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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 10: "U'n'sono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho" - The Torah allows one to take for a wife a woman of goodly appearance, a "y'fas to'ar," who was captured during a war. Why does the Torah state "Hashem will give your enemy into your hand" as a condition for permitting taking a "y'fas to'ar" as a wife? What bearing does "Hashem will give your enemy into your hand" have on the permissibility to marry a "y'fas to'ar?" The Meshech Chochmoh answers that it is common during a war to have each side capture people from the enemy. After the war ends there is often a negotiated exchange of prisoners of war. If one were to take a "y'fas to'ar" as a wife and thus she would not return to her people after the war ends, there is a fear that Jewish prisoners would also not be allowed to return. Therefore a "y'fas to'ar" is only permitted when "u'n'sono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho," when Hashem has given over your enemy into your hand and you have complete control of the enemy, without his having any Jewish captives. Then, and only then, may you take a "y'fas to'ar."

Ch. 21, v. 16: "Asher y'h'yeh LO" - The Baal Maa'sei Rokei'ach, Rabbi Eliezer Rokei'ach of Amsterdam writes in parshas Va'yeilech that the Torah alludes to happenings in history through corresponding the year with the count of the verse number. For example, if something very unique happened in 5760, one might find an allusion to it in the 5760th verse of the Torah. The Kovetz Pri T'morim journal Elul 5745 writes that our verse is the 5,458th verse in the Torah and during the year 5,458 on the 18th of Elul the Holy Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem Tov was born. This is further alluded to in our verse as the words "ASHeR Y'h'yeh LO" contain the name YiSROeL. "ASHeR," the first letters of "Y'h'yeh" and "Lo," Yud and Lamed, when added to the letters of ASHeR, spell Yisroel. The letters left over from these two words spell Hashem's Holy 4-letter name. The next words are "LO LO." The first is spelled with a Vov, meaning "to him. " The second is spelled with an Alef, meaning "no." These two words when combined spell Elul, the month in which the Holy BESH"T was born. It seems that we can add to this allusion that even the 18th day of Elul is indicated in these words, as the "mispar koton," the single integer value, of "asher y'h'yeh" equals 18, "lo lo" = Elul.

Wherever we find the BESH"T we find the GR"A close by. He told his student Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin that the ten parshios in Dvorim (N'tzovim-Va'yeilech are considered as one parsha) indicate what will happen in the ten centuries preceding the beginning of the seventh millenium, one parsha per century. Parshas Ki Seitzei therefore encompasses the century in which the GR"A (and the BESH"T were) was born. Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin asked the GR"A where he is alluded to in our parsha. The GR"A responded that he is alluded to in our parsha in 25:15. "Evven shleimoh" a is remez for the GR"A, the Alef of the word EVVeN is the first letter of his own name, Eliyohu, followed by the word Ben. The next word "shleimoh" can be read Shlomo, the father of the GR"A. He added that although his father's name is written in its entirety, his own name is only hinted to by the first letter of his name, an Alef, as the letter Alef "b'miluy" is spelled Alef-Lamed-Pei, the same as the word PeLLE, hidden, to indicate that the teachings of the GR"A are mostly of the hidden nature, Toras haNistor.

Ch. 21, v. 18: "Bein soreir u'moreh" - Rashi translates "so'reir" as one who turns away from the path of Torah that he was taught, and "Moreh" as one who is rebellious, as we find "maMRim he'yi'sem im Hashem" (Dvorim 9:7, 9:24, 31:27). Rabbi Shmuel Alter, the compiler of Likutei Bosor Likutei, translates "moreh" as TEACHER. It is not enough that the wayward son chooses a path of indulgence but also teaches his peers to act likewise. This is indeed a great danger.

Ch. 21, v. 18: "Soreir u'moreh" - The mishneh Sanhedrin 71a says that although the rebellious son has not yet committed a sin deserving of the death penalty, he is nevertheless put to death on account of his end, that he will accost someone, attempting to steal to keep up his expensive addiction of gluttony and wine consumption. The Hornesteipler Gaon in Birkas Peretz brings a mathematical allusion to this. "Ben soreir u'moreh" = "al sheim sofo hu nidon."

Ch. 21, v. 18: "V'yisru oso" - The gemara Sanhedrin 72b says that the rebellious son receives lashes when he is brought to the court for the first time. This is derived from the word "v'yisru," translated as "they will cause him pain," from the word form YoSoRe, as in T'hilim 118:18, "Yasor yisrani." However, Rashi in Sanhedrin 71a d.h. "masrin bo" says that "v'yisru" means that his parents should give him ethical admonition, "mussar."

Ch. 21, v. 18: "V'lo YISHMA A'Leihem" - The Baalei Tosfos ask, "Why do we judge the ben soreir u'moreh " al sheim sofo," - for that to which his acts will eventually lead, i.e. murder (Mishneh Sanhedrin 71b), even though he has not yet murdered anyone, and yet by Yishmo'eil we find that Hashem saved his life by miraculously producing a wellspring in the desert (Breishis 21:19) even though his progeny would eventually cause some of the bnei Yisroel to die from thirst, because of the dictum that we judge a person by the situation at hand and not by considerations of what the future holds, "Ba'asher hu shom" (Breishis 21:17), as per the gemara R.H. 16b? They give two answers:

1) "Hu atzmo" - The rebellious son has sinned HIMSELF, while it is only the descendants of Yishmo'eil who have sinned regarding water.

2) "Mas'chil b'a'veiroh" - The rebellious son has already BEGUN sinning by stealing, thus he has started down the road to eventually committing murder. There is an allusion to the question raised and to the answers given within our verse. (See Niflo'ose MiToro'secho page 174 who says part of the following.) If we take the words "V'LO YISHMA" and the two following letters from the beginning of the next word "A'Leihem," we have "V'LO YISHMO'EIL." This indicates that the outcome of this situation is not the same as by Yishmo'eil. The reason that it is different by the ben soreir u'moreh is shown in the remaining letters of "a'leiHeM, Hei-Mem. The letter Yud does not serve a phonetic purpose, as it accompanies the "tzei're" under the letter Lamed, and we are left with Hei-Mem. Hei stands for "Hu atzmo," and Mem stands for "Mas'chil b'a'veiroh."

Ch. 21, v. 20: "Zo'leil v'sovei" - The Ibn Ezra says that the "zoleil v'sovei," - the glutton, who indicates through his actions that he believes that the main pursuit in life is enjoyment of eating and drinking, is like an Apiko'res, an apostate. To explain this Ibn Ezra, commentators weave a thread to connect gluttony to heresy. Perhaps there is a most simple way of understanding his words. There existed a sect of people who preached that there ch"v is no world to come and there is no inherent value in moral living. The whole purpose of life is to indulge in good food and drink. This sect was called the Epicureans. This title is today bestowed upon those who consider themselves connoisseurs of good food. Indeed, some say that the word Apiko'res comes from the name of this sect. This might simply be the intention of the Ibn Ezra, that a glutton is like an Epicurean.

Ch. 21, v. 21: "U'r'gomuhu" - The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that if the rebellious son repents he is not put to death. He says this with no restrictions, seemingly indicating that this is true even after the court has pronounced the death penalty. Rashi's opinion is that until he is brought to court the second time, his repenting absolves him of being liable for the death penalty. The Rambam in hilchos mamrim 7:8 says that he is not put to death if he repents before the death penalty is pronounced by the court. This seems to be the opinion of the gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 8:6. Perhaps an indication for the opinion of the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel can be found in the words "v'lo YISHMA a'lei'hem" of verse 18. Although this verse discusses the first visit to the court, nevertheless we might be able to derive from the future tense used in this phrase, v'lo YISHMA," that we only carry out the prescribed punishments when we are convinced that he WILL NOT IN THE FUTURE listen to his parents. If at any point there is an indication that he will change his negative ways, we do not punish him.

The Tosefta N'go'im 6:2 says that the laws of ben soreir u'moreh do not apply to one who lives in Yerusholayim. The Meshech Chochmoh explains that since tithings of produce including wine and first-born cattle, "b'choros," are brought to Yerusholayim, and are thus found there in great abundance, it is not conclusive that a youth who is drawn to wine and meat will be drawn down the road of gluttony and destruction. The Beis Yisroel on our parsha 5709 says that we do not fear that the youth will go down the road of gluttony and destruction since he is exposed to people eating with sanctity, as they eat kodoshim kalim, maa'ser sheni, etc., in Yerusholayim. The consumption of such items brings to sanctity, as is stated, "V'ochalto lifnei Hashem Elokecho bamokome asher yivchar ...... l'maan tilmad l'yiroh es Hashem Elokecho." Thus, eating in general is elevated to a higher plane in Yerusholayim. When the Beis Yisroel told this explanation to the Chazon Ish, he derived great pleasure from it. A textual source for the Tosefta might be from verses 19, 20, and 21. The terms "ziknei irO, shaar m'komO," and "anshei irO" are used. We know that Yerusholayim was not given to any specific tribe, but rather shared by all (gemara Yoma 12a and Megiloh 26a). Thus it is inappropriate to say "the elders of HIS city, the gate of HIS place, the people of HIS city." Obviously, the verse is not discussing Yerusholayim. See Ovos d'Rebbi Noson chapter #35 for other peculiarities in the rulings of ben soreir u'moreh.

Ch. 22, v. 10: "Lo sacharosh b'shor u'vachamor yachdov" - The Chinuch, Baalei Tosfos, and others write that if one were to harness an ox and a donkey together and plow with them, when the ox will ruminate, chew its cud, the donkey will see this and think that the ox was just fed, while he is going hungry. To avoid causing pain to the donkey the Torah does not allow us to work them together under one yoke. It is most interesting to note that the Moshav Z'keinim, when giving this answer, says that the donkey will feel pain and SHAME, "elbone." This shows that even a donkey has deeper emotional feelings than one might otherwise believe.

Ch. 22, v. 10: "B'shor u'VAchamor" - Why is there no specificity by the ox, "b'shor," - with AN ox, while there is specificity by the donkey, "u'VAchamor," - and with THE donkey?

Ch. 22, v. 11: "Lo silbash shaatnez" - Rabboseinu Baa'lei Hatosfos say that since the "poroches," the curtain that hung in front of the Holy of Holies, was shaatnez, as it contained both wool and linen (Shmos 26:31), we are prohibited from wearing clothes made of the same combination of materials, similar to the prohibition to not duplicate the incense mixture used in the Mikdosh.

Ch. 23, v. 3: "Lo yovo mamzeir bikhal Hashem gam dor asiri" - The ruling is that a mamzeir may not marry into the group of bnei Yisroel called "k'hal Hashem" forever, and is not restricted for just ten generations. Similarly, a Moavi or Amoni male may not join in marriage to "k'hal Hashem" forever. Yet there (verse 4) the Torah says "ad olom." Why does the Torah only say ten generations by mamzeir, since the intention is also forever? A reader (E.M.) sent in the following contribution from the sefer Ahavas Torah by Rabbi Pinchos Horowitz to answer this question. The gemara Kidushin 75a says that a convert may marry a mamzeir, since he is not restricted to marry only from "k'hal Yisroel." However, after ten generations of descendants from this convert, no one further may marry a mamzeir since this family has become totally integrated into the bnei Yisroel, and the title of "descendant of a convert" has been forgotten. Although he should be allowed to marry a mamzeir, the Rabbis decreed that he may not do so, since it seems that a person who is not a descendant of a convert is marrying a mamzeir. We thus see that after 10 generations the stigma is forgotten. The gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin says that Hashem does not want people to intermarry with mamzeirim. Thus if a person is a known mamzeir, he will procreate, since his children will be known as mamzeirim and will thus not inadvertently marry into "k'hal Yisroel." However, if one is an unpublicized mamzeir, Hashem sees to it that he will not procreate, thus alleviating the problem of illegal marriage into "k'hal Yisroel." Thus it is not necessary to prohibit mamzeirim beyond the tenth generation, as at that point their stigma will be forgotten and Hashem will make sure that there will be no further generations. May this dvar Torah be a merit for the author of Ahavas Torah.

Ch. 23, v. 6: "Va'yahafoch Hashem Elokecho l'cho es hakloloh livrochoh" - On the words in Bmidbar 24:16, "V'yodei'a daas Elyon" the gemara in Avodoh Zoroh 4a says that Bilom knew the moment that Hashem gets angry. Tosfos asks what curse could Bilom invoke in a fleeting moment? He answers the word "ka'leim," meaning "Annihilate them." The Ari z"l says that in our verse, "Vayahafoch Hashem Elokecho l'cho es hakloloh livrochoh," - that Hashem turned for you Bilom's curse into a blessing, "vayafoch" literally means that He turned over, taking the word "Ka'LeiM," Kof-Lamed-Mem, and reversing it to "MeLeCH," Mem-Lamed-Chof, King.

Perhaps this is what is meant by the words in Bmidbar 23:21, "U'sruas MELECH bo," meaning the KING's friendship is upon His nation.

Ch. 23, v. 6: "Es Habrochoh Likloloh" - The highpoint of Bolok's blessing was reached when he said "Ma tovu oho'lecho Yaakov" (Bmidbar 24:5). That was when the curse was changed to a blessing as indicated by the acronym formed by the first letters of these words in our verse, "Es Habrochoh Likloloh," Alef-Hei-Lamed, which spells OHeL. (Rabbi Noach Mindes in Par'p'ro'ose L'chochmoh)



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