Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 18, v. 28: "V'lo soki ho'oretz es'chem b'tamaachem osoh kaa'sher ko'oh es hagoy" - The verse seems to contradict itself by saying that you will NOT be expelled when you DO contaminate the land.

A number of interpretations:

You will not be treated as the heathen nations who have occupied this land before you and have been ejected, but rather:

1) Not only will you be expelled, but you will also suffer the punishment of excision, "ko'reis," as stated in verse 29, "v'nich'r'su hanfoshos ho'osos. (Rabbi Moshe of Kutzi)

2) If you fulfill the words of verse 26, "ushmartem .. v'lo saasu," then you will be saved from punishment. Translate "V'lo" as LEST. (Rabbeinu Elyokim)

3) You will also be expelled, but in a manner which will be more severe than the expulsion of the heathen nations. (Rivo)

4) They have only been expelled, but did not suffer the punishment of "ko'reis." You, however, will not be expelled, but will be punished with "ko'reis." (Baalei Hatosfos)

The Toras Kohanim 20:123 (mentioned in Rashi) compares sinning in E.Y. to a prince who had a sensitive digestive system, as he was used to only the finest of foods and delicacies. Any coarse alimentation would upset his system. Similarly, E.Y. is very sensitive to sins. Those who sin would be expelled. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says in the name of his father that according to the above parable, if the prince continued to eat coarse food he would eventually grow accustomed to it and would successfully digest it. Likewise, if E.Y. would ch"v be subject to continuous sinning, it would also become desensitized.

This can be the meaning of our verse. The land will NOT vomit you even though you defile it, as it has expelled the previous occupants of the land. At that time the land was still sensitive. However, it has unfortunately become accustomed to the sins, and instead your punishment will be excision, as per verse 29, "v'nich'r'su hanfoshos." I believe that this interpretation fits in best with the 4th explanation offered above by the earlier commentators.


Ch. 20, v. 12: "V'ish asher yishkav es kaloso mose yumsu shnei'hem tevel ossu" - At first thought one would assume that the sin of having relations with one's own daughter, his own flesh and blood, is more severe than having relations with his daughter-in-law, who is only related to him through his son's acquiring her as his wife. Yet the punishment for relations with one's own daughter is "sreifoh," a less severe punishment than having relations with his daughter-in-law, where the punishment is "skiloh" (according to the first opinion in the mishneh Sanhedrin 49b that "skiloh" is stricter than "sreifoh," which is the halacha, as per the Rambam hilchos Sanhedrin 14:1).

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that this question is predicated on the assumption that the reason for the prohibition by both one's daughter and daughter-in-law is because of closeness of the relationship. However, our verse says that the sin of having relations with one's daughter-in-law is called TEVEL. This word means a mixture, as we find "t'valul b'eino" (Vayikroh 21:20), a flaw of the eye where the dark iris colouring is mixed with the white colouring surrounding it. The prohibition to have relations with one's daughter-in-law is because the father and son both mix their seed in one person. Therefore it is a more severe sin than having relations with one's own daughter, and is deserving of a stricter punishment.

See the Ibn Ezra on Vayikroh 21:20 who writes that "t'valul" means "destruction," and if it is the same word source as TEVEL, then TEVEL means the same. He adds that TEVEL could mean "mixture," but the word source is not TEVEL, but rather, BoLoL, as in "bluloh vashemen" (Vayikroh 2:5).


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