web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Uncategorized
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Uncategorized

A Megillas Esther In An Ir Hanidachas

Share Button

In this week’s parshah the Torah teaches the halachos of an ir hanidachas – a city where a majority of the inhabitants serve avodah zarah. The halacha is that all of the city’s inhabitants are killed and all of their possessions are burned.

There are several criteria that must be met in order for a city to attain the status of an ir hanidachas. The Gemara in Sanhedrin 71a quotes the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer: if there is even one mezuzah in the city, the entire city is not an ir hanidachas. This is because of the earlier words in this week’s parshah: “lo sa’asun kein l’Hashem Elokeichem – [destroy avodah zarah] but do not do so to Hashem your God.” We derive from here that one may not erase Hashem’s name. A mezuzah, which contains Hashem’s name, may not be destroyed. Thus the entire city cannot be burnt since this one article cannot be erased. (We do not pasken in accordance with this opinion; rather, we pasken that the holy writings are to be buried.)

The Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 6:2 says that erasing seven names of Hashem will cause one to receive lashes for having committed the transgression of erasing His name. There are other categories of things – kisvei hakodesh (holy writings) – that may not be erased, and similarly one may not destroy the Mizbeach or any part of the Beis HaMikdash. In the latter category, however, one may destroy them if it is for the purpose of reconstruction. One only violates this lav if one destroys it and does not intend to rebuild it.

It is for this reason that when one makes a mistake when writing a Sefer Torah, he may erase the mistake – except if the mistake is in the name of Hashem. Any other part of the Torah besides the name of Hashem has the status of kisvei hakodesh; hence it may be erased for reconstruction purposes. However, none of Hashem’s seven names can be erased, even for reconstruction purposes. Therefore, if a mistake occurs in the name of Hashem, a patch must be placed over it and one may write on the patch.

Several Achronim raised the following point and question on the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, cited above: How would Rabbi Eliezer hold if the ir hanidachas contained not a mezuzah or another article with Hashem’s name on it, but only kisvei hakodesh? For example, if only a Megillas Esther were present, would that make the city an ir hanidachas or would kisvei hakodesh also prevent the burning of the entire city — since it can only be destroyed for reconstruction purposes? Perhaps since the burning is a mitzvah, then that too is considered reconstructive and not destructive, and the city along with the Megillas Esther would be burnt.

The Mishnah in Sanhedrin 111b says that if there is kisvei hakodesh in the city it is buried, and that the rest of the city’s inhabitants’ possessions are burnt. The Gemara there (113a) says that this Mishnah is not in accordance with Rabbi Eliezer’s view. The Gemara seems to equate the halacha of when there is one mezuzah in the city to that of when there are any kisvei hakodesh.

Rashi, on Sanhedrin 71a, explained Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion this way: one mezuzah prevents the burning of the entire city because a mezuzah contains Hashem’s name that cannot be erased. Based on Rashi’s explanation, the halacha should not be the same regarding kisvei hakodesh since they can be erased for reconstructive purposes. This is evidence that the burning of the city’s inhabitants’ possessions is considered destructive, and thus the halacha of burning Hashem’s name is comparable to burning kisvei hakodesh.

The Minchas Chinuch explains that the reason that the burning of the possessions is considered destructive, even though it is a mitzvah, is because the mitzvah in this case is to destroy. Therefore, even kisvei hakodesh would prevent the entire city from being burnt since in this case they cannot be burnt.

I would like to suggest that perhaps the Gemara in Sanhedrin that equates kisvei hakodesh with Rabbi Eliezer’s view of a mezuzah is referring to kisvei hakodesh that contain Hashem’s name. However, kisvei hakodesh that do not contain Hashem’s name, i.e. Megillas Esther, would not prevent the burning of the city, and it would be burnt along with the rest of the city’s inhabitants’ possessions. The reason is that in this case, even though the mitzvah is to destroy, it nevertheless is considered reconstructive. As the pasuk in the Aleinu tefillah says: “…leha’avir gilulim min ha’aretz, vehaelilim karos yikareisun, lesakein olam bemalchus shakai – to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false gods will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through the Almighty’s sovereignty.” The destruction of avodah zarah is considered a tikun for the world. Therefore, as the mitzvah is to destroy and since it is avodah zarah that is being destroyed, it is considered a tikun.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “A Megillas Esther In An Ir Hanidachas”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists prepare their version of peace.
Terrorists Greet Hamas-Fatah Unity with Rocket Attacks on Israel
Latest Uncategorized Stories
Steve Tisch to head Israeli film festival.

Steve Tisch, one of the most successful producers in the motion picture industry, will chair the 16th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at Tel Aviv University May 31-June 7, 2014. Tisch is a partner at Escape Artists Productions and chairman of the New York Giants is the only person with both an Academy Award […]

Twenties-032814

Should I make conversation with her? How should I start? A million questions zoomed through Leah’s mind until she finally said, “Shalom, do you speak English?” Leah questioned.

Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett started threatened Monday to pull his party out of the government coalition if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepts an American  “framework” that is inconsistent with the party’s principles. He also made it clear at the annual Jerusalem Conference that he will back the Prime Minister if there is no […]

Ariel Sharon saved the life of Yaakov “Katzelah” Katz in the Yom Kippur War but destroyed the lives of thousands of Jews in Gush Katif

A real boat that will try to leave Gaza in March and fight “against the Israeli blockade.”

Tzirel Rus Berger is a woman who is in love with her Judaism. But she wasn’t always Tzirel Rus Berger and she wasn’t always a Jew. In fact she began life as Sheryl Youngs, the daughter of a devout Christian pastor in Southern California, before marrying John Massey and following him to the Appalachian backwoods. There she raised their ten children, living a life so impoverished that she didn’t even have indoor plumbing.

On February 4, 1939, Rabbi Naphtali boarded the RMS Queen Mary from Southampton, England, and arrived in New York on February 9. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the Carlebach family set sail on the Queen Mary on March 18 and arrived in New York on March 23, 1939.

Sigd means “prostration” or “bowing down” in Ge’ez, the ancient Ethiopian liturgical language.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies an incredulous Wall Street Journal report Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons. The Journal is a very credible source, and governments often deny the truth, but this time […]

Outraged by Iranian officials threats that any western acts of war against Syria “will result in the imminent destruction of the Zionist regime of Israel,” on Thursday, August 29, the leadership of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Obama Administration “to declare that an attack on Israel will be treated as an attack against […]

What is in Eretz Israel that draws so much attention? Water? Mineral deposits? Open spaces? Oil? Gold? Diamonds?

At least four terrorists were killed and seven others injured on Saturday in an air strike of the Egyptian army in north Sinai, on Israel’s border, a local security source told Xinhua. “The air strike targeted a house, a hut and a car in the village of al-Toma near Sheikh Zewaid city in North Sinai […]

An intercepted al Qaeda Threat, prison breaks in three Muslim countries, and the end of Ramadan/Eid combined to convince U.S. authorities to extend the embassy closures

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
MIG-35
 
MiG-35
52

The picture above is of a Russian MiG-35. It is Russia’s most advanced fighter jet. Reports say that Israel’s neighbors to the south will be getting 24 of them. In case you see one flying overhead, now you’ll know what it is.

This massive Russian-Egyptian arms deal is a slap in the face for President Obama and his failed foreign policy.

No, not Mahna Mahna. Mimouna. Mimouna is a Moroccan celebration of Chametz that takes place right after Pesach ends (which it did tonight). It’s become very popular in Israel, especially among political leaders, as participating in a Mimouna makes you more part of the “Amcha” (the every-day folk). It’s estimated (according to Wikipedia, at least) […]

Chimpanzees and Orangutans eat Matza, unleavened bread traditionally eaten during the Passover holiday, at the Ramat Gan Safari on Thursday, April 17, 2014. I hope they can digest it. On Passover no leavened bread (Chametz) is allowed in Jewish possession, and that includes food we feed our animals.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/uncategorized/a-megillas-esther-in-an-ir-hanidachas/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: