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by Dr. Avigdor Bonchek


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Parashas Ki Seitzei

Devarim. 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?

Your Answer:


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") in the future, but chafatzta is past tense.

How does Rashi's comment relate to this anomaly?

Your Answer:


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.

Shabbat Shalom
Avigdor Bonchek

A second series of What's Bothering Rashi? will come out IY"H during the holidays. Those who want to make a dedication for the volumes can contact me at Drbonchek@gmail.com

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