subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


Ch. 21, v. 10: "Unsono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho v'shoviso shivyo" - And Hashem your G-d will place him into your hand and you will capture his captive - This seems to be double talk, as placing him into your hand means that you have captured him. Also, why is "unsono" in the singular? The enemy who is captured are numerous people. Rabbeinu Bachyei explains that being victorious in war is always predicated by the archangel of the nation that is doing battle with the bnei Yisroel being handed over to our archangel. This is "unsonO."

Ch. 22, v. 29: "V'nosan ho'ish laavi hanaaroh" - And the man shall give to the girl's father - The penalty of "chamishim kesef" is only given to the father when his daughter has the maturity status of a "naaroh" when this matter is decided in court. Even though the misdeed was perpetrated when she was a "naaroh," but was not dealt with in court until she further matured and became a "bogerres," the payment of the penalty goes to the girl. (gemara K'subos 41b) We also derive from the words "avi hanaaroh" that there is a payment only when the girl is still alive when it went to court. If she were to die before it went to court the penalty is waived. (gemara K'subos 38b)

Ch. 23, v. 7: "Lo sidrosh shlomom v'tovosom kol yo'mecho l'olom" - You shall not pursue their peace nor their well-being all of your days forever - Sifri comments, "Ulolmei olomim." The Malbim says that this teaches us that this command is not limited to the generation of the desert. Rather, it extends to all future generations as well. The Minchoh V'luloh and the N'tzi"v say that it means that even in the world-to-come we are to behave this way towards Amonim and Moavim.

Since these two nations are so detested, why did they merit to occupy lands that will eventually become part and parcel of Eretz Yisroel? The Ramban explains that it is in the merit of their ancestor Lote, who left his land of birth to accompany his elderly uncle Avrohom and tend to his needs that his descendants occupy future Eretz Yisroel. However, since his descendants behaves so badly towards the bnei Yisroel they are forever denied entry into marriage with anyone who has the status of "k'hal Yisroel."

Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that although they are accepted as converts the mitzvoh to detest them remains even when they convert to Judaism.

Ch. 23, v. 12: "V'hoyoh lifnos erev yirchatz bamoyim" - And it will be when it turns towards evening he shall bathe in water - This means that he should immerse himself in a mikveh. We find "lifnos erev" when the verse says that Yitzchok went into the field to pray "lifnos erev." Just as here the verse discusses immersing oneself in a mikveh, so too, when one goes to daven it is preferable that he first immerse himself in a mikveh. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid)

Rabbeinu Yonoh in his commentary on the gemara Brochos says that when one immerses in a mikveh before prayer, it makes his prayers more effective.

Ch. 25, v. 9: "V'choltzoh naalo mei'al raglo v'yorkoh b'fonov" - And she shall remove his shoe from upon his foot and she shall spit in front of him - "Chalitzoh" is a seemingly very strange ritual. What is most startling is the seemingly contradictory behaviour of the widow. She behaves as a most subservient maid servant by removing her brother-in-law's shoe and then spits onto the ground in front of him.

Rabbeinu Nisim of Marseille explains that in verse seven we find that the woman comes to the court before her brother-in-law does, and she states that he has refused to memorialize the name of his deceased brother through refusing to take her as his wife. Verse eight relates that the court sends for him and discusses this matter with him in an attempt to persuade him to reconsider. He stands his ground and states to the members of the court that he has no interest in taking her as his wife. The woman then removes his shoe from his foot. Up to this point all her actions are actually a demonstration of her keen interest in sustaining a remembrance for her husband who died childless. She has acted totally out of character. She goes public by telling the members of the court that she very much wants to become her brother-in-law's wife, but that he has refused. When he is brought to the court and refuses again, she further throws herself at him by doing a relatively low service, that of removing his shoe, demonstrating that she would have been a most obedient wife, doing even the most menial tasks if so requested, and in spite of this he has refused. She immediately lets out her frustration for his refusal by denigrating him in public by spitting in front of him. This is a most cathartic procedure for the bereaved woman. She has publicly displayed her love of and dedication to her deceased husband's memory, and is allowed to vent her frustration by spitting. It is only at this point that she is psychologically ready to pursue marriage with someone else.

Ch. 25, v. 11: "V'shilchoh yodoh v'hechezikoh bimvushov" - And she will stretch out her hand and grasp onto his shameful organ - This ruling follows right after the parsha of "chalitzoh" because the parsha of "chalitzoh" requires the widow to spit in front of her deceased husband's brother who refused to marry her through "yibum." In response to this the Torah says that she should show her displeasure with his lack of sensitivity for his deceased brother's memory through doing such a shameful disparaging act as spitting in front of his face. The Torah then says that a woman should not take a lesson from this and extend it to a situation where her husband and another person got into a dispute, and to stand up for her husband's honour by embarrassing his combatant as described by our verse. (Sforno)

Ch. 25, v. 17: "Zochore eis asher ossoh l'cho Amoleik" - Remember what Amoleik has done to you - Towards the end of parshas B'shalach we have another parsha dealing with Amoleik. It is read on the morning of Purim. If we take the number of words of that parsha plus ours we have a total of 166 words. This equals the number of verses in Megilas Esther, whose story is one of an Amoleiki attempting to ch"v destroy the bnei Yisroel. In Breishis 14:20 we find Malki Tzedek blessing Avrom with the words, "Uvoruch Keil elyone asher mi'gein tzorecho b'yodecho," - and blessed is G-d the elevated Who has protected by handing over your oppressors into your hands. "Elyone" has the numerical value of 166.

Ch. 25, v. 17: "Zochore eis asher ossoh l'cho Amoleik" - Remember what Amoleik has done to you - Sefer Hachinuch writes that one of the purposes of this mitzvoh is to imbed in our hearts that whoever oppresses the bnei Yisroel is hated by Hashem. Hashem's punishment corresponds to their actual harm and their planned harm even when it does not come to fruition. We find that Amoleik's behaviour towards the bnei Yisroel was most negative in that this nation was the first to attack the bnei Yisroel after their being miraculously saved at Yam Suf. In turn, Hashem has commanded us to eradicate this nation and all remembrance of it, i.e. its possessions, from the face of the world.



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

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel