Commentary on Current Events - a film about YUSHKA PANDRA

By Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein
February, 2004

Shlomoh's Note: Due to the fact that Rabbi Schmeckelstein uses an inordinate amount of Hebrew and Yiddish expressions in his articles, I find it necessary to supply the reader unacquainted with these languages with a glossary of terms. These are presented, following the essay, in the order of the appearence in the essay rather than in alphabetical sequence.

Obviously the rabbi's articles are largely tongue in cheek and also obviously, although he is an actual rabbi, the name Pinky Schmeckelstein is a pseudonym. Although the article was written for comic value, the author makes some valid points about the film and about Jewish attitudes toward the film.

This week I was traveling with my BASHERT, Feige Breinah, to San Francisco for the CHASSANAH (wedding) of her cousin Yerachmiel Guttvuch to Rebbetzin Morris Goldenbergsteinowitzsky. Under the CHUPPAH at City Hall, Rebbitzin Morris walked in circles around Yerachmiel six times, but on the seventh circle tripped on his GARTEL, which looked a lot like something out of the Victorias Secret catalogue. So went our entry into the the newly transformed world of institutionalized MISHKAV ZACHOR.

Later that day, my BASHERT and I returned to our hotel, and after a quick MITZVAH involving fur-lined handcuffs and a rider's crop, we decided to go out for a little TRAIFUS and a movie. Imagine my shock when I looked up at the screen and saw YUSHKA, KOIHANIM, AM HARATZIM, long haired APIKORSIM, torture, and TZAILEMS. ICH VAIS? -- what a disappointment! Two and a half hours of R Rated Hollywood magic, and not even a hint of skin! It was enough for me to run back to my hotel room and dig up my downloaded pictures of Janet Jackson at the Superbowl!

The whole twenty four hour period poses a series of disturbing questions about our changing world:

- What should be a BEN TOIRAH's attitude toward gay marriage overall?

- How should we relate to a film about YUSHKA PANDRA that may raise the spectre of age-old anti-Semitism and deprive us of discounts on goods and services?

- Who is the true culprit potentially endangering the current well being of KLAL YISROEL -- Mel Gibson, or the dynamic duo of the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center?

- If you go to see "The Passion" and you bring popcorn, can you make a BRACHA, or will the EYBISHTER get insulted and think you are praying to someone else, if you know what I mean?

- What's PSHAT in an R rated movie with less hot shiksa action than a national sporting event?

I am reminded of a famous MEDRISH in EICHAH RABBA about Hillel and Shammai. Hillel and Shammai were best friends who shared everything. Hillel was the NASI, the Patriarch of the Jewish community in ERETZ YISROEL, and Shammai was the speaker of the Sanhedrin. They lived together in a small Tudor style house, where Shammai loved to tend the garden on weekends.Once while on a business trip to CHEVROIN on a Friday they realized that it was nearly SHABBOS, and decided to be TOIVEL ZEIN in the river. Shammai wanted to go in first, insisting that because he was older, that was his right. Hillel wanted to go first, insisting that he was entitled because he was the NASI. This was an argument that shattered their relationship.

When it came time to divide their assets, neither wanted to give up his share of the house, so they divided the house in two. Shammai got the dining room, the kitchen and one of the bedrooms, while Hillel got the living room, the office, and two bedrooms. However, whenever they talked about the house, each one referred to it as his own, so Hillel's half became known as BAIS HILLEL, and Shammai's half became BAIS SHAMMAI.

The MEDRISH tells us that when dividing their joint property, Hillel and Shammai approached the assets as business partners, but had Yoichanan the KOIHAIN GADOL serve as a mediator. This all brings to mind the question: Is a same gender partnership like a marriage? How do CHAZZAL resolve these issues, given that they knew everything, had RUACH HAKOIDESH (ESP), and were completely infallible?

A famous GEMARRA in Tainis teaches us about the Talmudic principle of HEKESH, a juxtaposition of verses or opinions that imply a connection between two seemingly disparate ideas.This rule, applied to our new world, has some profound implications.

The biggest opponents of gay marriage in America are also the biggest proponents of the movie "The Passion of the Christ". Which clearly means that to oppose gay marriage is to support the evangelical view of the world, Christ's death, Jewish reponsibility, the resurrection, ERETZ YISROEL HASHLAYMA and the 700 Club. To oppose the film, however, means that you would like Yasser Arafat as your next door neighbor, and suggests that the reason you like to stay until 1:00 am in the BAIS MEDRISH with your CHAVRUSA is NOT because you are really fascinated by that GEVALDIK TOISFOIS, if you know what I mean.

Indeed, the entire history of KLAL YISROEL is filled with similar confusing paradoxes of logic and circumstance. ESTHER HAMALKA saves KLAL YISROEL by playing "hide the scepter" with ACHASHVEIROISH. ARON HACOIHAIN, the MINUVAL, worships AVOIDAH ZORAH, yet gets a promotion. King David, DOVID HAMALECH, is MEZANEH with his most loyal soldier's wife, and subsequently has the soldier killed, yet still accumulates residential apartment buildings and other valuable investment properties.

At the same time, MOISHE RABBEINU touches a rock and is punished like a three year old child. YOISHIYAHU HAMELECH leads a significant return to TOIRAS MOISHE, and is rewarded with an arrow through the heart. Rabbi Akiva developes the category structure for TOIRAH SHEH BAAL PEH that we still use today, but later becomes the tragic subject of somber dirges read by starving people twice a year.

Of course, YUSHKA was perceived, is perceived, by his followers to be the MOSHIACH. We ourselves have also longed for salvation. It was that same Rabbi Akiva who once declared BAR KOICHBA to be the MOSHIACH. And who is to say he was wrong? (Well, actually the Romans, come to think of it.) The Lubavitcher Rebbe apparently thought that he himself was MOSHIACH, and years after his death, he lives on, BORUCH HASHEM, through the infighting of his inner circle. Come to think of it, I may be the MOSHIACH. Follow the logic: I have more TOIRAH in my PAYIS than you have in your whole head of hair, you VILDA CHAYA. I have never said that I am NOT the MOSHIACH. And can you think of anyone in our generation more qualified to be the MOSHIACH than me?

So life is fundamentally complicated and makes no sense to simple minded people like you, you AM HAARETZ. If you don't like it, go take it up with the EYBISHTER.

The ARI ZAHL,explains the complexities of the world through his conception of the secret workings of the universe. He describes our world as originally designed by the REBOINOISHELOILUM to be perfect; however, through some cosmic accident, the world became fundamentally flawed. And our mission in the OILAM HAZEH is to rescue the lost bits of KIDDUSHA, the "holy sparks," that haver been scattered throughout the cruel nether underpinnings of the world. And how do we capture these sparks? By doing MITZVOIS. By giving TZEDAKAH. By helping old ladies across the street. By being MEZANEH with fat chicks that no one else is willing to sleep with. And to reach these sparks, we must sometimes descend into the realm of impurity, into the realm of sin. So what's a little MISHKAV ZACHOR between friends if we can make the world a better place? (Though if any of my EINEKLACH ever engage in MISHKAV ZACHOR, I'll use 220 volts of electricity to generate a different kind of holy sparks.)

Indeed, good can come from strange places. Take crucifiction for example. It was the cruelest form of punishment developed by the evil Roman empire. It was designed to spread fear and intimidation. It killed people slowly, as they suffered from hunger, thirst, and the impact of the elements. However, if I can ever get a hold of Marvin Hier and Abe Foxman, I've got two TZAILEMS in my backyard with their names on them.

About Rabbi Schmeckelstein

Rabbi Pinky (Pinchas) Schmeckelstein was raised in the Bronx, New York, attending the finest YESHIVAs in Brooklyn. Upon receiving SMICHA at a renowned rabbinical institute in New Jersey, Rabbi Schmeckelstein taught high school and rabbinical students the intracacies of talmudic exegesis, Jewish philosophy, and family purity matters.

After twenty years, Rabbi Schmeckelstein took off five years for a Sabbatical to "find himself," during which he studied law, Indian spiritualism (where he first witnessed NPOJHARTHA yelling as some missionaries in the airport), Native American dance, medieval literature, pastry cooking, sports medicine, the US Civil War and metallurgy. Following his Sabbatical, he established his own rabbinical institute, YESHIVAS CHIPAS EMMESS ("Search for the Truth")  with the goal of combining the beauty of Torah wisdom and Jewish culture with harsh realities of a cynical, often cruel, world (it didn't take too long, to be honest, with laws like "an eye for an eye", "a tooth for a tooth", and "HILCHOS NIDAH", how hard can it be?).

In addition to serving as ROSH YESHIVA ("Dean") of YESHIVAS CHIPAS EMMESS, Rabbi Schmeckelstein is also the Dean of the recently opened Chinese branch of the YESHIVA, YESHIVAS AHAVAS MAO.

Rabbi Schmeckelstein is often happily married and has countless children and grandchildren.

His hobbies include berating his frigid wife, obsessing about NIDAH, bad-mouthing the TRIANGLE K, collecting miniature SHTENDERS, bringing counterfeiters of rabbi cards to justice and day trading.

His website can be found at
Words Of Torah Dripping With Sarcasm and Condescension

The Glossary
[H] = Hebrew
[Y] = Yiddish

  • BASHERT[Y]: intended one, soul mate
  • CHASSANAH[Y]: wedding
  • CHUPPAH[H]: bridal canopy at a Jewish wedding
  • MISHKAV ZACHOR[H]: homosexuality, homosexual acts
  • MITZVAH[H]: good deed
  • TRAIFUS[H]: anything not KOSHER or fitting for a religious Jew
  • YUSHKA[Y]: Yiddish name of Jesus, a diminuative meaning "little Joshie"
  • KOIHANIM[H]: Jewish priests
  • AM HARATZIM[H]: religiously ignorant Jews, the unlearned masses
  • APIKORSIM[H]: back-slidden Jews, Jewish agnostics or atheists
  • TZAILEMS[Y]: crosses
  • ICH VAIS?[Y]: What do I know?
  • BEN TOIRAH[H]: religiously learned and pious Jews
  • YUSHKA PANDRA[Y]: Jesus, son of Pantera, the name of Jesus in Jewish folklore
  • KLAL YISROEL[H]: the Jewish People
  • BRACHA[H]: blessing
  • EYBISHTER[Y]: The Almighty
  • PSHAT[H]: the main point of something
  • MEDRISH[H]: a tale or homily from the Oral Tradition in reference to a Biblical verse or Biblical story
  • EICHAH RABBA[H]: MEDRISH on the Book of Lamentations
  • NASI[H]: prince or leader of the Jewish Community
  • ERETZ YISROEL[H]: The land of Israel
  • CHEVROIN[Y]: Hebron
  • SHABBOS[Y]: sabbath
  • TOIVEL ZEIN[Y]: to immerse oneself in a body of water for ritual purification
  • BAIS HILLEL[H]: the school or house of Hillel
  • BAIS SHAMMAI[H]: The school or house of Shammai
  • KOIHAIN GADOL[H]: the High Priest
  • CHAZZAL[H]: the rabbis or ancient sages who were responsible for organizing and structuring the Jewish religion
  • RUACH HAKOIDESH[H]: Holy Ghost or divine inspiration
  • famous GEMARRA[H]: a piece of wisdom or learning from the Talmud
  • TAINIS[H]: a fast
  • HEKESH[H]: a juxtaposition of verses or opinions that imply a connection between two seemingly disparate ideas
  • ERETZ YISROEL HASHLAYMA[H]: Greater Israel or the whole land of Israel
  • BAIS MEDRISH[Y]: synagogue or House of Study
  • CHAVRUSA[H]: a religious group of men who study sacred texts together
  • GEVALDIK TOISFOIS[Y]: a extraordinary bit of wisdom or learning from the compilation of religious commentary called TOSAFOT
  • ESTHER HAMALKA[H]: Queen Esther
  • ACHASHVEIROISH[H]: Ahasverus, the Persian king, husband of Esther
  • ARON HACOIHAIN[H]: Aaron the priest
  • MINUVAL[H]: a Jew who intentionally or habitually sins and thinks nothing of it
  • AVOIDAH ZORAH[H]: idolatry
  • DOVID HAMALECH[H]: king David
  • MEZANEH[H]: acting like a prostitute, commiting harlotry
  • MOISHE RABBEINU[H]: Moses our Teacher
  • TOIRAH SHEH BAAL PEH[H]: The Jewish Oral Tradition
  • MOSHIACH[H]: messiah
  • BAR KOICHBA[H]: Bar Cochba, the Jewish freedom fighter who led the army of Israel against the Romans in the second century CE
  • BORUCH HASHEM[H]: Thank God
  • TOIRAH[H]: Torah or a bit of Torah wisdom
  • PAYIS[H]: sidelocks worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews
  • VILDA CHAYA[Y]: wild animal
  • ARI ZAHL[H]: Rabbi Yitzchak Luria,"The Lion," a foremost rabbi and Jewish mystic in the community of Safed in the Galilee region of Ottoman Palestine, considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah. He is known for the mysticism and interpretation of his teachings in Kabbalah known as Lurianic Kabbalah
  • REBOINOISHELOILUM[H]: Master of the World, God
  • OILAM HAZEH[H]: this world, the world of the living, as opposed to OILAM HABO, the world to come, the eternal world
  • KIDDUSHA[H]: holiness, sanctity
  • MITZVOIS[H]: good deeds. commandments
  • TZEDAKAH[H]: charity
  • EINEKLACH[Y]: grand-children
  • YESHIVA[H]: rabbinic university
  • SMICHA[H]: rabbinic ordination
  • YESHIVAS CHIPAS EMMESS[H]: Search for the Truth, the name of Rabbi Schmeckelstein's YESHIVA
  • NIDAH[H]: state of ritual impurity into which a woman enters upon menstruating
  • HILCHOS NIDAH[H]: laws concerning NIDAH
  • ROSH YESHIVA[H]: dean of a YESHIVA
  • YESHIVAS AHAVAS MAO[H]: The YESHIVA of the love of Mao [TseTung]
  • TRIANGLE K: an organization which oversees the koshering of food products
  • SHTENDERS[Y]: synagogue lecterns

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