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Friday, September 5

The Weekly Shtikle - Ki Seitzei

In this week's parsha we are taught of the prohibition against plowing with an ox and a donkey together (22:10). Rashi writes that this prohibition applies to any combination of two animals. Rambam, however, is of the opinion that this applies only to a combination of a kosher animal and a non-kosher animal. Ba'al HaTurim explains that if the non-kosher animal sees the kosher animal chewing its cud it will think that it was fed and this will cause unnecessary distress to the non-kosher animal. R' Yaakov Kaminetzky in Emes l'Yaakov notes that this reasoning is not sufficient for Rambam's opinion. According to that reasoning, it would be permitted to plow with  an ox and a camel, both of which chew their cud. However, Rambam clearly holds that it is forbidden.

Sifsei Kohein explains this pasuk in a symbolic manner. He writes that the words lo sacharosh beshor uvachamor yachdav are indicative of a prohibition against the extensive discussion and deliberation on the matter of the two Messiahs, Mashiach ben Yoseif and Mashiach ben Dovid. The shor is a reference to Mashiach ben Yoseif, as we see that on Yoseif it is said (33:17) bechor shoro... The chamor refers to Mashiach ben Dovid who is described (Zechariah 9:9) as ani verocheiv al chamor. The word tacharosh refers to thinking, plowing of the mind so to speak, as it does in Mishlei 3:29.

 Sha'arei Aharon cautions, however, that this position of the Sifsei Kohein is not to be confused with the constant requirement we have to anticipate the coming of Mashiach as stated in Chavakuk 2:3 and stressed more strongly in the gemara (Shabbos 31a). We are commanded to yearn for the deliverance of Mashiach constantly and, as stated in the Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith, based on the pasuk in Chavakuk, even if he tarries, still we wait for him every day that he shall come. The unnecessary deliberation over the technicalities involved in the coming of Mashiach, explains Sha'arei Aharon, ultimately facilitates a lapse in the fulfillment of these duties. If we know too much of when and how he will come, we will no longer yearn his appearance daily as we are required.


If you have a few extra minutes, this cute game was developed a couple of years ago to demonstrate the mitzvah of "Shiluach HaKein." The site which hosted it is not up anymore but I was able to rescue the file and host it:

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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