Points to Ponder
Ki Tze Tze 5775
Yifas toar (21:10) – Rashi explains that the Torah spoke K’Negged the Yetzer HaRa. Rav Schachter Shlita explained that Rashi is teaching us a valuable lesson about pleasures that exist. People always assume that pleasures they are missing are always greater than the pleasures that they have. The lesson of Yifas Toar is that this is not so. Once you tell a person that something is not Assur, his Yetzer HaRa for it will not be as strong.
When a Person has a Ben Sorer U’Moreh (21:18) – The Talmud debates as to whether this even existed. Rav Yochanan declared that he had seen one and sat on his grave. How does one explain the difference of opinion? Either it never was meant to exist or one sat on the grave? Rav Avraham Dubver Kahana-Shapiro ztl, Rav of Kovna explained that in fact during the life of a Ben Sorer U’Moreh, he appears to be living the life and is a Tzaddik however, on his death one sees that the Tziddkus was not real and was flawed.
If she does not find favor in his eyes he should write her a Sefer Krisus (24:1) – Rabbi Akiva famously declares that merely finding a nicer wife is grounds for divorce. Why? Rav Aryeh Levin ztl. explained that the Gemara (Shabbos 25b) notes that the sign of wealth is an Isha Na’ah B’Maasim to which the Maharsha comments that such a wife is she who does not ask for lavish expenditures. If he finds a better one – i.e. one who does not ask for as much, then it is a Chessed letting this one go for a husband more likely to fulfill her needs.
He shall be free for his home for one year and gladden his wife whom he has married (24:5) – Rashi cites the position of Onkelos who notes that the responsibility is not to be happy WITH his wife but rather to make his wife happy. Rav Pam Ztl. deduced a critical lesson from this point. He noted that sometimes young men start to feel worried that perhaps the great Metziah they thought they had found in their spouses is indeed not as great as advertised. This can lead to tremendous questions in Shalom Bayis. Therefore it is crucial for one to remember his job is to make his wife happy. If he does so, then the respect and dignity he accords her will be reciprocated and he will be happy with her too.
You shall give 40 and no more lest you cause him to perish (25:3) – The Talmud learns from and accords the Rabbis tremendous honor because they had a verse that encouraged 40 lashes and they interpreted 40 as 39 (See Makos 22b). The question needs to be asked for in regard to the laws of Shabbos we find that the Mishna lists 40 and we interpret the Melachos as 39 as well. However, no credit is given there to the Rabbis for their incredible power of interpretation. Why not? Rav Chaim of Brisk was quoted as noting that the Lomdus was not the thing deserving of praise – it was the mental exertion in order to alleviate the suffering associated with even one less makka.
And the Yavamah shall go to the gates to the Zekanim (25:7) – Why are the Zekanim involved here at all? And why does he need to state that he does not want to marry her – and why? Rav Yaakov Ettlinger ztl. explained that when the Yivama goes to Bes Din, she asks them to criticize and encourage him to choose not to be selfish and to perform Yibum instead. To that the Yavam responds that he is not motivated by selfishness toward the future child born – he does not care for the woman herself. However, not to embarrass her, he provides an alternative explanation for his actions.
Remember what Amalek did to you (25:17) – What is the purpose with all of the remembering if, in the end, we cannot act on the Mitzva – for there are numerous preconditions to the mitzvah of destroying Amalek. Why waste the time reviewing this one? Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl. explains that one needs to constantly recall even the heinous Avairos in order to serve as a deterrent from them as well. If we do not speak of the obvious, we run a risk of taking the serious Avairos too lightly.