This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-HaRav Shlomo Ben Shayna Zelda
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
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Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – Ki Seitzei: Who Really is the Hated Wife? 🙍🏼♀️
The Torah presents the rule of Pi Shnayim, a firstborn’s rights to inherit a double portion with a quite odd scenario of a man who is married to two wives, one “beloved” wife and one “hated” wife. The Torah rules that regardless of how the husband feels about his wife, first come first serve; whoever gives birth first is the mother of his firstborn child.
Why does there have to be a “Hated Wife”? Is she really hated? WHY is she hated? Or why is she described as ‘hated’? Who exactly hates her? Who really is this ‘Hated Wife’?
While we’re here, did Yaakov Avinu violate the rules of firstborn/Pi Shnayim by not recognizing Reuvein as his firstborn with those rights?
Does the man really hate his own wife? Why not divorce her? Al Pi P’shat, perhaps he literally does hate her, or it is a relative term. Take Leah Imeinu for example. Leah was described as “hated.” Did Yaakov actually hate her?
The M’forshim suggest different explanations. Ramban [to Bereishis 29:31] explains that Yaakov did hate Leah because she essentially schemed him with Lavan, and in fact, he would have divorced her had Hashem not given her children [based Bereishis Rabbah 71:2]. However, he cites others such as Radak who explain that “hated” is only a relative term, that she was not as loved as her co-wife. Radak explains that that is exactly what the term “hated” means in our verse [Devarim 21:15].
Bechor Shor as well argues that Yaakov loved Leah, but “hated” her insofar as he did not love her as much as he loved Rochel. He argues that if we don’t say that, then there is an internal contradiction in the Pesukim which also stated that Yaakov simply loved Rochel “more than” Leah, implying that he loved Leah “somewhat.”
(Chasam Sofer as well doesn’t assume that Leah was literally hated, while Netziv and Abarbanel appear to take this “hatred” literally.)
In our context, Netziv points out that although, at first, the woman is referred to as “Senuah”-“hated,” she is later referred to as “S’niah,” literally, “the one caused to be hated,” to tell us that the husband didn’t hate this woman because of her, but specifically because of her co-wife, e.g. the first wife caused her to be hated by slandering her amidst their competition for their husband’s love. Either way, Netziv suggests that because she caused her rival wife to be hated, Hashem punished her by causing her rival wife to give birth first.
This effect is in line with Abarbanel and Radak who explain that Hashem “tends” grants a hated wife children first, as He did for Leah.
While according to the simple read, the wife is called hated because for one reason or another, the husband hates her, the Malbim suggests another layer of meaning that it is actually Hashem who “hates” her union with the husband. (Ibn Ezra rejects this read.) Malbim explains that the word for “hated” appears three times, alluding to three possible reasons why this woman has mothered this man’s child in a fashion that Hashem hates.
(1) She was either raped by him or seduced out of wedlock.
(2) She was one of the woman forbidden to him due to a basic prohibition (not a capital crime).
(3) She was prohibited to him by way of a union punishable by death.
Chazal suggest another way a woman could become a hated a wife. Rashi [to Devarim 21:11] citing the Midrash Tanchuma suggests that this wife was originally his Yefas To’ar, a beautiful captive whom the Torah conceded to let him marry. However, the Torah prescribes that this woman must go through a procedure to effectively strip her of her beauty. If he chooses to marry her, she will easily become a hated wife.
Now, we return to the question of Yaakov Avinu’s seeming violation of the rule of Pi Shnayim. Did he violate the rule?
Abarbanel explains that Yaakov stripped Reuvein of Pi Shnayim (Double Portion), “Al Pi Gevurah,” in accordance with Hashem’s instruction due to Reuvein’s sin. Kedushas Levi cites Ramban who similarly explained that Reuvein lost the rights to the double-portion for sinning against his father.
Kedushas Levi adds that perhaps Yaakov (mis)understood from his earlier Nevuah that he would have two more tribes (Efrayim and Menasheh) that one of his sons would be disqualified in order to maintain the presumed count of 12 tribes. When Reuvein sinned, Yaakov stripped him of Pi Shnayim.
But, what does Reuvein’s sin have to do with firstborn rights. Likutei Moharan [2:2:2] explains that Bechorah, firstborn rights, emerge from proper usage of one’s Bris. Only through Shmiras HaBris can a firstborn connect to those rights which he’d only be entitled to in the first place through that Bris, actualized by a Kosher union between his parents. By tampering with Yaakov’s marital bed, Reuvein did not maintain the Bris. However, Yosef rose to the occasion safeguarded his Bris (particularly when enticed by Eishes Potifar), so he earned the rights to firstborn.
We should all be Zocheh to have only beloved spouses, guard our covenant with Hashem, and Hashem should grant us, His firstborn nation, the greatest double portion with the Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg