Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Ki Tseitsei

The following is a brief summary of some of 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.

R' Frand began the vort by noting that the maftir of Parshas Ki Tseitsei is the same portion which is read for Parshas Zachor and that if a person did not hear Zachor in Adar he can fulfill his obligation by hearing this week's parsha, provided that the Ba'al Koreh has this in mind.

He then quoted Rashi who asked why the issue of remembering Amalek comes immediately after the discussion of not having dishonest weights and measures. He answered that a person who cheats in his weights and measures should be worried that a foreign enemy will attack.

But this answer is not logical. There are many aveiros in the Torah, none of which carry with them a concern about being attacked by enemies as punishment!

R' Frand next quoted the Netziv, who asked three questions (including the question as to why enemies would attack due to weights/measures). The other two questions were: (1) why is the issue of weights and measures mentioned in the desert when people did not sell things in this manner anyway, and (2) why does the Gemara in Bava Basra state that the sin of weights and measures is more severe than the act of adultery?

R' Frand began the Netziv's explanation by first making reference to the Netziv's explanation for why the "big three" aveiros (Killing, Adultery and Idol Worship) hold the position of being yehareg v'al ya'avor (one must give up their life to observe). He explained that every sin has one of three sources--either desire, a denial of Hashem or is caused by a middah ra'ah - a bad trait such as jealousy, rage, or haughtiness.

Each one of these ties into one of the big three. A person commits adultery because of desire. A person kills because of a bad middah such as rage which sends him out of control. A person worships idols because he denies Hashem's existence. 

Which is the worst of the big three? Clearly it must be idol worship, because there is no rationalization for the act. A person may have been driven to kill or compelled by desire to commit an immoral act, but the only reason a person would engage in avodah zarah is because he rejects Hashem.

This is why the sin of having dishonest weights and measures is viewed so severely. He is not stealing because of desire, because the extra quarter that he makes on the sale of beef (even added up over a day) does not give him a windfall. A person who steals a car or a large sum of money does so because he desires the object. That would be why the sin of not stealing is not found next to Amalek.

But a person who cheats his customers to the tune of a few cents per pound does so because he does not believe that Hashem is control of the world and insuring that each person gets the parnasa he is due. 

R' Frand closed the vort by connecting it back to the mention of Amalek, for which the parsha tells us that Amalek attacks when one is not "Yirei Elokim", he has no belief that Hashem is in control of the world.

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