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Publishers Foreword

Shabbos Parshas Pinchus
14th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Yechidus
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Yechidus to Bar Mitzvah Boys & Their Parents
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Yechidus to Chassanim & Kallos
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

17th Day of Tammuz, 5744
After Minchah

Shabbos Parshas Massai
28th Day of Tammuz, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Devorim
6th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

15th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Day Camps
16th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Eikev
20th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

21st Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Kollel Tiferes Zekainim Levi Yitzchok
23rd Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Reey
27th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Gan Yisroel & Emunah Camps
1st Day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5744

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
18th Day of Elul, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Ki Sovo
18th Day of Elul, 5744

Tzivos Hashem
21st Day of Elul, 5744

The Letter Sent Out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
25th Day of Elul, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech
25th Day of Elul, 5744

Nshei Ubnos Chabad
27th Day of Elul, 5744

Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5745

Sichos In English
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 22 Tammuz-Elul, 5744


Shabbos Parshas Pinchus
14th Day of Tammuz, 5744


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  Publishers ForewordYechidus
16th Day of Tammuz, 5744
 

1. Today is Shabbos, which is sanctified of itself. But since the previous Rebbe instructed to hold farbrengens (not on every Shabbos but) on special Shabbosim, todays farbrengen is connected with the unique, special aspect of this Shabbos: It is the Shabbos which follows the 12th-13th of Tammuz, the days when the previous Rebbe was liberated from imprisonment.

The Shabbos following the 12th-13th of Tammuz is extra special this year, for, as noted at the farbrengen held last Shabbos, the 12th-13th of Tammuz is Thursday and Friday, and therefore Shabbos follows them immediately, without any intervening weekdays.

The Shabbos which follows the 12th-13th of Tammuz would be special even if there were weekdays intervening, for Shabbos elevates all the days of the preceding week, including all aspects of the 12th-13th of Tammuz. The elevation produced by Shabbos works in two areas: It compensates for any omissions in service; it introduces greater perfection in that service. Further, this elevation produced by Shabbos is in the manner of it is sanctified of itself, meaning the elevation comes from Above, to a degree that mans efforts cannot even reach.

But there is a difference if there are intervening weekdays between the 12th-13th of Tammuz and Shabbos. In such a case, there is a fall from the lofty state of liberation to the state of being occupied in mundane weekday affairs. When Shabbos follows the days of liberation immediately, however, not only is there no fall from the state of liberation, but these days of the 12th-13th of Tammuz reach their full perfection on Shabbos, in a manner of sanctified of itself. For then offnot nf then 19th Rth T>mmil7 nn notil: deed is more complete and easier to achieve when there is an extra day in which to continue ones efforts in the service of these days.

Thus, while there would still be reason to hold a farbrengen even if there was an intervening day between the 12th-13th of Tammuz and Shabbos, there certainly should be a farbrengen when Shabbos immediately follows the days of liberation of the 12th-13th of Tammuz.

At this point, let us analyze what it means that there are two days of liberation, the 12th and the 13th of Tammuz. This seems to be paradoxical: If the liberation took place on the twelfth, the thirteenth is the day afterwards; if the liberation took place on the thirteenth, the twelfth is the day before the liberation. How can there be ts;ndaWs of liberation?

The simple explanation is that on the twelfth, the previous Rebbe was informed that the written order for his release had come. But for some reason, the order could not officially be given until the thirteenth.

But this explanation is incomplete. Since the order for the previous Rebbes release had arrived on the twelfth, and the officials had to obey it, why should the thirteenth also be considered a day of liberation? Yet it is the custom, already adopted in the times of the previous Rebbe, to celebrate two days, on the twelfth and thirteenth of :mmil 7

We find a similar phenomenon regarding the liberation of the Alter Rebbe from imprisonment. The Alter Rebbe was freed on the 19th of Kislev, and yet it is the custom to extend the farbrengen to the twelfth also. Indeed, the farbrengen held to celebrate the liberation is sometimes begun on the twelfth.

This custom follows the original liberation. Although the Alter Rebbe was set free from prison on the 19th of Kislev, due to a misunderstanding he was forced to spend three hours in the house belonging to a virulent opponent of Chassidism (misnaged), where he suffered more than during his entire stay in prison. These three hours ended on the eve of the 20th of Kislev, and so this day is also celebrated as the day of liberation.

A similar episode in which an event is celebrated over a two-day period is recounted in the Written Torah (for there is nothing that is not alluded to in Torah). Purim, commemorating the miraculous victory of the Jews over their enemies, was set for the fourteenth day of Adar. In addition, Esther requested from the king an extra day for the Jews residing in Shushan to deal with their enemies. This day, the fifteenth of Adar, is celebrated by Jews living in walled cities.

As a result, all Jews celebrate Purim for two days. Those who do not live in walled cities, who celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, also have Shushan Purim as a festival in that tachanun is not recited on this day, and it is prohibited to fast or to deliver an eulogy. Those that read the Megillah on the 15th of Adar consider also the fourteenth as a festival since this day is Purim for the majority of Jews.

The festivals of Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos, in contrast, are Biblically only one day. In the time of exile, however, an extra day of Yom-Tov was added to each of these festivals. Although the exodus, which Pesach commemorates, took place on the fifteenth of Nissan, we celebrate also an extra day, the sixteenth. Sukkos, which is the 15th of Tishrei, is also celebrated on the sixteenth, and Shavuos is likewise celebrated on two days.

Thus exile introduces an extra distinction: an extra day of Yom-Tov. And it is for this reason that Purim, the 19th-20th of Kislev, and the 12th-13th of Tammuz, are also celebrated on two days. If exile can effect an extra day Yom-Tov for those festivals which Scripturally are only one day, then a festival which came into being during exile should in the first place be celebrated for two days. Purim is a festival instituted by the Rabbis in the time of exile, for even after Mordechai became the kings regent, the Jews were still under Achashveroshs dominion; and the liberation of the Alter Rebbe and previous Rebbe took place during the exile. Thus these days were fixed as two-day festivals: Purim the 14th and 15th of Adar; Alter Rebbes liberation 19th and 20th of Kislev; previous Rebbes liberation 12th and 13th of Tammuz.

Just as the second day of a Scriptural festival is secondary to the first day, so the first days of those festivals instituted in exile is the primary day, and the second day is secondary.

Purim: Purim is celebrated by the majority of Jews on the fourteenth of Adar; in addition there is also Shushan Purim.

The Alter Rebbes liberation: It took place primarily on the 19th of Kislev, as the Alter Rebbe himself emphasizes: This is the day ... on which It is good was said twice, the 19th of Kislev, the day on which our holy Master [the Maggid] passed away, when I was reading in the Book of Tehillim the verse, He has redeemed my soul in peace. All these details are relevant to the 19th of Kislev only, which that year was Tuesday, when the verse He has redeemed my soul in peace is read in the portion of Tehillim for the third day of the week. The liberation extends also to the next day, the 20th of Kislev.

The liberation of the previous Rebbe: It took place mainly on the 12th of Tammuz, as the previous Rebbe explains that the liberation on this day is connected with his birthday on the 12th of Tammuz, when his mazal is on the ascendary. The liberation extends also to the next day, the 13th of Tsmmil 7. .

This year, in which Shabbos immediately follows the 12th-13th of Tammuz, is special. Shabbos itself is connected with the idea of liberation, for a Jew is then free of weekday work. In this year, then, there are three consecutive days of liberation: the 12th of Tammuz, the 13th of Tammuz, and Shabbos which lends it the force of a chazakah, since a chazakah comes into being after three times.

Since the body follows the head, all aspects of the liberation of the previous Rebbe (the head) apply to and affect every Jew (the body), particularly those who follow in his steps. Moreover, since the head encompasses the vitality of each and every limb of the body, and provides the leadership for the whole body, the relationship between the head and body that the body follows the head is not just in the manner of one thing following another, but rather in the manner of forming one entity. Thus, the 12th-13th of Tammuz should induce every Jew to increase in all aspects of Judaism, Torah and mitzvos, consonant to the previous Rebbes directives.

When these days of liberation are utilized to ensure that service to G-d is performed in a manner of liberation, G-d, who pays measure for measure. will bring the actual redemption.

The truth is that if the tzaddikim of the generation decided to bring the redemption, they would certainly do so, for the tzaddik decrees and G-d fulfills. But as long as G-d wants the Jews to be in exile, the tzaddikim listen to Him. This is self-sacrifice of the highest order: The redemption is something that is vitally necessary, and yet they dont decree it because of G-ds will. But the question still remains until when?

At any rate, when Jews perform their service in the manner of redemption, they effect the actual, literal redemption from Above, since G-d pays measure for measure. Since the redemption comes from Above, through G-d Himself in all His glory, it will certainly be a true and complete redemption just as G-d embodies the absolute truth and the absolute perfection. Also, since it is G-d who brings the redemption, there will be no time constraints, and Jews will be redeemed immediately.

* * *
2. We spoke above about the true and complete redemption. There are some, however, who question the whole matter. Why, they wonder, does this Jew incessantly speak publicly at every farbrengen about one subject the coming of our righteous Mashiach. He repeats the previous Rebbes call, Forthwith to the redemption! and emphasizes that this is not just words, but means the actual coming of Mashiach, immediately today, Shabbos parshas Pinchas, 5744! Likewise, he instructs that the song, May the Beis HaMikdash be speedily rebuilt in our days be sung every time, emphasizing that speedily rebuilt in our days means today, not tomorrow.

Every Jew believes, of course, that Mashiach can come at any moment, as written: I will wait for him every day that he may come. Yet, these people wonder, why is it necessary to speak about it incessantly, to emphasize constantly that Mashiach can come at this very moment? It is very difficult for a person to treat this as being realistic!

It would be understandable if mention of Mashiachs coming were to be made but occasionally, for in the end analysis it is one of the basic tenets of our faith. But why talk of it and get excited about it at every farbrengen, as if the purpose was to ram the idea into the listeners heads forcibly?!

Further, this Jew who speaks of Mashiachs actual coming, has at the same time a Siddur on the table so that he shouldnt make a mistake in the text of the Concluding Blessing in which text it talks of the redemption in the future tense. And he similarly uses the Siddur to say Tzidkoscho Tzedek at Minchah which is a prayer associated with exile! Surely this is a paradox.

They therefore conclude that this whole idea of Mashiachs coming is like a dream. A good dream, a nice dream but not realistic. Why then, they ask, is it necessary to talk about dreams?!

Such thoughts as these people have do not stem from lack of faith, G-d forbid, for every Jew believes that Mashiach can come at any moment. But the knowledge that we are still in exile, and that the exodus from exile is possible only with G-ds desire, has caused the exile to so permeate a persons senses that his faith in the redemption is but external and superficial, and talk of the redemption appears to him to be as a dream.

The truth is the exact opposite. The Alter Rebbe (Torah Or, parshas Vayeishev, p 28c) explains that exile is the dream, for the true place of a Jew, his true being, is the redemption, whereas exile is a foreign matter. Thus exile is a dream and the redemption is reality. Why then do people wonder that we repeat the Alter Rebbes words that exile is a dream, and redemption is the true reality?

The Alter Rebbe explains further that in a dream two opposites can co-exist. In exile, too, a person can synthesize two opposites: He can be $q0NgeM in business the whole day, and simultaneously arouse his love to G-d in prayer, and cleave to G-d.

The Alter Rebbe is explaining the good aspect of the dream of exile. Although one may be steeped in worldly matters, he can nevertheless totally change in one moment, and shaking free from the illusions of the world, arrive at the true reality: love of and cleaving to G-d. A Jew can do this for in a dream, two opposites can co-exist.

Our case is similar: Because exile is a dream, in which opposites can co-exist, the situation can change in a moment: Jews can leave the dream of exile and enter reality the redemption.

Every single Jew holds the key to the redemption, as the Alter Rebbe writes: It is stated in Tikkunim that if even one tzaddik [and Your people are all tzaddikim] in a generation returns in complete repentance, Mashiach would come immediately. And Rambam rules, When a person does a mitzvah, he tilts himself and the whole world to the meritorious side, and brings redemption and salvation for himself and for them. And, as noted above, this can be achieved in a moment. In the well-known phrase: I shall wait for him every day that he may come.

Rambam, it is true, says that there is a set order for Mashiachs coming: He shall force all Israel to go [in the way of Torah] ... and shall wage G-ds wars ... etc. But this order applies only when the redemption will occur in a regular manner. When, however, Jews merit it, and especially since all the fixed dates [for Mashiachs coming] have passed, then the redemption comes immediately, transcending all limits and order.

Moreover, the previous Rebbe has already announced Forthwith to redemption! and informed us that the situation is one of Behold, he [Mashiach] is standing behind our wall, he looks in at the windows, he peers through the lattice. Mashiach is waiting, looking and Mashiachs looking certainly has an effect. Thus every Jew can certainly bring the redemption speedily in our days not tomorrow or later, but today, Shabbos parshas Pinchas, 5744; and on this Shabbos itself, before Minchah. Simply put, at this moment we open our eyes and see that our righteous Mashiach is together with us in this synagogue, flesh and blood, soul in a body!

May it be G-ds will that our talking and importuning so much about the coming of our righteous Mashiach will so disturb and vex (noodge) G-d that He will have no choice (so to speak) but to bring the redemption. This is particularly so since G-d Himself mightily wants the redemption, for since the Divine Presence was exiled together with the Jews, the redemption of the Jews means also G-ds redemption!

The main thing is that the dream I have about Mashiachs coming which is really your dream too be translated into reality immediately, today, before the Minchah prayer. And may the dream of all dreams also be realized, that today we go with the clouds of glory to our holy land, and pray this Shabboss Minchah prayer in Yerushalayim, in the third Beis HaMikdash.

* * *
3. We spoke above about the fact that this Shabbos follows the 12th-13th of Tammuz. In addition, there is a lesson to be derived from todays date, the fourteenth of Tammuz.

The fourth chapter of Megillas Taanis relates the following: On the fourteenth of Tammuz the Book of Laws was abolished. This refers to the Book of Laws of the Tzeddukim (Sadducees - those who did not believe in the Oral Law). Because they believed the Written Law could be understood without the interpretations of the Oral Law, they possessed a Book of Laws which stated the laws of the Written Torah as they understood them.

Megillas Taanis then brings an example of the kinds of laws in their Book: These people are stoned, these are burned, these are slain by the sword, and these are choked. Megillas Taanis then continues: If a person would ask them, Whence do you know that this one is liable to death by stoning, and this one by burning, and this one by the sword and this by choking? they would not be able to bring a proof from the Torah.... Further, the Baysusim would say: [The verse an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth [means that] if a person knocks out anothers tooth, his tooth should be knocked out; if a person blinds anothers eye, his eye should be blinded; they should be equal. (In contrast to the Oral Law interpretation, which is that monetary compensation is to be made.) [The verse] They shall spread the garment before the elders of the city [referring to a case when a man claims his wife was not a virgin] is to be taken literally (that the parents, to prove their daughters virginity, must spread out tokens of her virginity instead of the interpretation of the Oral Law which is that the parents bring witnesses to refute the husbands claim). [The verse] She shall spit before him [referring to the case when a man refuses to marry the widow of his childless brother] means that she shall spit in his face (unlike the Oral Law interpretation which is she spits on the ground in the direction of his face). The Sages said to them: Is it not written, The Torah and the commandment that I have written for instruction, and it is written: And now, write for yourselves this Song and learn it which refers to Scripture, Put it in their mouths which refers to the halachos

In other words, The Tzeddukim interpreted the Written Torah literally, whereas the Oral Torah explains that in many cases the interpretation is different.

Megillas Taanis then concludes: That day on which it (the Book of Laws belonging to the Tzeddukim) was abolished, was instituted as a festival.

There is a connection between this event which took place on the fourteenth of Tammuz and the days of liberation on the 12th-13th of Tammuz. The Book of Laws of the Tzeddukim is the evil equivalent of the Books of Halachah, such as the Six Orders of the Mishneh and Rambams Mishneh Torah. Thus the abolition of the Tzeddukims Book of Laws means an increase in the study of the Torahs halachos.

What is the connection to the idea of redemption? The Alter Rebbe explains that the verse Tzion shall be redeemed with justice refers to the study of halachos, through which we merit the redemption.

Another connection lies in the words: These people are stoned, these are burned, these are slain by the sword, and these are choked (from the Book of Laws cited by Megillas Taanis). These four methods of death are the evil equivalent of Four who must offer thanks Choleh (a sick person who recovers), Yesurim (a prisoner who is freed), Yam (one who safely makes a journey overseas), Midbar (one who safely makes a journey through the desert) the beginning letters of which form the word Chayim, Life. The connection to the 12th-13th of Tammuz is that this festival celebrates the previous Rebbes release from imprisonment, one of the four things for which one must offer thanks.

The three other examples of the interpretations cited by Megillas Taanis are also connected to the idea of redemption. The redemption will be in a manner of love and unity between Jews, with all Jews leaving the exile, as written: You shall be gathered one by one, O children of Israel. And love and unity between Jews is emphasized in our Sages interpretation of the three things, in contrast to the interpretation given by the Baysus:nm

An eye for an eye: They say this is to be taken literally. Our Sages say it means monetary compensation. R. Saadiah Gaon explained the Sages interpretation as such: We cannot interpret this verse literally, for if a person would strike anothers eye and blind a third of his eyesight, how is it possible [when punishing this person] to duplicate such a blow without doing more or less damage; perhaps the miscreants eye will be totally blinded. Therefore our Sages interpreted an eye for an eye to mean the miscreant must pay financial compensation.

They shall spread the garment: They say this is to be taken literally, that the parents should spread out their daughters garment. Such an action would be immodest and shame a Jewish daughter. Our Sages, in contrast, interpreted this verse to mean They make the matter as clear as a garment [that is white}. This avoids shame, for since it is the court which clarifies the matter, it is done according to Torah whose ways are pleasant.

She shall spit before him: They say this means she spits in his face. This, too, is a great shame for him. Our Sages interpret it to mean that she spits on the ground toward his face and thus the shame is not so much.

Thus we see that these three things cited in Megillas Taanis are, in the Oral Law interpretation, all connected with love of a Jew, which is associated with the future redemption.

4. Parshas Pinchas talks of the different sacrifices offered throughout the year the daily sacrifices, Shabbos sacrifices, and festival sacrifices. Chapter 28, verse 2, states: Command the children of Israel, and say to them: My offering, My food-offering consumed by fire, a pleasing odor to Me, you shall be careful to offer Me at its appointed time. Rashi, quoting the words at its appointed time, comments: Every day is the appointed time of the daily offerings.

This verse is referring to the daily offering which was brought twice a day, every day once in the morning and once toward evening. Rashi interprets the appointed time in this verse to mean every day for every day is the appointed time of the daily offering.

But Rashis interpretation is difficult for several reasons:

    1) Rashi does not seem to be telling us anything we would not know from Scripture itself. In the very next verse it states: This is the fire-offering which you shall offer to the L-rd: two yearling male lambs without blemish, every day as a daily burnt-offering. Thus, even if Rashi would make no comment on the words at its appointed time, we would still know that these offerings are brought every day.

    2) Rashi does not answer a question raised by these words. Since the next verse says that the time of the sacrifice is every day, why indeed does Scripture find it necessary to include in this verse the words at its appointed time?

The question is intensified when we examine a previous instance when the term at its appointed time is used concerning the offering of a sacrifice. Scripture states concerning the Pesach sacrifice (Bamidbar 9:2): The children of Israel shall prepare the Pesach offering at its appointed time on the fourteenth day of this month, and Rashi, on the words at its appointed time, comments: At its appointed time even on Shabbos; at its appointed time even in a state of uncleanliness. In other words, Rashis unspoken question concerning the words at its appointed time in relation to the Pesach offering is that these words are superfluous, for the verse could have stated The children of Israel shall prepare the Pesach offering on the fourteenth day of this month. Rashi therefore interprets these words as teaching that the offering of the Pesach sacrifice overrides Shabbos and the state of uncleanliness. He should have offered the same interpretation regarding the words at its appointed time in our verse, concerning the daily offering.

True, there is no need for these words to teach us that the daily sacrifice is to be offered on Shabbos, for Scripture later states so explicitly: On the Shabbos day, two yearling male lambs ... this is the burnt-offering for Shabbos, on each Shabbos, aside from the daily burnt-offering. Nevertheless, the words at its appointed time would still be necessary to teach that the daily offering is to be brought even in a state of uncleanliness. Moreover, the verse On the Shabbos day ... is the beginning of a separate section, and therefore we could posit that at its appointed time in our section still teaches us that the daily offering is to be brought even on Shabbos. Yet, as noted above, Rashi does not interpret these words as teaching that the daily offering is to be brought even on Shabbos, even in the state of uncleanliness.

3) Even if for some reason Rashi does not wish to interpret our verse as he does in the Pesach offering, he could still offer the interpretation of R. Ibn Ezra. He interprets the words at its appointed time to mean that the daily morning sacrifice should not be offered earlier than the morning, and the daily sacrifice offered toward evening should not be offered later than evening. Why doesnt Rashi offer such an interpretation?

The Explanation

At its appointed time means simply that there is a certain time appointed for the sacrifice. This poses a simple question. It is appropriate to use the term at its appointed time concerning a sacrifice such as the Pesach offering, which is brought at a set time during the year the 14th of Nissan. But the daily offering does not have a set, particular time at which it is brought it is brought every day. What then is the meaning of the term at its appointed time in relation to the daily offering?

Rashi answers this question with his comment, Every day is the appointed time of the daily offerings. Rashi is telling us that the term at its appointed time as used in our parshah has a special meaning. Its regular use applies to offerings which are brought only on selected days. In our parshah it means that each and every day is selected as the appointed time for the daily offering

Now we can understand why Rashi does not give the interpretation he offers in parshas Behaaloscha, that at its appointed time teaches that the Pesach offering is to be brought even on Shabbos, even in a state of uncleanliness. There, the difficulty was that this term seems to be superfluous, and therefore Rashi explains that it teaches that the Pesach offering overrides Shabbos and uncleanliness. In our parshah, the difficulty is that this term seems inappropriate for an offering brought every day. Rashi therefore explains that it is not inappropriate, for Scripture is teaching us a novel interpretation of in its appointed time that every day is the appointed time of the daily offerings. There is now no room for another interpretation (that it overrides Shabbos and uncleanliness) since this term is no longer superfluous.

Rashi similarly prefers not to use the interpretation offered by R. Ibn Ezra, that in its appointed time means that the daily morning offering should not be brought earlier than the morning and that the daily offering brought toward evening shall not be offered later than evening. For this interpretation has two difficulties:

    1) It does not conform to the plain interpretation of this term as it is interpreted in every other instance unlike Rashi, which interprets the term 2 nits appointed time in its plain meaning, as interpreted in every other instance (except that here Rashi applies it even to every day);

    2) R. Ibn Ezras interpretation applies this term to the times when the offering is brought every day (morning and toward evening), which is first stated in the verses that appear after this term whereas Rashis interpretation is on this verse itself.

* * *
5. In todays portion of Rambam, we conclude the Laws of Marriage. The last law of the Laws of Marriage (25:13) states: A woman whose husband has offensive breath or an offensive nasal smell or gathers dogs excrements [for use in tanning] or other such things, and he dies, and she is bound to his brother if he has the same defect as her husband, she may say, I was able to endure your brother but I cannot endure you, and he performs the chalitzah ceremony, and she receives her kesuvah

This law refers to a yevamah. A yevamah is a woman whose husband has died childless. If the husband has a brother, the brother has the duty to marry the widow to build up his brothers house, and the widow is not permitted to marry another man. If the husband does not wish to marry his sister-in-law, or she does not wish to marry him, he must perform a ceremony called chalitzah, which frees her for marriage to other men.

The law cited above concerns a woman married to a man who has a defect which ordinarily would compel a man to grant a divorce to his wife if she so desires. When that man dies without children, the wife would normally have to marry his brother. If the brother has the same defect that the dead

R had, we might think the woman must marry the brother on the assumption that since she lived with her husband although he had such a defect, so she should live with the brother who has such a defect. Rambam (based on the Talmud) rules, however, that she may say, I was able to endure your brother but I cannot endure you. The brother then performs the chalitzah ceremony and the woman receives her kesuvah (dowry) [contrary to the case when if she refuses to marry the brother for no valid reason, she does not receive her kesuvah].

Rambam then concludes this law with the words: And you shall see your childrens children, and peace upon Israel. These concluding words seemingly have no connection to the above law. Some commentators say that since the law concludes with the words he performs the chalitzah ceremony and she receives her kesuvah not a good thing (for chalitzah is akin to divorce divorce from the one who should have been her husband) Rambam adds the verse: And you shall see your childrens children, and peace upon Israel so as to conclude with a good thing.

But this explanation is most puzzling. When one concludes with a good thing, it should be a continuation of the passage for which it is the conclusion, and not some totally unconnected matter. It should certainly not be something that is the opposite of the passage. In our case, You shall see your childrens children is possible only when the brother marries the woman and with the children of that marriage, perpetuates his brothers house; when the chalitzah ceremony is performed, there is no more the possibility of childrens children for the dead brother!

Further, the Talmud (Kesuvos 50a) on this verse says: Since your children have children there will be peace upon Israel, for they will not be subject to chalitzah or marriage to the brother. We see, then, that the Talmud interprets this verse as negating even marriage to the brother (for there are children) and yet Rambam cites it as a continuation of the law which says the brother should give chalitzah to the wife!

We will understand why Rambam cites this verse by first clarifying another point in this law. Rambam rules earlier (Laws of Marriage 15:15) that if a woman comes to court and says that her husband is impotent, and she therefore wants a divorce, The judges should make a compromise and say to her, it is better that you stay with your husband until ten years have passed without your having given birth, and then you can demand [a divorce].... They should elaborate at length in this fashion until they make a compromise.

The source for this law is the Mishnah (Nedarim 90b): A woman who declares, Heaven is between you and me [i.e., her husband is impotent a thing that, apart from herself, can be known only to Heaven] ... attempts should be made to placate the wife.

In the light of this law, why in our case, when she claims that she cannot endure her dead husbands brother, is the law he performs the chalitzah ceremony, and she receives her kesuvah? The relationship of a woman whose husband dies childless to his brother, is somewhat similar to that of a man and wife: He marries her without having to betroth her with money, and if he does not wish to marry her, he needs to perform the chalitzah ceremony which is similar to a divorce. In short, they are bound together. When, therefore, she does not wish to marry the brother, the judges should make a compromise, just as they do when she wishes a divorce from her husband if he is impotent. They should talk to her, placate her, and persuade her to live with him especially since she was willing to endure the same defects from her original husband. It would thus seem likely that if they would placate her and beseech her to do this thing, she would be willing to endure the brothers defect also. Whey then does Rambam rule: He performs the chalitzah ceremony, and she receives her kesuvah?

We can posit that Rambam, by citing the verse, You shall see your childrens children, and peace upon Israel, is saying that the court should indeed try to persuade her to accept the brother as her husband. They do so by explaining to her that by accepting the brother, You shall see your childrens children and automatically, there will be peace upon Israel.

Rambam does not write this law explicitly (that the woman should first be persuaded to marry the brother) but only alludes to it by citing this verse, for this law is not cited anywhere in the Talmud or the Geonim. And one of the rules Rambam follows in his Code of Law is that he does not originate laws that are not explicated in the Talmud or Geonim (except for a very few laws, concerning which he writes: It seems to me the law is such and such). Thus in our case Rambam only alludes to the law by citing the verse, You shall see your childrens children, and peace upon Israel.


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16th Day of Tammuz, 5744
 
  
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