Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Ki Seitzei 5781
1 – Topic – A Mitzvah that we can do this Shabbos that happens only once every few years.
As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei as we approach the middle of the month of Elul and what do you know we start to take things a little more seriously B’ezras Hashem. This time around I would like to talk about the end of the Parsha. As you know the Parsha ends with the Mitzvah of 25:17 (זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק) and I want to begin by reminding you of the Hiddur Mitzvah that we get to do once every few years and that is specifically any year where the coming year has two Adars, it turns out that between Parshas Zachar of last year to Parshas Zachar of this year will be a 13-month separation. It will be a break of 13 months. The Chasam Sofer writes that to be Mekayeim ( זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק) a person has to remember the Maiseh Amaleik once every 12 months, and therefore, the Chasam Sofer said on a year such as this by Parshas Ki Seitzei when we Lain ( זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק) the Baal Korei and those who are listening should all have in mind to be Yotzei the Mitzvah of Zechiras Mitzvas Mechi’as Amaleik, to remember what Amaleik did to us and the Mitzvah to be Moche, (מָחֹה אֶמְחֶה אֶת-זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק) and that is a Hiddur Mitzvah that we can do and according to the Chasam Sofer an Ikkur HaDin Mitzvah that we can do this Shabbos.
2 – Topic – A thought from Rav Schwab on why Amaleik attacked us.
25:13 (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ בְּכִיסְךָ, אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן). The Posuk talks about having honest weights. Weights that are used in business transactions should be honest. What is the Semichus Haparshios from honesty in weights to Amaleik? Rashi tells us very beautifully from the Medrash that (אם שקרת במדות ובמשקלות הוי דואג מגרוי האויב). When does Amaleik come? When somebody is dishonest in business, that G-d forbid brings upon us our enemies starting up with us. Honesty integrity brings Rachmana Litz’lon brings upon us the attack of Amaleik, and therefore, there is a Semichus Haparsha. It is very beautiful.
Hold on a minute. In Parshas Beshalach it says the Maiseh Amaleik 17:8 (וַיָּבֹא, עֲמָלֵק). The Posuk before is (וְעַל נַסֹּתָם אֶת-יְרוָר לֵאמֹר, הֲיֵשׁ יְרוָר בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ, אִם-אָיִן). That Klal Yisrael didn’t have complete faith that HKB”H is with us. Rashi there says why is (וַיָּבֹא, עֲמָלֵק) next to that? (סמך פרשה זו למקרא זה). (לומר תמיד אני ביניכם). To tell us, I am with you all of the time. (ואתם אומרים (פסוק ז) היש ר' בקרבנו). And you don’t recognize that I am with you? (חייכם שהכלב בא ונושך אתכם). That brings upon the attack of Amaleik.
The question is that it seems to be a Stira the two Rashis. Rashi here says that what brings Amaleik dishonesty in weights and in business dealings and there Rashi says that it is a lack of faith in HKB”H, a lack of Emunah. Tzorech Bi’ur as it seems to be two totally different messages.
Rav Schwab back at Parshas Ki Sisa in the beginning of Perek Lamed Aleph (pages 217 on the bottom – 220 and this was discussed in Parshas Ki Seitzei 5778 Ayin Sham) has a relatively long piece, a deep piece about serving Hashem and particularly about Limud Hatorah, and there Rav Schwab says the following. The Yesod that he discusses there is the idea that in serving Hashem we need to serve Hashem with what he calls Hasagas Haseichel, learning Torah with our intellect, with our understanding. Torah is given to be understood Al Pi Pshat in a very intelligent and intellectual way, and also Hasagas Haneshama, there also has to be a spiritual connection to Torah and every bit of Torah has within it its Pshat Al Pi Seder Hakesuvim, Al Pi Seichel and its higher and mystical deeper meaning. Hasagas Haneshama.
There, Rav Schwab discussing these two aspects of serving Hashem, Seichel and Neshama, he talks about the fact that the Gemara says that when a person comes up to heaven after Achar Mei’a V’esrim he is asked as is found in Maseches Shabbos 31a (4 lines from the bottom) (נשאת ונתת באמונה), did you do business honestly? What does that mean (נשאת ונתת באמונה)?
Zagt Rav Schwab there are two meanings like everything else in Torah there is the Hasagas Haseichel the intellectual and intelligent meaning, and there is the Hasagas Haneshama the deeper mystical spiritual meaning. They will ask you (נשאת ונתת באמונה) Al Pi Pshat. Were you trustworthy, were you honest, were you an Ish Ne’eman. It means to be trustworthy. Also they will ask you (נשאת ונתת באמונה) did you do business with faith in HKB”H. The Hasagas Haneshama, the spiritual connection to that question is Emunah, faith in the Ribbono Shel Olam.
Zagt Rav Schwab the two are interconnected. The intellectual obligation to be honest in everything you do and the spiritual obligation to have faith in HKB”H, they work in tandem, the work together. A person who is a true Mamin knows that despite all of his efforts, all of his Hishtadlus, all of his work to secure a Parnasa, an income for himself, it all comes ultimately from Emunah in HKB”H from faith in G-d. A person does something dishonest he won’t end up gaining from it. We have a faith that HKB”H gives a person what is his and not what is not his. That is the meaning of (נשאת ונתת באמונה).
Says Rav Schwab, that is why by Amaleik we find these two aspects of serving Hashem both bring upon us G-d forbid the attack of Amaleik. They are not two different things, they go in tandem, they work together. In our Parsha, honesty and weights and then (זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק), because if we are dishonest in our weights and our business we can G-d forbid bring Amaleik upon us. There in Parshas Beshalach (וְעַל נַסֹּתָם אֶת-יְרוָר לֵאמֹר, הֲיֵשׁ יְרוָר בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ, אִם-אָיִן). If you don’t really sense that HKB”H is among you (וַיָּבֹא, עֲמָלֵק). We asked that they are two different things. The answer is they are one and the same. (נשאת ונתת באמונה) Integrity and honesty in business dealings and the sense of (הֲיֵשׁ יְרוָר בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ) they go hand in hand and they work together.
A lot of times there are Yeitzer Horas to try to get money dishonestly. To go and say oh I was looking for a job, and therefore, I am entitled to unemployment. They are giving away so much money. It is totally not true. How can you apply for money that you are not entitled to? People say but it is $20,000! If it would be $20 you wouldn’t sell your soul but for $20,000 you do sell your soul? I don’t get it. People have to have integrity. Where does integrity come from? It comes from (הֲיֵשׁ יְרוָר בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ, אִם-אָיִן) a sense that G-d is among us. G-d is here. You will never get a penny you are not entitled to. You are just being Matriach HKB”H to return it, which is not pleasant. That is the idea. That what brings Amaleik G-d forbid among the Jewish people? A lack of honesty and integrity in business dealings which in turn is related to a lack of faith in HKB”H.
3 – Topic - A thought from Rabbeinu Yonah that is applied to the Parsha
25:13 (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ בְּכִיסְךָ, אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן: גְּדוֹלָה, וּקְטַנָּה). The measures that a person has must be honest. The fact that it is repeated (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ בְּכִיסְךָ, אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן: גְּדוֹלָה, וּקְטַנָּה) and (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ בְּבֵיתְךָ, אֵיפָה וְאֵיפָה: גְּדוֹלָה, וּקְטַנָּה) and then it says (אֶבֶן שְׁלֵמָה וָצֶדֶק יִהְיֶה-לָּךְ, אֵיפָה שְׁלֵמָה וָצֶדֶק יִהְיֶה-לָּךְ). It says a double Lashon in the whole Parsha. Rashi says (שלא יהא נוטל בגדולה ומחזיר בקטנה).
How do you cheat somebody with weights? When you buy you use a weight that cheats the seller and then when you turn around and sell the produce that you bought you use a weight that cheats the buyer. You have (אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן) two stones. One stone when you are buying where you got ill-gotten gains by cheating the seller and you turn around and sell it to someone else you use another weight which cheats the other fellow. That is the way this type of cheating works.
I want to share with you a beautiful thought. In Mishlei 20:10 (אֶבֶן וָאֶבֶן, אֵיפָה וְאֵיפָה). It talks about having two stones, having two measures. (תּוֹעֲבַת יְרוָר, גַּם-שְׁנֵיהֶם). It is something that is disgusting to G-d somebody who is dishonest and has two measures. Rabbeinu Yonah makes note of the fact that the word Midah or Midos really has two meanings. It is a measure, something that you buy and sell and it is also a human attribute. Midos Tovos, having proper Middos. Rabbeinu Yonah on his Pirush on Mishlei says and I should add that the Ralbag hints to it as well, that just like in Middos – measures a crook buys with one and sells with another, the same thing with the Middos that people have. There is a Koach Netila that is when you take and there is a Koach Nesina when you give. People who twist their Middos, twist it by being very Makpid on things when they are taking and not Makpid on things when they are giving. By being very loving to someone who is going to benefit them which is called Chanifa and being very stiff when they have to build others, that is called Achzarios. The Middos of a person, you can’t be Noteil B’gedola U’machzir B’ketana. A person has to be consistent in his Middos.
He brings as an example. At the Mabul it says Beraishis 6:11 (וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ, חָמָס) the world was full, there was too much Netila, too much taking. People took too much. What was the way to fix that? Noach in the Taiva did Nesina, he was giving, he gave incredibly in the Taiva. Constantly giving and taking care of the different animals.
A person who twists weights so that when he buys he cheats the seller and when he sells he cheats the buyer, is a crook. Somebody who is extra careful when he buys, he makes sure to use a weight which is just a little extra careful that he doesn’t take too much. When he is selling he does it in a way that he makes it extra careful that he is not giving too little. He uses his Middos in the correct way.
So too says Rabbeinu Yonah, a person in his Middos, in his behavior with others (אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן: גְּדוֹלָה, וּקְטַנָּה), be careful you have two Avonim, you have two Middos. Every human being consists of certain contradictory Middos, being nice, being tough, being angry, being happy, being tired and being alive. You have a person that when it comes to sitting down to the Daf he is tired and when it comes to Schmoozing he is wide awake. You got it backwards. When they are talking Lashon Hora to you you should be drowsy and dribbling off. Even if you are not really feeling that way you should fake it. When someone is telling you Lashon Hora just drimmel. Pretend that you are listening to something that doesn’t interest you and drimmel. When you are at the Daf you have to be wide awake. A person is going to say oh I worked so hard I am so tired that I fell asleep at the Daf. Okay I understand. But what is going on? After they were talking about the Yankees and you were wide awake. That has nothing to do with how much you work. It has to do with how much it interests you. It is an important message, a message of consistency and it comes from Rabbeinu Yonah. (אֶבֶן וָאָבֶן: גְּדוֹלָה, וּקְטַנָּה). Please, be consistent in your Middos. Stress the Koach Hanesina, give generously. The Koach Hanetila, when you are taking take sparingly. With that a person has lots of Hatzlacha in everything that he does.
4 – Topic – A question of the week
There is a section in the Parsha which talks about a man and a woman Rachmana Litzlon who are Mezaneh. So it says if the man forces the woman she is Patur and he is Chayuv. If it is done willingly by both parties then they are both Chayuv. The Torah uses the Lashon (וְאִם-בַּשָּׂדֶה יִמְצָא) if a man found a woman in the field as opposed to (בָּעִיר). (לֹא-צָעֲקָה בָעִיר). In the city she didn’t scream. Meaning to say, in the city the Ramban says that Pshat in the Posuk is in the city they did it willingly and there they are both Chayuv Misah. In the field, the woman was forced and only the man is Chayuv Misah. That is Pshat in the Pesukim and I think that we all understand that.
I don’t get it. The Posuk is talking about being Chayuv Misah, the death penalty. Misah is only when there is Hasra’a, only if there is a warning and the person says Af Al Pi Kein he accepts the warning and does the Aveira anyway. How does it work if you say well if it was in the city she did it willingly if it was in the field then she didn’t do it willingly. What does it have to do with city or field? It has to do with whether there was Hasra’a. How can you say they both die only in the city and they don’t both die in the field. In either place if there was Hasra’a to her and she accepted it she is Chayuv Misah and if not not. I don’t understand the Pshat in these Pesukim. There must be a good answer somewhere and I am sure some of you will find it. Have a wonderful Shabbos to one and all!