Shabbat Parashat Va'eira| 5767
Va'eira | | 01/01/2006
In the beginning of our parasha, after Moshe and Aharon performed miracles before Paroh, the Torah explains why Paroh was not convinced to let Bnei Yisrael go. “Paroh’s heart was hard, and he did not listen to them, as Hashem had spoken” (Shemot 7:13). We find similar language after the plague of blood. Again, his heart was hard as Hashem had said. In fact, the idea that Hashem had spoken that the phenomenon would occur comes up no less than six times. Rashi (on Shemot 8:11) asks: “Where did Hashem speak so?” It will be very instructive to look at the pasuk that Rashi brings as an answer in its context. We will paraphrase that section of the Torah (Shemot 7: 1-7).
Case: A Holocaust survivor who never married died some 40 years after the Holocaust and left an inheritance without a will. Her cousins from one family want beit din to rule that they are the sole inheritors. They claim that no one other cousins on either side survived the Holocaust. However, a representative of the government raises the point that they do not have proof that there are no additional cousins, as there were known to be before the Holocaust. Israeli law states that only if all relatives agree that beit din should adjudicate matters of inheritance do they assume jurisdiction. Therefore, beit din’s jurisdiction has been put in question.
Rav Goren brings as evidence that defensive wars outside Eretz Yisrael are not mm the fact that the Chinuch mentions as mm only the wars against the seven Canaanite nations and against Amalek. This is not a sound proof. The Chinuch, here and generally, uses the Rambam’s language. The Rambam (Melachim 6:4) distinguishes between a mm and a milchemet reshut (an elective war = mr) regarding a case where the enemy rejected the terms of peace. There he mentions the examples of the seven nations and Amalek and omits a defensive war. Yet, the Rambam explicitly considers a defensive war as a mm (ibid.:5:1).
Question: I work in a special ed. setting, where the following halachic issues arise. May one answer Amen to the beracha of a mentally disabled (= medi)child, who is not expected to ever be obligated in mitzvot? When teaching them berachot, can one pronounce Hashem’s name? Is there a point to teach them mitzvot if they will never be obligated in them?
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).