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Friday, May 22

The Weekly Shtikle - Bemidbar

I am proud to announce another blog in the Shtikle series (I think this might be my last.) Please check out Al Pi Cheshbon, a blog dedicated to mathematical computations in the parsha and elsewhere. The beginning of the book of Numbers was a perfect time to release this. There are already numerous posts pertaining to this week's parsha.

This week's Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my mother, o"h, Tzirel Nechama bas Tuvia Yehuda, whose Yahrtzeit was this past Tuesday.

    R' Elie Wolf connects this week's haftarah with the upcoming chag of Shavuos:

    This week we do not read the regular haftarah but rather the special haftarah of Machar Chodesh which is read when the first day of Rosh Chodesh falls out on Sunday. The haftarah is from Shmuel I perek 20. Towards the end, Sha'ul gets rather annoyed at his son Yonasan for siding with his friend, Dovid. In the midst of his outburst, he exclaims, (pasuk 30) "Son of a rebellious woman! Do I not know that you choose ben Yishay to your own shame and the shame of your mother's nakedness!?" What is the reason for such an outburst and what does Yonasan's mother have to do with anything?

    Rashi on this pasuk tells the story of how Sha'ul met his wife. After most of the tribe of Binyomin were wiped out following the gruesome episode of "Pilegesh b'Giv'ah" at the end of Shoftim, the tribe was in danger of extinction. They were told to go out to the vineyards and watch as the daughters of Shiloh come out and dance and they were to pick wives from them. Sha'ul was embarrassed and did not partake in this exercise until finally, his potential wife uncharacteristically ran after him and, well, the rest is history.

    In Yevamos 76b, the story is told of how the validity of Dovid's lineage was questioned due to the fact that he descended from Rus the Moabite, a gemara with obvious implications to Shavuos when we read Megillas Rus. Avner maintains that the prohibition of a Moabite (or Amonite) to marry into B'nei Yisroel (Devarim 23:4) applies only to males (Amoni v'lo Amonis, etc.) and therefore Rus was allowed to marry Bo'az and Dovid's lineage is clean. The reasoning he suggests is that the reason given for the prohibition is that they did not come out and greet B'nei Yisroel with food and bread. This can only be a claim on the men for it is not the way of the woman to go out and greet. Do'eg retorts that they should have brought out the men to greet the men and the women to greet the women, to which Avner is silent. The gemara later concludes that the rebuttal to Do'eg's claim is that even still, the pasuk says, (Tehillim 45:14) "Kol kevudah bas melech penimah," the honour of the princess is to dwell within. Even to greet the women, it would not have been right to make the women come out. Aruch LaNer suggests that the reason why Avner neglected to offer this rebuttal is because he did not want to insult Sha'ul haMelech for the manner in which his wife seized him was clearly a breach of this maxim. Therefore, he chose to remain silent.

    Chid"a and Chasam Sofer suggest that this is the explanation of Sha'ul's rebuke of Yonasan. If Yonasan is choosing to side with Dovid, he is affirming the legitimacy of Dovid's kingship which is based on the adage "Kol kevudah bas melech penimah." By doing so, he is effectively shaming his own mother for the way she seized Sha'ul.

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka


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