The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

View Profile

Friday, September 20

The Weekly Shtikle - Ki Savo

This week's parsha begins with the laws pertaining to the bringing of bikurim. The bringing of the bikurim is accompanied by a recitation of a number of verses known as viduy bikurim. The first pasuk that he must recite reads (26:3) "higadti hayom laShem elokecha ki vasi el ha'aretz asher nishba HaShem la'avoseinu..." Rashi on pasuk 10 writes that due to the possessive reference to the forefathers in this pasukavoseinu, a ger (convert) who brings bikurim does not recite the viduy for the land was never promised to his forefathers. This ruling is based on the Sifrei and the mishnah (Bikurim 1:4). However, the Yerushalmi (Bikurim 1:4) reaches the opposite conclusion. The halachic ruling is further a matter of dispute in Tosafos (Baba Basra 81a). Rambam (Hilchos Bikurim 4:3) writes that a ger does in fact read the viduy for the reason given in the Yerushalmi, that the word avoseinu can be interpreted as referring to Avraham Avinu who is called av hamon goyim. Thus, even geirim can claim Avraham as a father.

    What is puzzling about this ruling of the Rambam is that with regards to viduy ma'aser, the next issue dealt with in the parsha, he rules (Hilchos Ma'aser Sheini 11:17) that the ger does not read the viduy. The viduy for ma'aser contains the identical term, la'avoseinu. However, Rambam's ruling is due to the reference made to Eretz Yisrael (26:15) as ha'adamah asher nasata lanu, the land that You gave us and geirim do not have a portion in the land. But a similar phrase is found in viduy bikurim, (26:3ha'aretz asher nishba HaShem la'avoseinu lases lanu. What is the difference between the wording in viduy bikurim and the wording of viduy ma'aser that led Rambam to rule differently?

The sefer Kapos Temarim suggests that the difference lies in the tense of the reference to Eretz Yisrael. In viduy ma'aser we refer to the land that "was given" in the past tense. This would exclude geirim because they were not given a portion in the land when they came initially. However, in viduy bikurim we refer to the land that was sworn "to be given" in the future. There is a pasuk in Yechezkel that suggests that geirim will ultimately get a portion in Eretz Yisrael. So this pasuk does not exclude geirim. Although in viduy bikurim there is also a reference (26:10) to the land that "was given," this refers to the land that he actually owns and not to the land that was promised to the forefathers from which the geirim were excluded. Therefore, geirim may read viduy bikurim.

The sefer Aruch LaNer suggests another difference between ma'aser and bikurim. The ger's reading of the viduy is predicated upon the word la'avoseinu referring to Avraham Avinu. However, the word la'avoseinu in viduy ma'aser appears in connection to the promise of eretz zavas chalav udvash, the land flowing with milk and honey. The forefathers were never promised a land of milk and honey. The reference to milk and honey was not mentioned until B'nei Yisrael were in Egypt. Since la'avoseinu could not refer to Avraham Avinu in this instance, it must exclude the ger from reading this viduy.

I thought that perhaps another difference might be that in viduy bikurim the land is referred to as ha'aretz whereas in viduy ma'aser it is referred to as ha'adamah. Perhaps ha'aretz refers to the country as a whole. The privilege to benefit from Eretz Yisrael surely does not exclude geirim. The country was given to them just as it was to anyone else. Therefore, there is no reason to exclude them. But the word adamah refers more to the ground itself which connotes actual property. Real property was something that geirim were not granted and therefore, they are excluded.

Eliezer Bulka

WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: Balancing the Shevatim 


Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites, www.weeklyshtikle.com

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on BaltimoreJewishLife.com

Friday, September 13

The Weekly Shtikle - Ki Seitzei

A perfect follow-up to last week's discussion:

This week's parsha deals with the proceedings with regards to a case of illicit relations with a betrothed girl or married woman. The betrothed girl must be at least 12 years old, without having shown complete signs of adulthood in order to be subject to these specific laws. Additionally, these laws only apply after the kiddushin (betrothal) stage and not after marriage.

 

There is an interesting discrepancy found in the pesukim dealing with these transgressions. With regards to the penalty of death delivered in the case of the betrothed girl (stoning), the Torah comments (22:21,24) "And you shall wipe out the evil from your midst." However, with regards to the death penalty in the case of ordinary adultery (strangulation), it is written (22:22) "And you shall wipe out the evil from Yisrael."

 

The Brisker Rav, R' Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, zt"l, offers an explanation. The gemara (Sanhedrin 57b) teaches that a ben-Noach (gentile) who is found guilty of illicit relations with a Jew, which are applicable to gentiles is put to death in the same manner as any gentile who transgresses one of the seven gentile commandments, namely death by the sword. However, if he is found guilty of illicit relations with a Jew which are not applicable to gentiles, he is put to death in the same manner as a Jew who commits the same offense. The only such case, the gemara points out, is the case of the betrothed girl. From a halachic perspective, betrothal does not exist with regards to gentiles. Therefore, a gentile guilty of this offense is put to death by stoning, just like a Jew. When the Torah details these proceedings, it is written, "And you shall wipe out the evil from your midst," because this process applies to everyone. Since the concept of a married woman exists with gentiles, a gentile who is found guilty of adultery, even with a married Jewish woman, is given his own special death penalty. It is therefore written, "And you shall wipe out the evil from Yisrael," since the regular death penalty in this case is not applicable to gentiles.

 

(It should be noted that this approach is somewhat contradictory to the idea we suggested last week, that Yisrael is more inclusive than mikirbecha.)

 

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Shiluah Ha...

Dikdukian: Shva vs Kamatz by R' Ari Storch



Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites, www.weeklyshtikle.com

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on BaltimoreJewishLife.com

 

 

 

Friday, September 6

The Weekly Shtikle - Shofetim

At the beginning of this week's parsha, the process of prosecuting the idolater is discussed. Regarding his or her demise by stoning it is stated, (17:7) "and you shall wipe out the evil from your midst."

Immediately thereafter, we are taught of the procedure regarding the zakein mamreh, the elder who engages in a dispute with the Sanhedrin and advises others in contradiction to their decree. He is put to death for this insurrection, about which it is said, (17:12) "and you will wipe out the evil from Yisrael."

 

R' Moshe Shternbuch, in Ta'am VaDa'as, explains the slight discrepancy between the two phrases. He notes that the nature of the zakein mamreh is such that in his disagreement with the Sanhedrin, he will develop a following and become more of a public figure. That is why the Torah states that in carrying out the proper punishment, you will be removing evil from all of Yisrael.

 

The difficulty with this explanation is that in last weeks' parsha, regarding the false prophet, it is said (13:6) "and you shall wipe out the evil from your midst." Surely, the false prophet will also have developed a following. Shouldn't "Yisrael" be more appropriate in that case.

 

Along similar lines, it may be suggested that the actual process of the zakein mamreh is what creates the public spectacle. Even though he is only liable when he returns to his city and continues to advise as he was before, the showdown with the grand beis din happens in Yerushalayim on the Har haBayis. It is certain to grab the attention of the masses and that is why the term Yisrael is more appropriate.

In the case of the idolater, as well as the case of the false prophet, the case could very well be dealt with on a local level and not be as widely known. Therefore, mikirbecha, which would seem to refer to a smaller subset of the nation, is used.

 

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:


Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites, www.weeklyshtikle.com

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on BaltimoreJewishLife.com