Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 21, v. 13: "Yerach yomim" - Why isn't the more common term for month, "chodesh," used here?

2) Ch. 21, v. 18: "Ben sorer u'moreh" - The mishnoh Sanhedrin 71a says that in reality the case of the rebellious son has never happened and will never take place. Numerous explanations have been given. What can you offer?

3) Ch. 21, v.18: "Ben sorer u'moreh" - Rashi says he is judged because of what he will do in the future. The gemara Sanhedrin 72a explains that once he gets hooked on this bad habit, he will steal to fund it. Eventually during a theft he will even kill. He is judged now because of that which will surely happen. If he's being judged because it is obvious he will commit murder, should he not get the death penalty of decapitation, sy'if - which is the punishment for an actual murder, rather than the stricter punishment of stoning, s'kiloh? Numerous answers have been given. Once again, what can you offer?

4) Ch. 21, v. 19: "V'sofsu vo oviv v'imo v'hotziu oso el ziknei irO v'el shaar m'komo" - Why does the Torah express the parents' bringing their rebellious son to the court as "and they shall grab onto him" and take him? As well, why is it necessary to bring their son specifically to the elders of HIS city and to the gate of HIS place?

5) Ch. 22, v. 10: "Lo sacharosh b'shor u'vachamor yachdov" - What moral lesson can we derive from this prohibition?



The Chid"o in his commentary to T'hilim ch. 141 explains this. He points out that in the date of the k'subo contract, the word chodesh is used, and in the divorce writ, "get," the word used for month is "yerach." He answers that the default term for month should be chodesh, but in a divorce writ the word yerach is used to follow the terminology of the verse in Dvorim 33:14 "geresh y'rochim." The "get" is a "gerushin", a permanent sending away, of one's wife. Since our Chachomim tell us that if one marries a y'fas to'ar he will ultimately end up hating her (Rashi 21:14), the term yerach is used, to indicate the probability of a divorce occurring.


One of the prerequisites for carrying through the rulings of ben sorer u'moreh is that the voices of his parents are as one, similar. This is derived from the word "b'koleinu" in verse 20 (see Sanhedrin 71a).The Ba"ch says that if the voice of the mother is the same as the father's, since they are both male voices, the woman cannot give birth, as she has the nature of a male. The gemara Y'vomos 80b says a women with a male voice is an "eilinis." If the father has a female voice, then he cannot sire a child as he is a "soris." Therefore, it is impossible for ben sorer to take place.

Staying with the reason that it can never happen being a result of the ruling of the parents' voices being equal, can be explained from a different angle. Their voices being equal can mean that there is no discord, only unison and harmony between the parents. In a home having that sort of atmosphere, a rebellious son cannot develop.


The Kli Chemdoh answers that he will kill on Shabbos as well as on a weekday and chilul Shabbos is punished with s'kiloh. The Mahari"l Diskin answers that since he is rebellious, he will totally throw off the yoke of Torah and will surely commit sins that deserve even the strictest punishment, s'kiloh. The reason that the Talmud cites that he is judged for MURDER specifically, is an explanation of why we kill him now before he even sinned, out of consideration of saving the life of an innocent person. I have a slight difficulty in understanding this as the mishnoh in Sanhedrin 71b states, "Let him die while he is righteous and not when he is blemished with sin." It seems to indicate that we kill him so he should die with a clean slate and not to save the life of another person.

A question is raised regarding the ben sorer's being judged for future actions. We find that when Yishmoel was near death in the desert, HaShem had mercy upon him and saved him, although the angels said that his descendants would bring about the death of numerous bnei Yisroel through thirst. HaShem responded that Yishmoel is to be judged according to the present situation (Ba'asher hu shom). Why do we treat the ben sorer differently and punish him now for something that would happen later? A simple answer is that Yishmoel had so far not sinned at all and the ben sorer had already begun stealing. Another answer might be that we differentiate between one's own misdeeds and those of one's descendants.


The Holy Admor of Skulen zt"l answers that the Torah teaches us that the parents should not feel that the acts of their son are an aberration, and that they are not to be held responsible. To the contrary! The Torah says that they grab onto their son, "v'sofsu," meaning that they are "nitfosim," held responsible, for his behaviour. This is why they must bring him specifically to the elders of his city and to the gate of his place, i.e. in their hometown, so that they will suffer more disgrace than if they would have brought him to the judges of a city in which they would be complete strangers. These requirements show the parents that they are at fault.


The Chinuch, Baalei Tosfos, and others write that if one were to harness an ox and a donkey together and plow with them, when the ox will ruminate, chew its cud, the donkey will see this and think that the ox was just fed, while he is going hungry. To avoid causing pain to the donkey the Torah does not allow us to work them together under one yoke. It is most interesting to note that the Moshav Z'keinim, when giving this answer, says that the donkey will feel pain and SHAME, "elbone." This shows that even a donkey has deeper emotional feelings than one might otherwise believe.



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

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