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Friday, September 12

The Weekly Shtikle - Ki Seitzei

This past Thursday marked the first Yahrtzeit of my brother's mother-in-law, Rebbetzin Judy Young.
This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Yehudis bas Moshe.

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 points out 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 discussion and deliberation on the matter of the two Messiahs, Moshiach ben Yoseif and Moshiach ben Dovid. The "shor" is a reference to Moshiach ben Yoseif, as we see that on Yoseif it is said (33:17) "bechor shoro..." The "chamor" refers to Moshiach 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, however, warns that this position of the Sifsei Kohein is not to be confused with the constant requirement we have to anticipate the coming of Moshiach as stated in Chavakuk 2:3 and stressed more strongly in the gemara (Shabbos 31a). We are commanded to yearn the deliverance of Moshiach 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 Moshiach, explains the Sha'arei Aharon, ultimately facilitates a lapse in the fulfillment of our duties. If we figure out when and how he will come, he explains, we will no longer yearn his appearance daily as we are required.

Therefore, at this critical point in our history, when the future of our nation is uncertain, we should not squander time and focus on how the current events may lead to the coming of Moshiach. Rather, we must all focus inward and go out of our way to do whatever we can to contribute to the coming of Moshiach speedily in our day.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka


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