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Shabbat Parashat Ki Teitzei 5779

Parashat Hashavua: Different Types of Arranged Marriages

Harav Yosef Carmel

Our parasha opens with “difficult” p’sukim about the possibility of taking an eshet yefat to’ar, a beautiful woman from the enemy camp. Chazal depict this phenomenon as a step the Torah allowed to deal with a difficult situation for one’s evil inclination (Kiddushin 21b). Ostensibly, we are talking about the possible overflowing of bad thoughts through the atmosphere produced by the heat of battle.

Let us try to give a broader context to the phenomenon. In our times, it is much easier to understand that “going out to war” is a wider experience than just rolling out the tanks. Warfare includes computers, which can be more powerful than Alfred Nobel’s explosives. Even in ancient times, many of the struggles were held in fancy rooms, as people indulged in food and drink, without spears and swords. This was the world of diplomacy through which one nation could gain control over another nation by means of diplomacy, without bloodshed. The end of every such diplomatic effort was a wedding. The stronger king received the daughter of the weaker king, with the daughter representing the day-to-day dominion of the vassal to the dominant leader.

In the metaphorical sense, then, the “female captive” need not have had her hands bound, but could have been a princess given to the stronger king without her necessary interest in the matter. The idea of removing her “garments of captivity” refers to her changing her mode of behavior, as she must not bring the influences of her native nation into the Jewish king’s palace.

We can prove the relevance of this approach from the story of David. David’s third son, who was born in Chevron, was Avshalom the son of Maacha the daughter of King Talmay of Geshur (Shmuel II, 3:2-3). Chazal refer to Maacha as an eshet yefat to’ar and to Avshalom as a ben sorer u’moreh, a rebellious son, who is put to death, under certain unusual circumstances, due to expectations about his increasing moral/social deterioration. They say that David had such a bad son because the son’s mother had been an eshet yefat to’ar (Pesikta Zutrata,Ki Teitzei 36a).

If an eshet yefat to’ar is only a literal POW, it is difficult to understand the scenario. That would mean that David fought the King of Geshur during the time he served as king in Chevron. At that time, though, David was only king over the Tribe of Yehuda and he was under the sphere of influence of the Plishtim. How would he dare go all the way to the Golan Heights to fight Geshur?

It is much more reasonable to posit that David “acquired” Maacha as a political arrangement. Some of the most influential people in the Tribe of Yehuda had married into the family of Machir from the tribe of Menashe, who had 23 cities in the area of the Gilad, making them neighbors of Geshur in the Golan (see Divrei Hayamim I, 2:21-22). The Tribe of Menashe had special connections with the neighboring kingdoms of Aram, which included the small kingdom of Geshur (see ibid. 7:14). In that context, the Judean up-and-coming king made a diplomatic connection with Geshur, one that resulted in getting the princess as a wife. This arranged marriage was equated with eshet yefat to’ar and indeed resulted in the problems with her son Avshalom.

Let us pray that the IDF will remain the world’s most moral army and will not Heaven forbid get involved in any activity of eshet yefat to’ar or any other that could ruin its level.     

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Refael Yitchak ben Chana

Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Yehuda ben Chaya Esther

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

David Chaim ben Rassa

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar   10

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 5776


Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10   5774


Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9 5769

R'  Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


R'  Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23 5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tammuz 19, 5778

 

R' Yitzchak Eliezer

ben Avraham Mordechai

Jacobson a”h
Elul 15

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 5779

 

Mr. Isaac Moinester z"l

Elul 5

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

 

 
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