Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 10: "U'n'sono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho" - The Torah allows one to take for a wife a woman of goodly appearance, a "y'fas to'ar," who was captured during a war. Why does the Torah state "Hashem will give your enemy into your hand" as a condition for permitting taking a "y'fas to'ar" as a wife? What bearing does "Hashem will give your enemy into your hand" have on the permissibility to marry a "y'fas to'ar?" The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that it is common during a war to have each side capture people from the enemy. After the war ends there is often a negotiated exchange of prisoners of war. If one were to take a "y'fas to'ar" as a wife and thus she would not return to her people after the war ends, there is a fear that Jewish prisoners would also not be allowed to return. Therefore a "y'fas to'ar" is only permitted when "u'n'sono Hashem Elokecho b'yo'decho," when Hashem has given over your enemy into your hand and you have complete control of the enemy, without his having any Jewish captives. Then, and only then, may you take a "y'fas to'ar."

Ch. 21, v. 21: "U'r'gomuhu" - The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that if the rebellious son repents he is not put to death. He says this with no restrictions, seemingly indicating that this is true even after the court has pronounced the death penalty. Rashi's opinion is that until he is brought to court the second time, his repenting absolves him of being liable for the death penalty. The Rambam in hilchos mamrim 7:8 says that he is not put to death if he repents before the death penalty is pronounced by the court. This seems to be the opinion of the gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 8:6. Perhaps an indication for the opinion of the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel can be found in the words "v'lo YISHMA a'lei'hem" of verse 18. Although this verse discusses the first visit to the court, nevertheless we might be able to derive from the future tense used in this phrase, v'lo YISHMA," that we only carry out the prescribed punishments when we are convinced that he WILL NOT IN THE FUTURE listen to his parents. If at any point there is an indication that he will change his negative ways, we do not punish him.

The Tosefta N'go'im 6:2 says that the laws of ben soreir u'moreh do not apply to one who lives in Yerusholayim. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that since tithings of produce including wine and first-born cattle, "b'choros," are brought to Yerusholayim, and are thus found there in great abundance, it is not conclusive that a youth who is drawn to wine and meat will be drawn down the road of gluttony and destruction. The Beis Yisroel on our parsha 5709 says that we do not fear that the youth will go down the road of gluttony and destruction since he is exposed to people eating with sanctity, as they eat kodoshim kalim, maa'ser sheni, etc., in Yerusholayim. The consumption of such items brings to sanctity, as is stated, "V'ochalto lifnei Hashem Elokecho bamokome asher yivchar ...... l'maan tilmad l'yiroh es Hashem Elokecho." Thus, eating in general is elevated to a higher plane in Yerusholayim. When the Beis Yisroel told this explanation to the Chazon Ish, he derived great pleasure from it. A textual source for the Tosefta might be from verses 19, 20, and 21. The terms "ziknei irO, shaar m'komO," and "anshei irO" are used. We know that Yerusholayim was not given to any specific tribe, but rather shared by all (gemara Yoma 12a and Megiloh 26a). Thus it is inappropriate to say "the elders of HIS city, the gate of HIS place, the people of HIS city." Obviously, the verse is not discussing Yerusholayim. See Ovos d'Rebbi Noson chapter #35 for other peculiarities in the rulings of ben soreir u'moreh.

Ch. 22, v. 4: "Chamore ochicho" - Rabbeinu Bachyei points out that in parshas Mishpotim we find "shor oyivcho o chamoro" (Shmos 23:5), or the donkey of your enemy. He explains that after one has shown kindness to his enemy, he gains an affinity for his fellow ben Yisroel, even an enemy, and his enemy becomes his friend.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the gemara P'sochim 113b says that the enemy referred to by the Torah can only mean a person who has sinned and not repented, as only such a person is it permitted to hate. Thus in parshas Mishpotim, before the sin of the golden calf it was common to find a person who was untainted with sin. Our parsha, which was after the sin of the golden calf, refers to all as friends, as even if you come upon someone who has sinned. You yourself are also not blemish free, and thus have no right to hold your fellow ben Yisroel in contempt.

Ch. 22, v. 17: "V'hinei hu som alilose dvorim" - Earlier in this episode in verse 14 it says, "V'som LOH alilose dvorim." In our verse the word LOH is not mentioned. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that in verse 14 the Torah relates that a husband falsely claims that his wife had committed an infidelity. There is no indication that the husband's claim has affected his father-in-law's reputation. Therefore the word LOH is used, indicating that his claim only damages his wife's reputation. In our verse we have the father appearing in court defending his daughter. He claims that not only has his daughter's reputation been falsely tarnished, but also his own, as the father of a woman who could commit such a grievous sin, as we find in Vayikroh 21:9, "es ovihoh hi m'cha'leles." Indeed this is the reason that the guilty husband receives a two-fold punishment, lashes and a fine of 100 kesef (v. 18,19). The lashes are a punishment for the shame he caused his wife, and the payment is to his father-in-law for the shame he was caused to suffer. This explains why there is a double punishment for one act even according to the opinion that when one act brings two punishments, lashes and monetary payment, the payment is waived by virtue of the rule "kom lei bidrabo mi'nei" (gemara K'subos 32b, 33b), only the harsher punishment is administered. However, since the lashes are a retribution for his slandering his wife and the payment is for his indirectly slandering his father-in-law, the rule of "malkus l'ze umomone l'ze" allows for both punishments to be administered.

This last point of the MESHECH CHOCHMOH seems to be dependent upon the opinions mentioned in 22:19, the following offering.

Ch. 22, v. 19: "V'onshu oso mei'oh kesef v'nosnu la'avi hanaaroh" - The words "v'nosnu la'avi hanaaroh" seem to clearly indicate that the father is the recipient of the 100 kesef fine. The Baalei Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim mention in the name of Rabbi Hai Gaon:

1) That the father does not keep the money for himself, as his daughter is already fully married, "n'suoh," but rather is only a safekeeper of the money, which actually belongs to his maligned daughter.

This opinion does not fit with the last point made by the MESHECH CHOCHMOH in the previous offering, as mentioned above.

2) That the father does actually keep the money as a reward for coming to court and taking up his daughter's case.

3) That the father actually does keep the money since he was also maligned, albeit indirectly. This last explanation is fully in line with the above-mentioned MESHECH CHOCHMOH.


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