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Parshas Ki Seitzei (Ki Tetzei)

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Parshas Ki Seitzei (Ki Tetzei)
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Both Parents With The Same Voice, Appearance and Height??

The braisa in Sanhedrin 71a says that there never was and never will be a Ben Sorer U'Moreh because in order for this wild child to be put to death his parents need to be similar in voice, appearance, and height which simply can't be. Why not? True it is rare but how can the Tanna say so with certainty.

One explanation is that the Torah is teaching us a valuable parenting lesson. Often the parents each have their own agenda and their own set of priorites and fundamental beliefs. This sends the child conflicting signals and conflicting guidance and it leaves the child confused. Surely a child with such an upbringing is capable of misbehaving. His veering from the path is not a sign of internal rot. It is a ramification of poor chinuch for which the death penalty is not warranted.

But if the child has two parents that are on the page, they speak in similar tones, they both show the same appearance by acting in a similar manner to that which they demand of their child, and they both set the same goals and heights that they want their child to reach, and with this beautiful consistent easy to understand chinuch the child still leaves the right path, then there is something seriously wrong with the child in his soul and in his core. A child like that is better off dead.

To this Rebbi Shimon says emphatically, impossible. Every Jew has a pure neshama and if his parents present a united front and set a good example to follow the child will absolutely not behave in this way and therefore Ben Sorer U'Moreh can never exist.


Rare Mitzvahs Finders - Gimmick or Real Opportunities?

In Eretz Yisroel today there are all sorts of organizations that give you opportunities to perform mitzvos that on your own you would never have an opportunity to do. You can do Pidyon Peter Chamor, buy land to give Trumah Maaser and 20 other mitzvos, purchase a plot to make hefker for shemitah, and the list goes on and on. Are these gimmicks? Need we run after these opportunities?

The Baalei Mussar say yes and they bring proof from the Mitzva of Shiluach HaKen. The gemara in Chulin 139b says, I would think you are obligated to combed the mountains and hills to find a bird resting on her young to in order to perform the mitzva, therefore the pasuk says "Ki Yikarei"; "If you chance upon a nest" and you do not need to look for it.

Since we see that by Shiluach HaKen without the pasuk telling us that we don't need to run after it we would otherwise in fact be required to, we can deduce that every mitzva that does not have a pasuk exempting us from embarking on a wild goose chase we must indeed search high and low until we find the opportunity to perform the mitzva.

Shemitta is right around the corner. Time to buy your tract of land in Eretz Yisroel before it's too late!!


Sowing Troubled Seeds

The parsha discusses the Ben Sorer Umoreh - the wayward and rebellious son. His Avairah is that he stole from his father and bought and ate Tarteimar (a certain weight) of meat and a half of a Log of wine. What's so terrible about this Avairah that should warrant the death penalty for this child? Rashi tells us that the sentence is based on the Avairah he will transgress at later time (Nidon Al Shem Sofo). He will eventually exhaust his father's money, and stand at the crossroads and steal and kill other people. Therefore the Torah says, "let him die as an innocent person and not die as a guilty person."

The Meforshim ask, why do find by Yishmael that the Torah judged him "Baasher Hu Sham" - in his current state? We see in Bereishis 21:17, when Yishmael was dying of thirst, the Malachim said to Hashem, "Why are you about to save Yishmael? His descendants will kill Klal Yisroel, at the time of the churban, by thirst. Why should you cause a miracle to happen to him and give him water?" Hashem answered, "Right now he is righteous, I will judge him based on his current status. Why then is the Ben Sorer Umoreh judged based on what he will do in the future?

The Maharal answers, at the the time that Yishmael was dying, he did not commit any Avairah with regard to holding back water from Klal Yisroel. Therefore Hashem judged him based on his current status. On the hand, the Ben Sorer Umoreh already started committing the Avairah that will lead him to kill - stealing from his father and buying and eating Tarteimar (a certain weight) of meat and a half of a Log of wine. That is why he is punished now for his future sin.


Yifas To'ar - The Lone Impossibility

The parsha begins with the law of Eshes Yifas Toar - Although one is not allowed to marry a Non Jewish woman, if a soldier sees a beautiful gentile woman amongst his captives and will desire to marry her, he must make her repulsive to him by cutting her hair and letting her nails grow. If he still desires her for a wife, then he may be MiGeyer her and take her for a wife.

Rashi tells us, " The Torah spoke only against the drive toward evil. For if Hashem would not make her permissible, he would marry her in a forbidden manner" R' Chatzkel Levenstein says that we see from here that the complete Torah is doable for every Jew. Since we see by this Mitzvah the Torah says, "This one is too hard for you, I will be Matir it", we can deduce that only this Mitzvah is out of your reach. But every other Mitzvah is in your reach to do!!


Could The Vilna Gaon Say This?

"Ki Sihyehna LiIsh Shtei Nashim HoAchas Ahuvah Vi HoAchas Snuah" "If a man will have 2 wives, one beloved and 1 hated..." The pasuk continues to tell us, that even though the first male was not born to his beloved wife, but rather to the one he hated, he must still give a double portion to the Bechor that was born to the Snuah - the hated wife. The Vilna Gaon is bothered, what is the chiddush of this law? Why should I think that just because the other wife was more beloved, her son should receive the Pi Shnayim - double portion? Also, how can the Torah call one wife a Snuah - hated - it is prohibited for one to hate another Jew?

He answers; the pasuk is alluding to a case where he had a wife that he divorced (she is referred to as the Snuah - hated - in the sense that he did not want to keep her), he then married a second wife - referred to as the Ahuvah - beloved - (in the sense that he did want to stay married to her). Seven months in to his second marriage, his 2nd) wife (The Ahuvah) gave birth to a son. 2 months later (9 months from the divorce of his first wife), his first wife (The Snuah) gave birth to a son. The pasuk is telling us, although the Ahuvah gave birth first, her son is not the Bchor. The reason being , concerning the Din of Pi Shnayim - a double portion - we go after the first male to be conceived. Since the Bchor of the Snuah was conceived first, he gets the double portion.

The Nitziv in Sefer Haamek Davar, finds it hard to believe that the law should be that Pi Shnayim should go after conception. He therefore says, he does not believe the Vilna Gaon ever said this!


Sympathy For Mistaken Jealousy

The pasuk says [Devorim 22:10] "Do not plow together with an ox and a donkey". This is one of several forms of the prohibition of Kilayim - mixing of species. There is a form of this prohibition that relates to grains and seeds (Kilaei Zeraim). There is a form of this prohibition relating to garments (Kilaei Begadim or Shatnez). Finally, this pasuk prohibits the yoking together of different species of animals.

The Daas Zekeinim MeBa'alay HaTosfos provide an interesting reason for this Issur. A donkey does not chew its cud. An ox, on the other hand, does chew its cud. The donkey and the ox would be walking along, yoked together, and the donkey would see the ox chewing and think that it was eating something. The donkey would become upset: "I missed my feeding. When did it happen?" He would become jealous of the ox, because he would think the ox was fed and he was not.

In fact, of course, they both had the same feeding. But the ox chews its cud so it appears to be continuously eating, thus giving the donkey the misimpression that he has been cheated. According to the Daas Zekeinim, the Torah is trying to avoid this psychological pain that the donkey would experience. R' Chaim Shmuelevitz Zt"l explains, we see from here that the Torah was worried about the feelings of an animal... all the more so for a human being! We see from here that the Torah was worried about the feelings of one who made a mistake (the donkey THOUGHT that the ox got more), all the more so for the feelings of one whom rightfully was wronged!


Vilna Gaon Bechor, Double Portion Double Name

The Halacha is that the when a man dies his oldest son, his Bechor, get a double portion of his assets. The Vilna Gaon says this can be seen in the letters of the word Bechor. The Bais of the word bechor has a numerical value of 2. This is double the letter before it, Aleph which has a value of 1. The Chuf has a value of 20 doubling the Yud which is 10. Lastly the Reish equals 200 double that of the Koof which is 100. These are the only three letters in the aleph bais that double the number before it and make a very appropriate name for the son who gets double.


Haftorah Ki Seitzei - The Happy Barren Women Watches the Mountains Tumble

"Runi Akara Lo Yalada"; happy is the barren women who doesn't give birth. The Malbim explains that Hashem tells Yerushalayim although you are barren I will return all your childrern to your borders. "Pitzchi Rina VTzahali Lo Chala"; Sing a song of happiness because the return will be so swift you will not experience any labor pains. Not only that but "Ki Rabim Bnei Shomeima MiBnei Be'ula"; you will have even more children than the fertile woman.

The Navi goes on to tell how Eretz Yisroel will prosper and grow without any fear of angering Hashem as Hashem swears that there will be no more anger. There will be so much love Hashem says that even if the mountains and hills come tumbling down Hashem's treaty with Klal Yisroel will not. Rebbi Yehonoson Eibushitz explains that this refers to the zechus of the Avos who are called the mountains of the world and the Imahos who are the hills. That zechus says the gemara will run dry at some point but we will no longer need it.

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