the paint on the undersides of the bolts used for holding the Mishkan together on the second Tuesday in Sivan in an Ibbur Yuhr?Couldn’t we have had a bit more action that would justify a sequel to Sefer Beraishis? Maybe we could have had a little Mishkav Zachor between Adam HaRishoyn and the snake? Maybe we could learn a bit about the cruise entertainment on Noach’s Teyvah? Were there featured singers and comedians? Were there plumbing issues. Maybe Avraham Avinu ultimately decides to slaughter someone else’s son? Maybe the Shvatim could have sold another of their brothers into slavery in place of some of the laws the Baal Koireh Leyns from the Toirah ad nauseam as we are trying to have a good conversation with our friends?

Rabboisai, this is indeed the opposite question than what is posed by RASHI when he asks why the Toirah does not start with the first Mitzvah in the Toirah instead of feeding us Bubbah Maisahs about talking snakes, towers built into the sky, and several generations of brothers who constantly try to screw each other over.

The RASHBA responds to RASHI, noting that Sefer Beraishis is included as the first Sefer Toirah specifically to warn us to never trust any of our brothers, whether they come from different mothers, or are even hairy identical twins. Our brothers will screw us over every time, so we better make like Yankif Avinu and steal from our brothers first and run away at the first possible moment. The RASHBA notes that this understanding of Beraishis is critical in order for us to comprehend why it is that Moishe Rabbeinu leads Klal Yisroel out of Egypt, through the desert, and to the brink of the Promised Land, but Aharoin HaCoihain, Moishe’s back stabbing brother, gets the Kehunah for his descendants for all eternity. Instead of trying to read his compass while wandering the desert, Moishe should have taken a half hour to review the lessons of Beraishis and made sure that Aharoin, tea Menuval, mysteriously “disappeared” while searching for his golf balls in the sand trap at the Sinai Desert Classic.

But the Sifsei Chachamim hold Farkert. LeOilum, in reality, Beraishis teaches us absolutely nothing about relationships between brothers. Rather, Sefer Beraishis warns us about nasty wives and mothers. Sarah Imainu forces Avraham Avinu to send Hagar and Yishmael to die in the desert. Rivka Imainu prompts Yankif Avinu to lie to his blind father, steal his brother Eisav’s birthright, and borrow his father’s Lexis without permission. And Rochel and Leah: Where do I start? Let’s just say that the subsequent Halacha against one man marrying two sisters was inspired by this very bad idea...

But the RAMBAN holds that Sefer Beraishis is actually a critical preface to the remaining four books of the Toirah. Sefer Beraishis begins with the creation of the world. The sky. The water. The land. Trees. Insects. Animals. Human beings. But missing from either of the two creation stories at the beginning of the Sefer: Any reference to Klal Yisroel. The world is created by the Aibishter for the benefit of all of its creations. Even when we talk about the Avois and Imahois, we see them living side by side with others, in coexistence. Avram Avinu teams up with four kings to take on five other kings in a game of full court basketball. Egypt, Mitzrayim, is a place of refuge that opens its doors to others, to refugees, during a time of famine. In sum, the world is a place that seeks harmony. I am so inspired by this notion, that If you were here right now, you Vilda Chaya, I would give you a hug.

However, Sefer Shmois begins with a very different view of the world. The open door policy of Egypt accepting Klal Yisroel with open arms turns into enslavement. A Pharoah arises that “knows not Yoseph”; instead of coexistence we have the opposite: Oppression. Antagonism. Hostility.

Says the RAMBAN, if the Toirah only began with Sefer Shmois, we would believe that the world was created for Klal Yisroel and Klal Yisroel only. We would believe that other human beings do not count. We would believe that other elements of the Reboinoisheloilum’s creations - the sky and water and the animals - are unimportant. We would believe that the world is solely ours for the taking. In other words, we would be Republicans.

But, according to the RAMBAN, Sefer Beraishis serves as a counterbalance to the rest of Chamishei Chumshei Toirah. Sefer Beraishis reminds us that all humanity was created in Hakadoishbiruchhu’s image, even you, you Minuval. If Sifrei Shmois, Vayikra, Bamidbar and Devarim teach us the importance of safeguarding our own Yiddisheh society, Sefer Beraishis reminds us that we are not alone on this earth. The eagle and the heron are our brothers (five points if you identify the reference). The Bnei Yishmael are our cousins. And Hagar, Bilhah and Zilpah are hot Shiksas that we can shack up with, as long as our wives agree. In other words, Sefer Beraishis reminds us that it is OK to be Reform Jews. Or even Democrats, Chass V’Shalom.

I am reminded of a beautiful Maiseh Shehoya about the Chernobler Rebbe. The Chernobled was giving Shirayim to his Chassidim on a Friday night. He was taking scoops of potato kugel with his hands and tossing them down to his Chassidim sitting around the long table, moving clockwise. As he made his way around the table, he noticed that the next person in line to receive the Shirayim was not a Chassid, but the Shul’s handyman and groundskeeper Piotr Christianovitch. Without hesitation, he scooped up the next bit of potato kugel and tossed it to Piotr.

Afterwards, his key aide, Reb Menachem Shmaaser, asked him, “Rebbe, how come you have a piece of the holy kugel to the groundskeeper. Isn’t that wasting some of the divine blessing on a non-Jew.”

A big smile emerged on the Chernobler’s face, and put his arm around Reb Menachem and have him a hug. He then walked him towards the front door of the Shul, and in an unexpected mood, shoved Reb Menachem out the door, into the frigid -20 degree weather.

“Tell me Reb Menachem”, the Chernobler mockingly asked, “how does it feel outside without the Shabbos Goy to turn on the heat? Do you think that Klal Yisroel can do that ourselves? We cannot even change a light bulb.”

Reb Menachem responded. “What’s the big deal about turning on the heat. It’s not like if I did it wrong it can cause a nuclear accident...”

And so, Rabboisai, as we begin Sefer Shmois, let us remember the words “Chazak Chazak VeNisschazeyk”. Our strength is not only grounded in our community, but is also grounded in our collaboration and coexistence with the broader world.

Shoyn.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Minuval

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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess