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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 24, v. 1: "Ki motzo voh ervas dovor v'chosav loh sefer krisus" - Because he found in her a shameful matter and he will write for her a writ of separation - What is the "ervas dovor?" The gemara Gitin 90 cites three opinions. Beis Shamai posits that one should only divorce his wife if he finds that she has not kept her fidelity to her husband. Bais Hillel posits that even if she burned the food prepared for him. Rabbi Akiva posits that even if he finds a prettier woman it is sufficient grounds for divorce. Bais Shamai'a position is well understood, but Bais Hillel's and surely Rabbi Akiva's need clarification. The Tur E.H. #119 says that her act was one of defiance, "Sheposhoh ch'negdo." I heard that the problem is that she burned HIS food. This means that although she did not intentionally burn the food, nevertheless, when she found it singed, some of it was salvageable. She proceeded to cut it into two portions, serving herself the good part and giving her husband the charred, burned offering. This shows a major attitudinal shortcoming.

I heard in the name of MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l that Rabbi Akiva's opinion is that if the husband finds a woman who is more pleasing, it shows that he has some dormant and maybe not so dormant displeasure in his relationship with his wife, so it is permitted to divorce her even on these grounds.

Indeed, we find the term "m'tzioh" used where one is in search of something. In Bmidbar 15:32, "va'yimtzu ish m'kosheish eitzim." The M.R. says that "they found" indicates that there were people searching for Shabbos transgressors. This is because, once apprised of the death of that generation in the desert, the masses felt that the Torah was no longer binding on them, but rather, only on the next generation, which would enter Eretz Yisroel, and they began to desecrate Shabbos. Guards were on the lookout for Shabbos transgressors, hence, "va'yimtzu." We thus see that this term is used for one who is on the lookout for something. Similarly here when the gemara says "motzo no'oh hei'menoh," it indicates that the husband is on the lookout, a sorrowful situation.

Ch. 24, v. 5: "Ki yikach ish ishoh chadoshoh" - When a man takes a new wife - This comes on the heels of "v'lo sachati ho'oretz" of the previous verse. This teaches us that by taking a wife rather than remaining a bachelor, a man avoids many sins. (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 24, v. 7: "Goneiv nefesh v'hisa'mer bo umchoro u'meis haganov hahu" - Kidnap a soul and work him or sell him and that thief shall be put to death - Why such a strict punishment? Since the kidnapped person is usually a child, he will not know who his parents are and with the passage of time he might meet up with his father or mother and wound or curse one of them and be put to death by the court. The kidnapper is thus putting the victim into a situation that might bring about his death.

Alternatively, since he is either working him as a slave, or selling him into slavery, the victim will end up being destitute. A destitute person is likened to one who is dead. This is the fault of the kidnapper and he deserves the death penalty. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

Ch. 24, v. 8: "Hishomeir b'nega hatzoraas tish'm'ru laasose" - Safeguard a tzoraas affliction you shall safeguard to do - The verse begins in the singular form and changes to the plural with "es'chem" and also ends in the plural. The gemara Nozir 57 derives from the plural "lo sakifU" that not only the barber, but also the one who receives the haircut has transgressed. Similarly here, since the verse ends in the plural "tish'm'rU" we may derive that not only the one who cuts off the nega, but also the afflicted one has transgressed. (Ponim Yofos)

Ch. 24, v. 8: "K'chole asher yoru es'chem" - According to all that they will teach you - These words teach us that the prohibition to remove a nega is not limited to a body nega, but it also applies to a garment or house nega, since the term "horo'oh" is used by them as well, "L'horos b'yom hato'mei uvyom hatohor" (Vayikra 14:57). (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 24, v. 19: "V'shochachto omer" - And you will forget a bundle - In parshas K'doshim the Torah enumerates other items that are to be left in the field for the poor, "leket" and "pei'oh." Why is "shikchoh" left for our parsha? Perhaps this can be explained with the words of the Ramban in his preface to Sefer Dvorim. He explains why certain mitzvos are left for Sefer Dvorim, and among them is a mitzvoh that is infrequent. We can thus say that "leket" happens all the time, as some grains fall from the stalk upon being harvested. "Pei'oh" is a requirement from just about every field. However, it is quite unusual to leave a bundle of harvested grain in the field. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'hoyoh im bin hakos" - And it will be if he is a son of (deserving) flogging - Why is the word "bin" vowelized with a "chirik" rather than with a "segol?" This teaches us that we must use "binoh" wisdom when administering flogging. Firstly, even if a person transgressed a prohibition, there are six types of sins that do not carry the flogging penalty. Secondly, even if the sinner is to be flogged, it must be done with great calculation. We do not automatically give him the full 39 floggings. He might be too weak to receive them all. Also, when less are administered, they must be in multiples of three. (Baal Haturim)

There is an allusion to "klapping Homon" in the final letters of, "v'hoyoH iM biN," which spell HoMoN. We must likewise calculate "banging Homon" so as to not drown out the proper reading of Megilas Esther. (Minchoh V'luloh)

Ch. 25, v. 7: "Lo ovoh yabmi" - He did not desire to perform yibum with me - Note that in the beginning of our verse, where the brother-in-law of this woman does not want to perform yibum it says, "V'im lo YACHPOTZ," and when he verbalizes and repeats this point in the next verse, he says "lo CHOFATZTI." The difference between these two terms is that not being "oveh" means that one decides against something without thinking into the pros and cons, but simply that he is not drawn to do it. Not being "chofetz" means that one has taken into consideration the possibility to proceed but has decided against it in the end. The man is not denying that he has an initial interest, since it is a mitzvoh to perform "yibum" and it is preferable to "chalitzoh." However, it also results in taking the widow as his wife. There are numerous reasons that one would be reluctant to do so, so the verse and the man himself express the refusal in the "lo chofetz" form. The woman, when she appears in front of the court elders tells them that her brother-in-law has rejected "yibum" totally, even to the point of having no interest in fulfilling the mitzvoh aspect. (Meshech Chochmoh)

It is interesting to note that right in the beginning of our parsha we have a change of terminology between two synonyms, "cheishek" and "cheifetz," in 21:11 and 21:14. This was dealt with in an earlier issue of Sedrah Selections.



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

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