by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues
Parshas Ki Seitzei (70)Deuteronomy 21:14
The sedra begins with the laws of the beautiful captive woman.
14. And it will be if you do not want her, then you shall send her away wherever she wishes, but you shall not sell her for money. You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her.
And it will be, if you do not want her: Rashi: The Scripture tells you that in the end you will hate her.
The simple meaning of this phrase would seem to be that if, after you have taken her as a wife, you will no longer want her then you shall not sell for money.
A Question: How does Rashi derive this foreboding meaning to our verse? What in its words led Rashi to this idea?
An Answer: The verse begins with the words "And it will be…" which implies an inevitable consequence. It could just as well begun with "And if you do not desire her…" adding the words "it will be" gives it a prophetic, inevitable, sense.
A CLOSER LOOK
Rashi uses the strong term "you will hate her" but the verse only says "you will not want her". Why does Rashi change this to "hate."
Hint: See verse 21:11 and the Hebrew term it uses.
A FULLER UNDERSTANDING
An Answer: In verse 11 the Torah uses the word "Chashakta" (you strongly desire), whereas in our verse it says "lo Chafatzta" (you did not want). This is a weaker emotion. This dramatic reversal from desire to hatred in cases of sexual abuse is a known psychological development.
We find this similar change of emotions in the case of Amnon, David's son, when he raped his half sister Tamar (Samuel II 13:14, 15.)
There it says:
14. But he would not heed her and he overpowered her, and forced her, and lay with her.
15. And Amnon hated her with very great hatred, for greater was the hatred with which he hated her than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Get up (and) go."
We see this phenomenon clearly in this case. Rashi tells us that our verse warns any woman abuser to expect the same emotional flip-flop.
"What's Bothering Rashi?" is produced by the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. The five volume set of "What's Bothering Rashi?" is available at all Judaica bookstores.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and