Vol 37.11 - Emor 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5750) "His mother's name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan." (Lev. 24:11) - "This teaches us the praise of Israel, for Scripture publicizes this one, effectively telling us that she alone among all the women of Israel was involved in an illicit relation" (Rashi ibid)
The reason the Torah publicizes her disgrace when it avoids even mentioning the disgrace of animals.
"There Was But One"
Truly, this must be better understood. How is it that the praise of Israel is made known and revealed by relating and making public the ignominy of an individual Jew?
According to Jewish law,419 one is prohibited from negating and denying the rights of the individual for the benefit and advantage of the multitude. So, too, it would seem should be the case with regard to relating approbation and disapproval: it is difficult to imagine the approbation and praise of the Jewish people coming at the expense and censure of an individual Jew.
We must surely then say, that since publicizing the woman's name gave rise to the praise of all the Jewish people, this is not considered a matter of disgrace for that particular woman as well. Quite the contrary, this itself is her praise, that through her the Torah makes known the praise of Israel that they are not suspect of illicit relationships.
To better understand this, let us offer the following example: The Torah forbids wastefulness and profligacy -- if one throws out an item of value he transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tashchis. This, however, only applies if the act is entirely wasteful and no positive benefit accrues.420 If his action brings about a positive result, then the prohibition of Bal Tashchis does not apply.421
Here as well, publicizing the individual's name -- the seemingly "wasteful" action -- strengthens our awareness that "there was but one who acted in such a manner," for "the Jewish people as a whole are not suspect of engaging in illicit relationships." Since benefit was derived from this person's improper deed, publicizing the deed is not considered a matter of disgrace for the particular individual as well.
What's more, there is a dispute422 whether one is obliged to place himself in possible jeopardy in order to save another from a manifest life-threatening situation. Some maintain423 that the above dispute does not apply to a situation where a multitude of Jews are in danger; in that instance, an individual should unhesitatingly expose himself to possible personal danger.
This is not to say that saving a multitude sets aside the life of an individual. Rather, it is because each individual is a part of the body of Klal Yisrael, the brotherhood of the Jewish people. Thus, rescuing Klal Yisrael from danger is deliverance for the individual as well.
If this is so with regard to placing one's life in danger for the benefit of the many, how much more so with regard to publicizing an untoward deed in order to emphasize the praise of all of Israel. Especially so, since this aspect of morality relates to the overall morality of each and every individual Jew, Shelomis bas Divri included.
On a more mystical level, we may say the following. All matters of this world are included in one of three categories:
There is, however, one exception: when the sinner "repents so earnestly that his premeditated sins become transmuted into veritable merits. This is achieved through 'repentance out of love' of G-d, since through the sins that previously distanced him from G-d, he attained when he repented this great love of G-d."426
So, too, with regard to Shelomis. Ultimately all will attain repentance, atonement and rectification.427 The rectification, then, for an immodest and immoral act is best achieved when it leads to total modesty and morality -- the notification of the "praise of Israel," that none of them are suspect of immorality, for they are all upright, modest and moral.
Translation:1. At the end our Parsha (Lev. 24:10-11) it states: “The son of an Israelite woman went out and he was the son of an Egyptian etc. And the son of the Israelite woman pronounced the Divine Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. His mother's name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.”
And our Sages state that this verse teaches us that they (Yisroel) were not suspected of illicit relations (Arayot)” – to publicize the praise of Israel, for she alone among all the women of Israel was involved in an illicit relation, and Scripture publicizes and points it out. And concerning them it states in Kaballah: “A locked up garden is my sister, my bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain.(Shir Hashirim 4:12)”.
And as is also mentioned in Rashi (ibid): “His mother’s name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri: Why is her name mentioned? This teaches us the praise of Israel, for Scripture publicizes this one, effectively telling us that she alone among all the women of Israel was involved in an illicit relation” etc.
Also according to this Midrash, the faltering of Shelomit bat Dibri was not premeditated, and as the Mizrachi proves from Rashi in Parshat Shmot (Exod. 2:11): “That from the fact that it states…concerning striking a Hebrew man: that he the Hebrew man was the husband of Shelomith the daughter of Dibri who was mentioned in Lev. 24:10, and he the taskmaster laid his eyes on her. So he woke him the Hebrew at night and took him out of his house, and he the taskmaster returned and entered the house and was intimate with his wife while she thought that he was her husband. The man returned home and became aware of the matter. When that Egyptian saw that he had become aware of the matter, he struck him and drove him all day - implies that she was fooled (unwitting) and that it was not deliberate.
Accordingly the great “praise of Israel” that is learned from here is understood, namely that no other Israelite woman had faltered in this illicit relations, even in a manner of being coerced or unwitting.
And therefore the verse publicizes: “His mother's name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri” even though it is not the style of Torah to publicize and to make known the faults of Israel, and certainly in our case, where it is speaking of an – unintentional act – that the purpose is not to publicize the faults of a Jewish woman ( G-d forbid), but on the contrary , to publicize the praise of Israel, that the stumbling block of illicit relations was completely foreign to them ( even unintentionally or coerced).
And the reason Rashi additionally explains: “Shelomith: Her name denotes that she was a chatterbox, always going about saying “Peace be with you! Peace be with you! Peace be with you men!” She would chatter about with words, greeting everyone.” and “the daughter of Dibri: This denotes that she was very talkative, talking with every person” is, as the commentators have explained, his Rashi’s intention is to explain that she herself is not depicted negatively in this verse, for this is not her “real” name (Shaim HaEtzem) but rather an alias depicting her actions (and therefore it is not publicized who this woman actually was)
Yet , we need to understand, why the Torah would speak disparagingly of any Jewish woman, (even if the outcome is publicizing the praise of Israel) for the Torah does not “speak disparagingly even of an unclean animal”
2. According to the simple reading the verse, one could say, by prefacing that which is written in the commentaries, that the reason the verse elaborates on the lineage of of the Blasphemer, is in order to explain how it is possible for a Jewish person to come to curse G-d (G-d save us), for, in truth, this is not possible for a Jewish person. Rather, because his father was an Egyptian and his mother was coerced, as a result of her chattiness, the negative condition, caused him to descend to a state where he “blasphemously pronounced the Divine Name and cursed”
According to this, one could say , that just like the essence of the story of the Blasphemer is not to speak and publicize the faults of Israel – because that is not the intent of the verse to speak disparagingly. Rather the purpose is to make known the Halacha and to show an example, the Din of the Blasphemer, his punishment of death and the specific laws related to him (also the specific laws related to this law: as the verse continues “And to the children of Israel, you shall speak, saying” ).
So too, one could say that the same applies to the lineage and conduct of his mother. That it is coming to acutely warn, concerning the conduct and modesty of a Jewish woman, from becoming a chatterbox (even in a manner of inquiring the welfare of everyone) and from becoming very talkative, since the behavior could result not only in a breakdown (kilkul) for her, but she could bear a son who would curse etc, (G-d forbid)
And moreover, the fact that her action resulted in the birth of a son who cursed G-d, is perplexing, because she did not intentionally falter here, but was unwitting. And her act of “inquiring of everyone’s welfare” was not an act of licentiousness (pritzut) but rather an act of friendliness, Sever Panim Yafot, toward everyone. Yet the outcome of this was a son who cursed G-d (G-d save us).
- And this is a special sign to utterly warn each person concerning the great adherence (zehirut) of modesty (Tziniyut) etc. According to this one could say even more than this, that since the verse publicizes her act – there exists an element of praise for her, for through her Yisroel learned the great diligence regarding Tziniyut.
[And like it is explained in another place regarding Noach, that "Others interpret it derogatorily" (Rashi beg of Parsha Gen. 6:9) is not an aspect of derogation “Ganai” – for even though Noach himself, while living in a great declined and degraded generation, did not pray for the people of his generation like Abraham and Moshe ( since he did not have anyone whose merits he could depend on, like Moshe had) and therefore, there was no aspect of fault in him.
Nevertheless, in order that no calamity come about from this (G-d forbid) in the coming generations, namely to claim that there is no fault if one does not pray for his generation, there are those who say that we are forced to say that this was an aspect of “fault” (ganai). Yet this itself, that they interpret it as a fault, is actually a “praise” of Noach. For Noach, himself, would want to stress that one needs to pray for his generation, in order to ensure that no deficiency come about in another generation, because of this.
And the same applies in our subject. The rectification of Shelomit bat Dibri is precisely because the Torah publicizes it (and in such a manner), for from this the Jewish women (N’shei Yisroel)learn a lesson and utmost diligence in the greatness of Tziniyut even in speech etc. And this itself is the merit of Shelomit
3. Yet, seemingly, the subject of this aforementioned explanation of the Sages, that the verse: “publicizes the praise of Israel, for she alone among all the women of Israel was involved in this and Scripture publicizes and points it out” is not a lesson (an informing of the Halacha) concerning Tziniyut. The explanation however is that the verse publicizes and tells the praise of Israel ( that they were not suspect of illicit relations), precisely by publicizing the derogation of Shelomit.
And this (the story of the praise of Yisroel by publicizing the derogation of Shelomit) requires understanding.
How is it possible that the praise of Yisroel is revealed through the derogation of a Jewish person – for just as it is cited in Halacha that – one does not nullify the standing of an individual for the good and welfare of the public, the same concept seemingly applies regarding the telling of the praise and faults.
Thus, it is difficult to say that the praise of Yisroel would be revealed specifically through the derogation of a Jewish person. And specifically since one of the aspects that was innovated at Matan Torah, regarding the Jewish people, learned from the verse: “I am the L-rd, your G-d” – (in the singular tense) is that each person as an individual has an importance and quality. They are not nullified and subservient to the whole (Klal). And as the Sages state: “Each and every person is required to say that the worlds was created for his sake”
(For this is one of the distinctions between other creations and the Bnei Yisroel. For all the other creations do not have a purpose, in and of themselves, for they were created only because of Yisroel and because of the Torah. And just as their general existence is not for their sake, so too is it concerning their particulars, for each particular is secondary to the whole (klal). However by the Jewish people, just as the entire Jewish people are not an “intermediary” for something else, but the complete intent is themself, so too it is regarding each of them in particular. For one cannot say that a Jewish person serves only as an “intermediary” to another Yisroel, his friend, and also not for the whole and the community. But the entire intent is also in each one by themself )
Therefore, one must say that in revealing the praise of Yisroel through this denigration, it is not considered a denigration to her. And on the contrary, this itself is her praise, for through her , the Torah makes known the praise of Yisroel that they were not suspected of illicit relations, “A locked up garden is my sister, my bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain”.
An example of this – is the prohibition of Bal Tashchis (needlessly destroying anything of value):
The prohibition is only when the act is done in a destructive and ruinous manner. But if a benefit (constructive purpose) comes from destroying it, there is no prohibition of Bal Tashchis.
The same law applies to the prohibition of forbidden labor (malacha) on Shabbat: “Whenever a forbidden labor is performed in a destructive manner, one is not held liable. What is implied? A person who injures a colleague or an animal with a destructive intent, one who rips or burns garments, or one who breaks utensils with a destructive intent is not held liable.]. However “A person who tears in a fit of rage etc is liable, for by doing so he settles his mind and calms his natural inclination. Since his anger is soothed through this act, it is considered to be constructive in nature and he is liable (Rambam Hil Shabbat 10:10)"
4. One could also say, and by preface, that we find a debate whether one is obligated to place oneself in a situation where there is a doubt of danger in order to save one’s fellow from certain danger.
And some say that this debate is not concerning saving one of the Jewish people (Klal Yisroel), for then in that situation an individual is certainly required to place oneself in danger in order to save the Jewish people (Klal Yisroel).
And one could say that , that this is not because the saving of the Jewish people (Klal Yisroel) overrides (Docheh) the life of the individual, but rather because each individual is a portion of the whole (Klal), a portion of the community. Therefore the saving of the Jewish people is also a saving of the individual.
And if these words are stated regarding the saving of lives, they are certainly (a fortiori) to talking and publicizing an aspect of denigration.
And also (this) – there does not exist in this just a saving, but a depiction of the “praise of Yisroel” which concerns the foundation of the Jewish people (Klal Yisroel).
For the beginning of the choosing and creation of the Jewish nation, was in a manner of: “A locked up garden is my sister, my bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain” - that they were not suspected of illicit relations. For this is not just a denigration for the purpose of praise, but rather the praise (of Klal Yisroel) is the praise (also) of Shelomit herself.
5. In the pnimiyut of the matter, one could say:
It is known that all things in this world are categorized into three levels:
a) Things that are holy
b) Things that are permissible
c) Things that are forbidden
And the difference between them is:
For instance, "if one eats fat beef and drinks spiced wine (not out of physical desire), but in order to broaden his mind for the service of G‑d and for His Torah, etc or in order to fulfill the commandment to enjoy the Sabbath and the festivals. Then the vitality of the meat and the wine which was enlivened from kelipat nogah ascends to G‑d like a burnt offering and sacrifice” as is explained in Tanya (Chapter-7)
The explanation of “permissible” is that “it is not tied and bound to the extraneous forces (bidei chitzonim). In other words, a person can refine the thing from Kelipat Nogah (literally Kelipah that can be illuminated) and elevate the good within it to holiness.
However the explanation of “Forbidden” is that which is bound and tied to (bidei ) Klipot. “forbidden foods etc derive their vitality from the three entirely unclean kelipot. These are tied and bound by the extraneous forces (chitzonim)forever. They (the vitality of these prohibited acts) are not elevated from the kelipot until “their day comes” (the time when evil will totally disappear from the world), when "death", the kelipot, called ”death“ because they oppose G-dliness, which is life) will be swallowed up i.e., eradicated forever.
However, even now, it is possible to elevate them to holiness as the alter Rebbe writes there: “Or, when he (the sinner) repents so earnestly that his premeditated sins become transmuted into veritable merits. This is achieved through “repentance out of love (of G‑d),” coming from the depths of the heart etc since through this he attains this great love (of G‑d)”, therefore even the premeditated sins become transmuted into veritable merits
And accordingly it is understood regarding Shelomit. For since: “No one banished from Him (by his sins} will remain banished” - the rectification of this that was the opposite of Tzniyut and holiness – is when this act brings one to observe Tzniyut and the epitome of Tzniyut – the publicizing of the “praise of Yisroel”, that they were not “suspected of illicit relations” and on all them it is stated: “A locked up garden is my sister, my bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain”.
And like the aforementioned words of the Alter Rebbe, through Teshuva, premeditated sins become transmuted into veritable merits “for through this he attains this great love (of G‑d)”
(m’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Emor 5725
Shabbat Parshat Bamidbar 5747)
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