" A perfect and honest weight shall you have.."(25:15)
The Torah is commanding the Jewish people to maintain honest weights, even just having a dishonest weight in one's possession is prohibited. A question can be asked: Why does the Torah have to command us regarding honest weights and measures, shouldn't this fall under the category of stealing ,or lying ? It seems to be a redundant commandment ?
I would like to propose , Bezrat Hashem, the following original answer : There is something symbolic concerning honest weights that needs to be addressed. We all know that G-d is the ultimate "Scale -Keeper".The world is continuously being "measured" and" weighed" in terms of its righteousness. This concept is found in Kiddushin 40b as follows, "The Rabbis taught: A person should always consider himself as though his good deeds and sins were equally balanced; so that if he fulfills one Mitzvah.......he has tilted the scale to the Mitzvah side....R.Elazar ben R. Shimon said: Your actions have global ramifications because the whole world is judged according to its majority......
Parashas Ki Seitzei – Resisting the Irresistible
This week's sedra is Parashas Ki Seitzei and there exists a vast plethora of interesting mitzvahs and commandments within it. Depending on opinion, this sedra contains either the most or the second most amount of mitzvahs in the whole Torah. Following on from the theme started at the end of Parashas Shoftim, the sedra begins with commandments relating to war and in particular that of the “אשת יפת-תאר/woman of beautiful form”. This is without doubt one of the most bizarre mitzvahs in the Torah with it describing how a man should respond to lustful desires in battle which are an inevitability to the often inflamed passion of a solider in battle. In this opening passage of the Torah we are told how a Jewish man may take a woman for his wife if he “will see her among the captivity” [21:11] which appears to be a direct guideline on how one may marry this non-Jewish and as Rashi points out, potentially married woman. We are therefore told that this captive shall shave her head and have her nails grown with her attractive clothes, which according to
Parshas Ki Seitzei; Woman of the Knight
The very opening of our sedra sees us thrust into a story of intrigue, adventure, and romance. No, its not Eastenders (and definitely not Coronation Street), but the topic of the eishes yefas to’ar. What happens is like this. A soldier notices a pretty lady in the midst of (him) waging war, and decides that he wants to marry her; the problem being that she is not Jewish. So the Torah provides a special procedure whereby she is to have her hair shaved and her nails grown for thirty days, and then, if he still wants to marry her (she now looks considerably worse than when he first laid eyes on her), she goes through a conversion process and they may marry. Several questions can be asked on this topic. Firstly, Rashi (21:11) explains the reason for this entire subject; HaShem knew that if He were to prohibit this lady to the soldier, he would just marry her anyway. So, rather than see His people commit such sins, HaShem permitted her to the soldier; provided that the prescribed procedure is carried out. Why is this desire for a soldier to marry a non-Jewish female POW so uncontrollable that we would go against HaShem’s prohibition? Why is it more uncontrollable than any other similar lusts, such as forbidden relationships, or marrying other non-Jewish women, which remain forbidden?
Our Parsha this week concludes with the commandment to Amalek’s sin against our forefathers on the way out of Egypt (Devarim 25:17)
"He ambushed (vay’zanev) all the stragglers (hanecheshalim) behind you, and you were tired and weary, and did not fear Hashem" This verse refers to how amalek attacked the Jews in the Desert!
What does "vay’zanev" mean, who were the "necheshalim," who was weary and why, and who did not fear Hashem?
Rashi according to a Midrash says that Amalek cut off certain Jews’ foreskins and threw them to the sky. The Divine cloud protected the nation in general, but those
In this week’s Parsha the Torah prohibits marrying an Ammonite or a Moabite for all generations even after conversion. LO YAVO AMONI UMO’AVI BIKHAL HASHEM, “An Ammonite or a Moabite may not enter into the assembly of Hashem”. (Deut. 23,4) The reason given is that when Bnei Yisrael were on their way to the Promised Land these two nations refused to provide them with bread and water, the two greatest necessities for sustaining life. There were nations who enslaved Jews and nations who went to war against Jews. Some were not forbidden to be married by Jews and some were forbidden only for a number of generations. But none were forbidden forever as were the Ammonites and Moabites. Why?
Parshas Ki Teitzei; Remembering Amalek
The majority of our sedra this week deals with forbidden mixtures/'coming togethers' of 2 things; for example Shatnez, Kilaim, rape, returning a lost object, and others. [A real must-see this week is the Or HaChaim on 22;1-4 who darshens the psukim returning to returning lost objects to refer to returning those who are spiritually lost. See it inside!] Anyway, right at the end of the sedra we are given the command(s) to wipe out and remember the nation of Amalek (it is in fact a machlokes amongst our sages as to whether these are two parts of 1 mitzvah or 2 separate mitzvos). Now, as with most mitzvos of which we do not experience day-to-day performance nowadays, this mitzvah is somewhat lost to us. True, we do read parshas zachor before Purim and thus fulfil the command of remembering Amalek, but we have a bit of a lack of clarity still. And the position on Amalek and their enmity to the Bnei Yisrael is so severe that Bilam in one of his prophecies
"He (Amalek) happened upon you on the way, and he struck the weaklings who were straggling at the rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear G-d." (25:18)
Why do we reserve special hatred for Amalek, more so than for other nations which attacked us without provocation? R' Yitzchak Ze'ev Soloveitchik z"l explains:
The Gemara (Bava Kama 79) says: Why is a burglar punished more severely than a robber? Because a robber (Gazlan) equates G-d with man [he is afraid of neither], while a burglar (Ganav) places G-d lower than man [he fears man more than he fears G-d, therefore he steals when man is not looking]
Much of our sedra connects in some way or another to the theme of mixtures. We are warned about mixing male and female clothing, about mixing wool and linen in our garments, about types of animals which may not thresh together (kila’im), and about certain groups of people who may not marry (mix) into klal yisrael. We are therefore going to discuss an idea which is perhaps one of the greatest spiritual ‘mixtures,’ and at the same time has several connections to topics which come up in our sedra.
In the third Rashi in the Torah, Rashi comments on the choice of the Torah’s lexus in that it refers to HaShem using the name ‘Elokim,’ as opposed to the Yud-keh-vav-keh name. This name Elokim represents the attribute of strict justice (middas hadin) and not giving any leeway in overlooking any part of sin whatsoever – it is