Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 5, v. 6: "Ish o ishoh ki yaasu" - A man or a woman when they will do - Since the verse says "o," or, shouldn't the verse have followed through with the singular "yaa'seh"?

2) Ch. 5, v. 8: "V'im ein lo'ish go'eil l'hoshiv ho'oshom eilov" - Rashi says, "When the thief who swore falsely relents and admits that he has sinned." What is Rashi pointing out that is not apparent in the verse itself?

3) Ch. 5, v. 15: "V'heivi es ishto el haKohein" - And he shall bring his wife to the Kohein - Rashi (gemara Brochos 63a) in verse 12 writes that the parsha of the suspect wife is placed after the parsha of giving the Kohanim their due tithing to teach us that if a person retains that which is due the Kohein, he will end up coming to the Kohein against his will, with his wayward wife in tow. What is the connection?

4) Ch. 5, v. 31: "V'nikoh ho'ish mei'ovone" - And the man shall be cleansed of sin - It is only the woman who is under suspicion, so of what sin is her husband cleansed?

5) Ch. 7, v. 48,54: "Ba'yom hashvii nosi livnei Efroyim, Ba'yom hashmini nosi livnei Menasheh" - On the seventh day the tribal head for Efrayim, On the eighth day the tribal head for Menasheh -The medrash relates that Hashem told Yoseif, "You did not commit adultery. I swear that in this merit your sons Efrayim and Menasheh will bring offerings one after the other." What is the connection?



This teaches us how far reaching theft can be. Possibly, the victim will be left destitute and in turn he will turn to theft or lying to bring in some desperately needed income. Thus the thief's sin becomes a multiple sin. (Ohel Yaakov)


Rabbi Moshe Berdugo in "Rosh Mashbir" explains that we might have thought that the ruling of this verse that the stolen object goes to the Kohein applies to any case where a person steals from a convert who has no heirs, and the thief wants to make amends and return the stolen object, but since the convert is no longer alive it goes to the Kohein. However, this is not so. In such a case the thief may keep it, as is the ruling when a convert who leaves no heirs dies, whoever gets possession of his property first owns it. Rashi tells us that the ruling of giving the object to the Kohein applies only when the thief has sworn falsely when the convert was still alive and upon relenting and wanting to return it, finds that the convert has died and has left no one to inherit him. (Chomas Anoch - Chid"o)


The Chasam Sofer explains this in a most marvelous manner. The gemara offers two manners (among others) through which a person can become wealthy. One is to properly tithe, "A'seir bishvil shetisasheir" (gemara Shabbos 119a), and the second is to bestow great honour upon one's wife (gemara B.M. 59a). A person might be motivated to tithe for improper reasons, only so that he will become wealthy. If so, he might calculate that he is better off spending the value of the tithing on enhancing his wife's wardrobe, i.e. giving her honour in this manner. However, his wife's being extravagantly dressed can readily bring her into the focus of a wayward man, and the parsha of "sotoh" could ensue.


1) The gemara Sotoh says that if the man had been unfaithful to his wife the "sotoh" waters would not be affective even if she sinned.

2) Rashbam explains that had he kept quiet after his wife went into seclusion with the person he warned his wife about, he would have the sin of her being prohibited to him. By bringing her to the Kohein for the "sotoh" clarification procedure, either she will die for her sin, or she will be shown to be innocent and again be permitted to him.

3) Perhaps leaving her in a prohibited state is a sin by virtue of tempting himself, or because he has a way of making her permitted, and by abstaining he is considered a sinner, similar to a person who becomes a "nozir," who is considered a sinner for just prohibiting himself to drink wine for a mere 30 days. (n.l.)

4) Sforno offers that he is cleansed of the sin of "chosheid bich'sheirim," of suspecting an otherwise guiltless person, of sinning. Because of her wayward action this rule does not apply. She has acted quite improperly, to the point that he is right to suspect her.


This medrash can be understood as follows: In Sh.O. O.Ch. 141:6 it says that two brothers should not be given "aliyos" to the Torah consecutively because of the fear of an "ayin hora." The gemara Brochos 20a says that Yoseif brought merit to his descendants that an "ayin hora" would have no negative affect upon them because he did not satiate his eyes through sinning with the wife of Poti Fera. The gemara gives an illustration of this from Rabbi Yochonon, who did something that would normally evoke an "ayin hora," but he said that not concerned because he was a descendant of Yoseif.

We can now understand the medrash quite clearly. Because Yoseif did not commit adultery with Poti Fera's wife, his descendants would not be affected by an "ayin hora." Therefore they could bring offerings on consecutive days and not fear an "ayin hora," as one normally would if two brothers would have consecutive "aliose." (Rabbi Chaim Palag'i in T'nufoh Chaim)



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

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