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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Devarim - Deuteronomy - Chapter 21

Devarim - Deuteronomy - Chapter 21

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 21

1. If a slain person be found in the land which the Lord, your God is giving you to possess, lying in the field, [and] it is not known who slew him,   א. כִּי יִמָּצֵא חָלָל בַּאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לְרִשְׁתָּהּ נֹפֵל בַּשָּׂדֶה לֹא נוֹדַע מִי הִכָּהוּ:
2. then your elders and judges shall go forth, and they shall measure to the cities around the corpse.   ב. וְיָצְאוּ זְקֵנֶיךָ וְשֹׁפְטֶיךָ וּמָדְדוּ אֶל הֶעָרִים אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹת הֶחָלָל:
then your elders… shall go out: the distinguished ones of your elders, [namely] the Great Sanhedrin. — [Sotah 44]   ויצאו זקניך: מיוחדים שבזקניך, אלו סנהדרי גדולה:
and they shall measure: from the place where the corpse lies.   ומדדו: ממקום שהחלל שוכב:
to the cities around the corpse: in every direction, in order to ascertain which is the nearest.   אל הערים אשר סביבות החלל: לכל צד לידע איזו קרובה:
3. And it will be, [that from] the city closer to the corpse, the elders of that city shall take a calf with which work has never been done, [and] that has never drawn a yoke,   ג. וְהָיָה הָעִיר הַקְּרֹבָה אֶל הֶחָלָל וְלָקְחוּ זִקְנֵי הָעִיר הַהִוא עֶגְלַת בָּקָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא עֻבַּד בָּהּ אֲשֶׁר לֹא מָשְׁכָה בְּעֹל:
4. and the elders of that city shall bring the calf down to a rugged valley, which was neither tilled nor sown, and there in the valley, they shall decapitate the calf.   ד. וְהוֹרִדוּ זִקְנֵי הָעִיר הַהִוא אֶת הָעֶגְלָה אֶל נַחַל אֵיתָן אֲשֶׁר לֹא יֵעָבֵד בּוֹ וְלֹא יִזָּרֵעַ וְעָרְפוּ שָׁם אֶת הָעֶגְלָה בַּנָּחַל:
to a rugged valley: Heb. אֵיתָן, hard, [a valley] that was never tilled.   אל נחל איתן: קשה שלא נעבד:
shall decapitate: He breaks its neck with a hatchet [i.e., from the back]. The Holy One, blessed be He, says: Let the calf which is in its first year and has, therefore, produced no fruits, come and be decapitated at a place [the valley that was not tilled] which has not produced fruits, in order to atone for the murder of this man, whom they [the murderers] did not allow to produce fruit [i.e., to perform mitzvoth]. — [Sotah 46a]   וערפו: קוצץ ערפה בקופיץ. אמר הקב"ה תבא עגלה בת שנתה שלא עשתה פירות ותערף במקום שאינו עושה פירות, לכפר על הריגתו של זה שלא הניחוהו לעשות פירות:
5. And the kohanim, the sons of Levi, shall approach, for the Lord, your God, has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the Name of the Lord, and by their mouth shall every controversy and every lesion be [judged].   ה. וְנִגְּשׁוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי לֵוִי כִּי בָם בָּחַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשָׁרְתוֹ וּלְבָרֵךְ בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה וְעַל פִּיהֶם יִהְיֶה כָּל רִיב וְכָל נָגַע:
6. And all the elders of that city, who are the nearest to the corpse, shall wash their hands over the calf that was decapitated in the valley;   ו. וְכֹל זִקְנֵי הָעִיר הַהִוא הַקְּרֹבִים אֶל הֶחָלָל יִרְחֲצוּ אֶת יְדֵיהֶם עַל הָעֶגְלָה הָעֲרוּפָה בַנָּחַל:
7. And they shall announce and say, "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see [this crime]."   ז. וְעָנוּ וְאָמְרוּ יָדֵינוּ לֹא שָׁפְכוּ אֶת הַדָּם הַזֶּה וְעֵינֵינוּ לֹא רָאוּ:
Our hands did not shed [this blood]: But would it enter one’s mind that the elders of the court are murderers? Rather, [they declare:] We [ourselves] did not see him and let him depart without food or escort [which would have indirectly caused his death, leaving this man to the elements and to robbers]. — [Sifrei ; Sotah 45a] The kohanim then say:   ידינו לא שפכה: וכי עלתה על לב שזקני בית דין שופכי דמים הם, אלא לא ראינוהו ופטרנוהו בלא מזונות ובלא לויה. והכהנים אומרים כפר לעמך ישראל:
8. "Atone for Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and lay not [the guilt of] innocent blood among your people Israel." And [so] the blood shall be atoned for them.   ח. כַּפֵּר לְעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר פָּדִיתָ יְהֹוָה וְאַל תִּתֵּן דָּם נָקִי בְּקֶרֶב עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְנִכַּפֵּר לָהֶם הַדָּם:
Atone for Your people Israel,… And [so] the blood will be atoned for them: Scripture informs them that from the time they complete all this, their sin is atoned. — [Sifrei]   ונכפר להם הדם: הכתוב מבשרם שמשעשו כן יכופר להם העון:
9. And you shall abolish the [shedding of] innocent blood from among you, for you shall do what is proper in the eyes of the Lord.   ט. וְאַתָּה תְּבַעֵר הַדָּם הַנָּקִי מִקִּרְבֶּךָ כִּי תַעֲשֶׂה הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה:
and you shall abolish: This tells [us] that if the murderer is found after the calf is decapitated, the murderer must be executed, and that is “what is proper in the eyes of the Lord.” - [Sotah 47b, Keth. 37b]   ואתה תבער: מגיד שאם נמצא ההורג אחר שנתערפה העגלה הרי זה יהרג, והוא הישר בעיני ה':
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,   י. כִּי תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל אֹיְבֶיךָ וּנְתָנוֹ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ:
If you go out to war: The verse here is referring to an optional war [i.e., non-obligatory] (Sifrei 21:1), since in reference to the [obligatory] war [to conquer] the land of Israel, it would be inappropriate to say “and you take his captives” because it has already been stated [regarding the seven nations of Canaan],“[from these peoples’ cities…] you shall not allow any soul to live.” (Deut. 20: 16).   כי תצא למלחמה: במלחמת הרשות הכתוב מדבר, שבמלחמת ארץ ישראל אין לומר ושבית שביו, שהרי כבר נאמר (לעיל כ טז) לא תחיה כל נשמה:
and you take his captives: Heb. וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ. [The double language here comes] to include Canaanites in their midst, even though they are from the seven nations. — [Sifrei 21:2; Sotah 35b]   ושבית שביו: לרבות כנענים שבתוכה ואף על פי שהם משבעה אומות:
11. and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her, you may take [her] for yourself as a wife.   יא. וְרָאִיתָ בַּשִּׁבְיָה אֵשֶׁת יְפַת תֹּאַר וְחָשַׁקְתָּ בָהּ וְלָקַחְתָּ לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה:
a…woman: Heb. אֵשֶׁת, even a married woman (אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ). - [Kid. 21b]   אשת: אפילו אשת איש:
[and you desire her,] you may take [her] for yourself as a wife: [Not that you are commanded to take this woman as a wife,] but Scripture [in permitting this marriage] is speaking only against the evil inclination [, which drives him to desire her]. For if the Holy One, blessed is He, would not permit her to him, he would take her illicitly. [The Torah teaches us, however, that] if he marries her, he will ultimately come to despise her, as it says after this, “If a man has [two wives-one beloved and the other despised]” (verse 15); [moreover] he will ultimately father through her a wayward and rebellious son (see verse 18). For this reason, these passages are juxtaposed. — [Tanchuma 1]   ולקחת לך לאשה: לא דברה תורה אלא כנגד יצר הרע. שאם אין הקב"ה מתירה ישאנה באיסור. אבל אם נשאה, סופו להיות שונאה, שנאמר אחריו (פסוק טו) כי תהיין לאיש וגו' וסופו להוליד ממנה בן סורר ומורה, לכך נסמכו פרשיות הללו:
12. You shall bring her into your home, and she shall shave her head and let her nails grow.   יב. וַהֲבֵאתָהּ אֶל תּוֹךְ בֵּיתֶךָ וְגִלְּחָה אֶת רֹאשָׁהּ וְעָשְׂתָה אֶת צִפָּרְנֶיהָ:
and let her nails grow: Heb. וְעָשְׂתָה אֶת-צִפָּרְנֶיהָ. She must let them grow, so that she should becomes repulsive [to her captor, to induce him to change his mind about marrying her]. — [Sifrei 21:7, Yev. 48a]   ועשתה את צפרניה: תגדלם כדי שתתנוול:
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.   יג. וְהֵסִירָה אֶת שִׂמְלַת שִׁבְיָהּ מֵעָלֶיהָ וְיָשְׁבָה בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבָכְתָה אֶת אָבִיהָ וְאֶת אִמָּהּ יֶרַח יָמִים וְאַחַר כֵּן תָּבוֹא אֵלֶיהָ וּבְעַלְתָּהּ וְהָיְתָה לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה:
And she shall remove the garment of her captivity: [so that she should not be attractive to her captor,] for they are pretty [clothes], because gentile women adorn themselves during wartime, in order to seduce others [namely, the enemy] to have relations with them. — [Sifrei 21:8]   והסירה את שמלת שביה: לפי שהם נאים, שהגוים בנותיהם מתקשטות במלחמה בשביל להזנות אחרים עמהם:
and stay in your house: In the house he uses. Upon entering, he will stumble upon her, and upon leaving, he will stumble upon her, see her weeping and see her unsightly appearance-all this, so that she should become despicable to him. — [Sifrei 21: 9]   וישבה בביתך: בבית שמשתמש בו, נכנס ונתקל בה, יוצא ונתקל בה, רואה בבכייתה, רואה בנוולה, כדי שתתגנה עליו:
and weep for her father and her mother: Why is all this necessary? So that an Israelite woman [i.e., this man’s Jewish wife] should be happy, and this [gentile captive woman] should be grief-stricken, an Israelite woman should be dressed up, and this one should make herself repulsive. — [Sifrei 21:11]   ובכתה את אביה: כל כך למה, כדי שתהא בת ישראל שמחה וזו עצבה, בת ישראל מתקשטת וזו מתנוולת:
14. And it will be, if you do not desire her, then you shall send her away wherever she wishes, but you shall not sell her for money. You shall not keep her as a servant, because you have afflicted her.   יד. וְהָיָה אִם לֹא חָפַצְתָּ בָּהּ וְשִׁלַּחְתָּהּ לְנַפְשָׁהּ וּמָכֹר לֹא תִמְכְּרֶנָּה בַּכָּסֶף לֹא תִתְעַמֵּר בָּהּ תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר עִנִּיתָהּ:
And it will be, if you do not desire her: Scripture informs you that eventually you will despise her. — [Sifrei 21:14.   והיה אם לא חפצתה בה: הכתוב מבשרך שסופך לשנאותה:
You shall not keep her as a servant: Heb. לֹא-תִתְעַמֵּר בָּהּ. [This means:]“You must not use her [as a slave]” (Sifrei 21:16). In the Persian language, the term for slavery and servitude is עִימְרָאָה [the term used here]. I learned this from the Yesod of Rabbi Moses the Darshan.   לא תתעמר בה: לא תשתמש בה בלשון פרסי קורין לעבדות ושימוש, עימראה. מיסודו של רבי משה הדרשן למדתי כן:
15. If a man has two wives-one beloved and the other despised-and they bear him sons, the beloved one and the despised one, and the firstborn son is from the despised one.   טו. כִּי תִהְיֶיןָ לְאִישׁ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים הָאַחַת אֲהוּבָה וְהָאַחַת שְׂנוּאָה וְיָלְדוּ לוֹ בָנִים הָאֲהוּבָה וְהַשְּׂנוּאָה וְהָיָה הַבֵּן הַבְּכֹר לַשְּׂנִיאָה:
16. Then it will be, on the day he [the husband] bequeaths his property to his sons, that he will not be able to give the son of the beloved [wife] birthright precedence over the son of the despised [wife]-the [real] firstborn son.   טז. וְהָיָה בְּיוֹם הַנְחִילוֹ אֶת בָּנָיו אֵת אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה לוֹ לֹא יוּכַל לְבַכֵּר אֶת בֶּן הָאֲהוּבָה עַל פְּנֵי בֶן הַשְּׂנוּאָה הַבְּכֹר:
17. Rather, he must acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the despised [wife] and give him a double share in all that he possesses, because he [this firstborn son] is the first of his strength, then he has the birthright entitlement.   יז. כִּי אֶת הַבְּכֹר בֶּן הַשְּׂנוּאָה יַכִּיר לָתֶת לוֹ פִּי שְׁנַיִם בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִמָּצֵא לוֹ כִּי הוּא רֵאשִׁית אֹנוֹ לוֹ מִשְׁפַּט הַבְּכֹרָה:
a double share: [The firstborn son takes a share] equal to that of two brothers [together]. — [Sifrei 21:28]   פי שנים: כנגד שני אחים:
[and give him a double share] in all that he possesses: From here [we learn that] the firstborn son does not take [a double share] from that which [the father’s estate] is entitled to after the demise of the father, [e.g., from an uncollected debt,] as [he does] from what was in the father’s actual possession. — [Sifrei 21:29, Bech. 51b]   בכל אשר ימצא לו: מכאן שאין הבכור נוטל פי שנים בראוי לבא לאחר מיתת האב, כבמוחזק:
18. If a man has a wayward and rebellious son, who does not obey his father or his mother, and they chasten him, and [he still] does not listen to them,   יח. כִּי יִהְיֶה לְאִישׁ בֵּן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקוֹל אָבִיו וּבְקוֹל אִמּוֹ וְיִסְּרוּ אֹתוֹ וְלֹא יִשְׁמַע אֲלֵיהֶם:
wayward: Heb. סוֹרֵר, deviating (סָר) from the [proper] path.   סורר: סר מן הדרך:
rebellious: Heb. מוֹרֶה, [meaning] one who disobeys the words of his father. [The word מוֹרֶה is] derived from [the same root as] the word מַמְרִים [meaning “to rebel”] (see Deut. 9:7).   ומורה: מסרב בדברי אביו, לשון ממרים:
they shall chasten him: They must warn him in the presence of three [people, not to steal, nor to eat a certain quantity of meat and drink a certain quantity of wine (see further in Rashi)], and then they must have him flogged [by the court] (San. 71a; see Sifrei). [The Talmud (San. 71a) emends this to read: They must warn him in the presence of two (witnesses) and have him flogged in the presence of three (judges).] The wayward and rebellious son incurs punishment only if he steals [money from his father], consumes [at one meal] a tartemar [a weight equal to half a maneh] of meat, and drinks [at the same meal] half a log of wine, as it is said [referring to him], “a glutton and a guzzler (זוֹלֵל וְסֹבֵא)” (verse 20), and [elsewhere] it says, “Do not be among wine-guzzlers (בְסֹבְאֵי-יָיִן), among gluttonous eaters of meat (בְּזֹלְלֵי-בָשָׂר)” (Prov. 23:20), [which indicates that the term “guzzler” refers to wine and “glutton” refers to meat] (San. 70a, Sifrei). The wayward and rebellious son is executed on account of [what he will become in] the end-the Torah penetrates to his ultimate intentions. Eventually, he will squander his father’s money, seek what he has become accustomed to, not find it, and stand at the crossroads and rob people [killing them, thereby incurring the death penalty. Says the Torah, “Let him die innocent [of such crimes], rather than have him die guilty [of such crimes].” - [San. 72b]   ויסרו אותו: מתרין בו בפני שלשה ומלקין אותו. בן סורר ומורה אינו חייב, עד שיגנוב ויאכל תרטימר בשר וישתה חצי לוג יין. שנאמר (פסוק כ) זולל וסובא, ונאמר (משלי כג, כ) אל תהי בסובאי יין בזוללי בשר למו. ובן סורר ומורה נהרג על שם סופו, הגיעה תורה לסוף דעתו, סוף שמכלה ממון אביו ומבקש לימודו ואינו מוצא, ועומד בפרשת דרכים ומלסטם את הבריות, אמרה תורה ימות זכאי ואל ימות חייב:
19. his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place.   יט. וְתָפְשׂוּ בוֹ אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ וְהוֹצִיאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ וְאֶל שַׁעַר מְקֹמוֹ:
20. And they shall say to the elders of his city, "This son of ours is wayward and rebellious; he does not obey us; [he is] a glutton and a guzzler."   כ. וְאָמְרוּ אֶל זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ בְּנֵנוּ זֶה סוֹרֵר וּמֹרֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקֹלֵנוּ זוֹלֵל וְסֹבֵא:
21. And all the men of his city shall pelt him to death with stones, and he shall die. So shall you clear out the evil from among you, and all Israel will listen and fear.   כא. וּרְגָמֻהוּ כָּל אַנְשֵׁי עִירוֹ בָאֲבָנִים וָמֵת וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִקִּרְבֶּךָ וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ:
and all Israel will listen and fear: From here, [we learn that] the court must make a public proclamation, announcing: “So-and-so has been stoned because he was a wayward and rebellious son!” - [San. 89a]   וכל ישראל ישמעו ויראו: מכאן שצריך הכרזה בבית דין, פלוני נסקל על שהיה בן סורר ומורה:
22. If a man commits a sin for which he is sentenced to death, and he is put to death, you shall [then] hang him on a pole.   כב. וְכִי יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ:
If a man commits a sin for which he is sentenced to death: The juxtaposition of these passages [i.e., this one and that of the wayward and rebellious son] teaches [us] that if his father and mother spare him, he will eventually lead an evil life style and commit [grave] sins for which he will be sentenced to death by the court. — [Tanchuma 1]   וכי יהיה באיש חטא משפט מות: סמיכות הפרשיות מגיד, שאם חסים עליו אביו ואמו, סוף שיצא לתרבות רעה ויעבור עבירות ויתחייב מיתה בבית דין:
you shall [then] hang him on a pole: Our Rabbis said: All who are stoned [by the court] must [afterwards] be hanged, for the verse (23) says,“a hanging [human corpse] is a blasphemy of God.” [Thus, we find that the sin of blasphemy is connected with hanging,] and a blasphemer is punished by stoning. [Consequently, our Rabbis taught that all those stoned must be hanged.]- [San. 45b]   ותלית אותו על עץ: רבותינו אמרו, כל הנסקלין, נתלין, שנאמר (פסוק כג) כי קללת אלהים תלוי. והמברך ה', בסקילה:
23. But you shall not leave his body on the pole overnight. Rather, you shall bury him on that [same] day, for a hanging [human corpse] is a blasphemy of God, and you shall not defile your land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you as an inheritance.   כג. לֹא תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל הָעֵץ כִּי קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כִּי קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים תָּלוּי וְלֹא תְטַמֵּא אֶת אַדְמָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה:
For a hanging [human corpse] is a blasphemy of God: Heb. קִלְלַת אלֹהִים. This is a degradation of the [Divine] King in Whose image Man is created, and the Israelites are God’s children. This is comparable to two identical twin brothers. One [of them] became king, while the other was arrested for robbery and hanged. Whoever saw him [the second brother, suspended on the gallows], would say,“The king is hanging!” [Therefore, the king ordered, and they removed him (Reggio ed.).] - [Sanh. 46b] Wherever [the term] קְלָלָה appears in Scripture, it means treating lightly (הָקֵל) and degrading. For example,“[And behold, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera…] and he cursed me with a severe curse (וְהוּא קִלְלַנִי קְלָלָה נִמְרֶצֶת)” (I Kings 2:8). - [See II Sam. 16:5-13]   כי קללת אלהים תלוי: זלזולו של מלך הוא, שאדם עשוי בדמות דיוקנו וישראל הם בניו. משל לשני אחים תאומים שהיו דומין זה לזה, אחד נעשה מלך, ואחד נתפס ללסטיות ונתלה, כל הרואה אותו אומר המלך תלוי. כל קללה שבמקרא לשון הקל וזלזול, כמו (מלכים א' ב, ח) והוא קללני קללה נמרצת:
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