Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 16, v. 8: "LaAzo'zeil" - What is the exact translation of Azo'zeil?

2) Ch. 18, v. 17: "Ervas ishoh u'vitoh lo s'ga'lei" - This is the prohibition to have relations with both one's wife and her daughter. According to the opinion that "ubor yerech imo," - a fetus is considered a limb of its mother (gemara Gitin 23b), why isn't it prohibited to have relations with one's wife while she is pregnant, as the husband is also having relations with the fetus, which might be female, and is thus her daughter?

3) Ch. 18, v. 18: "Litzror o'le'hoh" - The Torah prohibits marrying two sisters in each other's lifetime. Since our Patriarchs kept the Torah before it was given, how did Yaakov marry two sisters?


4) Ch. 19, v. 9: "Lo s'cha'leh PAS sodcho" - The Torah prohibits cutting of one's "pei'ose" later in our parsha, "Lo sakifu PAS rosh'chem" (19:27). The prohibition is on cutting either of TWO "pei'ose." Yet here, the exact same word PAS is used, and the mitzvoh is to leave over but ONE corner.

5) Ch. 19, v. 17: "Lo sisno es ochicho bilvo'vecho" - Do not hate your brother in your heart - When dealing with your brother all the Torah requires of you is to not hate him in your heart. Yet, the next verse demands more of you when dealing with your friend, "v'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho." You are required to actually love him. Regarding your relationship with a judge or tribal leader, the Torah seems to require the least, "Elohim lo s'ka'leil v'nosi v'amcho lo so'ore," - do not denigrate a judge and a tribal leader you shall not curse. Why does the Torah give us four distinct levels of behaviour towards these four different of people?




1) A tall mountain that has sharp peaks (gemara Yoma 67b, Rashi on our verse)

2) A combination of the names Uza and Azo'eil, two angels who left the upper realms and descended to earth (see Breishis 6:2) - They behaved immorally. The "so'ir laAzo'zeil" brings atonement for immorality. (gemara Yoma 67b and Rashi)

3) A place where goats pasture (Rashbam) - Perhaps it is called Azo'zeil because it is a combination of "eiz," a goat, and "ozal," it has gone. However, in verse 10 the Rashbam himself says that the final letter Lamed is not intrinsic to this word. We are then left with Ayin-Zayin-Alef-Zayin. I have no idea what this word means.

4) The strong place of Keil, "izuz Keil" (Ibn Ezra in the name of the Gaon) However, the Levite Gaon disagrees, citing the letter Zayin appearing between the Alef and Lamed of Keil. It should have appeared right after the earlier Zayin.

5) The name of a mountain that is near Har Sinai (Another opinion mentioned by the Ibn Ezra) This opinion seems problematic, as this is quite a distance from the Beis Hamikdosh and from the mishnoh Yoma we see that the location is much closer. However, he also writes that from this mountain the goat is brought back to the Beis Hamikdosh and from there brought to another mountain. The mishnoh might be discussing the trip to the second mountain. All of this is very unusual, as the mishnoh and gemara do not mention two trips. As well, if this is the name of a mountain, there should be no definitive "pasach" under the letter Lamed at the beginning of this word, as its name alone serves as a definite noun.

6) "This word appears in other places in the Torah. I will expose part of its secret to you through a hint. When you will be 33 you will understand it." (Ibn Ezra) This is one of the most enigmatic comments the Ibn Ezra offers in the entire Torah. Some explain these words to refer to Breishis 31:47. The verse relates that stones were piled up to form a hill and Yaakov called it "gal'eid," a combination of two words, "gal," a hill, and "eid," testimony. Perhaps the Ibn Ezra's intention in his words "thirty-three" is a hint to "gal," whose numerical value is 33. Just as "gal'eid" is a combination of two words, so too, "Azo'zeil" might simply be a combination of "eiz" and "ozal," a goat went, referring to the walking of the goat from the Beis Hamikdosh to a precipice.

7) The name of a mountain (Rabbi Saadioh Gaon) Again we have the problem of a proper noun having a definitive "pasach" preceding it.

8) A hard place, as in the word "izuz" (T'hilim 24:8) (Ramban)

9) Sharp, condemning sins go away. (Footnote in Toras Chaim Chumash)

10) The name of a prosecuting angel - Hashem sent him down to earth and he himself sinned. This sealed the mouth of this prosecuting angel. (Imrei Noam)

11) A name for the powers of evil (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

12) A name for the forces of nature (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch)


This question was sent by Rabbi Shlomo Eiger to his father Rabbi Akiva Eiger. In his responsa #172 Rabbi Akiva Eiger answers that this is indeed as if the man is having relations with the fetus. However, having relations with a girl who is under three years of age does not have the halachic status of physical relations. Although it is strictly forbidden by Rabbinical decree for one to have relations with any girl under the age of three years, even one's own wife, this is because it is considered that the man has wasted his seed, since it was not spent in an act of halachically recognized relations. However, when one is having relations with his own pregnant wife, he has not sinned with her daughter and has also not wasted his seed, hence it is totally permitted.


1) The Ramban on verses 26:5, Vayikra 18:25, and Dvorim 11:18, answers that the Ovos kept all the mitzvos in Eretz Yisroel, but not in chutz lo'oretz. Rabbeinu Dovid miBaalei Hatosfos answers the same.

2) The Ramban in the gemara Y'vomos 98a answers that they were considered non-Jews, and the Torah considers one's children as non-relatives, so the sisters were not considered siblings. The responsa of the Radba"z 2:696 answers the same. This rule is taken from a verse in Yechezkel 23:20.

3) The Ramban in Breishis 48:7 says that Yaakov promised to marry Rochel, and therefore had to keep his word. Similarly MVHRH"G Rabbi Y. Kamenecki zt"l explained that the fulfillment of the mitzvos of the Torah by the Ovos prior to the giving of the Torah, was in the category of a "midas chasidus," and not as an absolute requirement. If a moral issue stood in the way, their midas chasidus would not take precedence over hurting someone, as in our case, since Rochel would have been VERY hurt had she not ended up being married to Yaakov.

4) The Baalei Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim answer that they were only patriarchal sisters, and before mattan Torah there was only matriarchal lineage. They were therefore not considered sisters.

5) They also answer that Rochel and Leah converted and were considered like newly born people, not having a halachic sibling relationship (see Y'vomos 22a).

6) They also answer that Yaakov had already made kidushin, and therefore did not hesitate to complete the n'suin. The Maharsh"a in gemara Yoma 28b at the end of d.h. "mitzvos" says that the kidushin was the labour of seven years.

7) The Trumas Ha'deshen answers that the Ovos kept the Torah only as far as the basic reasoning behind the mitzvah dictated. In our case the Chinuch mitzvoh #206 says that the reason for the prohibition against marrying two sisters is that usually one's two wives compete for their husband's attention and are commonly at odds with each other. After the Torah was given, even if a prophet would advise that a certain pair of sisters could be married to one man and there would be no animosity between them, it would still be prohibited. However, for Yaakov this was permitted, as he knew that his two wives would not come to hate each other. The Nefesh Hachaim says the same in shaar 1, end of chapter 21.

8) The Rashb"a in his responsa 1:94 answers this question in a purposely unclear and esoteric manner. The Radba"z in his responsa 2:696 reluctantly explains the Rashb"a. He follows the lead of the Rashb"oh and is also cryptic. He says that marrying two sisters is like making use of the King's sceptre. This is obviously not allowed. Yaakov, however, had his likeness etched onto the holy throne of Hashem. He may therefore use the King's sceptre.



Years before the Holy Admor of Gur, the Imrei Emes, immigrated to Eretz Yisroel, he visited the Holy Land and among his stops was the famous Yeshivas Eitz Chaim. He noticed that the students were studying mishnayos Pei'oh. He raised this question. This question was actually asked much earlier by the Radba"z in his commentary on the Rambam hilchos matnas aniim 1:1.

An answer to this question can be found in the Ritv"o in his commentary on gemara Shvuos 2b d.h. "v'al hazokon." He says that a field need not have any specific shape. There might not be any corner at all if it is circular in shape. It might have many corners. Thus it is obvious that the intention of the Torah is that an edge be left over. The contour of the hair on everyone's head has two sideburns. Thus there are automatically two corners of hair on everyone's head. It is obvious that the intention of the Torah in this case is to prohibit cutting either corner.


The gemara A.Z. 3a says that the Holy One does not demand from His creations beyond their ability, "Ein haKodosh Boruch Hu bo bitrunia al briyosov." In general people can have cordial relationships with their fellow man. The Torah therefore requires that we love our fellow man. When it comes to familial relationships, although they are usually the strongest and warmest, sometimes there is strife that is worse than with an outsider, because of competition, inheritance, etc. The Torah therefore only commands us to not hate our brother. A judge can rule against you and this brings much anger, especially because people often truly feel they are in the right. Do not denigrate a judge. Even greater is the possible enmity towards a tribal leader, a spiritual head. On an ongoing basis he chides, scolds, and rebukes. Even though it is with true concern for his charges betterment, but it is only natural that they will sometimes harbour extreme ill will towards him. The Torah therefore only asks of us to not curse him. (Rabbi Moshe Shatzkes Lomzer Rov)



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

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