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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 12,13: "V'gilchoh .. v'os'soh, V'heisiroh" - And she shall shave .. and she shall grow, And she shall remove - The Rokei'ach derives from these three acts being expressed as her doing them, that the man wanting to marry her shall not involve himself in any of these three acts so that he not even touch her.

It seems that the Rokei'ach does not translate "v'os'soh" as does Rashi, that she let them grow, as this does not involve any touching even on her part. Perhaps the Rokei'ach would translate it as "and she shall remove," meaning that she not let them grow somewhat and then neatly trim her nails to make them attractive.

Ch. 21, v. 12: "V'os'soh" - And she shall let grow - This is Rashi's (Sifri) translation. Someone once asked Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Brisker why the Yiddish expression, "Men macht em pei'os" is used at the "chalak'l," the ritual of cutting a three year old boy's hair and leaving over his pei'os. Since we remove excess hair and leave over what now becomes pei'os, how are we MAKING pei'os? Someone else present suggested that since the Yemenite Jews call pei'os "simanim," signs, perhaps this justifies MAKING pei'os, as instead of having a whole head of lengthy hair we create a SIGN of the child's being Jewish. This answer greatly pleased the Brisker Rov.

In our verse we have the woman prisoner of war leave her nails unkempt, not attending to them, and yet, this is called "v'os'soh," literally - and she shall MAKE (see Ramban). We see that having a feature of the body becoming conspicuous, albeit through inaction, it is nevertheless called an action, MAKING her nails. The same can be applied to pei'os. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 21, v. 21: "Vo'meis" - And he shall die - Rashi on verse 18 says that he dies for the eventual outcome (save his being killed first). Rishonim and Acharonim deal with the issue of this seemingly being contrary to the axiom that a person is only judged for the present (gemara R.H.), based on the words "basher hu shom" (Breishis 21:17). We assume that this means that acts never yet committed do not enter the judgment equation. However, the Sfas Emes in Likutim on Rosh Hashonoh and the Meshech Chochmoh on parshas Emor 23:22, "p'as sodcho lo s'cha'leh" both say that this rule also rules out past actions.

Ch. 21, v. 21: "Bo'avonim" - With StoneS - In a previous edition on parshas Emor the insight of Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin was cited. He explained the difference between the stoning of the blasphemer, where the Torah says that he was killed "with A stone," singular, and the stoning of the Shabbos desecrator, "bo'avonim," with stones," plural. The people involved in killing the blasphemer were unanimously united in their attitude that he surely deserved death. The single stone is symbolic of a united attitude. Although the Shabbos desecrator was killed, it was with mixed attitudes. A medrash is cited in Tosfos on the gemara B.B. 114, which says that the Shabbos desecrator had a noble intention, that the bnei Yisroel, whose resolve for safeguarding Shabbos was somewhat weakened, should see that Shabbos is a very serious matter. This made for some people being sympathetic.

We might well apply this same concept here. Although this 13 year old boy is killed, it is before he actually committed a heinous crime. No doubt those who kill him will have mixed emotions, hence "avonim," stoneS. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 21, v. 22: "V'chi yi'h'yeh v'ish cheit mishpat mo'ves v'humos v'soliso oso al eitz" - When a person will have a sin that carries the death penalty and he is put to death you shall hang him upon a tree - Homiletically: We have a person who obviously committed a grievous sin, as it carries the death penalty. This is not "symbolically" a capital crime, as "an eye for an eye." He is actually put to death. Rather than having a totally negative attitude towards this sinner, you should "v'soliso oso al eitz," mollify the strength of the sin with a "tree." Hashem, when he created the world had the exact result that He wanted with every creation, save the creation of trees. They did not comply and although the Divine plan was that their wood should have the same taste as their fruit, this is not what resulted. An explanation of how a creation could result into something contrary to Hashem's wishes is offered by the Mahari"l Diskin. He says that Hashem gave leeway to the trees in their development, showing a priority to having their wood develop the same taste as their fruit, but they did not comply.

This allows for mankind, upon sinning, to claim to Hashem that he was placed into a world that had already rebelled against his wishes, creating a negative spiritual climate, guilty with an excuse. Possibly this was the intention of the trees. Find a redeeming factor in the person who was put to death. Hang his sin on the tree. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 25, v. 19: "Timcheh es zecher Amoleik" - Destroy the memory of Amoleik - Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks how King Shlomo was permitted to build the Beis Hamikdosh before the complete nation of Amoleik was eradicated. Yoav, in his subsequent battle with Amoleik left the females alive. Eradication of the nation of Amoleik is a prerequisite to building the Beis Hamikdosh. He answers that "timcheh" does not mean complete eradication. It is sufficient to weaken and subordinate Amoleik. This is quite a "chidush."

Ch. 25, v. 19: "Timcheh es zecher Amoleik" - Destroy the memory of Amoleik - The Holy Admor Rabbi Yisroel of Rizhin asked the Chidushei hoRi"m how the gemara Yoma 22b was able to say that King Sho'ul was like a three year old by virtue of his being free of any sin. Sho'ul responded to Shmuel that he had fulfilled the word of Hashem in his battle against Amoleik (Shmuel 1:15:13), "Hakimosi es dvar Hashem." He had both left Agag alive, against the express command of Shmuel, and also lied by telling Shmuel that he fulfilled Hashem's wishes. The Chidusheu hoRi"m, who was the Holy Rizhiner's guest, replied that as a guest he came to hear and not to tell.

The Holy Rizhiner answered, based on the gemara Megiloh 13a, which says that had King Sho'ul killed Agag as commanded, Homon would not have been born. During the night before he was killed by Shmuel, Agag sired an ancestor of Agag. Thanks to the machinations of Homon the bnei Yisroel accepted the Torah willingly, "Hodor kibluhoh bi'mei Achashveirosh." This is the intention of "hakimosi es dvar Hashem," not as we commonly translate "hakimosi" as - I have fulfilled - but rather, as - I have upheld and established, because I brought about a set of circumstances that will bring the bnei Yisroel to accept the yoke of the Torah willingly.

The Chidushei hoRi"m then asked, "If so, what was the sin of King Sho'ul?" The Holy Rizhiner responded that King Sho'ul had no right to place the bnei Yisroel in mortal danger, albeit that it was for only a short time.



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

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