web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Uncategorized
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Uncategorized

A Megillas Esther In An Ir Hanidachas

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.
Sydney Chabad Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Canceled ‘Out of Respect’
Latest Uncategorized Stories
Secretary of State John Kerry

Although it viewed an escalation of Israeli-Palestinian tensions as highly likely to occur, the survey deemed it as having only a moderate impact on U.S. interests.

Young children 'recruited' by the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) terrorist group for a Shari'a jihadist army in Iraq and Syria.

Four Christian children faced ISIS terrorists and refused to convert to Islam in Iraq. They were taught by the Jerusalem yeshiva-trained ‘Vicar of Iraq.”

Terrorists attack Israeli soldiers with a Molotov cocktail in Arab village riot near Beit El and Ramallah. (archive)

Was Ziad Abu Ein’s riot death a true “martyrdom” for the cause of so-called PA Arab “resistance”?

L-R: Generals Omar Bradley, George Patton, and Dwight Eisenhower inspecting art stolen by the Nazis.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder welcomed the museum’s decision to discover which pieces were looted by the Nazis and to work to restitute them.

With rain falling in Israel, Yishai discusses the need for infrastructure to capture more of that rain. Good leadership is also a blessing: Yishai explains why he appreciates Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Moshe Feiglin and Economics Minister Naftali Bennet. Then, Rabbi Shimshon HaKohen Nadel is an author and educator who lives in Har Nof, he gives a status on how the ultra-Orthodox community is coping. Finally, Knesset Insider Jeremy Saltan discusses new laws and bills that seem to point to a nationalist Zionist trend in Israel.

The soaring threat of Islamic terrorism to the US mainland, pro-US Arab regimes, Europe, India, Asia, Africa and Australia has reaffirmed Israel’s role as the moral and military outpost of the US in the Middle East. Israel’s strategic role has gained in importance against the backdrop of the US withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, the […]

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a licensed tour guide and head of Haliba mvt for Jewish rights, has ‘sparked unrest’ by praying.

Channel 2 report: IDF could re-conquer Gaza, but cost would be hundreds of IDF deaths, violence from Judea and Samaria, Israeli Arabs

Latest updates on Color Red incoming rocket alerts from The Jewish Press.com .

Not always two sides to a story: Some try to kill babies, some try to protect them

An IDF official said Sunday evening that there is no news to report about the ongoing manhunt for Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel. According to a report on the Hebrew-language 0404.co.il website, a the official said, “We are continuing to work according to plan. This means scouring the area, arresting suspects and other […]

Israeli armor, swords and Star of David flags on display as national team wins Austria Cup

Support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement? That might fly well on American and European university campuses, but don’t try floating the idea in the Arab world. According to Caspar Veldkamp, Dutch ambassador to Israel, Arab and Muslim countries around the world maintain rich economic ties with Israel, often facilitated by Holland. Many of the countries […]

Dutch ambassador to Israel, Caspar Veldkamp, said Tuesday that Arab and Muslim countries, many of whom do not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, maintain rich economic ties with Israel, facilitated by Holland. Israel Radio reported in Arabic that Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, in addition to several Persian Gulf nations, all trade quietly […]

PLO Chairman Abu Mazen appointed a long-time political ally, Rami Hamdallah, to build the Palestinian national unity government with Hamas. Palestinian reports said Fatah and Hamas officials agreed on the list of names that will form the government. According to NRG, the sides still have yet to agree on the future of Riad Almaliki, the […]

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

If fire indeed was invented in Israel, will the Boycott Israel movement stop lighting matches?

Over 800 people filled The Shul of Bal Harbour on Monday night, November 24, to hear Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

The Packers joined both local synagogues, Young Israel of Bal Harbour and The Shul of Bal Harbour, and Martin participated in the Bal Harbour commission.

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: