CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS MISHPOTIM 5768 - BS"D
1) Ch. 21, v. 4: "Im adonov yi'tein lo ishoh" - This verse discusses the person who stole from another and did not have sufficient money to repay the theft. He is sold as a slave and the money is used to repay the victim of the theft. The Torah allows the master to give his servant a maidservant as a wife. The thief might well have been married. Allowing a master to force another woman upon the thief seems to be unfair to the thief's wife. Why does theft carry in its wake this "punishment" for an innocent wife?
2) Ch. 21, v. 6: "V'higisho el ha'de'les" - Why bring him specifically to the door?
3) Ch. 22, v. 8: "Ad ho'elohim yovo dvar shneihem" - If we believe that Hashem dictates what our income will be, why does one go to beis din to adjudicate financial claims?
4) Ch. 23, v. 16: "V'chag ho'osif b'tzeis hashonoh" - The festival of ingathering should be celebrated at the end of the year. In parshas Ki Siso it is written, "v'chag ho'osif t'kufas hashonoh" (34:22). Rashi explains this to mean at the beginning of the next year. How can our verse say that Sukos occurs at the end of the year?
5) Ch. 23, v. 25: "VaavadTEM es Hashem ElokeiCHEM u'veirach es lach'm'CHO v'es mei'meCHO" - Why does the verse begin with "vaavadTEM," you (plural form) shall serve, and conclude with lach'm'CHO v'es mei'meCHO," your (singular form) bread and water"?
Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura suggests that the Torah gave this dispensation because the original wife of the thief/servant might have convinced him to steal in the first place.
1) Rashbam answers that it is pragmatic to do so. Even if a house is built of stone, the doors and door frames are made of wood. Wood is a practical material into which an awl can be forced.
2) Rabbeinu Bachyei in the name of the medrash says that Hashem gives this slave an opening to leave servitude at the end of six years. The slave who turns down this opportunity and opts to stay on has voluntarily shut the door to his freedom. In kind we pierce his earlobe against the doorway opening.
3) One always passes through the doorway of a house. Let the person who had the opportunity to go free and turned it down see the hole made by the awl in the doorpost. It is at eye-level as it passed through his earlobe. (Shomati)
4) See this week's Sedrah Selections for a bit of a lengthier answer by the Toldos Yitzchok.
The Yad Haktanoh, a commentator on the Rambam's Yad Hachazokoh, explains that it is only because the Torah says that we may pursue financial claims in court, do we do so, as this opens this venue of either recovering or receiving monetary payment, and is not any different from being paid for working.
In the Yalkut Shimoni on parshas Pinchos remez #782 Rabbi Levi says that Hashem planned to give the bnei Yisroel a holiday in every month from Nison through Tishrei. Thus, Pesach falls in Nison, Pesach Sheini in Iyor, and Shovuos in Sivon. When the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf in the month of Tamuz, Hashem canceled Yomim Tovim for the months of Tamuz, Ov and Elul. Hashem placed Rosh Hashonoh, Yom Kipur and Sukos in Tishrei, which were originally supposed to be during Tamuz, Ov and Elul respectively. Shmini Atzeres, a separate Yom Tov, remained in the month of Tishrei.
Our parsha is discussing the Yom Tov of Sukos before the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf. At that point in time Sukos was designated to be at the end of the year, during the month of Elul. The sin of the golden calf took place in parshas Ki Siso. After the sin of the "ei'gel hazohov" was committed the Yom Tov of Sukos was moved forward to the beginning of the new year, to the month of Tishrei.
Even with the most fervent entreaties, the power of prayer of an individual is limited. This is especially true if he is not fully Torah observant. However, prayer with a congregation, "t'filoh b'tzibur," is much more powerful, piercing the very heavens and bringing fulfillment of prayers even for those who lack their own merit. This is alluded to in the word "tzibur" itself, spelled Tzadi-Beis-Reish, an acronym for "tzadikim, beinonim, r'sho'im."
The Torah is advising that if you want Hashem to bless "lachmeCHO," that your (singular) bread should be supplied in abundance, this can be accomplished through "va'avadTEM," praying with a quorum, as the merit of the congregation will stand you in good stead. (Adaptation of the Baal Haturim)
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V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights