by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS KI SEITZEI 5761 BS"D
Ch. 21, v. 10: "Ki seitzei lamilchomoh" - This is the fourth parsha that deals with war, coming in close proximity to three recent parshios that deal with the same subject matter. They are: "Ki seitzei lamilchomoh ...... v'ro'iso soos vo'rechev" (20:1), "Ki sikrav el ir l'hilo'cheim o'lehoh" (20:10), and "Ki sotzur el ir yomim rabim" (20:19). It is most surprising to find the parsha of "egloh arufoh" placed between the third and fourth of these parshios, as it is off topic, not dealing with war. The K'hilos Yitzchok answers that since the Torah discusses war, which inherently involves killing the foe, respect for human life is weakened in the eyes of the soldiers. The Torah therefore places the ruling of "egloh arufoh" in the middle of the war parshios to teach the value of a life. When a person is found murdered between cities we involve the greatest court of the land in a ritual that heightens the awareness of the preciousness of a human life.
Ch. 21, v. 10: "U'n'sono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho v' shoviso shivyo" - When engaging in war be fully aware that any successes are Hashem's and are not your doing. This is stressed by the verse saying "u'n'sono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho." Hashem gives your foe into your hands, and "v'shoviso shivyO," anyone who is captured is His, Hashem's, captive. (Kanfei N'shorim)
Ch. 21, v. 11: "Eishes y'fas to'ar" - The juxtaposition of the parsha of the woman of goodly appearance to the previous parsha at the end of Shoftim of "egloh arufoh" is explained by Va'y'da'beir Moshe. The final verse of parshas "egloh arufoh" says, "V'atoh t'va'eir hadom hanoki mikirbecho ki saa'seh ha'yoshor b'einei Hashem." Permitting a ben Yisroel to take a "y'fas to'ar" as a wife is clearly not an open invitation, but rather, a concession, as pointed out by Rashi at the beginning of our parsha in a number of places. The most striking point made in this vein is that by placing the parsha of the rebellious son right after this one, the Torah teaches us that one who avails himself of this concession will see no good come of it. Rather, he will produce with the "y'fas to'ar" a rebellious son. This rebellious son, upon meeting criteria outlined in our parsha, is put to death, even before he has committed a crime deserving death. It is preferable that he dies when still relatively clean of sin, than be allowed to live and end up dying with a sullied soul (mishneh Sanhedrin 8:5). According to this we can interpret, "v'atoh t'va'eir hadom hanoki mikirbecho," and you can do away with the need to spill the blood of one who is still clean of a sin that deserves the death penalty, a rebellious son, "ki saa'seh ha'yoshor b'einei Hashem," if you do that which is "yoshor," proper, in the eyes of Hashem, by not taking advantage of the begrudged concession that allows for taking a "y'fas to'ar" as your wife, thus avoiding your having a rebellious son.
Ch. 21, v. 19: "V'sofsu vo oviv v'imo v'hotziu oso el ziknei irO v'el shaar m'komO" - Why does the Torah express the parents' bringing their rebellious son to the court as "and they shall grab onto him" and take him? As well, why is it necessary to bring their son specifically to the elders of HIS city and to the gate of HIS place? The Holy Admor of Skulen zt"l answers that the Torah teaches us that the parents should not feel that the acts of their son are an aberration, and that they are not to be held responsible. To the contrary! The Torah says that they grab onto their son, "v'sofsu," meaning that they are "nitfosim," held responsible, for his behaviour. This is why they must bring him specifically to the elders of his city and to the gate of his place, i.e. in their hometown, so that they will suffer more disgrace than if they would have brought him to the judges of a city in which they would be complete strangers. These requirements show the parents that they are at fault.
Ch. 21, v. 21: "Urgomuhu kol anshei iro voAVONIM" - In Vayikroh 24:23 by the stoning of the blasphemer we find the words "va'yir'g'mu oso OVVEN," a single stone. By the stoning of the Shabbos violator in Bmidbar 15:36 we find "va'yir'g'mu oso bo'AVONIM," with stones, in the plural. Rabbi Meir Shapiro explains that by the blasphemer, all involved felt that he surely deserved to be put to death, hence the unified attitude is called "one stone." But regarding the one who desecrated Shabbos Tosfos on the gemara B.B. 119b d.h. "afilu" brings in the name of the medrash that he had a noble intention. After the generation of those who left Egypt were advised that they would all die out in the desert as a result of their involvement with the sin of the spies, they felt that the laws of the Torah were not relevant to themselves any more, and would only apply to those who would enter Eretz Yisroel. Much desecration of Shabbos took place as mentioned in Yechezkel 20:13,21. Someone decided that he would blatantly desecrate the Shabbos in front of witnesses and be executed for his sin. Thus, at the cost of his life, he would show that the laws of the Torah and all accompanying punishments for transgression were applicable even to the earlier generation. Thus, says Rabbi Meir Shapiro, when it came to killing the Shabbos desecrator, there were different attitudes. Some felt that whatever his intention, he deserved to be killed, while others felt that since he had a noble intention, did not deserve to be killed. However, in carrying out the penalty, both took part, but with different stones, different feelings.
Possibly, the same idea can be applied here. Since the rebellious son has not yet committed a crime deserving the death penalty, the Torah expresses his being put to death with "urgomuhu kol anshei iro voAVONIM," with STONES, indicating that it is understood that there would be two attitudes towards carrying out his death penalty.
Ch. 23, v. 6: "Va'yahafoch Hashem Elokecho L'CHO es hakloloh livrochoh" - The word L'CHO in our verse seems superfluous. The Ari z"l explains that the one word curse "Ka'LeiM" that Bilom attempted to invoke (see Tosfos d.h. "she'ilmoli" on gemara Brochos 7a) was turned around, "va'yahafoch," and became "MeLeCH," and this is the meaning of "usruas MeLeCH bo" (Bmidbar 23:21). Perhaps the word L'CHO alludes to the insight of the Ari z"l. Hashem turned around the letters of L'CHO, Lamed-Chof, as KaLeiM is spelled Kof-Lamed-Mem, and when flipped around the Mem that stays in place, the Lamed that preceded the Mem is now immediately after it, and the Kof that was two letters before the Mem is now two letters after it, spelling MeLeCH. The Degel Macha'neh Efrayim says that the word L'CHO indicates that the blessing will be only for the bnei Yisroel. Even though Bilom's attempt to bring a curse upon the bnei Yisroel resulted in a blessing, and we might think that the rule of "and I will bless those who bless you" (Breishis 12:3), nevertheless, since Bilom's intention was to invoke a curse, that rule does not apply to him, and it will bring a blessing only L'CHO.
Ch. 23, v. 19: "Ki so'avas Hashem GAM shnei'hem" - This verse prohibits bringing an offering to the Beis Hamikdosh of an item that was the payment for prostitution or a barter for a dog. The Rambam in hilchos issurei mizbei'ach 3:8 says that if a person offered both of the above, although he transgressed both sins, he receives only one set of lashes because both prohibitions are included in one expression of "do not bring." Although this is a leniency, the Taamo Dikro says that a stringency develops from this ruling as well. If one were to bring the minimum volume required for a meal offering, made up of two restricted items, he would normally not receive lashes, as there is insufficient flour from each type to be an offering on its own, and each prohibition requires a full measure to be brought for there to be a punishment. Not so by offering a half volume of each of these two items. Since they are included in one expression of prohibition, their half-volumes combine to make a complete volume. This, he adds, might be indicated by the words "gam shnei'hem," that even an offering combined from both together brings to lashes.
I have a bit of difficulty with this from the gemara T'muroh 30b. It states that Beis Hillel posits that an exchange for the prostitute's payment and a barter for the barter of a dog are permitted as an offering, and if so the words "gam shnei'hem" are problematic, as there is nothing that these words teach us. Beis Shamai disagrees and interprets these words as "gam shinu'ai'hem," also their exchanges, and derives that an exchange for the prostitute's payment and barter for the barter of a dog are prohibited. However, according to the Taamo Dikro, why not answer Beis Hillel as he says, that it teaches us that an offering of a combination of half-volumes of these two restricted items also brings a person to receive lashes?
Ch. 25, v. 3: "Lo yosif ...... makoh RaBoH" - Rabbeinu Bachyei says that of the 365 negative precepts of the Torah, 207 are punishable by lashes. He says that this is alluded to in our verse when it discusses not increasing upon the number of lashes that one is to receive. RaBoH, spelled Reish-Beis-Hei, has the numerical value of 207. Do not add lashes onto RaBoH, the 207 negative precepts that are punishable by lashes.
Ch. 25, v. 15,16: "Evven shleimoh, Ki so'avas Hashem Elokecho kol osei eileh kole osei o'vel" - What is the intention of the seemingly repetitive words "kol osei eileh kole osei o'vel?" The Minchas Chinuch #39 s.k. 5 asks on the Ba"ch in his Kuntreis Acharone who posits that it is prohibited, as per Shmos 20:20, "Lo saasun iti," not only to create a physical likeness of all 12 signs of the zodiac, but even to create any one of them, from the verse in Vayikroh 19:36, "Moznei tzedek y'h'yeh l'cho." The zodiac sign for the month of Tishrei is a balance scale. We also see from our verse that one should have proper weights for his balance scale, clearly indicating that one may have a balance scale. These seem to clearly be a proof for the opinion of the Sha"ch Y.D. #141:30, that it is only prohibited to create a physical likeness of all 12 signs of the zodiac.
The Yalkut ha'Geirshuni answers that since doing commerce requires accurate weighing, there is no other way to do this, and to make a balance scale is an exception even according to the Ba"ch. However, this is only true if one uses the balance scale honestly, with proper weights. If he cheats by using false weights, not only does he commit the sin of stealing, "kole osei o'vel," but he also transgresses the sin of making forms of celestial bodies (Shmos 20:20) by making a balance scale, and this is "Ki so'avas Hashem Elokecho kol osei eileh." The Divrei Chanoch adds that this answer gives us an understanding into why we find in Mishlei 11:1, "Moznei mirmoh TO'AVAS Hashem v'evven shleimoh r'tzono." The term TO'EIVOH is used because that is the word our verse uses for using false weights on a balance scale. (Gan Ro'veh) Perhaps this whole explanation is derailed if we say that the Torah's prohibition is only to CREATE one of these items, but there is no prohibition to own one. Indeed, this is the opinion of the Rambam. However, this answer is in place according to the Mahara"m of Rotenberg who says that one transgresses "Lo saasun iti" even by OWNING these forms.
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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