web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Uncategorized
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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.

For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.

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
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.
IDF Chief Rabbi: Nothing is Holy to Muslims on Temple Mount except Al Aqsa
Latest Uncategorized Stories
.

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.

About 7 in 10 Americans view Israel favorably – making Israel the only positively viewed Middle East country. But the younger Americans get, the more they like some Arab countries.

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.

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 […]

The sale of Tnuva to China’s Bright Food may have broken the law.

Yizhar Hess, director general of the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel, apparently believes that graffiti attacks against Arab targets are at least as serious as physical violence against Jews. Writing in the Hebrew-language Yedioth Aharonoth, Hess said that per capita there were more racist attacks in Israel than anti-Semitic attacks in France during the year […]

The Hamas al-Aqsa TV channel called on Palestinian children to kill all Jews, wherever they are. According to Palestinian Media Watch, which posted a YouTube video of the cartoon with English-language subtitles, the children’s show Tomorrow’s Pioneers instructed children to shoot “all the Jews,” and featured a young girl who dreams of shooting Jews. Child host (Rawan): “Tulin, why […]

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 […]

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

Dmitri Diliani, a spokesperson for Fatah in Jerusalem and a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, had taken issue with Klein’s characterization of recent violence in Jerusalem as being instigated by the Palestinians.

This video from RT was taken as victims were being evacuated from the Har Nof synagogue where Arabs terrorists from eastern Jerusalem axed, knifed and shot to death four Jews while they were praying.

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: