Ki Teitzei

September 14th, 2019

14th of Elul 5779



When a Man and Woman Merit – the Shechina Rests Between Them

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

"Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way, when you were leaving Egypt" (Devarim 25:17)

Why did the Torah command us to remember the deeds of Amalek and annihilate them? What is the reason for the great anger against them? This command also includes many expressions of remembering, "Remember what Amalek did to you" and several verses later it repeats "you shall not forget!" This is something that we don’t find with other mitzvot.

To understand this, we will digress to discuss marital harmony. To our great distress, from time to time we hear about Jewish homes where harmony is, unfortunately, a long-forgotten concept and in place, arguments and disagreements are their daily lot. From the frequency of these situations, it unfortunately, seems to be a natural part of life, as if we can say that there are couples that get on well and others that are not so suitable…

However, if we give the matter the correct consideration, it seems that this strife and baseless hatred that sometimes rest in a person's home, does not really have any justification, since when they first became acquainted with each other, there were definite positive feelings between them, and when they stood under the chuppah, the chatan considered his kallah as being the epitome of all good qualities and perfection and the kallah, in turn, looked at her chatan as an upright person, crowned with all good traits. So how did the wheel suddenly turn with hatred taking the place of love and instead of peace, friction and distance stand between them to the extent that each one wishes for the other's disgrace r"l? How does this come about?

In order to explain this, we will quote the Chazal (Yebamot 62b): "Rabbanan said, one who loves his wife as his own self and honors her more than himself, the verse says about him "Then you will call and Hashem will respond; you will cry out and He will say, 'Here I am!'" (Yeshaya 58:9)

However, there are those who are mistaken in their understanding of the definition of "loving her as his own self". In their innocence, they assume that the wife has to behave like as they do, and just as they neglect taking care of themselves and their outer appearance is unkempt and not respectable and they don’t pay attention that the way they dress should be presentable, clean and tidy – so too they imagine that their wives should also behave as they do and manage with a few inexpensive and plain clothes. They see no need for her to adorn herself and make herself look pleasant for her husband. Due to this, he is stingy with her requirements and does not give her what she requests. This husband must realize that it is a terrible mistake and he is not acting in accordance with the Torah. This was not the Torah's intention when laying down the commandment, "love her as yourself". The opposite is, in fact, true – it is the husband's obligation to consider his wife's feelings, for it is natural for a woman to take care of herself and wish to appear pleasant for her husband. She appreciates an organized and tidy home, therefore her husband must understand this need and make sure that she has whatever she needs, and buy her respectable and nice clothing to the extent that he can afford so that she can look good. On the contrary – it is the husband's obligation to behave in this way too. He should also dress respectably and pleasantly and take care that he looks tidy and put together so that his wife should be happy with him and not have complaints. If he takes care of himself, she will look at him as an honorable person who respects himself and, in this way, peace will reign in their home.

We find that several of the Gedolim of previous generations would dress in a most distinguished manner and they also owned beautiful homes. When one of the great Ashkenazic Rabbis came to visit the Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Rabbeinu Chaim Palag'i zya"a, he was disturbed by elaborate décor of his home. Do not Chazal compare this world to a corridor? Where is the justification for investing in a temporary and passing world? How is it permissible for such a great talmid chacham to behave with a show of honor?! Rabbeinu Chaim Palag'i explained his view: "Chazal tell us that if a man and woman merit, the Shechina rests between them. This being the case, my private home is a resting place for the Holy Shechina, therefore how can I not adorn and glorify Hashem's house as is fitting for a king's palace?"

This should serve as a lesson for us to take care of the way we present ourselves. Our clothing should be clean and respectable and we shouldn't dress in a negligent and unkempt manner. When a wife is faced with virtuous conduct and good manners, she will certainly rejoice with her husband and respect him. Harmony will reign between them and the Shechina will rest in their home.

Now we can understand why the Torah was so stringent with Amalek and demands of us to annihilate all their descendants. The reason why we are commanded never to forget their despicable ways is since Amalek tried to disturb the marital harmony that was present between Yisrael and their Father in Heaven. He wished to cool off the love and warmth that was planted in the Jewish people's hearts towards Hashem, and as if put a barrier between the chatan – Hashem, and the kallah - Knesset Yisrael. The marital bond that was constantly renewed between them was cooled off and weakened because of the war of Amalek. This danger continues for all future generations, until the coming of Mashiach, when the love and closeness that we enjoyed with Hashem, as we experienced when standing by Har Sinai, will once again return.

Guard Your Tongue

Losing One's Job

If a person knows that by not revealing someone's secret, he will suffer a great loss, for example, he is a hired worker and if he keeps quiet he will be fired from his job and will no longer have a source of income with which to support his family, nevertheless it is forbidden for him to divulge the information. As with all other transgressions, a person is required to give up everything rather than transgress.

The Haftarah

The Haftarah of the week: "Sing out, O barren one who has not given birth" (Yeshaya 54)

The connection to Shabbat: This Haftarah is the fifth of the seven special 'Haftarot of Comfort' that are read starting with the Shabbat following Tisha B'Av. They are chapters of comfort for the Jewish people.

Words of the Sages

Who Qualifies as a Suitable Teacher?

"…who does not hearken to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother" (Devarim 21:18)

The Gaon Rabbi Eliyahu Abba Shaul shlita, says that his father, Chacham Ben Zion zya"a, would often repeat that with regards to chinuch, sometimes one must behave in a soft manner and at other times with firmness. He would say that "the left pushes away and the right brings closer" will only be successful if parents and educators remember that in addition to being your children or students, they are the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov and are thus deserving of special treatment! Therefore, it is of paramount importance to discover and develop each child's natural strengths and assign him responsibilities that he enjoys. One must encourage the child, believe in him and help him develop his potential, whether in a soft or firm manner.

Believing in a child is very successful is if the parent or teacher constantly keeps in mind that this child is not simply the son of so and so, but he is the only child of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov. With this way of thinking his entire approach and way of looking at the child will change, and the same things that he would do for him without much thought, he will now perform with awe and extra special success.

"I am often approached for advice by the menahelim of Talmudei Torah and Yeshivot Ketanot, that were established by my esteemed father Hagaon Rabbi Ben Zion zt"l, and I try to advise and guide them about choosing a maggid shiur or Rebbi. They wish to know if it is important to look for someone who excels in presenting a shiur and has exceptional talent in clarifying ideas. I tell them an important foundation that I heard from my father zt"l: In Kriyat Shema we say, "And these matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise" (Devarim 6:6-7). There seems to be a difficulty here - what is the connection between "You shall teach them thoroughly to your children", from where we derive the commandment to teach our students Torah, to the continuation of the verse that talks about "while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise"?

From here we can learn an important lesson: When it comes to choosing a Rebbi to teach students Torah, one's emphasis should not be on clear rhetoric, or on one who is known for his novel Torah insights, but instead one should look for an individual who personifies, "And these matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart…and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way…" One who is a true example of this commandment is someone fitting to be a Rav.

Walking in Their Ways

An Inspiring Vacation

The word vacation did not exist in the home of Moreinu’s parents in Mogador, Morocco. People would often frequent this resort town for relaxation, but Rabbi David’s father, the holy tzaddik Rabbi Moshe Aharon Pinto zy”a, never spoke about going on vacation. Only after thirty years, when the children were grown, did the concept of vacation enter their lexicon.

At the end of one year, which had proven extremely stressful to Moreinu shlita on account of his numerous public commitments, he was very exhausted. His friends and relatives recommended a break from his holy work. A vacation in Montreal was planned for Moreinu and his family.

Moreinu flew to Montreal for a vacation, but Hashem had other plans for him. Even there, he continued in his holy mission of encouraging others in their Avodat Hashem. Although the Rav was meant to relax and recharge his batteries, as soon as the Jewish community in Montreal heard about his coming, they invited him to speak and inspire the public. The pre-arranged rest of three weeks morphed into three weeks crowded with speaking engagements, one-on-one audiences, and lectures throughout Canada.

But Hashem protects the steps of His devout ones. During his visit to Montreal, Moreinu himself was greatly inspired.

He felt energized by witnessing how his speeches had influenced the community so positively. Many Jews undertook to observe Shabbat and wear tzitzit, and women accepted upon themselves taharat hamishpachah. A huge wave of teshuvah washed over the community.

Many residents of Montreal hail from Morocco. They still remember the tzaddik, Rabbi Chaim Pinto, zy”a, Moreinu’s grandfather. They were able to retell stories of his greatness, which helped reinforce the atmosphere of faith in Montreal.

After Moreinu returned to his home and his daily obligations, he had the following afterthought to relate: Never had he experienced such relaxation in his entire life. True relaxation which was entirely spiritual elevation! When a person feels his spirit connecting to the Ribbono Shel Olam, it is the greatest possible pleasure for both body and soul.

From the Treasury

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

A Jew is Obligated to Study All Sections of Torah

"If a man will have a wayward and rebellious son, who does not hearken to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother" (Devarim 21:18)

The Gemara tells us (Sanhedrin 71a): "There never was a rebellious son and there never will be. So why is this section included in the Torah? So that we can be rewarded for delving into the matter."

This Gemara is most perplexing as our Holy Torah is wider than the sea, containing numerous sections and even if a person would live for a thousand years, this will not suffice for him to study the entire Torah. If so, we do not need to delve into an additional section to receive a reward as there is no lack of what to study within the Torah.

A possible explanation could be that as we know, there are two goals in learning Torah. One is to study Torah so that we will be able to fulfill, to learn about the commandments and laws in order to know how to behave. A second purpose is that the actual studying of Torah is a mitzvah and even if one would be familiar with the entire Torah, one would still be obligated to study Torah.

In answer to our question, there are sections in the Torah that are not possible for a person to fulfill. Even if one is not a Rav, this is not an exemption from studying the laws of Gittin and Kiddushin (laws relating to marriage and divorce), or the laws concerning Kohanim if one is not a Kohen. Every person is obligated to learn all sections of the Torah, for a person has 248 limbs corresponding to the number of positive commandments. Even though a person who is missing one finger or limb can still live, nevertheless, he is considered a ba'al mum since he is not perfect.

So too with Torah, even if a person learns all the laws that are applicable to him and are possible for him to actually fulfill, nevertheless if he leaves out certain sections of the Torah he is considered as being a spiritual ba'al mum. This section of the rebellious son comes to teach us this lesson. It was not included in the Torah for practical application, but simply for the goal of delving into it and receiving reward for this study. This lesson applies to the entire Torah; we are obligated to study both the sections that apply to our lives and also those that are not relevant.

Pearls of the Parsha

The Task of a Jew; Battle - Not Victory

"When you will go out to war" (Devarim 21:10)

There is a story told about a Jew who went to visit the "Tiferet Shlomo' zt"l, for he felt that he had reached his limits and no longer had the strength to continue fighting against his evil inclination. "Just yesterday", he explained, "I exerted myself to rise to the challenge and Hashem helped me to overcome him, yet once again, today, he ensnared me in his net.

The 'Tiferet Shlomo' responded with an important foundation that we are obligated to repeat to ourselves constantly:

The verse does not say "when you will go out to be victorious", but "when you will go out to war". The reason is that Hashem desires not victory - but battle, even if this means that one stands up in confrontation one's entire life!

The Segulah of Tzitzit

"You shall make for yourselves twisted threads on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself" (Devarim 22:12)

The sefer 'Zechira' quotes several fascinating ideas concerning the mitzvah of tzitzit.

The word 'ציצית' (tzitzit) is an acronym for 'צדיק יפריד ציציותיו תמיד', (a righteous person takes care that his tzitzit strings stay separated) and this separation is meaningful according to sod (the secrets of the Torah).

The mitzvah of tzitzit requires great caution since a severe punishment awaits one who is negligent in this commandment.

When a person recites the blessing, 'להתעטף בציצית' ("to wrap ourselves in tzitzit"), he should have in mind that the first letter of each word (לב) has the numerical value of thirty-two corresponding to the thirty-two strings of the tzitzit, and this is a segulah that one's teeth should not hurt him (a person has thirty-two teeth).

One must be careful not to cut the tzitzit with a knife, rather one should cut them with ones' teeth, for a person has thirty-two teeth.

It is told in the name of the Arizal that one who passes the tzitzit in front of his eyes when reciting Kriyat Shema, is promised that he will not become blind, and one who constantly looks at his tzitzit will merit receiving the Shechina. It is also beneficial for achieving great revelations and brings one to fear of G-d.

Looking at the corner of the tzitzit is also good for removing anger – 'כנף' (corner) has the same numerical value as 'כעס' (anger).

Due to the above reasons, once a child reaches three years of age, he starts to wear tzitzit for this causes a holy spirit to rest on him.

Hashem Walks In front of Us

"So that He will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you" (Devarim 23:15)

When one shows a guest to the table, one walks in front of him to show him to his place.

When taking an offender to prison, the guard walks behind him, to prevent him from escaping.

If so, writes Rabbi Shaul Natanson, when Am Yisrael follow in the way of Hashem, Hashem walks in front of them.

But when they sin, He walks behind them, therefore we are warned "so that He will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you" – we should not cause Hashem Yitbarach to walk behind us.

Let Her Be Praised

In Memory of Rabanit Mazal Tov Madeleine bat Mocha Simcha Zal

קָמוּ בָנֶיהָ וַיְאַשְּׁרוּהָ בַּעְלָהּ וַיְהַלְלָהּ

"Her children have risen and praised her; her husband and he extolled her"

From the hesped that Moreinu v'Rabbeinu, Hagaon Hatzaddik Rabbi David Chananya Pinto shlita gave for his late mother, the Rabbanit a"h, it was apparent that her utter sacrifice for the sake of Torah learning and her children's chinuch was like a scarlet thread woven throughout her remarkable life. "Indeed, "Her husband's heart relies on her" and "her light was not snuffed out by night". She shouldered the entire burden of the home, from beginning to end, including raising her children in the path of Torah and taking care of all their needs. In this way, our father zt"l was left undisturbed to dedicate himself to serving Hashem, free of the burden of material worries which would necessitate him having a connection with the material world."

Moreinu shlita quoted from the parsha of that week, where it says, "Behold! I send an angel before you to protect you on the way, and to bring you to the place that I have made ready" (Shemot 23:20). This is a description of what happens when a person arrives in the Next world – he is afraid that all kinds of prosecutors will come and grab his merits and prevent him from reaching the chupah that was built for him with the good deeds that he performed in this world. Therefore, Hashem says to us - don’t worry! "Behold! I send an angel before you to protect you on the way", I will send an angel to walk in front of you, to protect you from the prosecutors, and he will take care "to bring you to the place that I have made ready", to the place that you prepared for yourself in the World of Truth from the power of your good deeds.

"This angel most certainly accompanied our pious mother, our dear Ima who was so devoted to us, who raised us and took care of us, who instilled in us good middot and derech eretz, Ima who sacrificed herself for the sake of our Torah education by taking leave of us and sending us far away to a foreign land, young boys all alone, separated by borders and oceans. The reason was not a shortage of food in our home or other material lack, for we had everything that we needed and we were happy. It was simply her deep desire and love for Torah that gave her the strength to do this so that we should merit growing in Torah and yirat shamayim."

The verse "Her children have risen and praised her" is an apt description of the late Rabbanit a"h, as she clearly merited. Indeed, "She merited an enormous amount, she merited seeing children and grandchildren following in the path of Torah and mitzvot and establishing institutions of Torah and chessed in all corners of the globe. Her offspring are praised by all and this is her "crown of a good name that surpasses (all the three crowns)".

"Her husband and he extolled her"

The Gaon Rabbi Moshe Shteinman shlita tells over about his mother Rabbanit Tamar a"h, that from the day she arrived in Eretz Yisrael, she no longer agreed to continue teaching students as she did in chutz la'aretz, despite being highly sought after. What was her reason? It seems that she decided that here in this Land her role was to stand at her husband's side!

"Did I ever disturb his learning? Prevent him from giving over his shiurim? Never!"

This was a rare personal testimony from the Rabbanit a"h. Indeed, her family all knew that she never disturbed the schedule or shiurim of the Rosh Yeshiva, Maran Harav Ahron Yehuda Leib Shteinman zt"l. Not only this, but she never asked him to go to the store or other errands, she took care of everything so that his learning should not be interrupted.

One afternoon, she fell at home and broke her leg. Despite being in extreme pain, she nevertheless continued lying on the floor without letting a sound out of her mouth. Why this self-control? The Rosh Yeshiva's Chumash shiur was about to start and if the participants would become aware of her serious condition, this would certainly disturb the shiur. Only once the shiur came to an end did she allow herself to cry out for help!

Even when she was in a precarious state of health, she allowed Maran the Rosh Yeshiva to go abroad with sacrificial devotion, to give encouragement to the French diaspora and act on behalf of the Torah institutions and yeshivot in that country.


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