Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 17, v. 8: "Bein dom l'dom bein din l'din" - Rashi says between blood that is impure and blood that is pure, and between one who is meritorious and one who is culpable. Why has Rashi switched the order? By blood he mentions the negative first and by money matters he mentions the positive, meritorious, first.

2) Ch. 17, v. 11: "Lo sosur" - The gemara Shabbos 23a says that upon kindling the Chanukah lights we pronounce the blessing "Boruch ...... asher kidshonu b'mitzvosov V'TZIVONU l'hadlik ner Chanukah." The gemara asks, "Since this is a Rabbinical mitzvoh, how can we say V'TZIVONU, since Hashem has not commanded us to do the mitzvoh, but rather the Rabbis have done so?" The gemara answers that we may say V'TZIVONU since Hashem has commanded us in his Torah to follow the dictates of the Rabbis, as is stated in our verse, "lo sosur min hadovor asher yagidu l'cho."

The Rambam in hilchos brochos 11:3 says the same as this gemara, that even when fulfilling a Rabbinical mitzvoh we say V'TZIVONU, but brings the earlier words of our verse "asher yomru l'cho taa'seh." Why does he not bring the words "lo sosur" as the gemara does?

3) Ch. 18, v. 3: "Hazro'a v'halchoyayim v'ha'keivoh" - The arm and the cheeks and the rumen - Although many of the items given to a Kohein are listed at the end of parshas Korach, this was not mentioned there. Why?

4) Ch. 20, v. 10: "V'koroso ei'lehoh l'sholom" - And you should offer it peace - What are the terms of peace?

5) Ch. 21, v. 1: "Ki yimotzei" - Besides this unusual ritual providing some atonement for those who are morally held responsible for the death, what are the pragmatic reasons for going through this procedure?



The Holy Admor of Skulen z"l answers that since the verse is discussing "ki yipollei," when something is hidden, in doubt, then it follows that when there is a doubt, a sofek, in matters of purity, we mention the strict possibility first, because "sofek issur l'chumra," but regarding the second subject, which is money matters, we are lenient for the one who has possession because of the dictum "sofek m'mona l'kula," so the possibility of being meritorious is mentioned first.


MVRHRHG"R Yaakov Kamenecki answers that the Chayei Odom klal 15:24 says that the Rabbis have never instituted a blessing on restraint, on not transgressing a negative mitzvoh. Thus there would never be a blessing upon being commanded to NOT TURN AWAY FROM THE DICTATES of the Rabbis, "lo sosur." Rather, there is place for a blessing to COMPLY WITH the dictates of the Rabbis, "asher yomru l'cho taa'seh." Although the gemara quotes the words "lo sosur," we must say according to the Rambam that the intention of the gemara is really the words just before "lo sosur."

A few points regarding this explanation of the Rambam:

1) The words of the Chayei Odom are actually the opinion of the Rosh in his commentary on the first chapter of the gemara K'subos #13.

2) It seems that the Kesef Mishneh on the above-mentioned Rambam seems to say the answer of Rabbi Kamenecki and also explain how the gemara by saying "lo sosur" is not a contradiction to the Rambam. His words: "V'nokat Rabbeinu 'asher yomru l'cho assei' shehu mitzvas a'sei." This is the answer offered by Rabbi Kamenecki. The Kesef Mishneh adds, "V'hu v'fosuk atzmo" - the words the Rambam brings as a proof are in the same verse as 'lo sosur.'" This, as mentioned above, means that the intention of the gemara is really the words just before "lo sosur," which appear in the same verse.

3) The Avudrohom in the laws of blessings over mitzvos says that no blessing is instituted over a positive mitzvoh if it is in conjunction with a negative mitzvoh. An explanation of the gemara Shabbos 23a is sorely needed.

4) The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh chapter 3 says that there were people who would remove their tefillin shortly before the time that it is not permitted to wear them, i.e. on the eve of Shabbos or Yom Tov, and make the blessing "asher kidshonu ...... lishmor chu'kecho," referring to the verse in the Torah of "v'SHOMARTO es hachukoh hazose l'mo'adoh mi'yomim yomimoh" (Shmos 13:10). According to the opinion that the word form SHOMOR, even when used in conjunction with a positive mitzvoh (in this case to wear tefillin) is considered a negative precept, then we do find a blessing on a negative command.


1) In parshas Korach the people of the previous generation were still alive. They would never enter Eretz Yisroel and the only meat they ate in the desert was "shlomim" sacrifices. Sacrificial animals are exempt from this mitzvoh. We are now addressing the new generation that would enter Eretz Yisroel and would eat secular "chulin" meat, which requires this separation for the Kohein. (Ramban)

2) This was a reward for Kohanim as a result of Pinchos taking action against Zimri and Kozbi, which involved these three body parts (M.R.). This had not yet taken place.


1) The Rambam hilchos m'lochim 6:4 says that they must accept the 7 Noachide precepts, be subordinate to the bnei Yisroel's king, and pay taxes.

2) Rashi says that they do not have to accept the 7 Noachide precepts, but must be subordinate and pay taxes.


1) The Chinuch explains that the procedure of "egloh arufoh" is done to locate and judge the murderer. By virtue of going through this unusual procedure which involves the highest Rabbinical court in the land, the news of the murder spreads, and possibly this will trigger the memory of the witnesses and they hopefully would come forward to testify against the murderer. Thus justice would be served.

2) Rabbi Yosef Bchor Shor Baal Tosfos gives a different reason. By going through this procedure the news spreads and the wife of the murdered man would become aware of his death and not be caught in the horrible position of being an "agunoh," a woman who can never remarry because we are not sure that her husband is dead. This is specifically done when a man is found murdered between cities. It is quite possible that he is a traveler from far away. Extra effort is therefore put in to spread the report of his death.

3) Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that after this procedure is done a column of worms marches from the "egloh arufoh" to the murderer.

I don't know what the outcome of such a happening would be, as the "march of worms" is not halachically viable testimony by acceptable witnesses. Possibly by identifying the murderer in this miraculous manner, further investigation would be done, and eyewitnesses might be found.

Perhaps something else would be accomplished even if this will not lead to prosecuting the murderer. The word "KA'PEIR" in the expression "Ka'peir l'amcho Yisroel" (21:8) is translated by the Riv"a as DISCLOSE to your nation Yisroel, rather then the common translation "forgive your nation Yisroel. The elders pray that after properly completing the "egloh arufoh" procedure they will merit to find out who the murderer is. We fear that a blood-avenger (go'eil hadam) will kill numerous people whom he suspects might have been the murderer. The elders therefore pray, "DISCLOSE to your nation Yisroel who the murderer is." Then the blood-avenger will not kill innocent people. Perhaps this is accomplished by the sign of the worms marching to the true murderer. Although halachically this is not binding proof, nevertheless, it stops needless killings.



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

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