by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHOFTIM 5766 BS"DCh. 16, v. 19: "Visa'leif divrei tzadikim" - And will bend words that are righteous - Even if the judgment was accurate, and remains as "divrei tzadik," nevertheless, because the judge accepted a bribe, the one who lost the case will surely attribute the ruling to the influence of bribe. This is the bending of righteous words. (Droshos hoRan)
Ch. 16, v. 20: "Tzedek tzedek tirdofe" - Righteousness righteousness shall you pursue - When collecting alms, "tzedokoh," do it with "tzedek," integrity. If one is truly in need of charity, but feigns that he is lame, blind, or the like, to evoke mercy and receive larger donations, he will suffer the feigned disorder before he leaves this world. (Yerushalmi Pei'oh)
Ch. 16, v. 20: "Tzedek tzedek tirdofe l'maan tichyeh" - Righteousness righteousness shall you pursue so that you may live - Our verse tells us that righteous judgment brings in its wake the merit to live. We find in the first verse of Megilas Rus, "Va'y'hi bi'mei shfote hashoftim va'y'hi ro'ov bo'oretz," and it was in the days of the judging of the judges, and there was a famine in the land. The medrash says that "judging of the judges" means that the judges were corrupt, and their rulings were put under the scrutiny of the people, and this was the judging by the populace of the judges. In its wake a famine came, the opposite of "l'maan tichyeh." (Tosfos Brochoh)
Ch. 17, v. 1: "Asher yi'h'yeh vo moom" - That will have a flaw - Why doesn't the verse simply say "asher bo moom"? This teaches us that if there is a disorder in an organ, even if it is at this moment not an halachic flaw, but veterinarians say that the organ must be removed for the animal to survive, it is now disqualified, even though the actual flaw would only play out in the future if the animal would be left alive. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 17, v. 1: "Moom kol dovor ro" - A flaw anything bad - Even if a person accepts upon himself 612 of the 613 mitzvos, but denies the validity of even one, he is an abomination in the eyes of Hashem. This is alluded to in these words of our verse. "Moom kol dovor ro" has the numerical value of 612. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 17, v. 6: "Al pi shnayim eidim o shloshoh eidim yumas ha'meis" - Through the testimony of two or three witnesses shall the guilty person be put to death - The gemara Makos 5b derives from these words that although the judgment can be carried through with only two witnesses, once three come and testify as one group, even if only one of them becomes disqualified, it negates the whole group. Why does the Torah tell us this specifically here, since there are numerous sins that the Torah metes out capital punishment? This is to teach us that even by the most grievous sin of idol worship, which we are eager to eradicate, and here we might think that the testimony is still valid by virtue of the remaining two witnesses, nevertheless, it is totally disqualified. (Sforno)
Ch. 17, v. 11: "Yomin usmole" - Right or left - The Torah tells us to unequivocally follow the dictates of our Sages, and to not turn from them, neither to the right, nor to the left. A number of offerings were given in a previous edition for the choice of "right and left" rather than another obvious set of extremes, such as "light and darkness." Another thought: There are two interpretations of words of the Torah where the Sages negate the explicitly clear written word and say that the intention is otherwise. These are the number of days of the counting of the "omer" and the number of lashes to be administered. By the "omer" the Torah says "chamishim yom" and the Sages say that the intention is only 49 days. By lashes the Torah says "arbo'im ya'kenu" and the sages say that the intention is only 39 lashes. "YoMIN" is spelled Yud-Mem-Yud-Nun. Yud in "mispar koton," is one. "YoMIN" alludes to: one less than Mem = 39, and one less than Nun = 49. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 17, v. 13: "V'chol ho'om yish'm'u v'yiro'u" - And all the nation shall hear and fear - Rashi (gemara Sanhedrin 89a) says that we derive from these words that we do not put the rebellious scholar to death immediately, as is the case with others, but rather, we wait until all the bnei Yisroel assemble at the next of the thrice yearly pilgrimages, and put him to death in a public display. This is derived from "and all the nation." We similarly find this expression or "v'chol Yisroel" by the person who incites idol-worship, the rebellious son, and the false witnesses called "zom'mim." Is their death likewise delayed until a Yom Tov?
The Kesef Mishneh at the end of chapter #3 of hilchos mamrim writes that it is the opinion of the Rambam that this only applies to the rebellious scholar. This is also the opinion of the Lechem Mishneh. However, Tosefta Sanhedrin 11:3 clearly states that Rabbi Akiva, who is the one who says that we delay carrying out the death penalty of the rebellious scholar, posits that the other three are delayed as well.
The Oruch L'ner in his commentary on the gemara Makos chapter #1 says that the mishnoh disagrees with the Tosefta just cited, and according to Rabbi Akiva it is only so by the rebellious scholar.
Rashi does not mention delaying the execution of a rebellious son, but rather, says that, "v'chol Yisroel yish'm'u v'yiro'u" (Dvorim 21:21) teaches us that before the execution it is publicized that this and this person will be executed because he is a rebellious son.
Divrei Sho'ul says that Rashi did not mention the delay in his execution because if the upcoming holiday is three months or more in the offing, we cannot delay the execution, as the gemara says that a rebellious son must be between the ages of just becoming bar-mitzvoh and 13 years and 3 months old (gemara Sanhedrin 69a). This is extremely puzzling, because the intention of the gemara is that the window of opportunity to judge him guilty is those three months, not the age at which he can be executed.
The Divrei Dovid (Taz) adds to the discrepancies in Rashi, noting that he says nothing by the one who incites to serve idols (Dvorim 13:12), and by "eidim zom'mim" (Dvorim 19:20) only mentions public announcement.
Ch. 17, v. 15: "Some tosim o'lecho melech" - Place upon yourself a king - The gemaraYoma 22b says that although Sho'ul only had one sin against him, it cost him his kingship, while King Dovid, although he had two sins, he remained king. Why indeed was this so? King Dovid's sins were the census and his behaviour with Urioh the Chiti. Both these sins are not "king specific." The sins are ones that anyone could commit, or withstand sinning and behave properly. King Sho'ul sinned in regard to the war with Agog. Declaring war and waging it rest squarely on the shoulders of the king and no one else. If he does not fulfill his responsibility, there is no one else in the world to do it. For example, if Reuvein is wasting his time and not learning Torah, Shimon at that time is learning, so Talmud Torah is being kept up by someone. If a mitzvoh is totally neglected, albeit that it rests upon the shoulders of only one individual, nevertheless, the results of that neglect are much more profound. (Heard from HRH"G R' Aharon Yehudoh Shteinman shlit"a at Kollel Avreichim Toronto)
Ch. 17, v. 15: "Melech" - A king - The gemara Horios 13a says that the king has priority over even the Kohein Godol. This bolsters Rashi's explanation of the gemara Brochos 34b, which says that a king is required to bow at the beginning and the end of each blessing, while the Kohein Godol is only required to bow at the end of each blessing. Rashi says that the greater the personage, the more he has to subordinate himself to Hashem.
The concept of the king bowing, subordinating himself at the beginning and at the end, and the Kohein Godol only doing so at the end, might well be encrypted in the words "melech" and "Kohein." "Melech" begins with a letter Mem that is open, and ends with the letter Chof that if upright, a final Chof. The open Mem signifies expansive openness. Similarly, the upright Chof signifies height. Both at the beginning of "melech" and at its end, bowing, i.e. humbleness is required. The open Mem should be like a reticent closed Mem, and the upright Chof should be like a bent Chof. Kohein begins with a bent, humble Kof, but ends with a tall Nun. This requires bowing at the end, like a bent Nun. (Nirreh li)
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