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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 vessel shall not be upon a woman - The story is told of the wife of Rabbi Zalman of Volozhin who took a small sword to cut a rope. Upon seeing this, her husband told her to put down the sword, as it is uniquely a man's piece of equipment. He added that although this would not be a Torah level prohibition, it is still prohibited. We find in Shoftim 5:26 that Yael the wife of Chever the Keini took a tent peg and sunk it into Cicero's cranium. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel writes that she took a tent stake rather than a sword to comply with the Torah, "D'kaimis mah diksiv b'sefer oraisa d'Moshe lo tehevi tikun zin d'gever al itsa." (Toldos Odom)

Ch. 23, v. 4,5,6: "Lo yovo Amoni uMoavi bikhal Hashem, Vaasher sochar o'lecho es Bilom ben B'ore, V'lo ovoh Hashem Elokecho lishmo'a el Bilom" - An Amonite or a Moabite shall not enter the congregation of Hashem, And that he hired for you Bilom the son of B'ore, And Hashem did not desire to listen to Bilom" - The flow of these verses seems to indicate that if ch"v Hashem was willing to have Bilom's curses come to fruition then Amonites and Moabites would be accepted into our congregation, i.e. allowed to marry a bas Yisroel. This can be explained based on the answer given to the most basic question: Why are those who bring suffering upon the bnei Yisroel punished since they are carrying out Hashem's will? The answer given by Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh is that they bring difficulties upon the bnei Yisroel not to fulfill Hashem's will, but rather out of hatred based upon the bnei Yisroel's properly fulfilling Hashem's will. If the bnei Yisroel were to ch"v worship their deities then their hatred would dissipate. They are punished for their baseless hatred. Had Hashem agreed to have Bilom's curses take effect, then they would not be banished for hiring Bilom. However, the verse testifies that Hashem did not desire to have the bnei Yisroel cursed, and in spite of this they hired Bilom to curse them. This proves that their intention was negative and they are therefore excluded. (Holy Admor of Satmar)

Ch. 23, v. 19: "L'chol neder" - For any vow - The Sifri derives from this that the prohibition of offering a sacrifice of an animal that was either payment for the services of a prostitute or the proceeds of the sale of a dog apply to a "bomoh" altar as well. Toldos Odom says that it is simply derived from the inclusive connotation of the word l'CHOL.

However, the Meshech Chochmoh has a most innovative explanation. He notes that the syntax of our verse is difficult. The verse should have either said "Lo sovi esnan zonoh umchir kelev l'chol neder beis Hashem Elokecho," or "Lo sovi beis Hashem Elokecho esnan .." "L'chol neder" seems to be in the wrong place, as it is surely attached to the item brought as a "neder." Why is it dangling at the end? This teaches us that the prohibition applies even to a "bomoh." "Beis Hashem Elokecho l'chol neder" means a house of Hashem for "n'dorim," sacrifices that are voluntarily donated. "Bomoh" altars only accept personal donation sacrifices and not obligatory sacrifices such as a "chatos." This seems to be a brilliant deduction.

There is more to this than the dvar Torah itself, as is found in our sefer Meshech Chochmoh. Rabbi Yoseif Adler was the Rov of a town named Turda. The Meshech Chochmoh's fame as a child prodigy genius was known far and wide. The Rov had the opportunity to meet Rabbi Meir Simchoh was he was but eleven years old. Young Meir Simchoh already knew all the sefer Urim v'Tumim on Ch.M. The Rov tested him on this and saw that he indeed knew it all. During their conversation the Rov became aware of young Meir Simchoh's lack of knowledge of Rashi on the Torah.

When asked about the disparity, he answered that since he was a young boy he acted accordingly, and although aware that one should have a solid grounding in Chumash and Rashi he found that one page of Urim v'Tumim had more sharpness and insightfulness than all the comments of Rashi on Chumash combined. (Remember, he was only eleven years old at the time.) The Rov was taken aback and told the youngster, "I plan to be back in about a year. At that time I expect you to know Chumash and Rashi well, all of it!"

A year later the Rov came and tested Meir Simchoh, and was quite satisfied with his knowledge of Chumash and Rashi. Meir Simchoh now told the Rov, "Contrary to what I told you last year, I now realize that there is more wisdom in one explanation of Rashi on chumash than in all the sefer Urim v'Tumim. Take this Rashi, which explains that 'l'chol dovor' teaches us that the prohibition applies even to 'bomoh.' (Note that we do not have this Rashi in our text, but it appears in some older editions.) The 'dibur hamas'chil,' words of the text upon which Rashi comments, is quite lengthy, 'beis Hashem Elokecho l'chol dovor.' Why doesn't Rashi just bring 'l'chol dovor'?"

Meir Simchoh answered as above, that the derivation is from the seeming misplacement of "l'chol dovor," and the insight of "beis Hashem Elokecho l'chol dovor" being one continuous phrase, meaning "bomoh."

May this most interesting story and accompanying dvar Torah serve as a springboard to have us appreciate the depth and profundity of the commentary of Rashi on Chumash.

Ch. 23, v. 19: "Ki so'avas Hashem Elokecho gam shneihem" - Prostitutes felt some level of guilt for basing their livelihood on sin. They therefore brought sacrifices to quell their guilt-feelings. The sacrifice is not accepted, and our verse ends by telling us that BOTH are an abomination, the prostitution and the offering. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 23, v. 25: "Ki sovo b'cherem rei'echo v'ochalto anovim k'naf'sh'cho so'vecho" - When you come into the vineyard of your friend and you may eat grapes to your satisfaction to your satiation - Rashi (gemara B.M. 89b) explains that this refers to a hired worker. It is only when the worker is harvesting ripe produce and placing into the owner's vessels that the worker may also partake of the produce. If however, he is hired to prune the vines or the like he may not eat the fruit.

The gemara Taanis 9a states that although Hashem gives reward for mitzvos in the world-to-come, when it comes to the mitzvoh of charity there is reward given in this world as well. The gemara goes on to say that we may even "test" Hashem in this by giving charity and expecting to see reward right here in this ephemeral world, based on the verse "b'chonuni noh b'zose." Why indeed is charity unique in this manner?

Just as our verse says that when the hired worker places produce into the owner's baskets he may also partake of it, so too, when we give charity to Hashem's poor, and in particular to destitute Torah scholars, we are putting "fruit into the Owner's basket." At that time we may also derive benefit, so we likewise will benefit from giving charity even in this world. (Holy Admor of Satmar in Olomos Shechorvu)



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

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