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Monday, February 13, 2012

Mishpatim, Shemos 21:2. The First Law of Mishpatim.

This has been moved to Beis Vaad.


Anonymous said...

The Meshech Chochma, Shmos 6:13 [taryag] goes one step beyond the Va'yo'el Moshe and says that the halacha was noge'ah l'ma'aseh even in mitzrayim. Also note that according to this, shiluach avadim was given to klal yisroel before hachodesh hazeh lachem.

Eliezer said...

Thank you. I wasn't aware of that, and it makes the Yerushalmi even more interesting.

Chaim B. said...

R' Chaim Shmuelivitz also discusses this Ylmi in Sichos Mussar 5731:4. It's hard for the master to free his slave after six years because he loses sight of the slave's humanity, he is blind to the slave's desire for freedom and views him only as revenue producing property whose loss is a hit to the balance sheet. Therefore, the Torah used the moment when BN"Y had the greatest appreciation for the meaning of freedom to give them this mitzvah - the roshem of leaving avdus would stay with them forever and help them keep the proper perspective.

Eli said...

There are many places where the Torah explicitly mentions being enslaved in Mitzrayim as a reason for taking good care of your own slaves, so it seems the Torah speaks to the Brisker audience, not to Telzers. This explains a lot.

BTW, it might be worth mentioning also that the Yerushalmi is based on our Haftara saying אנכי כרתי ברית את אבותיכם ביום הוצאי אותם מארץ מצרים מבית עבדים לאמר מקץ שבע שנים תשלחו etc. The fact that Yirmeyahu, ~1000 years later, uses this detail of being in Mitzrayim at the time of commandment, to convince his crowd, also fits better with the Maharil Diskin's derech.

Yet, Rav Sorotzkin point could be valid for the same generation, while he would agree that after many years (or generations) the memory of slavery would be beneficial, not destructive.

Anonymous said...

Someone is talking out of his hat, מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה!

Perhaps that is the person who is ignoring אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים.

There are a few details worth noting:

• The vort is from Rav Sorotzkin's son, and not his own. [Of course, his son was also Rav Sorotzkin, and it is in the Aznayim LaTorah, so stricly speaking, you are correct.]

• Rav Sorotzkin learned in Volozhin and Slabodka, not Telshe. [He thus may have understood real-world thinking better than others. This without getting into the distinction between a Rov and a Rosh Yeshiva. While the MAHARIL Diskin was a Rov, he was extremely confrontational and ultimately was driven out of Brest. Without ח"ו diminishing his greatness in any way, it would be fair to say that he did not really understand balei batim. In fact, that statement probably is a compliment to him.]

• The vort in the Aznaim LaTorah brings rather solid historical evidence, as from the "Workers' Revolution" that gave rise to Soviet Russia. I would add the French Revolution and today's "progressives."

• There is no dispute among the pshotim. Rav Sorotzkin [Jr] points out that the tendency to cruelty is buried in the former slave's psyche. It is a potential for evil that will be manifested in the future - despite [as he writes] the person's current certainty that he would never be as cruel as his former masters. This had to be headed off.

But how to ingrain the lesson into the deepest level of the Jewish psyche? Do this, Rav Diskin answers, by explicitly formalizing and emphasizing their current generous emotions. Thus, those feelings would enter into the depths of their nefoshos, to combat the natural evil tendency discussed by Rav Sorotzkin.

This is the thrust of the Sichos Mussar.

• Unfortunately, Rav Sorotzkin's focus was also proven by Jewish history to be accurate. The neviim had to chastise the yidden for mistreating their Jewish avodim and not releasing them even when required to. Again, see the Meshech Chochma cited in comment 1.

Eliezer said...

The preceding comment makes reference to the Gemara in Sanhedrin 99b that says that מבזה תלמיד חכם עצמו מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה הוי.

That's a pretty strong accusation, to say "מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה". Talking out of my hat I hear, but to be castigated as an אפיקורוס, or as אין לו חלק לעולם הבא, as indicated there in the Gemara- wow. I wonder what sort of person such a criticism could come from. I wonder which Yeshiva he learned in.

Having learned that this idea is from Rav Sorotzkin's son, I find it interesting to hear that he learned in Volozhin and Slabodka. It doesn't seem to be a vort any Slabodker I knew would say, but there are always outriders.

What particularly surprises me is the vehemence of the comment. I gently alluded, ...ודי לחכ, to the reputation (as old as Telz itself according to several ancient Mirrers that I knew) that Telzers tend to attribute base motives to others. I did not even mention the no-doubt positive traits of נכוה בפושרין pugnaciousness, אני ואפסי עוד -edness, and hard nosed discipline. These, of course, are just other words for kpeida on Kavod Hatorah and hakaras hatov to their great mesora.

As for the way you see the two pshatim converging, I like that very much. I think it might even be as good as what I said. I will put it into the post.

Anonymous said...

In defense of that Anonymous, note that he was quoting your lines about talking out of hats and megaleh panim etc. at you. He probably was too upset to realize that you were just setting up the reconciliation in the next paragraph. On the internet, people shoot first and never ask questions.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:47pm from Anonymous at 10:50am

Indeed it was a cut-and-paste from the original post - and I'm sorry I missed the reconciliation. Had I seen it, I would not have proposed it in my comment. Also, when I shoot first, there's nobody left to question.

It was, sadly, a מחאה על כבוד תלמיד חכם. You are free to decide which one I was defending, or both. I wouldn't have commented if it was only Rav Sorotzkin being accused of being a telsher.

In any case, I have no idea where the author of the vort in the Aznaim learned. It was Rav Zalman Sorotzkin himself who learned in Volozhin and Slobodka. He did however marry the daughter of Rav Laizer Gordon.

BTW, Rav Gordon was not a Telsher either; he was primarily a talmid of Reb Yisroel Salanter, and after serving as the gavad of Kelm, he was asked by the Alter of Slobodka to found a yeshiva in Telz. [This is the Sloboker version; I have no idea what the Telsher version is.]

Telshe did not become Telshe until the Maharil Bloch took over and Reb Leib Chasman was retired.

Daniel said...

In comparing משפטים to ראה it would seem our Mishpatim is ANTHING BUT discussing kindness to your avadim.

All the "kindness" concepts are there in Re'eh הענקה, כי טוב לו עמך, אחיך, וזכרת כי עבד היית וגו. If anything משפטים is about defining rights of the אדון!! i.e. האשה וילדיה תהיה לאדניה

Suggestions have to fit in with the text they're based on. If they don't, let them go...

Eliezer said...

Hi, Daniel. It's interesting that all you see in this parsha is a list of the master's rights. Other people see other things here, like automatic release after six and the master's obligation to care for the eved's wife. No, this last rule is not explicit, but I take She'Baal Peh as no less true than She'Biksav.

Daniel said...


Many blessings for you and yours. Be well. - Danny Mokhtar.