Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Ki Seitzei

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

This week's parsha begins with the mitzva of Eishes Yifas Toar, a non-Jewish woman who a soldier may bring back from battle with him and marry after she has gone through a thirty day waiting period.

In commenting on why this mitzva exists, Rashi explains that the Torah allows this mitzva to combat the Yetzer Hara. However, Rabbi Frand brought down a more interesting view of the mitzva as explained by the Shela HaKadosh.

The Shelah quoted a pasuk from Nach which says that Mayim Genuvim Yimtiku - stolen waters will be sweetened. The concept of sweet water is difficult to comprehend since water does not have a taste. Indeed, a person may be very thirsty for water and it will quench his thirst, but the water still will not have flavor. However, the water which does not belong to the person which he steals, will taste sweet to him because it is forbidden.

R' Frand digressed to illustrate this point by making reference to the "no carb diet." He said that normally, a person will have no strong desire to eat a plain baked potato. French Fries or potatoes with sauce or dressing may be appealing, but a person does not have a strong desire to eat a plain potato. However, to a person on a "no carb" diet, a plain baked potato may be very attractive. Of course, once the person goes off the diet, the potato goes back to being plain and uninviting.

R' Frand then returned to explain that according to the Shelah, the Torah allows a variation on the item so that it will no longer be as desirable to the person.

R' Frand brought a proof to this concept from a gemara in Chullin which recounts a conversation between R' Nachman and his wife, Yalta. Yalta said to her husband, every time that the Torah has made something forbidden, there is a corresponding rule which allows a similar item. For example, on numerous occasions, the Torah forbids the consumption of blood. However, the Torah allows the consumption of liver which is essentially blood filled. Another example she mentioned was chelev - forbidden fats of a kosher beheimah. Although chelev of a cow is forbidden, the Torah allows chelev of a chaya such as a deer. Still another example mentioned is the concept of meat and milk. While the two cannot be consumed together, a person may consume a cow's udder.

R' Frand then returned to the Shelah's concept of Eishes Yifas Toar. If a person knows that in some form he is permitted to do something, he will not have a longing for the forbidden aspect. By permitting the Eishes Yifas Toar to the soldier, he will not be consumed by desire for a battlefield bride. In so doing, the Torah did not combat the Yetzer Hara, it gave the person a way to circumvent it entirely.

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