Points to Ponder
Ki Tze Tze 5774
Yifas Toar – Rashi notes that the Torah speaks to the Yetzer HaRa. Rav Schachter Shlita used to remind us that people tend to assume that the pleasures of others are really greater than the lives they have. When people think something is forbidden they immediately desire it. Therefore the Torah responded to the Yetzer Hara. In other words, Yifas Toar is NOT a good idea however, if it were to be told to be taboo, it would cause many to fall into the hands of the Yetzer HaRa. Thus the Torah addressed the Yetzer Hara of wartime and noted that it was ok with certain protocols.
When you build a home for yourself you should make a Maakeh (22:8) – Rashi quotes the promise that if you fulfill the Mitzva of Shiluach HaKan you will merit to build a new house. Rav Gifter ztl. remarked that it is interesting that aside from the lesson of Mitzva Goreres Mitzva, one also sees the purpose of wealth here – acquire the material needs in order to do Mitzvos with them. This, says Rav Gifter, is a spiritual perspective on acquiring physical wealth.
For he wrought a rumor to destroy the reputation of a Bas Yisrael (22:19) – Yes, he did that but didn’t he also try to kill her because of the rumor? Why does the Torah highlight the rumor on the Bas Yisrael? Rav Volch Shlita quotes Rabbeinu Yonah (Shaarei Teshuvah III” 111) who explains that he tried to have her killed AS A SINNER. In other words, the murder is nothing compared to the murder with the humiliation. Thus, the Torah highlights the embarrassment component. Rav Volch added that we find ourselves in the month of Elul and we need to be especially vigilant about the rumors in the world around us that are worse than death.
An Ammonite and a Moabite shall not enter the Kahal of Hashem. For they did not supply you with bread and water (23:4-5) – It seems somewhat harsh to impose such a major punishment for a seemingly minor infraction. It is more confusing when we discover that we are allowed to destroy their trees in battle and engage in harsher warfare for the reason mentioned here. Why the harsh verdict for this reason? Rav Simcha Zissel Broide ztl. explains that the lack of Hakaras HaTov is a terrible destructive force within a person’s soul. The children of Lot should have had to display it for the goodness that Avraham had done to Lot in keeping him alive. The lack of Hakaras HaTov – and its opposite, the disregard for the Jewish nation is a serious blight in the nation. This blight cannot be allowed into Bnei Yisrael.
When you enter the vineyard of your friend (23:25) – The Talmud (Bava Metzia 87b) applies the rules of this posuk to a day laborer. The Torah warns us that he should not put grapes he is harvesting into his own Keilim while harvesting. Rav Elyashiv ztl. added that in this regard, we are all day laborers – we work life and in life but need to reality check ourselves to figure out why we amass so much extra in our lives “for ourselves.” The object of work is so that you can serve the Adon (Hashem) reaping the beneftis of this world for Him and while doing so, you may enjoy the world but not independent of him and his mission for you.
And he will rejoice with the wife he took (24:5) – Is the obligation of rejoicing with one’s wife only applicable for one year? That’s the totality of Shalom Bayis? Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah ztl. explains that in the first year, it is a commandment. After the first year, the Kesher between the couple will be stronger and the man will want to make his wife happy naturally – the responsibility is forever.
When 2 people fight together (25:11) – The Shach explains that each argument between Jews begins with a Yachdav – with each side declaring that he is no less important than his friend and therefore not able to “give in” when they are disagreeing. This is also why we say “Tovim HaShnayim Mn HaEchad” – that 2 re better than one – for if you see a partnership successful know that it comes “Min HaEchad” – that one of the parties (HaEchad) is internally solid enough to allow the other to be right.
Haftorah: “For the children of the desolate one will be more than that of the husbanded one said Hashem (Yeshayahu 54:1) – Rav Schwab ztl. observed that the line of the Pesikta which notes that there were more Tzaddikim in the desolate stage than in the built stage refers to the fact that all of Torah Sh’Baal Peh was elucidated entirely in the Churban period – in the Galus. Thus, the Galus was not a time to “get over” but rather a time to be productive. We too, can use the same lesson in life – to take the challenges to our goals and use them to build our goals further and better.