Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Yitzchak [With A Few Tangents In The Middle]

לזכות אבי מורי ר' יצחק יונה בן ר' שמואל פינחס שליט"א
לרפואת ר' יצחק בן ברכה
ור' יצחק ברוך בן רות

I am not claiming to be a funny guy - but I often think about what makes people laugh and why. [I also think about why the word laugh isn't spelled "laff" or "laph". What about "Jeff" and "Geoff" - like, how do parents decide which one to choose??! What about "Steven" or "Stephen"? And why "Phil" but not "Fil"?]. 

There is actually scholarly literature on humor but since generally academics aren't the funniest of guys, the articles tend to be dry. [I sometimes drink dry red wine. But then it spills all over the place and I wonder - Didn't the bottle promise "dry"? If an alcoholic promises to go "dry" - may he still drink dry wine?? So MANY questions!].

So then we get to Yitzchak who was called by this name because צחוק עשה לי אלהים כל השומע יצחק לי. He was called to commemorate the laughter of Sarah. The first Gerrer Rebbe [interesting that someone could become such a huge Rebbe even though he was a "Ger". I guess there is a mitzva to love Geirim and a mitzva to love your Rebba, so he was two in one. Or maybe, he was from a town in Poland named "Gur". That is more likely. I hope Donald Trump becomes a Ger. But, like a real one. He does teshuva, grows a long beard, cuts off that silly "chup" of his, gets up at chatzos to learn until neitz, calls himself Doniel The Worm (some humility as kapparah for his arrogant past - hey, even Dovid Hamelech called himself a worm אנכי תולעת ולא איש) and comes to save the Jewish people like Esther in her time. He also promised to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. Instead - he builds a wall called by Orthodox Jews a "mechitza" in public places all over America so that we can daven where ever we want and feel comfortable. Go Doniel! Where were we? Ahhh yes...] explained that it is funny when you have it all wrong. You think things are a certain way but then you realized that it really isn't. That's FUNNY. Like, you thought it was a bear but then he takes off his costume and you see that it's your father. Or you thought someone was going to say something and he said something completely different - "How's it goin' Phil [or "Fil"]?" "Real great." "Cool, what's up?" "The bank is foreclosing on my house, my wife is divrocing me, my son decided he's a girl and my daughter thinks she's a rooster". "Oh sounds great - see ya 'round".

It LOOKED like Yitzchak was part of this world but he really wasn't. He was in a different stratosphere. He was an Olah [as the pasuk says "והעלהו לעולה"]  and one may not benefit from an Olah - even the Olah may not derive benefit from itself, so he wasn't getting pleasure AT ALL. יצחק consists of the letters קץ חי - living the end. He was living the end of days, tchiyas hameisim - אפרו צבור על גבי המזבח, his ashes were piled up on the mizbeach. He LOOKED like he was here but he really wasn't. That's FUNNY!