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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 22, v. 5: "Lo yi'h'yeh chli gever al ishoh" - A man's implement shall not be upon a woman - In Shoftim 5:26 the verse praises Yo'eil, the wife of Chever the Keini, who killed Cicero by driving a stake through his cranium. It was a time of war and there was likely a sword in her tent. If so, why didn't she use it to decapitate Cicero, rather than using a metal peg to kill him? Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that she specifically avoided using a sword (where another item would also do the job) in fulfillment of our verse, that a woman not use an item that is specifically used by men (see Rambam hilchos avodoh zoroh 12:10).

Ch. 23, v. 4,5: "Lo yovo Amoni uMo'ovi bikhal Hashem ad olom, Al dvar asher lo kidmu es'chem ba'lechem uvamayim" - An Amonite or a Moabite may not enter the congregation of Hashem forever, Because of the matter that they did not initially greet you with bread and water - It is most puzzling that Edom, who denied permission for ingress into his land and to just pass through, and food and drink would be purchased, and there is no prohibition against having an Edomite convert marry a bas Yisroel. Although verse 8 says that he is your brother, one would think that this makes his refusal even more incriminating. The Chid"o in Midbar K'deimos cites a person who remains anonymous, but is described as one who "fears sin, pursues mitzvos, and has fear of Hashem," who was asked for a Torah source for punishment for one who is an ingrate. He responded that we find that Hashem gave the lands of Keini, Knizi, and Kadmoni to Edom, Amon, and Moav. None of them let the bnei Yisroel pass through their lands. However, the bad behaviour of Amon and Moav is much worse than that of Edom. This is because our Patriarch Avrohom risked his life to rescue Lote, their forefather, who was captured in a war (parshas Lech L'cho). "Vaasher sochar" of Moav is a secondary reason. As bad as Edom was, it did not demonstrate lack of gratitude.

Ch. 23, v. 5: "Al dvar asher lo kidmu es'chem ba'lechem uvamayim" - Because of the matter that they did not initially greet you with bread and water - The gemara Y'vomos 76b says that the prohibition against these two nations is limited to its male converts. The female converts may be married to a ben Yisroel, as we find with Boaz and Rus. The gemara explains that although there is a reason given, that they did not offer bread and water, this is only a claim against men, whose nature is to come into the public arena, and not against women, who usually stay at home. This seems to be a startling statement in light of the fact that the Moabite women offered themselves for licentious activities. Some answers:

1) The women were coerced by the Moabite men to do this. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

2) Even though they did not behave as is proper for a woman, nevertheless, since it is inherently the nature of women to behave modestly, the Torah does not attribute the lack of hospitality to women. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

3) When they offered themselves for immoral behaviour their lusts for this activity motivated them as well, but when it came to offering hospitality, their natural modest behaviour mode ruled. (Dorash Moshe)

Ch. 23, v. 25: "Ki sovo b'cherem rei'echo v'ochalto anovim k'naf'sh'cho so'vecho" - When you will come into your friend's vineyard and you may eat grapes to your satiation satisfaction - This refers to a hired worker who works in the vineyard. Rashi says that this privilege only applies when the worker is involved with the grapes at harvest time, but if they are not yet fully ripe, and he was hired to weed or remove dead branches or the like, he may not partake of the grapes. The Holy Admor of Satmar asks: "Why is the mitzvoh of supporting the poor Torah scholar unique by way of rightfully expecting reward in this world, as per the verses "B'chonuni noh b'zose" and "A'seir t'a'seir," from which we derive "a'seir bishvil she'tis'asheir" (gemara Taanis 9a)?

As just mentioned, permission for the worker to partake of grapes is limited to the time of harvest, when the worker places the ripened grapes into the owner's baskets. Doing all other mitzvos is similar to working for the "Boss," but not placing the finished product into His vessels. By supporting a Torah scholar it is "placing the ripened produce directly into the Owner's vessel, the Torah scholar. At that time we may also partake. (Olomos Shechorvu)

Ch. 24, v. 18: "V'zocharto ki evved hoyiso b'Mitzrayim va'yif'd'cho .mishom al kein onochi m'tzavcho" - And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and He redeemed you from there therefore I command you - This is the reason given for the prohibitions in the previous verse, to not distort the judgment of a convert or orphan and to not retain the surety offered by a widow for a loan, for an unreasonable time. The reason the Torah chooses these people is because they easily fall victim. The convert does not have a large family standing behind him, with someone who could be forceful if it is obvious that there has been a perversion of justice. The orphan likewise has no father to fight for him. The widow is usually defenceless against this injustice.

When Hashem took us out of Egypt we were already on the 49th rung of impurity, having picked up negative traits and ideologies form the Egyptians. Hashem could have rightfully left things as is and ch"v if the bnei Yisroel would have descended any further, to the point of no spiritual return, He could have left us there. This is alluded to in the words "va'yif'd'cho miSHOM." "Shom" means a distanced place (see Sefer Hashoroshim by the Radak and Haksav V'hakaboloh). We were very distanced from Hashem and there was no one to take up our case. Nevertheless, Hashem redeemed us. This is ample reason for our being responsible to deal likewise with the underprivileged and helpless. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 24, v. 22: "V'zocharto ki evved hoyiso b'eretz Mitzroyim al kein onochi m'tzavcho" - And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt therefore I command you " - This is the reason given for the command given in the previous 2 verses, to leave over certain produce items in the field for the convert, the orphan, and the widow. Here the verse does not add on that "Hashem has redeemed you" as it does in verse 18. This is because the reasoning has nothing to do with redemption. The N'tziv in Haameik Dovor explains that the bnei Yisroel WHEN IN EGYPT harvested and the Egyptians allowed them to take for themselves the "shvache" produce, dropped grapes, immature grapes, underdeveloped clusters, etc. You too should therefore leave for the poor. This is only connected to WHILE you were in Egypt and not the redemption.

This also explains why here we have "eretz" and not in verse 18. The produce mitzvoh is LAND connected. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 25, v. 14: "Eifoh v'eifoh" - A measurement and a measurement - This is the prohibition against having false weights in one's possession, even if they are not used in commerce. Our Rabbis say that the punishment for use of false weights is greater than that of illicit relations. This is difficult to comprehend. Some illicit relation sins even carry the death penalty. Why should using false weights be harsher?

The halacha is that if a person's life is in danger and he can be helped through his consumption of meat, and no kosher meat is available on Shabbos, we are required to slaughter for him on Shabbos. The Rosh (Yoma 8:14) and others ask why it is not preferable to feed him non-kosher meat that is available, only a "malkos" sin, rather than "chilul Shabbos," a "skiloh" sin. They answer that it is preferable to do a severe sin once, slaughtering, rather than a lighter sin, non-kosher meat, numerous times. Similarly here, one uses false weights numerous times. (Ohel Y'shorim, Rabbi A. Antebbi)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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