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Shabbat Parashat KI TEITZEI | 5768
Honor of the Honorable
Parashat HaShavuahHarav Yosef Carmel
After hanging those executed by beit din, the Torah requires that the executed be promptly removed and buried (Devarim 21:22-23). The Torah explains: “… for the curse of Hashem is being hung, and you shall not defile the Land…” These p’sukim are a source of the obligation to respect our fellow human as one created in Hashem’s image. As Rashi explains: “It is a disgrace for the King, for man is made in His image, and
The Rashbam understands the matter differently. It is the judges (called here and elsewhere “elohim”) who are being protected, as the deceased’s relatives may curse them for their judgment. He does not see it as having to do with a connection between man and Hashem. The Ibn Ezra says that “the curse of Hashem” refers to the reason that the person was hung, which is either because he cursed Hashem or committed idolatry. Leaving him there too long for people to talk is also an affront to Hashem.
The Ramban relates the matter to human dignity, even of the rightfully executed. However, he stresses that having the hung taken down applies only in Eretz Yisrael. The
At the end of Shmuel, an event that seems to violate human dignity in the Land appears. Hashem commanded David to hand over to the Givonites seven of Shaul’s descendants to avenge the atrocity against them in which Shaul was involved. After their execution, Shaul’s family was left hanging for months. The Ramban says that, in fact, the Givonites had acted against the practice of a Jewish court. The Ramban says that Hashem didn’t forgive Shaul’s family right away and gave the sign of forgiveness only after time. This was done to teach the importance of the honor of the convert (the Givonites), which is a very prominent in our hierarchy of values.
Let us return to Rashi’s approach, regarding the connection between honor of mankind and of Hashem. The famous Holocaust writer, Elie Weisel, tells a haunting story. After a beastly Nazi hanging ceremony in
Specifically in these times, let us internalize the Torah’s lesson that we can help the Divine Presence dwell among us by safeguarding the honor of the Creator, of judges, of mankind, of the Land, and of the convert.
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Hemdat Yamim of this week
Yitzchak Eliezer ben Avraham Mordechai Jacobson
as well as
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.