Friday, September 12, 2008

Parshas Ki Teitzei - "The Endless War"

QUICKIE/FUNFACT: Why does the Torah say the seeming extra word FOR YOU when it describes the soldier taking the yefat toar as a wife? (21:11) Of course if he marries her it will be FOR HIM!

The Kli Yakar explains that this hints to the fact that there are going to be problems with the children which come from such a union and not a marriage from a true relationship. The marriage will be FOR YOU but it won't be beneficial to the children from that marriage.

*Courtesy of R'Dov Lipman (

Devarim 21:10 "Ki Teitzei Lamilchama Al Oivecha, Unisano Hashem Elokecha Biyadecha VShavta Shivyo"

"When you will go out to war against your enemies, and Hashem, your G-d, will delive him into your hand, and you will capture [its people] as captives."

The above verse forces the reader to delve deep and truly ask themselves whether or not the pasuk is true. Fore we know all too well that there have been many instances throughout Jewish History (even dating back to Yehoshua in Ai) when the Jewish people have been entrenched in wars and have still suffered terrible defeats. So how come Hakadosh Baruch Hu is phrasing this pasuk as if it is a given that Klal Yisrael will win all of their battles?

The Baal Haturim answers this question by telling us a message that we have heard many times but as the maxim goes - "it is easier said than done". Yaakov Ben Asher of Toledo Spain tells us that the answer to our success in battle entirely lies in our belief in the Ribbono Shel Olam. If we truly believe that Hashem will deliver our enemies into our hands then we are ensured victory. If not however, we are destined for failure. This can be derived by the juxtaposition of words from last week's Parsha to the words at the beginning of this week's Parsha. Parshas Shoftim ends with the words, "Ki Taaseh HaYashar BiEinei Hashem - For you shall do what is upright in the eyes of Hashem" while Parshas Ki Teitzei starts with the words "Ki Teitzei Lamilchama Al Oivecha -When you will go out to war against your enemies…." This integral juxtaposition is teaching us that the key to success against our enemies lies entirely in fulfilling what is 'upright' in the eyes of Hashem.

Interestingly, the Chofetz Chaim writes that the introductory verse of this week's Parsha is not talking about physical battle but a psychological, philosophical, and physiological battle that occurs between man and the Yetzer Hara. Unlike physical battles which have a beginning point and ending point, the human battle with the Yetzer Hara is never ending. Rav Asher Weiss Shlit"a posits that we must battle the evil inclination with a steadfast conviction and an"earnest struggle" then Hashem will make sure to handle the rest.

As the days of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur approach us we must stop and think about even the most mundane of decisions. The Yetzer Hara is persistent and will not relent but Hashem promises us that as long as we do our part Hashem will, "deliver them into our hands".


* Image courtesy of

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