Illuminations #88, Elul 5776, Parshat Ki Teitzei

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Illuminations #88, Elul 5776, Parshat Ki Teitzei

Torah Gems

Generally speaking, when the Torah uses the לשון of a יציאה , going out, it is associated with a negative connotation. For example, it says in regards to the story of Dina: ותצא דינה בת לאה לראות את בנות הארץ, “And Dina went out to see the girls of the land,” which led to the story of Dina’s defilement. Rashi explains that the Torah refers to Dina as the daughter of Leah and not Yakov because Leah also “went out,” as it says ותצא לאה לקראתו.
There is one exception where we find  יציאה in a positive light. As we see by Yakov, ויצא יעקב מבאר שבע וילך חרנא, “And יעקב  went out from Beer Sheva and he went to Charan.” The Torah is referring to the greatness of יעקב אבינו as his presence effected the city he left as well as the city he came to. Why does the word  יציאה  usually have a negative connotation? And why by יעקב אבינו does it have a positive connotation? The answer is found in the beginning of this weeks פּרשה. The Torah is discussing when the Jews would go out to war against their enemies. If a soldier sees a non-Jewish girl he desires, he may marry her. Rashi explains that the Torah permits him to marry her because otherwise he will come to marry her in sin. Rav Chatzkel Levenstein asks if the men who went out to war were required to be near perfect, tzaddikim of the highest stature, why would we be afraid they would commit this sin? He explains that until now the soldiers were tzaddikim within their own confines. But when going out, one doesn’t know what he will be exposed to and what temptations he will be faced with. Thus, we can’t know if they can withstand the test. This is why the word יציאה has a negative connotation. However, when it came to יעקב אבינו,  his level of righteousness was so great that not only did his  יציאה not have a negative effect on him but his presence was felt in חרן.

Parsha Pearls

…לא תראה את שור אחיך
Do not see the ox of your brother…
The Torah is commanding us that if one sees a lost object he may not ignore it; he must pick it up and return it to its owner.
דוד המלך says in תהלים:
תעיתי כשה אבד בקש עבדך כּי מצותיך לא שחכתי
“I have strayed like a sheep that is lost, seek out your servant for your commandments I have not forgotten.”
דוד המלך is requesting of ‘ה that when he is lost ‘ה should find him. This implies that  it is possible for ‘ה to (חס ושלום) “ignore” us.  Rav Shimon Schwab asks how it could be possible for ‘ה  to command us not to ignore a lost object and yet He can seemingly ignore us? He answers that when it comes to the laws of returning lost objects, there are certain scenarios where a person is exempt from returning it, like if a person finds an object which is beneath his dignity to pick up (such as an object that even if it would be his own he would be embarrassed to pick up).  Rav Schwab explains that the same would apply in terms of ‘ה  “ignoring us.” If חס ושלום we were to sin to a point where we would stoop so low that it would be beneath ‘ה’s “dignity” then, in turn, He would be exempt from returning us. Therefore, when דוד המלך asked this of ‘ה , he ends off his request with כּי מצותיך לא שחכתי, meaning to say he has not stooped so low to the point that  ‘ה should be exempt from finding us. 

Glimpses of Greatness

Rav Shlomo Lorincz relates: one year in ארץ ישראל it was very difficult to obtain an אתרוג. The Brisker Rav asked him to use any means in his power to try to get an אתרוג. After weeks of much exertion he was unable to find an אתרוג. Nervous to tell the Rav that he could not find one, and afraid of how he would react, he went in to tell him. Upon hearing this the Rav broke out into a big smile and exclaimed, “As long as there was what to do or something to be done I was willing to use all the means I had to fulfill the מצוה. Now that we tried everything and there is nothing left to do, we are פּטור.”


Halacha Weekly

Q. What Should One Do If One Arrives By Plane on Erev Shabbat  but One’s Baggage Arrives Later on Shabbat: Can One Ask A Non-Jew To Deliver It?

A. If the non-Jew is coming for his own purpose and also brings the baggage it is permitted to receive it from him and also use it. If one instructs him to bring it on Shabbat and it is in his power to bring it without transgressing a Torah prohibition it is permitted if it is a case of substantial loss or for the sake of a mitzvah. However, It is better to instruction him by way of a hint.

If it is not possible to send it except by the non-Jew performing and action which (if performed by a Jew) would be a desecration of Shabbat it is prohibited (to instruct him), except  in a case of great hardship or great need. However, if it is that there is a way to perform the errand without violating Shabbat and the non-Jew violates Shabbat out of convenience (rather than necessity), it is (nevertheless) permitted (to instruct him) to do so in the first place. (See Chelkat Yaakov 138, Rav Yaakov Mordechai Breish, Z”L)

In honor of Amy Elfersy completing her 3rd year in business. Mazal tov and continued success!