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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 14: "V'hoyoh im lo chofatzto boh" - The use of the word "chofatzto" raises two questions:

1) Should this not have been expressed in the future form "im lo TACHPOTZ?"

2) Why is there a change from the word form "CHEISHEK" as used in verse 11, "V'choshakto voh?"

The Ohel Mo'eid answers that the term CHEISHEK is used to express a short-lived yearning and desire, spurred on by lust and emotion only. The term CHOFEITZ is used to express a desire which develops from one's intellect and calculated thinking. Verse 11 tells us that the first desire will be a lustful one. Our verse tells us that even if a person fooled himself into believing that his desire was brought about by his intellect, after he has taken her home and has lived with her for a short period of time he will realize that "lo CHOFATZTO," you have not desired her originally through an intellectually calculated thought process.

Ch. 22, v. 10: "B'shor u'vachamor yachdov" - Do not plow using an ox and donkey together. The Ba'alei Tosfos explain that if they are joined together in a yoke, the donkey will notice the ox chew its cud while it doesn't. The donkey will think that the ox is eating its meal while he himself is going hungry. The Torah is sensitive to an animal's feelings and therefore prohibits this.

Ch. 22, v. 22: "U'meisu gam shneihem" - The gemara Eruvin 7a derives from the extra word "gam" that if a woman is to be given the death penalty while she is pregnant, and with waiting until after the birth we can allow for her baby to be born, and then afterwards give her the death penalty, we don't wait, but instead carry out the execution immediately. Rabbi Yaakov Hamberger, the head of the Rabbinical court of Prague asked, "Why don't we derive this ruling from the story of Tomor, Breishis 38:24?" He answers by following the continuation of the above gemara. The gemara asks that there is no need for a verse to tell us this as it is obvious, as the yet unborn child is part of the pregnant woman's body. The gemara answers that indeed a verse is needed, as I might take into consideration that the unborn child is at the same time a financial asset of the husband, and he shouldn't lose. Therefore a verse is needed to tell us that this is not taken into consideration. With this he answers his question. Since in the story of Tomor, the judge did not know who sired the child, monetarily, the child has a status of money that has no claimant so there is no financial loss to anyone, and it is obvious, as the gemara says, that there is no reason to wait for the birth. We don't know from the story of Tomor that when we have a claimant, that we don't wait, and for this we need a proof.

Possibly, a number of other answers might be suggested:

1) We cannot derive this ruling from before Mattan Torah.

2) Tomor's fetus is not a proof according to the judge's thinking that she committed adultery, since the creation of the fetus was through a sin, it is not taken into consideration. The gemara is bringing a proof for when the sin carrying the death penalty was not one that brought about the creation of the fetus.

3) Tomor's case is not a proof as she was a bas Kohein, daughter of Malki-Tzedek, and was to be judged in a strict manner, death by s'reifoh, as is the case of adultery of a bas Kohein after Mattan Torah. This level of stringency might even include not waiting for the birth.

Ch. 23, v. 3: "Gam dor asiri lo yovo" -The intention is to say that a mamzer is excluded forever. Why does the Torah express this by saying even a tenth generation mamzer may not enter into marriage with "k'hal Hashem?" The Holy Admor of Ostrovtze answers with a gemara Talmud Yerushalmi Trumos p. 10, h. 5, that says that even though we have a rule that a non-kosher creature when mixed with a kosher product does not become negligible, botteil, but if the ratio of kosher to non-kosher is 960 or greater to 1, then it does become botteil and the complete mixture is kosher. By saying that even a tenth generation may not enter the "k'hal Hashem" this is in effect saying that a mamzer's lineage is excluded forever. If we consider the mamzer completely prohibited, then the next generation, if mixed with a kosher partner is 1/2 non-kosher (theoretically only, as the child is halachically a full mamzer). The next generation is 1/4 non-kosher, then 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128, 1/256, 1/512, and the 10th generation is 1/1024. Once we say that over 1/960 is not koshered, which does kosher a mixture a creature, as above, then we understand that nothing will help to negate the flaw, and it is forever.

Ch. 23, v. 5: "Va'asher SOCHAR o'lecho es Bilom" - Why does the verse stress that Moav HIRED Bilom? Had he been willing to work for Bolok gratis would the law be any different? Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Amsterdam answers that since we have a rule that "Ein shliach l'dvar aveiroh" (K'dushin 42b, Bovo Kamo 79a), Moav should not be responsible for asking Bilam to curse. However, the Gemara Bovo Kamo 55b says that there are four damages that one can inflict and not be held responsible by our earthly court but be responsible by heavenly standards. One of the cases is one who HIRES false witnesses to testify in his favour. Tosfos 56a d.h. "Ella" points out that only by hiring is one responsible, but by just requesting witnesses to testify falsely, he is not responsible even by heavenly standards. Therefore, he answers, our verse stresses that Moav HIRED Bilam and therefore is responsible for his cursing, on a heavenly level, and Hashem has distanced Moav from the Jewish nation.

This might lead us to another answer to a question which was raised in parshas Bolok, Bmidbar 22:20, where Rashi explains that Hashem gave Bilam permission to go along with the ministers of Bolok only if he were to be paid for his efforts. We raised the question, "What bearing does payment have?" We can possibly answer that Hashem wanted Moav to be punished for its evil plans. If Bilam were to work gratis then Moav would bear no responsibility, so Hashem only allowed him to go if he were hired.

Ch. 24, v. 5: "Ishoh chadoshoh" - The gemara Sotah 44a says that the exemption from going to war upon taking a new wife means "chadoshoh lo," new to him. This includes marrying a divorcee or a widow, but excludes his remarrying his former wife. Rabbi Akiva Eiger in his notes to the Mishnah Sotah, p.8, #28, says that he believes that the same rule applies to the exemption of one who has a new home and has not moved in. Even if it is an old house, but new for him, he is exempt, but not a house he has once lived in, sold, and repurchased. Ch. 24, v. 7: "Ki yimotzei ish goneiv nefesh mei'echov mibnei Yisroel" - The Ba'al Haturim says that the gematria of the first letters of the above words equals 171, the same as "zehu Yoseif."



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

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