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ELUL- To Tap into the Yid Within Us All

Ki Teitzei- Year 1 Issue 2
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כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֥א לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה עַל־אֹֽיְבֶ֑יךָ וּנְתָנ֞וֹ יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ בְּיָדֶ֖ךָ וְשָׁבִ֥יתָ שִׁבְיֽוֹ: יאוְרָאִ֨יתָ֙ בַּשִּׁבְיָ֔ה אֵ֖שֶׁת יְפַת־תֹּ֑אַר וְחָֽשַׁקְתָּ֣ בָ֔הּ וְלָֽקַחְתָּ֥ לְךָ֖ לְאִשָּֽׁה: הֲבֵאתָ֖הּ אֶל־תּ֣וֹךְ בֵּיתֶ֑ךָ וְגִלְּחָה֙ אֶת־רֹאשָׁ֔הּ וְעָֽשְׂתָ֖ה אֶת־צִפָּֽרְנֶֽיהָ: This week's Parasha, Parashas Ki Teitzei, discusses the ramifications of someone who goes out to war and finds a woman of which he would like to marry. The Torah tells us, she must shave her head and grow her nails. All of this is done so that he should become disgusted with her and not marry her. If he still wishes to marry her, he takes her in, and she cries for her father and mother for thirty days. This is the Parasha of Yefat Toar (pretty complexion). Why does the Torah permit one to marry a captive who is a non-Jewish woman? The Chachamim answer, if the Torah does not permit a person to take such a woman, the person will do it anyway. Therefore, the Torah permits it with rules and regulations. However, is this a reason to permit an Aveirah? If so, we should permit every Aveirah on the notion that people will do it anyway, so why here is it different? FOR EVERY ISSUR, THERE IS A HETTER There is a Gemarah that says, Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave us something that was Permitted with each thing that was not permitted. For example, it is forbidden to eat Chazer, however, Hashem gave us other fatty meats which taste like chazer. In halacha, this is a well-discussed topic on whether you can make and eat foods that look and taste like foods that are forbidden. One such example would be kosher crab or kosher bacon, on this, some want to say it should be forbidden because of Maris Ayin[1] (the appearance of the eye), and others bring this Gemara saying, the Torah wanted to balance between what was permitted and was not permitted and should therefore be permitted. This Issue, of taking something which is not permitted and making it in a permitted fashion, is a haskafic topic for a different time. However, already on this topic, my Rebbe Rav Belsky told me, it is permitted to make and eat imitation food, but one should not use the name of the non-permitted food on the package. A GOYA IS A SHIKTZA Nevertheless, do you understand how low this goya is? The influences she saw in her home. Why would the Torah put a spin on something so bad, and permit the marriage? In Jewish language, a goya is called a Shiktza, the term stems from the word sheketz (abomination) WATCHING OUR EYES Often, people come to me and they discuss the problems with Shmiras Einayim, there is a lot to be discussed on this topic, but one important lesson to take with you is this goya is a shiktzah. This person, if you can call them a person, is the lowest of the low. You would want to run away from them if they are at the same table as you. Furthermore, they probably hate you and despise you and would not want to sit at the same table as you. So why would the Torah permit this abomination based on the fact that we would do it anyway? לא דיברה תורה אלא כנגד יצר הרע (the Torah did not speak but against the evil instinct) TZADIKIM, THE WARRIOR OF HASHEM Who were the Yidden that went to fight this war? We learned in last week's Parasha that the Cohen Gadol, rose and announced, whoever built a house should go home. Whoever just got married went home. Whoever made a vine should go home… whoever is afraid should go home. The Rambam writes in Hilchos Melachim, it is prohibited for one to have fear when going out to war. When one goes out to war, he should have full Emunah in hashem and be Moser Nefesh. The Gemara explains, the fear is from the small Aveiros the person did. And what is this small Avaeriah? The aveirah of talking between the tefillin shel rosh and the tefillin shel yad. So, the people that would go fight this war were the greatest tzadikim of the generations. Another chiddush is that during this war one is permitted to eat Chazir for the same reason as the parasha of Yefat Toar. Which tzadik would want to eat chazir? STORY WITH REB ELCHONAN Rav Elchonon Wasserman[2], was very serious by nature and rarely ever smiled because the pasuk in Tehillim says, אז ימלא שחוק פינו- when Mashiach comes we will be happy. However, there were a few times at which he smiled. On Purim, the yeshiva reenacted a play of what the Milchamaot Hashem would look like. During the play, the cohen got up and announced, “whoever built a home should go home” and a few boys walked off the stage. Again, the Cohen announced, “whoever just got married should go home, and a few more boys went off the stage. This repeated until there were only two people on stage: the Chofetz Chaim and Reb Elchonon. Together they went with their little sticks and won the war. When Reb Elcahanon saw this, he laughed. DAILY SCHEDULE Many Meforshim explain, in time of war people are not at rest, therefore, it is easier to fall and to do an aveirah. The Balei HAmussar learn from this, when a person does not follow his seder Hayom (daily schedule) it is much easier to do aveiros. YIFAT TOAR IN TODAY'S TIMES The Zohar writes, this Parashas is a remez (hint) for Chodesh Elul and the teshuvah which needs to be done in Elul. The parasha is not about what happened then when the Yidden went to war, but there is a lesson for today. When the passuk writes, “she cries for her mother and father for thirty days,” the thirty days is a referencing for the month of Elul and the father she is crying for is Hakadosh Baruch hu and the mother is klal Yisroel. REDUNDANCY IN THE PASSUK? The Torah writes וְשָׁבִ֥יתָ שִׁבְיֽוֹ, this is apparently a redundancy of the word capture. It should just be written וְשָׁבִ֥יתָ. The Aruch Chaim Hakadosh writes, that this is in fact a redundancy but it is to explain that even if you found a woman from within the seven nations, of which one is forbidden to leave anyone alive, you are permitted to marry her while following the guidelines. The extra word שִׁבְיֽוֹ, is teaching us even from the seven nations. THE ZOHAR’S EXPLENATION The Zohar writes, this woman, is not part of the other nations. In reality, she has Jewish Neshamah but she was captured by these nations. Everything in this world has its course. You went to war and found her because she was supposed to come back. That is why the Torah adds an extra word of שִׁבְיֽוֹ (you captured the captured). And this as well explains why a Jewish person would fall for such a woman. The Tzadik sees in this woman a lost soul that needs to come back to Klal Yisroel CONVERTING A NON-JEW In halacha, a non-Jew who wants to become a ger is pushed away and discouraged. However, if he persists, we accept the gyros[3]. This seems like a contradiction; do we accept him or push him away? Moshe Rabbeinu accepted the Erev Rav[4] as gayrim and because of this, klal yisroel suffers from this decision. The Gra writes, people who disrespect Talmidei Chachamim are descendants of the Erev Rav and because Moshe Rebeiunu represent the Talmid Chochom, the Rabbonim, continuously, must suffer from the Erev Rav. My father, having experience in Gairus, said that most Gayrim we push away and refuse to accept. However, we know if a ger really wants to convert if the person says, “I have to become a yid and if I don’t, I can't continue to live”. It cannot come from philosophical or ethical reasons. The Gra explained, not all people in other nations, at the time of Matan Torah, rejected the Torah. The ones who didn’t’, later joined, or will join, Klal Yisroel as a ger. WE ARE THE YEFAT TOAR A person can be captive physically and a person can be captive spiritually. 99 percent of people are captive and enslaved to their Yetzer Harah. Whether it is an addiction from a big avaeriah or a small aveirah, we are controlled by the yetzer harah. The parsha of Yefat Toar is us, we are the ones captive and we need to go back to our roots, to where we belong and what we need to do. The parsha yifat tohar is between the Tzadik and the lost Neshamah. FIGHTING “THE” WAR Why does the pasuk emphasizeLa”Milchamah, the War, And not l’Milchamah, to war? The Aruch Cahim asks, why does the pasuk say when you go out to war and why does it specify with your enemy, these are obvious points? On this, the Aruch Hashulchan answers, the war is against the Yetzer Harah. This explains why it says The War because it is the war against The Yetzer Harah. This parasha is a hint for Milchames Yetzer Harah. We have to go out to the war(כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֥א לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה) with the yetzer HArah ( עַל־אֹֽיְבֶ֑יךָ), hashem will help us fight this war if we wage it (וּנְתָנ֞וֹ יְהֹוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ בְּיָדֶ֖ךָ) and we need to capture our neshamah back (וְשָׁבִ֥יתָ שִׁבְיֽוֹ)ץ Now, what is the explanation with the pasuk that says she needs to cry for thirsty days. The Klei Yakar explains, the reason she must cry is because she must go to the house of an Aval. the yad of aveilus is a resemblance of teshuva because we do not live forever. RETURNING ON A DIFFERENT PATH The Pardes Yosef writes a beautiful thought on teshuva. It says in the pasuk that when Yosef returned from the funeral, he passed by the pit he was thrown into and made a bracha. However, why did Yosef not make a bracha when he passed by the pit on the way to the funeral? The Pardes Yosef explains, that you are not supposed to travel the same route when you return from a funeral as when you arrive at the funeral. This is because you're supposed to do teshuva when going to a funeral and going in a different direction on the way back is a symbol of change in direction of your life, you're on a different road, a different person. This is the Elul…. And this is the Parasha of Yefat Toar. The rest of the shiur can be heard at -Shiur parshat Ki Teitzei 2016 Nach with the rosh yeshivah:

Part 1 :


א) וַיְהִ֗י אַחֲרֵי֙ מ֣וֹת יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וַֽיִּשְׁאֲלוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בַּיקֹוָ֖ק מִ֣י יַעֲלֶה־לָּ֧נוּ אֶל־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֛י בַּתְּחִלָּ֖ה לְהִלָּ֥חֶם בּֽוֹ:

The pasuk describes how after the פטירת יהושע the Benei Yisreol asked hashem about going out to war.

How was the question brought to Hashem? The מפרשים say it was presented with the .אורים ותומים

From the emphasis of the פסוק on the fact that כלל ישראל asked now, it seems that up until now they did not ask, what changed?

a. The רלב"ג proposes that this is not true, they always asked even before this, the emphasis here is for a different reason, the מלחמה over here was the beginning of a new era of מלחמות hence the פסוק emphasizes the fact that they asked.

b. The מלבי"םproposes that although up until now they did ask, but they did not need to ask through the אורים ותומים, up until now יהושע was alive and as he was a נביא he was able to be asked, but now אחרי מות יהושע they were no longer able to ask the נביא, hence they needed to ask hashem through the אורים ותומים.

c. The מהרש"א[5] says that up until now כלל ישראל in fact didn’t ask about going out to מלחמה, not the אורים ותומים and not the נביא, warfare was straight forward and there was no need to ask, but after the death of יהושע, there was a loss of חכמה and then warfare wasn’t so simple anymore, hence the need to present the question

1 Q and a

with the Rosh HaYeshivah

What should one think about when he prays on Rosh Hashana?


Rosh Hashana is about Hashem being The Melech and us being his nation. The goal and focus of a true servant are to bring out the glory of the king with little focus on the self.

The Zohar says that whoever prays on Rosh Hashana for his personal needs is like a dog who is constantly focusing on receiving. The proper mindset is one of "בתוך עמי אנכי ישבת" (“I dwell among my people”); to blend into the Tzibur and ask for the goodness of Klal Yisroel as whole. One who singles himself out loses the Zechus of the Tzibur, and as the Rambam says “it prevents proper Teshuva”.

How does one reach the level of Hisorerus needed to have the proper mindset during prayer?


It comes by itself when the mind is not selfish and not focus on one’s own needs. When we take away the negative thoughts and feelings it allows positive thoughts to surface. Humility brings the proper emotion.

May one cry and be sad on Rosh Hashana?


The Gra says in מעשה רב (ר"ז) that one should not cry on Rosh Hashana. However, if one began to cry on his own not out of sadness rather a cry of closeness to Hashem - it is ok. The באר היטב (תקפ"ד ג') brings down in the name of the אריז"ל that if one reaches a climax while praying, where he began to cry on his own, it is a sign that he is being judged at that moment.

[1] Marit ayin (Hebrew: מַרְאִית עַיִן‎ 'appearance to the eye'; Ashkenazic transliteration: maris ayin), is a concept in halakha (Jewish law) which states that certain actions which might seem to observers to be in violation of Jewish law [2] Elchonon Bunim Wasserman (Hebrew: אלחנן בונים וסרמן‎; 1874 – 6 July 1941) was a prominent rabbi and rosh yeshiva (dean) in prewar Europe. He was one of the closest students of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (the Chofetz Chaim) and a noted Talmid Chacham. In the interwar period, he served as rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohel Torah-Baranovich. [3] The process of converting to a Jew [4] Erev Rav was a group that included Egyptians and others who had joined the Tribes of Israel on The Exodus [5] ע"ז כה.

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