Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 17, v. 13: "Chayoh o ofe asher yei'ocheil v'shofach es domo v'chisohu be'ofor" - An undomesticated animal or a bird that may be eaten and he spilled its blood and he shall cover it with earth - Why does this law apply only to "chayoh" and "ofe," but not to "b'heimoh," a domesticated animal?

2) Ch. 18, v. 18: "V'ishoh el achosoh lo sikoch" - And a woman to her sister shall you not take - Why doesn't the verse straightforwardly state, "V'achos ish't'cho lo sikach," - and the sister of your wife you shall not take?

3) Ch. 19, v. 10: "Le'oni v'la'geir taazove osom" - For the poor man and the convert shall you leave them - The next verse begins with "Lo signovu." What is the connection?

4) 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?

5) Ch. 19, v. 17: "Ho'chei'ach tochiach es ami'secho" - You shall surely rebuke your friend - What is the intention of the double expression?



The Rokei'ach in #319 says that this is based on a medrash that says that when Eliezer returned with Rivkoh to his master Yitzchok, he said that if Yitzchok finds that she has no virginal blood it is not because Eliezer violated her. It is because during their return she fell off the camel and her virginity was broken. They retraced a bit of their steps and found where this happened. The blood was protected by undomesticated animals and birds. The Rokei'ach says that because domesticated animals did not come to take part in the protection of the blood, they do not merit having this mitzvoh done with their blood. (Chid"o in Chomas Anoch)


The gemara P'sochim 119b relates that in the future the righteous personalities of the Torah will partake of a meal. At the end of the meal Yaakov will be asked to lead the grace after meals. He will decline, saying, "I do not deserve to lead the bentching because I have married two sisters, something that the Torah would in the future prohibit to ME. This is quite puzzling. The prohibition is not "to ME." It is a universal prohibition.

We can say that the Torah should have said "v'achos ish't'cho lo sikach," but changed it to "v'ishoh el achosoh lo sikoch" to allude to Yaakov specifically. He intended to marry Rochel and not Leah. Once he was aware of the exchange he knowingly married Rochel afterwards. This is "v'ishoh," Rochel the "akeres habayis," the one Yaakov intended should be his wife, "el achosoh," in addition to her sister Leah. (Chanukas haTorah)


The connection is readily understood. People are drawn to thievery when they are totally destitute, and act out of utter desperation. If however, you leave over some of the produce of your field for the under-privileged, you can help avoid someone's being pushed into thievery. (Mahar"i Karo in Itu'rei Torah)


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)


Talmi'dei Baal Shem Tov relate from their master that when a person sees another sin it is not by chance. It is a sign from heaven that he has been lax in a similar vein. When you see your friend doing something wrong, first there should be self rebuking, "ho'chei'ach," and then rebuking of your friend, "tochiach." Do not think that only he has done something wrong. "V'lo siso olov cheit," do not attribute the sin only to him. (Toras Bnei Yisos'chor)



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

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