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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 10: "Ki seitzei lamilchomoh al oi'vEcho unsonO Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho v'shoviso shivyO" - When you will go out to war against your ENEMIES and Hashem your G-d will give HIM into your hand and you will capture his CAPTIVE - The verse begins with the plural form of enemies and continues with the singular. The commentators say that this verse strongly alludes to the internal war we have with our evil inclination.

The gemara Yoma 69b relates that the "men of the great assemblage" fasted and then prayed for the evil inclinations of serving false gods and of immoral unions to be removed. Both wishes were granted and idol worship stopped. However, the lack of urge for interaction with women created a problem. This permeated the atmosphere and there was no procreation. They prayed that in this realm things return to the former state, but they were able to pray for some lessening of this urge, and there was a great reduction of incest.

We can thus say that this is alluded to in our verse. When you go out to do spiritual war against your ENEMIES, plural, the inclinations for idol worship and immoral behaviour. Hashem will give HIM, the urge for idol worship only, into your hand. You will also capture ONE captive, this is the inclination for immoral behaviour, whom you will not kill in war, only capture. This is the lessening, but not obliteration of this urge. (Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 21, v. 15: "V'hoyoh ha'bein habchor lasnioh" - And the firstborn son will be born to the hated wife - The verse does not say "v'im hoyoh," if the firstborn will be born to the hated wife. This indicates that the firstborn will surely be born to the hated wife. Indeed, this will always be the case. Hashem, in His great mercy, will rally for the underprivileged. This is because they have a humbled spirit. We find the same by Leah. "Va'yar Hashem ki snuoh Leah va'yiftach es rachmoh" (Breishis 29:31). (Abarbanel)

Alternatively, the gemara Y'vomos 64a and Breishis M.R. 45:5 say that Hashem yearns for the prayers of the righteous, and this is why our Matriarchs did not easily conceive. Since the "snuoh" of our verse is a woman whom Hashem does not want this man to marry, as it is only a concession, the righteous woman, who is more beloved by Hashem, will not readily conceive. Therefore the "snuoh" will give birth to the firstborn. (Tiferes Y'honoson)

Ch. 21, v. 16: "B'yom hanchilo es bonov eis asher y'h'yeh lo" - On the day that he will give his sons an inheritance that which belongs to him - Rashi (Sifri 21:29) on the next verse says that the firstborn only has primogeniture privileges in items that the deceased father actually possessed, but not in items that were not in his possession at the time of death, but would eventually come into his estate. This is alluded to in our verse and the next verse. Our verse does not mention the double portion of the firstborn. This is because our verse is discussing items that will in the future come to his estate, "asher Y'H'YEH lo," in the future tense. The next verse tells us that the firstborn does receive a double portion in "asher YIMOTZEI lo," that which is already in his possession. (GR"A)

Another allusion to this is based on the final letters of "b'choL asheR yimotzEI lO kI hU," Lamed-Reish-Alef-Vov-Yud-Alef. When these letters are rearranged we have "lo ro'uy," not that which will is expected to come but has not yet come (into his possession). (Variation on the Baal Haturim)

Ch. 21, v. 18: "Ki y'h'yeh l'ish bein soreir umoreh" - If a man will have a son who turns from the right path and is rebellious - The gemara Sanhedrin 71a says that the requirements for bringing this son to justice are so demanding that in actuality there never was a rebellious son who was killed by the courts. Rabbi Yochonon said that this did actually take place. He stated, "I sat at the grave of a rebellious son." Rabbeinu Bachyei says that we can interpret Rabbi Yochonon's words to mean that he sat at the gravesite of a rebellious son who did not have the status of "ben soreir umoreh" and was not killed through the court system, only that he behaved very badly towards his father, as was the case with Avsholom.

Ch. 21, v. 23: "Ki kil'las Elokim toluy" - Because a curse/cheapening of G-d is hanging - A number of interpretations:

1) Man is created in the image of Hashem (Breishis 9:6). Leaving a corpse, made in the image of Hashem hanging is a cheapening of Hashem. (Rashi)

2) The dead corpse gives off a negative influence of a curse. (Ibn Ezra)

3) The gemara Sanhedrin 45b concludes that only he who sinned with idol worship or blasphemed is hung after being put to death. Having his body hang for an extended period of time brings spectators to ask why he was hung. They would hear the details of how this person did one of the two sins just mentioned. This discussion in its own right is either a cheapening of Hashem or will bring a curse. (Ramban)

4) A dead body that is hanging is a most cursed and despicable situation. It also brings impurity to the land. We are told that the Holy Land is a source for blessing and not for curse "Ki shom tzivoh Hashem es habrochoh chaim" (T'hilim 133:3). (Ramban)

5) It is a cheapening of Hashem to "advertise" the body of one who has so grievously sinned against Hashem. (Ralbag)

6) It will bring about cursing the judges, called "elohim" (Shmos 22:27). That verse prohibits cursing them. People who see the sorrowful sight will curse the witnesses and the judges who brought this guilty person to justice. (Rashbam)

Ch. 22, v. 2: "Ad drosh ochicho oso" - Until your brother searches for it - The Holy Zohar translates the word "oso" in a most novel manner (Chukas page 184a). He says that this word is spelled in full, with a letter Vov between the Alef and Sof. (In our Torah it is spelled without this Vov.) He translates the word "oso" as its sign. Halacha requires that when a person comes to you to claim his lost object, that you not just give it to him on his word alone. It is required to ask him for a distinct identifying sign on the object, an "ose," before you may return it to him.

Ch. 22, v. 2: "Vahasheivoso lo" - And you shall return it to him - When the Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l visited Jerusalem he was asked by a local doctor if the ruling of "v'rapo y'ra'peh" (Shmos 21:19), from which we derive that a doctor has permission to heal, requires of him to answer every call to heal. The Holy Rebbe responded, "This is clearly included in the mitzvoh of 'vahasheivoso lo.'" The next morning this response was publicized in a local shul. One upstart said, "What kind of answer is this? The verse quoted has nothing to do with the question!"

A true Torah scholar was present and said, "Look into the Rambam in his commentary on the mishnoh N'dorim chapter #4, where he clearly states what you've just heard quoted in the name of the Rebbe. (Olomos Shechorvu)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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