Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 21, v. 11: "Eishes y'fas to'ar" - Rashi comments that the allowance of the Torah to take a y'fas to'ar is because, "The Torah did NOT allow this, EXCEPT to combat the evil inclination." (See gemara K'dushin 21b.) Why does Rashi use a double negative, and not simply say, "The Torah allowed this to combat the evil inclination?"

2) 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?"

3) Ch. 23, v. 3: "Lo yovo mamzeir bikhal Hashem gam dor asiri" - The ruling is that a mamzeir may not marry into the group of bnei Yisroel called "k'hal Hashem" forever, and is not restricted for just ten generations. Similarly, a Moavi or Amoni male may not join in marriage to "k'hal Hashem" forever. Yet there (verse 4) the Torah says "ad olom." Why does the Torah only say ten generations by mamzeir, since the intention is also forever?

4) Ch. 23, v. 6: "V'lo ovoh Hashem Elokecho lishmo'a el Bilom va'yahafoch Hashem Elokecho l'cho es hakloloh livrochoh" - And Hashem your G-d did not lust to hearken to Bilom and Hashem your G-d reversed the curse to a blessing - If Hashem has not hearkened to Bilom and his curse was never uttered, why was it necessary to turn a non-existent curse into a blessing?

5) Ch. 25, v. 15,16: "Evven shleimoh, Ki so'avas Hashem Elokecho kol osei ei'leh kole osei o'vel" - What is the intention of the seemingly repetitive words "kol osei ei'leh kole osei o'vel?"



The grandfather of the GR"A of Vilna, Horav Moshe, answers that Rabbi Chiya in the gemara Y'vomos 63a says that even if one has a wife from whom he derives limited benefit, he should be satisfied with these two benefits: 1) She saves him from the evil inclination of being lured to other women, 2) She brings his children up in the path of the Torah. Since our Chachomim tell us that when one takes a y'fas to'ar as a wife, the child will be rebellious, ben sorer u'moreh, as Rashi says in this verse, at the end of d"h "v'lokachto," he will only have the benefit of being saved from the evil inclination, but not have the second benefit. Therefore the double negative is used, telling us that the Torah only allowed this to combat the evil inclination, but not to bring up their children in the path of the Torah, as we know that such union would produce a "ben sorer u'moreh."


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.


A reader (E.M.) sent in the following answer from the sefer Ahavas Torah by Rabbi Pinchos Horowitz to answer this question. The gemara Kidushin 75a says that a convert may marry a mamzeir, since he is not restricted to marry only from "k'hal Yisroel." However, after ten generations of descendants from this convert, no one further may marry a mamzeir since this family has become totally integrated into the bnei Yisroel, and the title of "descendant of a convert" has been forgotten. Although he should be allowed to marry a mamzeir, the Rabbis decreed that he may not do so, since it seems that a person who is not a descendant of a convert is marrying a mamzeir. We thus see that after 10 generations the stigma is forgotten. The gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin says that Hashem does not want people to intermarry with mamzeirim. Thus if a person is a known mamzeir, he will procreate, since his children will be known as mamzeirim and will thus not inadvertently marry into "k'hal Yisroel." However, if one is an unpublicized mamzeir, Hashem sees to it that he will not procreate, thus alleviating the problem of illegal marriage into "k'hal Yisroel." Thus it is not necessary to prohibit mamzeirim beyond the tenth generation, as at that point their stigma will be forgotten and Hashem will make sure that there will be no further generations. May this dvar Torah be a merit for the author of Ahavas Torah.


The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l answers that Rashi on the words "ora'recho orur umvorachecho boruch" (Breishis 27:29) points out that this is the opposite of the order we find in the words of Bilom, "m'vorachecho boruch v'ora'recho orur" (Bmidbar 24:9). Rashi explains that the true blessing of the righteous starts off with difficulty and ends with ease. Not so with the wicked. They begin with pursuing pleasure, but end up in dire straits. This is why Yitzchok's and Bilom's words were said in opposite order. The Y'fei Toar asks on Rashi that the words of Bilom were not really his own, but rather the words Hashem placed into his mouth. If so, why is the order that of the wicked?

The M.R. says that because Lovon gave Rivkoh a blessing before her departure with Eliezer to marry Yitzchok, she was not able to bear children for many years. This was so that no one should say that her children were the result of the blessing of a wicked person. It was only after many extreme entreaties by Yitzchok and Rivkoh that they were blessed with offspring. If so, why did Hashem allow Bilom to bless the bnei Yisroel? Would not their later successes be attributed to the blessing of the wicked Bilom? The answer is that it is exactly because of this concern that Hashem placed into Bilom's mouth a blessing that was expressed in the manner of the wicked, beginning with good and ending with bad. When everyone would note that the successes of the bnei Yisroel were only realized after going through difficulties, they would realize that the good did not come as a result of Bilom's blessings.

We can now understand our verse as saying: Not only did Hashem not allow Bilom to ch"v curse the bnei Yisroel, but even when he expressed a blessing, Hashem turned the words around, having Bilom say the blessing before the curse, "va'yahafoch Hashem Elokecho l'cho es hakloloh livrochoh," so that all the nations of the world should realize that the bnei Yisroel's successes stem from the blessings of Yitzchok, and not from Bilom.


The Minchas Chinuch #39 s.k. 5 asks on the Ba"ch in his Kuntreis Acharone who posits that it is prohibited, as per Shmos 20:20, "Lo saasun iti," not only to create a physical likeness of all 12 signs of the zodiac, but even to create any one of them alone, from the verse in Vayikra 19:36, "Moznei tzedek y'h'yeh l'cho." The zodiac sign for the month of Tishrei is a balance scale. We also see from our verse that one should have proper weights for his balance scale, clearly indicating that one may have a balance scale. These seem to clearly be a proof for the opinion of the Sha"ch Y.D. #141:30, that it is only prohibited to create a physical likeness of all 12 signs of the zodiac.

The Yalkut ha'Geirshuni answers that since doing commerce requires accurate weighing, there is no other way to do this, and to make a balance scale is an exception even according to the Ba"ch. However, this is only true if one uses the balance scale honestly, with proper weights. If he cheats by using false weights, not only does he commit the sin of stealing, "kole osei o'vel," but he also transgresses the sin of making forms of celestial bodies (Shmos 20:20) by making a balance scale, and this is "Ki so'avas Hashem Elokecho kol osei eileh." The Divrei Chanoch adds that this answer gives us an understanding into why we find in Mishlei 11:1, "Moznei mirmoh TO'AVAS Hashem v'evven shleimoh r'tzono." The term TO'EIVOH is used because that is the word our verse uses for using false weights on a balance scale. (Gan Ro'veh)

Perhaps this whole explanation is derailed if we say that the Torah's prohibition is only to CREATE one of these items, but there is no prohibition to own one. Indeed, this is the opinion of the Rambam. However, this answer is in place according to the Mahara"m of Rotenberg who says that one transgresses "Lo saasun iti" even by OWNING these forms.



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

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