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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Roish Hashanah Drasha

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Roish Hashanah Drasha

I have recently returned to the Bais Medrish in my Yeshiva, where our talmidim are studying twenty-two hours a day in preparation for the Yomim Noraim (High Holidays), as well as for their upcoming Real Estate license exams.

This week we will celebrate and embrace Roish Hashanah, the New Year, pray for forgiveness of our past sins, and moan about the need to pay extra for seats when we are already spending too much as it is on annual synagogue membership.

In a famous Mishnah in Masechta Roish Hashanah, Rabban Gamliel asks why synagogues charge for seats on the High Holidays -- shouldn't they embrace all who attend services and not put up any potential barriers to their participation? In the Gemarrah, Rav Pappa builds on this question, pointing out that Jewish communal responsibilities also include Yeshiva tuition, kosher food and paying off the annoying schnorrers who show up at our doors uninvited. So why must shuls engage in Lifnei Iver and chase away any returnees to the faith?

Toisfois offers a gevaldik answer to this question, based on lessons we learn from Yaakov and Eisav. As Eisav returns from a day of hunting empty handed and hungry, Yaakov tricks Eisav into surrendering his birthright by giving him a bowl of lentil soup in exchange. Says Toisfois, we must choose to be like one or the other -- either fiscally bankrupt like Eisav, or morally bankrupt like Yankif Avinu. And clearly most shuls in our day choose the latter.

This rabbinic shakuvetaria (discourse) very much helps to define and capture the essence of our existential quandary at this time of year. The question really is: why do we have one special point in the year for repentance and renewal; are we not always encouraged, and even invited, to improve ourselves, or to at least make a healthy donation? Indeed, what is the nature of the choice that confronts us? How does Roish Hashanah help us along a new path?

(And an additional key question is: why was I assigned THAT seat, next to that guy I can't stand, and so far from the aisle that I may as well pee in my pants during mussaf?)

The classical answer is that the sound of the shoifar-- the ram's horn -- is intended to awaken within us our innate desire to embrace the Aimishteh through repentance and the fulfilling of Kol HaToirah Kooloh. Clearly, whoever came up with this response never heard the shoifar blown in the Yeshiva where I received Smicha (rabbinical ordainment), where, to insure that each shofar note is 100% koisher, they repeat the blows again and again. And again. And again. It's enough to make the Rosheshiva himself pray to Yushka for salvation.

Reb Hai Gaon offers an alternate answer, suggesting that Roish Hashanah is like a woman getting a facial. Sure she can put on makeup every day, but the act of spending eighty-five dollars to get her pores cleansed makes the meeskeit at least FEEL prettier.

Rabbi Akiva Eigar points to the three central themes of the Roish Hashanah liturgy as providing the answer: Malchiyois, Zichroinois, and Shoifrois. Malchiyois represents the father, Zichroinois the son, and Shoifrois the holy ghost. Of course, Reb Akiva is known for his secret affinity for Catholicism and his attraction to hot nuns.

But the Chassam Soifer points to the same three themes. He says that Malchiyois, the theme of the Kingdom of heaven, is like your father, who, no matter how successful you have become, is always ready to tell you what a disappointment you are. Zichroinois, the theme of heavenly remembrance, is like your mother, who, no matter how old you are, will always remind you of how you used to wet your bed. And Shoifrois, the theme of the sound of the shofar, is like your mother-in-law, whose constant talking and picking and nagging and complaining leaves a mind-numbing, deafening ringing in your ears.

Of course, we set the pattern for the coming year on Roish Hashanah. My alter zeidey used to tell me not to sleep on Roish Hashanah because that would cause me to have a farshlufinah year. I have always taken that lesson to heart. Consequently, I have a personal minhag to ride my bashert, Feigah Breinah, like a shtender in the afternoon of Roish Hashanah, in order to guarantee a new year with LOTS OF HOT ADULT ACTION. All the while, the einiklach and kinderlach are out poisoning the fish with leftover challah from last week.

It is also critical that our Teshuvah be sincere and complete, not like your usual insincere prayers, you Vilda Chaya, when you anxiously await the guy who knows all the sports scores to show up at shul. We need to commit to renouncing sin in our everyday lives in order to be true Bnei and Bnois Toirah. A few suggestions for the coming year:

-- Stop buying from Macy's. Macy's sells shatnez, and if you continue to buy there, someone may mistakenly assume you are buying shatnez, and believe it is okay to buy shatnez too.

-- Start using your 500 dollar set of Shass more. If not for learning, at least for the benefit of lifting those heavy books. Reboinoisheloilum knows, you can stand to lose a few pounds.

-- Don't let your wife distract you from Toirah. You should seek every opportunity to go into the other room and pick up a Chumash, or go to your weekly shiur. Watching your twelve kids so your wife can have a ten minute break and go to the Bais HaKeesay is no excuse for Bittul Toirah!

-- Grow your payiss to be long enough to have monkeys swing from them. You never know when you'll be at a Chassanah at the zoo and you'll have the chance to be Mesamayach the Chussen and Kallah.

-- Next time you sneak out for a little traifus, remember to make a Shehakol on your pork. After all, the Aimishteh created it too.

-- When you are in the middle of being mezaneh with your wife, instead of delaying your passion by thinking of baseball players, think of famous Chassidic masters instead. Unless, of course, you get excited by bearded men with shaved heads. In which case, stick with the baseball players.

In taking these measures, we will greet the new year with a deeper commitment to making the world a better place and embracing all mankind, in order to maximize our tax deductions, improve interest rates in the coming year, and bring peace between the Eskimos and the Mongolians.

A Chessiva V'Chasima Toivah, you Minuval.


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, September 15, 2017

On Teshuvah

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On Teshuvah


Rabboisai,

There is a famous story in the Zoihar Hakadoish that describes the ritual in Shamayim whereby the Ain Soif delivers an annual report immediately prior to Roish Hashanah before a joint session of the Sefirois, the Malachim, the Tzaddikim, and the Neshsamois of the unborn. The Zoihar also reports that one year, during this annual gathering, Hakadoshboruchhu noted that the world was expected to have a peaceful year, without any additional persecution directed at Klal Yisroel. Suddenly, the spirit of Nosson HaNavi shouted out, “You lie!” towards the Aimishteh. Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon forcibly removed Nosson HaNavi from the room, and after numerous apologies to the Reboinoisheloilum and his Chief of Staff, the Buddha, he was banished to Eretz Yisroel, where he is fated to spend all of eternity as one of the guys who do random ticket inspections on Egged busses.

There is also a Medrish in Medrish Tanchuma that talks about the annual PYW (Pumbedisa Yeshiva World) Awards. One year Rava was honored with the “Chiddush of the Year” award for his “Yeyush Shehlo Mida’as Loi Havei Yeyush” insight. As he was standing at the Shtender to accept his award, Rav Huna burst onto the Bimah and screamed out to the crowd of Yeshivah-Yingeleit, “Sure, Rava, your Chiddush was okay. But Rav Ashi really deserved the award for his ‘Yoim Toiv Shaynee Shel Goliyois Does Not Apply In Antarctica’ Chiddush. No offense, Dude.” After being booed off the Bimah and having a sandal thrown at his head, Rav Huna apologized for his outburst and blamed his behavior on the Besomim-laced mead he had been drinking all day, and also on the fact that he had not been adequately molested by his Rebbe when he was a teenager.

Finally, there is a famous story in a Gemarrah in Gittin that describes the detailed ruling associated with the Bavel Open, the annual sporting contest where leading Rabbis would throw turbans at each other across the Bais Medrish in Sura. The Gemara notes how one year Rav Chisda was disqualified in the quarterfinals against Rav Pappa by the line judge, Mar Zutra, when he threatened to “ram his turban so far up Mar Zutra’s ‘Bor’ that Mar Zutra would have to make an Eirev Chatzayrois every time he needed to go to the bathroom on Shabbos-Koidesh.” He later explained that he had been misunderstood, and that he really meant that Mar Zutra would need to make an Erev Tavshilin before eating on a Shabbos following a Yoim Toiv. But Rav Chisda finally apologized to Mar Zutra after Rav Shayshess threatened to make him pay a fine of thirty thousand zuzim and three goats. Shoyn.

I share this collection of stories as we engage in the spiritual exercise known as Teshuvah – repentance. Every year, after a full twelve months of being Mezaneh with hot shiksas -- at least in your mind you Minuval, after eating pork or shrimp or lobster, or cottage cheese that’s not Cholov Yisroel, Chass V’Sholom, or after murdering your neighbor for 12 dollars in loose change, cutting up his body into little pieces, and burying the pieces in the backyard between the rose bushes and the apple tree, near where you once buried the bunny rabbit that your cat had killed just to shut your children up already, Reboinoisheloilumdammit…. Ummm…sorry. After a year of committing Aveirois, you get in front of Hakadoshboruchhu, and ask Him for forgiveness.

But, as in the famous stories in the Gemarrah and the cosmic history recorded in the Zoihar, you must ask yourself, “Is my Teshuvah sincere? Do you mean it when you say “Selach Lee Kee Pushahtee”, “Forgive me for I have sinned”, and by implication, you will never do it again? Are you in fact sincere in your Teshuvah, or are you simply reciting a medieval liturgical formula, simply biding your time until the Chazzan finishes reciting the sections where the Aron Koidesh is open, so you can finally sit down and rest your aching feet already?

RAMBAM addresses this question in Hilchois Teshuvah of Mishnah Toirah. He notes that sincerity is a prerequisite for real Teshuvah, and he advises all his followers “MiSpharad Ad Mitzrayim”, from Spain to Egypt, to engage in penitence through prayer and acts of mortification, such as fasting and self-flagellation. He states, however, that the Jews of Eastern Europe should, quote, “not bother doing Teshuvah, as Hakkadoshboruchhu can never grant forgiveness to people who have names like Yankel, Berrill, Shprintze and Chraindie, and sing songs with the lyrics ‘Ai Digi Digi Dai’”.

The RAMBAN, living in the golden age of Kabbalah, writes that Teshuvah can only be achieved when the Sefirois are aligned, with Kesser, Chochmah, Chessed, Netzach, and Yesoid on one side, and Binah, Da’as, Tiferess, Gevurah, and Malchus on the other. In that way, the cosmic aspects of the Aimishteh are in perfect balance and may collectively engage in the act of forgiveness in the human realm, as well as participate in a pick-up basketball game.

The MAHARAL, however, disagrees with the RAMBAN, and suggests that before writing his opinion, the RAMBAN must have popped some of the pain killers he always carried in his medical bag for house calls. He suggests that real Teshuvah emanates from purposeful introspection joined with concrete actions. He points to the liturgical reference in the Nesaneh Toikeff on Roish Hashanah and Yoim Kippur “Oo’Seshuva, Oo’Sefillah, Oo’Tzedakah Ma’Avirin Ess Roiyah Hagezeyrah”, “And repentance, and prayer and charity deter the evil decree.” The MAHARAL notes that the juxtaposition of the three words connected by the term “and” highlights the underlying belief that the actions cited must be combined – It is not enough to commit Teshuvah OR Tefilla OR Tzedakah. But to have real impact, they must be committed by a human being as complementary acts of repentance emanating from the soul, prayer emanating the heart, and charity emanating from the bank account (Ed. Note: Preferably in a check made out to “Yeshivas Chipas Emmess”).

The Abudraham argues farkhert, that repentance is an inner process, enabled by inward contemplation, prayer, and uniting with the Reboinoisheloilum through Hisboidedus. But he notes that Teshuvah is quite separate from Tzedakah, stating that “The act of giving Tzedakah is an outward gesture, absent the soul. Nu, Bernie Madoff gave lots of Tzedakah, and trust me, you don’t want to be where he is going.”

So when we examine the words of Chazal, we discover a range of ideas centered on the notion of exorcising sin from the soul, of sincere Teshuvah as inner commitment. Even prayer is not a substitute for inward change – at best it is a catalyst. This point is clear when we examine the actual words of the liturgy. On Yoim Kippur we spend hours in the Viduy, the Jewish form of “confession”. But do we say “I sinned, I committed Act Aleph, Act Baiz, or Act Gimmul?” No, you ignoramus! We frame our confession in the form of the plural collective: “Ashamnu”, “Al Chaiyt Shechatahu Lifanecha” – “We have sinned”, “(We repent) for the sins which we have committed before You.” The listed sins are formulaic, and include many sins that most of us would never commit, unless we got really lucky. So reciting the formulas cannot be equated with personal repentance. Rather, Viduy, listing and repeating these sins again and again and again, is itself an act intended to inspire a mood, to incite an action, to encourage a behavior. It is like porn, but for Yoim Kippur.

So how else can we ensure sincerity in our Teshuvah? I am reminded of a Maiseh Shehoya. Reb Issur Zalman Meltzer, the Even HaEzel, was once walking home from the Central Synagogue in Slutsk when he was accosted by a group of three Communist youths. “Rabbi”, they teased him, “Who were you just praying to – the boogieman?” They then held Reb Issur Zalman down and forced him to listen to the first two chapters of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. With every word he heard, Reb Issur Zalman became more incensed. When the brutes finally let him go and turned around to walk away, Reb Issur Zalman attacked them from behind. Using his Masechta Baba Kamma, he crushed the skull of one of his assailants, killing him instantly. He used his Yoireh Dayah to break the jaw and knock twelve teeth out of the mouth of the second assailant. And as the third assailant ran away, Reb Issur Zalman threw his Mikraois Gedoilois at him, hitting his spine, and crippling him for life.

That night the Reboinoisheloilum came to him in a dream. “Issur Zalman”, Hakadoshboruchhu called. “What do you have to say for yourself?!!”

Reb Issur Zalman replied, “Oy, Aimisteh, I am so sorry. I did not mean to really hurt those boys. But all that talk about the redistribution of wealth really upset me.”

“No, you schmendrick” the Reboinoisheloilum retorted. “I am not upset that you killed one of those thugs and mortally wounded the others. But you let my holy Toirah fall on the floor. And for that you will lose your Christmas bonus this year!”

“That’s ok,” Reb Issur Zalman said, his ears turning red with anger, “as long as you share it with the underprivileged Proletariat hordes, you Opiate of the Masses!”

Rabboisai, real Teshuvah is not easy. If it were, we would not have ten days dedicated to repentance, as well as many long hours in shul that perhaps could have been better been spent learning Toirah, doing Maiysim Toivim, or surfing porn. But our mission at this time of year is to become better human beings. But we cannot become better people simply through empty apologies, no matter how many times they are repeated, and wherever they are repeated – even in Shul or on Oprah. Or in smug press releases or internal reports that ring hollow.

When we talk about Teshuvah, we are talking about real change, which is ultimately a function of humility. We must realize that we are all fallible, especially you, you Michutziff. We are all simple grains of sand passing through the winds of time. As written by the Paytan, “Kee Heenay KeChoimer BeYad HaYoitzer”, “We are like clay in the hands of the potter.” And only when you realize your true insignificance will you be able to undergo real Teshuvah, real change, and perhaps become a bit more tolerable for the rest of us.

Ah Gutten Yuhr, You Minuval.


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, September 08, 2017

Parshas Kee Suhvoh

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Parshas Kee Suhvoh

This week's Parsha, Parshas Kee Suhvoh, features the most acidic chapter in the entire Toiras Moishe: the Toichecha, or Rebuke, in which Moishe Rabbeinu lays out the negative consequences of Klal Yisroel disobeying the Rebboinoisheloilum. The punishments include death, insanity, poverty, exile, children taken away from parents, impotence, and significantly higher taxes.

Let's be perfectly frank -- You do not want to go to Shul this week to hear the Parsha! Stay home, put your feet up, watch a pay-per-view, do a little mitzvah with your wife, do a little work in the garage, unstop the toilets, change the cat litter, clean for Pesach eight months early -- anything to not have to listen to this Parsha. And if you do you go to shul, bring plenty of reading material.

Why, the stuff in this Parsha is so harsh, it can even get my mother-in-law to stop talking for a few minutes, Imirtza Hashem.

A Gemarrah in Baba Metzia cites a Braisa in which Rabbi Akiva asks: Why is Hakadoshboruchhu so damn angry at Klal Yisroel all the time? 

Rav Huna answers that when we were young, the Aimishteh once sent us to the store to buy eggs, but we never gave Him back all the change, and he has held a grudge ever since.

However, Rabbi Abba suggests that the Rebboinoisheloilum’s anger is linked to the definition of the Jews being the "Chosen People." Rabbi Abba cites the traditional view of Shir HaShirim in which the male Hakadoshboruchhu sees Klal Yisroel as the nation chosen to be His wife. And when a Jew is unfaithful and does something against a direct command, such as worshiping idols or eating fish and meat with the same plastic fork at a Kiddush, He gives in to His uncontrollable jealous temper and smacks us around a bit. Rabbi Abba goes on to say that we really did deserve it, and promise not to tell the neighbors how we got our black eye, just that He should please not do it ever again.

Rabbi Abba quotes a beautiful Medrish that says that in the heavenly realm of the Aimishteh, where He sits on His throne of fire surrounded by angels playing harps, violins, flutes and accordions, as the human world recites this Parsha once a year, after each Passuk the Rebboinoisheloilum responds "One of these days Alice, one of these days! POW, right in the kisser!"

Rava disagrees. He suggests that indeed Klal Yisroel was chosen, but not as a wife. Rather, we were chosen to be a pet dog. And just like a pet dog, we require discipline whenever we go on the carpet. And we shouldn't complain, because if He ever really tires of us we might get dropped off at the local pound.

Abaye agrees that we are like pets. However, he suggests that we are more like a pet goldfish. We are surrounded by other fish, some larger and some smaller. We get fed once a day if we're lucky. We have little or no real interaction with our benefactor. Other fish are constantly nipping at out tailfins. There is poop on the bottom of the tank and algae building up on the walls. The filter breaks down once in a while. And the best we can hope for is that at the end of 120 years we will die a natural death and be flushed down the toilet. 

Says Abaye, this Parsha is the best reason yet to convert to Catholicism. The only reason he doesn't is because he would rather have someone nipping at his tails than fondling his fins, if you know what I mean. (Clearly Abaya had never met Motti Elon.)

Commenting on this Gemarra, Reb Saadya Goyn offers a completely different interpretation. He suggests that the Rebboinoisheloilum would never threaten Klal Yisroel with such hostility as we read in this Parsha. And neither would Moishe. Rather, it was the fault of one of Moishe's speechwriters. Moishe told his speechwriter, "hey, I gotta make a speech, and make it dark." Moshe was referring to adding in some elements that would appeal to his constituency in the olive skinned tribe of Naphtali. But the speechwriter thought he meant thematically dark, and the rest is history. (Meyla, this is the same writer who, years earlier, when told by Moishe that he had seen a burning bush in the desert, thought that Moishe was telling him that he had spotted a hot red head skinny dipping at an oasis.)

The RAMBAM takes a completely separate approach. He suggests that indeed Hakkadoshboruch did mean to make the threats as written. And the reason He takes such a tough stand is that he is obviously a Republican. Look at the facts: He is tough on Law and Order, He takes a no-compromising stand against the Babylonians, and He favors using the death penalty as frequently as possible. Sums up the RAMBAM: the Aimishteh wants us to stop behaving like "stiff-necked Israelite Girly-men."

The RASHBAM disagrees, suggesting that the RAMBAN had probably taken to sampling items in his medicine bag when no one was looking. The RASHBAM holds farkert -- the Rebboinoisheloilum is actually a card carrying Democratic. As proof he points to the key social legislation mentioned elsewhere in this week's Parsha: The insistence that we care for orphans and widows, that we set aside a portion of our Maiser, our tithing, for their benefit (Welfare? In the Toirah? Am I reading this correctly?); The concern for the integrity of the legal system (What's pshat you can't give a bribe?); The recognition and care that we grant to the Gair, the non-Israelite/ non-Jewish resident who lives among us. 

The RASHBAM concludes that the harsh words of the Toichecha simply point out once again that, at the end of the day, Hakadoshboruchhu is a "political flip-flopper." To back up his point, the RASHBAM cites a Medrish which says that the Aimishteh didn't even split the sea during the exodus from Egypt -- It split through natural causes, but He has tried to claim credit ever since.

However, the RALBAG has a much simpler answer. LeOilum, he holds that the Rebboinoisheloilum did make all the threats mentioned in the Toichecha. And the reason that Hakadoshboruchhu speaks so harshly is simply because He is an anti-Semite. 

Let's examine the facts: He asks us to do the impossible and complains when we cannot achieve it; He treats us differently than He treats others; He singles us out for persecution; He casts us into exile and then gets angry when we assimilate; He gives us a geopolitical conundrum and places obstacles at every potential solution.

In short, the Aimishteh is an anti-Semite. He doesn't like Jews, with our hook noses and penny counting, the horns on our heads, our control of the banking system and the media, or our aspiration for setting up a world government. He in particular is angry at us for rejecting Christ, Mohammed, the Buddha, the Hindu Pantheon, and L. Ron Hubbard.

I am reminded of a famous story about the Dubner Maggid. One Shabbos afternoon he sat in shul surrounded by both children and adults as he regaled them for three hours with inspirational stories of the great sages, and shared wise parables that explained the cosmic, loving relationship between the Rebboinoisheloilum and Klal Yisroel. 

At one point a five year old boy stopped him and asked, "But mister Maggid, if Hakadoshboruchhu loves the Jews so much, why must we spend our lives in exile?"

At that, the Dubner Maggid stopped speaking. After a long, uncomfortable pause, he replied in a very low voice that was almost a whisper, "Oh shit. I never thought of that one." The very next day he shaved his long beard and opened up a shoe store.

Indeed, this week's Parsha highlights the complexity of religion and the price of faith. While some view their faith, and its rewards, with the cup half full, other view them as half empty. However, I think that they are both wrong. If you look at the chapter of the Toichecha, Perek Chuff Chess in Devarim, only the first 14 (of 68) Pesukim talk about the potential rewards of faithfulness. However, the VAST majority -- the next 54 Pesukim -- speak in awful detail of the potential punishments. So, rounding out the numbers, one should either see the cup at one fifth full, or four fifths empty. I personally don't like 5 to 1 odds against us, so we may want to start betting on a different horse.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, you Minuval


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, August 25, 2017

Parshas Shoiftim

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Parshas Shoiftim


Rabboisai,

Reading this week's Parsha, Shoiftim, left me confused and bleary eyed. So many topics to cover, so little time. True testimony. False testimony. True prophets. False prophets. Magicians. Conquest. Egla Arufa. Moishe Rabbeinu must have had one too many cappuccinos that morning. I suspect he might have even been on speed, Chass V'Sholom.

In this week’s Parsha, Moishe Rabbeinu tells us that a defendant can be convicted of a crime through the testimony of either two or three witnesses. But the Parsha tells us this law in two separate places. What's Pshat?

According to a Mishnah in Yuma, Moishe repeated himself because he was showing signs of early Alzheimer’s.

But according to a Gemarrah in Yevamois, the first mention of the rule about witnesses refers to legal testimony and the judicial system. But the second mention of the rule is brought down by the Toirah to teach us something not about law, but about marital relationships: While marital relations between two people, a husband and a wife, are sanctified in the eyes of the Aimishteh, He doesn't mind if every once in a while you bring in a third partner to "spice up the cholent."

Commenting on this Gemarrah, Toisfois points out that the second reference in the Parsha to the rule requiring two or three witnesses is juxtaposed to the rules of conquest: In the section immediately following the second mention of the rule, the Toirah tells us that when you conquer a foreign land, you should slay all the males, but keep the women and children for yourselves. Says Toisfois, the Parsha wants to teach us an important lesson: When you do have a third person join you in your marital relations, the Toirah suggests she be a hot shiksa. And the Toirah teaches this within the context of discussing military conquest so we will know that a little Bondage and Discipline is okay.

The RIF, however, holds, that a little S and M may be in order as well, as long as it does not lead to bloodshed, which would instantly raise up a Chashash of Nidah and spoil all the fun, Chass V'Sholom.

However, the Bais Yoiseph holds that the entire Gemarrah of Yevamois must have been written when the Amoraim were having a "bad day," and that Toisfois and the RIF were too busy thinking with their Bris Milahs.

The Bais Yoiseph holds that the reason the Toirah repeats itself on the rule about witnesses is to warn us that if we hire two false witnesses to testify in our favor during a tax fraud hearing, we should always hire an extra witness, just in case one of the witnesses turns states evidence. He brings as proof the whole, strange Halacha of the Egla Arufa.

As the Toirah states, if an unidentified dead body is found between two towns, and a murderer is not identified, the elders of the towns must sacrifice a lamb as part of a proclamation of the towns' innocence. According to the Bais Yoiseph, this is clearly a situation involving a cover up, and the Toirah is encouraging you to have some false witnesses up your sleeve who are willing to testify against some unwitting scapegoat.

But the Hesech Hadaas (B. 1280 -- D. ?) states that the Egla Arufa has no link whatsoever to any other topic in Parshas Shoiftim. Indeed, he holds that the Egla Arufa really belongs in Shmois, following the drowning of the Egyptian Army in the sea. He holds that the Egla Arufa symbolizes the random victimhood that characterizes human existence. The Jews in Egypt. The Egyptians in the sea. Klal Yisroel. Amalek. Midian. Basically, all of humanity. According to him, the Egla Arufa is a reminder that life is one big crap shoot. One day you are lying on the beach with a beautiful woman at your side. The next day you are stuck in some Bais Medrish studying Gemarrah with a bearded guy named Laizer who hasn't quite figured out how to use deodorant and who showers once a week whether he needs to or not...

I am reminded of a Maiseh Shehoyo. Many years ago I was traveling to China with my Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. We were on a mission to determine if the messages in fortune cookies were written by a wise elder Kabbalist residing in inner Mongolia, or a seventeen year old complete ignoramus. As we traveled though the wilds of Lanzhou Province, we were approached by the army of the Communists, who were in the midst of their war against the Nationalist army. "Fight on our behalf, or die" we were told, the muzzles of their rifles pointed at our faces. I wanted to resist, but was reassured by my Rebbe that everything would turn out alright.

One evening, as the troops sat around the campfire drinking homemade slivovitz and eating General Tso's cocker spaniel, Reb Shmuley began a Niggun. He sang slowly at first, and more loudly as the Communist troops learned the tune and joined in. After 45 minutes, Reb Shmuley and I went to the side to Daven Maariv.

Suddenly the Nationalist forces launched a surprise attack against our comrades. But the spirit of Chairman Mao was upon us that day, and we repelled the capitalist dogs, routing them to the last man.

After the fighting subsided, Reb Shmuley and I were imprisoned for cowardice, since we Davened in our bunker throughout the battle. I asked Reb Shmuley, "Why does the Aimishteh punish us so? We were Davening, fulfilling His commandments, yet we are forced to suffer."

"Fool!" Reb Shmuley Boteach responded. "Do you think He hears our prayers? We are in the middle of freaking nowhere, surrounded by a billion pagans. What do you think He has, radar?"

Just as we were randomly punished, so too the Egla Arufa is a response to a random crime against an anonymous victim. Not so that the Aimishteh is mollified, but so that we can feel a little less guilty after rummaging through the dead man's pockets and stealing his wallet and personal effects.

Ah Gutten Shabbos You Minuval.


---------

Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, August 18, 2017

Presidential Endorsement by Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein: Donald J. Trump

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Presidential Endorsement by Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein: Donald J. Trump


Rabboisai,

What a busy week it has been, in my role as Rabbinic Advisor to President Donald J. Trump SHLITA. 

He has done such a terrific job mediating the cultural debates in American society, and has shown his Solomonic Wisdom by sawing the baby in half , AKA dividing the American People. But this is not a problem, as most are descendents of immigrants anyway.

I have had the opportunity this week to have lunch with fellow leaders, including the Grand Wizard of the KKK and the New Fuhrer of the American Nazi Party. I found them to be gracious and polite. And non-demanding. Indeed, they never asked me to pass anything over from my side of the table, and refused to eat from any plate that I touched.

Our conversation focused on was the single greatest American. The Grand Wizard claimed that the greatest American ever was Robert E. Lee, given his distinguished record in the US military and his leadership of the army of the Confederate States of America. The New Fuhrer suggested that the greatest American was Henry ford, given his contribution to the mass production of cars and his publication of important histories of Jewish conspiracies in America. I, on the other hand, argued that the greatest American was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, given that he took his responsibility as a politician to screw the country quite literally, as he has tried to have sex with every woman who ever walked into the White House as long as Jackie had her back turned.

In any case, I did not have time to prepare a new Drasha for Shabbos, so I am resending my presidential endorsement of Donald J. Trump SHLITA, as I believe that like all good Toirah, it is timeless.

In any case, I wish you a Gutten Shabbos now, as I have to run off and polich the silver Kiddish Becher in my china cabinet and the bronze statue of Jefferson Davis in front of my Shul in time for Shabbos.

Shoyn.

---------

Rabboisai,

Shtayt in Passook, it says in the Toirah: Sefer Republicans, Parshas 2016 Presidential Race, Perek Lamud Chess, Passook Aleph through Passook Yood Tesssss:

(א) Vayoimer Donald El Billy Bush Leymor -- And Donald sayeth to Billy Bush, saying. 

(ב) "I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.”

(ג) “Whoa,” said, Billy Bush, who was also knowneth by his nickname, Burning.

(ד) “I did try and fuck her. She was married,” Donald said. 

(ה) "And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.” 

(ו) “She wanted to get some furniture.” 

(ז) “I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’” 

(ח) “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married." 

(ט) And Donald paused thoughtfully. 

(י) "Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”

(יא) At that point, Donald and Burning saweth Arianne Zucker, the actress waiting to escort them to the town well.

(יב) “Your girl’s hot as shit, in the purple,” said Burning.

(יג) “Whoa!” Donald sayeth. “Whoa. I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her.”

(יד) “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them.” 

(טו) “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” 

(טז) “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

(יז) “Whatever you want,” agreeeth Burning Bush.

(יח) And the Donald sayeth, “Grab them by the pussy.” 

(יט) “You can do anything.”

(Editorial note: Translation courtesy of Art Scroll, 2016.)

Rabboisai, this recently rediscovered scroll has caused great shock waves across Klal Yisroel and all of the Nations of the world. "Donald is a false Messiah," some even claim. But Donald is a great man, a man of nuance, of layers. As CHAZAL teach us, Shivim Panim LaToirah”, “There are seventy faces to the words of the Toirah.” So to study and truly understand the Donald is no different than studying Yankif Avinu, Aroin HaKoihain, and Dovid HaMelech. We do not hold by Pashut Pshat, but must understand the Pessukim through the prism of CHAZAL. 

Yankif Avinu approaches his blind father dressed in the clothing of his brother Eisav, and proceeds to steal his elder twin's birthright. While the Torah in Pashut Pshat implies some degree of criticism of Yankif’s behavior, and the circumstances arranged by Hakadoshboruchhu to have Lavan switch Leah for Rochel may be understood as Midah KiNeged Midah, a punishment whereby Yankif is penalized for his dishonesty by being the victim of a similar dishonest action, CHAZAL go out of their way to demonize Eisav. While the Toirah presents him as the unchosen brother, CHAZAL present Eisav as evil through and through – just like you, you Mechutziff -- and fundamentally whitewashes the dishonesty of Yankif. An ignoramus like you might believe that Yankif did something wrong, but CHAZAL teach us that Eisav deserved every misdeed done to him. After all, Eisav was a hairy Sheygitz who turned faking respect for his father into a lifelong Hollywood act. He was such a good actor, he even showed up at his father’s burial and mourned. What a faker!

Aroin HaKoihain responds to Moishe Rabbeinu's disappearance on Har Sinai by creating the Eigel HaZahav and driving Klal Yisroel into idolatry a mere 40 days after receiving the Toirah. Upon descent from the mountain, Moishe shatters the Luchois, and together with Aroin, crushes the burnt Eigel into water, forces Klal Yisroel to drink of the waters, and then sets the Levi'im to massacre 3,000 people. But what of Aroin HaKoihain, the Minuval? A MeChutziff like you might have thought that Aroin committed a mortal sin, a crime against the Aimishteh Himself. But you would be wrong, you Vilda Chaya!! CHAZAL teach us that Aroin was simply stalling for time. He started off with 15 minutes of stand-up comedy, followed by singing a few Sinatra songs. Then he gave an inspirational speech, based on the teachings of Tony Robbins. Then he read a few of Shakespeare’s sonnets. So the Eigel was just the next step on his stall tactics. Aroin was a Tzaddik! How can you not have understood that, you Shkutz?!?!

Finally, as is well known, Dovid HaMelech saw Bassssheva bathing naked, across the valley. She was very beautiful, and also very married to Uriah HaChiti, one of Dovid’s most loyal soldiers. But Dovid sent for Bassssheva to be brought to him, and he slept with her. And when he found out that she was pregnant, Dovid HaMelech ultimately arranged for Uriah to be killed on the battlefield, after which Nosson HaNavi, Nathan the Prophet, came to Dovid to express the displeasure of the Reboinoisheloilum.

Now, a Menuval like you might understand this episode in a terribly negative light. But the Talmud tells us that Dovid HaMelech was indeed without sin. What appears to us in the Pashut Pshat, the plain meaning of the Passook, as Dovid HaMelech seducing a married woman, impregnating her, and having her husband killed, was actually the will of Hakadoshboruchhu, even though the Toirah says quite the opposite! No, the Aimishteh really wanted Dovid HaMelech to seduce Bassssheva, for through her would emerge the next king, Shloimoi HaMelech, and the line of Moshiach Tzitdkeinu, the Messiah. You may have thought that Dovid HaMelech was at best a seducer and at worst a rapist, but he was acting at the will of the Reboinoisheloilum. Thank you CHAZAL! We would never have figured this one out by ourselves without your deep whitewash… errrr… insights into the underlying truth.

And so it is with Donald. In Pashut Pshat, Donald has indeed used unacceptable language, objectifying women in the basest terms, admitting to trying to seduce a married woman, and acknowledging that he at times is driven to kiss and grope women by the Makoim HaErva. But if you believe this at its simplest level, you would be wrong, you Am Ha’aretz!

In fact, what we see from this episode are the thoughtful actions of a natural born leader. First, a leader must be able to admit his flaws. Donald in fact does this, in Passook Baiz, "I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.” The Donald shares with us a sensitive story, how in fact he took the woman in question furniture shopping, trying to help her be a good Balabusta, a good home maker.

And how committed was he to helping her? Passook Chess tells us BeFeirush, explicitly, “I moved on her like a bitch”, he supported her in her shopping quest the way a mother dog takes care of her young pups. He is truly a Tzaddik!

Finally, perhaps the most disturbing Passook is the methodology recounted by Donald as to how best to exploit one’s celebrity and aggressively court a woman, Shtayt in Passook Yood Chess, Donald suggests to Billy “Burning” Bush that one should “Grab them by the pussy.” This indeed does sound demeaning, dismissive of woman, and an example of sexual harassment, if not an outright criminal act of sexual abuse and exploitation. But if that is what you believe, it is because you are too stupid to understand the Passook. In fact, Donald is suggesting that you help a woman, first and foremost, by holding her pet cat for her, say, when she is reading Tehillim, or dropping her children off at Yeshiva. What reads like an act of sexual aggression is in fact an act of Gemilas Chassadim, kindness and generosity.

And it is indeed this innate kindness and generosity that compels me to formally endorse Donald Trump for president.

Indeed, even if one were to take this Parsha literally, without the interpretation of Chazal, how is this any different than any actions committed by Bill Clinton? How is it any different than the acts of enablement by Hillary Clinton, who persecuted the victims of Bill?

Now, of course Bill Clinton has already been president, is not running for president, and while accused, has never been found guilty of forcing himself on a woman, even as those woman have been funded by millions of dollars coming from various anti-Clinton donors, and even as the Starr Commission and many other public investigations spent millions on exploring every rumor about Bill Clinton. And as none of those alleged encounters have been proven, assertions of Hillary Clinton’s role in their cover up are vague, at best.

Bill Clinton did of course in fact have an affair with a White House intern, and was impeached for it. It is inexcusable, and is a stain on his legacy. But that episode is long gone from our political discourse, the same way that the creamy white stain, once it was removed from Monica’s blue dress by the dry cleaners, is no longer present.

More important, Donald Trump’s deserving leadership is proven in many other ways:

-- Donald Trump is opposed to the presence of illegal immigrants, will expel them once elected, and will create a wall between the United States and Mexico. This is terrific news! I am sick and tired of going to a restaurant and having the kitchen help not understand a word I am saying! The Mexicans have been stealing our jobs; instead of illegal Mexican immigrants working in restaurant kitchens or in lawn care or in construction or in child care, those jobs should rightly be given to American citizens! Why, I know dozens of families in Brooklyn, Monsey, and KJ where the men have no work, and as a result are forced to sit and learn in Bais Medrish all day, Rachmana Letzlan. These Bochrim, instead of Shteiging while sitting on their asses, will now be able to take up the employment opportunities created by shipping those undesirables back to Mexico!

Now the best part: With a wall between Mexico and the United States, we will have the opportunity to perform many Mitzvois more easily. People living along the border will be able to use the wall as one wall of their Sukkas. This is a tremendous cost savings. And with a physical wall along the border with Mexico, all we need are walls along the border with Canada and walls along the East and West coasts in order to enclose the entire United States – serving as one massive Erev. What a Kiddush Hashem!!

Now, some of you may be wondering whether we, as Klal Yisroel, should be more sensitive to the plight of immigrants, given that the United States was founded as an immigrant nation, and that many of us, our parents, our grandparents, and great grandparents came to the country as immigrants, some legally and some in any way they could. But that was fundamentally different! After all, they were Jews fleeing anti Semites! How can you argue against their being let into this country, you self-hating Jew?!

-- Donald Trump counts among his supporters David Duke, the KKK, and various White Supremicist groups. It has been reported on many occasions that reporters of Jewish descent who have written critically of Trump have been subjected to unprecedented anti-Semitic attacks, including messages about how “Hitler forgot you” and “you should burn in the ovens”. Now, some are critical that Trump has not adequately disavowed the words and actions of these “alt activists”, as they are referred to in the Media. But… let’s face it… all of these attacks have been reported by the left wing media, which is controlled by Jews! 

I do not like the Jewish Media, with their liberal sentiments and their big noses and their aspiration for world government. So why should I expect anti-Semites to like them either? After all, I am not a hypocrite!

-- Donald Trump boastingly joked during the first debate about how he is smart for not paying taxes, and subsequent reports suggest that he may not have paid personal federal income taxes for twenty years following a big loss and a large bankruptcy. Some would suggest that this is a core inconsistency for a man claiming to be a successful businessman and a fiscal genius.

But there is no inconsistency here: I have not paid taxes for the last twenty years either! And neither has anyone else I know. I say: Let the suckers…. Errrr…. Goyim pay taxes, while the rest of us focus on Avoidas Hashem, studying Toirah, and mastering the complex Sugya that is the “Tax Loss Carry Forward”

-- Donald Trump speaks about banning Moslems from entering the country, and assailed the parents of a fallen Moslem American soldier who addressed the Democratic convention. Should we be troubled by this? Of course not! After all, all of ISIS are Moslems. So of course we should keep all Moslems out of the country.

And, of course, the Russians, who are currently putting nuclear capable weapons on territory contiguous with Poland, are Orthodox Christians. So of course we should keep all Orthodox Christians out of the country. And Catholics? Do you know how many Jews they killed throughout the centuries? Of course we should keep all Catholics out of the country. And the Germans killed the Jews during the Shoah, so we should of course keep all Germans out of the country. And since many Germans are Lutherans, we should keep all Lutherans out – and in fact all who follows in the steps of Martin Luther -- meaning all Protestants, out of the country.

And the members of the Black Lives Matter movement are all black. So of course we should keep all blacks out of the country. And the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbor. And the North Koreans are going nuclear. And the Chinese are taking all of our jobs. So of course we should keep out all Asians. And the British, because of the terrible job they did in Mandatory Palestine.

And, of course, Bernie Madoff is a Jew, as are numerous white collar criminals all over the country. So of course we should keep all Jews out of the country.

So, in fact, the only people who should be allowed in the country are the Native Americans. We can certainly support Donald Trump’s logic on this topic.

-- Donald Trump promises to fix our economy by negotiating with American debt holders – the countries and institutions that hold Treasury Bills and other forms of federal debt. And I applaud him for it! Why should America, the strongest economy in the world, have to pay our debts? NO ONE understands bankruptcy laws better than Donald Trump! So why not put those laws to work for US? We should be paying pennies on the dollar! And if they do not like it, what are they going to do? Not sell to us? Put sanctions against us? Go to war with us?

So what if US Treasury Bills are the cornerstone of the world’s economy, the definition of “risk free debt” in financial circles? This country was not built on avoiding risks. Did the founding fathers avoid risks when declaring independence? Did Lincoln avoid risks when freeing the slaves? Did Reagan avoid risks when he attacked Grenada? Did George W. Bush avoid risks when he attacked Iraq?

No. Leadership is built on taking risks. So if President Trump is able to renegotiate the US debt at the risk of causing the collapse of the global financial markets, it is a risk that I, for one, am willing to take. I will of course have to check that my Israeli, Canadian, EU, Saudi, and Russian citizenships are all up to date… just for documentation purposes, of course.

-- Donald Trump is committed to getting NATO to pay their fair share, those freeloaders. NATO has been the cornerstone of Western security since 1945. But NATO is sooooooo 1970s. Russia is no longer an enemy: Putin is a strong leader, a leader who is popular in his country, a leader whose own national media never criticizes him… and lives to talk about it.

All the freeloading countries should start to pay their fair share… or they are out of NATO! Germany? Who needs them in NATO! How dangerous can a Germany, disconnected from the Western powers, with a struggling economy, and left to fend for itself against the Russian threat, possibly get?! 

-- Finally, there is Eretz Yisroel. Donald Trump is good for Israel. He is great for Israel. His daughter and grandchildren are even Orthodox Jews. And his principle advisors on Israeli policy read the New York Times and the AIPAC daily briefing; what other expertise could they possibly need?

Yes, Donald Trump is good for Israel. The misguided US agreement with Iran is an example of the worst agreement even negotiated! As Donald has said, rather than avoid nuclear proliferation, let’s embrace it! Why should the US have paid billions to Iran to get rid of its nuclear materiel. It is only natural that all countries in the world will get nuclear capabilities. So which way are we better off – with Israel as the only nuclear power in the region, and a united global effort to keep Iran nuclear free for the next ten years? Or with a nuclear Iran, a nuclear Saudi Arabia, a nuclear Egypt, and a nuclear Turkey? If all countries in the Middle East are nuclear, then there is no threat, because of the notion of mutual self-destruction. If one country gets nuked then all countries get nuked. It is actually a very democratic solution to the 100 year old Arab-Israeli conflict and the thousand year old Sunni-Shiite conflict. And, as we know, everyone in the Middle East behaves like rational actors, so what could possibly go wrong?

----

And so, I, on behalf of Yeshivas Chipass Emmess, wholeheartedly endorse Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. He will lead this nation forward with grace, style, an even temperament, and by grabbing the country by the pussy.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess

Friday, August 04, 2017

NEW: On Sacred Secret Traditions

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NEW: On Sacred Secret Traditions


Rabboisai,

I would like to start this week's Drasha by sharing a true story. This past Shabboskoidesh I was engaged in a fundraising trip to a small Shtetyl in Eastern Europe. After Davening, where there was not a complete Minyan, I sat down with three members of the small Kehilla for Kiddush and Moitzee. Discussion spread from comparing Jewish life in the vibrant communities of the United States to the struggles to maintain and sustain a form of Jewish life in a community with only remnants of the robust Jewish life that horrifically disappeared in the Shoah.

At one point, a senior member of the Kehilla asserted that there are many rabbis who believe that Israel's ongoing struggles with the Palestinians, HAMAS and Hezbollah were in fact the cosmic result of the many Jews in Israel who do not observe the Mitzvois. I retorted that what my new friend stated was a philosophical opinion, one which I do not share. I commented that sitting here in the tiny communal remnant of an Eastern European Shtetyl, the notion was impossible to believe, as it was comparable to stating that my family and six million others were slaughtered because of the Reboinoisheloilum’s anger about the Reform Movement or some other such nonsense occasionally voiced by some Rabbonim. I noted my personal belief and the normative Rabbinic dictum that we cannot understand the nature of Hakadoishboruchhu, His, thoughts, or His actions.

The debate went on for a 20 minutes or so, in civil voices and an air of mutual respect, with me referring to the RAMBAM's description of the Aimishteh as being beyond comprehension, and the Kabbalists' efforts to illustrate the nature of the Reboinoisheloilum-head as far more complex than the simplistic linear explanation of the Toirah: If the Jews are good, good things happen to us; but if the Jews misbehave, Hakadoishboruchhu "hides His face". For such simplistic logic did not hold true in history any more than it holds true today.

After Benching, the four of us walked through the traditional Jewish Quarter, and the oldest of the group pointed out the store that was once his mother's bakery, prior to the Shoah.

Shoyn.

-----

Rabboisai

Klal Yisroel is on a downward spiral. Here we are, in the midst of what many feel is a period of Reishis Smichas Geulasainu, the dawn of our redemption, but Klal Yisroel cannot help itself. Just when Eliyahu HaNavi is circling on his flying ass, looking for a place to land, you Menuvals always seem to find some way to screw it up.

I was recently visiting some Talmidim from Lakewood. They are Tzadikim - they never miss a Mincha, even behind bars - and they reported that in the federal penitentiary there are Yidden who shave with a blade. A blade!!! Why, that is a Dioraisah!!! What can these people possibly be thinking?!?!

Similarly, when I walk the streets of Brooklyn and Yerushalayim I see women who go with their hair uncovered. It is difficult enough for a man like me at this time of year to hold off from masturbating like a monkey while walking down the street, but to be tempted by the fruit of a woman's follicles is beyond what I can bear. (I personally think that the federal government should pay for Sheytels - It would likely significantly lower infidelity, and some rabbis even hold that it would decrease breast cancer.)

On rare occasions I visit the Goyim in Teaneck. Once upon a time, I refused to drink anything but cold water. But I cannot even do that now, since the Teaneckers do not use filters on their water taps and daily consume microscopic crustaceans, Rachmuna Litzlan. What Am Haaratzim!

And recently I saw some data on members of Klal Yisroel going to college. Ah Shandah! What a waste of time when Buchrim are studying Computer Science, Accounting, Medicine, or Law, Chass V'Sholom, instead of learning Toirah all day, sitting in Koilel, and relying on their loving Bashert-lech, the Reboinoisheloilum, and, of course, their father's in law to pay for the house, the cars, the kids, and Pesach on a cruise to the Bahaimas.

Yes, this is a generation that has lost its right to be the Am HaNivchar, the Choisen People.

---

We are of course not the first generation in the history of Klal Yisroel to ponder why the actions of Klal Yisroel do not make sense. Shaving with a blade. Oy Vah Voy!! Women not covering their hair properly. Drinking unfiltered water. Jews going to college - for Reboinoisheloilum's sakes, no wonder Moshiach has not yet arrived!!!

In the meantime, there are other members of Klal Yisroel causing tremendous distractions and causing others to sin. People complaining about sexual abuse in the community. Where? There is no sexual abuse in the Orthodox community!! Maybe by the Reform, Ich Vais. But all of these false allegations are causing donations to fall... errr... are distracting the focus of the world from the wonderful things that Klal Yisroel do for the community, such as Hatzollah, Toimchei Shabbos, and supporting the local prostitute community.

There are even Yidden who are complaining about money "donated" by the government to ensure that our Yeshiva Buchrim and their wives and 12 children are all able to live at a respectable standard: Not working, yet collecting Social Security benefits, Welfare, Medicaid, Section 8, Food Stamps and other programs. Hey, we are the Tashmish Hamitah-ing Choisen People, and we deserve to be learning in Koilel, married, have twelve children, collect all sorts of public benefits, and drive a Lexus! What could possibly be wrong with this that people should complain?!?!

---

Rabboisai, what I have described above is a clear case of misplaced priorities. Some people are worried about such Narishkeit like sexual abuse and the long term unsustainability and illegality of the lifestyles of many in the Frum community, while instead they should be focusing on the real priorities: Shaving without a blade, women's uncovered hair, unfiltered water, and the dangers of secular education. We need to keep our priorities straight, Hakadoishboruchhu-Dammit!!!

It seems to me that Klal Yisroel has lost its way. We have lost the true lessons of the Toirah. We have been focused on the "revealed" Toirah, and have begun to lose our oral Mesoirah. Some have taken seriously such concepts as "V'Ahavtah Le'Reachah Ka'Moichah" (“Love your neighbor as you would love yourself”), "Im Ain Derech Eretz, Ein Toirah" (“If there are no basic human dignity, there can be no Toirah”), and "Dinah D'Malchusah Dinah" (“The rules of the local civil government apply as rules for the Jewish community”), when in fact, those concepts are just a smokescreen for the True Toirah.

Rabboisai, I have recently been reading a book by Professor Moshe Halbertal entitled "Concealment and Revelation - Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications". The book focuses on a trend between the 11th and 14th centuries by a series of different schools of thought to expose the "hidden truths" of Klal Yisroel, the esoteric knowledge that reflecting the actual understanding of Toiras Moishe that lay hidden behind the normative TANACH and Talmud.  Because of fear of loss of tradition or loss of control or the message, various rabbis and schools revealed key teachings, often conflicting, which in some cases purported to have been handed down secretly by an entrusted elite.

-- RAMBAM wrote the Moireh Nevuchim, which together with his other writings, presented a synthesis of traditional Jewish though with Aristotelian philosophy and the Arabic science of the era. He also shared secrets on winning at Blackjack.

-- The Ibn Ezra wrote his commentary on the Toirah and other works synthesizing neo-Platonic philosophy, astrology and a strong preference to Pashut Pshat of the Toirah, versus reliance on Midrashic allegories to address textual problems. He also revealed a list to proven pickup lines for men, women and ToomTooms.

-- The RAMBAN spent a third of his time arguing with the RAMBAM, a third of his time arguing with Ibn Ezra, and the remaining third of his time making clouded allusions to Kabbalistic belief in his own biblical interpretation. At the same time, he condemned those who were sharing the secrets of the Kabbalah with the masses. And he hinted at ways to satisfy your woman multiple times per night.

-- The Kabbalists who decided to explain the Toirah and the all Creation by sharing the secrets of Jewish mysticism. Most famous of these works is, of course, the Zoihar, written or compiled by Rabbi Moses De Leon. (Please Note: If you are going to argue that the Zoihar was written by Reb Shimoin Bar Yochai 1200 years earlier then I will be forced to expel you from my Yeshiva.)

What all of these great scholars shared was a commitment to revealing the True Toirah, not the simplistic understanding that an ignoramus like you might derive from your limited knowledge.

Given the crisis within Klal Yisroel today, I, the RAPAS, Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein, have decided that it is time to put in writing the modern hidden truths of the Toirah that have been handed down to me by my father who received them from his father who received them from his father who received them from his step-father; his real father was a well hung blond Cossack. In doing so, I am revealing the Sacred Secret Teachings of the Wise Elders Of Zion, so that these understandings will not be lost to a generation caught up in Narishah Zachen.

Sacred Secret Teaching Number 1: Always obey every single Mitzvah Bain Adam LaMakoim – the commandments between man and the Reboinoisheloilum. That means: Daven three times a day (five, if you are Moslem); put on Tefillin; eat only Koisher food; go to Mikvah; wave a live chicken over your family’s heads Erev Yoim Kippur; never carry on Shabboskoidesh; shake a palm branch and 300 dollar lemon at the sky on Sukkois; do not wear Shatnez, you Shkutz, and if you have to shave, Chass V’Sholom, please use an electric razor, but only after sending the electric razor to my brother-in-law to he can dull the blades to the point where you have get a cleaner shave using a piece of cardboard or dental floss.

Sacred Secret Teaching Number 2: Always judge the religious observance of other people. Since Hakadoishboruchhu is busy dealing with the messes in Syria, the Ukraine, and the Trump White House, it is up to you to ensure that your family, friends, and neighbors are observing the Halachois according to YOUR standards. And if they are not, please tell everyone you know – it is not Loshon Harrah because they are sinners who are going to hell.

Sacred Secret Teaching Number 3: There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to observe any of the Mitzvois Bain Adam LeChaveiroi – the commandments between man and man – as long as you do not get caught.
-- Overcharge your clients – just don’t get caught.
-- Try to sleep with your neighbor’s wife – just don’t get caught. (And for Aimishteh’s sakes, wear a… ummm… Kishka Skin.)
-- Cheat on your taxes – just don’t get caught.
-- Illegally file for Welfare, Unemployment, Section 8, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and every other government paid social benefit – just don’t get caught.

Sacred Secret Teaching Number 4: If you do get caught, Chass V’Sholom, always remember to use one or more of the following responses:
-- Blame the victim. (“He seduced me! Yes, he was only 8 years old, but he had the maturity of a Bar Mitzvah Bochur!”)
-- Talk about the good that Klal Yisroel do. (“So what if we received a few extra dollars from the government; we take care of our community through Hatzollah, Shoimrim, and Bingo Night.”)
-- Blame anti-Semitism. (“This is a specious allegation! Why do you think that there was voter fraud in favor of the Orthodox Jewish judge who will redistrict in favor of Orthodox Jewish real estate developers? So what if the judge got 100,000 votes in a district with only 45,000 registered voters, and none of them are Jewish or could afford housing in the proposed new real estate development! THIS MUST IS ANTI-SEMITISM! Damn that Oibama!!”)

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Rabboisai,

If we follow these Sacred Secret Teachings that I am passing along to you Talmidim, we can ensure that the Reboinoisheloilum will never “hide His face” from Klal Yisroel again, even when we are sitting behind bars.

Ah Gutten Shabbos, You Menuval


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Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
Rosheshiva
Yeshivas Chipass Emmess