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THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF RABBI PINKY SCHMECKELSTEIN
This week's Parsha, Parshas Pinchas, is named after me.
After all, Moishe Rabbeinu certainly had Ruach Hakoidesh, and could easily foresee the day, 3500 years in the future, when a full bearded white man wearing a long black Bekesheh and a big, black felt hat would use electronic pulses to share deep insights on the words of the Reboinoisheloilum with people like you – Minuvals who need an occasional five minute break from surfing porn, Facebook, or reading a Goiyushah newspaper, Chass V'Shalom. Isn’t it obvious? No wonder Moishe Rabbeinu was always so optimistic about the future of Klal Yisroel!
By sheer coincidence, of course, this week’s Parsha is also about Pinchas Ben Elazar -- the grandson of Aroin Hacoihain, the Minuval -- who at the end of last week's episode emulated the benevolent, sympathetic, and merciful connection between Hakadoshboruchhu and Klal Yisroel by slaughtering an Israelite man and his Midianite girlfriend by impaling them with both with a single spear mid coitus and initiating a plague in which 24,000 people died.
Reb Hai Goyn asks the Shailah: Who were these 24,000 people? Was interdating such a widespread activity for the holy Dor Mattan Toiraseinu that it required a plague? Why not simply have an Republican Party Convention and charge the participants retail? What’s pshat?
According to Rabbeinu Tam, the plague that killed 24,000 people was not only targeted at people who were dating Midianites; the targets also included insurance salesmen, fundraisers, lawyers, telemarketers, and members of the teachers' union.
But the Mordechai disagrees. He holds that none of the people who died in the plague were dating Midianites. Rather, all were members of Klal Yisroel who were supporters of Hillary Clinton.
But the question about the centrality of Midianite women to this Parsha does not fall away so easily. A Gemarrah in Chulin asks: Why was Moishe Rabbeinu immune to the plague targeted at members of Klal Yisroel involved with Midianite women? Indeed, Moishe’s wife herself was in fact the daughter of a Midianite priest, a Shiksa, for Reboinoisheloilum's sakes!
Rav Ashi points out that we Darshin from this an important Halacha: While interdating is banned, intermarriage is still acceptable, as long as the marriage represents a step up in social class. He notes that Midian was considered to be the cultural elite of Late Bronze Age Near Eastern society. According to Rav Moishe Feinstein, in our age this ruling would apply to Episcopalians, hedge fund managers, wealthy Wall Street donors to the Clinton campaign, and members of "the liberal media", unquote.
But Rish Lakish holds Farkhert. He holds that interdating is not only acceptable, it is encouraged. Rather, it is intermarriage that is not permitted, even when the woman converts. However, Rish Lakish notes, CHAZAL tell us that intermarriage is in fact permitted with a convert, but only if the conversion has been overseen and approved by one of the four ultra Orthodox guys in the Israeli rabbinate with a lofty classical rabbinic education and a full Swiss bank account.
There is a Medrish, however, that tells us that the plague did not actually kill 24,000 people. LeOilum, only 4,000 people died. However, the Toirah improperly included in its count an extra 20,000 people who were projected to die during the remainder of the year. This, however, never actually occurred; however, Klal Yisroel made an insurance claim for the death of 24,000 people and received full payment, plus federal aid. This resulted in an accounting scandal and a significant decline in Market Value for which Moishe Rabbeinu was held responsible.
According to this Medrish, the actual reason Moishe was not allowed to enter the Promised Land was because he was sentenced to 25 years in a minimum security penitentiary and had to pay $2 million shekels in fines and back taxes. But he was allowed to host a Bar Mitzvah for his grandson, Seymour, in the prison lounge. What a Kiddush Hashem!!
The M'EERIE asks a separate, very important question on a different part of this Parsha: Why is the story of Pinchas juxtaposed with a listing of the clans of the tribes of Israel, followed by a discussion of property and inheritance rights highlighted in the story of the Bnois Tzeluphchud?
As we all know, the daughters of Tzeluphchud request the right to inherit their father's property, given that he had no sons. After consulting with the Aimishteh and several leading estate lawyers, Moishe Rabbeinu accepts their argument. So, what does one story have to do with the other?
The Bais Yoiseph gives a beautiful Pshat: He suggests that the Toirah put the stories together to teach us that if a parent dies and you cannot agree with your siblings over an equitable division of assets, you are allowed to drive a spear through their stomachs, just as Pinchas did.
But Reb Shmiel Kalbasavua suggests farkhert, that the reason that Klal Yisroel at this point - in the desert, prior to entering Eretz Yisroel - were already engaged in property ownership disputes is because they were beginning to process their mortgage applications. And the story of Pinchas teaches us that whenever you show up to the closing, always be prepared for the worst.
I, the RAPAS (Rav Pinky Schmeckelstein), would like to suggest an alternative explanation for the episodes being presented together. If we contemplate the result of the petition of the Bnois Tzeluphchud - that they ultimately gained land inheritance rights - these young Bais Ya’akov girls were instantly considered desirable. Even if they had one eye and seven arms between them, they were women who owned property, and that made them nice catches.
So this week's Parsha comes to teach us that this rule applies to Midianite women as well: A Midianite woman who eats pork, worships idols and is regularly mezaneh with farm animals is also desirable, as long as she owns real estate.
Like Donald Trump, she may be a disgusting human being with a track record of bankruptcy, have a foul mouth, be a race baiter and disdainful of American war heroes like John McCain, be a hypocrite, have possibly ties to Russian investment and the Russian government, lack in relevant experience, and have an uneven temperament.
But as long as she has real estate, and is not a Democrat, she is welcome with open arms.
Mi KeAmcha Yisroel!
Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval
Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess