Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues
NEVER SAY CAN'T|
Under certain circumstances, the Torah permits the Jewish soldier to marry a gentile captive woman that he felt strongly attracted to during battle. She must first complete a month-long waiting period.
Rashi states that the reason for the Torah permitting this is because of the soldier’s Evil Inclination. G-d knew that the temptation presented by a beautiful captive would be too great for a battle-weary soldier. G-d therefore provided a permissible manner to marry the captive - rather than subject the soldier to sin as a result of the stress and passions of battle.
>From the fact that the Torah allowed leniency in this unique situation, where temptation is too great for a person to bear, it can be deduced that G-d never demands too much of a person. If one is faced by temptation, this means that G-d has determined that this person has the power to withstand the test - if he really wants to.
-(Rabbi Yecheskel Abramsky - P'ninim MiShulchan Govoha)
TORAH - ITS OWN REWARD The Torah discusses the laws of the Ben Sorer U'Moreh - a wayward and rebellious youth. Under very specific circumstances, such a youth must be executed in order to save him from causing himself and society further harm.
Our Sages state that the guidelines for a youth to become a Ben Sorer U'Moreh are so narrow, they preclude the possibility of a person ever becoming one.
The only reason that the Torah discusses the issue of the Ben Sorer U'Moreh is so that we can gain the reward for Torah study by learning it. This statement seems puzzling. The Torah is so vast and deep, that even without this portion its study would more than occupy one's entire lifetime.
The answer is that the concept of "learning about Ben Sorer U'Moreh to earn reward thereby" does not only refer to the volume of Torah added by the inclusion of Ben Sorer U'Moreh. The fact that the Torah included a set of laws that have no practical applications demonstrates a vital principle. That is, studying Torah is not only for one to know how to keep the commandments of G-d. Learning Torah is in itself the loftiest pursuit of all, for when one studies Torah, he connects himself to the Word of G-d, the highest means of connecting oneself to Him. The Torah's primary purpose is to serve as a vehicle towards holiness.
This is the meaning of the statement that the portion of Ben Sorer U'Moreh was included in the Torah so that one may earn reward by studying it. One who absorbs the lesson of this "extra" portion and studies Torah for its own intrinsic value will thereby gain the greatest reward for Torah study.
-(Rav Yisroel Salanter - P'ninim, MiShulchan Govoha)