Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 27, v. 16: "Orur makleh oviv v'imo" - The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the source for the word "makleh" comes from the term "kal," denigrate, belittle. He suggests that this is often the result of the son's assuming that his father is greatly concerned with his son's being punished by Hashem for his lackadaisical attitude towards his parents and therefore his father will forgive him, as per the gemara Kidushin 32a, that a father may forego the honour due him by his child. The Torah therefore places a curse upon the child. This explains why Rav would not allow his son to remove a splinter from Rav. Even though there was the possibility that in the process of removing the splinter his son might cause him to bleed, but if Rav were to forgive his son for causing the bleeding, his son has not sinned. However, this would still be an act of "makleh oviv," and would lower Rav's honour in the eyes of his son, bestowing upon his son an "orur."

We now understand the gemara Yerushalmi N'dorim 9:1. The Rabbis state that when a person comes to the court to find an "opening" for the annulment for his vow, the Rabbis may not ask him if he would have taken into consideration that attempting to fulfill the requirements of the vow would cause pain to his father. We fear that out of embarrassment he would say that had he thought of this he would have refrained, but in truth he would not have refrained. Rabbi Eliezer agrees when this person's father is no longer living. He might truly not have cared for his father's feelings and made the vow in spite of this. The reason he would tell the Rabbis that he would have refrained had he taken this into consideration is that he is embarrassed to say that he cares not for his father's honour. However, if his father is alive, Rabbi Eliezer posits that this is a legitimate "opening" to annul his vow. We do not assume that if his father is living that he would be as embarrassed. Even if he vowed and realized that this would cause his father anguish, he knows that his father would forgive him, and thus if he says that he did not take his father's feelings into consideration, and if he had done so he would have refrained, we believe him.

We now also understand why even Rabbi Eliezer agrees that an "opening" of "Would you have taken on this vow had you thought of the anguish it would cause your Rabbi?" is not to be used. Since he posits that even if one's Rabbi foregoes his due honour, it is not negated, as we see from the story related in the gemara Kidushin 32b, that Rabbi Eliezer would not accept a goblet containing a drink from his teacher Rabbon Gamli'eil, we fear that the disciple might lie to us out of embarrassment, as one's Rabbi's honour is not to be negated, and the Rabbi's foregoing his honour is not valid.


See also Sedrah Selections, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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