Points to Ponder
Ki Tze Tze 5776
Ben Sorer U’Moreh (21:18) – The Talmud (Sanhedrin 71a) notes that Ben Sorer U’Moreh is one of those conditions that will never happen. The only reason that it is written is in order to study it and teach it and receive reward. The question becomes apparent: The Torah is expansive enough, why need specific Mitzvos just to add and receive Sachar? Rav Schachter Shlita would often note the explanation of the Baal HaTanya who explains that if we have Mitzvos whose practical application is indeed impossible, it demonstrates that the Torah, and Elokus in general, is by definition infinite and beyond the boundaries of “practical”. Rav Schachter would often use the example of the international date line as an example. The Rishonim (esp. the Yesod Olam, a student of the Rosh) had a hard time understanding how there could be a place that would make Rosh Hashana 18 hours after Yirushalayim because of a set date line in a place where there were no Jews. The answer though, was clear – the issue was based on a theoretical date line. Things that are theoretical in Halacha make one aware of the infinite influence of Elokus.
This is what you should do to all the lost objects of your brother’s that shall be lost and you find it (22:3) – The mishna identifies a special stone – Even HaToein – which functioned as a sort of lost and found location. The Mishna notes that it was in Yirushalayim but the Rambam seems to locate it outside. Why? Rav Mordechai Ilan ztl. (Mikdash Mordechai) explains that like with those with accounting difficulties which were worked on outside of Yirushalayim so that the Yirushalayim experience should never be built on a sadness of bad accounting, the anticipation of finding lost object followed by dashed hopes should also not take place within Yirushalayim.
And he set off rumors (22:14) – Rashi explains that here we find the concept of Aveira Gorreres Avaira – that since he violated Lo Tisna he came to Lashon HaRa. The Eretz Tzvi of Koshenglov noted that the comparison is based on the idea that Lashon HaRa and Sinas Chinam are really one and of the same. In order to say Gorreres Aveira, the 2 Aveiros need to be of similar type.
You should carry a shovel on your belt (23:14) – The Torah’s acute reminder to preserve the soldier’s cleanliness is paralleled by the Talmud’s (Kesubos 5a) reminder to clean our ears from Lashon Hara based on the same Possuk. Rav Shaul Yisraeli ztl. explained that the Israeli army is a different army than any other one in the world. The other armies fight based on hand to hand and tank to tank numbers. Our victories are built on our holiness and spiritual superiority in the army camp. Thus, the need to keep the camp holy – as it is our secret weapon.
Don’t bring an Esnan Zona or Mechir Kelev (23:19) – Why is the Mechir Kelev such a problem? The Oznayim L’Torah explains that the dog is the animal that shortens the life of a person (See Bava Kama 79) and causes women to miscarry. Dogs, especially wild ones, attack people indiscriminately and thus, one should not raise them in his home if the home is not on the border. The Mizbeiach is supposed to bring life to the world (hence no metal in its formulation) and therefore using a Mechir Kelev is antithetical to its purpose.
When there will be a fight between people (25:1) - Rashi explains that perhaps one should say that no peace comes from fighting. What is Rashi is trying to say? Rav Yaakov Meir Schechter Shlita explained that when people disagree, each side thinks s/he is in the right and puts effort into trying to prove just that, so the other side will just drop it in the name of peace. However, no good comes from that perspective. Therefore once sides are drawn, don’t try to offer mussar from one perspective.
Do not muzzle an ox when he is threshing (25:2) – What is the connection between this Mitzva and the one of Makkos mentioned in the previous Possuk? Why are they together? Rav Shmuel Brazil Shlita suggests that the ox here refers to the animalistic soul of the person. When the animalistic soul overtakes the person and causes him to sin (Dash B’Akeivav), he should not be stopped from davening or learning. Even if he has done terrible Aveiros he is still special in the eyes of Hashem and desirous to Him.
Haftorah – Rejoice O Barren One (Yeshayahu 54:1) – Bruriah (See Berachos 10a) explained to a certain heretic that the intention of the possuk here was that the Jewish nation should rejoice that its future would not go to Gehinnom like those of the other nations. Rav Shimshon Dovid Pinkus ztl. explained that the beauty of a nation that raises the next one is that there is hope in the next generation and a sense of the next generation’s appreciation of the unique status it is accorded based on the pillars upon which it is built. The Jewish child is acutely aware of this and is appreciative of the status.