Divrei HaRav

Ki Seitzei / כי תצא

Ki Seitzei / כי תצא

In the parsha of the rebellious child, the Chazal comment that although the child has not as yet committed a crime punishable by death, the Torah foresees he will commit murder, and invokes a rule of “let him die innocent of such sins”. The Mahril Diskin asks, if the punishment for murder is “sayif” (the sword), then why here do we kill him with “skila” (stoning)? He answers that the Torah foresees that the rebellious child will commit all types of sins, many punishable by “skila”. For those, the Torah would wait until they are performed before meting out punishment. However, the sin of murder, which involves taking the life of another person, is something that must be avoided; we remove him now before the tragedy, but give him the punishment of the future.

“Remember what Amalek did to you.” “Erase the memory of Amalek, don’t forget”. The mforshim are puzzled at the double expression “remember…, don’t forget”. The Ksav Sofer explains that they are two different directives. Remember the sin of Amalek and erase his memory. However after that, “don’t forget” the source of his causing trouble. The Chazal say because the Bnei Yisroel were lax in Torah studies, Amalek found an opening to cause trouble. Don’t allow history to repeat itself. Don’t forget your involvement.

The possuk instructs us to keep our camp holy. The reason given in the Torah is that “HaShem walks amongst you”. Now in those times it meant exactly that. As the Rashbam points out, the Aron HaKodesh went with them even into war. While this was the case then, it would not apply nowadays. However, the Chinuch explains the fact that the “nefesh” of the Jew is constantly connected to its creator in heaven. This is a different dimension. Still, how is this relationship created? How do we create the “holy” camp? The answer is given by Rashi in Shabbos. He explains the possuk that the place of your encampment should be holy for “the Jewish people are constantly engaged in Torah thoughts”. So we see that the aura of kedusha can be created by the true presence of HaShem or by our merely involving ourselves in “divre kedusha”.

When R’ Zvi Pesach Frank ‘z’tl was asked to present a reason why women should not be drafted into the army for service other than carrying weapons and facing combat he responded. The Torah commands those who are weak of heart to leave the camp. Rashi explains from the Chazal that this refers to people afraid of the sins they possess. If so, we must conclude that the remaining Jewish army was composed of very righteous men. Yet the Torah addresses the issue of taking home a gentile woman from the war. Rashi attributes the chain of events to the power of the yetzer hara. Obviously, the atmosphere of the war and the camp of soldiers is counterproductive to raising levels of kedushah. He completed his thought; therefore, even to draft the women to say thilim in an army atmosphere could prove to be a danger to their spiritual level and should be avoided. (M’Shulchan Gevoah)

Remember what Hashem did to Miriam on the way out of Egypt. What is the meaning of these additional words? If a plain person sins before a king, he must receive due punishment. An officer, however, need not receive punishment other than that of being removed from his position. An exception would be if his sin was so great that punishment would be required in addition to being demoted from his position. This then is what Moshe is telling the people. Remember the history of Miriam - from the time she left Egypt she was a prophetess, “Miriam Haniviah”. Now she is only plain Miriam. Why then is she punished? The punishment in addition to demotion demonstrate the severity of Loshon Hara. (Imrei Shefer)

In this parsha we find a very definite obligation of hakaras hatov, expressing ones appreciation. It is a mitzva which is not well known and follows a well-known obligation. The Torah commands us to return an article, taken as security for a loan, to its rightful owner for use at night, i.e. night clothing. This now is not only a mitzva but also an obligation. The possuk relates, “he will bless you” (the owner). The Sifre comments, “he is commanded to bless you”. The Torah expects of this person a display of recognition for an act of kindness, albeit an obligation of the first person. However, the possuk concludes that if he doesn’t do so, Hashem will still consider it as a kind act and He will bless you. (Rashi)

The possuk directs us not to add one lash more than the guilty person deserves. This is the source for not causing harm to a fellow Jew. Any blow is more than he deserves. The Vilna Gaon clarifies an interesting point. A father who strikes a child in anger, transgresses this sin. We are allowed to strike a child for disciplinary measures as is written in Mishlei of Shlomo Hamelech. However, this is to fulfill a mitzva of Hashem to properly educate our children. When performed in anger, it only satisfies ones own desire and is totally forbidden.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis