Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Kedoshim

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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. 

In Parshas Kedoshim, the Torah mentions many different laws which are punishable by lashes, including the law of a man who has an improper relationship with a married shifra charufah. The Torah states in Vayikra 19:20 that there shall be an investigation ("Bikores") but no one is put to death as there is a punishment of bringing a korban asham and lashes.

Rashi on this pasuk states that we learn from the word Bikores that when a person receives lashes, there is a requirement that the Beis Din say a pasuk from the tochacha in Ki Savo while the lashes are administered. 

R' Frand's first question was - why is this the source for the law that Beis Din must recite a pasuk from the tochacha while lashing the sinner?

R' Frand next quoted a gemara in Kerisus wherein one opinion states that Beis Din must first estimate how many lashes a person and reduce the number so that the recipient does not die from the punishment.

R' Frand quoted the Tolner Rebbi who asks why the law is learned from shifra charufa? Most laws of lashes are learned from the prohibition against muzzling an ox while it plows. And if we do not learn from there, why not teach the concept in conjunction with the first transgression that is punishable by lashes which is mentioned in the parsha.

The Tolner Rebbi quoted the Aruch Laneir who explains that Beis Din makes an individual assessment of how many lashes a person can take and then before each lash, must reevaluate that the person can withstand the remaining lashes. Why is this the source?

The Tolner Rebbi further quoted the Maharsha who explains that the purpose of reading the pasuk from the tochacha is to teach that the lashes are an easy punishment because there are much more severe punishments that are alluded to in the tochacha. Again, the Tolner Rebbi asks - why is this learned from the law of shifra charufa?

R' Frand answered these questions by explaining that there is a hierarchy of people running from the great elders of the generation to the dregs of society. The shifra charufa in on one of the lowest pegs, but from this person we learn how to give lashes. We consider whether she can take the lashes and don't just assume that since she is of low status it does not matter whether she can sustain the punishment and live. Similarly, the shifra charufa teaches that even someone of this lowly status is given the encouragement that the punishment is light and will make the sinner better.

R' Frand then said - this is perhaps why the law is taught during sefirah - when the students of R' Akiva died because they did not show respect for each other. The lesson of shifra charufa is that even the lowest of the low must be treated with the utmost respect.

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