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Friday, September 16

The Weekly Shtikle - Ki Seitzei

In this week's parsha, (23:5), we are told that an Amonite and Moavite are not allowed to come bikhal HaShem, that a convert from Amon or Moav may not marry into B'nei Yisrael. The reasons given are because they did not come forth with bread and water as we passed their land and for their hiring of Bilam to curse us. The question that is asked by many of the commentaries is that in 2:29, and particularly with the explanation of Rashi, it seems that Edom and Moav both provided B'nei Yisrael with bread and water, albeit with a price. Also, we do not see in the pesukim anywhere that Amon had anything to do with the hiring of Bilam. There is much discussion amongst the commentaries concerning this question. I will focus on the answer of the Sma"g. He simply interprets the pasuk as giving one reason for each nation. The Amonites are forbidden to marry into our nation because they did not come forth with bread and water. The Moavites are forbidden for their involvement in the hiring of Bilam.

The problem with this interpretation, however, is that in the gemara Yevamos 76b we learn that women are excluded from this prohibition. We learn this because the reason of not having come forth with bread and water would not apply to women whose nature is not to come forth in that manner. It seems from there that this reason applies to both Amon and Moav, for the very subject of that gemara is David HaMelech's legitimacy based on Rus having been a Moavite convert. The only possible explanation for the Sma"g is that just like it is not the nature of women to go out and greet a nation with bread and water, it is not their nature to go out and hire hitmen. The only difficulty with this, of course, is that such a reasoning is not mentioned in the gemara itself. Nevertheless, the Rashba in Yevamos interprets the gemara in accordance with the Sma"g.

    Another interesting nuance in the pasuk is that the language used in the failure to bring bread and water is "asher lo kidmu eschem." B'nei Yisrael are referred to in plural. But in the hiring of Bilam it states "va'asher sachar alecha," referring to B'nei Yisrael in singular. I think that the explanation for this is that when Bilam was to curse B'nei Yisrael, it was to be done on the entire nation at once. Therefore, the nation is referred to in singular form. However, from the aforementioned gemara in Yevamos it seems that it was expected of the Amonites to come forth with the men giving food to the men, and the women to the women. Since they were expected to come and give individual attention to separate groups of B'nei Yisrael, they are referred to in the plural.

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Please see the following discussion concerning whether there is a need to fulfill the mitzvah of Zechiras Amaleik this shabbos.

 

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Weekly Shtikle: Mitzvas Zechiras Amaleik this week?

    Shiluach HaKein Game

Dikdukian: Shiluah Ha...

Dikdukian: Shva vs Kamatz by R' Ari Storch



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