Cops and Rabbis (or Dear Kindly Rabbi Krupnik)
Riff: You see, sir, we're afraid to go home. Such a bad environment.
Eventually, Officer Krupke gets called away before managing to disperse the gang and, beinga musical, the gang erupts into a cheery song all about Officer Krupke which bears theunmistakable message: Get offa my case!The story is quite similar in the chareidi version. The minute that Riff van Korach is out of earshot from Lt. Moses and his partner, Sgt. Aaron, he erupts into his own song which relatesthe following fable:
There was a poor widow who lived in my neighborhood with two daughters. Her sole possession was one small field which was her lone source of sustenance. She wasabout to plow her field when in walks Lt. Moses and warns her, “Take heed not to plow with an ox and an ass together.” When she was ready to plant, again comes Lt.Moses and warns her, “You may not sow your field hybrid crops.” Eventually, itcame time to reap and Lt. Moses again admonishes, “You must forgo
(forgotten bales), and
(one edge of the crops).” When shewas ready to store the produce the friendly Lieutenant informs her, “You areobligated to relinquish the priestly portion (
), and separate the first and secondtithes.” The widow suffered all this in silence and obeyed the authorities but when sheevaluated this she determined, “It is not worthwhile for me to maintain this field andto undergo this burden.” She thereupon sold the field and bought two lambs in order to profit from their wool as well as from their offspring. When the lambs first give birth, comes Sgt. Aaron and demands, “Give me the first born, for so it iscommanded…” Later, when she was about to shear the sheep, Sgt. Aaron demands,“You are obligated to me the first shearings, as G-d has commanded…” Says thewidow, “See how far I have fallen into a trap and cannot get out!? Let me slaughter the sheep!” As she slaughters the sheep, Sgt. Aaron returns and says, “I am entitled tothe forearm, the jawbones, and the abdomen.” Says the widow, “Even when Islaughter the sheep I am not free of him. I will consecrate the slaughtered sheep andnow we will see his response!” After she consecrates the sheep Sgt. Aaronapproaches and says, “Now, I am entitled to it all because the Holy One has said, ‘All
(consecrated properties) in Israel will be for you.’” And so he takes it all fromthe helpless widow and she and her two daughters are left with nothing and die of starvation.
Quite a tale, isn’t it? I must comment that, since it is not entirely implausible,
it makes animpression. And it does not exactly portray Lt. Moses and his Law Book, nor the generalchareidi lifestyle, for that matter, in a positive light. Now, we may think that such a HydePark soap box speech wouldn’t draw too sizable a crowd but the indications are that our Riff van Korach drummed up quite a following. And do you know why?It’s because he was able to appeal to the most basic and fundamental of human emotionalneeds. It’s the one that I talked about in the introduction to this book. It’s called
Yalkut Shimoni 750
Some points are a bit implausible. Like most cases of those who slander Jews and chareidim bymisrepresenting the facts, the picture is tainted by leaving out some minor details. For one thing, the obligationfor the “first shearings” does not take effect with less than five sheep whereupon each fleece must weigh at least12
for a total minimum of 60
. At that point the requirement is to give 1/60 or one
out of 60 (lessthan 2%). Secondly, the second tithe remains the property of, and is to be consumed by, the owner. Thirdly, asmuch as this poor woman was obligated to surrender
, if she is truly poor she is eligibleto receive
. Thus, in a real case scenario, the “system” does more to ensure her survivalthan to starve her to death. Of course, the whole story presupposes that G-d ignores her and does not reward her loyalty with material blessing. This denial of G-d’s providence is the hallmark of the seven below.