by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek
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Parashas Ki Seiztei (71)Deut. 21: 14
And it will be if you do not desire her, you will send her free, but sell, you shall not sell her for money; you may not exploit her since you have oppressed her.
And it will be if you do not desire her: Rashi: Scripture tells us that in the end you will hate her.
A Question: On what basis does Rashi conclude that the man will eventually end up hating her? The verse could simply mean "If he does not desire her then he should not sell herů" In other words, maybe the Torah is telling us of one possible outcome of a marriage to a 'Yefas Toar', but not necessarily the certain outcome, as Rashi says.
How does Rashi know this?
WHAT IS BOTHERING RASHI?
An Answer: The verse speaks of an event in the future but strangely uses a verb in the past tense. The verse talks about the future (If, in the future, you will not desire her) but uses a verb in the past tense (chafatzta). It says "If you will not desire her (Hebrew: lo chafatzta ba") But chafatzta is past tense.
How does Rashi's comment relate to this anomaly?
An Answer: The use of the past tense when describing a future event gives it a sense of certainty. In other words, when the future comes it will certainly have happened. Meaning: In the future you will certainly have no desire for her.
The commentaries on Rashi struggle with this question. I have offered what seems to me the best likely reason for his comment.
"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
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