Shiurim by Menachem Leibtag
In Memory of Rabbi Abraham Leibtag

PARSHAT KI-TEYZE / Questions for self-study



1. Review the laws of "eshet y'fat toar" as detailed in the beginning of the Parsha Ki-teyze (Devarim 21:10-14). In your opinion, are the purpose of these laws to protect the man (from marrying someone he shouldn't), or to protect the feelings and emotions of the captive women. As you review these psukim, attempt to ascertain how either understanding would affect the interpretation of each law? [Also, in what manner do these laws relate to the fact that this captive may one day become his wife?]

For example, does the phrase "v'asta et tziporneha" - and she should 'do her nails' (see 21:12) - imply that she should cut them or let them grow? And why must she not wear the clothing that she was taken captive in (see 21:13)?

2. For examples of each approach, first see Rashi 21:11, and then carefully study the entire Ibn Ezra on 21:12-13, noting how his interpretation reflects both of the above directions. See also Chizkuni! [See also Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim III /41.]

3. Review the last pasuk of this section, i.e. 21:14, especially the final clause ["lo titamer bah..."]. Which of the two directions of interpretation (above) does this pasuk support? What is the logic behind this law? [Note the translations and the commentators on this pasuk.]

4. If you have additional time, be sure to see Ramban on 21:12-13, it's quite lengthy, but very worthwhile to study. Note how Ramban discusses both directions discussed above, and relates this as well the argument in Sifri between R. Akiva and R. Eliezer in regard to the meaning of "doing her nails" ["v'asta et tziporneha"].

In your opinion, which of these two directions reflects a more 'humanistic' approach?

5. Finally, note the underlying topic of 21:1-9 (the laws of "egla arufa") that precede the topic of "y'fat toar", and the 21:15-17 (the laws relating the rights of the child from the 'unloved wife'). Do these two topics share anything in common with the laws of "y'fat toar"? Relate your answer to the above questions.


1. How would you translate the word "TZEDAKA"?

[Was your answer 'charity'? If so, can you suggest any other possible meaning?]

What is the Hebrew "shoresh" [root] of this word, and what does it mean?

2. Now, read Devarim 25:13-16, noting 25:15 "even shelayma v'TZEDEK...". How would you translate the word "tzedek" in this sentence? Is it the same as above?

Can you recall any other similar uses of the word "tzedek"?

[For example, relate to Breishit 38:26, Yirmiyahu 22:1-3,15-16; and Shmuel Aleph 12:7.]

3. Next, read Breishit 18:18-19. How would you translate "tzedaka" in this sentence? [See commentators!]

How would your translate the word "tzadik"?

Relate to e.g. Breishit 6:9; 18:23-25, Devarim 32:4.

How does this word "tzadik" relate to "tzedek" & "tzedaka"?

4. Based on the above, can you explain why we refer to charity as "tzedaka"?! Attempt to relate your answer to Devarim 8:11-18!


1. Read 24:1-4 regarding the laws of a Jewish divorce. Can you explain why the Torah prohibits the husband to re-marry his first wife ONLY once she has been married (in the interim) to someone else? [Had this been permitted, can you identify a potential halachik 'loophole'?]

Use this to explain why the Torah refers to this in 24:4 as a potential "toeyvah lifnei Hashem..." !

[Use this as well to explain the phrase "v'lo tachtee et

ha'aretz..." in 24:4.]


1. Quickly review Shmot chapters 21 thru 23, noting the similarities (and differences) between that unit and the laws in Parshat Ki-teyze. Can you explain why they are similar?

Compare, for example:

Shmot 23:24-26 with Devarim 24:10-15 & 23:20-21

Shmot 23:4-6 with Devarim 22:1-3.

Would you say that Ki-teyze is a 'repetition' of the laws in Parshat Mishpatim or an 'expansion' of them? Explain your answer.

2. Are there other mitzvot in Parshat Mishpatim that are 'expanded' upon in other Parshiot in Sefer Devarim, or for that matter anywhere else in Chumash? If so, where?

Compare, for example, Shmot 23:14 -17 with Devarim chapter 16, and Shmot 23:10-11 with Devarim 15:1-7 & Vayikra 25! Can you find the parallels to Shmot 23:28-29?

Are there any parallels to Shmot 21:12-22:15?

If so, where?

If not, can you explain why not?

3. Are there other mitzvot in Parshat Ki-teyze that had been mentioned earlier in Chumash in a Parsha other than Mishpatim?

If so, where?

[Note for example 25:15; compare Vayikra 19:36.]

Based on our previous shiurim (on Parshat Mishpatim & the intro to Sefer Devarim), can you explain the reason for this?

Relate this as well to Devarim 16:20.


1. Recall that the CHUKIM & MISHPATIM section of Sefer Devarim (chapters 12-26) contains numerous mitzvot. Scan through the entire section and attempt to find a correlation between the progression of these mitzvot and the Ten Commandments.

Note how the MITZVAH section (chapters 6-11) contains mitzvot that are similar to the first two DIBROT. Can you explain why?

Note also how the topic of HA'MAKOM ASHER YIVCHAR HASHEM L'SHAKEN SHMO SHAM relates to God's Name and the third commandment. [Be sure that you can explain why, i.e. the connection between desecrating His Name and making His reputation know.]

Similarly, note that there is a group of mitzvot that relate to the seven-year shmita cycle and the holidays that include their own cycles of seven.

Recall also from last week the set of mitzvot that discussed the leadership of Am Yisrael (and hence leaders who should be 'honored').

Finally, pay attention to which groups of mitzvot focus primarily on mitzvot "bein adam la'Makom" and which focus on "bein adam l'chaveiro" [between man & God; between man and fellow man].

Use these 'hints' to help you answer this question.

2. In two other Parshiot in Chumash we find a similar wide range of assorted mitzvot - Parshat Mishpatim (Shmot 21-23) & Parshat Kedoshim (Vayikra 19).

Scan those Parshiot and see if you can identify within them a progression of mitzvot similar to the progression in the Ten Commandments.

3. Review Devarim 5:1-7, i.e. the intro to the main speech in 5:1, the topic of "brit Sinai" in 5:2-3, and the presentation of the Dibrot (in 5:6-18) followed by the story of how the laws of Sefer Devarim were first given (in 5:20-6:1).

Can you explain how this background may relate to the parallel between the Ten Commandments and the laws in the main speech in Sefer Devarim?

4. In your opinion, do the progression of mitzvot in chapters 22 thru 25 follow a logical order, or do they appear to be a random collection? Support your answer.

PART IIb - Questions on PARSHANUT for Shiur #2

1. Read 24:8-9. Recall that the detailed laws of "tzaraat" are first presented in Sefer Vayikra.

Are there any other similar mitzvot from Sefer Vayikra that are either repeated or summarized in Parshat Ki-teyze (or for that matter anywhere in Sefer Devarim)?

Now, note the nature of the mitzvot that immediately follow the mention of "tzaraat" in 24:10-22 (i.e. mitzvot which are "bein adam la'makom" - between fellow men).

Based on this 'juxtaposition', what can be deduced in regard to the cause of "tzaraat"?

2. Now see Rashi on 24:8 [He quotes the Gemara in Makkot 22b.] In your opinion, is this Midrash Halacha the simple pshat of this pasuk? [In other words, is the warning of 24:8 general or


If one does hold that this Midrash is not the simple pshat, would that make the Midrash Halacha incorrect?

Base your answer on the nature of Midrashei Halacha.

3. Now see Rashi on 24:9. How does this relate to your answer to question #1 above?

4. Next, see Ibn Ezra on 24:9!

Why is Ibn Ezra noting that this pasuk proves a "drash"?

According to Rashi, how closely are psukim 8 & 9 connected?

5. Next, see Rashbam on 24:8-9! [See also Chizkuni, noting how they are very similar.]

In what manner is his pirush to 24:8 different than Rashi's?

In your opinion, is Rashbam's pirush closer to the simple pshat?

[Is this usually the case in Rashbam?]

Now, note how 'elegantly' Rashbam explains 24:9 and its connection to 24:8!

How (and why) is this different from Rashi's explanation for the connection between these two psukim?

5. See Ramban on 24:8.

How does Ramban explain the fact that a law from Vayikra is being repeated in Devarim?

How does he explain why the other laws about "tzaraat" are not repeated here? [Relate to his introduction to Sefer Devarim.]

Why do you think that this specific law which Chazal learn in the Midrash Halacha from this pasuk relates to what a PERSON in Am Yisrael must be careful not to do, and NOT a warning for KOHANIM to be careful in their dealing with a "metzora"?

[Relate to your answer in question #1 above.]

5. See Ramban 24:9. On what point does Ramban disagree with Rashi? Can you explain why?

How does Ramban prove his point from similar uses of "zchor" in other mitzvot in Chumash?

In what manner is Ramban's approach here very different than Rashi's? In what manner is it similar?

6. Be sure to read Ramban on 24:9 until the very end!

Why would you say that it is important for everyone [students AND teachers] to learn this Ramban? [Why do you think that this Ramban is not as popular as it should be?]


1. The logic of the juxtaposition of the first three parshiot (even though they are comprise three totally different laws) in Parshat Ki-teyze is well known (see Rashi 21:11). Note also the Ibn Ezra on 21:20 (the last two lines). This style, better known as "smichut parshiot", continues throughout Parshat Ki-teyze. If you have the time, I recommend that you scan the Ibn Ezra on the entire Parsha, noting how many times he explains the reason in many instances for "smichut parshiot", i.e. the reason why one mitzvah follows from the next. Many of his explanations are very interesting and very creative.

See for example: 21:10, 22:6, 22:8, 22:9, 22:12 & 13 [Note here how he takes issue with the Karites (Ibn Ezra calls them "mak'chishim" - those who deny, i.e. they didn't accept or follow the Oral Tradition of Chazal).

Note how Ibn Ezra quite often quotes their opinion, and then explains why he disagrees. Can you appreciate why davka the Ibn Ezra finds it important to argue with them? How does this relate to his own approach to "parshanut"? See especially Ibn Ezra on 24:6 as well as on 22:12!]

See also Ibn Ezra 23:16, 23:18, 23:22, 23:25 and 24:6

2. In 22:10, the Torah forbids us to plow a field with a ox and donkey together. Can you think of any logic behind this law?

See Rashi, who extends this law to any two 'pairs' of animals. Based on this pirush, what is the reason for this prohibition? How does it relate to the laws in 22:9 and 22:11?

Next, see Ibn Ezra on 22:10. How is his pirush different? What is the reason for this prohibition according to his pirush?

Next, see Ramban. Is his pirush similar to Rashi or Ibn Ezra? In your opinion, why does Ramban quote the psukim from Vayikra 19:19?

Finally, see Chizkuni on 22:10. Note how his pirush expands upon Ibn Ezra's explanation. Can you explain why Chizkuni offers two explanations, and what is the difference between them?

Note how Chizkuni concludes with Chazal's interpretation. Can you explain why he does there after he explains "pshat"?

3. Note Ramban's statement in 21:11 - "diber ha'katuv b'hoveh". This phrase is used quite often to explain why the Torah often presents a certain law by stating only a 'typical' case, but the law itself is much more comprehensive. Note for example the law of "kilaim" in 22:10-11, and the above question. The classic example would probably be Devarim 14:21.

Can you explain how this style of 'law presentation' can help us better understand the relationship between Torah sh'ball peh and Torah sh'bktav - the Written law and the Oral law?