Friday, August 28, 2009

posts so far for parshat Ki Teitzei

Printable versions of all these will be up shortly.

  1. Ki Seitzei sources -- improved.
  2. Need the Eshet Yefat Toar be objectively, or even subjectively, beautifulNot on the level of derash, or even on the level of peshat. But to what degree?
  3. Distracting dress on the sidelines of battleDid the eshet yefat toar dress so beautifully to distract the enemy armies?
  4. Are the Taliban barbaric for executing the eloping loversHow we react to a modern-day reenactment of naarah hameorasah, and what that says about us.
  5. Ibn Caspi and Diber Torah BeHoveh -- He established this principle, as a signpost, by eshet yefat toar. Then, he uses it to explain other mitzvot, such as maakeh and divorce.
  6. Ibn Caspi, that Edom is not Rome or Christianity -- Offered in defense of the practice of lending for interest to local non-Jews, he asserts that even ifachicha does extend to Edom, they are not Edom. This has implications for all these modern predictors of the apocalypse who take as a given that Rome, or Christianity, or the US, is Edom.
  7. Ki Teizei: Could Bilaam's curse or blessing harm or helpAccording to Ibn Caspi, no. This was catering to the superstitions of the hamon am.
  8. Peshat in יָקוּם עַל שֵׁם אָחִיו הַמֵּת -- While Ibn Caspi and Rashbam says it means literal naming, something not even Karaites say, I agree with the gemara in Yevamos that it certainly doesn't mean this. I would rather call it bad peshat.

  1. Ki Teizei sources -- once again, but this time greatly expanded to include a good number of meforshim on the parsha and haftarah.

  2. Why one with crushed stones may not enter into the kahal. I suggest an alternate reading that we might have thought this was a matir. And ka mashma lan.

  3. The milchemet yachid, with one's will, and whether such a derasha is justified. It does not seem to be so, despite the Baal HaTurim's assertion, because the word is malei, rather than chaser as he asserts. It is possible that he misreads and misapplies the masoretic note from the end of Shofetim, as Minchas Shai suggests. Or perhaps we can say there was a variant text.

  4. The first of his strength, and how Ibn Ezra becomes a darshan -- how he heeds smichut, and gives an interpretation as the first of his seed, even though elsewhere he appears to offer a peshat interpretation as opposite that one, given by Rashi.

  5. Is the Mamzer a bastard, or a nation? How Ibn Ezra explores this, and gives different impressions as to his peshat judgement in two separate places. And what in the world he means by his description of Targum taking the short, midrashic path.

  6. The mother's fault, according to Ibn Ezra, for the bad nature of her sons, as this applies to various Biblical characters, including the ben sorer umoreh who is the son of the eshet yefat toar. But was Elisheva, wife of Aharon, responsible for the good nature of Eleazar, or the wicked nature of Nadav and Avihu. Ibn Ezra is cryptic and while all the supercommentators I have seen suggest the former, I would suggest the latter as a possiblilty.

  7. What does it mean that they did not greet you with lechem? I would take it as idiomatic, but not the real cause for the pegam; and that this is poetic exaggeration to provide a contrast with their actual actions, of hiring against you Bilaam ben Beor to curse.

  8. Which naarah is plene? Did Rambam forget the gemara? Here, I attempt to rescue that Rambam from the questions of Kesef Mishnah and then Minchas Shai. I suggest that the Rambam understood the gemara to mean that several pesukim in context had naarah plene, and how one can parse the gemara this way. Which then explains why he would use the derasha rather than the alternate derivation -- in the new reading of the gemara, this is not an alternate derivation.


  1. Ki Seitzei sources -- links to pages in an online Mikraos Gedolos by perek and by aliyah.

  2. Shadal on Shiluach haKen -- so that we do not look down on the trait of mercy, by penalizing the mother bird's mercy on her children.

  3. Zachor -- Why does it matter that they were faint and weary? In which I suggest that back then they were unable to stand up for themselves and their honor, but now they can.

  4. Shadal on the betrothed Naarah, that the Torah does not want the charge laid out against her, and that she is an entirely unmarried, and unbetrothed girl. And the Torah is acting to subdue certain tribal customs. Finally, why I don't like this explanation, for various peshat reasons.

  5. Cutting off her hand?! Different explanations of this shocking instruction. My own take, but also how the Karaites maintain that one actually cuts off her hand, and does not take kofer, unlike other maimings, such as in the case of ayin tachat ayin. And Ibn Ezra that this is only when she does not pay kofer. And Shadal like one Tannaitic position, that it is a case of rotzeiach, but later reverses himself to more resemble Ibn Ezra.

  6. Shoe-tossing as a sign of contempt, and how this might intersect with the laws of chalitza, as well as a midrash about Mordechai and Haman.

  1. Taking the Mill or Upper Millstone as Pledge -- In which I suggest that nefesh hu chovel is a pun.
  2. Collecting Interest -- In which taking interest in not a sin in and of itself, but this is an extra restriction to promote a society with the value of fraternity.
  3. Not Giving Up An Escaped Slave -- Yet you must help your fellow Jew recover his wandering sheep. Why the difference? There is law and there is what is morally right.
  4. When you go to war against your enemy -- Just because you win does not mean that you get to do whatever you like. The rules don't go out the window. Rather, you must behave in a prescribed, moral manner. Also, we can interpret this homiletically, in which the "enemy" is the evil inclination.
  5. Is Rudy Guliani an Adulterer? No, because the woman he was with was single. And even if married, he would not commit Biblical adultery. And it seems that he was possibly not really considered married.
  6. A Slightly Non-Normative Reading of Machzir Gerushato -- Based in part on a Bet Shammai reading, and somewhat supported by statements in Chazal. That her "defilement" was not her intervening marriage, but rather the adultery which broke up the first marriage in the first place.
  7. Request for Explanation of Naar/Naara -- With my own explanation offered, but more requested. And an explanation already given in the comments.


  1. VeKatzota et Kappa As Din Rodef: Within this relatively unknown opinion in Chazal that this is din Rodef, because the woman is still crushing and this can put the man's life in danger, and that this is an instruction to prevent a rodef with the minimum damage necessary (here her hand rather than her life), we point out an instance where a woman did just this and thus almost killed her husband, and could have been on trial for murder.
  2. Orthopraxy III - Remembering What Amalek Did -- How can you remember what Amalek did if you do not believe that Amalek did it?


  1. The Damsel's Father (and Not Her Mother, and Not the Damsel) - I point out an interesting Sifrei, but never got a chance to develop it. This Sifrei states אמר אבי הנערה אל הזקנים מכאן שאין רשות לאשה לדבר במקום האיש, which is one source text on Chazal's attitude towards women assuming public communal roles.
  2. In Motzi Shem Ra I suggest that the purpose of the further penalty that the man shouldn't divorce her afterwards is deterrence. I elaborate in the post.
  3. Three (Non-Contradictory) Explanations of וְהֶחֱזִיקָה בִּמְבֻשָׁיו: Chazal's payment of money for embarrassment; the Middle Assyrian Law and Ibn Ezra's attempt at reconciliation with halacha, and a new, not-well known one, which might even be said to be on the level of peshat - under the din rodef, in which she is still grabbed on.


  1. Eshet Yefat Toar As Progressive Feminist Legislation -- We examine the laws and language of the yefat toar, finding that the novelty of the law may actually be protection of captive women.
  2. Ben Sorer UMoreh - Why? I suggest something based on the root KLL.
  3. In Ben Sorer UMoreh I suggest that this was a reform intended to take honor killings for misbehavior out of the realm of family judgement and into the formal court system.

to be continued...

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