The spoils of war:
Of late, this first paragraph has been reserved for mazel tovs and the simcha review, ober this week the Oisvorfer wishes to remind his choshuva readers about an important BBQ being hosted this coming Monday, Labor Day mamish, here in Lawrence for a truly worthwhile cause. The Moradi family, whose house is seemingly always open when it comes to hosting charitable events, will once again open their doors for Avigdor’s Helping Hand, a most worthwhile charity founded by Mr. and Mrs. Eli Glaser in memory of their beloved son Avigdor (may his memory be a blessing). Please visit www.Avigdorshelpinghand.com to learn more about their important mission and work. Oh, and feel free to attend and/or otherwise participate.
Toirah so early on a Thursday night? Yes!!! Raboyseyee, in order to whet your appetites into learning this most interesting Parsha which is mamish chock full of very interesting day to day mitzvois, a good number of them anyway, the Oisvorfer is doing his part by sending out the weekly Toirah a shtikel earlier than usual: open it immediately and chap areyn. Chapping is seemingly OK as we will soon learn, only under certain conditions, however and zicher not for you chazerim (swine)! Forget about the farshtunkina internet and the shmutz you typically watch on it or even on a regular television, chas v’sholom (heaven forbid) , focus instead on this week’s Parsha to see and learn how the RBSO in His magnificence thought of every detail to help enrich our lives and sometimes even get us out of misery.
If ever there was a Parsha you didn’t want to miss hearing and reading, efsher even over and again, it’s this week’s heylige Parsha of Ki Saytzei which contains the most and efsher also the most stimulating of the 613 given to us by the RBSO. With 74 just in this parsha alone, it easily outranks any other, and it would take a good week or more to list and delve into each one. Delving is taka one of the mitzvois the RBSO seems to allow soldiers in battle as a reward for their dedication and hard work, ober chap nisht, we’ll zicher cover that shortly. Ershtens (firstly) a shtikel teaser of what’s to come, besides the soldier avada.
In addition to the solider and his permitted escapades, in Ki Saytzei we’ll also find laid out, if you chap, efsher the widest assortment of rules related to ethical warfare, family life, burial of the deceased, property laws, the humane treatment of animals, fair labor practices, and proper economic transactions. Specifically, you’ll read about real live war booty, Pi Shinayim (the rights of the first born), the unusual way we are to deal with the ben soreir (the ‘wayward and rebellious’ son) who is seemingly much worse than the average Oisvorf, and who is put to death, followed by the treatment of the bodies of the executed. Other mitzvois covered include our responsibility towards the property of others, men’s and women’s clothing (cross dressing verboten), guard rails, mixed agriculture, tzitzis, issues of marriage and adultery, slavery, sexual propriety, prostitution (now also verboten), interest, vows, workers’ rights, divorce, kidnapping, consideration for the orphan and the widow, support for the poor, Leverite marriage, the penalty for embarrassing another, and honest weights and measures.
And since the soldier is granted special permission to chap, avada we’ll also learn that there are specific rules, also amazingly enough found in this week’s special Parsha regarding seminal emissions (the soldier becomes tomay and must leave the camp) and believe it or not, soldiers are even instructed on where they may perform their other bodily functions (also outside the camp) (23:10:15).
Shoin, for you ladigayers (lazy good for nothings), that’s the entire parsha roundup bikitzur (in short). As you can see, the Parsha, like last week’s, is a potpourri – a shtikel something for most to enjoy – and a shtikel more, for our fighting heroes. The parsha ends with the famous mitzvah of not forgetting, and in fact remembering what Amolake, those terrible people, did to the Yiddin when they left Mitzrayim. .
How will we cover 74 mitzvois in four pages? We won’t and you’ll have to learn this amazing Parsha on your own instead of gossiping and speaking loshoin horah (bad mouthing) about your chaverim (so called friends). And since the very first possik of the Parsha begins with this most amazing news about war, soldiers, and chapping some r&r, if you chap, avada we shouldn’t skip this most amazing inyan (topic,) and lommer uingfangin (let’s begin) by learning a few pisukim from the heylige Toirah, it won’t kill you.
10. If you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, will deliver him into your hands, and you take his captives,
11. and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her, you may take [her] for yourself as a wife.
12. You shall bring her into your home, and she shall shave her head and let her nails grow.
13. And she shall remove the garment of her captivity from upon herself, and stay in your house, and weep for her father and her mother for a full month. After that, you may be intimate with her and possess her, and she will be a wife for you.
The RBSO in His magnificence, who avada chapped that regular humans are barely that, and mistama those on the battlefield, mamish in the heat of war and other heat even less so, and would likely do the unthinkable, established an extraordinary provision permitting the soldier to chap and marry a captive woman to whom he feels strongly attracted. And hear this: as amazing as this may sound, according to most opinions, he may even engage in sexual relations with her before her conversion and marriage. Believe it or not, there’s more debate on whether or not he may have a second helping, if you chap. Ober our Rabbis needn’t worry themselves silly about pritzus (immodesty): seemingly, mixed dancing with the captive shiksa remains forbidden.
Before we look at what the medrish and the heylige Gemora had to say on this topic, it does appear to the Oisvorfer that this allowance, were it taught to the Charedim living in Israel who refuse mamish to enlist and hide behind different Toirah sanctioned war exemptions given over the generations by obfuscating and twisting various passages, could quickly solve an issue that’s been plaguing every government since 1948. Shoin: a guaranteed end to the entire debate over whether or not Charedim should serve in the army. Teach them the five pisukim above, along with the various medroshim, and watch the lines at the recruitment office suddenly burgeon as the Yeshiva boys empty out the beis hamedrish (study hall) and opt for guns and anything else that shoots, if you chap, vs. Gemora.
But wait a minute, is this all emes? Is the battleground the new shiksa pick-up location? Is it that easy? A married man goes to war, chaps the shiksa, brings her home, marries her (in addition to the nice Jewish girl he previously and is still currently married to) and they live happily ever after? Seemingly not, and says the heylige Toirah azoy: “You shall bring her into your house, and she shall trim her hair, pare her nails, and discard her captive’s guard… After that you may come to her and marry her” (21:12-13). In other words: 30 days of procedural activities until he can make her his.
Rashi and avada many others are all over this surprise reward, and debate hotly what the real pshat is in these words. Some say that the 30 days wait, along with the entire grooming ritual, is aimed at diminishing his initial attraction and allowing the spell that had gripped the soldier, to fade. In theory, this is accomplished, efsher, by altering the woman’s physical appearance. Does this work? Ver veyst?
Ober what’s really pshat with having to groom her nails, the shave, and the haircut? Don’t all these things make the girl, almost any, – maybe even the eishes chayil – and avada the hot shiksa captive look better and not worse? Doesn’t the wait period make the soldier even hotter and more filled with desire? Nu, let’s learn what a few had to say on this topic. Lommer chazzerin (let’s review the procedures). After bringing her into his home, the soldier must have her remove her hair, after which she must do something to her fingernails – “ve-esseo es tziporneha” (21:12). How does one do nails?
Let’s learn some Gemora which avada illuminated many topics, this one included. Says the heylige Gemora (Yevomois 48) azoy: Rebbe Eliezer claims that this refers to manicuring – nails cut short-, whereas Rebbe Akiva interprets the verse to mean the precise opposite. The woman must let her fingernails grow. Shoin: a classic machloikes (dispute) between two great people who avada knew quite a bit. Both of these giants base their positions on the association between this requirement and the first provision mentioned in the verse, that the woman must shave her hair. Rebbe Eliezer argues that just as the obligation concerning hair involves removal, so must the requirement regarding fingernails entail removal, rather than allowing something to grow long. Rebbe Akiva says farkert (opposite). Just as she must remove her hair so as to render her unattractive to the soldier, so must she allow her fingernails to grow long, to give her an unkempt appearance. In other words, according to Rebbe Akiva, long nails are unattractive. Which is it?
Says the Ramban, who wasn’t going to be left out of such a givaldig debate, that he likes Rabbi Eliezer’s view: off with her hair and nails. And he tells us that in many cultures, women taka grow their nails long and decorate them, and thus cutting a woman’s nails would indeed make her less attractive. Were there as many nail salons back then as there are today, ver veyst, but seemingly the Ramban was a man way ahead of his time. The Ramban also claims that the entire series of laws, including the cutting of her fingernails, are part of the shiksa’s mourning process. He writes, “For it is improper to sleep with a woman who is under duress and mourning.” Seemingly the woman needs to be both, ober were it just duress that could prohibit relations, most of you Oisvorfs would be long out of business, if you chap, which you wouldn’t. The Toirah therefore required that the captive be allowed time to express and ultimately overcome her sorrow through the process of mourning, so that her marriage occurs with the proper mindset.
Not everyone is happy with the Ramban’s theory, and avada we know that in our times, the practice of mourning is quite the opposite: we don’t cut nails as a sign of mourning; in fact a mourner is taka forbidden from cutting nails, what’s pshat here? Taka an excellent kasha, ober explains the “Kur Ha-barzel” that in the Ramban’s view, just as overgrown fingernails express mourning and grief, so do particularly short fingernails, just as completely shaving one’s head expresses aveilus the same way overgrown hair does. Shoin: nails, both too long or too short are a sign of mourning.
Says the Netziv, that the eishes yefas toi’ar (the beautiful captured woman) must avada shave her hair and cut her nails because she is about to become a convert who must, as we all know, first take a dip in the mikveh (ritual bath). And a person who undergoes tevila (immersion) must first remove all extraneous matter from her body, for otherwise it is considered an interruption (chatzitza) in between her body and the water. Shoin: case closed. Excessive hair and long fingernails will zicher disqualify a tevila, avada depending on who’s checking and where one dips.
Efsher you glanced over the few words earlier which stated that the soldier must bring the captive into his house. Warning: do not try this at home as it could be extremely dangerous to your heath and wealth, if you chap. “Hello honey, I’m home from the war and look what I brought you,” is not what the eishes chayil wants to hear or see following the war! In other words: forget the shave, haircut, and marriage idea: what happens in the heat of battle, stays there, think Vegas!
And the bottom line about this entire shiksa gisheft: A Jewish soldier zicher should be strong enough to resist the normal temptations of battle, but is, at the and end of the day, granted special dispensation, and may chap a captive woman only according to the approved Toirah procedures. And conclude many, azoy: This is not an ideal situation; commentaries consider this to be one of the mitzvois that is a “concession to the base inclinations of a man” in the heat of battle. Men are chazerim, especially during war ober The RBSO has their backs.
Nu, we’re already on page four and still have over 70 mitzvois to cover, what to do? Like davening and reciting slichois, we’ll have to skip ahead and cover new topics (next year), ober for now, let’s take a look at one related war mitzvah, and space permitting we’ll close out with one more unusual mitzvah found right here in Ki Saytzei. Says the heylige Toirah azoy: “When a man has taken a bride, he shall not go out with the army or be assigned to it for any purpose; he shall be exempt one year for the sake of his household, to give happiness to the woman he has married” (24:5). This mitzvah has been given its own name: shono rishoino, (first year of marriage and the obligations relevant to the young couple, especially the husband). Seemingly the husband has a specific duty to make the eishes chayil happy and I don’t mean with jewelry; seemingly he needs to use his jewels to deliver some happiness, if you chap. Avada once the year is over, the eishes chayil would and does avada prefer jewelry.
Why was the newlywed exempted from war games? Lommer zeyn (let’s see). Says the Sefer Ha-chinuch: “… in order to accustom one’s nature with her… until all actions of other women and anything involving them will seem foreign to his nature.” According to the Chinuch, this obligation is meant to solidify the relationship between husband and wife, to ensure that they grow accustomed to each other to the point where anyone else seems strange and foreign. Loosely translated: to make the couple forget other experience they may have had. Veyter.
The Chasam Soifer adds a much more pragmatic reason. “He may not go into the army because since his mind is on his new wife, he will not fight from his heart and soul, for half his being is at home; how can he fight with half a being?” In other words: this exemption serves not the newlywed couple but the army. Drafting a new groom who concentrates more on his bride than on the critical tasks at hand, could result in a military catastrophe.
And adds the Netziv, that the “shono rishoina” exemption is not a prohibition or an obligation, but rather as an exemption from military service granted to the groom. The Toirah allows a newlywed husband to remain home with his wife during their first year of marriage even while the rest of the nation is at war.
Raboyseyee, though volumes of commentary can be written on this Parsha, and though the Oisvorfer doesn’t have any shono rishoina obligations, in fact, he’s exempt because the eishes chayil is under duress (almost always, if you chap), nonetheless, we must end early this evening and we’ll close with one more mamish unusual and not what one expects to read in the heylige Toirah, mitzvah. Let’s read the possik.
Says the heylige Toirah (23:19): “You shall not bring a prostitute’s fee or the price of a dog, to the House of the Lord, your God, for any vow, because both of them are an abomination to the Lord, your God.”
What the hec does that mean? Ver veyst, but seemingly there is a prohibition against “esnan zoina” meaning that an animal used as payment for prostitution services may not be used as a korban (sacrifice). Efsher you’re klerring as am I…which sick and demented vilde chaya would do such a dastardly act, and I don’t mean sleeping with the zoina. Isn’t it quite poshit (self-evident) that using the whore’s wages as a korban might be an abomination to the RBSO? And isn’t it quite poshit (self evident) that its immediate association with harlotry renders this animal invalid for the sacred rituals of the Mikdash? Taka says the Rambam (Moireh Nevuchim 3:46): using such an animal for sacrificial worship could result in an irreverent attitude towards the sanctity of these rituals; no kidding! And says the Chinuch (571): the use of this animal undermines the very purpose behind korbonois. Sacrifices are meant to bring one to spiritual purification; the association of this animal to prostitution threatens to contaminate the penitent’s mind and heart just as he seeks to purge them of impurities.
And says the RambaN: recognizing the ungodly nature of their line of work, prostitutes would customarily allocate some of their profits for sacrificial use in an attempt to atone for their wrongdoing. The Toirah, therefore, forbids designating the payment for use as a sacrifice as a means of further discouraging harlotry. In other words: only cash should be used for such services and in extreme cases where the service begins as a massage, but ends happily after, if you chap, credit cards may be used to pay for such services. And the final word on this prohibition: one should not use the cash acquired by providing a quick fix to those desperately in need, by using the very behaymo (animal) as a quick fix to atone for whoring.
A gitten shabbis –