Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 13, v. 6: "V'hanovi hahu ...... yumos" - The gemara Sanhedrin 89b gives us two opinions as to the type of death penalty administered to the false prophet who attempts to persuade someone into serving a false god, either by stoning or by strangulation. It is therefore most puzzling that we find Eliyohu killing the false prophets of Baal by sword (M'lochim 1:18:40 and 1:19:2). The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers this difficulty by saying that we must assume that Eliyohu acted in the name of King Achov. The Rambam states in hilchos m'lochim 3:8 that all death penalties decreed by a king must be carried out through decapitation by sword. With this we can understand M'lochim 1:19:1 which states that Achov told his wife I'zevel what Eliyohu had done to the false prophets of Baal, that he had killed them by the sword. In 1:19:2 she responded by sending a messenger to Eliyohu advising him that she intended to have him be a victim of the same fate as the false prophets. When she heard from Achov that the death penalty was by the sword, she understood that Eliyohu acted in a manner of carrying out the king's decree. Since she had taken for herself a most prominent role in running the country, she was slighted that Eliyohu carried out a capital punishment without consulting with her first.

Ch. 13, v. 12: "V'chol Yisroel yishmu v'yiro'uN" - By all other places that this phrase is used it says "v'yiro'u" without the added letter Nun. Perhaps we can explain this based on the words of the MESHECH CHOCHMOH on "V'lo yoduN avosecho" (Dvorim 8:3). The gemara Kidushin 38a says that there was the taste of manna in the matzos that our ancestors took with them from Egypt. If so, why does this verse say that the manna was not known by the parents of the people Moshe was addressing? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers by pointing out that there is a letter Nun at the end of "yoduN" which does not usually appear at the end of this word. He says that grammarians explain that an extra letter Nun at the end of a verb indicates a diminutive of that word. Thus the verse is saying that those who ate the manna and even the previous generation that left Egypt had at least a limited knowledge of the manna, but "avo'secho," the generations before those who left Egypt did not have even this limited exposure to manna.

Possibly, by the case of the teacher of heresy, since the Torah has already stated five expressions of animosity towards him (Dvorim 13:9), some particularly aimed at harshness during his being judged, all learn the lesson of fearing to follow his path. Thus, publicizing the sin that brings to his death penalty only adds a limited amount of fear, "yiro'uN," in the populace.

Ch. 16, v. 11: "Asher b'kirbecho" - You should gladden the heart of the orphan, widow and convert IN YOUR MIDST. This refers to the Yom Tov of Shovuos. In v. 14 of this chapter, which discusses the Yom Tov of Succos, the same idea is expressed, but the verse ends with the word, "bish'o'recho," WHO ARE IN YOUR GATE. Why the change? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that in the first verse, referring to Shovuos, the orphan, widow and convert are not in their homes, but are out in the fields, collecting Lekket, Shikchoh and Pei'oh, hence, the term "in your midst." During the Yom Tov of Sukkos, however, when everything has already been collected, the above mentioned people are no longer out in the fields, but rather are also at home within the GATES of the city.


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

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