21:10) “Ki Saitzai Lamilchoma-When you go out to war.”
Only when you go out to war are these relaxation’s applicable. It would seem very difficult to understand what the Torah is saying here. We just learned that the only ones who were allowed to go out to war, were the purest of heart and without sin. These were the biggest Tzadikim. Anyone else was sent back to the camp. How can the Torah here tell us that they will see a Yifas Toar (a beautiful woman) and desire her? Also why this description Yifas Toar? Even if she weren’t a beautiful woman he would be permitted to go through this procedure. The words Yifas Toar are not needed.
Additionally we are told that if this woman is brought into the home and made a wife the end result would be ‘A Ben Sorar Umorer- a Wayward son” who would eventually be killed. Why would the Torah condone such an exercise if in the end it would come to this?
The Or Hachaim explains that in order to answer these questions we must understand why Hashem would permit a Jew to defile himself with a gentile woman. This is even more difficult since this comes at a time when Hashem is busy performing miracles for them in battle so they would suffer no casualties. We would assume that at such a time the laws of sexual purity would be tightened rather than relaxed! At such a time when Benei Yisroel must rely on Hashem how could they be indulging in their Yeter Hora? It's found in the Zohar Chadash that when Adam sinned many Neshamas, which originated in a state of Kiddusha, were taken captive by spiritually negative forces known as Sitra Achara. These Neshamas are the ones that later converted to Judaism. Many great Jews came from such Neshamas.
There are occasions when a pure Neshama is very closely attached to an impure Neshama, but the pure Neshama is unable to exert any positive influence on the impure Neshama. It therefore remains as it is until the time comes for it to be freed from its body. We find such a case by the Neshama of R.Chanina ben Tradyon whose Neshama was reputedly attached to Shechem (who raped Dinah). This is alluded to in the Torah by the letters in the word Rachavas-Yodayim (Beraishis 34:21) which form the initials of the name R.Chanina ben Tradyon, as explained by the Arizal in Likutey Torah. The Neshama of R.Chanina ben Tradyon was unable to exert a positive influence on Shechem so after the rape of Dinah that Neshama left Shechem and found its mate in Dinah. This is the meaning of the words (Beraishis 34:3) Vatidbak Nafsho B'Dinah. His soul cleaved in Dinah.
Sometimes you can find a holy Neshama mixed in with those that belong with the spiritually negative forces. Such a Neshama may be able to exert influence on the other Neshama's to the extent that they can drive out some of their evil and eventually become converts. It says in Koheles “Shomer Mitzvos Lo Yodah Rah-Guardians of mitzvos do not know evil.” When a person is engaged in a Mitzvah there is an attachment to the Shechina that protects them from their Yetzer Hora. Such a protection would exist here when they went out to war against their Enemies. Specifically against their enemies, because it was a war of a Mitzvah. So it becomes clear that when the Torah used the words “Yefas Toar” it meant that Hashem opened the eyes of this soldier who is still engaged in performing the Mitzvah, to recognize something spiritually beautiful in this female prisoner. This Neshama is what the Torah describes as Yefas Toar. Special Neshama's radiate beautiful spiritual lights. The Torah was also very careful to write the word Bo. (21:11) Vechoshakta Bo (He Desires unto her) something within her, instead of using the words he desires her Osoh. This soldier was not infatuated with the body of this woman but with something inside her. This explains why he must have her remain unattractive in his home for thirty days. If he can still see that something in her at that time he is permitted to marry her. Even if he chooses not to marry her there still may have been a benefit in his association with her for this period of time. The fact that he had contact with her may have shaken loose some of the evil that was attached to her Neshama and allowed possible converts to come through her. The Talmud teaches us that the case of the Ben Sorar Umorer never did occur and never will. This testifies to the fact that the taking of a Yifas Toar (a beautiful woman) was always done with the proper intentions.
(21:10) “Ki Saitzai Lamilchoma-When you go out to war.” Most commentaries explain that this war refers to the battle of one’s own evil inclination, his Yetzer Horah. The words “Ki Saitzai Lamilchoma-When you go out to war” has the numerical value equal to the words promised to Avraham Avinu by the Bris Bein Habisarim, after serving as slaves for four hundred years the nation would be redeemed. “Yetzu Berechush Gadol-You will leave with great wealth.” Perhaps the connection is in what the Ohr Hachaim says regarding this great wealth. It means that Klal Yisroel was meant to gather in all of the lost sparks of Kiddusha that had been scattered since the original sin of Adam. When Klal Yisroel left Mitzraim it says Vaynatzlu-They emptied it. Meaning they emptied all of the sparks of Kiddusha. That could be the reason we are instructed never to return to Mitzraim, our mission there is complete. Vayinatzlu can also mean "They rescued" the souls of those who righteously converted were rescued from the Klipah of Mitzrayim. This is the great wealth that the posuk refers to here. Ki Saitzai-when they go out, once again it means to gather the great wealth of spirituality.
(21:15) “Ki Tihiyenah L’ish Shnei Noshim-If a man will have two wives.” The Torah continues with the laws of inheritance. When a man will have two wives one of which is loved and the other is unloved. The unloved wife will give birth to a firstborn son. The Torah does not say that she might give birth to a firstborn son , rather she WILL give birth to a firstborn son. This teaches us according to the Abarbanel that Hashem will always look to the hated one and answer her prayers. Even with regard to the sufferings one might endure in life. If it is accepted with love and trust that Hashem runs the world, he will eventually be answered. One must never complain about the challenges in life, but accept them and believe that Hashem has our best interest in mind.
(21:18) “Ki Yihiyeh L’Eish Ben Sorar Umorer-If a man will have a wayward and rebellious son.” Rashi writes that he must be put to death “Al Sheim Sofo- Because of his end.” That if he is allowed to continue on this path he will eventually do greater avairos. Consequently the Torah says let him die innocent and not guilty. The question is that we see by Yishmael a similar situation. When Avraham sent him and his mother away, he was dying of thirst in the desert when Hashem saved him. Even though the angels pleaded that in the future his descendants would kill Jews, Hashem said let him be judged “Ba’Asher hu Shom”-in his present state. So why do we judge the rebellious son now for what worse sins he might commit in the future?
The Kotzker Rebbe answers that we see from the description given by the Torah as Sorer and Moreh. The Sorer is one who turns away from the Torah. The Moreh can also be translated as one who teaches others. If he had just been bad the Torah would not have taken such drastic action. But since he is also a Moreh, one who teaches badly, he must be stopped. This is why he is judged Al Sheim Sofo- by the end part of his name.
Another answer is that we must look at his spiritual roots. By Yishmael we see that his roots were in Kiddusha, his father was Avraham. But by this rebellious son it is said that since this parsha follows right after the parsha of Yifas Toar, it is telling us that if you had a relationship that was rooted in the Yetzer Horah the result will be that you will have a son who is rooted in the Yetzer Horah. Therefore since his roots are impure he will only become worse in the future.
(21:15) “Aynenu Shoma L’kol Aviv Uvakol Imo-He refuses to listen to the voice of his father and the voice of his Mother.” The Kotzker Rebbe explains the reason why this son does not listen. He never heard the sounds of his father praying with the proper intent, he never heard the sounds of his mother saying Tehillem praying that her son grows up to be a righteous Jew. The result is you receive what you put in. If the parents do not exhibit true love of Hashem it will affect the child.
The parsha goes on to discuss a first-born son who receives a double portion. We learn this in the letters of Bechor (first born). The numerical values of Bechor are (beis) 2 (chuf) 20, (raish) 200. These are double the letters preceding them (aleph,yud,kuf). The Bechor does not receive a double portion of what is due to come after the death of his father, such as a debt that is payable to his father after a certain date, but the father died prior to that date. This is also indicated in the letters of Bechor, which are not double the letters that follow them. Therefore the Bechor gets a double share only from the possessions preceding his death but not from the income that is due after his death. (Villna Goan)
(21:22) “V’Chi Yiyeh B’Ish Chet Mishpat Maves V’Humos V’Tolis Ito al H’eitz-If a man shall have committed a sin whose judgment is death, and he be put to death, and you shall hang him on the gallows.” The words “chet-sin” and “Vhumat-he shall be put to death” are superfluous. It could have said, “If a man shall have a judgment of death, and you shall hang him on a gallows”?
The Arizal once gave a eulogy based on this posuk. He explained that the word “chet” does not only mean sin but also could mean lacking or missing. Man was originally created to be immortal. Nevertheless, when the Nochosh caused Chava to eat from the Eitz Hadas-The Tree of Knowledge, she brought death to the world. The Gemarra (Bava Bassra 17a) says that there were four tzaddikim who never sinned and only died because of the decree on the Nochosh, which is the source of death for all humans.
The Arizal explained the posuk to mean, “If there will be an ‘Ish’ (a prominent person) who is ‘Chet Mishpat maves-lacking any reason to deserve the judgment of death’ i.e. totally innocent of any sins, and yet V’humat- he was faced with death, Vetalita oto al Eitz- you should hang it on the tree- i.e. attribute his passing on the “Tree” the Eitz Hadas. (Nachal Kadmoni)
(22:8) “Ki Yipal Hanover-If the faller might fall.” Why should the homeowner be concerned with the life of another before his own? After just building a house in the merit of the Mitzvahof Shekuach HaKan, he might feel that he has earned a long life and therefore not be concerned with his safety. Now he becomes concerned for the safety of others.
(22:19) The word Naarah is always spelled defective, without the final letter "Hey" except here. The Recanti writes that it is dishonoring Hashem's name. Therefore only here, when her honor is restored do we spell the word in full.
(24:4) "Lo Yuchal Baaloh Horishone Asher Shilchoh Loshuv-Her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again as a wife." This restriction is to prevent legal wife swapping. For if a wealthy man desired the wife of a man with lesser means, that man might be tempted for money, to divorce his wife and then allow her to be with the wealthy man. The Ramban goes even further by saying it can lead to murder. For if the wealthy man decides not to return the wife or she decides that she likes her new position it can cause her former husband to resort to committing murder.
(24:5) "V'Somach es Ishto-He must make his wife happy." Rashi writes that anyone who reads this as he must rejoice with his wife is mistaken. He must cause her to rejoice. His happiness is not the directive. The Torah is giving the first basic ingredient towards a successful relationship, that is to think about his spouse, someone other than himself. By doing so, by giving without expecting something in return, it will foster a tremendous love.
(24:5) "Noki Yihiyeh L’Beiso Shana-He shall be free for his house one year.” A newlywed man must not leave the side of his bride for one year. He is to gladden her that entire year. The Baal H’Turim writes that the end letters of these words spell words spell YKVK implying that the joining of these two souls creates an atmosphere for the Shechina to dwell.
(24:15) “B”yomo Titain Schar-On the same day you shall give him his hire.” The verse is speaking of paying a hired worker his wages, but mystically it is referring to Shabbos. When a person performs the “work” of Hashem ie. the Mitzvos, during the week, he draws from his Neshama Yeserah thus imbuing his week with the kiddusha of Shabbos. This is hinted at by the initial letters of the words “B”yomo Titain Schar” which spell Shabbos.
(25:9) “V’choltza Naloh M’al Raglo V’Yorko B’fiv-She removes his shoe from off his foot and spits in front of him.” The widow spits to show that by refusing to invest a drop of his semen towards his brothers continuity this man acted as if he spilled it on the ground. The shoe represents the continuation the same way a son is referred to as the legs of the father. He allows the soul of the father to move on even after death. She removes the shoe to show that only now is her husband truly considered dead
(25:17) “Zachar ES Asher Asa L'cha Amalek-Remember what Amalek did to you”. Rashi says that attacks such as that launched by Amalek come as a result of using dishonest weights and measures. In parshas Beshalach where the story of Amalek's attack is first brought, Rashi says there that Amalek's attack was due to the lack of Emunah when they said “Haim yesh Hashem Bikirbanu Im Ayin-Is Hashem in our midst or not?” Rav Moishe Feinstein zt’l says that these two different causes of the same event in reality are the same. When after Klal Yisroel witnessed all the nissim in Mitzraim and they could ask such a question, Is Hashem here or not? They denied his existence even though they had physical proof of his power. They were punished with Amalek who also witnessed Hashem's might but denied his existence. Similarly, a person who cheats with his weights and measures also lacks emunah in Hashem. He should have faith that Hashem provides for his sustenance and let him earn it legally. Yet by using dishonest weights he wrongfully takes what is not his. Had he trusted in Hashem he would not have robbed his fellow man. Therefore he deserves to be attacked by an enemy like Amalek who also denies Hashem.
The Briske Rov says the following; what does it mean that Amalek didn’t have Emunah in Hashem? Do any of the other nations have Emunah? Also what kind of punishment do they receive? The mitzvah to wipe out any memory of Amalek? He answers that there are two ways that a person does an aveirah. One is that his yetzer horah takes hold of him and he acts without thinking. The other way is when a person plans and schemes to commit a sin. The gemarrah gives an example by the difference between a thief and a robber. The thief must pay back more to the victim than does the robber because a robber shows by his actions that he treats Hashem the same as he treats his victim. He is not afraid to confront his victim in the open. But a thief, who will not confront his victim shows that he is more fearful of man than of Hashem. Therefore he is punished more severely. When Amalek happened upon Klal Yisroel in the desert they were in fact stating that they don’t recognize Hashem. That all of his revelations in Mitzraim meant nothing that his name is not revealed in the world. So too Hashem repays midah kenged midah. Their name must be wiped out from the world too.