Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imO v'oviV tiro'U" - Why does the verse begin in the singular form "Ish imO v'oviV" and continue in the plural form "tiro'U?"

2) Ch. 19, v. 9: "Uvkutz'r'chem es k'tzir artz'chem lo s'cha'leh p'as sodcho" - And when you cut the harvest of your land do not complete your harvest by cutting the corner of your field - The verse begins in the plural form, "Uv'kutz'r'CHEM es k'tzir artz'CHEM" but changes to the singular form, "lo s'cha'LEH p'as sodCHO." Why the change?

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 between these two statements?

4) Ch. 19, v. 18: "V'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" -And you shall love your friend as yourself - The Torah in Dvorim 13:9 says regarding one who attempts to seduce his fellow man into believing in a false god, "lo soveh LO v'lo sishma EILOV," - do not accede nor hearken to him. Rashi explains that "lo soveh lo" tells us that although we are commanded to love our fellowman (our verse), nevertheless, when it comes to one who attempts to talk you into believing in false gods, you should not love him. Rashi continues to say that "v'lo sishma eilov" teaches us that although we are commanded to help our fellowman with unloading his donkey that is staggering under its load, "ozove taazove imo" (Shmos 23:5), nevertheless this person should not be helped.

There are numerous mitzvos that require us to be kind and helpful to our fellowman. How do we know that these words of the verse come to exclude specifically these two mitzvos? Secondly, once we have an answer for this question, how do we know to attribute the exclusion of the earlier words to the mitzvoh of loving our fellow man, and the second group of words to exclude helping him unload his beast of burden, and not to reverse the exclusions?

5) Ch. 20, v. 10: "V'ish asher yinaf es eishes ish asher yinaf es eishes rei'ei'hu" - And a man who will commit adultery with a wife of a man who will commit adultery with his friend's wife - This seems like double talk.



The ShaLo"H answers that although this mitzvoh is incumbent upon each child (singular), the parents are also held responsible to behave in a manner that does not put such a burden upon the child that he would be strongly tempted to not fulfill the mitzvoh. Hence they become partners in the fulfillment of the mitzvoh and the Torah expresses this in the plural form "tiro'U."

In a similar vein the words in the Ten Commandments "Ka'beid es ovicho v'es i'mecho" (Shmos 20:12, Dvorim 5:16), have been interpreted as, "Honour your fatherhood and motherhood," meaning that the parents should behave in a befitting manner that readily elicits honour from their children.


The Holy Alshich explains that the Torah is addressing the owner of a field who might be very reluctant to share his hard-earned produce with a poor man who doesn't own the field and put in no agricultural effort into growing and producing the bounty. The Torah tells the person who worked the field that the effort expended in producing food is yours (plural), "uv'kutz'r'CHEM," and the field is yours (again plural), "artz'CHEM," both the actual owner and the poor man. Therefore you (single), the owner, should not harvest all the produce, "lo s'cha'leh," to keep it all for yourself.


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 Yoma 4b explains the difference between the word LO - "to him," and EILOV, which also means "to him." LO means to him, but does not necessarily indicate that this is to the exclusion of others. If a verse says "va'yomer LO," this means "And he said to him." The intention of the speaker is to direct his words to a specific person, but there is no indication that there is no one else who could hear the words. Possibly there are many people present whom the speaker does not mind hearing the spoken words, just that his intention is to direct his words to one specific person, to make sure that he hears them.

When the word EILOV is used it connotes TO HIM to the exclusion of anyone else. Thus when the verse says "Va'y'da'beir EILOV" (Bmidbar 7:89), the intention is that Hashem spoke to Moshe and no one else heard the words - to him and only him (Rashi on that verse).

We now have an answer for the questions posed above. The gemara P'sochim 113b says that it is appropriate to externally exhibit an attitude of dislike for any intentional sinner. The mitzvoh of "v'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" is waived for such a person. This is not limited to any specific sin. When the verse says "lo soveh LO," this is to be understood as, "do not accede to him," but by virtue of the use of the word LO, it means not only to him, as the same is true of any other intentional transgressor of any sin. This rule applies only to the mitzvoh of loving your fellow man, as explained by the gemara P'sochim mentioned above. Thus we know that specifically "v'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" is being waived.

When the verse says, "v'lo sishma EILOV," we understand that the mitzvoh that is being waived is specifically in regard to this particular sinner and not towards one who transgressed a different sin. This must refer to "ozove taazove," and no other mitzvoh, as the gemara says that "ozove taazove" must be done even for one whom you hate, and as interpreted by the gemara P'sochim 113b, the reason you hate him can only be because of his transgressing the law of the Torah. Thus any sinner, except for a seducer to believe in false gods, should be helped to unload his animal, but not this particular sinner, EILOV, but not another. (Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Nishmas Chaim)

While on the subject of the difference between LO and EILOV, see the explanation of the Ra"n on this gemara in his "droshos" after the 12th and final "drush."


One might feel that the sin of infidelity is mainly targeted at misusing another's wife, as she is set aside only for him. If however, one knows that a certain married person commits adultery with another's wife, he might believe that this lack of fidelity on this person's part shows that he has no respect for this hallowed concept, and in turn does not deserve fidelity of his own wife. Therefore the Torah says that even if one commits adultery with the wife of a man who commits adultery with his friend's wife, nevertheless, even this is full-fledged adultery and they both deserve the death penalty. (Taam Vodaas)



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

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